Despite the OnePlus 10T, the alert slider isn’t going away

OnePlus has stressed numerous times that the alert slider isn't gone for good, even though it's missing from its latest device.

One of the biggest perks of buying a OnePlus phone is the alert slider, bar none. I’ve reviewed a handful of OnePlus phones in my day, and I can tell you that every time my SIM card exits one, I notice how much I miss being able to flick a switch to set my phone to vibrate or silent mode. So you can imagine my disappointment when I got my 10T to review and I found out there was no slider.

To the distain of many tech reviewers and fans of OnePlus in general, the alert slider was replaced by software controls on the 10T. Knowing that this would quickly become a controversy after years of including the feature, OnePlus published a press statement along with today’s announcements. The reason behind the removal? All the new stuff packed inside got in the way.

OnePlus basically said that the alert slider takes up more room than you think, with internal components eating up space that features like the larger battery and 360-degree antennas need.

Since the launch of the OnePlus 3T, our T nomenclature has represented a holistic
performance upgrade for users. With the OnePlus 10T, we wanted to take that concept to the next level by evolving the device’s upgrades beyond improvements to speed alone. To achieve this goal, a necessary trade-off was the removal of our signature alert slider that provided us with the necessary space inside the device to add new, meaningful technologies that deliver key advancements to the OnePlus experience while maintaining a thin and light form factor.

Based on feedback from the OnePlus Community forum and OnePlus Open Ears forums, we know our users expect OnePlus devices to have high wattage charging, a large battery capacity, and better antenna signal. To excel in each of these three areas, space inside the phone needs to be occupied by new technology.

The rest of the statement is basically OnePlus justifying the removal of the slider, touching on things like gaming and the extra space the new 3D Cooling System needs. However, the end of the statement is where things get interesting.

Here’s OnePlus’ quote verbatim:

Our product team plans to overcome this technical and design challenge in future devices so we can deliver improved technologies while retaining our signature alert slider. While the OnePlus 10T does not have the alert slider, this does not mean it will be removed from all future OnePlus devices.

Behold, the alert slider isn’t dying with the 10T. OnePlus just seems to be experimenting with its devices and nailing down the experience they want to achieve.

Is removing the alert slider ever a good thing? No. It’s one of the most convenient features to ship on an Android phone since… forever. But I kind of get why OnePlus did this: the T-series has always been a place where the company has experimented with different technologies and features, and that doesn’t change with the 10T. So if it requires removing the alert slider, they aren’t really concerned.

However, that begs the question when the slider will return. Will OnePlus include the same 125W charging, 15 antennas, larger battery, and cooling system in the OnePus 11 or 11 Pro? Will that require the alert slider to be dropped once again, or will OnePlus figure out a way to keep it? Could the slider only live on flagship devices and no longer appear on T-series handsets?

There’s a lot of questions with not a lot of answers. For the time being, OnePlus is sticking with the slider making a return in the future, so if you were concerned about its fate after the 10T, you can rest easy.