OnePlus 10 Pro 5G Review: A Perfect Ten?

The launch of the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G was a bit different this year for a couple of reasons. It was launched in China at the start of 2022 and is only now coming to other countries, including India. Secondly, we have only a single model in the new 10 series so far, compared to the three models that debuted with the 9 series in India last year. I’m pretty sure a lower-priced OnePlus 10 and OnePlus 10R are in the works for sometime later this year, but for now our focus is only on the flagship model.

The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G picks up where the OnePlus 9 Pro (Review) left off and incorporates many changes which, on paper, should make it a better flagship. The most notable ones to me are the new design, improved selfie camera, and larger battery with quicker charging. The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G competes with the Samsung Galaxy S22 (Review) and iQoo 9 Pro (Review) from this year, and even the iPhone 13 (Review) and Vivo X70 Pro+ (Review) from last year. It’s time to find out if the new OnePlus 10 Pro 5G is actually as good as it looks.

OnePlus 10 Pro 5G price in India

First, the prices in India. The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G is available starting with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, priced at Rs. 66,999. There’s also a top-end variant with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage that’s priced at Rs. 71,999. The 10 Pro 5G costs about Rs. 2,000 more than the OnePlus 9 Pro did when it launched. It will be available in two colours in India: Volcanic Black and Emerald Forest.

The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G looks similar to the 9 Pro from the front

 

OnePlus 10 Pro 5G design

The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G’s design did attract some criticism initially since the shape and layout of the camera module make it look like a kitchen hob. I think it looks very distinctive and much better than the 9 Pro’s camera module. A bit of inspiration seems to have been taken from Samsung’s recent flagships, on which the camera module merges with the side frame. I like the green shade that OnePlus has used, and the fact that both the colour options have a matte glass texture is a good design choice in my book. This green colour and finish reminded me a lot of the OnePlus 8 Pro (Review), which I think is still one of the best designed OnePlus smartphones.

The aluminium frame has a similar shade of green as the back of the phone, but with a glossy finish. The alert slider on the right side is now a bit higher up than it should be, potentially making it hard to reach if you have smaller hands. OnePlus has used Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the back, Gorilla Glass Victus for the display, and a ceramic coating over the camera module, which should keep this phone relatively scratch-free even if you don’t use a case.

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The rear of the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G (left) looks much better than that of the OnePlus 9 Pro (right) in my opinion

 

The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G is slimmer than its predecessor (8.55mm) but it’s heavier at 201g. There’s no storage expansion or headphone jack, but this phone can support two nano-SIMs. The display on the 10 Pro 5G is the exact same size as on the 9 Pro and has the same QHD+ resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, 10-bit colour depth, and all the certifications for HDR, colour accuracy and low blue-light emissions.

Two notable improvements to the display are the use of a second-gen LTPO AMOLED panel which can lower its refresh rate to 1Hz (down from 10Hz previously), and a better positioned in-display fingerprint sensor which is easier to reach and use. The display is still curved at the sides, giving this phone a striking look, but it’s not the most practical of designs for one-handed use.

I’m glad OnePlus has stayed away from the trend of lean smartphone packaging. The 10 Pro 5G comes with everything you’ll need, including a colour-matched case, an 80W fast charger, a USB Type-C cable, and other things such as a SIM eject tool, stickers, etc.

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The retail box of the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G includes a charger and a case, which is not something we see often with flagships these days

 

OnePlus 10 Pro 5G specifications and software

There are no points for guessing the SoC in the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G: like every other Android flagship in 2022, it uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. This is accompanied by LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage. OnePlus claims that the cooling system in the 10 Pro 5G is its most advanced yet and it should be able to keep the chip cool under stress. There’s a new ‘SLA X-axis’ linear haptic motor which is said to be more responsive, stronger and quieter than the one in the OnePlus 9 (Review) and 9 Pro. The 10 Pro 5G also supports many more 5G bands in India; nine in total compared to just the two in the 9 Pro.

The battery capacity of the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G has increased to 5,000mAh. This is a dual-cell battery, similar to what the 9 series used, but this new phone supports up to 80W SuperVOOC wired charging. Wireless charging is the same 50W AirVOOC standard supported by the 9 Pro. Reverse wireless charging is also supported. The 10 Pro 5G features stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, and Wi-Fi 6.

In terms of weatherproofing, we’re told that only the Verizon-specific OnePlus 10 Pro 5G model sold in the US will have an official IP68 rating, although units sold in India and other parts of the world still have the exact same seals and water ingress protections in place. iQoo has done the same thing with the 9 Pro, claiming it technically qualifies for an IP52 rating, but doesn’t have the actual stamp of approval.

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OxygenOS 12.1 includes a redesigned OnePlus Shelf menu (left) and granular dark mode settings (right)

 

The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G runs OxygenOS 12.1 based on Android 12. The latest version of OnePlus’ popular Android skin is still largely free of bloat, with only the essential Google apps and a few OnePlus apps preinstalled. You’ll find traces of Oppo’s ColorOS such as a few familiar features in the camera app and Oppo’s ORoaming feature, which has been relegated to a sub-menu in the Settings app. OnePlus has kept the look and feel of its OS consistent with what OnePlus fans know and appreciate.

OnePlus Shelf gets a new look in the latest version of OxygenOS. It can now be accessed by a swipe-down gesture from the upper right of the display, while the standard notifications pull-down can still be accessed from the upper left. The redesigned widgets in Shelf look nice and the layout can be customised. The search box in Shelf also has a feature called OnePlus Scout. Similar to Apple’s Spotlight Search, you can use it to find apps, phone settings, and information from the Web, all from one place.

OxygenOS 12.1 also offers a more granular dark mode menu, allowing you to choose between Gentle (dark grey), Medium (hazy black) and Enhanced (jet black), based on your liking. Apart from this, you also get all the benefits and features of Android 12. OnePlus promises three years of Android OS updates and four years of security updates for the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G.

OnePlus 10 Pro 5G performance and battery life

The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G is a large and slightly heavy phone, which can take some getting used to. If you already use a large phone, switching to the 10 Pro 5G should be easy enough. The finish of the phone’s body can be slippery, which is where the bundled case comes in handy. It doesn’t diminish the look too much and offers very good grip and protection. The in-display fingerprint sensor is responsive and never failed to unlock the phone when needed. Face recognition worked well if there was sufficient ambient light, but struggled sometimes in very dim conditions.

The display of the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G delivered excellent colours and sharpness for viewing content. I had the resolution set to ‘Auto-select’ so it could switch between full-HD+ and QHD+ based on content. HDR videos looked very good and the stereo speakers helped complete the viewing experience. The bottom speaker did sound a bit fuller compared to the earpiece, so I wished the stereo effect was better balanced. The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G performed well in benchmarks, as you’d expect. It scored 8,31,613 points in AnTuTu and maxed out the 3DMark Slingshot test suites.

Performance never really skipped a beat on the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G when running menial tasks and using basic apps. The phone also ran cool for the most part. However, games tended to stress it quite a bit especially if I was playing high-end, multiplayer titles. Fortnite, for instance, ran well at the ‘Epic’ graphics preset but this game also caused the 10 Pro 5G to get really hot. I felt the heat on my fingers after a few minutes of gaming, especially when I was holding the phone without a case. Despite this, in-game performance was steady and gameplay didn’t suffer. I did like how quickly the body of the phone cooled down after switching to a less demanding app or game. If you use a case on this phone, you probably won’t notice the heat.

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Recording high-res video on a hot day can be problematic for the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G

 

However, heat from the phone did hamper usability when shooting video in warm to hot weather conditions. I encountered multiple overheating warnings when recording 4K video clips outdoors during the day, but didn’t have the same issues when shooting indoors or at night. If video recording was already in progress and the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G overheated, it would continue recording but in a low power state with reduced screen brightness. I was able to capture photos in the overheated state but had to wait for the phone to cool down in order to start recording a new video.

Battery life was very good during the review period. As I mentioned earlier, I mostly tested this phone with the display resolution set to Auto and refresh rate left at the default 120Hz. With mixed usage, which involved a lot of video watching amounting to around six hours of screen-on time, and an active SIM in the phone, the 10 Pro 5G’s battery level only went down to 25 percent at the end of the day. If you force the display resolution to QHD+ and game heavily, you might get less runtime, but most users should be happy with this battery life. The phone ran for nearly 19 hours in our HD video loop test, which was a good time.

Charging the phone doesn’t take too long. With the bundled charger, I was able to charge the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G up to 96 percent in just half an hour, which is incredibly quick. The phone also supports other fast charging standards below 80W. For instance, it charged at 65W when I connected it to a OnePlus Warp Charge 65T charger, and 33W when using a lower-spec Type-C cable with the 80W charger. 

OnePlus 10 Pro 5G cameras

OnePlus’ partnership with Hasselblad continues and all three rear cameras on the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G use what OnePlus calls its second-generation ‘Hasselblad Camera for Mobile’ colour science. While the primary and telephoto camera sensors are the same as what the 9 Pro had, the ultra-wide and selfie camera sensors are new.

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The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G has a new ultra-wide camera with a 150-degree field of view

 

The ultra-wide camera still has a 50-megapixel resolution but it’s based on a Samsung ISOCELL JN1 sensor. This is a smaller sensor than the excellent Sony IMX766 sensor in the 9 Pro, with smaller pixels, and on paper this is a downgrade. It also lacks autofocus, which means there’s no macro mode for the 10 Pro 5G. The one good thing is its 150-degree field of view, which lets you take some interesting-looking shots. OnePlus has also finally upgraded the selfie camera on its flagship with a Sony IMX615 sensor. It has a higher 32-megapixel resolution, which is nice, but it still has a fixed focus and f/2.4 aperture, and is limited to 1080p video recording.

The main rear camera in the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G has a 48-megapixel Sony IMX789 sensor with an f/1.8 aperture, optical stabilisation (OIS), and the ability to record videos at up to 8K 24fps. The telephoto camera has an 8-megapixel resolution, f/2.4 aperture, and OIS. It is capable of 3.3X optical zoom and up to 30X digital zoom. The camera app is well designed, making it easy to find what you’re looking for.

