OnePlus 10 Pro vs OnePlus 9 Pro: is the new OnePlus an essential upgrade?

A new processor, a bigger battery and new photo and video features make the OnePlus 10 Pro one to watch in 2022

OnePlus 10 Pro
(Image credit: OnePlus)

After weeks of teasing, the OnePlus 10 Pro has finally been unveiled. It’s the brand’s flagship, and while the changes are evolutionary rather than revolutionary its specification has been improved in several key areas. With the price of the OnePlus 9 Pro likely to fall once the newer model goes on sale outside China later this year, let’s discover whether it’s better to get a cut-price 9 or the brand new OnePlus 10 Pro.

OnePlus 10 Pro vs OnePlus 9 Pro: design and display

The display in the OnePlus 10 Pro isn’t significantly different from before. It’s a 6.7-inch AMOLED delivering QHD resolution (3168 x 1440) with an adaptive refresh rate of 1 to 120Hz. The panel as before uses LPTO technology but this time out it’s version 2 which, according to OnePlus, delivers a smoother viewing experience.

The design hasn’t changed dramatically either, although on the back you’ll see a larger, squarer camera bump with more lenses. More about that in a moment. The OnePlus Pro 10 will come in Volcanic Black and Emerald Forest. We like the latter best: it keeps the camera bulge in black and looks great.

OnePlus 10 Pro vs OnePlus 9 Pro: processor, storage and battery

The OnePlus 9 Pro has a Snapdragon 999 with 8 or 12GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage. The OnePlus 10 Pro gets the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and once again comes with the same RAM and storage options. The new processor promises 20% faster performance and 30% better energy efficiency.

The OnePlus 10 Pro gets a bigger battery than before – 5,000mAh compared to 4,500mAh – and supports 80W wired and 50W wireless charging. That’s up from the 65W/50W wireless charging of its predecessor.

OnePlus 10 Pro

(Image credit: OnePlus)

OnePlus 10 Pro vs OnePlus 9 Pro: cameras

OnePlus’s collaboration with camera legends Hasselblad continues with the OnePlus 10 Pro. The camera specifications are the same as before – a 48MP main camera, 50MP ultrawide and 8MP telephoto with 3.3x optical zoom – but the monochrome lens of the OnePlus 9 Pro is gone. The ultrawide lens is wider than before, with a class-leading 150-degree field of view.

The OnePlus 10 camera can shoot in 10-bit colour from any of its rear lenses, and an improved Pro mode shoots in 12-bit RAW. You can also shoot in RAW plus, which enables you to edit the original without losing the image processing applied to it. There’s also a new Movie Mode for focus transitions and Master Styles for custom presets, both of which resemble Apple features: Cinematic Mode and Photographic Styles respectively.  

The front camera gets double the pixels, up from 15MP to 32MP.

OnePlus 10 Pro vs OnePlus 9 Pro: software

There’s a big change here. OnePlus and its sibling brand Oppo are taking their different versions of Android, Oxygen OS and Color OS, and combining them into one OS that’ll be used by both brands. The OnePlus 10 Pro is the first phone to have this new OS, although it’ll be made available to models going back to the OnePlus 8 at some point in the near future. It’ll still be called Oxygen, and we’re hoping it takes the same largely hands-off approach to its Android root: one of the things we like about OnePlus phones is that they don’t mess with Android too much.

OnePlus 10 Pro vs OnePlus 9 Pro: early verdict

We can’t give you a definitive verdict until we’ve had the opportunity to test it, but from what we’ve seen so far the OnePlus 10 Pro is shaping up to be one of the best Android phones as well as one of the best phones full stop. It isn’t dramatically different from its predecessor but the improvements address some of the OnePlus 9 Pro’s shortcomings, notably its battery life, and while the cameras don’t seem very different the improvements in software should take your phone photography to a new level.

The big question here is price. In China the OnePlus 10 Pro will be very slightly cheaper than the OnePlus 9 Pro; we’re hoping that by the time it makes its way over here that pricing will continue. We’d certainly recommend that if you still want a OnePlus 9 Pro you shop around for the best deals: with the 10 imminent, you don’t want to pay top dollar for the OnePlus 9 Pro in 2022.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).