It’s fair to say that OnePlus has had its share of controversies in recent years. But this one may be the final nail in the coffin: OnePlus says that its upcoming OnePlus 10T will be the first OnePlus handset to not include the iconic three-way alert slider. And the rationale for this decision isn’t particularly defensible.
“OnePlus’ second global flagship smartphone of 2022, the OnePlus 10T 5G, and OxygenOS 13 will launch in New York City on August 3,” OnePlus co-founder CEO Pete Lau announced last week. “That’s right, we’re doing our first in-person launch since the OnePlus 7T back in 2019 … the OnePlus 10T uses the same T nomenclature that has, since the debut of the OnePlus 3T, always represented a holistic performance upgrade.”
By “holistic,” he means “not literal,” but let’s move past that. Fans watching the OnePlus 10T trailer have noticed something troubling: the next OnePlus 10T handset appears to not include the firm’s iconic differentiator, the three-way alert slider that lets users toggle between ring, vibrate, and silent alert modes instantly, and even when the display is off and you’re not signed in.
OnePlus chief designer Hope Liu confirmed the controversial move in an interview. And he blames the size of the components necessary to implement this switch.
“While the alert slider appears to be a very small component, it actually has a relatively large impact on the device’s motherboard area, taking up 30 mm²,” he said. “To ensure the OnePlus 10T delivers in the areas we know our users value most … while retaining the alert slider, we would have had to stack the device’s motherboard, which would have made the device thicker.” And so the firm that promises no compromises … compromised.
This is troubling to OnePlus fans as the alert slider is one of the few remaining differentiators that OnePlus had, given its recent (failed) shift to merge OxygenOS with parent company Oppo’s ColorOS.
But that’s not all that will be missing in the OnePlus 10T: unlike the OnePlus 9 series and OnePlus 10 Pro, the OnePlus 10T will also not include a Hasselblad-branded camera system, an addition that was supposed to help the firm compete with Apple, Google, and Samsung in this most critical of smartphone features.
“We wanted to offer an ultimate performance flagship smartphone at the device’s chosen price point,” Liu said, hinting that it was trying to save money on licensing costs. He also confirmed that the handset will include a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 camera sensor and support 10-bit color, improved HDR photography, and the OnePlus night photography mode. The OnePlus 10T will be powered by a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor and will include a flat 6.7-inch display. At least they got that stuff right.