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OnePlus 10 Pro Review: Great Phone In A Very Competitive Market

OnePlus 10 Pro Featured AM AH
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The OnePlus 10 Pro is an impressive phone, with some corners cut.

OnePlus 10 Pro
$899
Rating
star star star star star_empty
Pros
  • Competitive Price
  • Not only is there a charger in the box, its a fast charger!
  • Battery life is good
  • Hardware is premium as usual
  • Camera has improved, but not on the Pixel's level
Cons
  • The 5G situation is weird and very bad for US customers
  • Camera has improved, there are still loads of bugs
  • The US gets slower charging speeds for some reason

OnePlus provided AndroidHeadlines with a Volcanic Black OnePlus 10 Pro (8GB/128GB) model. We’ve been using it for well over a week before forming this review.

The OnePlus 10 Pro is actually cheaper than the 9 Pro was last year. Quite surprising, considering the inflation levels we’re seeing right now. But OnePlus had to do this. Charging $1,069 for a OnePlus 9 Pro (remember, only the upgraded 12GB/256GB model came to the US) was just too much. When you had a Pixel 6 Pro with similar specs for $999, along with the Galaxy S21+ and Ultra around that same price.

This year, OnePlus seems to be doing what Google did with the Pixel 5. Releasing one model. With one storage and RAM variant. In two colors. Keeping it simple. While it is disappointing to see that OnePlus is only offering the 8GB/128GB model in the US, after only offering the 12GB/256GB model in the US last year (some are seeing this as a downgrade), that did allow OnePlus to come in at a lower price.

However, this lower price isn’t what you think. OnePlus did cut some other corners on this phone, which we’ll talk about throughout this review. As we try to determine whether this phone is right for you and worth $899.

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It’s still a big phone

There’s plenty of research to go around showing that phone buyers like big phones. They like being able to watch YouTube on their phone, have more space for texting, emailing and such. But that’s not everyone. There are still users that would prefer a smaller, more manageable phone that can be used with one hand. That is not the OnePlus 10 Pro.

It sports a 6.7-inch QHD+ display, that can run at 120Hz. Out of the box, it runs at FHD+ and 120Hz however. This is likely to conserve battery life. Samsung and other OEMs have been doing this for a few years actually. And with this panel, you won’t notice a difference between FHD+ and QHD+ to be honest.

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It is an absolutely beautiful display. It’s an AMOLED, like every other OnePlus phone that has come out, so no surprise there. It’s a curved display, but very subtly curved, in fact I didn’t even realize it was curved until I was writing this review, because it has had a case on it the whole time. And I just didn’t notice it. That is a good thing, as it means I had no issues with accidental touches on this phone, like many other curved display phones in the past.

OnePlus is using the same old glass and aluminum sandwich here for the 10 Pro. Just like every other phone. With Gorilla Glass Victus on the back. So it should withstand drops quite well – we did not drop test it though.

In the hand, the OnePlus 10 Pro actually feels really nice, much better than the Galaxy S22 series of phones. That’s due to the curved back, which feels kind of old actually in 2022. With a lot of phones starting to go flat – as it makes it more rugged and provides more space for things like battery cells. But it does fit snugly in the hand, which is a nice change of pace.

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The back is a satin finish, which looks great, and feels even better. Surprisingly, it does a pretty good job of not picking up fingerprints. Now the camera bump on the other hand, is shiny glass. I was not a big fan of it at first, but now I kind of just don’t care. I don’t spend much time looking at the back of my phone to be honest, maybe I’m in the minority. But I do appreciate that the camera bump isn’t super thiccc (with three c’s). It does still wobble on a table, but nowhere near as much as a Galaxy S22 Ultra.

The build quality on the OnePlus 10 Pro is pretty good actually, a stark contrast to the OnePlus One back in 2013.

