It might have started out as a Flagship Killer, but the past few years have seen OnePlus move up the price and prominence ladder. The brand’s flagship has gone from being a flagship killer to being a flagship target and has managed the role change pretty well thus far. The OnePlus 10 Pro 5G continues OnePlus’ voyage in premium flagship waters. But does the latest Never Settler have what it takes to unsettle existing premium players?

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A design that will definitely invite a second glance

After following broadly conventional lines for most of its premium flagships, OnePlus has decided to take a design road less traveled for the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G (hence referred to as “OnePlus 10 Pro” for the sake of simplicity). Whether one likes it or not, what cannot be denied is that it definitely makes the device stand out from the routine flagship crowd and makes it perhaps the most distinct OnePlus since the OnePlus 7T, with its circular camera unit.

It is the camera unit that makes the OnePlus 10 Pro stand out as well. We got the Emerald Forest variant and while the back had a smooth, frosted glass finish that had a very premium feel to it, what caught our attention was the camera unit. It is a very distinct dark, almost black, colored rectangle that blends into the light green aluminum frame of the phone. It has three cameras and a flash in it and is made of ceramic that OnePlus claims makes it even more scratch-resistant than the Gorilla Glass 5 on the back of the device.

Some might find the arrangement a little too loud, and “edgy” for comfort on the green variant as the black color of the unit clashes with the green of the back, but it is sure to catch attention and gets points from us for daring to be different. We have not seen the Volcanic Black variant in person, but from what we have seen of the images, the black camera unit blends in better with it – acting as a glossy island in a sea of matte black.

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The front is a more predictable affair, with a tall, curved display (with Gorilla Glass Victus) and a punch hole notch on the top left corner. The right side has the alert slider, which lets you switch between vibrate, ring, and silent modes, and a display/power button. The left side has the volume rocker, the base has a speaker grille, USB type C port, and dual SIM slots, while the top remains plain. At 163 mm in height, the OnePlus 10 Pro is not exactly a small phone but is actually slightly shorter than the OnePlus 9 Pro. It is also slimmer at 8.55 mm, although at 201 grams, it is not lightweight by any standards. There is no dust or water resistance rating for the device, which is odd when considering that the OnePlus 9 Pro came with an IP68 rating.

All said and done, the OnePlus 10 Pro is a tall, handsome device with just the right touch of edginess or class, depending on the version you take. If you want classy, go for the black. If you want edgy, go with the green. No matter which one you pick, people will definitely notice the phone.

A bit more of Hasselblad, finally!

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OnePlus’ Pro series has always come with good camera hardware, which continues with the OnePlus 10 Pro. The back has a 48-megapixel Sony IMX789 primary sensor with OIS, a 50 megapixel Samsung ISOCELL JN1 as the ultrawide sensor, and an 8-megapixel telephoto camera with OIS and 3.3x optical zoom. In addition, the selfie camera has finally been upgraded from a 16-megapixel snapper to a 32-megapixel Sony IMX615 sensor on the front. Impressive though that hardware is (and there are no token 2 or 5-megapixel snappers, thankfully), what makes the cameras on the OnePlus 10 Pro really special is the fact that they have been designed and tuned in collaboration with legendary camera brand, Hasselblad. While the alliance with Hasselblad had been announced for the OnePlus 9 series itself, its impact had been a little underwhelming, making one of our colleagues exclaim: “Oh Hasselblad, Wow Hasselblad, where art thou, Hasselblad“.

That has changed to an extent with the OnePlus 10 Pro. The phone comes with the Second Generation Hasselblad Camera for Mobile. The most obvious change comes in the form of filters. There are three new filters specially tuned by Hasselblad experts or ambassadors- Serenity by Yin Chao (best for portraits), Radiance by Ben Thomas (best for hyperreal, stylized shots), and Emerald by David Peskens (for landscapes). Do the filters look radically different from others? Well, to be brutally honest, we are not too sure most users will notice. It does, however, make a big difference to know that one is using the sort of setting a well-known photographer does. Perhaps a little more elaboration about them on the device itself would have helped. Instead of just being a filter among many, perhaps a message highlighting the photographer who inspired the filter and what the filter was good for would have helped. Still, we are happy to see a Hasselblad-centric feature on the device.

