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OnePlus 10T review: Speed meets affordability in this Android phone


All smartphone makers promise to help us get things done faster. As a result, there are a ton of competing flagship smartphones on the market — the iPhone 13, the Galaxy S22, and the Pixel 6, to name a few — that ensure a brisk mobile experience housed in an elegant design. The OnePlus 10T strays only slightly from that formula. Straddling both the premium and midrange markets, it combines the fastest available Android processor and the best default screen refresh rate with superior battery performance and charging speed. 

However, with a starting price of $649, the 10T also falls squarely in the more affordable mid-range spectrum of smartphones. Will that budget-friendly price, in combination with its topnotch processor, screen, and battery be enough to push the OnePlus 10T past its flagship competition when pre-orders start on September 1st? Let’s find out.

Built to last

When I took the OnePlus 10T out of the box, I was surprised it didn’t weigh as much as I thought it would. My daily driver is the thicc iPhone 13 Pro Max at 8.46 ounces. So the 7.2 ounce weight of the OnePlus 10T made it feel more like a smartphone that’s meant to be used as opposed to a smartphone that should live in a trophy case. Its weight, or relative lack thereof, could be a good thing for anyone who’s looking for a larger phone that won’t weigh down their pockets… or force them to keep the drawstring on their jogger pants tied tight. (Ask me how I know.)

The OnePlus 10T, which features Gorilla Glass 5 protection on front and back, has a 6.7-inch OLED display that blends perfectly with its bezel. At 2412 x 1080p, its screen resolution may not offer the clarity of more premium smartphones with 1440p displays, but the 120 Hz refresh rate more than makes up for it. As a result, there’s a noticeable speed and smoothness to scrolling, transition effects, and animations on the device.

Oh and symmetry-minded users will be pleased to know that the OnePlus 10T’s hole-punch, 16-megapixel selfie camera is centered at the top of the screen and just below the barely visible speaker grille.

The back of the OnePlus 10T with visible camera module

It’s nothing special to look at, but it looks like it can take a beating.
Credit: Molly Flores / Mashable

On the right side of the 10T, you’ll find the power/sleep button while the volume rocker occupies the opposite edge. It’s worth noting that the phone doesn’t have an additional “alert slider” like its sibling, the OnePlus 10 Pro — but that shouldn’t be a big issue. Sure, having to press the volume rocker up or down to display additional on-screen volume options, then tapping the ‘music note’ button to mute the volume is an extra step. But that isn’t on my nitpick list when it comes to increased productivity in a smartphone — to each their own.

The choice of trim/bezel material is another area where the OnePlus 10T makes its mid-range roots clear. I was expecting a “shiny” metal bezel around the device that would compare to other flagship devices like the Google Pixel 6 Pro or Samsung Galaxy Ultra 22. Instead, you get a plastic frame. 

As for the OnePlus 10T’s rear, its symmetrical and bump-minimizing camera/flash array is a very nice touch for anyone who appreciates a minimalist aesthetic. The phone’s textured glass back is another one of those unexpected, but appreciated design features. And if you don’t feel like using a case, you likely won’t have to worry much about scratching or scuffing the rear panel when you put the phone down on…anything. Unfortunately, you won’t get much choice in color options for the OnePlus 10T: It’s only available in moonstone black and jade green.

Another feature that keeps the OnePlus 10T just out of premium range is its IP54 rating, which means it can withstand dust and a splash or two of water but will be in trouble if submerged. Which on its face sounds okay so long as you don’t compare it to other flagship devices, like Google’s Pixel 6 line or Samsung’s Galaxy S22, which offer more robust IP68 dust- and water-proofing.

Speedy performance and big battery life

The battery life on the OnePlus 10T is substantial. As a self-described heavy smartphone user, I can confidently state that the 4,800mAh battery held up like a champ in my hands. I was able to use the phone for a full day and still had a 30 percent charge leftover before going to bed. 

For this review, I performed the typical daily functions to drain the battery. Basically, I did what any normal smartphone user would do: I watched a heavy amount of YouTube and TikTok videos throughout the day, in addition to using Google Chrome for web browsing and Google Drive to manage cloud documents.

The USB-C charging port at the base of the OnePlus 10T

No wireless charging here. But what do you expect for the price?
Credit: Molly Flores / Mashable

When the OnePlus 10T needed charging, I was able to charge it to over 50 percent in under 30 minutes using the supplied USB-C Cable and 160W SuperVOOC power adapter. Tweaking battery settings like high performance mode, optimize battery use, sleep standby optimization, and optimized night charging could produce even better battery/charging performance results. The OnePlus 10T is, however, missing wireless charging. Its inclusion would have been a nice touch but maybe next time.

