OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren first take: $900 flagship reaches wider thanks to T-Mobile’s 5G network Review

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I’ve been trying to find my daily driver for the past month as each seems to have something minor that keeps me searching. Just over a week ago, T-Mobile flipped the switch on its 600 MHz low-band 5G and with it the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren device. I quickly placed my pre-order and have spent that past three days with this new phone on 4G and 5G.

Every phone I get for review is tested on my daily commute through weak signal areas. OnePlus phones have always been top performers with Samsung devices so I was excited to test out the new T-Mobile 5G network. I keep reading articles and Tweets where people relate 5G only with network speeds and mmWave technology. There is much more to 5G than speeds and mmWave so don’t be dissuaded by reports slamming this newest T-Mobile network technology.

Also: OnePlus 7 Pro review: Long battery life, quick performance, and impressive display make it compelling for business users

OnePlus flagships challenge the best smartphones, but at more affordable pricing. Even though this 5G McLaren variant is the best OnePlus ever, it is still priced less than the high end Samsung and iPhone devices with similar specifications. The OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren brings today’s latest technology and latest Android software, along with McLaren customized features and 5G network support, to the masses for $900.

Specifications

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus
  • Display: 6.67 inch 3120 x 1440 pixels resolution AMOLED (516 ppi)
  • Operating system: OxygenOS based on Android 10
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 256 GB internal with UFS 3.0
  • Cameras: 48 megapixel main camera with OIS, 8 megapixel telephoto camera with 3x optical, and 16 megapixel ultra-wide lens with 117 degree field-of-view. 16 megapixel front facing camera with f/2.0 aperture.
  • Wireless technology: 5G, LTE Advanced, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO
  • Battery: 4,085 mAh battery with Warp Charge 30T fast charging adapter in the box
  • Dimensions: 162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8 mm and 210 grams
  • Colors: Black with Papaya Orange highlights

Hardware

T-Mobile has the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren phone available now for $899.99. You can also get up to $300 back with a trade-in of select phones.

The front of the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren is dominated by the 6.67 inch display with minimal bezels on all four edges. I’ve adopted the full gesture interface of Android 10 too. The Apple iPhone X amazed me with its display a couple of years ago, but I am even more impressed by what OnePlus has done with no notches, punch holes, or other interferences on the display. The AMOLED quality looks great to my eyes and the 90 Hz refresh rate can be left on all the time. The OnePlus 7T Pro 5G offers an 88.3% screen-to-body ratio, making it one of the most optimal media machines available today.

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The 16 megapixel front-facing camera pops up only when you need it, making it a great option for the enterprise. The fingerprint scanner is an optical version positioned under the display. OnePlus has been using this approach for a couple generations and it is blazing fast on the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G.

Flipping over the phone to look at the back shows a few awesome McLaren details. Papaya Orange is found around the bottom and lower sides while also outlining the triple rear camera system. While the back is glass black, much of it is transparent and showing off cool textures like those seen on McLaren steering wheels. Various levels of lighting show off different aspects of the back and I love the unique look.

Also: OnePlus 7T review: The best smartphone value of 2019

The OnePlus 7T Pro 5G is one of the few phones we see with the latest Snapdragon 855 Plus processor. I was expecting to see this in the Pixel 4, but that didn’t happen. The 855 Plus offers 15% faster graphics rendering than the 855 and also supports Qualcomm’s 5G modem.

The three-way ringer switch continues on the upper right side and I’m very pleased that this stand-out feature remains. It’s colored Papaya Orange so it stands out a bit and helps provide some McLaren touches to the phone.

The triple rear camera system performs about the same as the triple rear camera system on the OnePlus 7 Pro, but it has the super macro mode seen on the OnePlus 7T so it’s a very capable set of cameras. I’ve come to realize I don’t capture that many photos with my phone and when I do I just share them on social networks. You can capture great photos with this phone and there is so much more that I care about using that excels on this phone.

After three days of heavy usage, I’m easily getting more than a day with this phone. The battery has large capacity and the Warp Charge 30T system, included in the box, charges the phone up quickly.

