The company has been opening up limited pre-orders in the run up to the Nord's July 21 release, and while it hasn't shared all of the specs, it's been pretty vocal about the upcoming handset's features, but OnePlus may have been hiding an ace up its sleeve with reports of a budget version of the already affordable device.
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A Geekbench listing (opens in new tab) was spotted by Twitter user Abhishek Yadav (opens in new tab) for a OnePlus smartphone with the model number BE2028. The OnePlus Nord's model number is AC2003, which is our first clue pointing to the existence of two smartphones.
The second is the chipset which has been confirmed to be the Snapdragon 765G in the Nord by Assistant Head of OnePlus Nord, Carl Pei. The Geekbench listing shows the handset with model number BE2028 to have a multi-core score of 1,728, while the AC2003, aka the Nord, clocked up 1,916, meaning that either there's a second device with lower specs, or that it's an earlier iteration of the phone that existed before OnePlus finalised the innards.
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The OnePlus Nord was initially what we all assumed would be the Lite handset in the OnePlus 8 series, and it's not at all unusual to offer premium or more budget versions of a smartphone to account for a range of customers who are looking for different things from their tech; take the iPhone 12 - Apple is said to be releasing four different models this year.
OnePlus has made a big deal about the Nord and its approach to the device, and is getting back to basics by focusing on just a handful of features that consumers value and investing heavily in those while still offering incredible value for money with the sub $500 price tag. Splintering that into multi-phone series already seems somewhat counterproductive, if this is the affordable flagship killer, and it could also risk irking those who have blindly pre-ordered the 'expensive' option out of brand loyalty, or just sheer curiosity, because OnePlus is still positioning the Nord as a single handset.
The launch is next week, with the final part in the four-part docuseries about the smartphone's development dropping at the same time, so we'll have answers soon enough.
Source: Tom's Guide