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OnePlus 10 Pro 5G - A year later | Full Review

OnePlus 10 Pro 5G | A flagship that almost hits the right notes

A wild OnePlus 10 Pro int its Natural Habitat
A wild OnePlus 10 Pro at its Natural Habitat

A year later with the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G, it has been an overall pleasant ride and I’ve mostly loved the experience it has offered so far. Yet, if you are looking for the crème-de-la-crème in Android devices, this is not for you. However, at a launch price of Rs 66,999 (IN region), it isn’t expected to be the best either. For the price, this is an excellent alternative for an Android flagship.

Design and Build | This device can take a fall and another

The matte finish on the rear glass panel has a subtle shimmering effect
The matte finish on the rear glass panel has a subtle shimmering effect

The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G held up surprisingly well over the year barely getting scratched despite being frequently carried around in dusty construction sites. The only two dents that it has suffered have been from accidental drops. Honestly, I’d take a barely noticeable dent over a cracked display, any day.

An aluminum frame joins the curved front and rear glass panels. The otherwise seamless bezel extends into the rear of the device forming a camera island that houses the triple camera setup and flash. Combined with the narrow aspect ratio, the device sits comfortably in your palm without being uncomfortably wide, an issue that I have faced with most other phones.

The rear panel has a smooth matte finish that isn’t a fingerprint magnet. The same cannot be unfortunately said for the glossy camera island.

The OnePlus 10 Pro has the iconic alert slider which honestly hasn’t been very useful for me as I tend to leave it on vibrate but for users who constantly switch between silent/vibrate/ring, this can be incredibly useful. The usual charging slot, SIM tray, mic, power button, and volume buttons occupy the rest of the sides. An optical fingerprint scanner rests underneath the display in a comfortable position. A lot of phones tend to place it too low. However, coming from a phone with a capacitive fingerprint scanner, this optical scanner did not feel fast enough.

What’s under the Hood?

OnePlus 10 Pro rests on a 50W Wireless Charger
OnePlus 10 Pro rests on a 50W Wireless Charger

The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 much like most of the Android flagship devices launched in early 2022. My unit was configured with 12GB RAM and 256GB Storage. The top-of-the-line chipset combined with the high-end memory configuration meant I never had to worry about the number of applications running in the background or having to organize my files. I had plenty of storage left for my usage after shooting thousands of photos and installing about 150 apps.

For daily usage such as browsing, media consumption, social media, navigation, and such, the OnePlus 10 Pro performs just as expected of any flagship device without ever having felt that it was underpowered.

Display, User Interface, and Experience | The defining experience

Asphalt 9 on OnePlus 10 Pro
Asphalt 9 on OnePlus 10 Pro

OnePlus flagships never miss their shot with their displays and the OnePlus 10 Pro is no exception. The bright, sharp, and contrasty QHD AMOLED panel never failed to impress with its fast 120Hz refresh rate and punchy colors. In fact, I’d prefer watching movie trailers on it rather than my monitor just for the picture quality.

The LTPO 2.0 regulates the display refresh rate based on the content onscreen in real-time, and it works well most of the time. Although it did suffer from certain bugs, they were mostly fixed later with OTA updates.

On another note, If an FHD display panel would have offered better battery life, I would happily opt for the longer battery life over the barely noticeable but sharper QHD panel.

The new OxygenOS mostly offers a snappy experience. There are some buggy elements or stutters that pop up now and then but overall, I’ve no major complaints on the user experience. It is also fairly easy on the eyes and looks good.

Camera and Photography

Camera Viewfinder of the OnePlus 10 Pro
Camera Viewfinder of the OnePlus 10 Pro

A 32MP front camera sits on the front producing excellent images for your selfies and calls. It is also wide enough to accommodate your group photos. With EIS and autofocus, there wasn’t a point where I felt that the front camera was unsatisfactory.

With the continued Hasselblad partnership, OnePlus attempts to distinguish itself from the competing flagships. The rear setup hosts triple sensors for different uses and all of them feature OIS.

