Home TechnologyAndroid OnePlus phones: A history of the company’s entire lineup so far

OnePlus phones: A history of the company’s entire lineup so far

OnePlus phones: A history of the company's entire lineup so far

In late 2013, two former Oppo employees started a new smartphone brand called OnePlus. Their vision was to make OnePlus phones the devices that ticked off every box Android fans needed: great design, powerful specs, the fastest and leanest software, and a low price. The dream became a reality in 2014 with the launch of the OnePlus One.

Since then, OnePlus has moved up from its humble beginnings as an online-only niche smartphone maker to a literal global powerhouse. When you take a step back and realize it’s been just over seven short years, it really is quite the achievement.

In this article, we are going to lay out a thorough history of each major OnePlus device. From the OnePlus One to the OnePlus Nord N100, they are all here.

Editor’s note: To keep things concise, we’ll be sticking to the core OnePlus phones. There have been subtle variants of some of the company’s devices that just aren’t unique enough to spend too much time on.

OnePlus One: The OG

The back of the OnePlus One.

It wouldn’t be surprising if every smartphone brand that’s started since 2014 has brought up the OnePlus One at meetings as an example of what they want to do. You couldn’t ask for a more successful launching pad for a brand. Simply put, all future OnePlus phones will be forever compared to this one.

All in all, the One wasn’t too different from other Android phones of its time. However, it had a few things going for it that set it apart. The first is the software, which was, at launch, the Android-based Cyanogen OS, which forked off from the popular custom ROM known as CyanogenMod. Cyanogen OS was lean and developer-friendly, making it appealing to both Android tinkerers as well as general users who appreciate a bloat-free experience.

Related: OnePlus One revisited

Another unique aspect of the One was the price. The phone started at just $299, which was incredibly cheap when you factor in that it came with the latest Snapdragon 800 processor. When you combined that with the stunning design of the device (that Sandstone back!) you had a 2014 Android enthusiast’s dream machine.

When the One first launched, OnePlus took the unorthodox route of selling it via an invite system. To buy the phone — which could only be purchased online — you needed a unique one-time-use invite code. The company seeded out a small batch of original codes to prominent members of its then-small community. After buying the One with those codes, those people would then get a new invite code they could share. Those invite codes would then turn into a new invite code and on it would go.

While this left a lot of early fans frustrated, it had two incredibly positive effects for OnePlus. It helped balance supply and demand for the very young company, as well as build buzz for the device. The invite code system ensured that if you owned a OnePlus One, you were somebody.

Although exact sales numbers for the OnePlus One are hard to come by, the company did divulge that it had sold over a million OnePlus phones by the end of 2014. This is pretty remarkable when you learn that OnePlus only anticipated selling 50,000 units of the One.

OnePlus One fast facts:

  • The OnePlus One launched with Android 4.4.2 KitKat and its final official update was Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.
  • Although the One launched with Cyanogen OS as its Android skin, problems with Cyanogen, Inc. forced OnePlus to cease ties and create its own skin. Thus, Oxygen OS was born, making the OnePlus One a unique device that had two different official skins from completely different sources during its lifetime.
  • At various times, OnePlus did put the One up for sale without requiring an invite code. For example, the company temporarily lifted the invite system for the 2014 iteration of Black Friday.
  • Since the company started in December 2013 and released its first phone only a few months later, it is assumed that Oppo supplies OnePlus with resources to help it along. However, OnePlus continually denies that it is a subsidiary of Oppo and downplays Oppo’s possible involvement in its R&D.
  • In 2014, the price of the phone started at $299, or about $330 in 2021 dollars.

OnePlus 2: The sophomore slump

By the end of 2014, OnePlus found itself with a problem: it had gotten too big too fast. Now, this is a problem that most companies would love to have, no doubt, but it was still a problem. It was likely at least partially why the OnePlus 2, launched in July 2015, is generally regarded as the weakest of all the OnePlus phones.

Since the company didn’t expect to push over a million units of the OnePlus One, it likely didn’t expect a ton of media and industry scrutiny on its follow-up. Thus, the OnePlus 2 is essentially a subtly updated version of the OnePlus One, complete with the Sandstone back and similar body shape.

The OnePlus 2 may be the weakest of all the OnePlus phones.

As one would expect, the OnePlus 2 came with the usual upgrades: the newest Snapdragon 800-series processor, a bigger battery, a better display, higher-grade cameras, a fingerprint sensor, more speakers, etc. However, the base model didn’t come with more RAM or more internal storage and also removed NFC support for some reason. To top it all off, the entry price for the phone went up to $329.

OnePlus also kept the invite system for the launch of the OnePlus 2, which this time backfired. Since many early adopters had only just gotten their hands on the OnePlus One after a long wait, they had no intention of going through the invite troubles again for the newest of the OnePlus phones.

Still, this didn’t stop the OnePlus 2 from selling well. By August of 2015, the company admitted it had received over two million reservations for the device. Even if only half of those reservations turned into sales (which is very likely), the OnePlus 2 probably outsold the OnePlus One.

Regardless, the company did learn it needed to change up the game if it was going to continue to grow.

