Leading up to the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro launch, the rumor mill was strongly suggesting that the two phones would be joined by a budget-focused OnePlus 8 Lite. As time went on, that name went to the wayside and it was starting to be referred to as the OnePlus Z. The product unveiling came and went, and there's still no OnePlus 8 Lite/OnePlus Z in sight.

The phone is still coming, it'll actually be called the "OnePlus Nord," and we just have to wait a little while longer before we can get our hands on it.

Based on what we know so far, the OnePlus Z/Nord should carry the same ideals of 2015's OnePlus X. In other words, we're expecting a phone with great build quality, good specs, and a super low price. Interested in learning more? Let's dive in!

Nice balance

OnePlus 8

Right in the middle

If the OnePlus Nord is the most affordable new OnePlus phone for 2020, the regular OnePlus 8 sits right in the middle between it and the OnePlus 8 Pro. This is a device that boasts a 90Hz AMOLED display, three rear cameras, and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865 processor. We expect the OnePlus Nord will have a more competitive price than it, but if you have some additional cash to spare, the OnePlus 8 is a solid pickup.

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How much is the OnePlus Z/OnePlus Nord going to cost?

OnePlus X with boxSource: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

First thing's first, let's talk about the elephant in the room — price.

The big draw to the OnePlus Z/OnePlus Nord is that it marks OnePlus's return to truly affordable smartphones, and thankfully, the latest reports have us excited.

On July 1, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau confirmed to TechRadar that the OnePlus Nord will cost €500 in Europe, making it a direct competitor for handsets like the popular iPhone SE.

Prior to that report, a customer survey inadvertently leaked the OnePlus Z as costing ₹24,990 in India.

When will the OnePlus Nord be announced?

OnePlus Nord packagingSource: OnePlus

On July 7, OnePlus confirmed that the Nord will be unveiled in all of its glory on July 21. In place of a physical launch event, OnePlus is hosting the "world's first AR launch" event. You'll need to download the free Nord Launch app from the Play Store in order to view the spectacle, through which OnePlus will announce the Nord via an augmented reality experience.

Commenting on all of this, OnePlus Nord head Paul Yu said:

OnePlus Nord represents a new beginning for OnePlus, giving us an opportunity to share our technology with more people around the world. For this launch, we want everyone to sit back, relax, and experience our new phone for the first time right in the comfort of their living room.

We feel that introducing Nord in a more personal and intimate way perfectly reflects our ambition to make the OnePlus experience more accessible to users.

As for availability, the OnePlus Nord will be sold in both Europe and India. The phone isn't officially coming to the U.S. anytime soon, but Pete Lau has said that:

A select number of users in North America will also get a chance to experience the new device through a highly limited beta program after launch.

What does the OnePlus Nord look like?

OnePlus 8 LiteSource: @OnLeaks

The front of the OnePlus Nord is home to a 6.55-inch Full HD+ display, slim bezels, and a hole-punch cutout in the center near the top. The display also isn't curved at all, which is something you do get on the 8 and 8 Pro. The render makes it look like the Nord will have three cameras, but as we'll explain below, we've confirmed that it's shipping with four cameras.

On June 26, we were able to confirm some details about the OnePlus Nord's front-facing cameras. That's right, this is the first OnePlus phone to have more than one selfie shooter — specifically, it'll offer a 32MP primary camera and 8MP ultra-wide camera. A source of ours has confirmed that the arrangement is final, and this could make the OnePlus Nord the new phone to get if you're serious about selfies or vlogging.

OnePlus NordSource: OnePlus

OnePlus published a teaser video of the Nord to its Instagram page on July 3, and in the video, we get our first official look at the final design of the phone. It looks fairly similar to the render above, save for the fact that the rear camera housing is cleaned up a bit.

Rounding out the design of the OnePlus Nord, it looks to have the iconic OnePlus alert slider and a USB-C port for charging. Just like the last few OnePlus phones, there's no 3.5mm headphone jack.

What specs does the OnePlus Nord have?

OnePlus NordSource: OnePlus

On June 6, we got a massive leak regarding the OnePlus Z/OnePlus Nord's specs. Combine that with some other specs we've been able to independently confirm, and this is what we're working with:

Category OnePlus Nord
Operating System Android 10
OxygenOS
Display 6.55-inch
Super AMOLED
Full HD+
90Hz refresh rate
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
RAM 6GB
Storage 128GB
Rear Camera 1 48MP primary camera
Rear Camera 2 8MP ultra-wide camera
Rear Camera 3 5MP macro camera
Rear Camera 4 2MP portrait camera
Front Camera 1 32MP primary camera
Front Camera 2 8MP ultra-wide camera
Security In-display fingerprint sensor
5G ✔️
Battery 4,300 mAh
Charging 30W Warp Charge

Looking at that spec sheet, one of the more interesting tidbits is the OnePlus Nord's processor. For the longest time, it was looking like the phone would get the MediaTek Dimensity 1000 chipset. However, the conversation has now shifted to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 — the same processor that's in the LG Velvet and rumored for the Pixel 5.

