OnePlus 10T 5G Review: Speed Above All Else


If you care only about price, specifications and performance, the OnePlus 10T 5G stands out. It’s one of the few phones on sale in India with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC, and there are only a few compromises on the spec sheet. The starting price of Rs. 49,999 in India is reasonably good value, considering that it competes with true flagships such as the Samsung Galaxy S22 series (and even the OnePlus 10 Pro). On the other hand, if you’re happy and familiar with an older OnePlus phone and are looking for an upgrade in terms of features as well as performance, the 10T 5G might fall short of your expectations.

In this review we’ll look at both perspectives – this is an objective evaluation of the OnePlus 10T 5G‘s performance, cameras, battery life, software, features, and design. However for you to decide whether to buy it or not, you’ll have to consider whether the usage experience is right for you.

OnePlus 10T 5G price in India

The OnePlus 10T 5G has been launched in India in three variants: prices start at Rs. 49,999 if you want 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, which is pretty standard for this price level. You could also choose the variant with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for Rs. 54,999 – this option is exclusive to India. However, just Rs. 1,000 more will get you the top-end option with 16GB of RAM and the same amount of storage. Even 12GB of RAM is likely overkill for most people, but the price difference is so minor that it seems pointless not to go all the way to the top.

OnePlus 10T 5G design

Perhaps the most controversial thing about the OnePlus 10T 5G is the lack of an alert slider, so let’s talk about that first. Android phones have become pretty homogenous over the past several years and the slider has been one brand differentiator for OnePlus since its very first model. It was understandable that we’d lose it on some of the value-focused Nord models, but here the company is clearly showing that it’s willing to abandon something its longtime users really like.

The slider lets you quickly switch between alert profiles, much like on iPhones and BlackBerrys in the past. If you use it a lot, you’ll miss it – however, I have my phone on silent almost all the time and so I’ve never really had much use for it. OnePlus says the removal was necessary to make room for things like better antennas and the 150W charging circuitry, but this stretches credulity considering how tiny a surface-mount switch is. The company even acknowledges that this is a polarising decision and says the slider isn’t dead for good.

oneplus 10T front ndtv oneplus

The large screen of the OnePlus 10T makes one-handed usage a bit challenging

 

Other than that, there are a few things to talk about. The 10T is available in two very different finishes – Moonstone Black and Jade Green. The former has a rough texture that was apparently inspired by volcanic rock. It’s pretty easy to grip and looks quite smart from a distance. On the other hand, the Jade Green version is completely smooth and extremely reflective. It’s not too slippery, but fingerprints are quite visible.

The camera module looks a lot like that of the OnePlus 10 Pro (Review) but the way it’s designed is completely different. Instead of the metal frame being extruded and wrapping around the back like a finger, this phone’s camera module is part of the glass rear panel, just raised and contoured a bit. Even if you run a finger across it, you won’t feel any seam. On my Jade Green review unit, the black patch seems like it’s rising out of a still body of water.

The 10T 5G is 8.75mm thick and weighs 203g which are both a bit above average for premium phones. This isn’t the easiest phone to work with but at least the rounded frame and contoured rear make it comfortable to hold. The front and rear are both made of Corning Gorilla Glass 5. A matte rubber case is included in the box and a screen protector is pre-applied.

A small power button is on the right, and there’s a volume rocker on the left. You’ll find a USB Type-C port, speaker, and dual Nano-SIM tray on the bottom. The top has a speaker cutout and mic hole. There’s no 3.5mm jack. The front camera and fingerprint sensor are embedded in the display. OnePlus has managed to achieve slim borders all around the screen. You don’t get rounded sides, like with the 10 Pro, but that isn’t a bad thing at all.

oneplus 10T side ndtv oneplus

You won’t find the familiar alert slider on the side of the OnePlus 10T 5G

 

OnePlus 10T 5G specifications and software

The star of the show here is Qualcomm’s mid-cycle flagship SoC refresh, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. It should deliver minor improvements in speed as well as power efficiency, better graphics and AI processing, and a newer cellular modem. All this should translate to better battery life for devices such as the 10T 5G. The CPU features one “prime” Cortex-X2 core running at up to 3.2GHz, three more “big” Cortex-A710 cores and four “small” Cortex-A510 cores. OnePlus says it has developed its biggest and most elaborate ever cooling system, which makes it apparent that gamers are a huge target for this phone.

Another major highlight is the 150W charging speed (125W maximum in countries with 110V AC power). The 4800mAh battery is divided into two physical cells which are charged in parallel at up to 75W each. You will of course need the proprietary SuperVOOC Endurance Edition charger and the specific Type-C cable that come in the box. This charger is USB-PD compliant up to 45W so it will also work with some mainstream laptops and other devices.

Charging safety and battery longevity are of course big issues that might concern potential buyers, and OnePlus touts a huge list of measures it has taken in these areas such as smart charging algorithms, fine-grained current and voltage monitoring, multiple temperature sensors, and even special customisations made to the battery’s chemistry. OnePlus claims 26 hours of usage per charge cycle, a full charge in under 20 minutes, and at least 80 percent capacity retention after 1,600 cycles (which it says is equivalent to four years of usage).

