Last year, I asked Pete Lau, the founder and CEO of OnePlus, why his phones did not yet have wireless charging, almost a standard for a flagship smartphone. A thoughtful second later, he gave a sort of smirk and said, in Chinese, that the tech was not yet good for him. The convenience of wireless charging was not worth it if it took the user double the time to charge the phone. That is exactly the kind of thinking that keeps OnePlus one step ahead of the race in the game it is in. And it should be a tough place, given that it is competing with the likes of Apple and Samsung.
But then OnePlus is different. It is a flagship phone maker, but one that listens to its users, nurtures the fanbase and keeps them happy. All this is a very Chinese way of growing a smartphone brand, it is just that this upstart has managed to do this with premium products and no budget play at all. That takes some doing.
This eye for detail and the kind of features that will keep the buyer happy, push him to spend a little bit more, is what has been OnePlus’ success story. So while there is best-of and first-of list with each OnePlus device, the user is happy that these are features that give him actual value and it does not cost the moon.
With the OnePlus 8 series you see this in play. The 120Hz display, 3x optical zoom, custom sensor from Sony and the colour filter lens. All top of the line specifications, all that will impress the demanding OnePlus user. This time, it will have to be the display and the camera that gets them excited, along with the Snapdragon 865 processor and, of course, the Warp Charge, which is fast wireless charging… just the way Lau wanted it.
And all over you see that the comparison is clearly with the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max. Even when the claims are not about being better, it is certainly about being as good. Be it the camera, the Dolby Atmos stereo or even the battery, OnePlus is clearly comparing itself with the best and hinting it could be better. For the potential buyer, it will surely seems so give the huge price differential. This is OnePlus at its best.
So when Apple tries to eat into OnePlus’ pie with the more affordable iPhone 11, the former is going for the iPhone 11 Pro Max with top-notch features. This is the confidence that you imbibe when you can stay on top of the premium segment in markets like India. With the OnePlus 8 series we can surely say the company has stepped out of the shadows of being a startup to a flagship brand in every sense of the term.
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