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Why OnePlus Is Wrong About Wireless Charging

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The ascendent smartphone maker OnePlus branded itself out of the gate with its “Never Settle” slogan, but that might not have been a great idea in hindsight. Like Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto, the internet delights in pointing out when the company strays from its stated goal. Most recently, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau suggested OnePlus isn’t planning to include wireless charging in the upcoming OnePlus 7. Never Settle, indeed? This is a mistake because even with wireless charging shortcomings, it’s something consumers want.

Wireless charging isn’t 100 percent confirmed to be missing on the OnePlus 7, but Lau certainly made it sound that way in a recent interview. According to Lau, wireless charging is inferior to the company’s Warp Charge standard. OnePlus wants to make wireless charging faster without increasing heat production, but it hasn’t found a way to do that yet.

OnePlus as a company is obsessed with speed as its defining trait. Its phones always have the latest hardware, they perform well, charge quickly, and it even releases phones at a breakneck pace every five to six months. In this case, that’s the wrong way to evaluate the usefulness of wireless charging.

If you used wireless charging back when it was first popular, you probably didn’t love the experience. Phones in 2012 and 2013 with wireless charging would fill at 5 watts if you were lucky. That was slow enough to be almost useless. Fast charging at 15W or higher just made more sense. With newer wireless charging, you get at least 10W on most phones, and some go as high as 15W.

The OnePlus 2 didn’t have NFC, and that was a mistake, too.

Wireless charging isn’t as fast as wired charging, but it can be more convenient. You can have a charging pad at your desk or next to the bed and just drop your phone on it. There’s no fiddling with the plug or accidentally knocking the phone down when your foot gets tangled in the cable. That’s the value of wireless charging — it’s not an either/or situation. 

The trend toward metal phones made wireless charging a non-issue for years, but glass makes wireless charging possible again, and OnePlus’ phones are glass. Still, they don’t have wireless charging. People have come to expect premium phones to have this feature — like it or not, you can thank Apple for that. Samsung, LG, Google, and others all have wireless charging. It sounds more like OnePlus controlling costs than genuinely believing the technology isn’t good enough.

OnePlus raises prices a bit each time it launches a phone, and the cost is getting close to regular flagship phone territory. It can’t keep cutting corners on features like wireless charging. It did the same thing with NFC in the OnePlus 2, and the backlash was fierce. You have to give the people what they want.

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