One of the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition’s key differentiators from its regular sibling, other than the $70 price difference, is the introduction of 30W “Warp Charge 30” technology. This speedy bit of tech promises to power up the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition to 50% in just 20 minutes. On paper, it sounds a lot faster than the OnePlus 6T’s standard 20W fast charging.
To find out if this bit of technology is worth the extra cost, we stuck the two phones side by side and charged them up using the chargers and cables provided by OnePlus. I kept track of both the charger’s output wattage and charging times to give us a bigger picture of how the technology works.
Warp Charge vs Fast Charge
First, let’s deal with the claim OnePlus makes inside the case of the McLaren edition. The text claims that Warp Charge 30 can power the phone up to “50% capacity in just 20 minutes”, at least under the company’s lab test conditions.
This seems to be bang on in our testing, although you’ll have to leave the phone alone during this time and turn off battery-sapping features like GPS. Warp Charge managed to fill 50 percent of the 3,750mAh battery in 20 minutes and 5 seconds. That’s clearly better than the regular OnePlus 6T, which managed 38 percent in that same timeframe.
The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition hits peak charging wattage at about 25W, making good on its extra capabilities. However, this 25W peak appears only when the battery is quite low. Warp charge offers just a temporary burst of current to kickstart a recharge, hitting around 5.6 amps, before returning to a safer and more familiar level after about the first 15 minutes of charging.
Warp Charging only speeds up the charging process when the battery level is below 40 percent. Afterward, the charging curves ascend at identical rates on both phones. The end result is that the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition can fully charge in one hour flat, while the regular model takes an extra 21 minutes.
Warp Charge offers faster charging when the battery is below 40 percent
The regular OnePlus 6T caps out at about 15W, providing up to about 3.8 amps of current at 4 volts when the battery is essentially empty. After the initial juice up, both phones’ charging power is much closer together, ranging between 15 and 12 watts as the battery charges up. The last five percent or so sees both fall to approximately 3 watts.
If you’re worried about temperature, the McLaren Edition’s internal temperature readings peaked at 33.5oC during charging. Meanwhile, the regular OnePlus 6T hit 32.6oC, so there’s only a margin of error difference between the two and neither phone approaches unsafe charging temperatures.
A note on compatibility
Warp Charge 30 is a McLaren Edition exclusive and you can’t obtain this faster-charging speed just by plugging a regular OnePlus 6T into the faster charger. It still charges quickly, but not at full Warp Charge capabilities. Similarly, if you plug the McLaren model into a regular 6T charger, you’re stuck at 20 rather than 30W charging.
There are a few reasons for this. First, the McLaren Edition has a modified battery protection structure to deal with the extra current. This makes the phone safe to use with faster charging without overheating the battery. Secondly, the new charger and cable itself are designed for higher current. The wiring is thicker and the charging scheme actually uses more wires and USB pins to handle up to 6 amps of current.
With that in mind, you’ll want to charge up the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition with the cable and charger provided in the box. As it’s a proprietary standard, you won’t obtain the same Warp Charge capabilities with third-party cables and chargers.
Quicker pit stops
At just $70 more, the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition and its little extras might be a tempting buy for those looking for a slightly more premium experience. Unfortunately, we found that the extra 2GB of RAM makes no difference to the performance of the more expensive handset. 10GB RAM is overkill for anything that you can throw at a modern smartphone.
The value proposition is better with Warp Charge 30. There’s a tangible difference to overall charge times, with the McLaren edition knocking off about 20 minutes to full capacity. More importantly, though, Warp Charge offers more power for charging when the phone is nearly empty. Hitting 40 percent in the first 15 minutes and 70 percent after 30 minutes means that just a short charge should give you enough juice to get through the day.
The regular OnePlus 6T charges quickly enough for most people. However, the McLaren Edition really starts to give the fastest charging phones, such as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and Oppo R17 Pro a closer run for their money.