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OnePlus 8 will be more expensive than its predecessors, and it’s all thanks to 5G

Published Mar 10th, 2020 8:08PM EDT
OnePlus 8 Pro Price
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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  • All OnePlus 8 phones will have 5G connectivity, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau revealed ahead of the launch event.
  • The OnePlus 8 Pro and the OnePlus 8 might be more expensive than previous phones, but the latter should still be affordable.
  • It’s unclear whether a Lite version of the OnePlus 8 will also launch soon.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

OnePlus was one of the first smartphone vendors to launch a 5G phone last year — the OnePlus 7 Pro. That phone was OnePlus’s most expensive phone to date, topping $800, but that wasn’t necessarily a surprise. After all, first-gen 5G devices can’t be as affordable as 4G ones, and the OnePlus 7 Pro was cheaper than other early 2019 5G phones. Going forward, however, OnePlus is going to add 5G support to all of its flagship phones, so even the cheapest OnePlus 8 phone might be more expensive than its direct predecessor.

OnePlus CEO Pete Lau told CNET that the company is “all-in on 5G.” It’s not just because others are doing the same thing, with the Galaxy S20 series being a prime example, but because 5G coverage will improve in the coming years, and people tend to keep their phones for a longer amount of time than before.

Not to mention that the Snapdragon 865 processor ships with built-in 5G support, so why not make the most of it? The chip doesn’t feature a built-in modem. Instead, the chip comes with a mandatory secondary chip that contains both 4G and 5G modems. In other words, all phones featuring the Snapdragon 865 chipset will have a 5G modem inside. Lau didn’t reveal what sort of processor the OnePlus 8 will use, but it’s likely the new Snapdragon 865 chip, which will power many of this year’s Android flagships.

“I want to restate our commitment to 5G and our long term investment,” Lau said. “We’ve been investing in 5G for several years, and we see this as the direction going forward and one we’re very much committed to.”

The executive did concede that the OnePlus 8 phones will be more expensive because of that 5G connectivity, but hinted they won’t be as costly as the Galaxy S20. A more expensive OnePlus 8 Pro will launch this spring, he said, alongside a standard OnePlus 8.

“Last year, we launched the 7 Pro and the 7 together, and there was a lot of excitement around this,” Lau said. “I think that this year again, everyone should expect a lot to look forward to in 5G products with a reasonable price.”

Lau seemed to suggest the company will unveil only two OnePlus 8 versions next month, which is when the series is rumored to launch. But previous reports said the series might also feature a third device. The OnePlus 8 Lite is the handset in question, which might pack a MediaTek chip instead of the Snapdragon 865, according to rumors. Will a Lite version of the OnePlus 8 also come with built-in 5G support? We’ll have to wait until April to find out, assuming that’s when the company unveils its first smartphone series of 2020.

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.