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OnePlus is back with a new globally available flagship handset, the 6.7-inch OnePlus 10 Pro. The pricing is attractive, starting at $899/£799/€899 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, in Volcanic Black and Emerald Forest (Volcanic Black only in the UK). In the UK and Europe, you can also get a 12GB/256GB version for £899/€999 (Emerald Forest only in the UK).
OnePlus is now much more embedded with its BBK Electronics stablemate Oppo, a fact that's particularly noticeable in the overlay that's applied onto Android 12. OnePlus retains its OxygenOS, but there are now many similarities with Oppo's ColorOS, and one (for me) major loss.
Does retaining the iconic Alert Slider and coming in at an attractive price mean that OnePlus still stands out from the crowd?
I was sent the 12GB/256GB version of the OnePlus 10 Pro with an Emerald Forest backplate for review, and while this is a purely personal comment, I find the colour the most pleasing I've seen on a phone in a long time. It is glass (Gorilla Glass 5), and has been given a metallic finish which means it isn't reflective or very slippery in the hand. It certainly wasn't as keen as some handsets to slip and slide about on the arm of my chair, and it also felt a bit more secure in my hand than some phones. The finish also resisted fingerprints admirably. These factors all add up to a win.
The other colour option, Volcanic Black, shares the same backplate design, but lacks the eye-catching colour.
By contrast to the backplate, the sides of the phone are shiny and reflective, and a shade of green that doesn't tone especially well with the back. This is a pity, when the back itself is so nicely done.
Although the T-Mobile version of the OnePlus 10 Pro in the US has an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, this is absent from international versions, including my UK-sourced review unit. IP68 signifies that a handset is 'dust tight' and can handle immersion in up to 1m of water for up to 30 minutes. Its omission is puzzling, to say the least, on a flagship-class handset -- especially as the OnePlus 9 Pro was IP68-rated across the board.
The size and weight are in the expected area for a flagship phone: 73.9mm wide by 163mm tall by 8.55mm thick and 200.5g (2.91in. x 6.42in. x 0.34in. & 7.09oz).
OnePlus doesn't pander to those who still prefer a 3.5mm headset jack, the only slot being a USB-C port on the bottom edge, where there is also a speaker grille and a dual 5G SIM slot. The volume rocker is on the left, and on the right are the main power button and OnePlus's signature Alert Slider, sporting a slightly textured finish that makes it easy to locate by touch alone. This three-position slider lets you quickly jump between ring, vibrate and silent modes. Thank goodness the closer relationship with Oppo has seen its demise.
The camera housing sits on the left side of the backplate, where protrudes only slightly. There's still a noisy clatter if the upper left quadrant of the screen is tapped or swept when the handset lays on a flat surface, which is annoying (but less so than with many other handsets). Some makers have solved this problem: examples include Google with its full-length camera lozenge on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, and Xiaomi sub-brand Poco with its long lozenge on the X4 Pro.
The 6.7-inch AMOLED screen is stunning. The resolution is 3,216 by 1,440 pixels (20.1:9, 525ppi) with 1300 nits peak brightness and support for LTPO technology. LTPO support allows the refresh rate to vary automatically up to 120Hz, a feature that's designed to lengthen battery life. It must be noted that these specifications are identical to those found on last year's OnePlus 9 Pro, although screen protection is upgraded to Gorilla Glass Victus from Gorilla Glass 5.
Screen technology may have reached a sort of plateau in terms of the key metrics, but OnePlus has found a couple of areas where it has been able to improve on last year's 9 Pro model.
One of these is a faster change in refresh rate, which in turn helps with battery life conservation. The other is related to screen brightness, and there are a couple of aspects to this. OnePlus has introduced Dual Color Calibration, where the display is calibrated at 500 nits and 100 nits. This matters because displays are usually calibrated at one brightness level, and colour accuracy is lost as you move away from that level. Here, colour fidelity should be maintained across a range of brightness settings.
In addition, the handset monitors changes to brightness settings made manually, and accommodates user preferences in its automated brightness changes. This makes a big difference to usability: I found I didn't need to make manual brightness adjustments after just a couple of days of intensive use of the phone.
The stereo speakers deliver plenty of volume, and while there's a little distortion at the top of the range it's acceptable. Bass tones are fairly strong, treble a little light, but in general everything from spoken word to orchestral music sounded fine to me.
