OnePlus has unveiled their latest smartphone, the OnePlus 10T, and by doing so have shown just how far a phone can go in the interest of performance and gaming. Delivering flagship specs, features designed with gaming in mind, incredibly fast charging, and a new cooling system, this is poised to be the best gaming phone OnePlus has ever released.
CGMagazine took time to attend the OnePlus 10T launch in New York, and managed to talk to Head of Integrated Marketing for OnePlus North America, Jeff Norris. With performance and gaming in mind, we dive into what makes this latest phone so exciting, what features hardcore mobile gamers should look forward to, and how OnePlus as a brand are always looking to bring something better year over year.
CGMagazine: The OnePlus 10T is a major step up in the OnePlus processor and features. Why are these features so important to mobile gaming, and what was the choice internally to focus on with that?
Jeff Norris: I think from a macro perspective, when we think about our core customer, gaming is a very important segment of our customer base. When we think about how we can server our customers to the best of our ability, we need to look at both hardware and software and the marriage of the two. Within the OnePlus 10T specifically, we have the upgraded Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which provides peak enhancement and peak power, while also providing more power efficiency, so the battery isn’t drained while gaming.
When we think about other hardware features, like the 125 Watt fast-charging capability, sometimes with other devices, your battery’s running low, you plug it in, you’re playing a first person, graphic intensive game, and you’re actually still losing power, even though it’s plugged in. Because of our fast-charging capability with 125 Watts, you can actually plug it in, still play and have your battery continue to power up. So, you’re not losing anything.
On the technical side, we have what’s called a Battery Health Engine. Essentially, what it does is the device will know whether it’s using a game. If you’re charged, it will reduce the amount of energy so that way it preserves overall battery health life in the longer term.
If you’re not optimizing the features on the back end, you’re really doing your customer and your user a disservice. So, there are a ton of software features, such as the HyperBoost Gaming optimization software features that we have that really provide the balance of not only high-spec devices on our hardware and supply side, but ultimately the software as well.
CGMagazine: As mobile gaming becomes more intensive, especially with things that are now releasing from console or PC, how do you view the OnePlus’ place to take advantage of those games and continue to provide a great experience?
Jeff Norris: As we think about the high-intensive graphic gaming, you need to look at not just power, but the efficiency on the back end. When you think about the screen technology that we’re including on the OnePlus 10T, you think about how users use the device to play mobile games. It’s horizontal. So, something we’ve done on the OnePlus 10T is drive a 360-degree antenna, so you’re providing more antenna bands to make sure that connectivity is efficient. When you test a smartphone, typically you’re looking at it, and it’s vertical. But when you’re playing it horizontally, you need to make sure that there are bands all around to make sure the connectivity is good.
If you’re playing a first-person shooter game, and all of a sudden, your network connectivity drastically decreases, on other phones your graphics and your rendering would also decrease based off of the connectivity With the GPA stabilization, we’re able to ensure that the graphic rendering is continuous. So that’s a better, smoother game experience for users.
CGMagazine: Can you talk about the new HyperBoost, and what OnePlus did to make it so helpful for gamers?
Jeff Norris: HyperBoost is really our umbrella term and within HyperBoost there are several software optimizations. The GPA Stabilization is one, we also have the LSTouch feature, which really looks at the touch sampling rate. Say you’re playing a first-person shooter game. When you hit the button to shoot, it’s the lag time between when you hit the button to where it goes to the SOC to when it goes back to the rendering, and all of that is optimized. You’re actually shooting quicker, or playing quicker, or jumping quicker at your press, versus other competitors.
So literally, in first-person shooter games, that could mean the experience between life and death within your game.
Also, within gaming, especially high-intensive graphic games, sometimes your phone will heat up, just given the processing power it takes to really drive a really peak and optimized gaming performance. Within the OnePlus 10T, we have the 3D cooling system, which is the largest and most optimized on a OnePlus device. So even though we’re using the top-of-the-line chipset and able to drive all this peak performance power, we’re able to still keep your phone cool because of the technology we have in it. So, it doesn’t get worn to the touch.