OnePlus 2 fast facts:

  • The OnePlus 2 launched with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and its final official update was Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.
  • OnePlus at one point promised it would deliver an update to the OnePlus 2 that would bring it Android 7 Nougat. However, it did not keep that promise.
  • The OnePlus 2 has the distinction of being the first of the OnePlus phones to have a physical alert slider. This popular feature has been on every single OnePlus flagship since.
  • The codename for the OnePlus One was “bacon,” while the codename for the OnePlus 2 was much less creative: “oneplus2.” The next few OnePlus phones would go on to have boring codenames until the OnePlus 5 brought back the food-related monikers with “cheeseburger.”
  • In 2015, the price of the phone started at $329, or about $363 in 2021 dollars.

OnePlus X: The experiment

OnePlus X in hand

In the Fall of 2015, rumors were ramping up that OnePlus was going to imminently release a third smartphone (with the OnePlus 2 being the first that year and second overall). OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei downplayed the rumor by saying there would only be one flagship phone from OnePlus in 2015.

Enter the OnePlus X, which — true to Carl Pei’s word — is decidedly not a flagship phone. Released at the end of October 2015, the X was the first product from the company not geared as a premium device.

Related: OnePlus’ Carl Pei explains why the Nord is more than a OnePlus X successor

The OnePlus X had the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, the same chipset in 2014’s OnePlus One. It had 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and cut various corners in the hardware design to keep the price down. Essentially, the device was a reformatting of the One that the company could sell for even less cash — the OnePlus X started at $249, $50 less than the entry-level variant of the One.

Considering that the OnePlus 2 had only just been released — and only cost $70 more — and the OnePlus One was still available in many areas of the world, the OnePlus X had a difficult time finding a large audience. Although OnePlus never divulged any sales numbers for the X, we can infer that the phone didn’t do that well based on the fact that the “X” line never continued.

Still, history looks back very kindly on the OnePlus X. With the recent successes of phones like the Google Pixel 4a and the iPhone SE (2020), the OnePlus X was kind of ahead of its time. Now, with the launch of the OnePlus Nord and its related line, the idea behind the OnePlus X can live on in at least some capacity.

OnePlus X fast facts:

  • The OnePlus X launched with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and its final official update was Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.
  • As with every one of the OnePlus phones thus far, you could only buy the OnePlus X with an invite code. However, within a few months after its launch, the company allowed full open sales of the device. This is another piece of evidence suggesting the phone didn’t sell as well as the company had hoped.
  • There were 10,000 ceramic versions of the OnePlus X created. It had the same internals as the regular version but its premium build materials raised its price to $399. This didn’t make much sense as the more powerful OnePlus 2 started at $70 less.
  • The OnePlus X featured the famous hardware alert slider, something the OnePlus One didn’t have. It also featured a MicroSD card slot, something which no other OnePlus phone has (until the N10 and N100 landed, anyway).
  • In 2015, the price of the phone started at $249, or about $275 in 2021 dollars.

OnePlus 3: The return of the flagship killer

Although OnePlus had one bona fide hit smartphone under its belt with the OnePlus One, the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X failed to replicate the same love. While the OnePlus 2 likely sold better than the One, it didn’t see the same positivity from the media and OnePlus’ ravenous fanbase. Meanwhile, the OnePlus X was more of a one-off experiment than anything else.

Enter the OnePlus 3, the company’s first total rethinking of how a OnePlus smartphone looks, feels, and functions. Taking some design cues from the incredibly popular HTC One M7 and One M8 from a few years prior, the OnePlus 3 had a classy-looking metal chassis, some sexy rounded corners, huge bumps in internal specs, and, possibly best of all, no invite system nonsense to hinder buyers from getting it.

The OnePlus 3 redefined what a OnePlus smartphone could be.

If the OnePlus 2 was a stumbling block and the OnePlus X was a fun little side project, the OnePlus 3 was the true follow-up to the OnePlus One: the return of the flagship killer.

OnePlus also used the OnePlus 3 to correct some of its earlier mistakes. It brought back NFC support and fixed up compatibility issues that the OnePlus 2 saw with its USB-C port. It also enhanced the fingerprint scanner, which was a sore spot for users with the OnePlus 2.

Related: The original OnePlus 3 review from Android Authority

One of the only huge criticisms of the device is that, for some reason, OnePlus decided to make the battery smaller than the one in the OnePlus 2. This was a curious move, but it wouldn’t take long for the company to fix that error (see the next section).

Sales numbers are, as usual, hard to come by with the OnePlus 3. Even if we had them, though, they wouldn’t tell the whole story since the device was discontinued only five months after its launch due to the release of the next phone on this list.

OnePlus 3 fast facts:

  • The OnePlus 3 launched with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and its final official update was Android 9 Pie. That means the device got a whopping four versions of Android, something basically unheard of in the industry.
  • OnePlus’ proprietary fast-charging system — then known as Dash Charge — debuted with the OnePlus 3. Dash Charge was a rebranded and slightly customized version of Oppo’s VOOC charging system, once again suggesting Oppo has a very big hand in OnePlus’ development.
  • When the OnePlus 3 received its update to Android 7.0 Nougat, the update allowed for the phone to cheat benchmark scores by overclocking the processor temporarily in an effort to game the system. OnePlus apologized for the issue and removed it after widespread backlash erupted against manufacturers cheating benchmark scores.
  • The OnePlus 3 was slightly smaller than the OnePlus 2, although still with a larger display. In the days where smartphones seem to get bigger and bigger, it’s interesting to think about phones getting smaller with a new generation!
  • In 2016, the price of the phone started at $399, or about $435 in 2021 dollars.

