There’s a good chance this isn’t the first OnePlus 10 Pro review you’ve read. While I wouldn’t have liked to publish my review as soon as the embargo lifted, I honestly needed a bit more time with the phone to get a better feel for what OnePlus is trying to accomplish with this phone since it’s not perfectly obvious at first glance.
On the surface, the OnePlus 10 Pro simply looks to be another iteration of a flagship smartphone that can go head-to-head with some of the best devices out there. On paper, it checks all the right boxes, but like many of its competitors, it also falls short in a few key areas.
For years, OnePlus fans have flocked to the brand because of the value the phones offered and the software experience. While both of those are no longer huge selling points for the OnePlus 10 Pro, they still give the phone a slight advantage. At $899, this isn’t the cheapest flagship device you can buy, but it’s $100 less than its most notable rival – the Samsung Galaxy S22 and notably, $170 less than last year’s OnePlus 9 Pro.
That would typically be enough to make it extremely competitive, but Google’s also thrown its own Pixel 6 Pro into the mix at the exact same price point, giving buyers a compelling alternative if they’re simply looking for an alternative to Samsung.
There’s no denying that the OnePlus 10 Pro looks dramatically different than its predecessor and any other Oneplus device we’ve seen in the past. While some aren’t enamored with the new look, I’m a huge fan! Personally, I like the design choices Samsung’s been making for its Galaxy S series these past two years, so I was delighted to see OnePlus moving in a similar direction.
The main design element is the extra-large camera module on the back of the phone that connects with the metal frame on the side. While Samsung uses this design to stack the cameras up on the very edge of the phone, OnePlus extended the camera module further towards the middle, allowing one of the cameras and the flash to align with the Oneplus logo along the centerline of the device.
The overall size of the 10 Pro is nearly identical to the Pixel 6 Pro, but it’s not quite as wide, making it more comfortable to hold and handle. Naturally, Oneplus has retained the notification slider on the right edge of the phone, with the power button right below it, while the volume rocker is placed on the opposite side. Overall, it’s fairly ergonomic and comfortable to use, though the frosted glass finish on the back of the phone, which is a godsend if you hate seeing fingerprints on your phone, does make the device a tad too slippery. I usually don’t put a case on the smartphones I use, but if you’re planning on picking up the 10 Pro, I suggest you buy a case for it as well.
The good news is that the OnePlus 10 Pro beats out the Galaxy S22 Plus and the Pixel 6 Pro when ti comes to performance. While it may run the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 with 8GB of RAM as Samsung’s flagship, OnePlus has managed to keep the chipset on the inside quite a bit cooler. Most benchmark numbers will show that the S22 Plus and the OnePlus 10 Pro offer nearly identical results, but the cooling system in the OnepLus gives it an edge, allowing it to max out it power for longer, which will definitely be appreciated by anyone who’s looking to buy this phone to heavy gaming.
Oneplus has also optimized the performance of the phone for specific games in order to reduce performance peaks and valleys when the chipset does eventually throttle under heavy use. I did notice a difference while playing Wild Rift, the frame rates did remain consistently higher than what I’ve seen on other devices, but this optimization is on a game-by-game basis which means not every title will be getting the same treatment.
In terms of day-to-day use, the phone’s performance is stellar, even though some might complain that only the 8GB variant is currently for sale. OnePlus has promised a 12GB variant with 256GB of storage at some point in the future, but I honestly don’t see the point. Multi-tasking on this phone works just fine, though having double the storage could come in handy for those who record a lot of videos.
Charging & Battery Life
One of my favorite features of the 10 Pro is that it can charge from zero to 100% in just over 35 minutes thanks to the 65W fast charger that’s included in the box. That’s right, for $899, you actually get a charger with this flagship phone, and OnePlus truly means it when they call it fast charging. For battery life itself, in our testing, this phone outlasted all the other Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 smartphones we’ve tested so far. With its 5000 mAh battery, the 10 Pro delivered a full hour of additional screen-on time than the Galaxy S22 Plus and consistently left me with at least a 20%$ charge at the end of a long day. Some of the improvements can be credited to the brand new LTPO display which offers a variable refresh rate from 120Hz all the day down to 1Hz, giving you an incredible experience when playing games and scrolling through your social media feeds while also dramatically reducing battery life when you’d reading static content or nothing’s moving on the display.
