Fans of colourful phones were disappointed when OnePlus launched the one-color-only midnight black OnePlus 5T, and then disappointed again when they discovered the lava red and Star Wars special edition OnePlus 5T phones were sold only outside the United States and the United Kingdom. OnePlus hasn’t forgotten about us, though. Our limited version of the OnePlus 5T is now here, and it’s very special indeed. It comes in sandstone white, mixing the unique tactile texture anyone familiar with the OnePlus One and OnePlus 2 will recall fondly, with the crisp, pure white color of the company’s first phone.
White was once a must-have smartphone color, but has recently fallen from grace, with manufacturers choosing gold, black, and some considerably brighter hues to make devices stand out. Seeing the OnePlus 5T in sandstone white reminds us why this is a shame. It’s a beauty. OnePlus says it’s the most expensive finish it has ever made, which is quite an achievement considering it has used ceramic on the OnePlus X in the past. It’s also a laborious process. There are four stages — aprimer, a white masking layer, sandblasting, and a UV layer for improved tactility — which adds 75 minutes to the time it takes to make each sandstone white OnePlus 5T.
The result? A pure white smartphone that feels more like subtly polished stone than sandpaper. This is a good thing. You could practically rub down painted walls with the back of the OnePlus 2, and while there is a texture to the sandstone white, it’s much less abrasive, providing grip, comfort, and a sleek new look. It’s less slippery than the midnight black model, and we didn’t feel the need to put it in a case. We have a feeling the white back could get grubby over time, however.
Giving it a matte finish was a great decision, as was putting a thin sliver of chrome around the fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone. It now looks like part of the phone, unlike its appearance on the midnight black model. OnePlus has added a splash of color by treating the alert slider to an aluminum polishing process, giving it a sparkling red finish.
Otherwise, the sandstone white OnePlus 5T is the same as the midnight black model. It only comes in the 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage configuration, and costs the same at $560 or 500 British pounds. It’s a limited model, and OnePlus says it’ll only be available while stocks last. Our phone came with Android 7.1.1 and the October 2017 Android security update, plus the latest stable version of OnePlus’s OxygenOS. This is version 4.7.4 and includes alterations to the camera app, and improvements to the face unlock feature.
If you haven’t already bought a OnePlus 5T — and it’s a phone we highly recommend — the sandstone white version is the one to buy right now. The OnePlus 5T sandstone white can be purchased from OnePlus’s website from January 10.