The OnePlus 6T seems like its going to be the Chinese tech corporation’s biggest release yet. Despite speculation that it was set to release on October 17th, it had set its launch date for the 30th, still a month earlier than what had been expected a while ago.
“My feelings are, to best summarize, complex. It’s a mix of both excitement and anxiety. “, said Pete Lau, OnePlus founder and CEO.
Though the 6T hasn’t yet been brought to the market, their founder and chairman Pete Lau has already shared many details about the new phone. Unlike some of the other ‘T’ editions, which have been merely been miniscule updates on their counterpart designs (like the OnePlus 3T and 3), the OnePlus 6T is a massive improvement on the OnePlus 6.
For US users, this phone may be ground-breaking as it will likely launch with T-Mobile, giving the company its first US-carrier deal. The OnePlus 6T has also beat out two-established tech players, Apple and Samsung, in releasing an in-screen fingerprint sensor in American markets.
Controversial removal of headphone jack
Among the buzz around the new product, many are apprehensive about the removal of the convention 3.5 mm headphone jack.
“This has been one of the most difficult decisions for us to make,” said Lau.
One of the major reasons behind this decision has been to make room for the in-screen fingerprint sensor. Since it replaces the physical sensor from the back of the phone to the front of the screen, it leaves little remaining space. Therefore, the company was forced to make a tough call.
It is unclear how much this update will influence the average consumer. The company is largely banking on the growth in popularity of Bluetooth headphones. Last year in June, Bluetooth headphones overtook non-Bluetooth ones in US-market sales. Following a user survey conducted by analyst firm NPD, it was found that 59% of respondents use a Bluetooth-device for their own personal mobile sound. Even though users miss the headphone jack in its absence, Apple has proven with its recent products that it is not a deciding factor for most purchasers.
Still, Lau is aware that it will be a controversial decision, especially among some traditional Android users. According to a 2017 Yahoo survey, 73% of Android users claimed they wouldn’t switch to an iPhone primarily due to the lack of a headphone jack. However, Lau is confident that this will be overcome when users grow accustomed to their new in-screen fingerprint sensory feature.
On-display fingerprint sensor
Fingerprint-on-display sensors are a rarity in US markets. As of yet, they are available on the Vivo phones, some of the Oppo phones (R17 and R17 Pro), the Xiaomi 8 Explorer Edition, and the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS. Last year’s OnePlus 5T was supposed to have an in-screen fingerprint reader, but it had not been sufficiently developed to the company’s liking, so it’s release was delayed until the launch of the 6T.
In an interview with CNET, a OnePlus engineer said: “We unlock our phones multiple times a day, and Screen Unlock reduces the number of steps to complete the action. By adding this feature, as an addition to other display unlocking options such as Face Unlock, users will have options to unlock the display in a way that is most efficient for them.”
The name itself is a bit of a misnomer. Despite being known as ‘in-screen fingerprint readers’, the technology is actually applied underneath the displays. When you touch the screen with your finger, a light appears over the sensor. Soon after, your fingerprint Is examined by an AI processor and optical image sensor. If your print matches with the one recorded in its system, the phone unlocks.
Introduction of wireless charging and increased waterproof protection
The new 6T will also include features such as Wireless Charing and Waterproof protection. These are attempts to bring OnePlus’ features up to the level of competitors such as Apple, Samsung, or LG. However, wireless charging has been a difficult initiative considering their appeal largely revolves around their Dash Charging feature.
To get its charging times down to the speed its customers have grown accustomed to with Down Charging, the phone would have to be a lot quicker and would likely experience excessive heating.
As for waterproof protection, Lau claims that it will be one of the more water-resistant phones around, and will definitely survive a few splashes and drops in the sink. However, they feel that it is unnecessary to receive official IP approval, like Samsung or Apple have done, due to the heavy costs it would entail.
OnePlus 6T affordable pricing
Since it first launched the OnePlus One in 2014, the company has developed a reputation for its affordable products in an increasingly expensive market. However, the necessary updates in quality and features have led to a serious increase in price in the subsequent models, and the 6T is no exception. The 6T is expected to be USD$21 more than its previous model, the OnePlus 6.
Although they haven’t yet released a report on the price, a CNET report in August revealed that the price will be in the range of USD$550. Considering the $1000 phones offered by Samsung, Apple, or Huawei, this is still a huge bargain.