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  • Bryan Tan

OnePlus 10 Pro Review: Time to settle?

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

With the global release of the OnePlus 10 Pro, OnePlus has shown that when it comes to making a phone with great performance at a competitive price point, they still got it in them!

Looking at the big picture, there are some things about the OnePlus 10 Pro that might leave you confused, like, “why are there 2 different release periods for it?” Or, “why are some models running Colour OS instead of Oxygen OS?” Or perhaps, “where is the non-pro version?”.

Well, the 10 Pro has already been released in China markets earlier in January, pre-loaded with Colour OS, while the rest of the world will be getting a 10 Pro running Oxygen OS in March, thus the differing dates.

Sadly for the 10 series, there won’t be a non-pro version releasing alongside the 10 Pro so it’s either go pro or go home!

Jokes aside, let’s start with the unboxing experience, you get your usuals, the phones, instructions manuals, OnePlus stickers, an 80W charging adapter and the classic OnePlus red cable.

If you like the tall and sleek look of the previous OnePlus 9 Pro, then you won’t be disappointed. The 10 Pro is all of that, with the way larger camera bump and matte frosted glass for the “Volcanic Black” colour that we have. There is also the “Emerald Forest” green version of the 10 Pro which, in the words of OnePlus, was “etched to create a finish that sparkles when viewed from different angles”, but sadly that version is only available in India, Europe and North American markets.

Back to the “Volcanic Black” version that we have, this phone is smooth, like really smooth, to the point that we are even afraid to use it without a case attached. Aside from that, you get your usual OnePlus alert slider, along with the power and volume buttons on opposite sides at just the right height even for smaller hands.

Now for that design direction that may be a deal-breaker to some people, the new camera layout. Back when the iPhone 11 introduced its triple camera bump people said it looked like a stove, with this new design along with the matte texture of the 10 Pro, your phone will look more like a kitchen counter than ever before, you either like it or you don’t.

And of course, with such a standout camera layout, is the camera good? Continuing their collaboration with Hasselblad from the 9 series, the 10 Pro packs a 48MP main camera, an 8MP telephoto along with a 50MP ultrawide with 150 degrees field of view, yes 150 degrees. You’ll have some fun with the 150 degrees mode, which comprises normal 150 fields of view and a fisheye effect as well, although it did seem weird that the mode was tucked away in the overflow menu of the camera app instead of being integrated into the photo tab, and you can’t use the 150-degree FOV for video.

As for the main camera, pitting it against the Pixel 6, the colour on the 10 Pro turned out more vibrant while the Pixel 6’s colours were more true to life. In daylight shots, skies look way bluer and the 10 Pro saturates images with higher contrast to them making the Pixel 6 photos seem duller in comparison. For human subjects, the 10 Pro tends to process the image slightly brighter, with more saturation on the skin. It does however make the overall image softer.

In low light conditions, it’s passable but not great, we noticed that even with the night mode on the 10 Pro didn’t manage to preserve many of the details in low light compared to the Pixel 6. Without night mode it’s just processing galore with the whole image looking extremely soft. There is also a very visible difference in colour between the main and wide-angle in low light with a very apparent red cast over the photos from its wide angle.

Under the right lighting conditions, the camera on the 10 Pro will produce an aesthetically pleasing image, but for low light, there still is much to improve. It is also equipped with a 32MP selfie camera that as far as a selfie camera goes, it’s alright.

For the videographers out there, the 10 Pro can support up to 8K at 30FPS, 4K up to 120FPS and 1080p up to 240FPS. The video quality is, not bad but nothing spectacular either, colours are less vibrant compared to the Pixel 6 and the ultra-steady feature is available in 1080p for those that need it.

The 10 Pro sports a 6.7 inch LTPO2 AMOLED display at a 120Hz refresh rate, just your standard dynamic switching smoothness for your swipes and scrolls, although there are some instances where the screen is static, the refresh rates stayed at 120Hz instead of adjusting. The screen also gets bright up to 1300 nits, for those that are outdoors a lot you won’t have to worry.

Now, a good display must be accompanied by good sound for all your content consumption needs, speakers are set up in your usual front and bottom placements with adequate loudness and quality, don’t set your expectations too high and you’ll be fine! For all you traditional headphone jack users, the 10 Pro will accept third party headphone dongles, as they should…

With all the hardware out of the way, let's start diving into the internals. The 10 Pro is powered by a new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SOC with an octa-core CPU along with the Adreno 730 for GPU. With a Geekbench score of 962 for single-core and 3216 for multi-core performances, it is well-deserving of its position as a flagship phone. It also scored a good 9452 for its best loop in our 3D Mark Wildlife stress test, but what do the numbers mean exactly? It means it will perform well in any game you throw at it, though our 10 Pro did start to feel toasty after gaming for a short while, nothing unbearable.

One thing that's an improvement over the previous 9 Pro is the bump from 4500mAh to 5000mAh battery. With the display set to 120Hz and QHD+, you’ll surprisingly be able to get through the day with social media browsing and a bit of gaming, but your mileage may vary.

Speaking of mileage, the 80W adapter included charges the 10 Pro from 0 to 60 in about 15 minutes and can give you a full charge in about 30 minutes. One little caveat about the adapter is that it runs off USB type A instead of C, which seemed kind of a step backwards, but then again, having the adapter even included in the box is a step back worth taking.

Upon closer look at the adaptor, you’ll find what was originally labelled with “WARP Charge” in all previous OnePlus phones is now replaced with a “SuperVOOC” branding. Now if that sounds familiar to you, it’s the branding for the fast charging technology used on OPPO phones, not a good sign for all the OnePlus fans out there.

Finally, the one thing that brings all of the hardware together is the Oxygen OS that the 10 Pro runs on, or rather, what's become of it. If you are a user of OPPO phones you might find several familiar design elements that make you feel right at home. And if you are a user of OnePlus phones, you’ll notice that it is slowly becoming more of a “modified Colour OS” rather than the “customizable stock Android” you knew from before.

The OnePlus 10 Pro will go on pre-order in Singapore from 1 April, exclusively in the LAZADA OnePlus Official Store at S$1299 for the 12GB RAM and 256G storage option.

For a company whose tagline is “Never Settle”, this OnePlus 10 Pro seems to settle quite nicely in between the OPPO Reno 7 Pro and the Find X5 Pro with its competitive price point and high-end specs. If you are looking to upgrade or make the jump to android, then the OnePlus 10 Pro is a pretty solid choice.

That being said, if you are specifically considering the OnePlus for its brand, the 10 Pro is still a solid choice, although you might need to occasionally remind yourself that it’s not an OPPO phone.

Perhaps the news of OnePlus’ calling off the merger with OPPO will spell a return to its roots for their phones and Oxygen OS, but we can only speculate.

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