The OnePlus 10T’s fingerprint and face unlock features are also surprisingly fast. In fact, getting into the phone using face unlock was so speedy that I wonder if there is any decrease in security when using it as the primary method of accessing the phone. At any rate, the safest measure is to use either the fingerprint or PIN unlock if you’re uber-concerned about device security.

For this review, I had the privilege of testing the 16GB RAM/128GB storage OnePlus 10T variant which, in combination with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, made everything I did on this device move fast. From having tons of apps (and browser tabs) open to downloading and streaming media, and interacting on Twitter and Instagram, the OnePlus 10T did not miss a step when it comes to brisk performance. 

Good but not great cameras

Close-up shot of the multiple camera array on the back of the OnePlus 10T

You won’t find that Hasselblad photo magic here.
Credit: Molly Flores / Mashable

Much like other current flagships, the One Plus 10T has three rear-facing cameras. The main 50-megapixel camera is capable of producing solid low-light images, but tops out at 10X optical zoom as compared to 30X optical zoom on the similarly priced Samsung Galaxy S22. 

There’s also an 8-megapixel ultra-wide and a 2-megapixel macro camera that gets the job done, but that’s it. After taking several pictures and comparing them with other smartphones I own (i.e., iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 Pro Max), it’s clear that the OnePlus 10T produces high-quality images that are bright and sharp. However, similar shots taken with the iPhone appear richer in color and more detailed.

The One Plus 10T has a respectful 16-megapixel front-facing camera that works well in natural and low-light situations. I actually preferred the image quality of the front-facing camera images over similar ones taken with my iPhone 13 Pro Max as more details (and less shadows) were evident in the shots.

photo of tree outside in natural light taken on the OnePlus 10T
Taken with OnePlus 10T in natural outdoor lighting
Credit: Terrance Gaines / Mashable
photo of tree outside in natural light taken on the iPhone 13 Pro Max
Taken with iPhone 13 Pro Max in natural outdoor lighting
Credit: Terrance Gaines / Mashable

The OnePlus 10T does have some camera tricks not present in other devices. There’s the “Dirty lens warning” setting that can detect whether a fingerprint smudge or other particles might prohibit a clear shot. Plus, there is a Dual-View Video feature that lets you record from both the rear and front-facing camera at the same time. 

Even though the OnePlus 10T has some slick camera settings, it is missing the Hasselblad partnership found on the OnePlus 10 Pro. That feature bump would’ve given this smartphone even more of a premium flagship feel with additional professional-level camera settings and modes.

The Android competition

The One Plus 10T starts at $649. But for just $799, you can opt for its “bigger brother,” the OnePlus 10 Pro, which has a better 3216 X 1440 resolution display, wireless charging, and Hasselblad camera system. Are nicer cameras and the privilege of wireless charging worth an extra $150? Folks looking for a higher-end smartphone at a budget price might not think so. 

Samsung’s Galaxy S22 is another go-to Android brand if you don’t want to be subjected to the Apple ecosystem. At $849, the Galaxy S22 offers multiple color options (vs. just two for the OnePlus 10T), and also has better camera specs: 50MP rear camera, 12MP ultra-wide camera, and 10MP telephoto lens. That said, it does have only 8GB RAM and a comparatively smaller 6.1-inch screen but you still get a 120Hz refresh rate. 

For a true Android experience, there’s always Google’s Pixel 6, priced at $599 ($50 cheaper than the 10T), with its 6.4-inch screen to consider. One of the Pixel 6’s best features is its Real Tone camera feature that accurately captures different skin tones and other color differences. Although, Real Tone alone might not be enough of a value-add to make you choose it over the 10T. Plus, the Pixel 6 only offers a two-camera system on back with wide and ultra-wide lenses and 8GB RAM. So, given that, the One Plus 10T still makes a case to be considered.

The bottom line

The focus of the OnePlus 10T is speed and, in that respect, it delivers. Its processing power, in combination with solid battery life and fast charging, push it well above other mid-range competitors for the price. However, the 10T’s cameras and overall design aesthetic still keep the device with one foot in the “average” bucket —at least when compared to rival Android flagship devices. 

To use a basketball term, the OnePlus 10T’s makes outnumber the misses. If ultra-fast performance at a reasonable $649 starting price is important to you, the just-above-midrange (but just below flagship) OnePlus 10T is a worthy smartphone to consider.



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