Both chipsets bring a lot to the table, but with the Snapdragon 765, OnePlus can deliver fast processing speeds and sub-6 + mmWave 5G connectivity. It's also great to see that the OnePlus Nord will retain a 90Hz refresh rate despite its low price, and with a beefy 4,300 mAh battery, battery life should be quite swell.

We were able to confirm the OnePlus Nord's rear camera setup on July 7, revealing that the phone will have a quad-camera array. We were initially expecting a two or three sensor module, so knowing we're in store for four cameras is a pleasant surprise.

Is the OnePlus Nord part of a new product line?

OnePlus OneSource: Android Central

Back when the OnePlus Nord/OnePlus Z was thought to be the "OnePlus 8 Lite," we were expecting it to be a typical release for the company. It would obviously traget a lower price than we'd seen from past OnePlus phones, but at the end of the day, that's all it would be — another OnePlus phone. Now, we know that this will be a much bigger deal.

On June 23, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau shared a post on the OnePlus forums to announce the creation of a new "affordable smartphone product line."

As we have always done when we try something new, we are going to start relatively small with this new product line by first introducing it in Europe and India. But don't worry, we're also looking to bring more affordable smartphones to North America in the near future as well.

This new product team is led by Paul Yu, who has headed product hardware development for many of our previous flagship devices over the past 5 years. We've also assembled a team of young, creative and enthusiastic OnePlus staff from all over the world, who have been working tirelessly over the past few months to bring this product line to life.

The "new product line" is more than likely referring to the OnePlus Z, and a day before this post was published, Pete Lau shared a teaser image on Twitter. It's a photo of the OnePlus logo in a new blue color, along with the text, "Who's ready for something new from OnePlus?".

There's been talk of this new product line being called "OnePlus Nord," and on June 26, we confirmed with our sources that it is the final name for the device. Shortly after that on June 30, OnePlus made the name official via a video on its OnePlus Nord Instagram page. In the video, OnePlus CEO and founder Pete Lau says:

Launching the OnePlus Nord product line marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for OnePlus. The 'Never Settle' spirit is centered around sharing the best technology and products with the world, but it is also about challenging ourselves and going beyond our comfort zone. We are immensely proud of our flagship products and will continue to create more tech-leading flagships for our users. Now we are excited to share the OnePlus experience with even more users around the world through this new product line.

Exclusive: Carl Pei on OnePlus' new beginnings with the OnePlus Nord

Is the OnePlus Nord a successor to the OnePlus X?

OnePlus XSource: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

Unless you've been following OnePlus from the very beginning, there's a good chance you don't remember the OnePlus X. Honestly, we don't blame you.

The OnePlus X was released in October 2015, just a few months after the OnePlus 2 hit the scene. The idea behind the OnePlus X was to deliver the OnePlus experience at the lowest price possible, resulting in a $249 phone that offered a 5-inch Full HD AMOLED display, Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, and a 13MP rear camera. At the time, those were great specs for a phone so cheap.

Unfortunately for OnePlus, the phone was plagued by poor camera performance, weak battery life, and just never captivated a similar audience that its other phones had.

The OnePlus X remains as the cheapest handset OnePlus has ever sold, and seeing as how it's getting close to five years since it released, there are a lot of expectations for a successor to it. Especially with the baseline OnePlus 8 costing $699 and the OnePlus 8 Pro costing as much as $999, a truly low-cost OnePlus device is just what we need right now.

Should I just get the OnePlus 8 instead?

OnePlus 8Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

We can't wait to see what OnePlus delivers with the OnePlus Nord, but if you want a new phone right now and don't feel like waiting, you should consider picking up the OnePlus 8.

It is a lot more expensive than what we're expecting the OnePlus Nord to cost, but it's still a pretty good price considering everything it brings to the table. Some highlights for the phone include a 6.55-inch AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, Snapdragon 865 processor, up to 12GB of RAM, and a 4,300 mAh battery.

The OnePlus 8 isn't the absolute best value we've ever seen from the company, but if you're shopping for a new Android handset, it's definitely one of the top ones you should consider.

Nice balance

OnePlus 8

Right in the middle

If the OnePlus Nord is the most affordable new OnePlus phone for 2020, the regular OnePlus 8 sits right in the middle between it and the OnePlus 8 Pro. This is a device that boasts a 90Hz AMOLED display, three rear cameras, and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865 processor. We expect the OnePlus Nord will have a more competitive price than it, but if you have some additional cash to spare, the OnePlus 8 is a solid pickup.

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