OnePlus 12 needs one upgrade more than any other if it wants to be taken seriously

A render of the OnePlus 12, based on an alleged pre-production model
(Image credit: OnLeaks/MySmartPrice)

OnePlus has long coined the term “never settle” with its phones. In fact, it’s still prominently posted on the company’s website where “it's never about perfection. It's about the constant pursuit of better.” I honestly think they need a reminder about that statement if the OnePlus 12 has any chance of being taken seriously as a flagship contender.

So far, the rumors paint the OnePlus 12 as a device that could make its mark in our best phones list, and with an anticipated announcement in January, things are certainly going to continue heating up. While it’s expected to be an absolute beast in the battery life department, something that the OnePlus flagships are renowned for, wireless charging is a non-negotiable feature that needs to be in this new phone.

OnePlus customers and critics have been clamoring for this feature to return, first introduced with the OnePlus 8 Pro and last seen with the OnePlus 10 Pro, but the last few OnePlus phones have omitted it. By now I think it’s unacceptable for any flagship phone to not have this. Here’s why.

Cheaper phones have wireless charging

Google Pixel 7a vs. iPhone SE

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The biggest reason why I have issues with OnePlus continuing to omit wireless charging in its flagships is because phones that cost less have the feature. Take the iPhone SE (3rd Gen) and Pixel 7a, which cost $429 and $499 respectively. They’re classified as mid-range phones, but still manage to offer users the convenience of wireless charging.

When it first became widely available, wireless charging was a feature reserved for the most premium phones, but that’s changed.

I’ll admit that the OnePlus 11’s launch price of $699 is hard to overlook when I get deeper into its specs versus those aforementioned phones. However, the cost of a circuit board with a coil charging pad wouldn’t be immense. In fact, you can find them on average for about $10 on Amazon — so I would imagine that OnePlus could at least get a substantial discount with a bulk order.

When it first became widely available, wireless charging was a feature reserved for the most premium phones, but that’s changed. The broader availability of wireless charging in cheaper phones is also helping to spur a consumer spending change.

Wireless charging pads are increasingly common

Twelve South HiRise 3 Deluxe 3-in-1 MagSafe for StandBy Mode on top of night stand.

(Image credit: Twelve South)

People are lured to the potential of wireless charging with the endless amount of wireless charging accessories out there. Apple’s MagSafe wireless charging standard has certainly spurred the rise of these 3-in-1 wireless charging pads — which charges the iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch simultaneously. And now that I’ve experienced what StandBy Mode in iOS 17 has to offer — which turns your iPhone into a mini alarm clock and smart display — it simply adds to the value of wireless charging.

I personally use Nomad’s Base Station charging pad and love how I can set my phones on it to charge when I get home. There’s no fussing over a wire to connect to my phone and wireless earbud cases, which is why I find so much value in wireless charging pads. 

It’s great that the OnePlus 11 is able to fully recharge its battery with 30 minutes of charging, but I don't think people are likely to trot around the USB-C cable and power adapter with them all the time. That’s why you find wireless charging pads in places like coffee shops and restaurants, giving people the ability to top up their battery even when it’s just for a short period of time.

Something is better than nothing

OnePlus 11 charging port

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

One of the juiciest OnePlus 12 rumors floating around is that it could get 50W wireless charging. That would be impressive if it does indeed turn out true, but that would mean finding a wireless charger that supports that speed. There are no wireless chargers that could do that, so for this rumor to exist, I would imagine OnePlus is working on it perhaps. But while this is overkill in my opinion, I would gladly settle for just about any charging speed at this point.

Most Android flagships top out at 15W wireless charging, like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. I would no doubt be impressed by 50W wireless charging with the OnePlus 12, but considering how it’s been a long overdue feature, I would be content if it even settled on 7.5W. Given how long we’ve gone without wireless charging in a OnePlus phone, it would be in OnePlus’ interest to give us something super fast.

OnePlus 12: Pricing could be a key factor

This is where things could get dicey for the potential of getting wireless charging with the OnePlus 12. As we’ve seen with the two most recent flagship releases, the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Pixel 8 Pro, their prices were increased. The OnePlus 11 launched at $699 earlier this year, but if it follows the trend of its rivals, we could see a higher price point for the OnePlus 12.

If it does increase, then there’s no reason why wireless charging shouldn’t be a feature. If OnePlus wants to make an impression, the company could pull off its own ‘one more thing’ at the phone’s announcement that could end with it supporting wireless charging. Now that would be a ‘never settle’ impression.

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John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.