OnePlus 10T review
In the last few years, OnePlus’s flagship phones have become synonymous with alert sliders and Hasselblad branding – but as we review the OnePlus 10T, it becomes clear that this OnePlus is a break from tradition.
In addition to ditching a few stables, the 10T doesn’t get wireless charging, which was on the OnePlus 10 Pro, 9 Pro, and 9, and the 10T’s battery is also a little smaller than the 10 Pro’s.
What could this OnePlus phone possibly have to justify its comparatively anaemic feature-set when set alongside the 10 Pro? The answer is ridiculously fast charging – you can get a full tank in around 20 minutes, and it packs the latest, 2022 power.
Costing $649 / £629 – less than the $899 / £799 Pro – the OnePlus 10 Pro and 10T are now a complete set, with the Pro representing OnePlus’s finest camera capabilities, and the T putting the brand’s geekiest foot forward when it comes to power and speed.
So is OnePlus trimming the Pro’s fat and adding more useful highlights in its new ultra-fast-charging superphone, or should you stump up the extra cash and go Pro? Read on and see what I made of this interesting little mobile.
OnePlus 10T: design and screen
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Spoiler alert – we prefer the OnePlus 10 Pro to the 10T. From its design to its screen, and the curated list of features that make the phones tick, the 10 Pro is a more balanced offering. But that doesn’t mean the 10T’s bad – especially given its lower price.
The OnePlus 10 Pro’s curved screen has been swapped for a flat screen on the 10T. This makes the phone feel a bit chunkier, with a more hand-filling footprint and less tapered edges. It also misses out on the metal frame you get on the 10 Pro. Instead, it sports a polished, chrome-like plastic around the sides, top and bottom. This instantly make if seem like a less expensive phone when you get it in your hands.
If you’re a gamer, though, you’ll likely prefer button bashing on the flat screen, and the plastic frame stays slightly cooler than the 10 Pro’s fancier metal trimming.
It’s also worth noting, the OnePlus 10T certainly doesn’t feel cheap. Its glass back rounds into the frame at the sides, and the phone looks like a lovechild between the OnePlus 10 Pro, and the Oppo Find X5 Pro, with its curved glass camera bump that raises elegantly.
By ditching the alert slider – a first for a OnePlus flagship, there’s nothing that really makes the OnePlus 10T stand out when it comes to buttons and ports. It has a power button on the right, a volume rocker on the left, a USB-C port and SIM tray at the base, and a fingerprint scanner under the screen.
You can pick the phone up in two colours, Moonstone Black and the version we tested, Jade Green. As you can see from our photos, the phone’s polished back is curved glass. OnePlus’s goal – to create a ceramic-like finish has been achieved, though the glass does attract fingerprints very readily, unlike the matte finish on the 10 Pro.
As for the phone’s screen, it’s a 6.7-inch Fluid AMOLED panel with a Full HD resolution. That means it’s big – though not as expansive as the Galaxy S22 Ultra. It’s also sharp enough for photos and text to be crisp, even if it isn’t class-leading.
The OnePlus 10T displays content very smoothly with its 120Hz refresh rate, so menus, websites, and social feeds should glide fluidly as you swipe through them. And thanks to the fact it’s packing AMOLED technology, blacks are inky and deep, while colours are jam-packed with pop and zing – perfect for watching on, especially indoors and in dark environments.
With a peak brightness of 900 nits, the OnePlus 10T doesn’t shine as brightly as top-end phones like the iPhone 13 Pro Max, so it won’t be as easy to make out what’s on-screen in the brightest sunlight. In most environments – from overcast to moderately sunny, though, 900 nits should be bright enough to use.
OnePlus 10T: camera
Before we review the OnePlus 10T camera – it makes sense we recap what makes the OnePlus 10 Pro, it’s camera-focused sibling, so special. In a nutshell, the 10 Pro offers range. From its super-wide angle GoPro-style, 150º expansive camera through to its three times optical zoomer. It also enjoys Hasselblad co-branding too, for photos tuned by the legendary camera maker.
The OnePlus 10T, by contrast to the 10 Pro, misses out on range and Hasselblad tuning, with a very traditional primary and ultra-wide camera mix, as well as a low-resolution macro camera. No Hasselblad, however, does not make the 10T a bad camera phone, and the main camera’s strong performance helps save it from mediocrity – even if the secondary cameras are a letdown.