OnePlus 10 Pro 5G ultra-wide camera sample shot using 150-degree mode (tap to see full size)

 

Compared to the OnePlus 9 Pro running the latest OxygenOS, the 10 Pro 5G has some additional shooting modes such as Film, which offers manual controls for video recording and the ability to shoot in LOG for a flat colour profile. There’s a 150-degree mode which lets you use the full capabilities of the ultra-wide camera, plus a fish-eye filter. Finally, the Long Exposure mode automatically sets up the camera based on the option you select, which includes moving vehicles, water and clouds, or light painting.

OnePlus 10 Pro 5G ultra-wide camera samples (tap to see larger)

 

Let’s begin with the ultra-wide camera’s performance on the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G. Daytime shots had good detail and pleasing colours, and HDR was always handled very well. Photos generally had a cooler tone compared to the same shots taken with the main camera, and weren’t always accurate to the actual scene. The default field of view is 110 degrees, but you can switch to the 150-degree mode, which crams plenty more of the scene into the frame. I quite enjoyed using this mode, but didn’t care much for the fish-eye filter. The ultra-wide camera on the 10 Pro 5G can’t shoot macros like the one on the 9 Pro can. Low-light performance was above average. Noise was suppressed well and there was a decent level of detail in the photo.

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The quality difference between the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G and 9 Pro’s ultra-wide cameras is noticeable, if you look close enough

 

Compared to the OnePlus 9 Pro’s ultra-wide camera, the 10 Pro 5G’s equivalent camera captured poorer detail, which was a little disappointing. You might not notice this right away and I doubt many users will want to crop small details from ultra-wide shots, but if you closely examine photos taken with the two phones, it’s easy to spot the differences. The 10 Pro 5G should have at least maintained the quality standard set by its predecessor, if not raise it, but it doesn’t.

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The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G’s telephoto camera does compensate for the lack of a Macro shooting mode

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OnePlus 10 Pro 5G selfie camera samples (tap to see full size)

 

The selfie camera is a nice improvement over the previous generation. Details are very good and colours looked natural. Portrait mode worked very well too and delivered good separation from the background. HDR was impressive when it came to exposing my face against a bright background. I would have liked photos to be pixel-binned, and not saved at the full 32-megapixel resolution, as file sizes were quite large. Selfies taken in low light were also very good, and Night mode is available too.

OnePlus 10 Pro 5G primary camera samples (tap to see full size)

 

The main camera captured excellent detail and had the most accurate colours in daylight shots. HDR worked very well, autofocus was quick and responsive, and nearly every photo I took during this review period looked superb. The colour tone of the images was also more faithful to the actual scene, compared to the ultra-wide camera. Low-light photos had very good detail too, and colours were faithfully represented. The camera app automatically took a long exposure shot when light was less than favourable, and this also applied to the ultra-wide and telephoto cameras.

Speaking of the telephoto camera, the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G captured sharp and highly detailed shots at the native 3.3X zoom level. Photos looked good till about 10X zoom, but details deteriorated pretty quickly beyond that. Photos were still usable but smaller objects were hard to identify properly.

OnePlus 10 Pro 5G telephoto camera samples (tap to see full size)

 

8K videos recorded with the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G looked sharp, with good colours, and were even stabilised. Videos shot in low light at 8K also looked good, but electronic stabilisation caused some mild jitter. 4K videos shot during the day looked impressive, with very good colours and stabilisation. If you’re shooting at 30fps, you can switch to the ultra-wide camera while recording, but any magnification beyond 1X will be digital. You’ll have to drop to 1080p if you want to use the telephoto camera for video, and the maximum magnification for video in either case is 10X. 4K videos shot in low light looked much better than 8K ones.

Verdict

The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G has some much-needed upgrades over the 9 Pro, and with just a moderate bump in pricing, it’s not a bad deal. Even the top-end variant of the 10 Pro 5G is less expensive than the base models of the Samsung Galaxy S22 and iPhone 13, making it good value. Compared to the OnePlus 9 Pro, the 10 Pro 5G offers a bigger battery with quicker charging, a slightly more power-efficient AMOLED display, a more powerful SoC with plenty more 5G bands, a better selfie camera, and a nicer design.

The iQoo 9 Pro is probably the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G’s biggest competitor. Not only is it similar in terms of pricing but it also nearly matches the 10 Pro 5G in terms of features. The Realme GT 2 Pro is also just around the corner, and going by what we already know about this phone, it could prove to be a real disruptor if Realme is aggressive with pricing.

There are a couple of things you should be aware of before you lock your decision about the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G. Just like the 9 Pro, this new model is prone to overheating when using the camera app in warm conditions, at least with the launch firmware. I am a bit disappointed by the ultra-wide camera of the 10 Pro 5G too, as it can’t be used to take macros and the images it captures aren’t as detailed as what the 9 Pro managed.

Other than these little things, the 10 Pro 5G is yet another solid flagship from OnePlus, and delivers very good performance and features for the price. 

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