There’s nothing simple about the scene at the OnePlus 10T launch event, and in a place called Gotham Hall, how could it be? The ceiling and walls are lit in bright red, and the audience is covered in blue glow. There is also a chandelier in the middle of the ceiling that gives a real The phantom of the opera percussion instrument.
OnePlus didn’t leave much to the imagination which led to its launch. For example, a pair of 10Ts are embedded in the wall where the audience is walking, so the jig is ready. As usual, OnePlus has also previously distilled the specs, of slides to me Controversial missing alert slider. It’s a color by numbers picture of the phone with nearly every part highlighted except for one key spec: the price.
Like everyone sitting around me in the media section, I’ve had the OnePlus 10T to test under lockdown for two weeks. We know how it works, its cost, and we’ve shaped our opinions about who should or shouldn’t buy it. We are not here to learn anything new. Here we are – just down the street from Broadway – for a bit of theatre.
So are a few hundred other attendees, and it’s not just about the tech industry types: OnePlus opened the doors to anyone who might pay $25 for a ticket. Attendees begin to crowd into the standing room in the back as the seats fill up, and someone with the Extreme Movie Announcer Voice informs us that more chairs have arrived.
there Chairs are not enough for everyone, but the action begins anyway, and it’s just as cinematic as the venue indicated: projectors light up walls above and around the stage to emphasize what’s being advertised: lightning for fast charging; Volcanic rock revealing design, etc. You might think you’ve been to a really dramatic theater show or maybe at the Cirque du Soleil, but nope, it’s all about the phone.
To that end, a slide early in the presentation is just an initial spec that gets a round of enthusiastic applause. A gentleman behind me is calling out, “Where’s the alert slider?” A few times when presenters pause. This is really a unique kind of drama.
The presentation continues for a bit, and at the end of a file
the color OxygenOS 13-bit, we’re all ready to get out of our seats. Someone around is playing a game I don’t recognize on their phone – maybe 10TB? This is a good use case for it anyway. The presentation probably went on for a long time – we’ve sat through one video twice! – Or maybe I just have to pee. If this was a hypothetical event like all the others in the past two years, this wouldn’t be a problem. But I am stuck in my seat by a wall of people in the sitting room only blocking my way to the exit. Finally, the grand prize has been revealed, and we’re encouraged to visit the demo stations in the rooms at the back of the theatre.
It’s perhaps a fresh perspective after more than two years of a somewhat secluded existence, but the demo mode is a bit of a wonderland – familiar but not so. Servers carry around bowls of OnePlus-branded iced coffee and names that work on the phone’s features, such as the “Long life latte.” There is a whole menu of snacks and drinks like that, but the brand stops short of covering the Bud Light logo on one of the coolers.
One of the rooms contains a disassembled model of the phone’s cooling system, immersed in dry ice and dramatically lit, like the Ark of the Covenant. There’s also a wall of previous OnePlus devices with alert sliders as far as the eye can see – what a tease.
There are swag bags on the way out, of course, and back through the glass to 36th Street, sweltering heat and bright sunshine. An event host is on the sidewalk waiting for an Uber (look? They’re just like us!), and I stay for a minute before I rush to the next step on my calendar. This was not the case Hamiltonbut it was good entertainment – albeit a little strange.
Photo by Alison Johnson/The Verge