At its inception, OnePlus was often viewed as this newcomer, a fresh face in mobile. But it was never that. It’s a company owned by BBK Electronics, which also owns Oppo. There are plenty of similarities between OnePlus and Oppo phones, likely because they share the same R&D and maybe even factories. Nonetheless, the company launched with a unique goal: to make a budget device that can take on a flagship.
The OnePlus One, way back in 2014, was called the “Flagship Killer.” It launched for $299 and featured some pretty high end specs, something most other companies at the time were not doing. However to get one, you’d need to go through that silly invite system that never really worked great for the company.
Every phone since then has gone up in price, with the OnePlus 6T coming in at $549. This is nearly double what the original cost, but it’s still a reasonable price for a phone that has all the flagship chops we’re used to. But with devices like the Pocophone F1 offering many of the same specs for only $300, the competition is getting hot. It almost seems like OnePlus is getting outplayed at what OnePlus used to do best.
And now that the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro have launched, the company is moving into the higher end market with its Pro model. This is a great move because the Pro offers every “extra” feature that flagships have evolved with their many price spikes, including triple rear camera setups and notch-less displays. We applaud OnePlus for making an awesome device for a fairly low price of $669.
If you don’t want to drop major cash on what is not at all a budget phone anymore, you can get the standard OnePlus 7 right? Well, not in the US. Here in the States, all we get is the 7 Pro. This means that OnePlus has entirely abandoned the budget market here and gone for a price point that’s not far off from the Pixel 3 and Samsung Galaxy S10e.
Can OnePlus compete? Absolutely, and it helps that reviews of the device have been extremely favorable. However, it’s sad to see a niche once occupied by the company now left a bit emptier. The budget roots of OnePlus are gone, and the flagship killer is now a flagship itself. We really can’t imagine why the OnePlus 7 isn’t being sold here.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Other companies are entering this segment and might be our saving grace. Google’s Pixel 3a is an awesome example. Even though the processor isn’t the top of the like Snapdragon 800 series, you still get much of what makes the Pixel 3 great, including that amazing camera with Night Sight, for only $399. You can also get the older OnePlus 6T, and though it’s not the most modern device, it’s still $549.
In the US this segment isn’t very populated, but outside of the US there are phones like the Pocophone F1, Honor N series, and much more that offer as close as a flagship experience as possible at a price point much lower than the OnePlus 7.
So let’s mourn the OnePlus we used to know, the budget minded company that put out devices to compete with flagships but not become them. And let’s celebrate a new age of OnePlus putting out badass devices like the 7 Pro. If you want a budget devices, thankfully you still have some good options.