I love a good collaboration, especially when it involves a high-end phone and a luxury car maker. Huawei has partnered with Porsche on more than one occasion to make ultra-sleek, even more powerful versions of its flagships like the Porsche Design Mate 10, but why let them have all the fun?
OnePlus has had a pretty good year, with the successful launch of two flagships, the OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T. The latter was particularly good news for the company, as both its first phone sold by a carrier in the U.S. and its first phone to support Verizon's network — not to mention one of the first phones with an in-display fingerprint sensor. Now, to cap off the year, OnePlus has partnered with McLaren — yes, that McLaren — to make a special edition of the 6T designed with one thing in mind, and one thing only: speed.
Available in Western Europe and North America starting December 13 (with plans to launch in India, China, and the Nordics shortly after), the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition isn't a sequel or a complete re-envisioning of the phone that launched last month. In fact, at first glance it looks almost identical to the regular 6T, save for a custom finish on the back that outlines the bottom two-thirds of the phone with an eye-catching Papaya Orange (McLaren's signature color) border, and fills the upper two-thirds with carbon fiber styling.
Given how great the normal 6T looks and feels, though, that's hardly a knock. This phone feels outstandingly well-built, albeit far too slippery for my liking thanks to the glossy coating. Thankfully, tucked inside the box is a grippy carbon fiber-themed case, emblazoned with the same McLaren logo found on the back of the phone itself.
Speaking of the box, there's a lot tucked in here to sweeten the deal. You get a plaque commemorating the collaboration between OnePlus and McLaren, with the same "Salute to Speed" slogan that you'll find all throughout the phone's packaging. There's a book detailing the legacies of each company, with the McLaren Edition 6T packaged neatly in the last page.
Also included is one of the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition's differentiating features, the new 30W Warp Charger, along with a braided USB A-to-C cable in Papaya Orange. This is the first phone to support OnePlus' new charging standard, which the company says offers a full day's power in 20 minutes.
I suppose that depends on what you consider a full day's power; in my testing, 20 minutes was enough to go from a completely dead battery to 48%. That's pretty great, especially given that it's a 3700mAh cell, but even with the 6T's long-lasting battery, I don't know if I'd call that a full day. Still, the 50 minutes it took for me to reach a full 100% is impressive, and convenient when you're in a rush to leave the house.
Once you boot up the phone and get through the setup process, it's mostly standard fare OxygenOS running on top of Android 9 Pie, but there are a few notable changes to the software. You get a custom McLaren theme that's enabled by default (you can probably guess by now — it's Papaya Orange), along with a nice new animation for the in-display fingerprint sensor.
You also get McLaren AR, which lets you point the phone's camera at pictures in the included McLaren/OnePlus book to flip through different photos and even play videos — it's nothing groundbreaking, but it's a super cool addition for avid fans of either company.
Furthering the companies' "Salute to Speed" mantra, the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition features a whopping 10GB of RAM to keep things running smoothly no matter how much you toss at it. It's utterly excessive, especially considering my Pixel 3 runs perfectly fine on 4GB (at least, after the most recent software update), but I certainly won't complain about having too much power.
The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition strikes me as a phone that completely nails brand collaboration. It adds just enough style without taking away from the phone's original design, both in hardware and software, and tosses in a nice spec bump in the process. The commemorative McLaren gear will make any Formula 1 fan's heart skip a beat, and going beyond novelty, the Warp Charger is a genuinely useful new feature.
Coming in at $699, the McLaren Edition 6T carries a $70 premium over the standard 256GB 6T (and $170 more than the base model), but that's still considerably cheaper than most other flagships on the market, and in my opinion, that added cost is plenty justified by the aforementioned perks. If you already bought a 6T, there's no need to feel bad about missing this version (unless you're a McLaren superfan), but it's a great collectible, and an awesome addition to OnePlus' lineup.
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