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The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is still snappy

We’ve seen Qualcomm’s latest processor, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in a handful of phones now, but it’s still just as snappy in this OnePlus 10 Pro smartphone. It’s a pretty quick and snappy processor that really doesn’t stutter at all. Though we did see it start to get warm and slow down a bit when playing some heavier games. So it can be slowed down, but that’s to be expected.

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In the US, there is only a 8GB of RAM and 128GB model, which is going to be fine for most people. Even on my Pixel 6 Pro that I’ve been using since launch, I still have more than half of that 128GB storage available still. So it shouldn’t affect anyone. 8GB of RAM is a bit on the lower side, thankfully, OxygenOS is still pretty lightweight. So it’s able to run without any issues.

Let’s talk about the 5G situation

If you’re buying the OnePlus 10 Pro and plan on keeping it for a few years, you need to think about this 5G situation that the phone has gotten itself into.

First off, its Sub-6 5G only, no mmWave. Honestly, that’s perfectly fine, and a corner that I’m okay with OnePlus cutting to make this phone cheaper. mmWave is pretty pricey to add in, but that also means you won’t be getting the crazy gigabit speeds that we see on speedtests.

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Where things get crazier is with the individual carriers. T-Mobile gets full support on its low and mid-band 5G spectrum at launch. However with Verizon, there’s no 5G support as it has not yet completed certification. Verizon and OnePlus are working together to get that done, but at launch you’re stuck with 4G LTE. It will most likely arrive, Verizon did certify the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro last year.

For AT&T, things are even worse. There is no support at all for AT&T’s 5G network, and there’s no plan to add that at a later date either. So if you’re on AT&T and want to buy the OnePlus 10 Pro, you’ll be stuck on 4G LTE. That might be fine today, but in a year or two (or even less) that network is going to be very slow.

This really sucks for OnePlus because the Galaxy S22 and Pixel 6 Pro support all three networks, and are priced very similarly.

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Battery life is pretty good

I have to say, I was a bit surprised with how good the battery was on the OnePlus 10 Pro. It has a somewhat small battery at 4500mAh, the Galaxy S22 Ultra with a similar size is 5000mAh. But it outperformed the Galaxy S22 Ultra in my testing. I was able to get around 8-9 hours of screen on time on a single charge with the OnePlus 10 Pro. That’s pretty good, and well above almost every other phone I have reviewed recently, except for the Pixel 6 Pro – though that has actually decreased dramatically since launch.

I will note that in this review period, I did not change the display settings. So it is still set at FHD+ and 120Hz like it is out of the box. I left it at those settings, as most everyday consumers will do the same. This is something I do with every other phone I review, so it’s more fair. I did not use any battery saving modes either. Nor did I try to “baby” the battery to get it to last longer.

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It’s pretty good battery life, and it really doesn’t need to be, since charging is so good. We’re talking about 65W charging out of the box. And even the 65W charger comes in the box, while most other phones aren’t even coming with a charger anymore. At that speed, you’ll go from 0-100% in about 30 minutes. For some reason, it is slower in the US than other regions which get the 80W charging. But 65W is plenty fast, and it’s going to be better on the battery too.

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Wireless Charging is rated at 50W – that’s quite good for wireless too! – however, OnePlus did not send out their 50W wireless charger this year, so I was not able to test that out.

Overall, between the really good battery life and really good charging speeds, battery won’t be an issue for a OnePlus 10 Pro user.

The Hasselblad Cameras are better, but improvements are still needed

Last year, OnePlus announced its partnership with Hasselblad. A company that is a pioneer in cameras, and many photographers swear by them. That got many of us excited about the future of OnePlus’ cameras, since they haven’t been all that great in the past. And we’ve seen what Huawei and Leica have done together. But that first-generation camera with Hasselblad wasn’t great. To Hasselblad’s credit, they didn’t do a whole lot with the OnePlus 9 series, mostly changed the shutter button and added some color tuning.

