OnePlus 10 Pro Review: Times They Are a-Changin’
OnePlus has undergone a lot of change since we first met the brand as a plucky upstart all those years ago. Having been partially folded into sister company Oppo over the past 18 months or so, the phones that OnePlus is now releasing exist in a very different context to the company’s early handsets and the new OnePlus 10 Pro embodies this shift perfectly.
While an initial January release in China gave us our first taste of what a OnePlus flagship in 2022 looks like, the phone’s more recent expansion into new markets globally really highlights the enduring influence of the brand’s passionate fandom, while reflecting the change that the company is going through internally, all at once.
With no standard OnePlus 10 (and only rumours of a OnePlus 10 Ultra), the 10 Pro is currently the only top-tier OnePlus purpose-built to take on rivals from Samsung, Apple and beyond. But does it deliver?
Design & build
- Surprisingly lightweight
- OnePlus’ signature physical alert slider
- No IP-certified dust or water resistance
For all the technical prowess, performance and innovation last year’s OnePlus 9 Pro touted, it came packaged in an uncharacteristically bland design for the brand. This year, OnePlus’ design team has veered in a wildly different direction, with the OnePlus 10 Pro’s form punctuated by a bold new camera housing that’s impossible to miss and unlike anything the company’s served up to date.
In a design that clearly takes inspiration from entries like Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra, the 10 Pro’s camera system is the first thing your eyes are drawn to; a sizeable, bold arrangement that curves in from the phone’s edge and extends past the mid-point of its back, housing four widely spaced out circular elements (consisting of three camera sensors and a dual-LED ring-shaped flash).
The sensors (and flash) are set within an expansive mirror-polished metal surround that, although blending geometrically, offers up a contrasting appearance that’s (perhaps intentionally) at odds with the rest of the phone’s finish and colour palette. It’s a design choice that helps the OnePlus 10 Pro stand out against the competition while also implying the significance of the phone’s upgraded Hasselblad-branded camera system.
Beyond this statement piece, the 10 Pro serves up a textured glass back that’s great at repelling fingerprints, surrounded by a thin, colour-matched metal frame whose polished finish offers a nice contrast both in feel and appearance.
While Chinese fans also have access to an ‘Extreme Edition’ that offers an exclusive Ceramic White finish, elsewhere in the world you’ll likely encounter the 10 Pro in one of two colourways: Volcanic Black (which feels like a visual nod to the original OnePlus One’s Sandstone finish) or Emerald Forest (green).
While not true everywhere, your choice of colour also affects the RAM and storage options you can expect under the hood (e.g. in the UK, the higher RAM model is exclusively available in Emerald Forest). Something we’ve seen from OnePlus before.
The rounded Gorilla Glass 5 back and (slightly less) curved edges of the Gorilla Glass Victus front make for a comfortable hand feel, in a design that’s pleasingly thin at 8.55mm and deceptively light (despite technically weighing 200.5g); considering the sizeable battery onboard.
The glass meets at that aforementioned aluminium frame, which incorporates a USB-C port along its bottom edge, as well as a power key, volume keys and the company’s signature knurled three-stage physical alert slider; practically unseen outside of select OnePlus’ mid-rangers and flagships and a nice additional tactile detail.
While OnePlus paid for its last two generations of flagships to undergo IP68-certification against dust and water ingress, the 10 Pro looks as though it’s forgone that particular testing and as such, doesn’t come with the same lab-tested assurances.
Even, so there are signs that the phone is still built to withstand the same challenges, with a familiar red rubber gasket around the SIM tray and (as confirmed by independent teardowns) similar treatments around the physical buttons and other elements.
As such, don’t go throwing your 10 Pro in the sink but know that if you do, it likely won’t result in instant death.
Display & audio
- Superb viewing experience
- LTPO 2.0 technology for better power efficiency
- PIN and pattern input awkwardly high on screen
At first glance, the display offered up by the 10 Pro seems identical to its predecessor – a 6.7in 120Hz Quad HD+ AMOLED panel with support for 10-bit colour depth, HDR10+ and a cited 1300nit peak brightness, but the ante has, in fact, been upped.
