OnePlus will regret removing the 3.5 mm jack

OnePlus will soon release its new 6T Smartphone. But even with all the hype, there is some tension because of OnePlus’s pretty dubious decision.

I was a fan of OnePlus, I even have the 5T I used to write half of this article and I confess that I am satisfied. But since the OP6, I started doubting the brand’s strategy.

This article reflects my opinion and my view of the situation. Feel free to share your personal opinion, I would be delighted to discuss it. I decided to write this article especially to clear my feeling towards OnePlus and other Android manufacturers in the market.

Who is OnePlus and where do they come from?

OnePlus is a company belonging to the BBK electronics group which also owns the oppo and vivo brands. Even though OnePlus claims to have control over their design process and strategy, they remain dependent of BBK. For this reason, for example, the OnePlus 6T looks very much like oppo R17.

It is also important to know that OnePlus does not have sufficient resources to do research and development or build and test their devices. You can see some kind of shortcut to operate in this way and recycle a design and hardware already established by oppo or vivo. But at the end of the day, profit is a decision-making element.

That was the most important point to clarify. Now let’s talk about the stupidity of this decision and incidentally the stupidity of the builders who follow the same optics.

The 3.5 mm jack port was an evolution

A few years ago, smartphones were not yet popular. Each Builder had fun making phones in his corner and every one had his own proprietary port. My first phone was a Nokia that had a circular charging port. The next one, Siemens had a single port for charging or for the hands-free headset. My Motorola also had a data/recharge port and a 2.5 mm jack port not compatible with some Nokia 2.5 mm headsets. But beware, Nokia had linear ports for their hands-free headsets too. It was just redicilous.

The worst though was Sony Ericsson. They had the most screwed-up port in the world. In fact, I never remember having a Sony Ericsson hands-free full headset, I had DIY my own 3.5 mm adapter to plug in my headphones. Because Yes, it was almost impossible to find accessories other than Samsung or Nokia.

Then the constructors started implementing the 3.5 mm port. For me it was paradise, listen to my music with my favorite headphones or connect the phone to any other device supporting an auxiliary input.

My last phone having a proprietary port for the audio kit was a HTC dual (Niki) and I bought so many headsets that I started looking for a Bluetooth A2DP headset to make my life easier. But if I had a choice, I would have chosen the wired solution.

In short, then there was Android, the 3.5 mm jack ports became a standard and everything went to the best.

Then came Apple

Oh Apple . . . I liked their products, especially the iPod and iPod touch. But it’s been years since their started making me crazy. Their elitist vision is only ruining everything around them.

Apple decided to “revolutionize” the world by removing the 3.5 mm connector because it was an “outdated technology”.

What Apple did was part of their marketing strategy. They wanted to both push AirPods to the general public while forcing accessory builders to use the proprietary “lightning” port as a single solution. Indeed, any Builder who will manufacture an accessory using the lightning port will have to give royalties to Apple otherwise they will risk a lawsuit that will ruin them.

This strategy is much clearer when we look at the launch of the new XS and company with the port ligntning. Amazing coming from a company that decided to remove all the ports of the MacBook and leave only the USB type-C ports and… The 3.5 mm jack port.

Okay, I’m digressing, let’s go back to the main topic.

The 3.5 mm jack port is not obsolete

Everywhere, the 3.5 mm port remains useful. It is a port designed for a simple task that it accomplishes wonderfully. The fact that it is a circular plug allows it to rotate and thus minimize the degradation of the cable. So yes, you have the syndrome of the left or right earpiece that stops working (or worse, the micro button that activates) but it is due to the cable that is damaged more than the jack plug in itself.

USB type-C to Jack adapters exist, but there is a twist, it’s worse! On Android, manufacturers are not agreeing on the correct implementation. Some adapters are analog and non-standard others are digital and incompatible with some phones. Great, here we are back in time 14 years ago!

I urge you to watch this video to understand the magnitude of the situation.

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To summarize the video above, some USB type-C dongles make a digital to analog conversion. So they can work practically with all smartphones. Other dongles are non-standard and make a kind of analogue to analogue Voodoo and therefore can not work with some smartphones.

The big problem is that you won’t be able to tell the difference between a digital and analogue USB type-C adapter. You will need to test an adapter before you buy it. Does that remind you of a certain situation? ;)

Oh yes also, you can not plug your headphones while recharging your phone (Yes, there are splitters but seriously I’ve seen people leading a sad life with them) and if you have the misfortune to ruin your USB type-C port, good luck recharging your Phone!

Are there Bluetooth solutions? Definitely, I was one of the first to have a Bluetooth A2DP headset and the experience was good. But it stops there. Recharging the headset every evening (good luck if you forget to do it). Having disconnections or annoying latency and above all an audibly different quality, frankly it’s too much of a compromise.

Well, that reminds me of an anecdote. I had to make a 7 hours trip, my Bluetooth headset had a battery life between 7 to 6h. When I was out of battery, I had to stop my music, plug it into the power Bank and voila, no music for an hour. Great, huh? Oh yes, the headset could not recharge and play music.

You would say that by buying a new model of headphones like the gorgeous Sony 1000XM3 I would not have that kind of problem. But it’s stupid that I’ve already invested in a wired Bose QC25 to then throw €300 on a new high quality headset when you already have something.

Why is OnePlus going to regret this decision?

OnePlus has already attempted its hit with the “notch”. And a lot of fans were disappointed including me at the release of the 6. So I know it’s just about tastes and we can’t discuss tastes. But this decision gives off two points:

  • OnePlus is in the process of tracking the mass of builders who themselves follow Apple.
  • We could have inspired the essential phone that uses the slot space or Xiaomi mix 3 that moves the camera down.

Many OnePlus fans have noticed the lack of apparent innovation. The disappointment is apparent and frankly, the arguments that the CEO of OnePlus, Pete LAU, are a joke. “To gain more space for components”, for a larger battery or fingerprint reader under the screen? Seriously? Does the 3.5 mm jack connector take that much? Fortunately, Samsung succeeded in fitting the 3.5mm connector, the stylus and the big battery in their Note 9 then.

In short, OnePlus will regret this decision especially in their sales. People who buy Apple devices make compromises because they are willing to do anything for an iPhone. OnePlus has only one advantage, the price, and again! According to the latest leaks, this new OnePlus 6T will be even more expensive than the 6.

But the 3.5 mm Jack will disappear

Possible, if all phone manufacturers continue to push it towards obsolescence, it will disappear from the phones. But not PC, TV and other equipment that must remain compatible. This only creates confusion for the consumer who will have to buy a Bluetooth headset/headphones to use them with his phone, headphones for his PC, etc…

It is possible that you may not agree with me, in this case I understand. This is only a rant from an occasional blogger who spits out his hatred about the current situation of smartphones that are copies of copies of other copies.

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