OnePlus phone fans are turning against the company.
Just look at Reddit – threads like this (Opens in a new tab)Disgruntled OnePlus users showed off which phones from competing manufacturers to buy. Or head over to the Brand Forums (Opens in a new tab)As fans complain bitterly about the new features of the OnePlus 10T. Comments on the 10T launch live stream weren’t particularly free and this issue might be the cause.
This is a change in fortune for a company that started from creating and catering to an ardent band of tech enthusiasts. Long gone are the hype for OnePlus phones via word-of-mouth and exclusive invites.
This big change appears to have coincided with a change in OnePlus’ own style. The brand started with competitive mid-range phones that were given the nickname of ‘flagship killers’, for the competition they offered to industry owners, but with the OnePlus 7 series in 2019, it started making the same kind of flagship phones it had previously sought to undercut.
Sure, the OnePlus Nord family was launched in 2020 to give budget fans something to target their wallets/wallets, but they lack many of the bells and whistles – and most importantly, new and impressive features – compared to the OnePlus digitized series. Additionally, Nord phones hover around budget and lower mid-range market levels, with nothing to cater to people who want “real” mid-range phones that can serve as a “prime killer” again.
That idea was brought into sharp focus with the latest OnePlus 10T, as it’s the first mid-range OnePlus phone we’ve seen in years, and it could be a hit or miss moment for the company.
OnePlus 10T issues
The OnePlus 10T looks like the budget version of the OnePlus 10 Pro from earlier in 2022.
It has much weaker cameras (especially without the Hasselblad and brand partnership), a less premium design (lacking a curved screen), poor battery life, a temperamental fingerprint scanner, no alert slider (a brand staple) and a lower display resolution.
The price also reflects that – the new mobile costs $649/£629 for the cheapest variant, compared to $899/£799 for the OnePlus 10 Pro with the same configuration (although at the launch of the T, the old phone was lowered to $799 in WE ).
That’s a $150 / £170 difference for a phone with faster charging and a slightly better chipset, but it’s a cut in most other departments. In the US, it’s the cheapest numbered series phone we’ve seen in some time, although in the UK the OnePlus 8 was cheaper.
Nord, get up
OnePlus doesn’t currently have much of a presence in the mid-range market.
Its numbered phones from the past few years have been mainly premium models, while its Nord devices are mostly budget ones; Its closest to the mid-ranger is the OnePlus Nord 2T, which costs £369 (about $460 / AU$655), or maybe some older branding that has fallen in price over time.
But as brands like Xiaomi, Realme and Poco have shown, there is an appetite among phone enthusiasts for more competitive mid-range mobiles. These are the ones that fill the gap between cheap and expensive, offering decent feature sets without the price tag that an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S series comes with.
There is no real mid-range champ at the moment, despite plays made by several brands including Honor and Nothing. Several companies have adapted their mid-rangers, turning their series into a premium series (looking at you, Xiaomi), or conversely on a budget (Motorola’s Edge series is an example).
So there’s an undisputed area that OnePlus can easily get into – like we said, it’s an area it used to own.
New mid-range champ?
There are two types of mid-range phones. Most simply fill the space between budget and premium hardware, but then there are the “flagship killers” for not having a more subtle term (a term popularized by OnePlus in its early days, no less).
These are your Xiaomi Mi Note 10s, Realme GTs, and certainly older OnePlus phones. They take the high-end specs and features, and simply offer them at a mid-range price. They tempt you to move away from high-priced models to more affordable alternatives.
And that’s the difference between the old OnePlus and the current OnePlus, the newer devices – even those below the premium line – don’t blow you away with their specs like the older ones.
But the OnePlus 10T is different – it has a great-looking display, incredibly powerful chipset, and super-fast charging. It offers the specs you’d expect in a plus-$/£1,000 phone but offers it to you at a much lower price.
This is the first OnePlus phone in ages I love it, and it’s a step – admittedly a small step, but nonetheless a step – in the right direction for the company. It shows that the company is aware of its fans’ problems (something was addressed at the launch of the 10T) and is looking to put down the mobile phone fans have been waiting for.
The mid-range market is the most interesting segment of the mobile world – where the competition is the hottest, with brands hopping on each other to deliver great specs and low prices. And as we said, the crown of “Best Mid-Range Brand” is currently unoccupied.
So, now more than ever, we’re looking forward to the OnePlus 11, hoping the company will learn the lesson and take it even further. We hope to see a non-professional version of this device, with the highest specs but at a mid-range price.