OnePlus 10 Pro review: so close, yet so far

Our take on OnePlus' latest flagship, the OnePlus 10 Pro.

Review Summary

Expert Rating3.5/5

Design
★★★★★
★★★★★
Display
★★★★★
★★★★★
Software
★★★★★
★★★★★
Camera
★★★★★
★★★★★
Performance
★★★★★
★★★★★
Battery
★★★★★
★★★★★

Pros

  • Stylish design 
  • Gorgeous display
  • Excellent performer
  • Capable main camera

Cons

  • No IP rating
  • Assisting cameras not the best
  • Expensive

OnePlus’ vision has changed dramatically over the last few years. From disrupting the flagship segment with its value-oriented offerings to diversifying into the affordable segment, the company has come a long way. That’s not all, as the brand is no longer shying away from the idea of a high-end Android phone either. In fact, the OnePlus 9 Pro (review) was – at least in my books – the first fully-fledged flagship smartphone from OnePlus’ stables that offered everything but the kitchen sink to the end-users. Diversification aside, OnePlus phones have seemingly changed their tune too, as the handsets boot a ColorOS-ified version of OxygenOS out of the box.

Understandably, the company’s latest handset – the OnePlus 10 Pro – has a lot riding on its shoulders. Not only does the phone have to prove the naysayers wrong, but for the first time in a long while, the smartphone has to make a case for itself among OnePlus loyalists too. Can then, the handset stand out in a competitive segment headlined by devices like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus (review), or the iQOO 9 Pro (review)? Well, let’s find out. 

Design

OnePlus knows a thing or two about designing good-looking phones and the company’s latest cuts a dash in the design department as well. Notably, the smartphone has been constructed in its entirety using glass and metal and correspondingly, the device imparts a luxurious in-hand feel. What’s more, the handset looks decidedly different from anything else in the market, which can be accredited, at least in parts, to the phone’s enormous ceramic camera module. Now, I will admit, the way the camera array wraps around the phone’s frame is reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy S21 series. But, that is where the similarity ends and rest assured, the OnePlus 10 Pro’s design is as bewitching, as it is unique. 

Moving on, the OnePlus 10 Pro is available in two quirky colours, including Emerald Forest and Volcanic Black. Now, I was a bit sceptical about the phone’s green colourway at first, however, in time, the shade has grown on me. To wit, the green paint job is fairly muted and it doesn’t immediately call to your attention. What’s more, the shade complements the camera module’s metallic accents superbly too. The icing on the cake is that both the hues ship with a matte finish which keeps smudges and stains at bay. On the other hand, the smartphone misses out on an IP rating, which is a bummer, especially when you’re splurging upwards of Rs 60K on a phone. Rubbing salt to the wounds, OnePlus is selling a “weatherproof” 10 Pro in the select markets, albeit at a markup. On the bright side, the handset ships with Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus on the back, meaning the device should withstand the test of time. 

I found the OnePlus 10 Pro quite comfortable to use day in and day out as well. The smartphone is about the same size as its predecessor and the device offers a relatively narrower frame than, say, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (review). Correspondingly, you should be able to use and grip the phone comfortably with just one hand. The OnePlus 10 Pro also ships with the company’s iconic alert slider which will surely come in handy if you tend to jump in and out of meetings and the unit’s in-display fingerprint sensor, while not as snappy as the one on the iQOO 9 Pro, is still blisteringly fast to unlock the phone. You also get facial recognition with the device, which worked just as well, so no complaints here. 

Now, if like me, you tend to type a lot on your phone too, then you’ll greatly appreciate the OnePlus 10 Pro’s haptic feedback. To wit, the company has outfitted the device with a brand-new SLA X-axis linear motor which offers meatier and tighter haptics than the OnePlus 9 Pro. And, although the phone misses out on a headphone jack, the handset’s speakers sound remarkable and should suffice for consuming media on the fly.

