OnePlus is no stranger to introducing exclusive colors and variants for its phones down the line — like that beautiful Star Wars 5T and Avengers OnePlus 6 — but usually variant colors for a new model come months after the device's launch. The Lava Red OnePlus 6 came two months after the white and black models, but luckily for us colorful phone fanatics, Christmas came early this year.
Like the ground-shaking roar following the lightning of the 6T's launch, here comes the Thunder Purple OnePlus 6T.
Unlike the ultra bold candy apple shine of the Lava Red OnePlus has offered for the last few models, Thunder Purple is a more subtle affair, sophisticated with its black/purple gradient and a shifting, curving S that portrays the actual lightning strike down the glass back of this phone. OnePlus themed this phone around a thunderstorm at sunset, lightning carving through the fading light of day, and that bolt shimmers and shifts with the light — it's not formed by an actual rise in the 6T's black silky-smooth back.
Like lightning, it's never in the same place twice.
The gradient between storm-black clouds and purple sunset — the hue here feels sandy and soft, like it's fighting the last golden rays of sunset — starts about a quarter of the way down the phone, between the alert slider and the power button, which are both color-matched to the gradient. The purple volume rocker cuts back up into the darkness a bit, like a little cloud-to-cloud bolt. From glass back to metal bumper and buttons, from the bottom speaker grills to the top pinhole mics, this gradient colors all but the front display — a slab of inky black caressed and embraced by a powerful purple storm.
The experience inside is the same top-tier experience we praised in our full OnePlus 6T review — the in-display fingerprint scanner has been as finicky for me as it has for Daniel Bader and Harish Jonnalagadda, but the software is lightning-quick. I am still a mere three days in with this glazed gradient gemstone of a phone, but here's what I've come away with so far:
- While I am getting some misfires between swiping Back and Home, I think the biggest issue to be fixed with OnePlus' gesture navigation is that the keyboard is way too far down without the nav bar to type comfortably without either propping up the phone with my pinky — which is mad at me for doing so — or using a phone grip.
- Speaking of gestures, the screen-off music controls are dope and I am addicted! You can also set five gestures — that's right, five — to open apps, toggle the flashlight, open the camera, or automatically start recording a video.
- Between that screen-off shortcut for video recording and the Emergency Rescue feature, this phone is perfect for young women who travel alone, work late, or need an extra bit of invisible protection. And it's cute, too!
- OnePlus' free, drop dead simple system theming is wonderful — especially the custom hex color accents. Can Google's Android team implement it for ecosystem-wide dark theming? That's all I want for Christmas.
- The lack of wireless charging I can honestly forgive — I tend to use cases and phone grips that don't play nice with it — but this phone needs proper, IP-coded water resistance. You only have one port to worry about now, there's no excuse left for forgoing it.
The OnePlus 6T Thunder Purple come with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and if you were planning to grab that configuration already, you should absolutely buy this limited edition color right now — it's probably not going to last long. Then join in the hunt for a case to showcase its magnificent purple majesty!
The other hot ticket item from OnePlus this holiday season — the new OnePlus Explorer Backpack — arrived at my door alongside the OnePlus 6T. I've been dying to put this pack through its paces, and what better time to stress test a backpack than Thanksgiving travel? OnePlus is bringing back the invite system to purchase the Explorer Backpack, so before you start hunting for a code, look forward to a review in the coming weeks!
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