Has it been eight years already? Are we really at 10 with OnePlus? In smartphone years, it’s practically a lifetime. But in real terms, I can remember the upstart OnePlus One in 2014 and how it set out to win over tech enthusiasts with its very own anti-establishment take on how to make a powerful phone.
It stands to reason that OnePlus can’t just exist to please techies and so, it’s moved on to bigger things — increasing the range of its offerings and assimilating back into Oppo, its parent brand, to spread its wings into the mainstream. Early adopters are decidedly miffed, but that’s neither here nor there. OnePlus has expanded at one end of the spectrum with phones from the Nord series and is now competing on more equal terms with flagships at the other end of the spectrum.
And here comes OnePlus 10 Pro, which has been lounging around in China for a couple of months. It is not going to be the only high-end phone from the company this year. There’s an Ultra rumoured and there’ll be the inevitable T and R offshoots. As someone who’s used a OnePlus as a primary phone for years, a new upgraded version is always of special interest to me and I’ve been using it for a few weeks.
The 10 Pro comes out of a big bright red box, complete with everything it needs, such as a big fat charger. The phone supports 80W charging for its 5,000mAh battery and is all done charging in just over 30 minutes. If you use a wireless charger pad, it fast-charges at 50W. In this, the OnePlus 10 Pro is way ahead of its more expensive flagship competition. There are detailed granular customisations in the power settings involving optimisations of all kinds to preserve battery life. I personally have a tough time taming these as I prefer to let the battery do as it likes and just spend a little time re-charging it. I’m a heavy user so I do manage to finish it off within the day — both for the 9 Pro and the 10 Pro.
OnePlus has made some changes to the way the phone looks but nothing dramatic stands out. It has got a big serious bit of camera on the back and some have been making fun of the way the circles are arranged to look like a gas stove - but one easily forgot this bit of silliness.
For now, the colours on this phone are black and an interesting shade of green called Emerald Forest. The back is in a matte finish and not slippery or easily dirtied. I’m using a case to match which increases the heft of the phone, but naturally keeps it safer. The phone feels strong and sturdy, but be aware that reviewer Zack Nelson of ‘JerryRigEverything’ managed to snap the phone in two like a biscuit. In other words, best not sit on it.
The OnePlus 10 Prois a weighty and large phone. The edges curve slightly on the front (something I don’t mind at all) and thin bezels frame a 6.7 inch with a whole lot of specifications to it — LTPO2 Fluid AMOLED, 120Hz, HDR10+, 500 to 1300 nits brightness, 1440 x 3216 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~525 PPI density) and more. It’s a great screen and quite perfect for the myriad things users do on phones today. By default it’s set to FHD+ but you can increase it to QuadHD and take the hit on battery life.
I’ve said this often but beyond a point, you really can’t detect a speed increase in a phone like the ones from OnePlus. Certainly not for the everyday things that one does on a phone. That just leaves heavy gamers to know the differences, if any, or benchmark tests. Any stutters soon get addressed by software updates, not that i encountered any. My review unit came with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage (OnePlus phones don’t have memory card slots) and can’t be expected to be slow in any case.
Everything flies — as it does on the OnePlus 9 Pro I use one year later. That’s why it doesn’t make for a good upgrade from the 9 series, but only from earlier phones from the brand or other brands. The 10 Pro does however have more power under the hood as it shifts to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, a 4nm chipset which enables high-end gaming performance.
There’s a barely noticeable warming up while using the camera for shooting videos but nothing I haven’t seen on more expensive flagships. The chip is known to cause a bit of heating. It appears on other phones like the Galaxy S22 Plus and S22 Ultra, Realme GT2 Pro, IQOO 9 Pro and others.
The software on the 10 Pro is still known as OxygenOS (12.1) and not named ColorOS a la OPPO. But it is tweaked with more customisations and changes in how the Shelf or quick access section and settings arrangements are handled. As a long-time user, I do find the experience somewhat different but it’s mercifully free of spammy unwanted apps.
OnePlus’ partnership with Hasselblad continues for this year although for the 9 Pro, there really was nothing in the camera’s performance that you could see as having been brought in by the famous photography brand except a loud shutter click.
This time, colours are a bit deeper and richer. There’s also 10-bit support on the camera, though what that translates to is difficult to discern.
The main camera is a 48MP though now more than ever, the megapixel count tells us little. There is OIS, including for the accompanying 50MP ultra-wide (150°). There’s also an 8MP 3.3x optical zoom lens. Images are clean and generally quite good, including with the night mode. Video can be shot at 8K/24fps, 4K/30/60/120fps and 1080p/30/60/240fps. There’s a super steady mode that you can use from the on-screen menu.
The front camera is 32MP and does better than before with skin tones. The set of cameras now lets the OnePlus 10 Pro rub shoulders with the big league in phone cameras and every now and then, photos are comparable.
The OnePlus 10 Pro is currently one of the most powerful phones you can get for the price and certainly worth considering if you happen to be a power user who puts a device to full use. At ₹66,999 it is every bit value for money