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OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition review: No need for speed

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
649
inc VAT

The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition squeezes 10GB of RAM into a smartphone, but is it worth the added price?

Pros 
Unique design
A solid choice for racing enthusiasts
Cons 
£150 more than base model
10GB of RAM isn’t necessary
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Last year’s OnePlus 6T made quite a statement. The definitive flagship killer remains the best-ever OnePlus phone to date and offers 99% of what its rivals can do at roughly 60% of the price. If there ever was a case against spending upwards of four figures on the latest handset, well, this was it.

Except there’s now a new OnePlus to shake things up a bit. This special McLaren Edition of the OnePlus 6T, which costs an extra £150 over the base model, is a slightly-beefier handset with 10GB of onboard RAM instead of the usual 6- or 8GB configurations.

Buy OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition

It also includes a rather unusual McLaren-inspired design, with a glossy carbon fibre-like rear and faded “papaya orange” accents around the back edges of the bottom half of the phone, which mimics a Formula 1 race car’s speed trails.

But the differences between the two end there. Yes, it will eventually arrive on your doorstep in a special presentation box along with some McLaren-branded knick knacks (which I’ll get onto later) but elsewhere this “limited edition” smartphone is much the same as before.

Not that that’s a bad thing. Like its non-McLaren branded counterpart, this new OnePlus 6T is still powered by Qualcomm’s fastest-ever mobile processor, the octa-core 2.8GHz Snapdragon 845 chipset, which also keeps things ticking along on most of its flagship counterparts. It also includes a massive 256GB of onboard storage, albeit with no space for a microSD card – not that you’ll necessarily need it. In fact, that means that although it’s £150 more than the base OnePlus 6T, it’s only £70 more than the 8GB and 256GB model.

So is 2GB more RAM worth £70? Well, a smartphone with 10GB of RAM is basically overkill for the majority of smartphone users – you won’t notice any discernible differences in day-to-day use, and it doesn’t really add anything to the phone’s overall performance. The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition received almost identical scores in the Geekbench 4 tests

In real-world use, though, juggling multiple applications and games did feel a little bit snappier compared to the regular OnePlus 6T. If for some reason, you’re constantly pushing your phone to its limits and could do with all of the grunt you can get your hands on, there’s simply no other alternative at the moment.

Thankfully, the added RAM doesn’t appear to have negatively affected the phone’s stamina. The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition’s battery life remains largely unchanged, reaching a total of 21 hours in our continuous video playback test before needing to recharge. The phone also benefits from what the firm calls “Warp Charge 3.0”, which charges the OnePlus to 50% from empty in just 20 minutes.

The rest of the phone’s particulars also remain the same. The 6.41in AMOLED screen is still 2,340 x 1,080 in resolution and includes the little drop notch at the top for the embedded selfie camera. This arrangement hasn’t changed either; the front-facing camera is a 16-megapixel unit, which works with the two rear-facing 16- and 20-megapixel snappers.

Camera quality is an area where the OnePlus 6T excels, and the McLaren edition is no different. Provided you have plenty of light (low-light shots do suffer from some heavy-handed compression artifacting), images look sharp and detailed, with a pleasingly-natural colour palette.

The phone is also running the latest version of Google’s ever-popular mobile operating system, Android 9.0, albeit with OnePlus’ own Oxygen OS over the top. Don’t worry, as far as software tweaks go this is the least intrusive of the lot, and the experience feels very much like stock Android. There is a special McLaren theme with this model, though, with black backgrounds and orange text – but it can be turned off if you don’t like it.

OnePlus 6T McLaren edition: Added extras

Let’s talk about that special presentation box and McLaren-branded gubbins, then. Open the lid, and the first thing you’ll spot is a fancy McLaren “Salute to Speed” book, which goes into a lot of depth about the racing firm's history and notable successes.

The book also includes a spot of AR functionality. When setting up the phone, you can point the rear camera at the pages and reveal supplementary video diaries and even a detailed 3D image of a Formula 1 race car. It’s quite fun, and especially interesting if you’re a keen racing enthusiast. The handset itself can also be found inside the book.

Sitting underneath is the McLaren-branded phone case, as well as the phone’s charger and USB-C to 3.5mm headphone adapter. Finally, there’s also a rather neat carbon fibre McLaren logo, which is constructed from the Surrey-based racing team’s MCL33 Formula 1 race car (which was driven by Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne) and encased in glass for display on your shelf.

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition review: Verdict

Is any of this extra stuff actually worth the added cost? Well, not exactly, and especially not if you aren’t a big Formula 1 fan. The RAM upgrade doesn’t offer much in day-to-day use, while the included McLaren-branded merchandise is interesting at first but will ultimately end up gathering dust on a shelf.

Buy OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition

If you are a keen follower of McLaren’s Formula 1 appearances, however, and like the look of the phone’s special design, there's certainly a strong case to be made for paying the extra price.

But, with the added £150 bringing the price of the OnePlus 6T McLaren edition to a not-so-mid-range £649, the phone moves dangerously close to the majority of top-shelf Android flagships. It fails to reach pole position as a result.

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition specifications
ProcessorOcta-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (4x2.8GHz, 4x1.7GHz)
RAM10GB
Screen size6.41in
Screen resolution2,340 x 1,080
Pixel density402ppi
Screen typeAMOLED
Front camera16-megapixel (f/2.0)
Rear camera16-megapixel (f/1.7), 20-megapixel (f/1.7)
FlashDual-LED
Dust and water resistanceN/A
3.5mm headphone jackNo
Wireless chargingNo
USB connection typeUSB Type-C
Storage options256GB
Memory card slot (supplied)N/A
Wi-Fi802.11ac
Bluetooth5
NFCYes
Cellular data4G
Dual SIMYes
Dimensions (WDH)157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm
Weight185g
Operating systemAndroid 9
Battery size3,700mAh

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