Above: Concept Creator has posted the above video detailing what the OnePlus 4 could look like
With the OnePlus 3T featuring little more over the OnePlus 3 than a processor-, battery- and camera bump, our thoughts turn naturally to the OnePlus 4. But of all the phone announcements made at MWC 2017, none were about the upcoming OnePlus 4. Instead we heard more details about smartphones that will become some of its competitors, including the LG G6, Sony Xperia XZ Premium and Huawei P10.
That’s not really a massive surprise, of course, as we wouldn’t expect to hear news of the OnePlus 4 until around May/June 2017. Launching at this time it could be the one phone priced low enough and yet still powerful enough to truly take on the Galaxy S8 (launching 29 March) in 2017.
Latest update: @evleaks has shared on Twitter a new OnePlus wallpaper that we presume is expected to feature on an upcoming OnePlus 4 smartphone, but there is really very little to go on and it could also be a new version of the OnePlus 3T. That he is leaking it now may even suggest a OnePlus 4 launch is imminent. (Click to enlarge.)
There is some debate as to whether there will be a OnePlus 4 in 2017, or whether it will actually be the OnePlus 5 we see announced this summer. Because the number four is considered to be bad luck in China, the company is rumoured to call its next flagship the OnePlus 5 instead.
Plenty of Chinese phone makers have announced phones with the number four in their name, but it has been pointed out that the company that owns OnePlus also makes devices under the Vivo brand jumped directly from the Vivo V3 to the Vivo V5 with the same expected reasoning.
There has recently been more talk in this regard, with Koreaportal.com claiming a OnePlus 5 will arrive with a dual-curved-edge display like that of the Galaxy S7 edge.
For now, though, we’ll stick to calling it the OnePlus 4 within this article to avoid confusing things.
When is the OnePlus 4 release date?
OnePlus doesn’t stick to an annual release date schedule as do other phone makers, with the OnePlus One launched in April 2014, the OnePlus 2 in July 2015 and the OnePlus 3 in June 2016. To be fair, the longest gap here is between the OnePlus One and OnePlus 2, during which time the fairly new company was struggling to keep up with demand and meet such unexpected popularity. Following the OnePlus 2 it has proved much more adept at churning out phones with the OnePlus X, OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T.
OnePlus has always marketed its phones as flagship killers, and for that to continue to be the case its OnePlus 4 cannot launch before the likes of the HTC 11, LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8. Similarly it can’t launch too late after them if it wants to win their potential buyers. We expect two of these phones to be announced at MWC 2016, and to go on sale shortly after; Samsung has confirmed the Galaxy S8 won’t launch at MWC, though analysts still expect it to go on sale on 18 April. The closer OnePlus can get to that date with its new phone the better it will do.
Given the above, we’d expect a launch event for the OnePlus 4 in May/June 2017, and an on sale date no later than June/July 2017.
What are the rumoured specifications?
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835|
|Memory||up to 8GB RAM|
|Display||5.5in Quad-HD AMOLED display|
|Operating system||Oxygen OS, based on Android 7.0 Nougat|
|Battery||4,000mAh Dash Charge|
The OnePlus 3T features the Snapdragon 821, but it’s likely the next OnePlus, the OnePlus 4, will come with the Snapdragon 835. This is the new processor unveiled by Qualcomm at CES 2017, and is thought to be the chip of choice for the 2017 flagship Galaxy S8.
This is really important for OnePlus, because while it usually does what its rivals do a couple of months later and at a much reduced price, in 2017 it could get one up on those rivals with a truly killer feature.
Samsung is helping Qualcomm build the Snapdragon 835 and, in return, the word on the street is it will get exclusive rights to the chip – no other phone running the chip is allowed to launch before it. In an unusual step Samsung is not revealing its Galaxy S8 at MWC 2017, but a month later at a separate Samsung Unpacked event. The phone will then go on sale mid-April.
Meanwhile, traditional rivals to both Samsung and OnePlus, including the HTC 11 and LG G6, are expected to launch at MWC 2017. But while these phones are forced to use the Snapdragon 821, the OnePlus 4 will be able to wade in a couple of months later with its mighty Snapdragon 835, and at the same time undercutting the Galaxy S8 on value.
The Snapdragon 835 is the first Qualcomm processor to be made with a 10nm process, which will bring various improvements including performance and efficiency, which in turn will result in better battery life for devices.
The Snapdragon 835 supports up to 8GB of RAM, and going by the fact OnePlus was one of the first to install 6GB of RAM in a phone we could well see it lead the pack here again.
Naturally, then, we can expect the OnePlus 4 to be incredibly fast. Exactly how fast it is may be difficult to discern however, given that the company was recently caught cheating popular benchmarking apps with its OnePlus 3 and 3T (XDA-Developers accuses OnePlus of having configured the processor to automatically switch into overdrive mode when a popular benchmark is detected – you can read the full story here). OnePlus has apologised, however, and said the feature won’t be present in upcoming Oxygen OS builds, so we shouldn’t see the same practice with the OnePlus 4.
From what Carl Pei has said the OnePlus 4 is going to have an AMOLED display, and we expect OnePlus to stick to its 5.5in dimensions. Whether it will move to a Quad-HD screen remains to be seen, but the company must balance holding on to its value crown and having the necessary specs for mobile VR – an emerging category we know OnePlus will want to get in on – remember the OnePlus 3 VR launch?
Potentially plausible in the light of recent smartphone launches are theories that OnePlus might introduce a curved screen, waterproofing and a dual camera. Storage is likely to start at 64GB, as with the OnePlus 3T.
We’ve seen reports that the OnePlus 4 will come with a 21- to 23Mp rear camera and a 3,500- to 4,000mAh battery with Dash Charge, though it is difficult to tell how reliable they are.
Expect it to run the Oxygen OS, a custom UI based on Android 7.0 Nougat.
Also see: Best new phones coming in 2017
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