OnePlus has seen a lot of change over the last year or so since the release of the OnePlus 9 Pro. The consolidation of the OnePlus and OPPO brands is a major change. Typically the OnePlus phone release is touted as a “flagship killer”, but this year there’s a lot more going on.
After having the OnePlus 10 Pro in my pocket for the last few weeks, I have a lot of thoughts to share on the phone, the company and the direction they’re heading. As you’d expect, there are some good points, but the OnePlus 10 Pro also has a few lowlights and a couple of ugly moments so let’s get into it.
The OnePlus 10 Pro has a lot of promise when you look at the hardware. In fact, the phone is quite lovely to look at and feels delightful in the hand. The curves are sleek and the official OnePlus cases you can get to protect the device, add a bit of flair to the look too. What is also evident quickly though is the direction of OnePlus towards the OPPO camp.
While personally, I feel like the emerald forest colour is gorgeous, our review unit is somewhat typical volcanic black.
While there are a couple of significant changes as part of the OPPO-fication of OnePlus some design elements of the OnePlus 10 Pro have stayed true to previous generations. The screen, as a starting point, is absolutely gorgeous! It’s buttery smooth, with crisp and clear colour and runs at a delightfully high resolution. The numbers behind this are 1440 x 3216 resolution at 525 PPI and a variable refresh rate from 1 to 120Hz. Another little touch that OnePlus includes is the pre-applied screen protector, preserving the look of your device and the screen a while longer. I can actually emphasize enough how good this screen is, it really is a thing of beauty, potentially even on par with the S22 Ultra and Find X5 Pro we recently reviewed.
Hidden within the screen is a fingerprint scanner which — moving from the Pixel 6 Pro — is accurate and pretty snappy. That being said, if you’re a user of face unlock, more often than not, face unlock has already triggered by the time you’ve got your thumb to the scanner which is an impressive result.
Other internals that contribute to the user experience includes a Snapdragon 8, Gen 1 and is complemented by 8GB of RAM. What I can’t understand though, is that the international version doesn’t carry an IP rating. When you couple this with the catastrophic failure that the device suffered during a durability test, there are a lot of users who are significantly wary of purchasing one. I haven’t noted any times when the phone flexed unexpectedly or felt flimsy during testing though, even forgetting I had it in my back pocket and sitting down.
Charging and Battery: Still leading the pack
OnePlus has been one of the leaders when it comes to charging for a couple of generations now. The OnePlus 10 Pro offers a whopping 80W wired charging solution that will take your phone from the verge of shutting down, to full in a whisker over 30 minutes. Although for Aussie buyers, OnePlus chargers can be hard to find, so grab and OPPO SuperVOOC charger because you’ll get almost identical results.
If you’ve got a preference for wireless charging, then the 50W wireless charging may well be a breath of fresh air for you. It will charge your phone in about 45 minutes, which for wireless is an impressive outcome.
In honesty though, if you’ve got a good charging routine in place for regular daily charging then you’re not going to need the speed of the charging. The battery has plenty of staying power, lasting all day without fail and on quiet days getting me a couple of days of use. There are some reasonably aggressive power optimisations — apps getting shut down in the background — to achieve this, but you can add exceptions to this to ensure your critical apps always run and the 5,000 mAh battery plays its part too.
The Camera – A small, but significant step backwards
We’ve said in the past that Megapixels don’t make the camera and this is a perfect example of exactly that. The main camera is the same as the OnePlus 9, and it carries the same telephoto sensor. But by changing the provider of the Ultrawide sensor (from the Sony IMX766 to Samsung’s JN1) there is a deficit in capability compared to last year’s phone.
The design is a slight shift to a square camera array which I quite like the look of. It’s a little more rounded and works with the aesthetic of the phone as a whole.
Some of this is covered by the partnership with Hasselblad, but the camera just hasn’t produced the quality of images that OnePlus has done in the past. Unfortunately, this time around some of the post-processing on photos has resulted in some slightly oversaturated colours and lighting that isn’t as natural with shadows being washed out or eliminated by the software.
That in itself is very much focused on a more vibrant photo, but the issue with shutter lag from the OnePlus 9 Pro is still very evident. What you see in the image preview is — when photographing a fast-moving target — not what you get as a final product. In terms of timing, I took a lot of photos to try to get one of my daughter at the peak of her jump to no avail. Suffice to say, this isn’t the phone for you if you’re regularly in a position where you want to take action shots.
Criticisms aside, the camera on the OnePlus 10 Pro is absolutely capable of taking some stunning photos. Night mode is particularly good and perhaps, the software is more tuned to suit the low and inconsistent lighting conditions. With all of this in mind though, if I were asked, based on the camera, which OnePlus device I wanted – It would be the OnePlus 9.
The software doesn’t quite hit the mark
OxygenOS has been OPPO-fied and unless you’re a big fan of ColorOS this isn’t a great result. It feels like OnePlus has gone from a stock Android operating system to a more commercial option. But with that, some of the nice little bits of convenience and polish are gone. Perhaps this is because the ColorOS option was canned and as a result, the version of OxygenOS we’re seeing was rushed. While there aren’t any huge, deal-breaking moments with the software it feels unfinished.
While this is a problem for anyone who has had a previous OnePlus device and loved the experience, others who haven’t possibly won’t even notice it. This isn’t an “unfixable” problem, the next couple of updates for OxygenOS on the OnePlus 10 Pro will be critical though: It currently feels unfinished, it’s not unfixable and updates have the potential to make the phone a hero if OnePlus gets it right.
So, with that aside, the performance of the software is actually pretty good. Even when I ran a few games on it, there was no indication that the hardware was struggling with what I was asking it to do.
There’s no “official” channels into Australia, still…
This is a big barrier for a lot of potential buyers because, while you can get OnePlus gear in Australia it’s generally through online retailers and grey markets. The problem is that these companies usually have a base overseas, so are you buying within Australia, or importing from overseas?
There are ways to push this, but it all takes time and who wants to be without their phone for weeks while awaiting replacement or repairs under warranty?
There’s a lot to consider here and as a starting point, I probably wouldn’t recommend anyone in Australia buys the OnePlus 10 Pro.
Is it a bad phone? No, absolutely not!
There’s a lot to like about it from a hardware perspective, the performance is right up there and the camera (while a step back from last year’s specs) does a great job of producing quality photos and is going to tick the boxes for most users.
There are a few minor issues with the software, some being what I would consider bugs but others personal preference. If you’re happy to ride the wave, then there’s no barrier here but it’s worth being aware of. There is, however, one continued concern that is a barrier to purchasing.
Depending on where you buy the OnePlus 10 Pro, you’re going to be paying similar money (AU$1,200 – AU$1,400 plus shipping), if not more than a better known and locally supported high-end device. For me, that’s a deal-breaking risk — on Australian shores — that I personally wouldn’t be willing to take but again, if you’re happy and want this phone, go for it!
The OnePlus 10 Pro is a really comfortable device to hold with stunning hardware. With the addition of an official pathway to purchase and get a warranty, preferably with a touch of polish on the software I’d happily call this one of the better value buys of 2022 but it’s not a flagship killer anymore.
OnePlus have allowed Ausdroid to retain the device to monitor future updates of software and device longevity