OnePlus dominated the attention of smartphone and television enthusiasts through September and October, launching a handful of new products across both segments. The second of two major launch events was centred around the OnePlus 7T Pro and OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition. The latter is the latest in a line of special edition devices that started with the OnePlus 5T Star Wars Edition back in late 2017.
This is the second time that OnePlus has worked with McLaren on a special edition smartphone, after the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition which launched late last year. What does the Rs. 58,999 OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition have that sets it apart from the regular OnePlus 7T Pro? We review to find out.
At Rs. 58,999, the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition costs Rs. 5,000 more than the regular OnePlus 7T Pro (Review). A key specification change aside (more on that later), the additional money buys you a few things, including a unique colour scheme and pattern at the back, along with a McLaren logo near the bottom.
You also get a McLaren-themed protective case for the phone in the box, a black-and-orange Warp Charge 30T charging adapter with the McLaren logo, and an orange nylon-braided charging cable. The case has the same pattern at the edges as on the Karbon bumper case, with a segment in the middle featuring Alcantara, a type of fabric used in the interiors of McLaren cars. It feels quite nice to touch, and the case looks sturdy enough to keep the smartphone safe.
Those things aside, the McLaren Edition is the same as a regular OnePlus 7T Pro in terms of build quality. We quite liked the orange accents near the edges, on the alert slider, and around the camera module, as well as the unique survey map-like pattern around the camera module at the back. The strong use of orange on this device is inspired by the ‘papaya orange' shade of the McLaren Racing Formula 1 car, while the pattern borrows from the interior aesthetic of the McLaren Speedtrail limited edition hypercar.
Fans of McLaren Racing and McLaren's consumer sportscars will appreciate these design elements. If the colours and designs don't quite appeal to you, the regular OnePlus 7T Pro is available in a more muted ‘haze blue' colour option.
Under the hood, the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition is the same as the regular OnePlus 7T Pro, apart from one key difference — the amount of RAM. The device comes with a massive 12GB of RAM, four gigabytes or 50 percent more than on the regular OnePlus 7T Pro. We're going to say this straight away — it's more RAM than you could possibly need right now. However, in the long term (maybe two or three years down the line) you might find that it helps.
The software is largely the same as what you get on the regular OnePlus 7T Pro, with a few small McLaren-themed differences. There is a unique set of wallpapers that match the look and feel of the phone, and the main clock widget has a font that looks a bit more ‘sporty' than the one on the regular widget. You also get a special fingerprint sensor animation, horizon light colour, and a McLaren icon pack for the OxygenOS interface. All of these go well with each other and match the exterior of the phone.
As with the regular edition, the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition comes with Android 10-based OxygenOS 10 out-of-the-box, and is on the same software update path as well. This means that the device will receive software updates alongside the OnePlus 7T Pro.
We won't go into the details of the day to day performance of the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition, since we've already talked about this in detail in our review of the regular OnePlus 7T Pro. The core experience is the same when it comes to much of the hardware and software. There is just one big difference here, the 12GB of RAM.
When it comes to benchmark scores, that extra RAM doesn't seem to have much of an impact. The McLaren Edition's PCMark Work 2.0 score of 10,782 was the only one that was significantly higher than that of the regular version, while all other scores were around the same as on the OnePlus 7T Pro with 8GB of RAM.
We also used both phones side by side for a variety of tasks and when playing games. In real-world conditions, the extra RAM made no perceptible difference to the way the phone worked. The standard OnePlus 7T Pro is a top performer even with 8GB of RAM, and we usually found that the McLaren Edition had at least 4.5GB of RAM free even with lots of apps running.
Battery life is decent on the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition, running for slightly longer than the OnePlus 7T Pro in our battery loop test. The device ran for 15 hours and 22 minutes with the display resolution set to ‘Auto Switch' and the refresh rate set to the default 90Hz. This is most likely due to software improvements; the McLaren Edition was running a newer version of OxygenOS at the time of this review than the OnePlus 7T Pro was at the time of its review. In practice, we were easily able to get a full day of use per charge cycle.
With the exact same camera setup as on the OnePlus 7T Pro (and the OnePlus 7 Pro before it), the McLaren Edition doesn't offer anything new or different. To summarise, we liked the primary rear camera's performance in daylight conditions, found the additional cameras to be useful. We quite liked the Super Macro mode, but we weren't thrilled with low-light performance and the colours in 4K video recordings.
As you can see in the photo samples below, camera performance is practically identical on the OnePlus 7T Pro and McLaren Edition. Simply put, as expected, the McLaren Edition offers no additional benefits over the regular edition when it comes to photography.
The OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition is the most expensive device from the Chinese company yet, and with good reason. There's a fair bit on offer here that sets it apart from the regular device — more RAM, unique looks, special edition accessories, and branding that will appeal to a lot of people.
Whether those perks are worth the additional Rs. 5,000 is another matter altogether - we'd suggest spending the extra money only if you're a fan of McLaren, or want something aesthetically unique. Everyone else should pick up the regular OnePlus 7T Pro; 8GB of RAM is more than enough on an Android smartphone for now, and the core experience on the more affordable ‘haze blue' model is largely the same as on the McLaren Edition.
Is Realme X2 Pro the OnePlus 7T killer you've been waiting for? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.