Looking for a speedy flagship phone? This OnePlus 10T review is exactly where you need to be - think fast performance paired with lightning speed charging - it's undoubtedly a powerful piece of kit.
Joining the OnePlus 10 Pro in their flagship series for 2022, the OnePlus 10T isn’t so much an all-singing, all-dancing handset, rather it actually takes a very performance-driven approach for a more affordable price.
This isn’t going to be a smartphone for the snap-happy, instead, it will be better placed in the hands of those who play a lot of mobile games, who use virtual reality apps or who need a phone for business use.
Straight off the bat, I can tell you it's among the best phones in the world right now even if it's not the best. But given its focus on performance, could this also be one of the best gaming phones of the year?
OnePlus 10T review: price and what’s new
Launched on the 3rd August 2022, the OnePlus 10T is available to buy starting from £629 in the UK for the model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, or £729 for 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The OnePlus 10T starts at $649 in the US for the base model of the phone.
So what are the differences between the OnePlus 10T and the OnePlus 10 Pro? Firstly, the design has been refreshed with a new reflective green glass design and a second gritty black one, with a camera module that curves up from the back of the phone.
Under the hood, things have changed as well with a new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor and up to 16GB of RAM as well as their most advanced 3D Cooling System to date. For gamers, the HyperBoost Gaming Engine will improve your overall experience as well. You also get 150W charging included in the box (up from 80W on the 10 Pro).
Another difference is in the screen which has been reduced from a QHD+ curved display to a FHD+ flat screen.
The camera system has been simplified as well, down from 48MP + 50MP + 8MP and a 32MP front camera to 50MP + 8MP + 2MP and a 16MP front camera. These changes have all made room for the phone to be much more performance-focused.
OnePlus 10T review: design and display
Eye-catching is the best way to describe the design of the OnePlus 10T. While it echoes the sleek look and feel of the 10 Pro, it’s different enough to make it feel like a completely separate piece of kit. Swapping out the matte shimmering frosted glass for a reflective glossy one, it appears more typically OnePlus at the first glance and comes in two new colourways: Moonstone Black and Jade Green.
With curves in all the right places, the camera module sweeps up from the rear casing instead of being placed over the top. You still get three lenses here but the ring light has been moved to the top right of the box.
Made from Corning Gorilla Glass 5, the OnePlus 10T should survive knocks and bumps which is just as well because I did find that without a case it was quite slippy and slidey so could be prone to a fall here and there. Unfortunately, it has no official IP rating so it can't claim to be water-resistant which means you will have to be careful of rainfall, puddles and spilt drinks.
Another slight design flaw to mention is that the glass back picked up a fair amount of dirty fingerprint marks which is something to be aware of, and the camera module often got dust stuck in its crevices.
Holding the phone, it does feel a lot bulkier than the slimmest, sleekest smartphones you can buy. It measures 163 × 75.37 × 8.75mm and weighs 203.5g which is more than the OnePlus 10 Pro in both senses, but in saying that, it’s still less than some other high-end phones with a similar size screen, like the iPhone 13 Pro Max for example.
One slightly more disappointing design change is that the alert slider has been removed from the frame to make space for internal improvements. I understand the reasoning, but it’s something that sets OnePlus apart. I did find myself missing it when I was testing out the handset because it makes switching over to vibrate extremely easy - of course, if you've never used one of their devices before then you won't even know the difference.
Elsewhere around the frame, things are pretty standard with a volume rocker on the left, a power button on the right and the USB-C charging port along the bottom edge. There’s no headphone jack here so if you’re still using wired headphones, you’ll need to invest in some Bluetooth buds.
The 6.7-inch display sits flat against the body of the phone, and I think it looks great. With a resolution of FHD+ at 2412 x 1080p, with 10-bit colour depth, up to 950 nits peak brightness and HDR10+ support, you can expect a sharp, bright and vibrant screen no matter what.
I used it for all sorts, be that scrolling through Instagram, online shopping, watching YouTube videos or playing mobile games, and at no point did I spot any issues when it came to the display quality. Of course, in comparison to the 10 Pro, it’s not quite as refined but it’s not a hugely noticeable difference when you lay them out side by side.
Like most other flagship devices, the OnePlus 10T has a 120Hz refresh rate for silky smooth scrolling, swiping and tapping. What’s great is that it will automatically adjust itself down to 90Hz or 60Hz when appropriate which will help to save on battery life. Again, that’s not quite as impressive as an LPTO display, like you get on the pricier 10 Pro, which can go down to as little as 1Hz when displaying still images but that’s more of a nice-to-have than a must-have.
Unlocking the phone is quick and easy thanks to the in-display fingerprint scanner, or you can use facial recognition if you prefer. Either way, the device feels secure but is very reliable and efficient to get into.
OnePlus 10T review: camera system
Made up of three lenses, the rear camera system has been simplified for the OnePlus 10T and includes a 50MP main camera, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera and a 2MP macro lens. A 16MP selfie snapper sits on the front.
One of the big changes in comparison to its series sibling is that there’s no partnership with camera manufacturer Hasselblad to lean on which will mostly affect what’s possible with the camera software. For instance, there’s no Hasselblad Pro mode, no Tilt Shift nor is there the XPan mode.
