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OnePlus’ reluctant fling with wireless charging is over – and that’s a mistake

OPINION: OnePlus has arguably done more than most smartphone manufacturers to push the wireless charging envelope in the short time it has offered the feature. Now the company is dropping it completely.

The new OnePlus 11 will not offer any form of wireless charging because the company believes the 100W speeds provided by wired charging technology makes the untethered option unnecessary.

When wired up, the phone’s 5,000mAh battery can be fully recharged in 25 minutes, in ideal circumstances, and our reviewer says it easily makes it through the day (often closer to two) before requiring that USB-C cable to be popped in.

“Battery life is an area where the OnePlus 11 truly excels, with the 5000mAh battery having no problem delivering all-day battery life. I was comfortably able to get to the end of every day of testing with at least 30% battery remaining,” he wrote.

However, the complete absence of wireless charging is surprising. It wasn’t quite up to the Honor Magic 4’s 100W wireless charging, but the official 50W wireless charging stand sold for the OnePlus 10 Pro was faster the maximum wired charging speeds of most other top smartphones. The brand new Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, for example, has a maximum charging speed of 45W.

The company touched on the decision during the OnePlus 11 launch event on Tuesday, but also expanded on its comments in a statement to 9to5Google.

The statement read: “Our consideration is that if the wired charging is fast enough, and the device can last for one-day usage, then the scenarios for user’s need for wireless charging is limited. The OnePlus 11 is able to charge from 1% to 100% in just 25 minutes (27 minutes in North America), and in this case, users do not need to charge their phones frequently.”

Have the users spoken?

So, OnePlus has decided to remove the option completely. It’s the company’s first major flagship phone not to offer the feature in the three years since it first offered wireless charging within the OnePlus 8 Pro after years of resisting.

It was absent from last year’s OnePlus 10T too, but this wasn’t a flagship release and it was expected to return for the OnePlus 11.

OnePlus has always been a company that takes the feedback from its user base quite seriously, at least it was in the earlier days when the vast majority of its public communications came through the company’s community forums. Whether that’s still case in the era following the Oppo merger, I’m not so sure.

Perhaps the company has it on good authority from loyal users that they don’t use the wireless charging capabilities and would be happy to dispense with it for advancements elsewhere and a few bucks off the phone? It couldn’t have been an easy decision.

However, I can’t help but think this is a mistake. If you’re renowned for being good at anything, it isn’t a distinction you should give up lightly. In my view, it makes the company’s phones a little less special. We understand if OnePlus doesn’t see fit to continue innovating and pushing towards faster wireless charging speeds, but to drop it completely? That’s a strange one.

With Apple rumoured to be considering a completely port-free iPhone in the years to come, could we be looking at another fork in the road, or battleground for the smartphone industry?

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