OnePlus 3T: The step up to perfection

The OnePlus 3 launched in the middle of June 2016. Only five months later, in November, the company announced a refresh of that device known as the OnePlus 3T. This was the first time the company had ever released two flagship smartphones in one year.

The OnePlus 3T looked almost exactly like the OnePlus 3 but featured a few upgrades that made it overall a better device. The processor got a slight upgrade to the Snapdragon 821 and the battery got a pretty large upgrade to 3,400mAh — 400mAh more than the one in the OnePlus 3.

See also: How the price of OnePlus phones changed over the years

The 3T also added a more premium variant with 128GB of internal storage and an upgraded selfie camera. Overall, though, the OnePlus 3T was just a simple tweaking of the OnePlus 3.

Although the 3T was a terrific phone, diehard OnePlus fans were miffed by its existence as many of them had literally just bought the OnePlus 3. The company then added insult to injury by discontinuing production of the OnePlus 3 entirely, making it probably the most short-lived phone in OnePlus’ history.

If you ignore that, though, the OnePlus 3T was probably one of the best smartphones of 2016. It fixed the very few problems with the OnePlus 3 and still could be bought for a relative bargain at just $439. For comparison, the similarly spec’d Samsung Galaxy S7 started at $669 that year.

Although we don’t know much about how many OnePlus 3T units the company sold, the device is frequently cited by fans as being the best device ever from the brand. In fact, there are probably people reading this article right now on a 3T as quite a few people refuse to stop using it as their daily driver!

OnePlus 3T fast facts:

  • As with the OnePlus 3, the OnePlus 3T launched with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and its final official update was Android 9 Pie.
  • Although the OnePlus 3 was the first device from the company to launch without an invite code system, the 3T was the first to be available for immediate delivery, sometimes only taking days to get from placement of the order to the phone arriving on your doorstep.
  • The OnePlus 3T had a new color option called Gunmetal, a slightly darker change from the OnePlus 3’s Graphite color
  • OnePlus elected to skip updating the OnePlus 3 and 3T to Android 8.1 Oreo, letting both devices sit on Android 8.0 until the final update to Android 9 Pie arrived.
  • In 2016, the price of the phone started at $439, or about $479 in 2021 dollars.

OnePlus 5: The first (and last) of its kind

After the launch of the OnePlus 3 and the unexpected launch of the OnePlus 3T, people naturally assumed that we’d see a OnePlus 4 in 2017. However, OnePlus surprised us all again by skipping the number four and going straight to five with the OnePlus 5.

Although the company never gave a formal reason for skipping the OnePlus 4, it’s likely that it had to do with tetraphobia, a highly prevalent superstition in East Asian culture. Tetraphobia, quite literally, is the fear of the number four. In Mandarin Chinese, the pronunciation of the word “four” is very similar to the pronunciation of the word “death.”

Opinion: The OnePlus 5/5T just got Android 10, which is a big deal (but it shouldn’t be)

Regardless, the OnePlus 5 landed in June 2017 to great reviews and stellar sales. Although the design took a lot of cues from the OnePlus 3 and 3T from the previous year, it had a more minimalistic look with more emphasis on tiny details.

However, the most notable change for the OnePlus 5 was the introduction of two rear camera lenses. Over the entire history of OnePlus phones, the camera system has been a constant sore spot with most critics saying they are sub-par when compared to other similar devices on the market. With the OnePlus 5, the company made its first big attempt to shut down that criticism even going so far as to work with DxO — the French photography company behind venerable reviews site DxOMark — to develop the OnePlus 5’s cameras.

With two lenses on the rear, OnePlus came out ahead of a lot of other companies that had yet to introduce flagship phones with multiple rear lenses, including Samsung and Google. Even Apple had only just introduced a multi-lens system the year prior on the iPhone 7 Plus (the vanilla iPhone 7 still had a single rear lens). With a starting price of just $479, the OnePlus 5 undercut the iPhone 7 Plus’ entry-tier price of $769 by a huge margin.

OnePlus said that the OnePlus 5 was the fastest-selling phone in its history at that point.

OnePlus 5 fast facts:

  • The OnePlus 5 launched with Android 7.1.1 Nougat and its final official update was Android 10.
  • Interestingly, OnePlus again decided to actually lower battery capacity on the OnePlus 5 as compared to the OnePlus 3T. The difference is small (only 100mAh), but still curious.
  • One of the biggest controversies with the OnePlus 5 was the so-called “jelly scrolling effect.” If you swiped quickly through a long web page, for example, the text and images would appear to swell as if made of jelly. The culprit for this problem was the display itself, which was inverted for design reasons.
  • The OnePlus 5 was the first phone from the company — and one of only a very few phones in the industry at the time — to offer a variant with 8GB of RAM.
  • In 2017, the price of the phone started at $479 for the version with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.

OnePlus 5T: The overhaul

From the OnePlus One in 2014 to the OnePlus 5 in 2017, all the OnePlus phones shared a similar design. Sure, the Sandstone back disappeared with the OnePlus 3 and the OnePlus 5 gave us a dual rear camera system, but the overall idea of a minimalist design with a physical home button/fingerprint sensor on the front stayed the same.