CGMagazine: When designing the phone, how much time do you use testing and looking at what will make the best addition to the phone versus a superfluous addition that looks good on paper, but doesn’t actually add to it?
Jeff Norris: The direct line we have with our community really helps us understand and get direct feedback from our audience, which are core gamers, to understand ultimately, what do they want in a phone and within a feature set, both hardware and software, to really try that. Testing wise, we continuously get feedback, and we continue to optimize devices, now as well as in the future.
It’s a continuous process not just gathering feedback, but looking at the feedback, implementing it into our devices, whether that’s OnePlus 10T or future devices. It’s an always on, testing and optimizing feature and platform updates that we continue to drop.
CGMagazine: The market for mobile gaming is very competitive. It looks like gaming is the best way to showcase what you’ve done with the OnePlus 10T, not necessarily just for gaming. Is gaming something that’s going to continue being a focus in future OnePlus phones?
Jeff Norris: Think about the T device as ultra-performance We look at the user of the 10T more as a power user. Gaming is one segment, one capability of the phone that we think really showcases not just the hardware, but the software integration. But we know that power users don’t just like gaming, they need to do anything and everything on their device all at the same time.
Because of the hardware capabilities with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, because of the fast charging, someone’s not tethered to an outlet for a couple hours. It’s literally 10 minutes to get a full day’s charge. We want to make sure our users are not hindered by our device but empowered by it. We believe that with the OnePlus 10T we’re doing that across the power user segment, but specifically gaming as well.
“We want to make sure our users are not hindered by our device but empowered by it.”
CGMagazine: Internally, do you test with any specific games or try everything you can throw at it?
Jeff Norris: I don’t know if I can provide specific titles, but we do look at the popular games that are around. We’re not testing with Candy Crush, right? Great game, but maybe not what our customers play or doesn’t really showcase the power or the ability of mobile games at the same time. Whether that’s high-intensive first-person shooters, whether that’s really graphic intensive games.
It’s kind of across the board, ensuring that there are optimizations both on the high-end of the mobile game, but also further on down, so we’re not just catering to a PUBG Mobile or Call of Duty Mobile, there’s other ways that we’re driving optimizations for games like Minecraft for instance. A very popular game, but maybe not the most intensive from a graphic perspective, so there’s a balance, but we do look across titles.
CGMagazine: Obviously at CGMagazine, we’re gamers, so we understand why you may have taken certain things out to make room for others. Is there anything you want to say specifically about the removal of the volume slider on the OnePlus 10T?
Jeff Norris: There’s obviously a balance in terms of what we can fit in a device and ensure that it’s true to the touch and feel of the device. When you think about what we’ve been able to drive into the OnePlus 10T, with a dual pump for the 125 Watt, whether it’s the 360 antenna, whether it’s the large battery, we made the decision to put all of that in there and remove the alert slider.
As we think about future products and iterations, that doesn’t mean the alert slider is gone. We are continuing to find ways to optimize the hardware and make sure everything fits within the PCB board. We’re going to solve it and our engineers are hard at work.
CGMagazine: Do you feel like you have to apologize for it?
Jeff Norris: I think the OnePlus brand is so different from others to where we are in a good and bad position. We have this direct line with our community. We get all sorts of feedback, pros and cons. I think we have to make sure that, as we always have in the past, we continue to listen to what they want, and what they need in a device.
That puts us in, again, a great position because we’re driving features and functions that our customers want, but always needing to iterate because just like us, they always want something better. We want to continue to provide that year in year out.
CGMagazine: You’re talking about your customers specifically; do you think that going into this gaming direction and really making it known, that’s going to change your customer base or alienate it?
Jeff Norris: I don’t think it would change or alienate; I think it would only expand it. Our core customers are hardcore gamers. The performance we continue to put into our devices, from a flagship perspective, has really kind of geared ourselves towards those hardcore gamers. I think as we continue to iterate on that, both from a hardware and software perspective, we’re only going to expand our audience in that realm as we continue to drive this peak performance and ultra performance within our, specifically OnePlus 10T device.