OnePlus 10 Pro Review: The Reliable Android Smartphone Is Back In Form

Starting at just ₹66,999, the OnePlus 10 Pro undercuts the starting price of its competitors from the Samsung Galaxy S22+ to the iPhone 13 Pro and others.
OnePlus 10 Pro
OnePlus 10 Pro

It was in 2016 when OnePlus released the OnePlus 3, one of the company’s biggest hits. The company has come a long way since then. Their performance and market share have ebbed and flowed, with some questionable decisions in the middle, but with the OnePlus 10 Pro - the latest flagship smartphone from the Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer - they’re back in form and how. It is a 5G phone, but I’ll be simply referring to it as the OnePlus 10 Pro in this review.

The sad part about OnePlus is that the company is no more a “flagship killer”. Nonetheless, their smartphones still undercut the competition and that in itself is a good start for them with every launch.

The OnePlus 10 Pro has a beautiful display and a powerful processor under the hood, a slick design and a reliable camera. Starting at just ₹66,999, the OnePlus 10 Pro undercuts the starting price of its competitors from the Samsung Galaxy S22+ to the iPhone 13 Pro and others.

The OnePlus 10 Pro has good performance, 5G support, a familiar interface and more. It’s not perfect though, as I’ll tell you in this review. The low-light camera performance has a lot to be desired and there is a curious lack of an IP rating in India. Add to that, the fact that the display scratches very easily as opposed to Samsung’s S22 series even though they are equally protected by Gorilla Glass Victus.

After using the smartphone for about two weeks, I can safely say that the OnePlus 10 Pro is a very reliable purchase in 2022. It may not blow your mind, but it’ll justify the price tag on a day-to-day basis.

There’s a lot to like with the OnePlus 10 Pro

The OnePlus 10 Pro has a 6.7-inch OLED display (3,216x1,440 resolution) which is bright, crisp and has punchy colours. It’s got a 120Hz refresh rate, to smoothen your scrolling needs. The display automatically switches to lower refresh rates in order to conserve battery life. With 1,300 nits of peak brightness, the smartphone is more than just useable under direct sunlight.

The display is protected with Gorilla Glass Victus while the back is made from Gorilla Glass 5. There’s also a fast and reliable under-display fingerprint scanner that is very much appreciated. It also sits slightly above where it sat in the OnePlus 9 Pro and this makes it much easier to reach.

There’s a frosted glass back that not only looks premium but also prevents fingerprints from crawling all over it. The camera array in the top-left corner blends nicely into the metal sides and the Emerald Forst (green) colour option looks very stylish. It looks and feels much different to the flagships of Samsung and Apple and that gives it an edge.

At just 200g and with curved sides with narrow width, the OnePlus 10 Pro is a pleasure to hold for hours on end.

One of the defining features of OnePlus phones has been the alert slider. While the Nord CE 2 may have omitted it, the OnePlus 10 Pro thankfully keeps the tradition going. The alert slider lets you switch between sound, vibrate or silent in a matter of seconds. It’s something every OnePlus user adores and it has now defined the company’s smartphones for many years now.

With Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and 12GB of RAM, the OnePlus 10 Pro’s performance is supercharged. From streaming video to playing games (Asphalt 9, PUBG, Call of Duty: Mobile and others) and photo editing, the OnePlus 10 Pro breezed through the day without much of a stutter. In fact, OnePlus has catered to mobile gamers by tweaking and optimising the gaming performance for smoother frame rates and reduced latency.

The 5,000mAh battery performed much better than I thought. I put on a 4K video from YouTube and within two hours, the battery still sat at a comfortable 93%. That’s better than Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra. In fact, the OnePlus 10 Pro comfortable lasted a day and then some. With a mixed-to-heavy usage pattern, I went to bed with no less than 20% on a daily basis.

OnePlus has supported fast charging for a long time now and this time is no different. The OnePlus 10 Pro can charge at 80W, up from the 9 Pro’s 65W. With an 80W charger, the OnePlus 10 Pro charges from 0 to 100 percent in just 40 minutes. There’s also support for 50W wireless charging and reverse wireless charging.

