With the new OnePlus phone due to come out next month, rumours and speculation are gathering pace as we approach the OnePlus 6 release date and launch. 

OnePlus is becoming a force to be reckoned with. Each generation of the "flagship killer" improves on the last, and it's earning the company both respect among tech fans and earning new customers.

Clearly, the pinpoint focus on releasing and selling just one phone model at a time is paying dividends. 

A big part of the appeal is that the phone rarely has any major compromises in a mobile that costs significantly less than the likes of the Samsung and Apple flagships. This, of course, is helped by those companies making their latest phones harder and more costly to attain. 

  • Launch set for 16 May
  • OnePlus 6 release date should be soon after

OnePlus originally said that the next phone will arrive late in Q2 2018, which would normally mean we're looking at another June launch, but OnePlus has now officially confirmed that it will be unveiling its next all-powerful flagship at an event at the Copper Box Arena in London's Olympic Park on 16 May - and you can buy tickets to the event and get swag, too.  

The OnePlus 6 launch event starts at 5pm on May 16. 

Early Bird tickets cost £16/$21 each and were due to be available until 8pm BST on 27 April, but all of the available 1,000+ tickets all sold out within nine hours. 

OnePlus officially sold out of its OnePlus 5T in North America and in the EU during March and has discontinued the phone there in preparation for the new OnePlus 6. 

It's a good time of year for OnePlus to launch. It's a good couple of months before the madness of September/October announcements, and it's normally after all the phones announced at Mobile World Congress in February are launched. 

OnePlusOneplus Rumours image 5

As for the OnePlus 6 price, there have been rumours the highest spec model could cost as much as $750 in the US. A pricing plan has been leaked over at True-Tech corroborating those earlier rumours. In this particular leak, it indicates that the lowest 64GB model could cost between 33,999-36,999 INR in India, which represents an increase of 1,000-4,000 INR. That's somewhere between 3 and 12 per cent increase.

If the percentage increase is applied to the UK region, it would mean a base starting price between £460-£505. Reasonably speaking that would likely mean £499.  And then there's the 128GB and 256GB models to consider too.

If these leaks hold true, we suspect that could mean a three tiered pricing structure of £499, £549 and £599 for the 64GB, 128GB and 256GB models respectively. Not cheap, but again, not as expensive as the competition. 

  • Full metal body
  • Attractive, glossy finish 
  • Custom skin/wooden option?

OnePlus has shown over the past couple of generations of device that it knows how to consistently improve design and build.

We've gone from a thin, plastic OnePlus One to a OnePlus 5T built from a solid block of beautifully finished aluminium within four years. The Midnight Black and Sandstone White finishes are among the finest you'll see on a solid metal device. 

Another trend from OnePlus is that - being owned by the same company as Oppo - its flagship phone often looks the same as Oppo's. The OnePlus 5T was similar to the Oppo R11s and OnePlus 5 was an Oppo R11 lookalike. It stands to reason then that we're likely to see something very similar to the newly-announced R15.

Perhaps the biggest change here is on the front, in form of bezel. Or lack thereof. While the OnePlus 5T's long 18:9 screen is beautiful, it's not as striking as the iPhone X's, primarily because there is still some bezel on the top and bottom. The R15 from Oppo has a slim portion of bezel at the bottom, and an iPhone-esque notch at the top.

ITHomeOnePlus may embrace the notch too with the OnePlus 6 image 1

Corroborating this theory, a couple of images purporting to be the front and back of the forthcoming device - which is confirmed to launch in the second quarter of 2018 - have appeared on Chinese website ITHome and they show a new, shiny design and an iPhone X-style notch on the front. 

The notch houses what appears to be an incredibly small earpiece and a single-lens camera. It's believed the OnePlus 6 will come with very secure facial recognition technology, which is where the front-facing camera will come in. However, the notch is nowhere near as intrusive as the one found on the iPhone X.

Confirming these leaks, Carl Pei - OnePlus' co-founder - spoke to The Verge and told the site openly that the next OnePlus would have a notch, but that its size is as small as it can be without negatively impacting on the quality of the earpiece, or removing the notification LED. 

In addition to this, Pete Lau, the company's other co-founder recently took to the company's forums to speak about OnePlus' approach to design. In amongst this long mission statement-like post was an entire dedicated section on the design of the OnePlus 6. While the overall look isn't given away, we do know one thing: the phone will be made from glass

OnePlus chose this material to create a "sense of value" according to the post, and to give it a premium in-hand feel. The manufacturer supposedly went through 70 glass prototypes before choosing the final version. It contains five layers of Nanotech Coating, chosen to add a subtle sense of depth to the back panel. 

While OnePlus has confirmed the back will be glass, renowned leaker Evan Blass published an official-looking render of a device with a completely different finish. Rather than shiny glass, the back appears to have what looks like a wood effect finish. Given how different this is to the photo we suspect this is a skin, or a slim snap-on case of some kind.

Looking closely, you can see it has the same black pill-shaped fingerprint sensor as the leaked photo as well as the centred camera housing protruding near the top. As for the bottom edge, that's very similar to current generations, and appears to be hewn from solid aluminium. 

As is always the case with OnePlus, it likes to lead the charge when it comes to teasers, and one recent tweet seemingly gives a little design detail away. Take a look at the tweet below: 

In this image we clearly see the OnePlus 5T, but it's resting on top of what appears to be another phone, which we assume is the OnePlus 6. It's similar in size, but with a SIM tray where the alert slider normally lives above the volume rocker. Dare we say the edges look a little shinier, more polished as well? 

As well as that, we have a teaser seemingly confirming that the next phone will be officially water resistant to some degree, and we know the company has teamed up with Disney again to launch a special Avengers: Infinity War edition of the phone in India, just like it did with the Star Wars model of the 5T. 

  • 19:9 ratio AMOLED
  • 6.28-inches
  • 2280 x 1080

Given the OnePlus 5T's recent launch with its new 18:9 ratio display, it's hard to imagine OnePlus moving to something completely different for the OnePlus 6. We're going to see a notch at the top, which means shifting slightly to push the status bar out of the "main" display area, which in turn means pushing the ratio up to 19:9, and the size up to 6.28-inches.  

While no specs are mentioned specifically, OnePlus has released the motives/reasons behind moving towards a notched display. Predominantly, it's to push notifications up a little, giving you more actual usable display for content and media. 

For those who really don't like the appearance of the notch, OnePlus will offer up an option to black out the top part of the screen to camouflage it. This was confirmed by the company's CEO, Pete Lau, in the OnePlus community forums

In the Android market, virtually all legitimate flagship phones have a QuadHD resolution display. The Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8+, LG V30, Pixel 2 XL, Huawei P10 Plus and HTC U11+ - all with similar sized screens to the flagship OnePlus - have either 1440 x 2880 or 1440 x 2560 resolutions. That means finer details like text and app icons appear sharper and crisper. You may not see the individual pixels in a 1080p display, but you can certainly tell the difference when it's side-by-side with QuadHD. 

It's unclear if OnePlus will up its resolution this year, but - again using the Oppo R15 as an expectation - it's more likely that we'll see 2280 x 1080 resolution. 

  • Snapdragon 845 processor
  • Dash Charge fast-charging
  • 6/8GB RAM

One thing we know about OnePlus phones is that they use whatever is Qualcomm's latest high-end processor. This year, that's the Snapdragon 845, and it's going to be in the OnePlus 6. The company's founder Pete Lau confirmed as much in an interview with CNET during CES 2018 in Las Vegas. He stated "Of course, there's no other choice." This is a statement he reiterated in a community blog post in March 2018. So that's one thing settled. 

In this post, Pete Lau also stated that it would be available with up to 8GB of RAM (like the OnePlus 5T) as well as up to 256GB storage. This would mean double the storage currently available on the highest end model. 

It's about more than just the specifications though. Lau also stated that the company has a dedicated team that looks into how it can make the software and hardware elements work together to provide an experience that's not just fast, snappy and fluid when you first use it. But that it stays that way the whole time you own it. Time will tell if those efforts will pay off. If the 5T is anything to go by, it should be fantastic. 

Previous to the company's own statement, Android Central's sources revealed that the OnePlus 6 - codenamed the A6000 - has been benchmarked, and those results confirm the Snapdragon 845.  Similarly, the aforementioned hardware leak shows a 6GB/64GB option, which is the same as the current baseline OnePlus 5T. In addition, we're likely to see a model with a huge 256GB storage and 8GB RAM, if a leaked image obtained by CNMO is anything to go by. 

Another benchmark, this one obtained by XDA Developers shows one of the biggest changes - that likely won't make a huge difference in the UK - is Gigabit LTE support. It means the OnePlus 6 could be capable of supporting download speeds up to 1000Mbps, thanks to Cat. 16 LTE. Of course, to use this, you carrier's network needs to support it as well. For those that do, you can expect lightning fast downloads. 

Although bigger batteries than the 3,300mAh cell in the OnePlus 5T exist, the way OnePlus has optimised it means you comfortably get through a full day on a single charge, even with a smartwatch connected. It's surprisingly good. Of course, if OnePlus does go with a higher resolution display, a higher capacity battery should come with it, to make up for the more power-intensive screen. 

If it's going to match the Oppo R15 again, that means a battery capacity increase up to 3,450mAh. It's not a huge increase, but every little helps, as the old adage goes. 

We expect Dash Charge, super fast-charging technology to remain. It's one of the company's biggest advantages over most competitors. Even if you do drain the battery, you can plug it in for 30 minutes and have it 3/4 full again. 

Perhaps one essential improvement is the Face Unlock feature. Currently, the technology only uses the front camera, which isn't the most secure method of facial recognition.

Adding depth sensors/IR would help make it harder to fool, and enable OnePlus to use it for more features, like unlocking private apps or authorising payments and downloads from the Play Store. As much has been rumoured already, so we're hoping that speculation pans out. 

  • Dual camera system
  • 16MP + 20MP on the back
  • Super slow-mo a possibility

Of all the features that, arguably, need more attention than others, it's the camera. While the OnePlus 5T's dual camera system is great in daylight, its HDR system does need improvement, as does low light performance if it's going to compete with the likes of the Pixel 2, Huawei P20 Pro and Galaxy S9, which seem to take great photos without any effort at all. 

As has been mentioned several times, the OnePlus and Oppo flagships often share similarities, and this can also be seen in the camera system. There are two versions of the R15. The regular model has a dual 12-megapixel/5-megapixel system on the back, and a 20-megapixel sensor on the front. There is a "Dream Mirror Edition", which has a higher resolution 16-megapixel/20-megapixel system on the back. If we had to hedge our bets, we'd go with the latter. 

Moving attention to video capture, and OnePlus is rumoured to be adding super slow-mo video to the OnePlus 6. An image which appeared on OnePlus' Indian site - which has since been changed - suggested strongly that the company would be looking to adding the feature. If it's anything like Sony or Samsung's super slow-mo, it'll record at 960fps, and will be either 720p or 1080p resolution. 

  • Android Oreo-based system
  • Oxygen OS with customisability

What's not to like about Oxygen OS already? On the surface, it's a very minimal, clean Android experience, except OnePlus gives you the ability to control a number of design elements. It's fairly certain we're going to see a very similar software experience on the the OnePlus 6, but built on Android Oreo.

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