Despite that, you’ll still be able to take some really nice shots on the OnePlus 10T given the right conditions and settings. Take a look at the gallery below for some examples of photos I took on the phone.
As you can see, the OnePlus 10T takes some really good clear shots but they're not mind-blowingly good. You'll still easily be able to get lovely photos in daylight yet if you're shooting on a more overcast day or during the evening, it'll be trickier to get those same results.
While there's plenty of detail, they sometimes come out looking a little dull in comparison to what you would get elsewhere. The camera did also sometimes struggle to balance contrasting areas of the shot as well, which ultimately meant some actually came out looking dark and lacking in precision.
I was impressed with the macro settings, producing sharp and intricate images up close to the subject, while the ultrawide mode which was able to capture more in the scene, but it did lose out a little on quality and muted the colours slightly, as you can see below.
Limited to just 5x digital zoom, you won't be using that for snapping anything for social media. Each time you go closer to a subject, you lose out a lot on accuracy and it even becomes a little grainy. I tried it out, you can see the results below.
OnePlus 10T review: performance and battery
Perhaps the most exciting part of this phone is its performance, it’s what defines the OnePlus 10T.
A Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 powers the phone which is the most up-to-date processor Qualcomm offers, and you can buy it with up to 16GB of RAM which is the most ever used in a OnePlus smartphone. All of that sits alongside up to 256GB of storage but there’s no MicroSD card slot so you won't be able to expand the memory, and OnePlus has also included a new cooling system as well to help stop it overheating when the going gets tough.
What that means for the day-to-day is that this phone can cope with just about anything and everything. It’ll load up larger apps without breaking a sweat and it didn’t falter when I was flicking between loads of open windows. You can easily edit photos or download files, and it had no issues with responding or heating up when I had been using it for long periods of time.
Its Geekbench 5 scores reflect that, having scored 1,035 in single-core and 3,476 in multi-core which not only places it above the OnePlus 10 Pro but also on par with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and even ahead of some high-end handsets like the Oppo Find X5 Pro.
As well as speedy system performance, the OnePlus 10T delivers fast connectivity speeds thanks to a combination of Wi-Fi 6, 5G support and 15 antennas that provide 360-degree coverage meaning you can use the phone in any orientation and get the same results. It also comes loaded with the latest Bluetooth 5.3.
When it came to battery life, I was pretty pleased with what the OnePlus 10T had to offer because it lasted me much longer than just one day. The 4,800mAh battery might not be the best in class but it’ll do just fine for most people.
To test it out a bit more accurately, I downloaded and played an HD video on full brightness for over two hours. In that time, the battery level dropped by only 12% which suggests it would have lasted almost 17 hours in total placing it among some of the longest-lasting smartphones around.
Another feature that makes this smartphone stand out is its charging capabilities - a 150W wired charger is included in the box, which OnePlus claims will charge the phone from flat to full in about 19 minutes. That’s incredible.
For it to be that fast every time, you'll need to switch off the Smart Rapid Charging which otherwise limits speeds when the phone is busy with other tasks, in order to protect the battery.
That's not the only way the software protects the battery, they’ve included the so-called Battery Health Engine as well, which limits charging and so should help the battery last about 1,600 charging cycles at 80% of its capacity - estimated to be about 4 years of use.
Behind the scenes, the OnePlus 10T relies on OxygenOS 12.1 which is based on Android 12, but the brand new OxygenOS 13 will be made available on it later in 2022. You'll get three years of OS updates and four years of security updates here.
As far as operating systems go, I do like OxygenOS, it’s intuitive and easy to use with an app drawer that you pull up from the bottom of the screen and a shelf that you pull down from the top which has handy widgets for your notes, mobile data usage and the weather.
The system is colourful without being cartoon-like and there are some cool always-on display options including your own Bitmoji, a canvas sketch of your photos or even insight into your phone usage. I’d still like to see even more options when it comes to the always-on display.
OnePlus 10T review: verdict
A phone that does exactly what it says on the tin, the OnePlus 10T is a powerful handset with super fast charging capabilities, and the long-lasting battery doesn’t hurt either. Everything else about it is good, rather than great and it does lack some features you’d expect to see including an LTPO display, a waterproof build and wireless charging. I'd also say that the design feels like a slight step down from the OnePlus 10 Pro but then it is a fair amount more affordable so I can get past that.
Whether you choose to buy this or the OnePlus 10 Pro will depend largely on what you use your phone for the most, and what your budget is.
If you need something that will keep up with your busy schedule or that will cope with particularly demanding apps, then the 10T will be perfect. But if you care more about having a top-quality screen and a camera that will let you take professional-looking shots then you’ll be better off with the Pro.
OnePlus 10T review: also consider
Whatever you plan to use it for, the best phone for most people is still the iPhone 13. With a 6.1-inch screen, it’s a much more reasonable size than most other flagships, but that doesn’t mean it makes sacrifices on speed. As you’d hope from Apple, it also looks stunning and the camera is fantastic too.
Another very worthy smartphone to consider is the Google Pixel 6 Pro. While it may not be as powerful as the OnePlus 10T, it’s still a great workhorse and the large 6.7-inch screen gives you plenty of space to get things done. As you’d expect from a Google phone, it boasts loads of handy AI-based features, and the camera produces absolutely superb shots as well.