OnePlus 10 Pro review: Smooth performance that costs less than the competition | smart phone

OnePlus’ latest high-end smartphone is a top-of-the-line device with a good combination of aesthetics and performance, and at a price that undercuts the competition. Just don’t sit on it.

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

The phone has one of the best 6.7-inch OLED screens: bright, sharp and colorful with a 120Hz refresh rate to keep things smooth. The glass sides curve to a shiny metal band and a frosted glass back that feels extra nice and stops fingerprints from making a mess.

The matte green back sparkles in bright light, while the camera body has a dark metallic sheen. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The blob of camera in the top left corner blends into the metal sides and adds an interesting design element. Despite being large, its curved sides, relatively narrow width, and weight of around 200g make the 10 Pro comparatively easy to hold compared to similar competitors.

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 lacks an official waterproof rating, but should survive rain, splashes, or similar accidents.

specifications

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

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

  • R.A.M: 8 or 12GB of RAM

  • Warehouse: 128 or 256GB

  • Operating system: Oxygen OS 12.1 (Android 12)

  • Camera: 48 MP main camera, 50 MP ultra wide angle, 8 MP 3.3x telephoto lens; 32MP selfie

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

  • Water resistance rating: none

  • Dimensions: 163*73.9*8.6mm

  • Weight: 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. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Featuring the same top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip as most high-end Android phones for 2022, the 10 Pro offers admirable performance with a fast UI and smooth gaming.

Battery life is very good, averaging around 43 hours between charges, including three hours spent on 5G. That was with the screen set to default resolution and active use for well over six hours. That’s seven hours longer than Samsung’s closest competitor, meaning the phone needs to be charged every other night with light usage. It lasts around five hours of screen time when the display is cranked up to its maximum QHD+ resolution.

sustainability

The fingerprint scanner icon on the OnePlus 10 Pro screen.
The in-screen fingerprint scanner unlocks the phone quickly and reliably and is placed higher on the device than last year’s model, making it easier to use. Photo: 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 doesn’t contain any recycled materials but is generally repairable, with a replacement battery costing around £20 plus labour. OnePlus operates a trade-in program and is included in parent company Oppo’s annual sustainability reports.

OxygenOS 12.1

Software personalization options displayed on the OnePlus 10 Pro screen.
OxygenOS has personalization options to customize the appearance of the software. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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

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

OxygenOS 12.1 doesn’t look quite like last year’s version 11, but it’s still a stripped-down and fairly refined affair geared toward Western audiences. It has some issues, including an overly aggressive closing of apps running in the background, which is designed to save battery but can delay message notifications or occasionally stop music playback. “Pinning” apps in the multitasking menu prevents them from being shut down.

OnePlus’ software is still among the best of any Chinese smartphone brand, but it’s not quite as high quality as it used to be.

camera

Photographing a garden with the Hasselblad Camera app on the OnePlus 10 Pro.
The Hasselblad Camera app is packed with features, including full manual control and the ability to take 10-bit photos, but few devices or apps support it outside of the phone’s Gallery app. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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

The main camera generally takes very good pictures that are well exposed and have a good color balance. It can struggle in high-contrast scenes, but does well in low-light scenarios. The ultra-wide camera is just as decent, albeit a little softer in detail and less sensitive to low light. It can also take extremely wide photos or fisheye style photos with fun special modes.

The 3.3x telephoto camera has decent magnification compared to some rivals and is capable of fairly sharp shots in good lighting. But it struggles in lower light levels and quickly becomes grainy.

The cameras lack consistency in color and exposure levels, meaning switching between them will produce vastly 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.
OnePlus’ excellent alert slider, which quickly toggles the phone between silent, vibrate and ring, is part of the sculpted camera array. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Price

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

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

Verdict

The OnePlus 10 Pro is a good alternative to a premium Google or Samsung Android phone.

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

The camera is slightly improved overall and generally very user-friendly, but it’s still OnePlus’ weakest link and can’t bother the best in the business.

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

If you’re looking for a good premium Android phone that’s not made by Samsung or Google, the OnePlus 10 Pro is for you.

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

Disadvantages: Camera not quite best in class, no water resistance rating, some software bugs, 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. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian