Theoretically, we should see a OnePlus 9T launch at some point this fall. OnePlus has launched at least one “T” series phone every year since 2016, and we don’t expect 2021 to be any different. The ongoing global chip shortage might throw a wrench into those plans, of course, but we’ll have to wait and see.
What could this new phone be like? Unfortunately, we don’t have any credible rumors at all yet related to design, features, etc. We can speculate, though! In this article, we discuss the five things we most hope to see if and when this new entry in the OnePlus 9 series lands.
Keep in mind that this list is designed to be realistic. We’re not going to ask for the return of the headphone jack, for example, because that’s almost certainly not happening. We’re also not going to ask for things we are almost certainly going to get, such as a 120Hz display and an alert slider. Instead, the features listed here are some which could feasibly land on the OnePlus 9T, even though we have no evidence yet to say that they could.
Be sure to hit up the poll at the end of the article to let us know which of these features you most hope to see!
An under-display selfie camera
In 2018, OnePlus launched the OnePlus 6T. While this wasn’t the first phone on the market with an in-display fingerprint sensor, it was one of the first to launch globally. It was also the first phone with the feature to be available through a US wireless carrier.
The next frontier for smartphone displays is under-display selfie cameras. Just like in 2018, we’ve already seen phones hit the market with the technology. OnePlus, though, could be the first to really push that tech to the global stage, and it would make a lot of sense to do that with the OnePlus 9T.
The biggest challenge the company would face is making the camera quality good enough for the OnePlus name. Assuming it could do that, this would invariably be the star feature of the phone, just like the in-display fingerprint sensor was for the OnePlus 6T or the ultra-fast wired charging was for the OnePlus 8T.
Of course, OnePlus isn’t the same company it was in 2018. It’s possible the brand might want to be more conservative when it comes to launching phones with wild and untested tech. We hope that’s not the case, though, as phones with all-screen displays would be like a breath of fresh air in this notch- and cutout-dominated industry.
The camera trifecta on the rear
The camera trifecta refers to the three lenses that, when combined, create the best possible smartphone imaging experience. Those three lenses are a high-quality main, a telephoto, and an ultra-wide shooter. Companies tend to hold back the camera trifecta for only higher-end devices, and OnePlus is no exception. As an example, the OnePlus 9 Pro has the camera trifecta while the OnePlus 9 does not (it lacks a telephoto lens).
With the OnePlus 9T, we hope that OnePlus brings the trifecta. Previously, the company did so with the OnePlus 7T, although it strangely did not with the OnePlus 8T. Obviously, we wouldn’t expect the trifecta to be of the same quality as the one on the OnePlus 9 Pro. The company wouldn’t want to tarnish the premium nature of that phone with the same system. But that doesn’t mean it can’t offer the trifecta but with lower-end hardware.
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If OnePlus did do this, it would make the OnePlus 9T a much more valid “inbetweener” when compared to the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro. This would also help the company justify the 9T having a higher price than the vanilla OnePlus 9 (which is all but certain), while still offering an affordable flagship below the OnePlus 9 Pro. It would also raise the chances of the phone getting better reviews, as the OnePlus 8T’s mediocre camera setup was a real ding against its appeal.
Of course, the OnePlus 9’s camera is totally fine for what it is, so the company might just rehash that setup and focus on other features of the 9T (such as, maybe, the first item on this list). It would be nice for that trifecta to appear on a less-expensive OnePlus phone, though!
Faster wireless charging
It’s all but guaranteed that the OnePlus 9T will land with 65W wired charging speeds. Considering the OnePlus 9, 9 Pro, and even the OnePlus 9R has the feature, it would be downright strange if the 9T did not.
However, only the OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 8 Pro have wireless charging speeds faster than 15W. This is an area in which OnePlus could offer an upgrade over the vanilla OnePlus 9 but still stay under the OnePlus 9 Pro.
It would make the most sense for OnePlus to port the super-fast wireless charging speeds of the OnePlus 8 Pro (30W) to the OnePlus 9T. By the time the 9T launches, the 8 Pro would be a year-and-a-half old, so this would be totally feasible. Additionally, this would allow the OnePlus 9 Pro’s even faster 50W speeds to still best those of the 9T.
This would be a smart move for OnePlus because it would encourage more folks to buy its proprietary charging stand. If the next “T” series phone has 30W wireless charging speeds, the only way fans would see those speeds is by buying a OnePlus dock. It’s a win-win for everyone!
An option with more internal storage
Sigh… every year I ask for this, and every year OnePlus disappoints me. Maybe this year will be different?
To date, there has never been a OnePlus phone with an internal storage capacity higher than 256GB. There have been a few with microSD card support, but that doesn’t count. Why has there never been a 512GB option or even a model with 1TB of internal storage?
Samsung offers 512GB variants of some of its phones. So does Apple. If OnePlus wants to play in the big leagues, it needs to match the offerings of competitors, and the OnePlus 9T would be a great opportunity to finally break the 256GB barrier.
Usually, people point to the ease of cloud storage to justify a lack of high-capacity internal drives on phones. However, with 8K video getting more popular, file sizes are going to get enormous, and those cloud backups get expensive fast. The need for high-capacity onboard storage is only going to become more and more important, and OnePlus needs to respond.
Once again, though, OnePlus has disappointed me every year with this. My fingers are still crossed!
Android 12 out-of-the-box
Of all the items on this list, this one is probably the most likely to come true. Most “T” series phones of the past few years have launched with the latest version of Android out-of-the-box, so it would make sense for the OnePlus 9T to come with Android 12.
However, OnePlus’ software update consistency has dropped a bit over the past year or so. The OnePlus 7 series, for example, didn’t get Android 11 until seven months after it first became available. Security patches have also been coming at a slower pace, even for the Pro-level models.
When you add in the pushback OnePlus received for some of its bug-laden launches of new Android versions, you start to get the idea that maybe OnePlus will play things safe with the 9T and just launch with Android 11. We hope that’s not the case, but it could happen.
Ideally, OnePlus would use this phone’s launch as an opportunity to re-commit to its original stance on software updates, which is to deliver them quickly, consistently, and for an extended period of time. We aren’t holding our breath, though.
OnePlus 9T features wishlist: You tell us!
These five items are the things we most hope to see with the OnePlus 9T. But what do you hope to see the most? Hit up our poll below!
As we get closer to the expected launch date of the OnePlus 9T, we’ll hopefully see some of these hopes come true. If there’s something you hope to see that we didn’t cover here, feel free to post it in the comments below!