Before you express bewilderment over the recent spate of OnePlus phone launches, I’ll confess that we’re as confused as you are. But the more I used the OnePlus 10T over the course of the past week, the more it started making sense as a powerhouse phone for daily use.
OnePlus 10T review
(12GB + 256GB)
The Jade Green sample felt luxurious in the hand with just the right “feel”, something intangible that most OnePlus phones seem to get right. What doesn’t feel right is the omission of the Alert slider, a OnePlus hallmark since the beginning and a fan favourite. The supposed reason is due to space constraints on the inside, which have now to include more antennas for better 5G coverage, bigger battery and increased cooling material. Whether it’s worth a trade off or not is for the users to decide and I for one got used to it, while appreciating the performance gains pertaining to battery life.
Like most flagship level phones, the display is a gorgeous 120Hz, HDR capable screen with 950nits of peak brightness. The display also natively supports 10-bit colour, which is now a part of the improved camera system as well, so from what you click to what you see, the colours theoretically maintain accuracy and consistency.
Adamant to keep its own brand identity intact, OnePlus is sticking to a similar looking camera housing as on the Hasselblad branded 10 Pro, but of course, without the Hasselblad branding. OnePlus has managed to use the Oppo connection for improvements to the Image Clarity Engine that now takes multiple photos faster when you hit the shutter button and keeps the best one.
Nightscape enters 2.0 status too, maximising the Sony IMX766 sensor with its OIS to extract more detail. But, in a strange move, the ultra-wide gets a step down 8MP sensor and the dreaded 2MP macro lens is back.
Featuring the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC, the OnePlus 10T is in the first batch of phones to use this latest chipset that offers performance, graphics and power efficiency benefits all around. Fire it up and you really do experience the zippy nature of every task, the high quality of the display, smoothness of the Oxygen OS12.1 and the perfect fit in the hand. OnePlus has overhauled the thermals extensively with the largest vapour chamber yet, with twice the heat dissipation capability compared to earlier models. This means you can even opt for the 16GB RAM version and boost it further with RAM expansion mode and not have the 10T melt in your hands!
Asphalt, CoD, Dead Trigger…any game I threw at it, the 10T handled it like a gaming phone should, with audio to match and no finger burns. The handy gaming dashboard that can be called by a right corner swipe shows real time temperature, Game focus mode and even quick access to performance settings that can activate Pro Gamer mode with a 1000Hz touch response. The 10T can be a serious gaming device without being in your face or shouty about it. The performance gains from the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 are holistic and no matter what you do, it doesn’t feel bothered by the load. Taking pictures in quick succession is faster than before, but don’t expect iPhone levels of burst mode.
Switch to the camera and while OnePlus has made strides in processing speed and HDR performance, the colour science is still inconsistent with a pinkish tinge in outdoor shots and a predisposition to be on the cooler side when shooting indoors. In auto mode, images seem overexposed, which increases shadow detail but at the expense of crushing highlights and colour accuracy.
If you’re using the pics for social media alone, the results are honestly good. Great, even! Colours pop, especially in 10-bit mode on a compatible display and with taking control over the shutter and aperture settings, you can even get some cool effects that make for artistic looking pictures. The Nightscape 2.0 algorithm works wonders though with low light city shots as you can see in our samples. It brings out rich detail without oversharpening the pictures, thus keeping the noise low. It’s management of colours in night mode is on the vivid side, but it does make for the more impressive looking photograph, even when compared to the iPhone 13 Pro. Skin tones is where it starts going a bit out of line, never getting the balance quite right. Cityscapes and landscapes in night mode will look stunning though.
Selfie cam is a 16MP version that is now more natural with its skin smoothing, but is too overexposed again and the pink tinge continues. You don’t get any wide angle option on the selfie cam either and the viewfinder doesn’t show you an accurate preview of what your final shot may look like. What you see is definitely not what you get as the 10T applies heavy post processing once the picture is taken.
On to video and you can either have 4K or 1080p with stabilisation, not both together. Strange why not, in 2022 with a flagship chipset on a flagship phone. Daylight and bright lights at night are shot well, with crisp detail that isn’t over-sharpened. Low-light video can sometimes be noisy and off-colour, but only when you compare it to other flagships back to back.
Probably the biggest draw here is the SuperVooc 150W charging that really is as amazing as it sounds. 100% in 20 minutes amazing! You’ll never have to hang around looking for a charging point ever again if you time it right and the dual cell 4800mAh battery itself is no David either. Add a smart charging chip and it’s also guaranteed to be safe, without any overheating issues. I managed to get from 30% to 100% in the time I managed to make myself a coffee, which was less than 12 minutes! Simply addictive.
Bear in mind though that the 128-bit encryption ensures that you’ll be unlocking all this power and protection only with the official SuperVooc charging adaptor and cable, both of which are part of the 10T box, thankfully.
When you put the important things in perspective, the OnePlus 10T really does make a strong case for itself as a phone that will be liked by a lot of people. Great screen, superb gaming experience, amazing battery life and charging solution and a user experience that is still largely devoid of over-skinning the Android OS. In fact, the new Shelf system of widgets adds real functionality for quick actions and the Work Life balance profiles are well thought out. The only thing the 10T fumbles with is colour accuracy in its camera system. If you’re just a social media dweller, you’ll probably have no reason to complain.
Refined power and performance that focuses on optimizing daily usage over fanatic photography.
|Storage:||128/256GB UFS 3.1|
|SoC:||Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1|
|Camera:||50MP/8MP/2MP (rear), 16MP (front)|
|OS:||Android 12 w/OxygenOS 12.1|
|Dimensions(HWD):||163 x 73 x 8mm|