OnePlus will formally announce the OnePlus 6T in a couple of weeks, but we already know the phone’s significant new features thanks to a series of remarks from company execs.
OnePlus confirmed in previous interviews that the OnePlus 6T will have an in-display fingerprint sensor and that it’ll lack a headphone jack, both representing firsts for the company. Furthermore, OnePlus also said that T-Mobile will be the first US carrier to sell the 6T. Now, thanks to an in-depth interview with OnePlus co-founder Pete Lau, we know what the key OnePlus 6T features will be. We also know why it’ll be more expensive than its predecessor.
Talking to CNET about the OnePlus 6T, Lau explained why the phone won’t have a headphone jack and why the screen is getting a fingerprint display sensor. He also explained why the OnePlus 6T isn’t getting wireless charging either, or why the phone won’t have a water and dust resistance rating.
“This has been one of the most difficult decisions for us to make,” Lau said, talking about the headphone jack. “The most difficult task in the day-to-day is… finding a balance in what’s ultimately going to be part of the end product and what has to be said ‘No’ to.”
OnePlus’s Carl Pei said previously that the decision to remove the jack has to do with adding new technology as well as improving battery life. The interview with Lau reveals that new technology is the in-display fingerprint sensor. The fingerprint reader takes up essential space inside the phone, near the bottom, CNET explains. The implication is that OnePlus had to free up space inside the phone to accommodate the sensor.
Lau is aware of the potential backlash from customers who prefer wired headphones, but he’s confident that Screen Unlock is worth it. “After you experience the Screen Unlock you’ll fall in love with it,” he said. “[You’ll] realize that it’s the experience that you wanted.”
The report also revealed that the OnePlus 5T was supposed to feature the technology, but the feature wasn’t as fast or efficient as OnePlus wanted, so it killed the project and saved it for a later date.
But Screen Unlock is going to make the OnePlus 6T more expensive. $550 is the rumored price or $21 more than the OnePlus 6. Lau would not confirm the price estimate, but he said that Screen Unlock “is something very new and there’s a definite cost required for that new technology,” adding that “it’s not cheap.”
The exec also said that the OnePlus 6T wouldn’t have wireless charging, arguing again that wired charging via the company’s Dash Charge fast-charger is superior.
“We’re working hard on this,” the exec said. “When we get to the day that the wireless charging can get up to speed without the implication of heat that we expect, then I believe we can integrate the technology.”
The move might be related to keeping costs down, which seems to be a priority for the company. Lau didn’t say as much, but it’s easy speculation to make considering that he mentioned manufacturing costs twice during the interview.
It’s not just Screen Unlock that’s “not cheap,” but also IP rating for water resistance. The OnePlus 6T will be more water resistant than its predecessor, but OnePlus doesn’t want to pay the price to get the official rating. That’s not necessarily a bad move, considering that the cost would be passed on to the buyer.
“The number of users that are taking their phone to go swimming are few and far between,” he said, adding that having everyone pay $30 more “for the sake of an IP rating,” is “unreasonable.” The argument is a bit flawed here, considering that smartphone accidents involving water don’t just happen when we go swimming.
Lau still argued that prices don’t dictate the end product, but it’s pretty clear that’s not entirely so — at least not for a company that’s still pricing its flagships at just over half of what the latest iPhone or Galaxy Note phones cost.
Given that Lau touched on the phone’s only features that OnePlus could reasonably change from OnePlus 6, including the fingerprint sensor, headphone jack, battery charging, and IP rating, we now know almost everything there is to know about the upcoming OnePlus 6T. That’s because the parts that OnePlus won’t change concern the hardware. The OnePlus 6T will still rely on the Snapdragon 845 paired with up to 8GB of RAM and at least up to 256GB of storage to deliver a fast mobile experience.
OnePlus will launch the new OnePlus 6T smartphone on October 17th.