[Hands-on] OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple is OnePlus’ first phone with a gradient color

OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple

OnePlus really loves their limited edition color models. Shortly after the release of each new smartphone, OnePlus unveils a new color finish to keep up the hype. They’ve previously released the OnePlus 3T Colette Edition, OnePlus 5 JCC Limited Edition, OnePlus 5T Star Wars Edition and Lava Red, and OnePlus 6 Silk White edition. Now, the company is launching the OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple, their first smartphone with a gradient color finish.

OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple

Smartphones with gradient color options have become increasingly more popular this year after the launch of the Huawei P20 series. Even Samsung has followed the trend with gradient color options for the Galaxy A9 (2018) and Galaxy S9/S9+. OnePlus considered releasing a OnePlus 6 model with a gradient color finish, but that idea never made it past the prototyping stage. With the Thunder Purple OnePlus 6T, though, the company has finally embraced the gradient color trend. Initially released in China, the new Thunder Purple model is now coming to the United States, Europe, and India for the same price as the 8GB RAM and 128GB storage Midnight Black and Mirror Black models. We were given the chance to try the new gradient color finish before its launch, and here’s our hands-on experience and unboxing of the device.

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Like the Midnight Black and Mirror Black OnePlus 6T models, the Thunder Purple variant is all-glass. Like the OnePlus 6, however, the finish on the Thunder Purple manages to make the device feel less slippery in-hand, though it still smudges a bit against your fingers. It’s not as grippy as the matte white finish on the Silk White OnePlus 6, but you shouldn’t feel the device slipping out of your hand. On the rear, the top part is a darker shade of purple—nearly black, in fact—while the bottom part is a lighter purple color. The gradient extends to the sides, top, and bottom of the device, too. Although, the power button is a shade lighter than the area it’s closest too. When viewing the device at an angle under a light, the signature S shape is visible. The device slightly curves at the edges, though you shouldn’t have any trouble applying a screen protector.

OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple
OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple
OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple
OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple
OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple
OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple
OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple

The Thunder Purple gradient finish is quite beautiful when compared side-by-side with the Midnight Black variant. The Midnight Black variant has a soft touch matte finish that makes it feel great in-hand, but it’s still a slab of black that looks better when covered up with one of OnePlus’ first-party cases. The new Thunder Purple OnePlus 6T is better left naked and with a layer of Gorilla Glass 6 for protection, you should have decent protection from a small drop or bump against a table. Don’t quote me on that, though.

OnePlus 6T in Midnight Black next to Thunder Purple
OnePlus 6T in Midnight Black next to Thunder Purple
OnePlus 6T in Midnight Black next to Thunder Purple
OnePlus 6T in Midnight Black next to Thunder Purple

On the front, you still have the same 6.41-inch Optic AMOLED display with an 86% screen-to-body ratio. The device is nearly bezel-less except for a small bottom bezel and a tiny waterdrop notch. Smartphones with pop-up cameras are on the come up and next year we should see devices with display holes, but the smartphone industry in 2018 is defined by the display notch and the OnePlus 6T’s notch is the best we’ll get. Compared to the OnePlus 6, the OnePlus 6T is slightly thicker thanks to the inclusion of an in-display fingerprint scanner and a larger battery. The 3.5mm headphone jack and LED notification are missing, however.

OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple
OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple
OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple
OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple
OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple
OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple

Check out our unboxing video of the OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple. In the box, you’ll get the device, a 3.5mm headphone to USB Type-C adapter, a SIM tray tool, and a fast charge cable and brick.


The Thunder Purple OnePlus 6T with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage costs $579 in the U.S. (€589.00 in Europe and ₹41,999 in India) and sales begin at 09:00AM ET in the United States.

Buy the OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple

If you’re interested in talking about the device with fellow device owners, check out the XDA forums for the device at the below link.

Join the OnePlus 6T forums

OnePlus Explorer Backpack

Looking for a new backpack? Besides smartphones, OnePlus also makes some high-quality backpacks. It might seem strange to buy a backpack from a company that makes smartphones, but consider how much other gear you typically carry around. I’ve had the OnePlus Travel Backpack since the OnePlus 5, and to this day I carry it everywhere I go. With the OnePlus 6T, OnePlus is introducing a new backpack called the OnePlus Explorer Backpack. It’s a bit smaller than the Travel Backpack and a bit more expensive ($99 for the Explorer Backpack versus $69 for the Travel Backpack), but it has two features that make it stand out: a waterproof pouch at the bottom and a fastener that snaps in place magnetically. The main pouch only opens fully on one side, which makes it a bit awkward to fill. However, it can hold a lot of your belongings: We managed to fit the OnePlus 6T box, 5 law books of various sizes, and a 2015 Chromebook Pixel. The backpack can easily hold most 15″ laptops.

OnePlus Explorer Backpack
OnePlus Explorer Backpack
OnePlus Explorer Backpack
OnePlus Explorer Backpack
OnePlus Explorer Backpack
OnePlus Explorer Backpack
OnePlus Explorer Backpack
OnePlus Explorer Backpack
OnePlus Explorer Backpack
OnePlus Explorer Backpack

Again, backpacks aren’t the type of product you would typically associate with OnePlus. But anyone who has used their Travel Backpack will tell you that OnePlus makes some pretty decent backpacks. Consider how often you’ll carry a backpack and how expensive the products you typically carry are, and you’ll see that investing in a high-quality backpack isn’t a ludicrous proposition. $99 is asking a bit much for a backpack, but shopping around for backpacks isn’t something I’m planning on doing so I would rather stick with what I know. If you feel the same way, then check out the link below to explore the options.

Buy the OnePlus Explorer Backpack

Special thanks to contributor Eric Hulse for his assistance in our initial impressions of the OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple. We’ve lent him the device, so expect to his opinion about the latest OnePlus flagship in a future op-ed.

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