Not so with the OnePlus 5T. For the first time, the front of the device became all screen and the fingerprint sensor moved to the back. It wasn’t the first device to do this by far, but it was a pretty significant jump to make with a “T” model phone. After all, the OnePlus 3T basically looked exactly the same as the OnePlus 3, but now it was easy to tell the difference between the 5 and 5T just with a quick glance.

Related: The original OnePlus 5T review from Android Authority

Of course, we were still years away from a nearly bezel-less experience when the OnePlus 5T landed, so it still had a significantly sized forehead and chin. But now there was so much more room for screen on a device that was, physically, about the same size as the OnePlus 5.

Despite the drastic change in design, the OnePlus 5T didn’t differ all that much from the OnePlus 5. It had the same processor (the Snapdragon 835), the same RAM/internal storage options, the same battery, etc. It even had the same price.

OnePlus did have some fun with releasing special editions of the 5T. There was the Star Wars edition to tie-in with the release of Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi as well as a Lava Red colorway that you can see at the very top of this article.

OnePlus 5T fast facts:

  • The OnePlus 5 launched with Android 7.1.1 Nougat and its final official update was Android 10.
  • The OnePlus 5T came with a Face Unlock feature, a first for a OnePlus device. However, since it was based on 2D scanning from the single camera sensor on the front, you couldn’t use it to authenticate purchases as it wasn’t as secure as a fingerprint scan. The OnePlus 5 later got this same feature.
  • Android Authority readers concluded that the OnePlus 5T was the phone with the best value for the money in 2017, beating out the Nokia 8 and the Motorola Moto Z2 Force. It also was an honorable mention for our Best Phone of the Year award.
  • OnePlus introduced the Parallel Apps feature with the OnePlus 5T. Parallel Apps allows you to have two instances of one app running at the same time. This is helpful if, say, you have two Snapchat accounts and don’t want to constantly log in and out of them on your phone.
  • In 2017, the price of the phone started at $479 for the version with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.

OnePlus 6: The opening act

OnePlus 6 Silk White

At the end of 2017, Apple unveiled the iPhone X. The phone was the first from Apple to feature a notched display which allowed for nearly bezel-less sides and a very, very small chin. This design idea originated earlier in the year with the Essential Phone and other Android OEMs had quickly jumped on the bandwagon.

The notch was (and still is) a highly controversial design element. With rumors ramping up for the OnePlus 6 in early 2018, fans were concerned that it would also feature a notched display. Sure enough, their concerns became a reality when co-founder Carl Pei told The Verge, “learn to love the notch,” and gave an exclusive first-look at what the notch on the OnePlus 6 looked like.

Some saw the OnePlus 6 as the spiritual successor to the Google Nexus series.

This initial wave of bad publicity put a huge damper on the PR machine running to promote the OnePlus 6. After the success OnePlus had had thus far, the OnePlus 6 was poised to be a breakthrough for the brand, moving it out of the world of niche smartphones and into the mainstream. This bad press wasn’t helping.

Luckily for OnePlus, the initial notch backlash didn’t hurt it too much, as the OnePlus 6 was well-received by fans and critics. Our own review of the phone called it “the spiritual successor to the Nexus,” which are not words we would use lightly.

In fact, the device sold so well that OnePlus broke its usual silence on company revenue to announce that it sold over a million units of the OnePlus 6 in just one month. That’s an astounding achievement for just over four years of the company’s existence.

In the end, though, the OnePlus 6 ended up being the opening act for the phone that would truly break OnePlus into the mainstream.

OnePlus 6 fast facts:

  • The OnePlus 6 launched with Android 8.1 Oreo and its most recent official update was Android 10. It will very likely receive Android 11.
  • For the first time ever, with the OnePlus 6, the company built a phone out of mostly glass. Originally, the thought was that this would enable wireless charging, a feature previous metal builds would have prohibited. However, wireless charging didn’t debut on a OnePlus phone until 2020 with the OnePlus 8 Pro.
  • As with the OnePlus 5T, the company released a special edition of the OnePlus 6 to tie-in with a blockbuster film, this time to coincide with Avengers: Infinity War. The special edition phone came with plenty of Marvel-themed accessories and a unique colorway.
  • The OnePlus 6 was also the first phone from the company to be a part of the Android beta program, enabling users to install beta versions of Android P (now known as Android 9 Pie) at the same time as Pixel phones.
  • In 2018, the price of the phone started at $529 for the version with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.

OnePlus 6T: The one for everyone

OnePlus 6T back

With the OnePlus 6 being the fastest- and best-selling phone from the company to date, how could it keep growing? Here in the United States, the best way for it to grow would be to finally get a carrier partnership, which would allow US buyers to simply walk into their local shops and buy one.

OnePlus had already made carrier partnerships in other parts of the world, but getting one in the US would truly be a win. As you probably know by now, the company did just that with the OnePlus 6T by partnering up with T-Mobile.

Related: OnePlus 6/6T redux: Are they still worth it?

With T-Mobile’s help, OnePlus saw even its record-setting sales of the OnePlus 6 obliterated. In fact, CEO Pete Lau said that it sold a stunning 249% more units of the 6T in the US than it did the OnePlus 6.

Without a doubt, the OnePlus 6T marks the turning point for the brand. It’s when the company finally stepped out of its original incarnation as an online-only niche OEM to a global company that could actually threaten the likes of Samsung, Huawei, and more.

