OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has confirmed in a forums post that the company’s upcoming 5T smartphone will ship with a headphone jack. The executive announced this detail ahead of a formal unveiling of the device which is expected sometime later this month.
But why keep the headphone jack while other manufacturers are getting rid of it? According to Lau, it’s for a couple of reasons. For one, audio quality is simply better over a wired connection. “When we surveyed the OnePlus community, 70% of users told us that their priority was sound quality,” said Lau. “On the whole, wireless earbuds aren’t there yet to provide the same quality of audio. Are the best wireless headphones comparable to the best of the wired? That’s possible. But as you get closer to the under $200 category, the options are more limited. Keeping the headphone jack allows our users to continue to take full advantage of the excellent range of audio choices on the market. Not to mention our own Bullet V2 earphones.”
Second, users actually use the headphone jack. “Nearly 80% of our users use in-jack headphones,” said Lau. “…the question we asked ourselves was whether replacing the 3.5 mm jack with a USB-C port would bring a noticeably improved experience for our users. In other words, is it worth the trade off? And our assessment was no, this design decision was not worth taking away our users’ freedom to use their favorite earphones and accessories.”
Admittedly, Lau notes OnePlus was considering getting rid of the headphone jack on the 5T and replacing it with a USB-C port. “The advantage to USB-C is that it would have let us further slim down our flagships,” he said. So it looks like for this device, the company chose function over form, and I’m sure it made people’s days.
For the time being, OnePlus will be keeping the headphone jack around. Whether they will for the OnePlus 6 is unknown, but one thing’s for certain: the company was careful with its wording in the forums post. It leaves room for them to ditch the hack next year or in ten years. All we know is the 5T will be compatible with 3.5mm-connected headphones. For what it’s worth, the rest is a mystery.