Opinion poll: Should Google Pixel 8 get a physical alert slider like OnePlus 11?
OnePlus recently unveiled the OnePlus 11, and one thing I was quick to notice is the return of what made it such an iconic brand of smartphones.
Truth be told. OnePlus is no longer the brand it was when it came to life a decade ago. What used to be a flagship killer with top-end specs and aggressive pricing quickly became a costly affair over the recent years.
The fan-favorite clean and lightweight OxygenOS is no longer the same thing that got many enthusiasts aboard the OnePlus ship. Much of this has been attributed to Oppo’s influence through ColorOS.
Despite some fans losing touch with the company’s new strategy, something that remained constant for the most part is the iconic alert slider.
For the uninitiated, OnePlus phones prior to the OnePlus 10T came with a small, physical switch above the power button for quickly switching between Ring, Silent, and Vibrate modes.
Removing the physical alert slider on the OnePlus 10T last year turned out to be an unpopular move among the faithful, something that explains its return with the latest OnePlus 11.
While there’s no direct correlation with the return of the alert slider, it’s no coincidence that the OnePlus 11 is already receiving glowing reviews from early adopters.
The distinct texture of the alert slider makes it easy to identify even with the phone in your pocket and effortlessly switch between the various preset modes with one finger. This can be a life saver during meetings.
The software and hardware optimizations around it also make up for a unique experience. For instance, the vibration motor promises excellent feedback thanks to the different vibrations produced based on where the slider moves.
Through OxygenOS optimization, OnePlus has also ensured that an alert pops up on the screen, whether it’s on or off, showing the current status or mode of the slider — be it Silent, Vibrate, or Ring.
The 10T felt out of place without the alert slider. OnePlus bringing it back means the company listens to feedback, but it also points to what OnePlus and its fans see as the brand’s identity.
Sure, having a physical alert slider makes OnePlus phones unique. In fact, apart from the iPhone that has a similar volume switch, no other smartphone vendor has this feature, which gives the phones an equally unique identity.
Perhaps this is something Google could look to “borrow”. The two were at some point viewed as the closest there was in terms of clean and smooth software. But things have since changed with recent OxygenOS iterations.
Google Pixel phones are known for what they offer in terms of software. And so are (or were) OnePlus phones. This is what made Nexus phones stand out, and it’s still the same for Pixel phones.
While hardware has never been Google’s thing, the company has recently taken a different path to focus more on hardware — something that explains the emergence of the Tensor chipset.
The latest Pixel 7 series also features a unique design language that makes the phones quite a marvel. But there’s always the urge to improve further, and what easy way than “borrowing” what seems to work for your competitors?
OnePlus has had the alert slider for close to a decade, so the company knows its way around it and how to make it work.
But if Google were to take this route for the Pixel 8, I’d fancy it over OnePlus due to the potential of what the Pixel software can do when properly optimized with hardware. But of course, this is a dream that may never come true.
Do feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. There’s also a poll below to vote.
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