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The much-hyped Hasselblad Natural Color for Mobile is still there and makes the images taken by the phone seem rather more realistic than some of the competition. Unlike in the OnePlus 9 Pro, where some images seemed a little on the dull side, this time, colors are a little more punchy but without getting into the oversaturated zone. They are realistic but still pleasant enough, which is an excellent place to be between photographic fact and fiction. You can take things to a slightly brighter and more poppy level by turning on AI enhancement, but we preferred to keep things real. OnePlus says that the special Hasselblad Pro mode is available for all three rear cameras, but we could see it only for the main sensor and at 2x zoom – so perhaps an update will fix this. However, the legendary Hasselblad Xpan mode, which gives images a panoramic look, is available on only the main sensor.

Good main, versatile ultrawide and a middling telephoto

In terms of performance, the three cameras on the back of the OnePlus 10 Pro generally do very well. We have already spoken of how realistically they handle colors. The main camera is among the best in the business, although it remains a little inconsistent (software fix coming up, we suspect). Color handling, however, becomes a little less realistic when the lights dim. The OnePlus 10 Pro comes from the “make things more visible and colorful in the dark” school of low light photography, and while we can see many people liking this approach, it can make things a little unreal. That said, it is one of the better low-light performers out there and keeps noise at acceptable levels.

The ultrawide sensor of the phone is the interesting one. It loses out on the macro photography muscle that it had on the OnePlus 9 Pro, but it gains a much wider view. It has a default of 110 degrees point of view but can also go all the way to 150 degrees, giving you the slightly curved-on-the-sides fisheye view that many photographers love. You can get a normal rectangular snap with slightly curved sides or a circular shot with the subject bang in the center, with everything else seemingly behind it, giving it a very convex-ish feel. It is a very handy innovation (we saw something similar on the iQOO 9 Pro), and what’s impressive is that neither of these modes compromises on detail. We were, however, surprised to see OnePlus remove autofocus from the ultrawide. Yes, one does not often use it for landscapes and the like, but it is always a handy tool to fall back on when you need to highlight something in particular.

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[Click here for full resolution pictures + additional samples]

The 8-megapixel telephoto sensor does a decent-ish job of giving you up to 3.3x optical zoom. OnePlus claims it also delivers very usable 30x digital zoom, but we found anything beyond 8x or 10x was generally too blurry for comfort. Perhaps the brand could have considered going in for a bigger megapixel count here to crop and zoom higher resolution images as Samsung has done at times. The OnePlus 10 Pro’s telephoto is still good enough to let you snap animals and birds without disturbing them too much but stops well short of the zoom on the likes of the much more expensive Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Video has improved as well. You can shoot 8K and 4K videos now, and more importantly, thanks to a new Movie Mode, you can tweak settings like ISO, shutter speed, and white balance while shooting video. Video quality is good in decent light conditions, but we would have preferred better sound, and things go a little downhill when the lights fade. Still, there is enough here for content creators to sometimes leave proper cameras behind when they want to shoot videos.

The selfie camera has been bumped up to 32-megapixels after being on 16-megapixels since the OnePlus 3T. Selfies are decent enough, and unlike the rear cameras, there is no attempt to be overly realistic here. As a result, you will get smoother skin textures and fewer marks on your face – we do not think people will mind that.

All in all, the OnePlus 10 Pro packs in some very good cameras, and its main sensor and videos can give the resident premier flagships a good run for their money in both good light and low light conditions. The ultrawide innovations are handy as well. However, the slightly iffy telephoto performance and the absence of macro and autofocus on the ultrawide do clip its photographic wings a little. Still, the OnePlus 10 Pro does represent a big camera step forward for OnePlus. It needs just a little more to get into the Pixels and the Galaxy S22 series zone, though.

