OnePlus is today launching a new color for the 5T smartphone, called Sandstone White. The white model joins the Midnight Black color option that has been available since the 5T’s initial launch in November of last year. Beyond the lighter hue, the white model also features a different texture than the black version (hence the “Sandstone” name). It will be available in an 8GB RAM / 128GB storage configuration starting on January 9th at 10AM ET on OnePlus’ website for $559.
Eagle-eyed observers will note that this version of the 5T is largely identical to the special edition Star Wars: The Last Jedi-branded model released in India in December, minus the Star Wars branding and wallpapers. The white paint has a matte finish with a slight texture to it that provides significantly more grip than the very slippery black 5T. It’s grippy enough that I’ve been able to use the phone without a case, which isn’t something I’ve felt comfortable doing with the Midnight Black version. The finish reminds me of the HTC One X from 2012, which had a similar matte white color, but in plastic instead of the 5T’s more premium metal.
OnePlus says the process to apply the sandstone finish to the phone takes 75 minutes to complete and involves painting and baking the phone’s shell numerous times. As a result, it is the most expensive-to-produce phone the company has ever made, though its price remains the same as the black 5T in the same configuration. OnePlus notes that the white finish calls back to the Silk White version of the OnePlus One, which was a popular color for that device. The company has released other phones and cases with the sandstone textured finish in the past, but this is the first time it’s been applied to a metal device and the first time it’s been available in white.
In addition to the white paint job, this version of the phone has a red alert slider switch, which adds just a little bit of pop to the package. I do wish that the volume rocker, power button, and SIM tray were also red or white, but they are the same black as the standard model. On the plus side, the white paint fully conceals the 5T’s plastic antenna lines, which are visible on the top and bottom of the black model. Additionally, OnePlus preserved the black frame around the display, giving the phone a sharp, two-toned look that’s reminiscent of Google’s two-toned Pixel 2 XL.
Performance-wise, the Sandstone White 5T is exactly the same as the black model, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, dual 16- and 20-megapixel rear camera, 6.01-inch 18:9 OLED display, and 3,300mAh battery with OnePlus’ Dash Charge fast charging system. The phone is still running Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box, but a beta of Android 8.0 Oreo is now available for more adventurous users.
OnePlus says that the Sandstone White model will be available “while supplies last,” so if you’re interested in picking one up, be sure to set a reminder for next Tuesday to place an order.
Photography by Dan Seifert / The Verge