OnePlus is now a premium smartphone brand, leaning into the category of luxury products such as the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition or the Concept One. But almost everyone who has enamored the brand knows that it started very humbly. It focussed its energy on flagship-grade devices sans the flagship pricing. However, every new series was accompanied by an increase in prices and that has left a vacuum for a powerful mid-ranger in the segment. After not having launched any other mid-ranger in over four years since the OnePlus X, the company may now be mulling a comeback in the sub-flagship segment with the alleged OnePlus 8 Lite branded as the OnePlus Z, a leak suggests.
Last week, XDA’s own Max Weinbach tweeted about the likeliness of OnePlus reintroducing X series. A couple of days later, Max’s sources confirmed that this smartphone’s appearance lines up with the purported OnePlus 8 Lite’s hardware.
The source referred to it as “OnePlus Z” and said the hardware matched the previous OnePlus 8 Lite render. https://t.co/zB5PN9nQjW
— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) March 28, 2020
The suggested OnePlus 8 Lite is the company’s first non-flagship device since the OnePlus X. Although the OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus 8 Pro could launch next month, a report earlier this month suggested the OnePlus 8 Lite could be launched several months later. Leaker Ishan Agarwal also asserted the same, and given their confidence, we can expect the information about the OnePlus Z to carry much weight.
— Ishan Agarwal (@ishanagarwal24) March 28, 2020
After letting flagship killers OnePlus One and the OnePlus 2 make their mark in the industry, the company launched a slightly more affordable and a tad bit less powerful OnePlus X in 2015. The OnePlus X seemed like a mid-ranger instead of an intended competitor to the flagships of the time; it was some sort of a cross-over (yeah, hence the “X”) between premium and mid-range suites (which had a much clearer distinction back in the day). Aamir concluded his OnePlus X review underscoring that while it had the premium looks of much more expensive phones like the iPhone 5/5s, it lacked the same vigor as the other OnePlus devices of the era.
A couple of years ago, OnePlus also admitted that OnePlus X was a cocky effort at breaking into the mid-range, especially since brands like Xiaomi were thriving in the segment. Unfortunately for the former, though, the OnePlus X did not align with the consumers’ expectations from the brand. So, half a year after its launch, the company shelved the production of the OnePlus X to focus on a true flagship.
More than four years down the line, the market has many more choices and price brackets, and the average price of OnePlus phones is much higher. Not just that, OnePlus has evolved from a brand for prosumers and developers to one that resonates with the majority of prolific phone users. Hence, a phone that belies the “true flagship” hallmark but continues to offer a great experience for the price is likely to be much more welcomed.
We’re still waiting for more details on the supposed OnePlus Z or 8 Lite and will be adding them as we learn. What do you think about OnePlus seeking the mid-range market again? Let us know in the comments below!
Image credits: OnLeaks
Update: Possible July Launch
— Max J. (@MaxJmb) April 28, 2020
The OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro launched earlier this month without the rumored OnePlus 8 Lite. We now know the device will launch as the “OnePlus Z,” and Twitter leaker Max J has a rumored launch window. According to Max, we’ll see the OnePlus Z in July 2020. Leaks of the OnePlus 8 Lite suggest we’ll be seeing a device with a flat display, centered hole-punch, triple rear cameras, and the MediaTek Dimensity 1000L SoC. Of course, we can also expect a lower price than the other OnePlus 8 models.
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