The 10 Pro’s panel actually shares more in common with Realme’s recent GT 2 Pro flagship, namely in the use of LTPO 2.0 display technology, which means the panel’s variable refresh rate can actually rapidly scale right down to 1Hz, resulting in greater power efficiency.
As well as offering a great general viewing experience – with pleasing colours, deep blacks and respectable outdoor visibility – OnePlus has also gone above and beyond with colour calibration, ensuring the 10 Pro’s panel is designed to show accurate colours at two discreet brightnesses (100nits and 500nits), while most rivals only adhere to calibration at a single brightness level.
Speaking of brightness, the phone’s AI-supported auto-brightness can be trained to your specific tastes by adjusting the slider closer to your preferred values; based on factors like the app in use and the time of day. Generally, it adjusts to a comfortable value for the scenario but I did spend time training it to go dimmer in low light environments, which it started to grasp during the review period.
There are a host of customisation options tied to the viewing experience too, with different colour space profiles (including a Pro mode), screen temperature control, natural tone functionality (which adjusts colour temperature relative to ambient light), an eye comfort mode, image and video enhancers, and the option to change both resolution and refresh rate.
The display defaults to Full HD+ resolution but can be set to Quad HD+ or dynamic, while refresh rate can either be fixed to 60Hz or set to dynamic mode, with that 120Hz maximum.
Those familiar with the OnePlus 9 Pro’s oddly low-slung in-display fingerprint sensor will appreciate its migration northwards on the 10 Pro; sitting much more naturally in the bottom third of the display area, allowing for more comfortable use.
This optical sensor (as well as the RGB-based face unlock) is impressively snappy, however, by shifting the fingerprint reader area up, OnePlus has seemingly had to move the PIN/pattern input to the upper half of the display too; making for an ergonomically awkward experience.
Numerous other phones, like Google’s Pixel 6 line, don’t seem to suffer from this issue, meaning PIN input and fingerprint sensor can occupy the same area of pixels for better comfort and convenience.
Dolby Atmos-certified speakers offer audible stereo separation, but the respective treble/bass bias between the earpiece speaker and the down-firing grille makes for an unbalanced headphone-free sonic experience.
OnePlus introduced a new Radiant Silver colourway of OnePlus Buds Pro alongside the 10 Pro’s global launch, clearly hoping to push prospective buyers towards picking up the new Buds as their go-to audio solution, especially as there’s no headphone jack on-device and no 3.5mm USB-C adapter in-box to speak of.
Software & features
- Clean user experience with great personalisation
- ColorOS 12.1 in China, OxygenOS 12.1 globally
- 3 years OS updates, 4 years security updates
- Great haptic feedback
OnePlus’ OxygenOS user experience has been one of the company’s product’s greatest strengths and standout features; an Android skin offering fluidity and simplicity in a way that really seems to resonate with users.
With this in mind, when the company suggested that OxygenOS would be fusing with Oppo’s ColorOS as part of its OnePlus 2.0 initiative last September, fans were understandably uneasy about the move.
Community feedback, however, pushed OnePlus to walk back this decision, resulting in ColorOS and OxygenOS still running on a newly-unified codebase (making for an easier update roadmap across both platforms), while still retaining each’s individuality on their respective brand’s devices.
OxygenOS 12.1 as it appears on the 10 Pro (running atop Android 12) is, as expected, clean and characterful.
Whenever a ‘1’ appears in the clock widget, it’s rendered in the brand’s signature red, you have control over quick settings and app icon shapes, the UI colour palette, the fingerprint sensor animation and more. You also have the option to use OnePlus Sans in place of Android’s native Roboto font, which helps give the user experience a refreshingly unique look and feel, system-wide.
Haptics have been improved too, with an x-axis motor that’s reportedly 40% stronger than previous entries, making for more precise and tactile interaction.
Enduring extras like the Insight lock screen and The Shelf (a home for your widgets that keeps the home screens clear), have been joined by new inclusions like Work Life Balance, letting you filter notifications based on schedule, app and even account.
