Does it make sense to anger ardent lovers? History and experience suggest not. But OnePlus has decided to gamble - and big time at that.
The OnePlus 5T is here. Sporting a near bezel-less 18:9 6.01-inch display. And sporting a 'better' secondary camera - a Sony IMX 376 20 MP unit with f/1.7 aperture for better low-light photography, according to OnePlus. The rougher edges that early users noticed - like the jelly scroll issue and the relatively poor finish around the rear camera unit - have both been seemingly addressed.
Yet, the price of the OnePlus 5T, set to go on sale on November 21, has been kept at Rs 32999 - the same as the OnePlus 5!
Let us repeat that because it does take some digesting for everyone. Yes, the price of the OnePlus 5T is not a jot more than Rs 32999 - the price at which the OnePlus 5 retailed. There were rumours of this possibility, but now it is a fact.
This one move is bound to be polarising - while it will thrill those planning to buy the OnePlus 5T, it will leave buyers of OnePlus 5 more than miffed. These, remember, are the people who played a huge part in helping OnePlus double their share in the premium smartphone segment in India by voting for the phone with their wallet.
To rub it into these OnePlus 5 users are tweets like these from the OnePlus official handle - "It's hard to describe just how much more natural and immersive your experience becomes once you switch from a 16:9 (OnePlus 5) to an 18:9 (OnePlus 5T) display. The closest comparison I can think of is the switching from a tube TV (OnePlus 5) to a wide flat screen (OnePlus 5T)."
Hear, hear! Welcome to the best of 2017, OnePlus 5T users. And OnePlus 5 buyers? Sorry, you hailed not only from a different year, but also from a different age. How would that leave recent buyers of OnePlus 5 feeling? You decide.
The move does make OnePlus 5T the best buy in the premium bezel-less smartphone segment, priced now as it is below even the LG G6, which with a 821 Snapdragon processor powering it, still retails at Rs 33990 at the moment.
The OnePlus 5T is also cheaper than the real competitor Mi Mix 2, which retails at Rs 35999 (though it offers more storage at 128 GB). That will possibly make it an easy choice for those planning to buy a top-of-the-line flagship.
But what of OnePlus 5 users, who till recently were not even aware that the OnePlus 5T was imminent. The official confirmation of the OnePlus 5T's imminent arrival came only on November 3 from CEO Pete Lau. Remember, in India, unlike in many other markets like the US and other western countries, the OnePlus 5 remains in stock and was being bought by enthusiastic buyers even then.
These are the people who 14 days later are staring at a bezel-less OnePlus 5T and coming to terms with its existence. How do you explain the phone to them?
Also, OnePlus had earlier in the year refuted the possibility of a OnePlus 5T, terming the OnePlus 3T as a one-off. It is that promise that has now been utterly betrayed.
No doubt, the OnePlus 5T will turn out to be a stellar phone. Also, considering what it has to offer (it even keeps the headphone jack), it is bound to be a huge favourite among prospective buyers in the premium segment. But come 2018, expect OnePlus 6 buyers to be a little more wary. The reception of that device, if OnePlus sticks to its annual June launch schedule, will let us know if the gamble that OnePlus took to keep up with the times helped them or not.
Highlights from the OnePlus 5T specs-sheet: