It hasn’t been that long OnePlus took the market by storm with its first “flagship killer” phone, the OnePlus One. With the company’s well-thought vision and consistency in offering flagship-experience smartphones, it’s not hard to figure out why OnePlus devices have been a hit for all these years.
Here we’ll go into detail about how OnePlus phones have evolved, from the OnePlus One to the latest offerings.
In 2014, OnePlus launched its first phone: the OnePlus One. With close-to flagship specs at an affordable price range, the company couldn’t have asked for a more successful launch. The OnePlus One made a big impact on the market when it became available.
At just $299, it came with the latest Snapdragon 801 processor, 5.5-inch display, 3,100mAh battery, 3GB of RAM, and either 16GB or 64GB of internal storage. Rounding this out was a single-lens 13MP rear camera and a front 5MP camera.
In 2014, these were impressive specs to offer, especially for the price, which made the OnePlus One a massive hit.
In 2015, OnePlus decided to introduce Oxygen OS with the OnePlus 2, giving users a close-to-stock Android experience. The phone had most of the same features, and tried to apply the same successful formula as its predecessor.
As you would expect, the OnePlus 2 got a little boost with an upgrade to 4GB RAM, a fingerprint scanner, an alert slider, and a slightly bigger battery of 3,300mAh. Most of the other specs were kept the same or close.
At a starting price of $329, the OnePlus 2 was not as much of a massive success like its predecessor.
OnePlus 3 and 3T
2015 did not prove to be a good year for OnePlus with the failure of the OnePlus 2. Thankfully, the company managed to make a successful comeback with OnePlus 3 the following year.
At a launch price of $399, the phone came with improved specs. The metal unibody design, 5.5 inches of AMOLED display with a Snapdragon 820 chipset, and newly introduced “dash charging” were a few of them.
Only a few months later, the unexpected launch of the OnePlus 3T left the fans confused. Those who had just bought a OnePlus 3 were upset at its successor arriving so soon.
The OnePlus 3T came up with a Snapdragon 821 processor, an upgraded battery of 4,000mAh, and the addition of a 128GB internal storage variant.
OnePlus 5 and 5T
In 2017, OnePlus surprised everyone again with the launch of the OnePlus 5, as it skipped the number four. The reason for this was most likely the number’s association with unluckiness in Chinese tradition.
Looking at the specs, at a launch price of $479, the phone came with a Snapdragon 835 chipset, sleek design, and amazing software. The biggest upgrade was the introduction of a dual-lens rear camera: a 16MP + 20MP with 1.6x optical zoom.
Unlike the OnePlus 3T, this time you could easily differentiate the OnePlus 5T from its predecessor. The phone came with a modern-looking bezel-less design, the biggest display yet for OnePlus.
However, under the hood, you could see the same configuration as its predecessor. Just a few months later, at a starting price of $499, the OnePlus 5T launched as a refreshed version of the OnePlus 5.
OnePlus 6 and 6T
The “notch” is here! Like every other phone in 2018, the OnePlus 6 came with the trending notch design. It came with a display of 6.28 inches, with 1080×2280 resolution.
At a starting price of $529, the OnePlus 6 was powered with a Snapdragon 845 chipset and offered a newly added 256GB internal storage variant. With every iteration, OnePlus kept improving the devices’ camera performance. In this vein, OnePlus 6 came with a capable rear camera of 16MP + 20MP.
Its corresponding “T” version, the OnePlus 6T, didn’t change much from its predecessor in terms of internal specs. However, on the screen, the notch shrunk to a teardrop—increasing the available display size.
The OnePlus 6T was the first phone to see an in-display fingerprint scanner and no headphone jack. With only a few selective upgrades, the OnePlus 6T proved to be an accomplished device from OnePlus yet again.
OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro
For the first time, in 2019, we saw both a standard and pro version of the new OnePlus phone release together. Both the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro were powered by the latest Snapdragon 855 processor. You could get 6GB, 8GB, or 12GB of RAM, with internal storage of 128GB or 256GB.
However, the OnePlus 7 was mostly similar to the OnePlus 6T. The OnePlus 7 Pro, meanwhile, was a better phone with impressive higher-end specs that completely outshined the OnePlus 7.
It had a curved 6.67-inch display and an outstanding triple-camera-lens setup. This consisted of a 48MP + 8MP + 16MP rear camera with 3X optical zoom and a popup selfie camera. So the OnePlus 7Pro justified the higher starting price of $669.
OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro
In the same year, OnePlus decided to give its two newest devices a “T” upgrade. Both the OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro were powered with a Snapdragon 855 Plus SoC.
The OnePlus 7T was a major improvement over the OnePlus 7, with a bigger 6.55-inch screen and the upgrade to ultrawide and 2x optical zoom on the rear camera. At a starting price of $599, the phone proved to be an excellent upgrade over the prior version.
However, the OnePlus 7T Pro didn’t see many improvements compared to its successful predecessor.
OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro
OnePlus decided to use the same successful strategy the following year with the release of the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro. Both the phones were powered with the latest Snapdragon 865 SoC, had impressive curved display edges, and included 5G support.
The OnePlus 8 came with a huge 4,300mAh battery, which was the largest in any OnePlus device yet. Comparing the specs, though, they were almost the same as the OnePlus 7T.
At a starting price of $899, the OnePlus 8 Pro came up with highly anticipated improvements like the support for wireless charging and an IP68 resistance rating.
At $699, the OnePlus 8T featured a completely different design, with a rounded rectangle camera setup at the back. And on the OnePlus 8T, the company introduced Warp Charge 65. It would allow you to charge the OnePlus 8T from zero to full in just under 40 minutes.
In 2020, we didn’t see any “T” upgrades for the OnePlus 8 Pro. This was was a relief, as it became less confusing for buyers to differentiate OnePlus phones.
OnePlus 9, 9 Pro, and 9R
At the time of writing, the latest launches of OnePlus phones are the OnePlus 9, 9 Pro, and 9R. The OnePlus 9R is exclusive to India and China. And while it does look like its siblings, the device mostly resembles the OnePlus 8T in its internal specs.
The OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro come with more powerful specs and outstanding cameras, made in partnership with Hasselblad. The OnePlus 9 Pro gives tough competition to Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra and the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
As the devices slowly creep towards the $1,000 mark, the OnePlus 9 Pro starts at $969 while the OnePlus 9 is available from $729. Regardless of its pricing, these are some of the best flagship phones from OnePlus yet.
The OnePlus Mid-Range Experiments
In 2020, OnePlus tried to offer flagship-level experience in an affordable package by releasing OnePlus Nord (with no US launch), Nord N10 5G, and Nord N100. These phones are certainly mid-rangers in their specs and pricing.
The OnePlus Nord, however, is more of a mid-to-high range device, with a Snapdragon 765G chipset, up to 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of internal storage.
The OnePlus X, launched back in 2015, is another OnePlus device you might not have seen much about. The specs weren’t that impressive, with a smaller display of 5 inches and a year-old flagship processor. As a result, the phone failed compared to its predecessors.
OnePlus’s Ever-Changing Approach
Looking back through the company’s history now, it’s clear that with every iteration, OnePlus phones kept getting better in their performance. However, along with these upgrades, the company’s market approach also kept changing.
The brand launched the OnePlus One with the enthusiasm of providing premium smartphones at an affordable price back in 2014. But that now seems lost somewhere. It’s true, though, that constant strive of keeping up with the competition and at the same time adhering to what the company promised can’t be done simultaneously.
Nonetheless, in just a few years, OnePlus has moved up from humble beginnings to become a highly accomplished smartphone brand.