The one caveat to the experience offered up by The Shelf is that it’s only accessible by way of a swipe down from the top right corner of the screen, an area I’m used to interacting with in order to access the notifications and quick settings shade. Its original home – to the side of the primary home screen – was abandoned in 2020, but if you’re like me this small tweak comes with a bigger learning curve than expected.
The OnePlus 10 Pro also benefits from the same commitment to software updates that the company made in mid-2021, meaning three years of OS updates and four years of security patches. By no means industry-leading but likely enough to last most users through to their next upgrade.
Specs & performance
- 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset
- Up to 12GB RAM (LPDDR5)
- Up to 512GB storage (UFS 3.1)
- Optional high-performance mode, RAM Boost and HyperBoost Gaming Engine
OnePlus flagships always aim to offer the best hardware in the business and the OnePlus 10 Pro is no exception, with the phone powered by the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset and sporting a baseline 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM (with a maximum 12GB RAM also available), paired to either 128GB or 256GB of fast UFS 3.1 storage globally and up to 512GB on the China-exclusive Extreme Edition.
The 10 Pro is, as expected, a great real-world performer, with OxygenOS and that 120Hz refresh rate working in concert to offer up a smooth, snappy, responsive user experience, as well as fast app load times.
Artificial benchmarks highlight the relative consistency in CPU performance seen time again when comparing the 8 Gen 1 to last year’s Snapdragon 888, while GPU performance pulls ahead; only really falling behind the AMD RDNA 2-capable GPU inside Samsung’s Exynos 2200 (powering this year’s Galaxy S22 series, in select markets).
If you’re feeling that performance is still somehow lacking, OnePlus has also implemented a dedicated high-performance mode (hidden away in the advanced battery settings menu) that offers even more grunt at the expense of battery life (I only used this during benchmarking to achieve the highest scores the phone was capable of), while a RAM Boost feature is also on-hand to leverage the phone’s speedy storage as additional virtual memory, designed to help with multitasking and the like.
The phone handled demanding games comfortably, supported by a ‘3D passive cooling system’ that resulted in negligible heat build-up, even after extended sessions. The caveat to the gaming experience is that – similarly to the Realme GT 2 Pro – even games that are known to support 120fps gameplay remained capped at 60fps on the OnePlus 10 Pro, even when manually selecting higher refresh rates and enabling High Performance Mode in the battery settings.
There’s also a Pro Gaming launcher that offers an in-game overlay to manage things like notifications and brightness independently of the phone’s wider settings, as well as allowing for real-time performance monitoring of RAM, GPU load and even system temperature. Select games also support real-time game filters that change the game’s visual output for aesthetic or functional advantage (depending on the game).
OnePlus has confirmed that the 10 Pro will benefit from Oppo’s HyperBoost Gaming Engine (featuring a branded toolset, consisting of the GPA Frame Stabiliser, O-Sync and GPU Load Control) set to be issued in a forthcoming update that will hit devices sometime after the phone’s global launch.
Battery life & charging
- Sizeable 5000mAh battery paired with 80W wired charging
- Warp Charge replaced by Oppo SuperVOOC charging
- Full charge in under 35 minutes
- Superb longevity
At first blush, it might seem that there’s been no visible improvement to the fast charging when comparing the OnePlus 10 Pro to last year’s 9 Pro.
Both phones reach approximately 95% charge in just 30 minutes, which is a wholly impressive feat in its own right, but in the case of OnePlus’ latest flagship, the company has actually bumped battery capacity up from 4500mAh to 5000mAh too, making that consistent recharge rate more of an achievement.
To facilitate this, the OnePlus 10 Pro matches Oppo’s latest Find X5 Pro by pairing its 5000mAh cell to faster 80W fast charging (up from 65W on the 9 Pro), resulting in over 50% charge in just 15 minutes and a full charge in less than 35.
OnePlus fans might notice that in the move to a new included 80W power adapter, Warp Charge has been scrapped in place of Oppo’s SuperVOOC tech. You still get an iconic OnePlus red charging cable but it’s reverted back to USB-A on one end, a strange side effect of mixing and matching charging standards and technologies between the brands.
