OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition hands-on: A case of missed opportunities

Fast phones and fast cars have a lot in common: Bleeding edge hardware, cutting edge design, and a certain amount of exclusivity. Last year, OnePlus collaborated with the iconic British Motor racing team and debuted the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition. From the box packaging to the design, the phone paid homage to the success of McLaren. It even included memorabilia like a collectible booklet and a commemorative plaque. This year, things are a bit different with the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition. 

Let’s backtrack a bit. To understand the significance of the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition’s colorway requires a bit of a history lesson. It was the season of 1968 when McLaren debuted the striking Papaya Orange livery. Clad in the new colorway, the team’s F1 cars roared on towards victory all the way till 1971 when the livery was retired. The color remains special for the brand and is synonymous with the winning team.

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Enter the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition. Gone is the elaborate packaging. Instead you get a stripped-to-the-bones, carbon fibre-style box with the instantly recognisable Papaya Orange colorway underneath. For a device that is priced substantially more than the standard variant of the OnePlus 7T Pro, and is meant to be a collectors edition piece, there’s very little in the box to make it worth your while. The box includes a black Warp Charge 30T power brick, an orange fabric wrapped charging cable, as well as a special edition case that mixes alcantara with carbon fibre. I think it looks pretty ugly. 

OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition full image of pattern design

With all that history, it only makes sense that OnePlus decided to stick to a slick papaya orange stripe that almost resembles a racing stripe around the edges of the phone. The glossy piano-black finish of the OnePlus 7T Pro seamlessly merges into the orange accents to give the phone a gorgeous — and dare I say — aerodynamic look to it? The phone certainly seems to be channeling the design language and ethos of McLaren’s hyper cars in this colorway. 

OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition in hand

There’s a lot going on with the design of the OnePlus 7T Pro and the woodgrain style finish at the back left me scratching my head. The grain doesn’t necessarily inspire a feeling of speed and is barely visible unless you’ve got a strong light source shining down on it. Did I mention the woodgrain pattern looks hideous? 

OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition with McLaren logo

I do like the orange accents that run around the edges of the phone. Along with the McLaren branding at the bottom, these do a lot more to make the phone look sporty and visually appealing. 

OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition camera module showing pattern design

Internally, the phone is pretty much a bog standard OnePlus 7T Pro, with a few more gigabytes of RAM added in for good measure. The alert slider on the right matches the color of the accents and adds a subtle design flair. Elsewhere, there’s a custom theme with orange accents and a carbon fiber texture in the notification shade. It’s a very subtle approach to design and I can’t help but wish that OnePlus had been a bit more bold here.  

Also read: OnePlus 7T Pro specs: Nominal upgrades

The OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition comes across as a case of missed opportunities because of how little the company has done to differentiate the hardware. Other than the additional RAM (totaling 12GB) and the mild software skinning, there’s nothing here that is different compared to the regular OnePlus 7T Pro. 

Buy the OnePlus 7T Pro

The OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition is really just a OnePlus 7T Pro with 12GB of RAM and a questionable paint job. It’s a shame OnePlus wasn’t unable to add in some of the faster charging tech that Oppo and Vivo have been showing off. Or perhaps even a 120Hz display. The phone is priced at Rs. 58,999 and £799, which is a lot to pay for the limited additions here. Unless you are fixated on owning everything McLaren, you will probably be better off just buying a regular OnePlus 7T Pro.

This is probably not the McLaren you’re looking for.