Ultrawide: A 50MP 150° FOV ultrawide sensor to much disappointment, fails to be anywhere as impressive with significantly worse sharpness than the primary camera especially in low light. This is another testament to the fact that the megapixel count doesn’t equal better quality. I hope to see this improved in future generations.

Primary: The primary camera is backed by a 48MP sensor that produces good range of colors and has excellent stabilization. This is particularly noticeable in handheld videos. However, the images lacked sharpness and details which the sensor would have picked up in its full 48MP resolution but wouldn’t in its default 12MP mode. It is a good primary camera that’s good enough for social media usage but nothing to rave about. Considering how good camera setups on smartphones tend to become a major deciding factor in flagship devices, OnePlus appears to need to step up its game.

Telephoto: The 8MP telephoto camera offers a combined optical and digital zoom up to 30x which surprisingly turned out to be not bad. For zoom up to 10x, the sharpness and details are good enough beyond which the quality significantly suffers and you are unlikely to use it.

On a more appreciable note, OnePlus has managed to match the color profiles across all three cameras which makes switching between them appear seamless. Curiously, depending on the lighting conditions and distance to the subject, the device internally switches between the primary and telephoto camera for zoom up to 9.9x with no user control over it. However, so long as the image looks good, I’m not too concerned about this.

Audio and connectivity

Left: Bottom speaker grill and Right: Earpiece on the top
Left: Bottom speaker grill and Right: Earpiece on the top

A pseudo stereo speaker configuration is present, which unfortunately is way off from true stereo. My previous mid-range smartphone had better-sounding audio which makes the audio quality difficult to accept from a flagship phone. Given that my personal usage mostly involves using earphones for my audio requirements, it may not be the same for everyone.

As for the connectivity, I’ve occasionally had to switch back and forth between airplane mode to resolve mobile data connectivity issues and at times reboot the phone to fix the same. Admittedly, these aren’t a daily occurrence. With support for dual 5G and Wi-Fi 6, it does not support the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard. However, Wi-Fi 6E is not quite common in public spaces or homes yet and most users will be satisfied with Wi-Fi 6 networks.

Battery and temperature

OnePlus 10 Pro charging at a whopping 80W!
OnePlus 10 Pro charging at a whopping 80W!

The 5000 mAh battery isn’t the most impressive aspect of this device and neither is the temperature, thanks to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 which is notorious for warm temperature and relatively poor power efficiency. However, the OnePlus 10 Pro packs an excellent 80W fast charging which is easily my favourite feature of this device. Almost a year later, faster charging standards have made it to the market. Yet, this is something that I’m absolutely satisfied with. I can happily spare 30 mins while the phone charges to over 90% from around 10%! While some regions are being supplied with 65W chargers, this doesn’t seem to have significantly affected the charging speed.

Clearly, there is no going back to slower charging now. There is also support for fast 50W wireless charging further spoiling the tech lover in me. As for actual usage, Screen On Time has varied widely from about 9 hours to just 4 hours depending on the usage. Over the months the overall SOT seems to have reduced to just 4-5 hours. This could perhaps be the result of an increase in background apps over time along with the introduction of 5G network connectivity in my region.

While I would have loved a longer SOT, the fast charging currently makes up for it. The device rests mostly at a comfortable temperature except for intensive usage such as while gaming during which, it can reach as high as 44c occasionally where it gets uncomfortable to hold.

Conclusion | Should you buy this?

At Rs 66,999, the OnePlus 10 Pro offers a lot and fails to deliver a few. Given that most of the competing flagship devices are priced relatively higher, it had enough reasons to make it worth considering as a value alternative.

It might not have the best cameras or speakers but save for it, the device has amazing fast charging capabilities, packs enough performance to handle anything that you throw at it, and has a beautiful design which combined with the glorious AMOLED panel makes it a joy to use and hold. Personally, that last point would have made the buying decision for me.

However, a year later, there are newer chipsets and flagship devices with better efficiency, and currently, the OnePlus 11R is a personal favorite which has most of my favorite features from the OnePlus 10 Pro.

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