The OnePlus 9 is now official, and it has exciting upgrades over its predecessor. The phone has a 120Hz AMOLED panel, the latest internal hardware in the form of a Snapdragon 888 chipset, 48MP camera with a Sony IMX sensor — the same as last year's OnePlus 8 Pro — and the same 50MP wide-angle lens as the OnePlus 9 Pro.
In short, the OnePlus 9 has the potential to be one of the best Android phones in 2021. The phone also comes with a 4500mAh battery with 65W fast charging and 15W Qi wireless charging, an exciting addition this year. But there's a big problem: the 15W wireless charging feature is limited to North American and European variants of the OnePlus 9, with the Indian unit missing out.
The global OnePlus 9 models have dimensions of 160 x 74.2 x 8.7mm and weigh 192g, while the Indian version comes in at 160 x 73.9 x 8.1mm and 183g. It's puzzling to see why the company would choose to omit a key feature in its largest market, so I asked OnePlus why there's no wireless charging on the OnePlus 9 in India, and got a non-answer that doesn't clarify much:
Since OnePlus works with carrier partners in different sales regions to design and customize products, there may be differences in some features across different regions.
OnePlus 9 uses an updated dual-battery charging technology solution for the new OnePlus Warp Charge 65T, which can charge the phone from 1% to 100% in about 29 minutes. The charging speed stays constantly fast even when users are gaming and charging at the same time.
Reading between the lines, what OnePlus is essentially saying that wireless charging isn't a feature that most customers expect in India, so it chose to omit the option and save some cash. It's instead touting the benefits of Warp Charge 65T and the fact that it fully tops up the battery in 29 minutes.
Both the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro cost a substantial premium over last year's offerings in India, so for the OnePlus 9 to miss out on wireless charging is particularly annoying. The OnePlus 9 starts off at ₹49,999 ($690) — a full 16% more than what the OnePlus 8 debuted for last year (₹41,999 ($580)). The OnePlus 9 Pro also gets a similar hike, and starts off at ₹64,999 ($900).
So while Indian customers are paying much more than they did last year, they're not getting all the features as the global variant of the OnePlus 9. OnePlus already faced a daunting task convincing customers in the country to care about its latest devices, and it isn't doing itself any favors by omitting features like wireless charging; particularly when other devices in this segment — like the Xiaomi Mi 10 — offer 30W wireless charging as standard.