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In bright scenes, as illustrated above, the OnePlus 10T’s wide and ultra-wide camera do a fine job of grabbing a good amount of detail, capturing lively shots that are packed with colour and depth. The main camera actually pulls through great pictures in most situations, boosting shadow detail more than iPhones and Samsung competition.
The 10T’s photos don’t look as dramatic as those taken on many other flagship smartphones, but they’re well balanced, and even when the lights drop, are held together well thanks to a night mode that fires up automatically.
Incidental shots of subjects under a meter away pull some slight depth through in the form of background blur, and close-up shots look great, with a sharp focus and soft-looking everything else.
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The OnePlus 10T handles video well, and shoots at up to 4K resolution, with a maximum frame rate of 60 frames per second (fps). This falls behind much of the high-end competition, though only video editors and slow-mo fans will miss 8K video or 120fps frame rates.
We’d avoid the macro camera altogether unless the lighting is perfect. Its tiny 2MP resolution and sensor size mean photos taken on it lack discernable detail, and fall apart when you pinch into them. Just use the impressive primary camera for close-up photos.
OnePlus 10T: performance and interface
With its cutting-edge 2022 power, the OnePlus 10T shines the brightest when tearing through top-tier games like Genshin Impact or Injustice 2 at max graphics settings. While it can’t compete with gaming phones like the ROG Phone 6 when it comes to frame rates and staying cool, for a non-gaming Android phone, it’s as good as you’re going to get. That said, large 5G downloads of 2GB or greater, and bouts of gaming longer than 20 minutes will heat the back of the phone up a fair bit.
It’s also worth noting that the benefits to performance the new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip brings over the original 8 Gen 1, which is in the 10 Pro, will be inconsequential for anyone who doesn’t need the very best gaming performance.
The 10T’s interface is also smooth, running Android 12 with OnePlus’s Oxygen OS 12 UI over the top. There are some considered highlights added to Android: a shelf for quick access to key handy tools, a three-finger swipe up to access split-screen multi-tasking, and a work mode for a better balance when using your phone for personal and professional tasks.
With excellent app support and no performance issues to speak of in our time with the phone, and either 128GB or 256GB storage available, the 10T checks plenty of boxes. That said, you can’t bump that storage up with a memory card, so if you don’t think 128GB is big enough for your files, videos and apps, opt for the 256GB option.
With up to 16GB RAM, the 10T is also a multi-tasking champ too, and you can even boost this with something called dynamic RAM, which absorbs up to 7GB storage and uses it as RAM. This means with as much as 23GB RAM – more than many computers, multi-tasking loads of apps is handled incredibly well on the 10T.
OnePlus 10T: battery life and charging
The OnePlus 10T’s battery is slightly smaller than most high-power Android phones at 4800mAh. This isn’t alarming, and indeed, got us through a full day in our time testing it – though it isn’t best-in-class. That would be the Oppo Find X5 Pro.
More noteworthy than the battery size is the fact the phone charges up faster than almost anything else on the market when paired with its 150W fast charger that ships in the box. Able to power up from zero to full in around 20 minutes, this shows up phones like the iPhone 13 Pro, which takes around 100 minutes.
What OnePlus gives with one hand – fast charging, it takes away with another – wireless charging. So anyone who’s already ditched wires over the years might not want to step back in time, even with the 10T’s incredibly fast wired charging speeds.
OnePlus 10T: should you buy one?
The OnePlus 10T is definitely the fastest charging phone around, but it misses out on any other material highlights that help it edge ahead of the pricier 10 Pro. At the same time, it’s also perfectly good enough at everything it sets its hand to – the screen, camera, battery performance, design – none are bad.
If you like the OnePlus brand, have a bit of extra cash, and can forgo super-fast charging, look to the OnePlus 10 Pro. It delivers a more complete experience, includes wireless charging, and has a superior camera system.
Any designers or illustrators who want to get creative with pen and screen, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is pricier, but it’s a better phone across the board. Alternatively, the Realme GT 2 Pro is another phone that edges ahead. It’s a lower-cost package that features a novel biopolymer back designed by Naoto Fukasawa.