Pictured above is what could be our first look at the next OnePlus phone in the flesh (via Slashleaks). The handset on the left has ultra-slim bezels and no notch in sight, suggesting we could see a pop-up selfie camera.

There has been much talk of OnePlus releasing a 5G phone in the first half of 2019, but that phone is reportedly not the OnePlus 7. Successor to the OnePlus 6T, the OnePlus 7 will have the same circa-£500 price tag and launch in Q2, but with some key differences.

Chief among these will be an increase in performance, with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 headlining. Offering a significant improvement in processing and graphics performance, as well as battery life, this new chip will enable the OnePlus 7 to take on 2019 flagships from the likes of Samsung and LG at a lower price. The OnePlus 7 will not, however, take advantage of the 5G capabilities of this chip.

In the OnePlus 6T we saw 6GB RAM and 128GB storage as standard, but options with 8GB and even 10GB of RAM, plus 256GB storage, are available. In the OnePlus 7 we could see 8GB RAM become the standard, while the top-end could go further still to as much as 12GB RAM. (In China we're already hearing rumours of devices with this amount of memory, with the Lenovo Z5 Pro GT expected to be one of the first to launch with this allocation in January.)

That storage is especially worthy of note because in the OnePlus 7 it's tipped to be of the new and super-fast UFS 3.0 variety, according to Twitter leakster Ice Universe. Revealing early benchmarks of the handset, the phone he refers to simply as "the next OnePlus" delivers high sequential reads of 2279.8MB/s, sequential writes of 1801.1MB/s, random reads of 146.4Mb/s, 37240.3 IOPS and random writes of 137.5MB/s, 34962.27 IOPS. The current OnePlus 6T uses UFS 2.1 storage, and UFS 3.0 is more than 2x faster.

We'll again see the 6.41in AMOLED screen with in-display fingerprint sensor, though early concept images suggest the company will move away from the screen notch to which many of its fans are opposed, instead offering a punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera.

This is also what's expected for the Oppo R19, which will launch in March, and with some strong similarities between the two companies and a lot of overlap between previous launches we wouldn't be surprised to see a similar design. Below is an image of the R19 leaked via Weibo.

Oppo R19

Don't expect the screen resolution to go any higher than Full-HD+, since doing so would impact price and battery life, and Quad-HD is not considered to be a necessity.

Cameras may also see an upgrade, with many smartphone makers moving to a triple-lens array at the rear. This was rumoured for the OnePlus 6T, though the phone released late last year actually features a 16Mp + 20Mp dual-lens model.

We were also hoping to see wireless charging introduced in the OnePlus 6T, and the company has previously implied to us that the inclusion of the glass rear cover would make this possible. Yet OnePlus has previously complained that wireless charging is not fast enough to be practical. With 27W tipped for the upcoming Galaxy S10 we certainly wouldn't rule it out for the OnePlus 7. 

Another long sought after feature for the OnePlus series is proper waterproofing - will OnePlus 7 be the phone that finally introduces the feature?

When is the OnePlus 7 coming out?

OnePlus typically launches two flagship phones per year, with the most recent OnePlus 6T announced in late October 2018 and on sale in early November.

Prior to this the OnePlus 6 was announced on 16 May 2018, following the announcement of the OnePlus 5 on 20 June 2017, so May/June 2019 is a likely timeframe for the OnePlus 7 to make its appearance.

Though the company has confirmed that the upcoming 5G phone will not be the OnePlus 7, it has also said it will launch before the end of May 2019, so it's possible that the two will share a launch event, or that the 5G phone will be a special edition of the OnePlus 7 with a different name.

(Read more about the 5G OnePlus phone here.) 

How much will the OnePlus 7 cost?

Value is a key USP of OnePlus' flagship smartphone line, and though we've come a long way from the £219 OnePlus One we don't think OnePlus is ready to break the £500 barrier just yet.

The OnePlus 6T starts at £499, and we've seen nothing in the rumoured specs to suggest the OnePlus 7 will hike this price any further.

In the UK it's possible to buy the OnePlus T on contract, which means you don't need to pay the full amount up front. For the OnePlus 7 this is also expected to be possible in the US. 

Read next: Best new phones coming in 2019