Display

The OnePlus 10 Pro’s display has seen some minor improvements over the one on the OnePlus 9 Pro too. While both the phones ship with a 6.7-inch, QHD+, Fluid AMOLED panel that refreshes at 120Hz, the OnePlus 10 Pro’s screen employs second-gen LTPO tech, meaning the panel can drop its refresh rate to as low as 1Hz. On the flip side, the display on the OnePlus 9 Pro can only scale between 10Hz and 120Hz. Furthermore, the device switches between refresh rates quicker too, so you’ll rarely notice stuttery animations or UI transitions whilst using the phone. And, much like last year’s model, the OnePlus 10 Pro’s screen gets audaciously bright at 1,300 nits. Unsurprisingly, I rarely found the display illegible, even under Delhi’s harsh sun. 

The panel is a treat to watch movies on as well. For one, the handset supports HDR playback from OTT services like Netflix, so you can stream your favourite TV shows and flicks at the best quality possible. Furthermore, the handset’s curvy display mitigates accidental touches well and it also offers a ginormous touch surface to play high-octane games comfortably. Adding to the list of pros, the device also supports a dedicated Always-On Display mode, which can be customised to your heart’s content by heading over to the “Personalisation” tab in the settings menu. All said and done, the OnePlus 10 Pro leaves no stone unturned in the display department. 

Performance, Battery life and Software

No surprises here, the OnePlus 10 Pro is backed by Qualcomm’s latest and greatest, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 mobile platform. For RAM and storage, the device employs speedy LPDDR5 memory and UFS 3.1 storage. Now, do note that I was sent the 12GB RAM model for review which comes with 256GB of built-in, non-expandable storage. That said, buyers looking to save a couple thousand bucks can instead opt for the 8GB / 128GB model as well. 

Specs aside, the OnePlus 10 Pro is a top performer. Be it running graphically intensive games, securing impressive numbers in synthetic tests or multitasking between a dozen or so apps – the handset can do it all. I did run a ton of benchmarks on the phone, the results for which will be available in the slider attached below. Interestingly, while the phone does get a tad warm to the touch whilst gaming or running resource-hungry applications, the handset’s performance doesn’t throttle. The same is evident in the unit’s CPU throttling test scores wherein, the smartphone throttled to just 75 percent of its peak performance.

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The scenery remains unchanged if you play a graphically-burdening title like BGMI on the set. Not only could the phone run the game at HDR graphics and Extreme FPS (with an option to use the UHD texture pack), but the FPS didn’t drop even after forty-odd minutes of gaming on the phone. Do note that I had the high-performance mode enabled for the majority of my gaming and benchmarking sessions, which can be accessed by going into the 10 Pro’s battery settings. I noticed that the device performs slightly better with the feature turned on, although, you will have to contend with slightly warmer temperatures too. 

Speaking of which, the OnePlus 10 Pro’s battery backup is nothing to write home about. While the phone can last you a full day off a single charge with the display resolution set to FHD+, at QHD+ resolution, you’ll have to connect the phone to an outlet by the evening. Thankfully, the smartphone ships with an 80W wired charger that can top up the device in around 40 minutes. The device supports wireless charging too, which interestingly, is quicker than some competing wired charging protocols. To wit, the handset can wirelessly charge at 50W using the company’s proprietary Warp Wireless charger, which is great. 

The OnePlus 10 Pro’s software, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired. Notably, the UI is heavily inspired by ColorOS and the interface feels clunkier compared to previous iterations of OxygenOS. In fact, I am not the biggest fan of the smartphone’s custom launcher, which comes with rather odd-looking folder icons that stick out like a sore thumb. Not to mention, the handset’s Shelf utility gets triggered if you swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen, which gets quite annoying if you’re trying to access your notifications. Thankfully, you can disable the same by going into the Special Features menu but I think OnePlus could learn a thing or two from Samsung and its Edge Panel implementation. 

Now, credit where credit’s due, the OnePlus 10 Pro doesn’t ship with a lot of bloatware. Furthermore, the interface ships with a few aces up its sleeves too and not only can you stylise the phone via the myriad of theming options, but you can also fine-tune other aspects of the device, such as choosing from three different styles of dark mode, etc. You’ll also get the option to download and install third-party icon packs from the Google Play store, and the utility touts a number of useful features like a built-in app and photo vault, which will keep your personal data away from prying eyes as well. That said, if you have been lusting over a OnePlus phone with a near-stock UI, then you will be a tad disappointed with the 10 Pro. 

