The upcoming OnePlus 8T, launching on Oct. 14, will charge from zero to full in under 40 minutes. Will that be enough to overcome a lack of wireless charging? We had an exclusive email interview with OnePlus CEO Pete Lau, who explained the new high-power tech going into the company’s latest phone.
OnePlus generally makes two sets of phones a year. The “T” models, released later in the year, tend to be bumps rather than complete re-engineering of the company’s smartphones, adding new features that cropped up during the year. This year OnePlus threw a wrench into some of its plans with the affordable OnePlus Nord, but as the Nord didn’t come out in the US, the 8T may be OnePlus’s big late-year play at US carriers.
Most of what’s out there about the 8T and its siblings right now are wishes and rumors. Thanks to Lau, we know that it has a 120Hz screen. We can now also exclusively confirm that it will have a new fast-charging tech, Warp Charge 65, which will deliver double the speed of OnePlus’s already speedy Warp Charge 30T.
Leakmaster Evan Blass has cited a bunch of potential models: a “OnePlus 8T Limited Edition” as well as an 8T, an 8T Pro, a Nord N100, and a Nord N105g. Before the launch, though, Lau only wanted to talk to us about the charging tech in the base 8T, which will come with a total of 4,500mAh of battery capacity.
Notice I say “total.” The 8T will have two batteries for faster charging, Lau said. That’s a tactic I’ve only previously seen on folding phones, which need to split the batteries for weight-balance reasons. Here, though, it’s because two small batteries fill faster than one big one.
“It’s like filling up a pool with water using two pipes of the same size. When the pipes are the same size, pouring water through two pipes instead of one is undoubtedly faster. By the same logic, we increased the voltage while maintaining the same current level so that the charger can fill up two batteries at the same time, delivering a more efficient and powerful charging solution,” he said.
There are two ways to push power to a device, creating more wattage: increase the amperage, which is the size of the electron pipe; or increase the voltage, which is the pressure that causes electrons to flow. Most fast-charging solutions focus more on voltage than on amperage. Increasing amperage is more efficient, but it’s also hotter and the current travels shorter distances. OnePlus uses special cables and large, heat-reducing power adapters to keep things safe.
“The voltage conversion from high to low is completed within the charger to address thermal issues. By distributing the heat between the charger and phone, better thermal reduction is achieved, ensuring an efficient and safe charge,” Lau said.
Most USB power solutions use various levels of wattage at 3 amps. USB Power Delivery (USB-PD), used with laptops, can do up to 20V at 5A, but many USB-PD chargers are 3A. Warp Charge 30T did 5V at 6A. Warp Charge 65 does 10V at 6.5A. Lower voltage also keeps the phone cooler, Lau said. (For more on those competing solutions, see our fast charging explainer.)
Galaxy S20 Ultra, with a 25-watt charger, got to 44% in 20 minutes.
The big question, of course, is whether this will overcome the lack of wireless charging. The OnePlus 8 Pro had super-fast, 30W wireless charging. The lower-cost OnePlus 8, which came out with US carriers, didn’t. The OnePlus 8 Pro’s 30W Warp Charge Wireless charging is a complex trick, which uses two charge pumps to convert a 20V, 1.5A feed from the charger to 5V/6A within the phone, as Android Central explains.
Lau said he’s betting that a big 4,500mAh total of batteries in the 8T, which can charge for a full day’s use in 15 minutes, will get rid of “battery anxiety.”
USB-C at both ends, Lau noted. You’ll be able to charge other devices from the same charger at 45W with USB-C PD, and if you use a different charger with the OnePlus 8T, the phone will charge at 27W, he said.
We still don’t know a lot about the OnePlus 8T, including how many 8T models there are going to be, what they’ll cost and which carriers they’ll appear on. We’ll find out more on Oct. 14.