A third phone in the upcoming OnePlus 9 series has been confirmed by the company’s CEO, in an interview with News18 (via Android Police). The announcement, which is coming just five days before the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro are set to be fully revealed, confirms rumors that OnePlus would also be announcing a less expensive phone in addition to its new flagships. So far, though, the phone is only confirmed to be coming to India.
In the interview, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau says that the company wants “to go even further” than it did with the OnePlus Nord, in regards to the included tech and design. Depending on how closely you follow OnePlus, you may remember the Nord as a mid-range phone that was available in Europe and India, or as a budget phone released in the US. Which part of the price-to-performance spectrum OnePlus is targeting isn’t clear yet, though some of Lau’s comments indicate that it may be closer to the mid-range end.
He says the phone will feature 5G, and talks a lot about gaming in relation to the 9R, saying that the company wants the phone to provide “fast and smooth experiences” for “heavy gameplay.” The “smooth experiences” and “smooth scrolling” references suggest that, like with its recent budget phones, OnePlus will probably include a 90Hz or faster display. As for the gaming focus, that may be more of a marketing focus than a hardware one.
The 9R is rumored to have a Snapdragon 865, a processor from last year — where usually we expect gaming phones to be specced out with the latest and greatest chips. For example, the ROG Phone 5 has the Snapdragon 888, up to 18GB of RAM, and a 144Hz screen. None of that is exactly cost-friendly, so perhaps OnePlus’s claims that it’ll be for heavy gamers should be taken with a grain of salt.
The rest of the interview is light on concrete details, with Lau not talking about pricing or availability outside of India, but it does give an idea of what OnePlus is thinking about for the 9R. With the event just around the corner, it may not long before we find out for sure. If you’re curious about the higher-end 9 and 9 Pro, you can read our pre-announcement information roundup.