Even if you ignore all that, the OnePlus 6T was such an amazing device. The move to a barely-there waterdrop notch was a welcome one, and the enhancements to the display, cameras, and internal specs were all good moves — not to mention the debut of the in-display fingerprint sensor. The only thing that really wasn’t great about the 6T is that it marks the end of the headphone jack — every flagship OnePlus phone since this one hasn’t had the much-loved legacy port.

OnePlus 6T fast facts:

  • The OnePlus 6T launched with Android 9 Pie and its most recent official update was Android 10. It will very likely receive Android 11.
  • For all of 2018 and into early 2019, the OnePlus 6T was the only smartphone you could buy at a US carrier store with an in-display fingerprint sensor.
  • Although OnePlus slightly increased the price of the OnePlus 6T as compared to the OnePlus 6, the base model came with twice as much internal storage, making the $20 increase well worth it. Higher-end models of the OnePlus 6T saw no price increases, either.
  • The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition was the first time the company partnered with the famous British car brand. The device featured a slight bump in RAM as well as a faster charging system, not to mention a cool black-and-orange colorway to match the McLaren branding.
  • In 2018, the price of the phone started at $549 for the version with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

OnePlus 7: The divide

OnePlus 7 red back panel with camera and logo

With the unbridled success of the OnePlus 6 and 6T, all eyes in the industry were on OnePlus for the inevitable launch of the OnePlus 7 series. It was no secret that the company was steadily increasing the entry-level price of its devices. Would the company keep that trend going and release a phone twice as expensive as the OnePlus One just five years after its debut?

It turns out the answer to that question is both yes and no. That’s because OnePlus, for the first time, released two different versions of its flagship: the OnePlus 7 and the OnePlus 7 Pro. The OnePlus 7’s price stayed under $600, preventing it from doubling the price of the OnePlus One. The Pro variant, though, flew past the $600 mark, allowing the company to have its cake and eat it, too.

Related: The OnePlus 7 review from Android Authority

However, things got complicated when the company decided to only launch the devices in certain areas of the world. Here in the United States, we couldn’t get the OnePlus 7, with only the 7 Pro being available from T-Mobile and even the official OnePlus online store.

Ultimately, it didn’t really matter, because the OnePlus 7 ended up being more like a OnePlus 6TT, in that it looked a lot like the OnePlus 6T and only offered some nominal internal upgrades. It was a great phone, certainly, but with T-Mobile still selling the OnePlus 6T, there simply was no reason to have a clone of it on the next shelf over.

In that sense, the OnePlus 7 Pro ends up being the true follow-up to the OnePlus 6T.

OnePlus 7 fast facts:

  • The OnePlus 7 launched with Android 9 Pie and its most recent official update was Android 10. It will likely receive Android 11 in 2021 and could receive Android 12 eventually.
  • The two major upgrades the OnePlus 7 saw as compared to the OnePlus 6T was in the processor and cameras. The processor got an upgrade to the Snapdragon 855 and the cameras got bumped from 2018 sensors to 2019 sensors, including a 48MP main. However, nearly every other spec is the exact same across both phones.
  • Shortly after the launch of the OnePlus 7, the company announced a red colorway of the phone. This colorway — simply called Red — was exclusive to the OnePlus 7 with no other phones in the 7 series getting it.
  • Mere months after the launch of the OnePlus 7, it saw a significant price reduction. The OnePlus 7T saw a similar reduction, suggesting it is better to wait a few months after launch to buy a non-Pro OnePlus phone.
  • In 2019, the price of the phone started at €549 (~$596) for the version with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

OnePlus 7 Pro: The overshoot

OnePlus 7 Pro shot against flowers

To justify the increase in price, OnePlus knew it needed to make the OnePlus 7 Pro significantly better than the OnePlus 7 — and much, much better than the OnePlus 6T. While the company definitely achieved that, it might have done too good of a job, as the OnePlus 7 Pro was so much better than the OnePlus 6T that it kind of painted itself into a corner.

Related: The OnePlus 7 Pro review from Android Authority

The OnePlus 7 Pro introduced a few firsts to not only OnePlus phones but the entire smartphone market in general. It was the first commercially released phone to have UFS 3.0 storage speeds and the first with a 90Hz refresh rate on an OLED display. It also was the first phone with a pop-up selfie camera to hit store shelves in the United States.

The OnePlus 7 Pro was the first phone from the company with a triple-lens rear camera, which helped it earn a high DxOMark score, keeping it in the top ten for months. Oh yeah, and it also had 30W wired charging and up to a ridiculous 12GB of RAM.

All of that and the absolute most you’d pay for a OnePlus 7 Pro on launch day was $749.

Frankly, OnePlus may have overshot things just a bit with the OnePlus 7 Pro. After all, where does it go from here? The OnePlus 7T Pro will tell you the answer to that question.

OnePlus 7 Pro fast facts:

  • The OnePlus 7 Pro launched with Android 9 Pie and was one of the first non-Pixel devices to get Android 10. It will receive Android 11 in 2021 and could even see Android 12 eventually.
  • The pop-up selfie camera, according to OnePlus, is capable of 300,000 pop-ups. The phone will even warn you if you’re using too many pop-ups and automatically retract if it senses the phone has been dropped.
  • The OnePlus 7 Pro does not have an official IP rating, but the company was confident enough about the device’s water-resistance that it dropped it into a bucket of water and let it be completely submerged.
  • For the first time ever on a OnePlus phone, the OnePlus 7 Pro comes with a 1440p display. Up until now, every phone from the company maxed out at 1080p. The 90Hz refresh rate works with either 1080p or 1440p resolutions.
  • In 2019, the price of the phone started at $669 for the version with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

OnePlus 7T: The Goldilocks

OnePlus 7T using in hand on table

Interestingly, the “T” series from OnePlus is all out of whack now. Originally, the OnePlus 3T was a nominal upgrade over the OnePlus 3. Then, with the OnePlus 5T and the OnePlus 6T, the company instead introduced wholly new design elements, making the phones drastically different from their predecessors.

