Comments made by OnePlus CEO Pete Lau at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona have cast doubt over the hopeful expectation that the next OnePlus flagship phone will have wireless charging. In speaking with CNET, Lau calls wireless charging “far inferior” to his company’s wired Warp Charge and the tone of the interview, via a translator, was apparently strong enough for CNET to conclude that the feature will definitely not be on the OnePlus 7. The sentiments expressed by Lau echo previous comments he’s made, saying that OnePlus won’t include wireless charging until it can be made as fast as the company’s wired charging, but fans of the brand will have been hoping to hear a different tune in the buildup to the company’s first release of 2019.
I reached out to OnePlus, asking the company to confirm or deny the reported absence of wireless charging from its next flagship. What I received was something approaching an implicit confirmation: OnePlus reiterated its belief that the speed of Warp Charge is superior, noted that wireless charging adds thickness to a device, and also underlined that it could have adopted wireless charging a long time ago, had its performance been satisfactory. As much as I want to believe this spiel that it’s all an effort to provide the best possible customer experience, I more strongly believe that the best possible customer experience today must include wireless charging.
Wireless charging has become a checkbox feature in flagship Android phones. Xiaomi’s Mi 9, announced just before MWC, has the fastest wireless charging on the market and a $450 price, lower than OnePlus’ starting price. For the Korean duo of Samsung and LG, wireless charging has been a mainstay for years now. LG takes it for granted and doesn’t even bother highlighting it, while Samsung has moved on to reverse wireless charging (to power things like the company’s Galaxy Buds) with the new Galaxy S10. In my review of the OnePlus 6T in October of last year, I lamented the absence of wireless charging as an omission of growing importance. By the time the OnePlus 7 rolls around, wireless charging will definitely be an expectation rather than a hope.