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However, this is not the second-generation Hasselblad camera system. In fact, it’s even touted on the camera module. The “P2D50T” on the camera module, inside the flash means “Phone Second Generation Hasselblad Mobile Camera System Fifty Megapixel Triple Camera Setup”. Which just seems really unnecessary, and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to most people. But it shows that Hasselblad and OnePlus are excited about this new triple-camera setup, so how well does it do? Eh.

Before we even get to camera samples, we have to talk about the software. The camera app is pretty much what you’re used to with OnePlus smartphones of the past. However, switching cameras is very, very slow. At least 10 seconds to switch from the main to the telephoto sensor. And I have no idea why it takes that long. This does seem like a bug that OnePlus can fix in a software update though.

The new RAW Plus mode sounds great, but it doesn’t seem to do a lot more than regular RAW. It’s supposed to also capture all of that computational data that you would get when you normally shoot pictures with a phone. Like Apple’s ProRAW and Samsung’s Expert RAW. So that’s another thing that will likely be improved with a software update.

Okay, so what about the pictures from this camera? Well, they are good. Portrait mode is really good, and the natural blur is also pretty good. That is thanks to the larger sensors here. But is it the best camera out there? No. Not even close. But that’s the thing, so many smartphones have great or even good cameras these days, a “good” camera is still really good. I won’t be dropping my Pixel 6 Pro for this camera, but it’s getting closer than ever. I do prefer the blur on the OnePlus 10 Pro though.

Portrait mode is pretty good, it’s actually the only phone I’ve tested that cuts out my glasses perfectly, from the background. Most will cut off the corner and blur it, including with the Pixel 6 Pro. But it’s not really great for non-humans. Which is why I wish OnePlus would add a dedicated macro mode. Previous OnePlus phones had one, but the OnePlus 10 Pro does not, for some reason.

In the camera samples below, we have a mixture of portrait mode, telephoto, main sensor and ultrawide pictures. Forgive the lack of color, as its the early part of Spring in Michigan, so the trees are pretty bare still.

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ColorOS 12 OxygenOS 12 ships out of the box

If you’ve been following OnePlus, then you know that they “merged” with OPPO last year. I put that in quotations because, OPPO and OnePlus were already sister-brands, under the bigger company, BBK Electronics in China. So the “merging” here wasn’t really a big deal. But it did face a lot of backlash last year when it rolled out Android 12 to the OnePlus 9 series, and it was essentially ColorOS, not OxygenOS.

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OnePlus users are the technology nerds that want stock Android, and not an iPhone clone. So this was a big deal, and they made it known to OnePlus. So now, with this version of OxygenOS 12, we have some ColorOS features in here – like the battery life screen – but it’s still mostly a stock Android look and feel system. It all works really well, has some of the features that OnePlus fans have always loved – like the OnePlus Shelf, among other things.

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On another note, OnePlus has also updated its software update policy to now support up to three years of major OS upgrades and four years of security updates. So this phone should get updated to Android 15, which is quite nice. However, that’s still behind Samsung who is now guaranteeing four years of Android upgrades. Of course, Apple is putting them all to shame, updating a seven-year-old phone, still. But it’s a move in the right direction.

Should I buy the OnePlus 10 Pro?

If you’re on T-Mobile, sure it’s a great buy. But if you’re on Verizon or AT&T, you may need to think twice – specifically AT&T.

The OnePlus 10 Pro is a good phone, but unlike the Galaxy S22 series, it is not a good phone for everyone. The camera can still use some work, 5G is a mess (even more than the carriers make it out to be), and so forth.

During this review of the OnePlus 10 Pro, I’ve been struggling to decide if and how I can recommend this phone. At $899, it’s right there with the Pixel 6 Pro and Galaxy S22+ in the US (obviously, Europe has a lot more options). The Pixel 6 Pro is $999 and sold on all the carriers, while also supporting all of their 5G networks. It has better cameras, better software and will get more software updates. The same thing with the OnePlus 10 Pro when compared to the Galaxy S22+. And it’s only $100 more – though you can likely get them on sale for $899 or much less with trade ins.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you. But OnePlus could have done a better job at competing with Samsung and Google.