Out of the box, this phone does run on Android 12 with OxygenOS. There’s been a bit of controversy lately with Oppo and onepLus announcing that OxygenOS and ColorOS are now sharing the same code base. You still get unique software features and customizations as you have on older OnePlus devices, but there’s no denying that OxygenOS feels a lot different than what many of us have come to love about OnePlus phones over the years.
That being said, I still prefer the UI over what Samsung delivers on its devices, it’s just a shame that it’s a bit heavier and more involved than what it used to be. A new software feature with Android 12 is the Oneplus Shelf which is essentially a customizable widget screen that appears when you swipe down from the right side of the screen. If you’re a fan of widgets but don’t want them cluttering up your homescreen, this is one feature you’ll definitely enjoy since it gives you the best of both worlds. Personally, I disabled the feature after 48 hours since it was constantly getting in the way when I was trying to swipe down to open the notification shade.
The QHD+ 6.7-inch OLED panel is pretty stunning with 10-bit Color Depth and 1300 nits of peak brightness, delivering great viewing angles and amazing outdoor visibility. OnePlus has also calibrated the panel at 100 nits and again at 500 nits so that the colors are more accurate, depending on the brightness levels of the display. It definitely looks good, but it’s hard to say if anyone will truly notice the difference in color accuracy at different brightness levels.
As always, I’ll detract a few points for the curved display for adding extra glare and making typing more difficult than it should be, but the curve OnePllus is using isn’t as bad as what we’ve seen from them in the past.
Overall, it’s definitely the best display we’ve seen on a Oneplus smartphone and on par with what you can expect from Samsung’s most expensive devices.
Taking pictures on a flagship OnePlus device has gotten significantly better over the past few years. I was impressed with the huge improvements we saw with last year’s OnePlus 9 Pro, so it’s a bit disappointing that this year’s device seems to be a half step up, at best. The main camera on the back is the same 48MP sensor we’ve already seen last year and a new 50MP ultrawide camera system. The difference this time around is that we have a 150-degree ultrawide lens, coupled with a smaller sensor to accommodate the wider field of view. The wider lens is definitely a lot more fun to play with, giving you a much wider field of view than what you get on most other smartphones, but they decided to separate it out into its own dedicated camera mode rather than having it as one of the zoom options on the main camera screen and they didn’t give it a video recording option either.
The downgraded sensor isn’t too much of an issue when capturing daylight shots, but the smaller sensor size is quite noticeable when taking pictures or capturing video at night. The zoom camera isn’t an upgrade either, featuring the same 8MP sensor and 3.3x zoom setup as last year. Needless to say, the 10 Pro’s rear cameras aren’t much of an improvement. They’ve tweaked the image processing a little and improved dynamic range, but you’ll have a hard time telling these shots apart from anything captured on last year’s 9 Pro.
The one camera that was upgraded is the new 32MP selfie camera, doubling the resolution when compared to its predecessor. The upgrade can definitely be noticed with the added detail in the shots, especially in low light conditions. I still wouldn’t trade this for a Pixel 6 Pro when taking selfies, but it can definitely hold its own against the best Samsung has to offer when snapping selfies. That being said, I still need to point out that OnePlus still doesn’t think that we deserve 4K video from our selfie cameras, something I completely disagree with. But if that’s not a priority for you, you should be quite happy with the video you can picture with this selfie camera.
After using the OnePlus 10 Pro for a month and a half, I still have mixed feelings about this phone. It has its fair share of flaws, but I think it’s still one of the best Android devices on the market right now. When compared to the Galaxy S22+, it’s a better buy, but I’m not sure if I’d recommend you buy this phone over the Pixel 6 Pro, which costs $900 as well.
That’s a decision you’ll have to make on your own.
OnePlus 10 Pro Rating: star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_50 (4.4/5)
- Battery Life & Charging
- Average cameras
The Bottom Line
The OnePlus 10 Pro is a great alternative to Samsung’s flagship devices in 2022 when you consider the price, but if you’re looking for a better camera, there are better options available.