Cameras

The OnePlus 10 Pro ships with a triple camera stack at the back, comprising a 48MP Sony IMX789 sensor that works alongside a 50MP Samsung JN1 ultrawide sensor with a 150-degree FoV and an 8MP telephoto sensor with 3.3x optical zoom capabilities. For selfies, the device gets a 32MP sensor upfront. As such, the handset’s camera stack remains mostly unchanged from its predecessor, the OnePlus 9 Pro. 

Now, I’ve already spoken in length about the smartphone’s camera prowess in my in-depth comparison between the OnePlus 10 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (review), so do check it out. However, I’ll collate my findings here, which should help you get up to speed. Now, for the most part, the OnePlus 10 Pro clicks stunning images with its primary sensor and the company has partnered with Hasselblad once again to deliver the most authentic colours in any snap. That said, in my testing, I noticed that the primary sensor would sway in the favour of warmer tones. Don’t get me wrong, the photos look fantastic and are replete with details, however, the OnePlus 10 Pro rarely clicks the scene as is. Instead, you’ll notice that the reds and the yellows in the frame seem a tad exaggerated. 

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Other than that, however, you’ll find little to dislike about the smartphone’s primary camera – the snaps offer decent dynamic range, the corner sharpness in the photos is on par with the competition and the device even ships with a bunch of Hasselblad filters that can add a distinctive look to your images. The same goes for lowlight stills too, which appear a tad doctored (the sky is rendered overtly grey, for instance) albeit offer satisfactory details and minimal noise. That said, time and again, the OnePlus 10 Pro introduced lens flare in the photos. I noticed the issue crop up when I was clicking stills during the day, as well as at night. I do hope the company fixes the same with a software update down the line. 

The ultrawide angle sensor, on the other hand, appears to be a step down from the 50MP Sony unit on the OnePlus 9 Pro. You see, the OnePlus 9 Pro offered the best UW sensor at the time of its launch. So much so, the smartphone could go toe to toe and at times, even outshoot devices like the Galaxy S21 Ultra (review) and the Mi 11 Ultra (review). This year’s sensor, however, clicks washed out images with sub-par corner and centre details. The same goes for the telephoto sensor too, which clicks sharp images albeit struggles with exposure metering at times. Thankfully, the 32MP selfie camera outputs detail-laden photos that are on par with the snaps from the Galaxy S22 Ultra. That said, the subject’s skin tone appears slightly orangish, and that’s despite disabling all the beautification features. All said and done, the OnePlus 10 Pro offers a capable camera setup that falls a bit short of its pricier rivals. 

Verdict

The OnePlus 10 Pro starts at Rs 66,999 for the 8GB RAM variant, with the 12GB model retailing for Rs 71,999 in India. For the price, the handset undercuts Samsung’s latest by quite a margin and despite that, retains an equally gorgeous display and offers Qualcomm’s fastest SoC under the hood too. It also helps that the smartphone charges quicker than most devices in its price segment. That said, the OnePlus 10 Pro is still playing catch up with Samsung’s grandest in the camera department. Furthermore, unlike most premium phones, the device doesn’t ship with any official IP rating either. Lastly, the company’s three-year software update roadmap falls short of Samsung’s four-year commitment too. 

That’s not to say that the OnePlus 10 Pro is a bad phone. If anything, it’s a testament to the fact that fans and critics across the globe hold the company to a very high standard. For what it’s worth, the handset checks most, if not all the right boxes and correspondingly, still makes for a good buy. 

Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5 

Pros: 

  • Stylish design 
  • Gorgeous display
  • Excellent performer 
  • Capable main camera

Cons:

  • No IP rating
  • Assisting cameras not the best
  • Expensive

Key Specs

OnePlus 10 Pro
RAM8 GB
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Rear Camera48 MP + 50 MP + 8 MP
Front Camera32 MP
Battery5000 mAh
Display6.7 inches
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OnePlus 10 Pro Price
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Rs. 66,999.00
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