Then, with the OnePlus 7, the company made a phone that was essentially a clone of the OnePlus 6T but with some nominal upgrades. In just a few generations, we went from the “T” series being the slight upgrade now to the main series being the slight upgrade over the previous generation. It’s like we’re in reverse!

Related: OnePlus 7T one year later

The OnePlus 7T fits in well with this “backward” system since it features a whole new design as well as upgraded internals as compared to the OnePlus 7. For example, it brings over the triple-lens rear camera system of the OnePlus 7 Pro but in a brand new (and soon abandoned) circular module. It keeps the waterdrop notch of the OnePlus 7, but makes the screen slightly thinner and slightly taller, kind of like the OnePlus 7 Pro’s all-screen display. In fact, aside from the new camera module, the OnePlus 7T looks like someone mashed together a OnePlus 7 and a OnePlus 7 Pro, making it the best of both worlds.

Of course, there were the usual internal upgrades, such as the Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, 8GB of RAM for the entry-level option, a larger battery, etc. Overall, though, the OnePlus 7T feels more like what the OnePlus 7 should have been.

Thankfully, OnePlus kept the price for the OnePlus 7T very reasonable at just $599. Eventually, OnePlus lowered the price by an astounding $100, making the OnePlus 7T probably the best value smartphone of 2020 (even though it launched in 2019!).

OnePlus 7T fast facts:

  • The OnePlus 7T launched with Android 10 out of the box. It will see Android 11 in 2021, and likely receive updates all the way through Android 13 (although we can’t guarantee that).
  • T-Mobile sold the OnePlus 6T first and then carried it and the OnePlus 7 Pro together. However, it eventually replaced the 6T and 7 Pro with the 7T.
  • Although the blue colorway of the OnePlus 7T looks a lot like the one on the OnePlus 7 Pro, they are actually different. The OnePlus 7 Pro’s Nebula Blue is a few shades darker than the 7T’s Haze Blue.
  • The OnePlus 7T also has a 90Hz refresh rate, a feature that debuted with the OnePlus 7 Pro. However, the 7T’s display is locked at 1080p in an effort to keep costs down.
  • In 2019, the price of the phone started at $599 for the version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

OnePlus 7T Pro: The rehash

OnePlus 7T Pro in hand

Remember how we nicknamed the OnePlus 7 Pro as “the overshoot”? Well, the OnePlus 7T Pro helps prove that point, considering it is a “T” model upgrade that offers only a handful of upgrades over the original 7 Pro.

In essence, the 7T Pro is just a 7 Pro with a slightly bigger battery (we’re talking 85mAh bigger) and a slightly upgraded processor (the SD855 Plus as compared to the regular SD855). Really, aside from these minor details, the phones are identical.

Related: The OnePlus 7T Pro review from Android Authority

OnePlus must have realized that the 7T Pro was a bizarre entry in its line because it only made the device available in certain countries. Here in the US, if you wanted an upgrade over the OnePlus 7T, you needed to go to the OnePlus 7 Pro, which, aside from the processor, is still the superior device in almost every respect.

The 7T Pro did, eventually, make its way to the United States in the form of the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren Edition, which you could get from T-Mobile. As its name suggests, it’s a 5G version of the OnePlus 7T Pro with the McLaren color scheme makeover.

OnePlus 7T Pro fast facts:

  • The OnePlus 7T Pro launched with Android 10 out of the box. It will see Android 11 in 2021, and likely receive updates all the way through Android 13 (although we can’t guarantee that).
  • Although the camera systems are nearly identical across the 7T Pro and 7 Pro, the 7T Pro gets the ability to record ultra slow-motion 720p video at 960 fps. As of now, this feature has not been ported to the OnePlus 7 Pro (but has been ported to the OnePlus 7T).
  • The OnePlus 7T Pro won smartphone of the year awards from several organizations, including the GSM Association itself.
  • The OnePlus 7 Pro came in a color known as Almond in addition to Nebula Blue. However, the OnePlus 7T Pro only had Haze Blue as an option.
  • In 2019, the price of the phone started at £699 (~$866) for the version with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage.

OnePlus 8: The upgrade with some downgrades

OnePlus 8 back pretty colors

The OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7T were some of the best-received products the company had ever offered. The only problem was that the difference between Pro and non-Pro phones wasn’t quite clear. Sure, pricing and specs tables give hints as to which phone is “better,” but OnePlus definitely needed to do a better job at making the differences easy for consumers to understand.

Enter the OnePlus 8 series. The vanilla OnePlus 8 looks very different from the OnePlus 7T and OnePlus 7 Pro. It has the expected upgrades in specs, including the 5G Snapdragon 865 processor. However, it also has a few downgrades, most notably a weaker camera array (who needs a macro lens, seriously?) as well as a display cutout rather than a waterdrop notch.