Hopefully, Oppo will catch up to OnePlus soon enough and start releasing VOOC chargers that are USB-C to USB-C.
To round out the charging experience, the phone also supports 50W wireless charging (and reverse wireless charging) matching the Xiaomi 12 Pro, that’s also been rebranded to fall in line with Oppo’s AirVOOC charging standard. While this wasn’t tested as the compatible wireless charger is sold separately, OnePlus quotes a full charge in 47 minutes.
As for actual longevity, the bump to a 5000mAh battery has paid off in spades. Even when the display is set to its maximum refresh rate and resolution, it offers up a day and a half os use comfortably and will facilitate two days of use in the hands of casual users; doling out an impressive PCMark Work 3.0 battery test score of 11 hours 20 minutes, alongside real-world screen-on time of nine hours.
- 48Mp main + 50Mp ultrawide + 8Mp telephoto w/ 3.3x zoom
- Specialised 52Mp Sony IMX789 primary sensor
- Among the first phones with 150° ultrawide
- Significant camera inconsistencies
Despite the bombastic new camera housing, the hardware at play is actually almost identical to that of the 9 Pro, albeit with one key exception.
The phone leads with the same optically-stabilised Sony IMX789 primary sensor (which is exclusive to OnePlus, Oppo and the like), featuring what is technically a 52Mp functional area, but comes tied to an unusual 16:11 aspect ratio.
The result is that conventional 4:3 stills are captured at 48Mp (with pixel-binning bringing them down to 12Mp by default), however, more of the sensor remains available for video capture than would usually be the case.
The OIS-laden 8Mp telephoto is also lifted from last year’s 9 Pro, with the same 3.3x magnification, but things take a turn where the ultrawide is concerned, with a new 50Mp Samsung ISOCELL JN1 sensor that – as first seen on the Realme GT 2 Pro – offers a super-wide 150° field of view.
Ultrawide shots are usually captured at around 110° but through two additional dedicated shooting modes, the 10 Pro can snap stills at the full 150° with surprisingly little distortion, as well as featuring a fully circular fish-eye mode; allowing for more creative photographic options.
A closer look at that rear camera arrangement also reveals a Hasselblad logo and an unassuming set of letters and numbers in ‘P2D 50T’ which, according to the company, translates as follows: P = ‘Phone’, 2D = ‘Second-generation Hasselblad camera for mobile’ and 50T = ’50-megapixel triple-lens rear camera setup’.
It’s a pretty contrived way to get people talking about the Hasselblad partnership but amongst fans and tech enthusiasts, it seems to have worked.
The Hasselblad partnership struck last year between the camera maker and OnePlus for US$150m manifests in a number of ways on the 10 Pro, although how tangible the benefits are to the phone’s photographic capabilities really falls to personal preference.
Beyond the signature orange shutter button, the phone features a characterful XPan camera mode (which captures in the historical format’s unusual panoramic 65:24 aspect ratio), while a trio of ‘Master Styles’ (named ‘Serenity’, ‘Radiance’ and ‘Emerald’) serve as bespoke filters tuned by Hasselblad Ambassador Yin Chao and Hasselblad Masters winners Ben Thomas and David Peskens, respectively.
As for more concrete technical improvements, the ability to shoot stills in RAW (and videos in LOG) has been extended with RAW+, which pairs a RAW image with OnePlus’ post-processing; granting you the ability to share instantaneously or fine-tune the uncompressed image data, without quality loss. You also have the option to capture with 10-bit colour depth (up from 8-bit on most modern phones).
Practically speaking, output from the OnePlus 10 Pro’s camera system makes for an odd mix. It’s one of the more confident cameras we’ve seen in a OnePlus flagship in a few years but it suffers from unusual quirks, mainly around colour science and exposure.
Shots taken on the primary snapper usually offer up pleasing colours (with a warmer bias than most) and are wholly suited to going straight onto social media, with the professional features that OnePlus is touting, however, you’d expect a better photographic baseline from the 10 Pro’s camera.
Even in well-lit scenarios, the 10 Pro’s camera has a tendency to underexpose, suggesting limited dynamic range compared to its flagship rivals, or at the very least the need for more tuning by OnePlus’ camera engineers.