Last but not least, the OnePlus 10 Pro’s microphone performed pretty well. The people on the other side of the call could easily hear me. The stereo speaker setup is also pretty good with vibrant and open songs. There’s also a good amount of bass that adds to the listening experience.

Some things just don’t sit right

Yes, the smartphone doesn’t sit still when put on a flat surface. The cameras may not protrude much (despite being bigger than their predecessors) but they still make it so that the phone is wobbly on a table.

The display may be protected by Gorilla Glass Victus (similar to the Galaxy S22 series from Samsung) but it easily gets scratched. Despite handling it with care, my review unit got scratched within a couple of days. I was quite disappointed.

With OnePlus flip-flop over Oxygen OS, the software has gone from being the best Android skin out there to something that is just average. Yes, the slick animations and great optimization of the software are a thing of the past. I found the opening of apps to be janky and the animations a little slow. Things like the notification shade take just that few milliseconds longer to load. Plus, Oxygen OS feels a lot more cluttered than it used to be and one hopes OnePlus goes back to its roots.

More than just “good enough”

The OnePlus-Hasselblad partnership has been going on for a few generations now and the duo has mostly garnered positive reviews. With the OnePlus 10 Pro, the triple-camera (48MP main sensor + 8MP telephoto (3.3x optical zoom) + 50MP ultra-wide) setup is one that is extremely reliable when out and about in the daytime. I’ve been heavily critical of OnePlus’ cameras in the past but with the OnePlus 10 Pro, I’m quite pleased with the results. The camera performance isn’t on the same level as that of Samsung (with epic zoom capabilities) and Apple (with video output like no other), but with the fine-tuning of the Hasselblad partnership, OnePlus has a reliable and very good performer on its hands.

The main sensor - a 48-megapixel f/1.8 sensor - captures a good amount of detail in well-lit scenarios with vibrant colour and keeps contrasts in check. The white balance has improved considerably vis-a-vis 9 Pro. The only downside is that in some photos, the results are washed out. There’s also Raw Plus - a new raw file option - that is there in the Pro camera mode. This outputs a DNG raw file for editing.

The portrait mode is pretty reliable and does a good job of separating the subject from the blurred background. There is a new panoramic style mode XPAN for wide and narrow images and there’s even a motion blur mode.

The super-wide lens is sharp and vibrant. Sometimes, you may notice a shift in colour between the normal and wide modes due to a lack of consistency in colour and exposure levels. It isn’t enough to deter from the actual colours. There’s zoom, which is enough for daily use, but nothing to match Samsung or even iPhone.

For the selfie-enthusiasts out there, the 32-megapixel front-facing camera does a good job of producing clear, sharp and vibrant selfies that are perfect for Instagram.

Where the camera stutters, is when the sun goes down. There is a dedicated night mode that helps in brightening the image but it lacks details and isn’t on par with Samsung’s S series, Google Pixel or iPhone 13. Do not use the zoom lens with night mode. The resulting image is way too noisy and, in some cases, blurry.

Video quality is sub-par for a flagship smartphone. Colours are saturated, the white balance is off and the lack of details is disappointing. There’s the option of shooting in 8K but one should just avoid that.

Overall, the OnePlus cameras on the 10 Pro are reliable and perform very well in good daylight conditions. It’s probably the best camera setup ever on a OnePlus smartphone and that’s saying a lot. Still, the lack of a good night mode and disappointing zoom skills is something to take note of.

Verdict: Is the OnePlus 10 Pro a buy?

Yes, the OnePlus 10 Pro is a good alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S-series and the iPhone 13 series. At a starting price of ₹66,999, the smartphone becomes an attractive proposition for many consumers. 

The OnePlus 10 Pro has a lot going for it. There’s a big and vibrant display in an attractive design, rapid charging and all-day battery life, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor for a fluid performance, and four years of software updates from release. The cameras, though far from the best, are reliable performance in daily use.

While the cameras aren’t the best in the business, there’s also the lack of an IP rating to take into consideration.

Still, the few downsides can’t take the sheen off what is a very good smartphone. It’s a comeback of sorts for the OnePlus brand and we hope the company stays on this path with the upcoming slate of premium Android smartphones. 

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