At this year’s CES, OnePlus unveiled the phone it’s been teasing leading up to the show. But, if you couldn’t already tell by the name it’s literally just a concept. 

Before we get into all that though, let’s start with the design. On the front, the phone looks identical with the OnePlus 7 Pro — pop-up selfie camera and all. 

The front of the concept phone.
The front of the concept phone.
I really do love that pop-up selfie camera.
I really do love that pop-up selfie camera.

Having partnered with McLaren in the past, the concept phone is inspired by the 720S Spider sports car. 

The back of the Concept One is made of soft-grained semi-aniline leather in the signature McLaren orange color. The black stitching in the middle is supposed to resemble a race track, but all I could think of was Uma Thurman in Kill Bill.

Anyone else getting 'Kill Bill' vibes? No? Just me? Okay.
Anyone else getting ‘Kill Bill’ vibes? No? Just me? Okay.

Anyways. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the leatherback, but it felt very premium and super comfortable to hold. It was refreshing to not have to worry about a glass or plastic back slipping through your hands.

But while the phone itself has an impressive design, let’s get to the cool part. You know, like the fact that the rear cameras disappear. Not literally, but visually. 

Just stick with me here. 

On the back of the phone is an electrochromic glass panel (the same one featured on the 720S Spider’s hardtop), that switches between transparent and opaque depending on whether the phone is in camera mode. Meanwhile, the camera lenses sit beneath the glass. 

The cameras appear instantly.
The cameras appear instantly.

When you’re not using the camera, the glass is fully tinted. Open the camera app and the glass quickly transitions to show the triple cameras. After seeing it in action, all I could think to myself was: what is this witchcraft?

The transition also happens very quickly. One of the challenges OnePlus faced with such a concept is making sure the switch happened almost instantly. So, they were able to bring the timing down on the shift from 45 seconds to 0.7 seconds. Basically, the same amount of time it takes to open the camera app. 

At a demo with the Concept One, it worked seamlessly. As soon as I entered camera mode, the lenses appeared right away — regardless of how many times I tested it out. Which was a lot. 

The phone also features a neutral density filter whenever you’re in areas with strong light. It helps to limit overexposure, ultimately leaving you with a much sharper image.

All you need to do is enter Pro mode on the camera app and the ND filter appears in the right-hand corner. 

Under Pro mode, you'll find an ND filter for sharper shots in strong light.
Under Pro mode, you’ll find an ND filter for sharper shots in strong light.

But it’s important to remember that, again, this is a concept phone. So, OnePlus has yet to confirm if this thing is ever going to even hit production. 

Regardless, even if nothing comes out of it, I hope it sets a new precedent for future designs across all smartphones, especially as we continue to see an increase in the number of cameras packed into one phone.

Perhaps it’s time we finally say farewell to the camera bump.


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