Post-processing also leads to fine detail breaking down under scrutiny, while inconsistencies with that new 50Mp ultrawide in comparison to the main and telephoto snappers highlight an even greater dynamic range difference in high contrast scenarios (look at the cactus photos for a good example).
Selfies too are inconsistent, with that familiar under-exposure and a real struggle with accurate skin tones, something portrait mode using the main camera handles far better. The front 32Mp snapper seems to capture the blues of my shirt without issue, edge detection is good and bokeh looks quite natural, but my natural skin tone and the red brick of the buildings in the background appear hugely desaturated.
The silver lining is that almost all of the 10 Pro’s camera issues can be addressed through software updates, it’s just a shame the phone has made it to market with the camera in the state that it is.
Price & availability
The OnePlus 10 Pro made it to market in late January in China but the phone enjoyed its true global release on 31 March, with pre-orders in markets including the US in place ahead of release.
As of 5 April, the 10 Pro is now available across the UK, Europe and India, with the phone coming to the US on 14 April, sporting a starting price of £799/US$899/€899/INR₹66,999 for the base 8GB RAM/128GB storage SKU.
As touched on earlier, the Extreme Edition with 512GB of storage remains a China-exclusive for the time being, while some markets pair available memory and storage configurations to specific colourways (this seems to be the case in some European markets, at least).
Pricing places it close to Samsung’s base Galaxy S22 (which starts at £769/$799), while the experience the 10 Pro offers is more akin to the S22+ and splits the difference between the Realme GT 2 Pro and Oppo Find X5 Pro, in terms of features, design and price.
The standard iPhone 13 and Xiaomi 12 also haven’t been long on the scene but both come in slightly under the OnePlus 10 Pro’s pricing, while still offering stellar flagship experiences in their own right.
You can pick the OnePlus 10 Pro up from OnePlus.com (US, UK, Europe, India) directly as well as retailers including Amazon (US, UK, DE, ES, FR), John Lewis (UK), Best Buy (US) and carriers, such as Three (UK).
Despite the obvious influence Oppo’s presence has had over the OnePlus 10 Pro’s development, the phone retains its individuality; feeling different enough from bedfellows like the Find X5 Pro and Realme’s GT 2 Pro. Where Oppo has exerted its influence, however, the changes are more strange than definitively good or bad.
The OnePlus 10 Pro offers up one of the best displays on the market right now, delivers great top-tier performance, exceptional battery life, a slick user experience and a standout albeit somewhat divisive design.
The phone’s biggest weakness is, as ever, its camera, which like so many OnePlus flagships before it, will likely require numerous post-launch patches to bring it in line with competitors.
With its strengths in mind, see how it stacks up against our rundown of the current best phones on the market, as well as the best Android phones specifically, phones offering the best battery life and see where it slots in amidst the best OnePlus phones too.
OnePlus 10 Pro: Specs
- 6.7in 20:9 WQHD+ LTPO 2.0 1Hz to 120Hz AMOLED display
- Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
- 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset
- 3D cooling structure
- 8GB or 12GB LPDDR5 RAM
- 128GB, 256GB or 512GB UFS 3.1 storage
- Watch-grade 3D nanocrystalline ceramic lens cover
- 48Mp main f/1.8 Sony IMX789 sensor w/ OIS
- 50Mp ultrawide f/2.2 Samsung ISOCELL JN1 w/ 150° FoV
- 8Mp telephoto f/2.4 w/ OIS
- 32Mp front-facing f/2.4 Sony IMX615 sensor w/ 80.6° FoV
- Android 12 w/ OxygenOS 12.1
- Stereo speakers w/ Dolby Atmos
- USB-C (USB 3.1)
- Dual SIM
- Bluetooth 5.2
- WiFi 6
- 5000mAh battery
- 80W SuperVOOC wired charging
- 50W AirVOOC wireless charging
- Reverse wireless charging
- 163mm x 73.9mm x 8.55mm
- 200.5 grams
- Colours: Volcanic Black, Emerald Forest ,Ceramic White