Related: The OnePlus 8 review from Android Authority

Outside of the processor upgrade, there’s not too much notable about the OnePlus 8. We even call it “watered down” in the headline of our review. All in all, it’s a perfectly adequate 2020 smartphone, but nothing to write home about. Its relatively high price, though, was something to note: starting at $699, OnePlus blew past its previous entry-tier smartphone pricing by $100.

Thankfully, the OnePlus 8 was made readily available throughout most of the world, unlike the OnePlus 7 before it. You can easily get the device here in the US from both Verizon and T-Mobile.

OnePlus 8 fast facts:

  • The OnePlus 8 launched with Android 10 out of the box. It already has Android 11, and will likely receive updates all the way through Android 13 (although we can’t guarantee that).
  • The OnePlus 8 pictured above is in a colorway called Interstellar Glow. It’s gorgeous. Unfortunately, the OnePlus 8 Pro didn’t come in the same colorway, which is weird.
  • With a huge 4,300mAh battery, the OnePlus 8 has more battery capacity than any previous OnePlus device. Its battery is over 200mAh bigger than the one in the OnePlus 7T Pro.
  • The version of the OnePlus 8 that Verizon carries is slightly different with a slightly different name. The OnePlus 8 5G UW (??) has an IP68 rating, just like the OnePlus 8 Pro. No other OnePlus 8 devices have an IP rating.
  • In 2020, the price of the phone started at $699 for the version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

OnePlus 8 Pro: The fan service

OnePlus 8 Pro on wireless charger from front 1

In early 2018, with the launch of the all-glass OnePlus 6, fans of the brand were excited to finally get a OnePlus phone with wireless charging. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be, as the OnePlus 6 didn’t feature it. Neither did the OnePlus 6T or any of the phones the company released in 2019.

Finally, that changed in 2020 with the launch of the OnePlus 8 Pro, the first OnePlus phone with wireless charging. Not content to stop there, OnePlus also earned an IP68 rating for every OnePlus 8 Pro device, another thing fans have wanted for years. It was like the answer to so many prayers!

Related: The OnePlus 8 Pro review from Android Authority

Unfortunately, not all changes for the OnePlus 8 Pro were received warmly. The price of the phone shot up to an astonishing $900 for the lowest-tier model, exactly three times the price of the OnePlus One from six years prior. The notch-free, all-screen displays of the OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7T Pro were exchanged for a display cutout housing the solitary front-facing camera, quite rightly hailed as a downgrade rather than an upgrade. Finally, the OnePlus 8 Pro added in a chromatic filter camera which we called a “gimmick.” It ended up backfiring on the company when people started using it to simulate x-ray vision.

Time will tell how the OnePlus 8 Pro holds up in comparison to previous devices in the company’s lineup. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic didn’t help sales, though, so it might be difficult to truly say whether the OnePlus 8 series is a sales success or not when the dust settles.

OnePlus 8 Pro fast facts:

  • The OnePlus 8 Pro launched with Android 10 out of the box. It already has Android 11, and will likely receive updates all the way through Android 13 (although we can’t guarantee that).
  • One of the reasons OnePlus gave for taking so long to deliver wireless charging is that the technology wasn’t as fast as wired charging. With that in mind, the OnePlus 8 Pro wirelessly charges at a super-fast rate of 30W, which is so fast that it needs a special proprietary dock with a cooling system to do it.
  • Although OnePlus finally brought an IP rating and wireless charging to the OnePlus 8 Pro, it still hasn’t delivered something else fans want: a microSD card slot. To date, there has never been a flagship OnePlus phone with this feature.
  • Unlike the OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7T Pro, there hasn’t been any version of the OnePlus 8 Pro that’s hit a wireless carrier in the US.
  • In 2020, the price of the phone started at $899 for the version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

OnePlus Nord: The back to basics

OnePlus Nord back side hero shot

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Remember the OnePlus X, which we called “The Experiment?” Well, it could be argued that the experiment is what gave us the OnePlus Nord, only the second phone from the company to not be a flagship-style product. It’s also the second phone from the company to not launch at all in the United States.

Although the Nord looks a lot like other OnePlus flagships (specifically the OnePlus 8 series), it features a weaker processor in the Snapdragon 765G. This enables it to connect to 5G networks and still produces a snappy software experience, but it’s not nearly as powerful as the Snapdragon 865.

Related: The OnePlus Nord review from Android Authority

The reduction in processing power, though, allowed OnePlus to keep the entry price for the Nord fairly low. It is roughly 55% cheaper in Europe when compared to the OnePlus 8 Pro.

The OnePlus Nord is not a one-and-done product as we saw with the OnePlus X. The company has promised that “Nord” is the name of an entirely new line of products and not just limited to smartphones. As such, we should see many more Nord-branded phones, headphones, and other devices in the near future.

