The OnePlus Concept One is a lot of things, rolled up into one. It's beautiful, clad in the same papaya-hued leather McLaren uses in some of its supercars. It's powerful... though since it's basically a gussied-up OnePlus 7T Pro, it'll probably feel less powerful once all those 2020 flagships launch. And maybe most of all, it's just sort of odd.
By now, you probably know what the phone's big draw is -- OnePlus hasn't exactly been shy about it. There's an incredibly thin slice of a material called electrochromic glass over the phone's rear cameras that turns opaque and transparent when voltage is applied to it. This is hardly new technology; the Concept One relies on the same sort of tech that makes those really cool airplane windows work. Getting it to work on a smartphone scale is still quite a feat, though.
That seemingly solitary glass panel is actually made of five ultra-fine layers, the middle being that crucial electrochromic material. All told, OnePlus says they've been working with the thinnest electrochromic glass panels "in the industry." And perhaps more importantly, that shift from opaque to transparent happens pretty quickly -- about 0.7 seconds, another industry speed record. It's a good thing, too. The last thing you'd want to worry about when you see something photo-worthy is waiting around for the nature of your smartphone's glass to change.
I spent about an hour launching and dismissing the Concept One's camera, just to see OnePlus's material science experiment in action. What can I say? The experience is very cool the first few times, and then you very shortly (and very naturally) stop paying attention to it after that. It is what it is.