While many Android users swear by the Pixel range or wait patiently for Samsung’s Galaxy releases, Chinese manufacturer OnePlus has gained a sizeable following thanks to its gorgeous design, excellent software and low prices. The company’s latest masterpiece, the OnePlus 5T, is already being hailed as one of 2018’s best smartphones, something we certainly don’t disagree with.
However, like most modern blowers, the 5T is a bit on the big size and isn’t the kind of investment you’d want to drop onto solid concrete. With that in mind, OnePlus has crafted an entire range of protective cases for the handset, each suiting a different kind of consumer. But which is the right one for you? Keen to find out ourselves, we put the entire range through its paces.
Available in both black and bright red, this is one of the cheaper options offered by OnePlus. The outside is soft silicone, which provides superb protection – something we can personally vouch for, as we accidentally dropped our phone twice when it was one of these cases and it emerged entirely unscathed.
The inside, on the other hand, has a soft-touch lining which keeps the device entirely scratch-free. The case has cutaways for the Ringer switch and the charging / 3.5mm ports at the bottom, but otherwise every other element of the device is covered, bar the front (obviously).
If you’re really concerned about keeping the 5T as pristine as possible then this is perhaps your best option; our only complaint is that the silicone is quite “grippy” and we found getting it in and out of our pocket was more difficult that it perhaps should be; the rubber also attracts dust and fabric particles, so you need to give it a wipe every now and then. On the upside, the red case looks really fancy.
Another cheap option is this plastic case, which naturally lacks the protective qualities of its silicone sibling but has the added benefit of not adding much bulk to the handset AND providing a super-grippy sandstone texture, not entirely unlike the texture of early OnePlus handsets.
This is a very minimal case that clips on and almost feels like it’s not even there, but we don’t think it would offer much in the way of protection if you happened to drop your device from a considerable height.
Still, some people just want to keep scratches at bay and increase the overall grip-ability of their phones, and that respect, this is a winner. It also doesn’t make the phone difficult to take out of your pocket, like the silicone case does.
There’s also a slightly more expensive Karbon Strong variant of this case which uses Kevlar instead of sandstone-textured plastic, and that’s just as nice – although a little less grippy.
OnePlus offers three “bumper” cases for the 5T, all of which have rubberised edges which cover every single corner of the device. However, the backing of each of these bumper cases is different.
The Karbon one boasts real DuPont Kevlar fiber, the same type found in bulletproof vests. We’re not saying that this case will prevent your phone from being shot, but it does go some way to illustrating how tough this material is.
It also looks amazing when in place, although the OnePlus logo on the back is screen-printed rather than embossed, as it is on the silicon and sandstone cases. We can’t say for sure, but we’d imagine that over time the logo will get rubbed off.
The second bumper case swaps out the super-tough Kevlar for real wood. The Rosewood panel used in this case looks utterly fantastic, making the 5T even more eye-catching.
Even the rubber around the edges is brown-coloured to blend in with the rest of the case. On the downside, because wood isn’t as suitable for this kind of job as plastic or silicone, the case is quite susceptible to damage.
After a few days of use we noticed that it was picking up marks and scuffs, although it did seem to repel water quite well – perhaps due to some kind of protective coating applied during manufacture. Thankfully, the rubber edges cover the parts of the device that are at most risk during a drop, so even if the case takes a beating, your 5T won’t.
This is the same deal as the Rosewood variant, but it’s less “in your face” thanks to the darker wood used.
The rubber edges of the bumper case are black on this version, which makes it stand out less – yet the back panel still looks incredible thanks to the stark contrast in the dark and brown areas of the wood.
If you like the idea of a premium case that’s not too garish, then this might be a preferable option to the Rosewood edition – the only negative is that the dark wood shows up marks even worse, so you’ll want to be relatively careful with how you handle it.
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