That's all good stuff, but the growing closeness of the relationship between OnePlus and Oppo (both brands of BBK Electronics, which also owns Realme) is highly visible. One example is making changes to the screen's settings. Take a look at the options in my review of the Realme GT 2 Pro and compare with the settings for the OnePlus 10 Pro (below), and play 'spot the difference':
The absence of the OnePlus reading mode is also a pity; in older OnePlus handsets, this puts the screen into monochrome and is great for e-book reading.
OxygenOS (12) is still here, and its features include integration with the OnePlus Watch, a Scout feature that provides quick search options for content on the handset, and a Notes app. OnePlus also retains its Pro Gaming mode, which turns notifications and other interruptions off so you can enjoy a game without interruption.
However, in becoming closer to Oppo, OnePlus has lost some of its style. Rather than 'Never Settle', OnePlus seems to have settled for a watering down of its uniqueness.
With extensive additions on top of Android 12 it's perhaps no surprise that 26GB of the 256GB in my review unit was consumed, leaving 230GB free for my own use. You can't extend the storage via MicroSD.
It's nice to see little by way of bloatware added to Android 12, and I was pleased to find that the in-screen fingerprint sensor has been moved further up the screen compared to earlier handsets. This makes it easier to keep the phone balanced in one hand while unlocking.
The OnePlus 10 Pro runs on this year's flagship processor of choice – Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. My review handset was smooth and responsive, and I've no complaints about its performance. Under Geekbench 5 it delivered average CPU scores of 1007 (single core) and 3485 (multi core). These are just lower than the scores from the (considerably more expensive) Xiaomi 12 Pro (1231 and 3459 respectively), but still comfortably in the top echelon of the Geekbench Android benchmark charts.
Cameras are increasingly the making or breaking of a phone -- particularly a would-be flagship-class handset -- and OnePlus has not always excelled in this respect. This time, working again with Hasselblad, there are three rear cameras: 48MP f/1.8 wide angle with OIS; 50MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle (105°); and 8MP f/2.4 telephoto (3.3x optical zoom) with OIS. You can shoot 4K video at up to 120fps, 8K video at 24fps, or you can dial down to 1080p at 30 or 60fps.
Flavour-of-the-month fisheye shooting is available with the ultra-wide angle camera, and you can get up to 30x hybrid zoom using a combination of the telephoto camera and software. However, I wouldn't advise the latter as the results are too grainy to be of much use.
In general photos were clear and sharp, and perfectly fine for everyday use. I would have preferred a macro camera over the rather pointless 30x zoom capability though.
The front camera, in the upper left of the screen, is a 32MP f/2.2 unit capable of shooting 1080p video at 30fps. It took passable selfies, although I could have done without the multitude of beauty modes that can modify everything from your nose, chin and eye size to skin texture.
The OnePlus 10 Pro's 5000mAh battery refused to complete my standard PCMark for Android Work 3.0 battery life test, despite four separate attempts. On one occasion when I left the test running, the phone's internal battery software reported rundown from a full charge to the point at which the handset powered down at 16% to have lasted for 12 hours 43 minutes. This is rather average performance for a top-end handset battery these days.
The phone fared better in my YouTube rundown test, which asks the handset to stream video for three hours from a full charge. It lost 15% over that period, suggesting much more impressive battery life of around 20 hours.
Whatever is going on with battery rundown, charging is a very positive story. The 80W SuperVOOC charger took the handset from 16% to 36% in five minutes, up to 55% in 10 minutes, to 70% in 15 minutes, 84% in 20 minutes and 95% in 25 minutes:
In the US, you'll have to make do with 65W charging, as implemented on the previous 9 Pro model. This is because, OnePlus says, 80W SuperVOOC does not currently support the US 120V AC power standard. All models support wireless charging at 50W, however.
The OnePlus 10 Pro is an attractive handset if you're looking for flagship-class performance on a budget. The 6.7-inch AMOLED screen is fabulous, and the speakers, while not outstanding, are perfectly acceptable. The 80W fast charging is welcome (if you're outside the US), and OnePlus reprises its popular Alert Slider.
On the other hand the 30x camera zoom is rather pointless, while the lack of an IP rating (except for the US T-Mobile model) and the somewhat bland Android 12 overlay mean that OnePlus's top-end 2022 phone has lost a little of its shine.