OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition hands-on review

The OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition is the company's flagship smartphone for 2019. It is the second model in the McLaren series after the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition of last year.

By now you may be familiar with the McLaren Edition M.O. These devices come loaded with the highest features and specifications that OnePlus has to offer, along with some special design elements, packaging and software customizations. That's pretty much the story this year as well but let's look a bit more closely to see what we are getting.

The unique packaging for the McLaren Edition devices is one of the things that set them apart from the regular OnePlus smartphones. Last year, the company had a large orange square box, which was a departure from the usual white boxes that OnePlus phones came in. This year, the company has used the same tall box design it has used for its new T-series phones and taken it further.

The 7T Pro McLaren Edition comes in a tall box that almost looks like something you'd get with a bottle of premium liquor. The box is even taller than the packaging for the standard 7T Pro, which itself comes in a rather tall red box.

The box is covered in orange paper wrapping with a repeating parallelogram pattern embossed on it. The orange isn't just any orange but rather Papaya Orange, or the company color for McLaren that has been used in their cars and branding for years. On the front of the box are small OnePlus and McLaren logos. Gone is the 'Salute to Speed' text of last year, which we didn't think much of anyway.

The rest of the box is pretty nondescript, except for the shipload of regulatory stickers on the back. They do spoil the look but then again, you can't ship anything without them. Also found here is a small sticker from McLaren announcing this is official McLaren-branded merchandise.

What we see on the outside is actually just the cover. The actual box for the phone is inside the orange wrapping paper and features the same carbon fiber pattern from last year.

Inside the box

Inside, the packaging is quite familiar. You get a thin sleeve containing all the paperwork. Normally you'd also find a clear case here as with other OnePlus phones, but you won't find that here. Below the sleeve sits the phone, which we'll get to later.

One of the cooler things about the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition packaging last year were the color themed charger and cable. They are back again this year and look just as good. The charging cable is braided unlike the rubberized cable on other OnePlus phones and has a sweet Papaya Orange color with black and orange connectors. The charger is all black except for the area around the plugs and the USB connector, which are orange.

Last year, the charger was a bit special, as it supported Warp Charge, a rebranded and faster version of the DASH charge that OnePlus shipped until that point. However, the 30W charger you get with the 7T Pro McLaren Edition is identical to the one you get with the 7T Pro and the 7T in terms of charging speed.

A OnePlus package isn't complete without a case, and especially not a McLaren Edition. Last year, the company included a fairly basic case with a carbon fiber design. It looked decent but wasn't anything special. This year, OnePlus has decided to take it up a notch.

The case is placed in almost a hidden panel below the box. You have to grab on to the orange base of the box and then lift the rest of it to access the case underneath. It reminds us a bit of the Easter egg that OnePlus had hidden underneath the OnePlus 5T Star Wars Limited Edition, although this is far more obvious and less cryptic.

The case is hidden under the box

The case is a clear step-up over what we usually see in these special editions. It's a hard plastic case with a rubberized texture. The back has a carbon fiber pattern around the sides. In the middle sits the plush Alcantara, which feels great to touch. Also found in the middle are chrome-finished McLaren and OnePlus logos as well as a cutout for the camera, including the awkward cutout for the relocated laser autofocus system.

The case is easily one of the nicest things about this entire package. It looks great and thanks to a combination of smooth rubberized plastic and soft Alcantara it also feels great. We do have some reservations about the durability of Alcantara on a phone case but the material has been successfully used in car upholstery for years now and is known to age well so perhaps we don't need to worry too much.

The Alcantara McLaren Protective case

Being a first party case, it obviously has perfectly placed cutouts for all the bits around and the buttons on the side feel great to operate. The case has raised edges on the front that prevent the display from getting in contact with a hard surface. The case is also not particularly thick or heavy and doesn't add much bulk to the phone. Overall, it's a really nicely made case.

The case is the last aspect of this phone's packaging. As usual, there are no earphones here and this year there's also no audio adapter. Last year's phone also came with a clear plastic frame with a piece of carbon fiber shaped in the McLaren logo but this year there's none of that, either. It seems all the work and creativity went into the case and there wasn't much else left for anything else. We would have liked to see at least one extra bit like all previous special editions but it seems OnePlus has decided to keep it simple this year.

OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition hands-on review
OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition hands-on review
OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition hands-on review
OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition hands-on review