OnePlus Nord (OnePlus Z) release date, price, specs and leaks

The OnePlus Nord — apparently the next smartphone coming from OnePlus — could be a return to form for a phone maker that rose to prominence by building flagship-killing phones that delivered high-end capabilities without equally high price tags.

OnePlus Nord: What you need to know

• Release date: Reportedly July 2020
• Price: Likely under $600
• Screen size: 6.4 inches
• Key features: 5G connectivity, Snapdragon 765G chipset, 90Hz display, multiple rear cameras

Recent releases, like the OnePlus 8 Pro, certainly deliver on great specs and performance, but it’s on the pricey side at $899. Even the $699 OnePlus 8 is more expensive than many other OnePlus models.

So how does a company keep adding premium features without totally ignoring the segment of smartphone shoppers first drawn to OnePlus in the first place? If hints and rumors are true, OnePlus will do so by holding the line on price, even if it means fewer fancier features in the OnePlus Nord, the name OnePlus has apparently settled on instead of the OnePlus Z.

We’re expecting to see the lower cost OnePlus phone arrive sometime this summer, after rumors about such a phone first emerged late last year. What should you expect from the next phone from OnePlus? Here’s what we’ve heard about the OnePlus Nord/OnePlus Z, including rumors about its release date and potential specs.

OnePlus Nord latest news (Updated June 26)

OnePlus Nord: Is this the official name?

When we first started hearing rumors about a budget option from OnePlus, most of the reports described the phone as the OnePlus 8 Lite. The name made sense at the time — the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro were still in the works, and it seemed possible that a Lite version would debut alongside those two models.

OnePlus Nord

OnePlus 8 (left) and OnePlus 8 Pro (right) (Image credit: Future)

Well, the April 14 launch event for the OnePlus 8 lineup came and went, with no Lite phone. So that leaves us still anticipating the arrival of the OnePlus 8 Lite — though it sounds as if OnePlus is taking a different approach with the name.

In late March, phone leaker Max Weinbach tweeted that OnePlus would adopt a new name for its budget phone: the OnePlus Z. That’s actually a callback to OnePlus’ past. In 2015, the phone maker released a device called the OnePlus X that it sold as a lower cost version of the company’s main flagship. The OnePlus Z name might signal a return to that approach.

However, a more recent report says that OnePlus could wind up calling its new budget phone the OnePlus Nord. Leaker Max J and the publication PhoneArena have both referred to the new name, and PhoneArena notes that OnePlus trademarked “Nord by OnePlus” back in March, according to a listing on the USPTO’s website.

The trademark said it would apply to smartphones, but also to smartwatches, smart TVs, laptops and other devices. So this could be a whole new value-focused product line for OnePlus.

Whatever OnePlus’ plans are going forward, the OnePlus Nord name looks to be official. A OnePlus Instagram account briefly shared a photo that included the Nord name, which is as close to a confirmation as we’ve gotten.

OnePlus Nord release date

The OnePlus Nord release date will likely be in July. This is according to a OnePlus Nord tease on Instagram in Morse Code. In addition, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau teased an imminent announcement on Twitter on June 22. However, we don’t know the exact date of the Nord’s launch just yet.

An earlier tweet from leaker Max J. featured an image of what looks to be a OnePlus Z promotional graphic touting a July 2020 launch date. It’s unclear if that graphic comes from OnePlus itself or from someone’s fertile imagination — given that it refers to the OnePlus Z and not the Nord, we’d guess the latter. But a July release date would be evenly spaced between this spring’s OnePlus 8 rollout and the potential OnePlus 8T debut later in the year.

OnePlus Nord: Is it coming to the US?

After the June 22 tweet hinting a new phone, OnePlus and Lau in particular have started to say more about the OnePlus Nord (without ever mentioning the device by name). Lau posted a message to OnePlus’ own forums, explaining how the company arrived at the idea of returning to its roots and building a new affordable handset.

“Today, I’m very excited to announce that we are bringing the premium, flagship experience that you’ve come to expect from OnePlus to a new, more affordable smartphone product line,” Lau’s post reads.

Lau went onto say that it will start “relatively small” with this new device, by launching it in Europe and India first. However, Lau also said that eventually, affordable OnePlus handsets will make their way to North America as well. We don’t know whether that means the OnePlus Nord will be the phone to launch in the US after its debut in Europe and India or if OnePlus has a different low-cost phone in mind for this country.

OnePlus Nord price

All we’ve heard about the OnePlus Nord’s price comes from a leak back when the phone was still being touted as the OnePlus 8 Lite, and they’re based on posts at an online store called GizTop that showed off specs and prices for OnePlus’ upcoming phones. The OnePlus 8 Lite was listed at $499, but we wouldn’t bank on that being the actual price. That same store posted prices of $549 and $799 for the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro and those figures turned out to be $100 to $150 off the actual prices.

OnePlus Z

Rumored OnePlus 8 Lite/OnePlus Z specs (Image credit: GizTop)

That said, a price difference of $50 to $150 between the OnePlus Nord and the $699 OnePlus 8 would mean the budget phone would cost anywhere from $549 to $649. That might not be a bad range to keep in mind until we hear more concrete leaks about the phone’s price.

OnePlus Nord design and display

We’d expect the OnePlus Nord to look a lot like the OnePlus 8 lineup that just debuted, but design and display are two areas OnePlus might cut corners to keep costs down. Instead of the AMOLED panels and glass materials used in other OnePlus phones, the OnePlus Nord could instead turn to an LCD screen — a typical move for phone makers producing budget phones.

