Last summer, OnePlus released the excellent Travel Backpack alongside its OnePlus 5 flagship smartphone, and this fall, the company looks set to do it again with the upcoming launch of the new OnePlus 6T and OnePlus Explorer backpack. I’ve just received the 18L Explorer for review, and it’s a major departure from OnePlus’ existing bag. Slicker, smaller, and more stylish, the Explorer is evidently an effort to appeal to a more image-conscious demographic. I’d say OnePlus is also looking to step up to a higher price bracket, but the company isn’t yet revealing the pricing, which makes judging the bag itself kind of impossible.
Still, here’s what I know from a couple of days of use.
The Explorer is all about its side-access pockets. There’s one at the front, where you can stash reasonably large items like a charger, a pencil case, and your phone and headphones. Then there’s the laptop compartment at the back, which is also accessible from the side, and right alongside it is a mini side pocket designed to hide away your passport, wallet, or, again, phone. The main compartment can be accessed by lifting up the flap and opening a zipper that exposes the top and one side in the shape of an L. And then there’s a vented pocket right at the front, which is designed to fit an umbrella or a sweaty gym T-shirt.
I do have an immediate problem with this bag, and it has to do with the Fidlock Snap fastener keeping the top flap in place. It’s magnetic, like the one on the Boundary Errant backpack, and it’s every bit as frustrating. If you don’t fill out the bag with stuff, thus giving it a more inflated shape, it’s damn near impossible to get the Snap clasp to make proper contact on the first try. The one redeeming quality, I guess, is that I don’t have to open the main space much with this bag, thanks to the large front pocket and the rear laptop compartment both being directly accessible.
The Explorer backpack will be available in either a nominally green color that looks mostly gray (pictured at the top, with an orange accent on the pull-tab at the front) or a basic black. Its exterior is made of water-repellent Cordura, and the one zipper exposed to the elements also has a water-resistant seal around it. We should know the full price and release date details around the same time as OnePlus launches the OnePlus 6T.