OnePlus 5G prototype

MWC 2019

As promised, OnePlus showcased its first 5G phone at Mobile World Congress. There's little to see about the phone itself as it is encased in a shroud that prevents us from getting a good look at the design or overall form factor, but what we do know is that the device is powered by the Snapdragon 855 and X50 modem.

OnePlus is betting on 5G to deliver vastly improved gaming experiences, and the company is showing off a 5G-based gaming demo of Ace Combat 7 to highlight the increased throughput and lower latency offered by the cellular standard. The computing for the game is done on the cloud, and OnePlus is leveraging Ericsson's 5G network at the event to showcase cloud gaming capabilities. The company is also displaying messages from its community members on the prototype devices.

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According to OnePlus CEO Pete Lau:

5G is a game changer. It can change everything from gaming to communication, to health and beyond. More than that, it can perform several, or all, of these at the same time. One great example of how 5G will change the world is gaming. 5G's dramatic improvement in speed, latency, and network capacity can truly fulfil the promise of cloud gaming.

Combined with powerful OnePlus devices, people can play advanced games anywhere they are, provided they are on a 5G connection.

OnePlus is planning to announce its 5G phone sometime in Q2, but it won't be coming to the U.S. market. In an interview with USA Today, Lau mentioned that the company will launch a 4G-only device in the U.S. The 5G device will have "some differences but it won't be huge:"

Apart from that chipset, and the ability to support the 5G network, the device itself doesn't necessarily have to have other technical differences from a 4G device.

As for how much it'll cost, Lau said the device will retail for under $1,000. Xiaomi's 5G-enabled version of the Mi Mix 3 is coming to the UK in May for £520 ($680), and OnePlus will likely see that device as a benchmark with regards to pricing.