That said, that old listing for the OnePlus 8 Lite suggested the phone would have an OLED screen along with the faster 90Hz refresh rate that’s been a staple of recent OnePlus releases.

OnePlus Z

OnePlus 8 Lite renders (Image credit: 91Mobiles and @OnLeaks)

Regardless of what kind of display the OnePlus Nord features and how fast it refreshes, it’s likely to be smaller than what you see on the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro. Rumors pointed to the OnePlus 8 Lite sporting a 6.4-inch panel. While that’s smaller than the 6.55-inch screen on the OnePlus 8, the disparity isn’t as big as the 4.7-inch display on the iPhone SE 2020 and the rest of Apple’s iPhone lineup.

OnePlus Nord

This photo reportedly shows off the OnePlus Nord’s design. (Image credit: TrueTech)

TrueTech has posted a photo that reportedly shows off the OnePlus Z as it was called at the time, and if it’s accurate, it gives us an ideal of how this budget phone might differ from the OnePlus 8 lineup. For starters, the screen is flat, not curved as it is on the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro. The front camera cutout is now in the top center of the display instead of in the left corner, and the bezels seem a little bit more noticeable.

OnePlus Nord processor and other specs

Rumors are a little bit more definitive here, where the OnePlus Nord is likely to feature a less powerful processor than the Snapdragon 865 chipset that powers the more expensive flagships in the OnePlus lineup. 

The same sources who’ve been talking about the OnePlus 8 Lite specs suggest the OnePlus Nord will have a MediaTek Dimensity 1000 system-on-chip. But a newer leak has said the OnePlus Nord would use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G system-on-a-chip. That’s a mid-range chip sitting below the Snapdragon 865, but still promises solid performance for most smartphones tasks, as well as 5G connectivity. Qualcomm has since come out with the Snapdragon 768G, which features a faster clock speed for the chipset’s main core, plus more graphics improvements.

None of these chipsets would be as powerful as a top-of-the-line Snapdragon processor, but they all include 5G modems. That would allow the OnePlus Z to join the ranks of 5G phones that cost less than $600, which is expected to grow as 2020 goes on.

If you want more evidence as to what processor the OnePlus Nord will use, leaked benchmarks show the phone powered by the Snapdragon 765G and 12GB of RAM. As you’d expect, the multicore result of 1,995 for the rumored OnePlus Nord can’t keep up with Snapdragon 865-powered phones, but it outpaces other midrange Android devices.

oneplus nord benchmarks

(Image credit: Primate Labs)

A new list of specs, supplied by a survey on Indian shopping forum DesiDime, lends further credibility to the claim that the OnePlus Z will feature a Snapdragon 765 chipset. However, the listed RAM and storage allotment is 6GB and 128GB, respectively, which seems more realistic for an entry-level model than the earlier 12GB figure. It’s also suggested the device will feature a 90Hz display and 4,300-mAh battery with 30-watt Warp Charging, which is in line with the OnePlus 8. 

Best of all, DesiDime suggests the price of the OnePlus Z could be 24990 rupees. That translates to about $330 — an absolute steal for such a device, though it’s possible that number gets adjusted for different territories, if it’s true at all. 

OnePlus Nord cameras

Lingering OnePlus 8 Lite rumors had that phone getting multiple rear cameras, something we’d expect the OnePlus Nord to carry over. Some rumor mongers have suggested the OnePlus Nord might have a similar camera setup to the OnePlus 8, which blends a 48MP main camera with a 16MP ultra wide-angle shooter and 2MP macro lens.

While recently leaked OnePlus Nord specs point to a triple lens setup with 64MP, 16MP and 2MP cameras, leaker Max J. appears to be teasing a quad camera setup for the OnePlus Nord. We’re skeptical about that claim, given that this is supposed to be a budget phone, but don’t rule out OnePlus’ ability to squeeze more of its hardware.

We have more concrete details about the front cameras on the OnePlus Nord — and yes, we meant to type “cameras.” Based on an inside source, Android Central reports that the OnePlus Nord will feature two front cameras — a 32MP main sensor and an 8MP wide angle lens.

OnePlus Nord battery and charging

OnePlus has been increasing the size of the batteries powering its smartphones as of late, in part because of the extra power 5G connectivity requires. The OnePlus Nord could see a 4,000 mAh battery, which wouldn’t be as big as the 4,300 mAh power pack in the OnePlus 8, while still giving you enough charge to theoretically get through the day.

OnePlus Nord

The OnePlus 8 supports fast charging, a feature we’d expect in the OnePlus Nord. (Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

We would expect OnePlus’ budget phone to still include the company’s Warp Charge 30T technology for faster charging. However, we would not expect wireless charging, which for now is limited to the premium OnePlus 8 Pro.

OnePlus Nord outlook

Given that we knew a lot about the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro prior to the release of those phones and that OnePlus can’t resist confirming select details about its upcoming handsets, we’d expect the details surrounding the OnePlus Nord to become a lot clearer as we get closer to that rumored summer launch date. Already, OnePlus has told us a lot about the upcoming phone, including where it’s going to launch first.

Whatever specs the company does settle on and whether it’s known as the OnePlus Nord or OnePlus Z, we hope it puts the focus more on price with this particular phone. We know that OnePlus can pack a lot of features into a phone; we’re hoping the OnePlus Nord can remind us of the company’s ability to do that without driving up the phone’s cost.

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