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Exclusive: This is what the OnePlus One looks like

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:46PM EST
OnePlus One Picture and Design
Image: OnePlus

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Even though it may be one of the most interesting Android handsets of the year, the OnePlus One has not yet been shown in pictures or videos. The company teased its build quality and design without actually revealing any images of the device, and when it did share a photo of the One with the public, it was covered completely by a competing phone to highlight a particular feature. Now, however, BGR has exclusively obtained an image that is the first to reveal the OnePlus One’s design.

A trusted source has provided BGR with an early OnePlus One sketch, which shows the device from various angles complete with some revealing notes.

The annotations seem to further reinforce OnePlus’ desire to offer buyers a high-end smartphones when it comes to design lines and build quality. The handset will apparently have an aluminum unibody – that’s what “AL unibody” and “cam deco AL” suggest – with some polycarbonate elements (“PC injection molding”). That explains why the 3,100 mAh battery will not be user-replaceable, something the company confirmed when unveiling battery specs a few days ago.

The sketches also reveal that the handset will have a power key located on one of the sides, just like Sony Xperia handsets, while the headset jack and stereo speakers seem to be placed on the top and bottom of the device, respectively.

The main camera will have a dual flash, according to the drawing, but a front-facing camera is not specifically highlighted on the front side of the device. Interestingly, there’s a “TP lens” annotation linked to the display. It’s not clear what that means, and while “TP lens” is sometimes used to describe telephoto lenses, that seems to be an unlikely built-in feature for a smartphone. The “TP lens” note may rather be related to the Touch on Lens technology confirmed for the phone’s screen.

Also missing from the sketches are placements for volume rockers, microUSB charging port and SIM card slot. It’s still not known whether the device will offer expandable storage on top of the 16GB/64GB of memory it will ship with, but a microSD slot is not drawn or mentioned.

OnePlus has recently confirmed that the One will feature a large 5.5-inch display with Full HD resolution – that’s when it used the image above to show fans that the One is actually smaller than the Xperia Z1, a phone that features a Full HD 5-inch display. Before that, the company said that the One will have a screen-to-body ratio bigger than 72% (that’s the Nexus 5’s ratio). All these details combined with the sketches above suggest the screen will have very slim bezels.

There’s also a question of what buttons the device will feature on the front side, as the drawings do not offer any details on that matter. @evleaks said a few days ago that users will have a choice between on-screen or capacitive buttons.

From the drawings, it’s also not perfectly clear whether the phone will have a flat or slightly curved back, although it seems to have slightly curved edges and corners. The phone also appears to be fairly slim. CEO Pete Lau further said the One will have a slim profile when he revealed the screen specs of the handset. The One’s display will feature “TOL (Touch On Lens) modules which eliminates the distance between the touch sensor and display panel,” Lau wrote. “The OnePlus One has one of the best screen/front space ratios on the market. This, coupled with the slim body and tapered edges, makes the device easy to operate with one hand,” the CEO added.

In a recent reddit ask-me-almost-anything session, OnePlus employees shared some details about the One’s design, again hinting at beautiful lines and high-end build quality. “We felt the current smartphones out there were not beautiful enough, so we took this matter very seriously for the OnePlus One. We followed the minimalistic approach “less is more”. Our designers put a lot of effort into it, focusing on making a device that looks good and it’s easy to hold and use,” a member of the team said.

Annotations including “PC injection molding” and “CNC [machining]” further suggest OnePlus’s focus on high-end manufacturing for the One. Since these are early One drawings, they’re likely not to include final design details of the device, but they provide some insights into OnePlus’ smartphone building philosophy. Recently, the company announced the phone has passed the Feature Freeze phase.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.