OnePlus 10 Pro review: smooth performance cheaper than its competitors | smartphones





OnePlus’ latest high-end smartphone is a high-end device with a good combination of aesthetics and performance, and a lower price than its rivals. Don’t sit on it.

The 10 Pro starts at £799 ($899), which is still steeply priced but £30 cheaper than last year’s model and £250 less than parent Oppo’s Find X5 Pro .

The phone has one of the best 6.7-inch OLED displays: bright, crisp and colorful with a 120Hz refresh rate to keep things smooth. The glass sides curve into a shiny metal band and a frosted glass back, which is particularly pleasant to the touch and prevents fingerprints from creating a mess.

The back of the OnePlus 10 Pro glistens in bright sunlight.
The matte green back glistens in bright light while the camera body has a dark metallic sheen. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The camera bump in the top left corner blends into the metal sides and is an interesting design element. Although large, its curved sides, relatively narrow width and weight of around 200g make the 10 Pro relatively easy to hold compared to similar rivals.

It feels solid, but durability tests have shown that the phone can snap in half if enough pressure is applied. Don’t sit on it and you should be fine. It also doesn’t have an official water resistance rating, but should survive rain, splashes, or similar mishaps.

Features

  • Filter: 6.7-inch 120Hz QHD+ OLED (525ppi)

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

  • RAM: 8 or 12 GB of RAM

  • Storage: 128 or 256 GB

  • Operating system: OxygenOS 12.1 (Android 12)

  • Camera: 48MP main, 50MP ultra-wide, 8MP 3.3x telephoto; 32MP Self-Portrait

  • Connectivity: 5G, eSIM, wifi 6, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2 and GNSS

  • Water resistance index: Nothing

  • Dimensions: 163×73.9×8.6mm

  • Mass: 200.5g

Very fast charging and solid battery life

The USB-C port on the bottom of the OnePlus 10 Pro.
The phone charges exceptionally fast, reaching 50% in just 15 minutes and a full charge in 36 minutes with the included 80W USB-A power adapter. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The 10 Pro has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip as most high-end Android phones for 2022, performing admirably with a fast interface and smooth games.

Battery life is very good, averaging around 43 hours between charges, including three hours spent on 5G. This was with the screen set to default resolution and actively used for over six hours. That’s seven hours longer than the closest rival made by Samsung, meaning the phone will need to be charged every other night with light use. It lasts around five hours of screen time per hour if the display increases its maximum QHD+ resolution.

Sustainability

The fingerprint scanner icon on the OnePlus 10 Pro screen.
The in-display fingerprint scanner is fast and reliable at unlocking the phone, and sits higher on the device than last year’s model, making it easier to use. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

OnePlus rates the battery for at least 1,000 full charge cycles while retaining at least 80% of its original capacity.

The phone contains no recycled materials but is generally repairable, with a replacement battery costing around £20 plus labour. OnePlus operates a take-back program and is included in parent company Oppo’s annual sustainability reports.

Oxygen OS 12.1

Software customization options displayed on the OnePlus 10 Pro screen.
OxygenOS offers customization options to customize the look of the software. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

OnePlus traditionally had one of the best versions of Android on its phones, OxygenOS. While that’s still largely true on this phone, it’s now a modified version of ColorOS developed by parent company Oppo, as seen on the Find X5 Pro, with a slightly different look and feel.

It is based on the latest Android 12 and will be updated with fortnightly security patches for four years from its release and supported with three major Android version upgrades. That’s reasonable, but a year less than Samsung or Google, which also provide faster monthly security updates.

OxygenOS 12.1 doesn’t quite look like last year’s 11 release, but is still a stripped down and fairly slick affair, suited to Western audiences. It has a few downsides, including overly aggressive closing of apps running in the background, which is designed to save battery, but may delay message notifications or occasionally stop music playing. “Pinned” apps in the multitasking menu prevent them from being closed.

OnePlus’ software is still one of the best of all Chinese smartphone brands, but it’s not as good as it used to be.

Camera

Take a picture of a garden with the Hasselblad camera app on the OnePlus 10 Pro.
The Hasselblad camera app has many features, including full manual control and the ability to take 10-bit photos, but few devices or apps support them outside of the phone’s gallery app. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The 10 Pro has a camera developed with Hasselblad, which is similar to last year’s 9 Pro: a 48MP main lens, 50MP ultra-wide and an 8MP 3.3x telephoto lens on the rear, plus a camera 32MP capable selfie shot on the front

The main camera generally takes very good, well-exposed images with good color balance. It can struggle in high-contrast scenes but handles low-light scenarios well. The ultra-wide camera is equally decent, although a little softer on detail and less responsive in low light. It can also take extremely wide or fisheye-style shots with fun special modes.

The 3.3x telephoto lens has a decent level of magnification compared to some rivals and is able to produce fairly sharp shots in good light. But it struggles in lower light levels, quickly becoming grainy.

The cameras lack consistency in color and exposure levels, which means switching between them produces wildly different photos in the same scenario, but overall the three cameras are solid even if they can’t beat the best from Samsung, Google or Apple.

The alert slider on the side of the OnePlus 10 Pro.
Part of the in-mold camera array is OnePlus’ excellent alert slider, which quickly switches the phone between silent, vibrate and ringtone. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Price

The OnePlus 10 Pro costs £799 ($899) with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage or £899 with 12 and 256GB.

For comparison, the Google Pixel 6 Pro costs £849, the Samsung Galaxy S21+ costs £949, the Oppo Find X5 Pro costs £1,049, the Galaxy S21 Ultra costs £1,149 and the iPhone 13 Pro Max costs 1 £049.

Verdict

The OnePlus 10 Pro is a good alternative to a high-end Google or Samsung Android phone.

It packs a powerful combination of speed, fast charging, long battery life, and a big screen into an attractive, svelte body. The new OxygenOS software is generally good, if not as smooth as previous versions. You’ll get four years of software updates from release, which is longer than previous OnePlus phones, but a year or more shorter than Google, Samsung or Apple.

The camera is slightly improved across the board and generally very usable, but it remains OnePlus’ weakest link, unable to upset the best in the business.

Those slight knocks can be overlooked at £799, which is good value for a premium phone, undercutting Google’s excellent Pixel 6 Pro by £50 and parent company Oppo’s Find X5 Pro of £250.

If you want a good high-end Android phone not made by Samsung or Google, the OnePlus 10 Pro is the one for you.

Advantages: Smooth performance, good software, good battery life, fast charging, large screen, solid camera with 3.3x optical zoom, attractive design, reasonable price.

The inconvenients: camera not quite best in class, no water resistance rating, few software issues, only four years of updates.

The top of the OnePlus 10 Pro has a flat edge.
The top of the phone has a flat edge in the shiny metal band around the outside. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian




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