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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
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OnePlus is gearing up to release its next smartphone, the OnePlus Nord, which will cost less than $500.
The phone is expected to feature a flat, simple design, a multi-camera setup, and 5G connectivity.
The Nord will be noticeably cheaper than the recently launched OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro, which cost $700 and $900, respectively.
The launch would come as smartphone makers like Samsung and Apple are launching more competitively priced phones like the iPhone SE and series of Galaxy A devices.
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OnePlus launched the $700 OnePlus 8 and $900 OnePlus 8 Pro earlier this year, but the company is already planning its next major smartphone launch: The OnePlus Nord.
OnePlus is holding its next major smartphone launch on July 21 with its debut of the Nord, which is expected to represent a return to the company's roots of launching affordable smartphones that undercut the prices of devices launched by Samsung and Apple. The company has somewhat strayed from that vision by launching phones with higher prices at a time when the industry is gravitating toward less expensive phones.
If the leaks turn out to be true, we can expect the sub-$500 OnePlus Nord to challenge premium devices like the iPhone 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S20 with a triple-lens camera and 5G support.
Here's everything we know about the OnePlus Nord, which is expected to debut this month. SEE ALSO: Apple is expected to release a larger iPhone 12 Pro later this year — here's everything we know about Apple's next high-end iPhones so far
It will be priced under $500.
One of the most interesting confirmed details about the OnePlus Nord is its price.
The company revealed in a recent behind-the-scenes video about the phone's development that it will be priced below $500, putting it in direct competition with the the $400 iPhone SE and Samsung Galaxy A71 5G.
It will run on Qualcomm's 765G processor and support 5G.
The OnePlus Nord will support 5G connectivity, making it one of the cheapest devices to do so. OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei confirmed the 5G support and processor model to TechRadar.
OnePlus will be among the few smartphone makers offering 5G phones at a more affordable device, along with TCL which unveiled the $400 TCL 10 5G earlier this year.
Many 5G smartphones from companies like Samsung cost $1,000 or more.
The phone will probably have a flat screen with a simple design.
Although OnePlus hasn't officially unveiled the phone, comments from the company and leaks have given us clues about what the phone will look like.
The website True Tech posted a reportedly leaked photo of the phone showing a device with a flat display and a hole-punch cutout for the front-facing camera at the top. The report also suggested the phone could have a 6.4-inch display. That lines up with a similar leak posted in December from OnLeaks and 91mobiles.
A thread on the shopping website DesiDime, however, claims the OnePlus Nord could have a 6.5-inch screen with a 90Hz refresh rate and an in-screen fingerprint sensor. The thread was in reference to a survey that some customers had received asking how likely they were to buy a OnePlus phone with the listed specifications, which XDA-Developers first noticed.
Still, it's unclear how accurate the True Tech report is, considering it says the phone will come with a MediaTek processor while the company's co-founder confirmed to TechRadar that the Nord will run on a Qualcomm chip.
The leaks from True Tech and OnLeaks also show images of the device with just one selfie camera, whereas other rumors suggest the phone will have two front cameras.
There's also a chance the information from the DesiDime survey also may not be accurate, as its specifications for the Nord's camera do not match those mentioned by the company's imaging director.
In its behind-the-scenes video, OnePlus staff are also seen holding a device during a meeting that looks a lot like what the leaks have described — a phone with a flat, borderless screen and a dual front camera.
That would mark a departure from the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, which have curved screens.
"The visual identity is supposed to be inspired by the Scandinavian sort of design," OnePlus' Matthias Czaja said in the video. "We think of it as very clean and calm and modern and minimalistic."
It will have 6 cameras: 2 on the front, and 4 on the back.
OnePlus' next phone may be priced lower than rivals from Samsung and Apple, but the Nord will still come packed with multiple cameras.
Simon Liu, OnePlus' imaging director,revealed on the company's forums that the Nord will have a quadruple setup for the main camera consisting of a 48-megapixel sensor, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle sensor, a 5-megapixel depth sensor, and a macro sensor.
It will also have two selfie cameras on the front: a 32-megapixel main sensor and an ultra-wide angle camera with a 105-degree field of view.
The phone is expected to support fast charging and may have 128GB of storage.
If accurate, the DesiDime survey has leaked just about every hardware detail about the OnePlus Nord, including its battery, memory, and storage capacity.
The survey suggests the phone could have a 4,300 mAh battery, which would make it larger than the Samsung Galaxy S20's 4,000 mAh battery but smaller than the Galaxy S20 Plus' 4,500 mAh battery. Otherwise, the poll indicates the Nord could have 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage space, and support for fast charging.
But again, it's worth noting that the details shared on DesiDime regarding the Nord's camera do not match those mentioned by OnePlus' Liu, so it's unclear how accurate those specifications are.
The Nord will come with Google's apps for phone calls, messaging, and video chatting.
OnePlus has confirmed that the Nord will come wit Google's Phone, Messages, and Duo apps by default. The company made the announcement on Instagram just days before the phone's unveiling.
While Android phones often come with apps from Google like Google Maps and Gmail, many phone makers offer their own apps for messaging and phone calls. OnePlus, however, says it's deciding to use Google's apps instead on the Nord to provide a "smoother" experience.
It's expected to launch this month, but it won't be coming to the US. At least not right away.
OnePlus has announced that it will be holding a digital launch event for the Nord on July 21, providing a first real look at the device. It's unclear if the OnePlus Nord will be launching on that date or if the company only plans to unveil the phone during the event.
Regardless, OnePlus has already begun accepting pre-orders for the OnePlus Nord in three waves which occured on July 1, July 8, and July 15.
The Nord won't be launching in the US, however. It'll debut in Europe and India, but OnePlus CEO Pete Lau suggested that the Nord — or some version of it — will eventually make its way to the US.
"But don't worry, we're also looking to bring more affordable smartphones to North America in the near future well," he wrote in a OnePlus forum post.
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