OnePlus 10 Pro review: A budget-friendly Find X5 Pro?
Design & Handling, Display & Audio, User Interface
Note: This review was first published on 22 June 2022.
Two weeks after its global announcement, OnePlus started taking pre-orders for the OnePlus 10 Pro in Singapore some time in April 2022. Unlike other regions, however, Singapore only gets the Volcanic Black colourway, while the Emerald Frost version makes its way around other markets.
OnePlus 10 Pro also marks a new generation of OnePlus handsets launched after the company effectively merged back with Oppo. Fortunately, the teams are still keeping OxygenOS around, which has been the Android reskin used on OnePlus devices outside of China.
The phone enters its second consecutive year of Hasselblad partnership, bringing 10-bit colour photo-taking and DCI-P3 gamut colour support, on top of 12-bit RAW capture for its three rear cameras.
As the brand’s flagship 2022 offering, it still tries to bundle best-in-class parts – like a 6.7-inch 1440p LTPO AMOLED display, 80W fast-charging, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset inside an IP68-rated body. However, prices have been steadily climbing for OnePlus, with an official retail price of S$1,299 for 12GB RAM with 256GB storage. Comparatively, the OnePlus 9 came in at S$1,199, while the OnePlus 8T came in at only S$899. While there are valid reasons for the price creep, for the general consumer, the increasing price point would stick out the most. That said, the OnePlus 8 Pro did debut at exactly the same asking price as the new OnePlus 10 Pro we have today.
How would the latest OnePlus flagship hold up in the 'budget flagship' space? Is it finally trying to compete with the bigger boys like Samsung and its amazing Galaxy S22 series handsets? Did the Oppo merger change anything about OnePlus’ new flagship offering? Let’s find out.
|OnePlus 10 Pro|
Design and Handling
We must say that the OnePlus 10 Pro is one of the best-looking OnePlus phones it has ever designed thus far. The handset offers a matte frosted glass look on the rear, which is highly resistant to fingerprint smudges and marks. The camera housing is covered in ceramic, giving the phone extra style points and making the housing 30% more scratch-resistant than normal glass.
While it still uses a tried-and-tested design (curved sides), OnePlus blended its aluminium frame seamlessly with its front and back. It handles pleasantly since the phone’s weight distribution feels centred in hand, while the power and volume buttons are located on opposite sides of the device.
OnePlus’s physical silence toggle slider makes a return, sitting above the power button. It offers three modes: default, which allows the phone to ring and vibrate per normal, a Vibrate Mode that regelates all incoming pings to vibration only, and a Silent mode that completely cuts out any ringing or vibrating. It’s a unique feature since OnePlus remains the only brand to reliably bring back physical toggles for silencing Android phones.
If there’s a gripe to have, we’d say that the OnePlus 10 Pro is structurally weak, as shown in this JerryRigEverything video, so users would do well to use the phone with extra care. Otherwise, the phone feels pleasant in hand, looks relatively modern, and has intuitive button placements as a whole.
Display and Audio
OnePlus 10 Pro offers a 6.7-inch Fluid AMOLED (LTPO) panel rated at QHD+ (3,216 x 1,440 pixels resolution) with 120Hz refresh rate, making it plenty sharp and accurate for its panel size.
Having an LTPO AMOLED panel also meant more battery savings since it lets the panel go as low as 1Hz refresh rate, but the true benefits of 1Hz comes only when the OnePlus 10 Pro is idling.
Another cool display feature of the OnePlus 10 Pro is dual colour calibration, a fancy name for having the display colours calibrated at two different brightness levels: 100-nits and 500-nits (peak brightness). It’s a nice feature since peak brightness typically sees use under direct sunlight, while we tend to relegate the phone to low-to-medium brightness in most circumstances.
The panel has been certified with a Fluency A rating for 36 months by TÜV SÜD, a third-party certification organisation that’s supposedly “widely recognised and respected as a trusted symbol of quality, safety and sustainability”. According to OnePlus, this also means that TÜV SÜD certified the OnePlus 10 Pro’s smooth user experience for at least three years. Obviously, we can’t test that since the phone only came to us recently.
The phone features dual stereo speakers, with the call speaker doubling up as another output for sound. Unfortunately, playback is pretty mediocre and soft, so you’re going to need a good pair of wireless headphones or earbuds to go with your OnePlus 10 Pro.
UI and Features
The OxygenOS 12 UI (based on Android 12) is mainly consistent in design choices, using thin sliders for settings (brightness, volume) and squarish app icons. Both menus and animations are oblong-shaped, proving to be swift and fluid between interactions. Only the pull-down menu had circular icons that ran contrary to the phone’s software design.
OnePlus said that the 10 Pro now packs a brand-new SLA X-axis linear motor that’s 40% stronger and twice as responsive as the one sitting inside the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro. At the risk of sounding risqué, we found the vibrations pleasant and sufficiently strong for our needs. It was also interesting to see how the OnePlus 10 Pro lets you adjust the vibration’s intensity – this is an uncommon feature for phones. Still, we suppose intensity control is a must on other vibrating products.
The upgraded, ultra-thin fingerprint sensor on the OnePlus 10 Pro is faster than the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, but slower than the ones on the Samsung Galaxy S22 series and Oppo Find X5 Pro. That puts the OnePlus 10 Pro’s sensor firmly in the middle of the pack – it’s not groundbreaking, but still fluid, responsive, and secure enough for daily use.
We’d like the OnePlus 10 Pro to have a higher max volume for notifications and ringtones. It’s on the softer side, so we ended up using the phone on silent mode most of the time anyway (to avoid being a nuisance). The phone’s ideal for office use since it’s so gentle on the ears, but folks with field work and noisy workplaces might miss important calls or messages given how soft the OnePlus 10 Pro is.
For mobile gamers, the OnePlus 10 Pro packs a software-based Frame Stabiliser that fluctuates CPU and GPU usage to ensure a smooth framerate. Then, there's O Sync, a feature that increases syncing speed between display input and the device’s processor to reduce response times by up to 30ms. We did try gaming on various titles with the OnePlus 10 Pro but did not notice any substantial advantages conferred by these features.
For users who want the latest and greatest, you’ll be happy to know that the OnePlus 10 Pro offers LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage, along with a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port.