OnePlus Nord fast facts:

  • The OnePlus Nord launched with Android 10 out of the box. It will see Android 11 in 2021, and likely receive updates all the way through Android 13 (although we can’t guarantee that).
  • The OnePlus Nord has a dual-lens selfie camera on the front. This is the first time ever that a OnePlus device has had two lenses for selfies.
  • OnePlus was able to bring a bunch of flagship-esque features to the Nord, including a quad-camera on the rear, a 90Hz display refresh rate, and 30W wired charging. However, its display maxes out at 1080p, it doesn’t have wireless charging, and it has that weaker processor.
  • Although the OnePlus Nord never landed in the United States, the company did eventually bring Nord-branded phones to the country.
  • In 2020, the price of the phone started at €399 (~$471) for the version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

OnePlus 8T: The speed demon

OnePlus 8T rear hero shot

OnePlus 8T

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

As with the transition from the OnePlus 7 to the OnePlus 7T, the OnePlus 8T features a different design as compared to the OnePlus 8. Most notably, the rear camera module gets a whole new look with a rounded rectangle setup. The front of the phone, though, looks very similar to the OnePlus 8.

The biggest upgrade with the OnePlus 8T, though, is the introduction of Warp Charge 65. As its name suggests, it offers 65W wired charging speeds. This is twice as fast as any previous OnePlus phone and allows you to charge the 8T from zero to full in just under 40 minutes.

Related: OnePlus 8T review: Not enough to stand out

Outside of the fast charging, though, the OnePlus 8T doesn’t feature a whole lot of big upgrades as compared to its namesake. It has the same processor, the same RAM/storage configurations, and a very similar camera system (although with an extra monochrome lens thrown in for fun).

Ultimately, the OnePlus 8T is a great phone, but its price tag is what makes it hard to recommend. At $749, it’s more expensive than other phones of its class, especially the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE. Since it doesn’t have wireless charging or an IP rating, it’s difficult to justify that price when the OnePlus Nord is such a great phone and costs half as much.

OnePlus 8T fast facts:

  • The OnePlus 8T launched with Android 11 out of the box, the first global phone to do so (that wasn’t made by Google, of course). It’s possible the device could see upgrades all the way through Android 14, although that’s not confirmed.
  • The Warp Charge 65 charger that comes with the 8T is powerful enough to charge a laptop. You are required to use the included USB-C cable to achieve this, though.
  • Since the 8T launched with Oxygen OS 11, it’s the first OnePlus device to come with an always-on display out-of-the-box. This is a long-awaited feature for many OnePlus fans.
  • In the United States, you can only get the 12GB/256GB configuration of the OnePlus 8T. There are 8GB/128GB models out there, but they only landed in certain countries.
  • In 2020, the price of the phone started at $749 for the version with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage.

OnePlus Nord N10 and N100: The cheap entries

OnePlus Nord N10 and N100

Not long after OnePlus launched the OnePlus 8T, the firm quietly launched two brand new phones: the OnePlus Nord N10 and Nord N100. Both devices are firmly in the budget segment and represent a multitude of “firsts” for the company.

Each device has a pretty weak processor: the Snapdragon 690 for the Nord N10 and the Snapdragon 460 for the N100. These are the lowest-level processors in any OnePlus phone to date. Both phones also feature MicroSD card slots (something we haven’t seen since the OnePlus X), headphone jacks (which we haven’t seen since the OnePlus 6), and physical fingerprint sensors on the rear (which we also haven’t seen since the OnePlus 6).

Related: OnePlus Nord N10 and N100: What you need to know

With the Nord N10 and N100, OnePlus is clearly gunning for a customer base it has long ignored: budget shoppers. Although the company started as a wallet-friendly brand, even the $300 OnePlus One was more expensive than the N100, for example.

Really, the phones mostly exist to get people who otherwise can’t afford a OnePlus phone into the OnePlus ecosystem.

OnePlus Nord N10 and N100 fast facts:

  • The OnePlus Nord N10 and N100 launched with Android 10 out of the box, even though Android 11 was already available for other OnePlus flagships. OnePlus confirmed that it will ship Android 11 to both phones, but no more Android versions after that.
  • The Nord N100 does not support Warp Charge, making it the first OnePlus phone to not support the proprietary charging technology since Dash Charge first launched with the OnePlus 3.
  • Neither the Nord N10 nor Nord N100 comes with a hardware alert slider. This is also the first time that’s ever happened since the debut of that feature with the OnePlus 2.
  • These two Nord phones are the first in the sub-line to land in the United States.
  • In 2020, the price of the N10 started at £329/€329 (~$429) for the version with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, while the N100 started at £179/€179 (~$233) for the version with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

Coming soon: OnePlus 9 series

OnePlus 9 Pro Official

OnePlus will formally launch the OnePlus 9 family of phones on March 23, 2021. We expect there to be a OnePlus 9, a OnePlus 9 Pro (shown above in an official image), and a budget-oriented model. The latter phone could be a OnePlus 9R or OnePlus 9E — we have conflicting reports on what the final name might be.

The most significant news surrounding the OnePlus 9 family right now is how OnePlus and venerable camera company Hasselblad are partnering together. The OnePlus 9 Pro (and maybe the OnePlus 9) will feature camera software tweaked by Hasselblad. OnePlus seems very confident that this would result in the best-ever camera quality of any OnePlus device.

Related: OnePlus 9 series: Everything we know so far

Of course, the phones will also feature the expected 2021 upgrades. That includes the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor in the two higher-end models. The OnePlus 9 Pro will also likely have wireless charging and an IP rating, just like its Pro-level predecessor.

The big questions are related to cost and availability. Will carriers have both the vanilla and Pro models? How much will they cost? Will OnePlus continue to relegate certain models/formats to certain areas of the world? Stay tuned for more info, as the launch is not far off now.

There you have it, the complete history of OnePlus phones until now! Which one was your all-time favorite?

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