Flagship hardware, flagship performance

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In the best OnePlus tradition, the OnePlus 10 Pro comes with some top-of-the-line hardware. And its performance is right up there with the best. The phone has a 6.7-inch fluid AMOLED curved display with quad HD+ resolution and a 120 Hz refresh rate. It is a bright and brilliant display and comes with LTPO to ensure that the refresh rate changes as per the content displayed on it (it can go all the way down to 1Hz), which is supposed to be more battery-friendly. There is also dual-color calibration, which OnePlus claims has been used for the first time in the industry and ensures that color accuracy remains very good no matter how bright or dull the display is. We would rank the display as one of the best on the current lot of Android flagships, and OnePlus has even moved the in-display fingerprint scanner to a slightly higher place, making the phone easier to unlock. It works speedily enough by in-display fingerprint scanner standards.

Speed actually is the hallmark of the OnePlus 10 Pro. The phone is powered by the current Android flagship favorite, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, and comes with LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage options of 8 GB/ 128 GB and 12 GB/ 256 GB. That pretty much ensures that the phone literally flies through everything you throw at it, be it Call of Duty and Asphalt to video and image editing. Yes, there are times when the phone seems to heat up a little, but it never reaches alarming levels. Stereo speakers, combined with that excellent display, make this a great device to watch content on.

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The OnePlus 10 Pro also comes with Android 12, with OxygenOS 12.1 on top of it. OnePlus had recently clarified that Oppo’s ColorOS and its own OxygenOS would remain independent entities. While we like both interfaces, we suspect those who love clean and minimalistic interfaces will prefer OxygenOS. It works very smoothly on the OnePlus 10 Pro and brings added camera interface touches as well as the usual features like Shelf and Scout. This remains one of the cleanest UIs around.

OnePlus has fit a large 5000 mAh battery into the phone. That is easily the biggest battery ever seen on a OnePlus device. Its performance, however, is satisfactory rather than impressive. It easily got us through a day with the display at its highest resolution, but we expected a bit more. Bringing the display resolution down to full HD+ made it last significantly longer – almost a day and a half – but such a move defeats the purpose of getting that display in the first place. Charging is super fast, though, thanks to 80W SuperVOOC charging and an 80W charger in the box. The battery gets topped up in about thirty-five to forty minutes, which is impressive, given its size. There is also support for 50W wireless charging and reverse charging. Round that off with 5G support, and this is a pretty well stacked up device, no matter how you look at it.

Mixing with the best, and standing out

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At its launch price of Rs 66,999 for 8 GB/ 128 GB and Rs 71,999 for 12 GB/ 256 GB, the OnePlus 10 Pro crosses swords with the very impressive iQOO 9 Pro which starts at Rs 64,990 and comes with a distinct design, the same processor, even faster charging and excellent performance. There is also the Galaxy S22 which also boasts a similar processor, comes with good cameras and a more compact form factor, but is a little bit more expensive at Rs 72,999 and has no charger in the box. And there will be those who will feel that the OnePlus 10 Pro is not too distant from even the iPhone 13, which starts at Rs 79,900 and is among the most powerful phones around. The fact that the OnePlus 10 Pro can be mentioned in the same breath as these shows not just how good the phone is but also how far the brand has come from its flagship killing days.

The OnePlus 10 Pro is no flagship killer. And is not trying to be one. But it certainly should be in the sights of all other Android flagships because whenever someone thinks of investing close to Rs 70,000 in a phone, its name will be among the first to appear in the list of options. Anyone wanting a smooth smartphone experience with most of the bells and whistles that a premium flagship offers would do well to consider settling with this Never Settler.

Buy OnePlus 10 Pro

Pros
  • A different design
  • Smooth operation
  • Very good main camera
  • Versatile ultrawide camera
  • Superb display
  • Android 12 with OxygenOS
Cons
  • Battery life is a little underwhelming
  • No dust and water resistance
  • No autofocus or macro facility on the ultrawide sensor
Review Overview
Design
Performance
Camera
Software
Price
SUMMARY

OnePlus 10 Pro 5G comes with a starting price tag of Rs 66,999, which puts it in line with the best from not just Apple and Samsung, but also the very impressive iQOO 9 Pro.

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