OnePlus Z is the OnePlus 8 Lite we were expecting, and it may land in July

OnePlus 8
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Did the increased OnePlus 8 price give you sticker shock? Good news: a cheaper alternative, allegedly called the OnePlus Z, could be coming in July.

That’s according to an enigmatic tweet (opens in new tab) by tipster Max J that shows a phone shape enclosing the letter ‘Z’ and the date ‘July 2020.’ 

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The Z presumably refers to the OnePlus Z, which prior rumors suggested would be the name for the OnePlus 8 Lite – a mid-range or budget version of the OnePlus 8 line. Another rumor stated this phone was originally to have launched alongside the OnePlus 8, but the coronavirus outbreak likely delayed the phone’s launch.

The right time for a cheaper OnePlus

Even if the delay was intentional, it makes a bit of sense to give the OnePlus 8 flagships time to sell before introducing a cheaper alternative, especially later on as the market continues to embrace cheaper handsets as consumers tighten belts to get through the outbreak.

It will also soothe disgruntled OnePlus veterans who loved the brand for its phones that boasted flagship specs at cheaper prices, yet have seen its latest handsets’ price tags rival that of top-tier Apple and Samsung phones.

While the standard OnePlus 8 is still somewhat affordable for a flagship with a starting price of $699 / £599 (around AU$1,100), it’s still costlier than the new iPhone SE 2020’s $399 / £419 / AU$749 price tag. A cheaper OnePlus Z could be a better competitor – though it will have even steeper competition if the Google Pixel 4a launches soon, as expected.

Via Phone Arena (opens in new tab)

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.