As I was unboxing the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G with all of the orange wrapping, I was satisfied with the inclusion of an orange fabric-wrapped cable and Warp Charge 30T adapter. I can’t tell if a screen protector is installed or not, but the OnePlus website shows there is one on the phone. If so, it goes all the way to the edges and is indistinguishable from the display. I was also hoping for some kind of case since OnePlus has been including clear cases in its packages, but there did not appear to be any case included.

After scrolling through the OnePlus website, a cool McLaren case was shown. I then found a hidden compartment on the bottom of the retail box that held a lovely case with Alcantara material and carbon fiber. It’s a lovely case that feels wonderful in your hand.

Software

Oxygen OS is a fairly stock Android experience and the version in the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren is based on Android 10. The November 1 Android security update is present on the phone I purchased. There are customization options, including custom accent colors, dark theme, and more. Navigation options are also under your control so you can move around the phone as you desire.

McLaren software options include wallpaper, standby clock, fingerprint sensor animation, and icon pack. McLaren orange lines also race across the display as an animation upon startup. Horizon lights appear on either side of the display when the ambient display is selected and notifications appear. The McLaren touches are subtle, but appreciated.

Also: OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition hands-on: Papaya orange highlights, Warp Charge 30, and 10GB of RAM

Unlocked OnePlus phones have an option to show or hide the shelf on the home screen panel. The shelf doesn’t offer much functionality for me personally so I usually turn it off. Thankfully, since T-Mobile carries this phone, Google is offered as the left panel so I can see my Google feed on phone that is not a Pixel.

OnePlus has Zen Mode that lets you setup times to take a break from using your phone. You can choose break durations ranging from 20 minutes to 60 minutes with daily reminders and Zen mode notifications. Achievement badges can be earned for Zen Mode completion with access to all of your stats too.

It’s great to see OnePlus provide an image gallery, voice recorder, and camera application. Very few extra apps or utilities are included.

600 MHz 5G support

Earlier this year I went to a Qualcomm 5G event, but left skeptical that the networks would have 5G ready to go in 2019 and likely not until later in 2020. At the time, the focus was on mmWave high-band 5G that is focused on supporting the internet of things in urban areas or for industrial applications. mmWave will provide faster speeds than LTE, but it’s more about supporting more connected devices in concentrated areas. It’s not going to reach out far and also loses signal in buildings and even behind objects since its line-of-sight technology.

There is also low-band 5G that is designed to extend out further and provide broader coverage, but may not have speeds much faster than LTE at launch. It is still 5G technology that requires special 5G modems and 5G antennas. Even with LTE, speed hasn’t been an issue for me as I am able to stream Netflix shows without issues. It’s much more about coverage and consistency, both of which low band 5G provides. For some great details on why you should actually appreciate T-Mobile’s 5G low-band network, check out this excellet article from Sascha Segan at PC Mag.

In addition, if the T-Mobile purchase of Sprint is completed then customers with the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G will get support for Sprint’s mid-band 5G with no additional purchase required. The phone is a future-proof phone that can take advantage of 5G now so it’s really a no-brainer if you are looking for the latest OnePlus smartphone.

First impressions

I will never be able to afford a McLaren automobile, unless I win the lottery, but with the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren 5G phone on T-Mobile I get to experience a taste of this high end brand. Orange is also my favorite color so having several parts of the phone with orange highlights pleases me too.

As I work on my full, in-depth review I will be testing the OnePlus 7T Pro with 5G while having a OnePlus 7T with LTE checking the T-Mobile network at the same time. So far, I have been seeing consistently faster download speeds and a better coverage just over the past couple of days.

The OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren has the same physical design as the OnePlus 7 Pro, which has been serving as my prime device for watching video content, and I haven’t found any other phone with a better full-screen experience. There are virtually no bezels on all four sides of the screen on the OnePlus 7T Pro thanks to the pop-up front-facing camera and in-display optical fingerprint sensor.

This new phone is packed with high end specifications, supports T-Mobile’s latest 5G network, flies faster than most Android phones, is extremely well built, and looks great. I wish it had some level of water resistance so I could wear it running, but it looks like I’ll just run without a phone while it is serving as my daily driver.

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