OnePlus has used LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage. The company says over 35 apps can stay in memory with the 16GB variant, which means super-quick multitasking without having to reload anything. You can also assign a small amount of storage to be used as extra RAM, though this is not likely to have any impact over and above having 12GB or 16GB.

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The borders all around the screen are equally narrow

 

The display measures 6.7 inches and has a full-HD+ 1080×2412 pixel resolution with a 120Hz maximum refresh rate. It’s an AMOLED panel with a 10-bit colour depth, 950nit peak brightness rating, and HDR10+ support. The 1000Hz maximum touch response rate is another spec that gamers might find interesting.

Other specs worth mentioning are the stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3, and NFC. However there are also things that you might expect from a phone at this price level but don’t get – there’s no IP rating (except for units sold in the US), no wireless charging, and no eSIM support. Another little detail is that the USB Type-C port only works at USB 2.0 speed.

As for software, OnePlus announced OxygenOS 13 at the same time as the OnePlus 10T 5G, but this phone doesn’t come with it. An update will be available later this year. For now, OxygenOS 12.1 will have to do. While it’s quite feature-rich, it isn’t quite as slick or minimalist as older versions used to be, thanks to the merger with Oppo and its ColorOS development team.

In terms of features you get a customisable always-on display, plenty of UI customisation options, quick launch shortcuts for the fingerprint sensor, app cloning so you can use messaging apps with multiple SIMs, and many other little touches. OnePlus Scout is supposed to be a more powerful search tool, and OnePlus Shelf is a space for widgets. It appears when swiping down from the upper right of the screen, when you’d expect your notifications or quick settings, but this can be disabled. You’ll find a few OnePlus apps and Netflix is the only preloaded third-party one. There’s a Zen Mode app in addition to the new Work Life Balance setting which is somewhat like iOS’s Focus modes.

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OnePlus says it has developed an elaborate cooling system for the top-end SoC

 

OnePlus 10T 5G performance

There’s no doubt that everyday performance is fantastic on the OnePlus 10T. This phone has way more than enough power for basic use. I wanted to test OnePlus’ claim about being able to switch between multiple apps with ease, and on the 12GB RAM variant that I have with me, I found that I could have about 10-12 everyday apps and a heavy game or two open. This could be a huge deal for anyone used to a phone that’s three or four years old, with only 3-4GB of RAM.

OnePlus is quite obviously targeting gamers with this phone, and that’s not a small audience. You’ll be happy to know that this is where the 10T 5G truly excels. I played quite a lot of Call of Duty Mobile, Asphalt 9, and several casual games for quite a while and not only was performance smooth throughout, but the device only got slightly warm and battery drain was also quite reasonable. The screen refresh rate appears to be capped at 60fps in most games but the experience was still enjoyable.

As for general benchmarks, the AnTuTu score of 788,961 was among the highest we’ve seen but well below early leaks that showed this phone breaking the 1,000,000 mark, which might be down to a difference in test environments. Geekbench 5’s single-core and multi-core tests returned scores of 653 and 3,067 respectively. 3DMark’s Wild Life Extreme graphics test managed a score of 2,790 and GFXBench’s most demanding Aztec Ruins scene maxed out at 60fps which means the screen refresh rate was capped at 60fps.

Of course everyone will want to know how fast the 150W charging system is, and frankly, it’s incredible. Just watching the percentage readout rise as I charged this phone was a shock. Like many people, I’m used to seeing my phone nearly dead and plugging it in for a few minutes before having to rush somewhere, but instead of just being able to fill the battery enough to last through a commute, I’d find it nearly full. In my tests, the OnePlus 10T 5G went from zero to 10 percent in two minutes, 20 percent in three minutes, and 35 percent in five minutes. At the 15 minute mark it was at 54 percent, and when I checked after the standard half hour, it had been full for a while.

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The two available finishes have extremely different textures but both are made of glass

 

This of course assumes that you always use the included 160W charger and OnePlus’ own USB cable. The charger is quite bulky and heavy, so unless you carry it around everywhere with you, you might not be able to charge quickly when you need to the most – but you’ll also never have to leave this phone plugged in all night either.

Battery life was also quite strong. I had at least 15 percent left after a full day of casual use which included a lot of Web surfing, camera use, and an hour or so of gaming. Our HD video loop test took 21 hours, 1 minute to run.

The fingerprint sensor is placed quite low and I didn’t always manage to place my thumb exactly where it was needed, but it was otherwise quick. The large camera bump on the back can sometimes make holding this phone in landscape a bit awkward. The speakers are fairly loud and clear but sound isn’t as rich as I would have liked.

I found the display to be bright and vibrant, even outdoors. It doesn’t have the highest resolution you can get, but it’s crisp enough to make most apps and content look great. In fact, colours might be too bright and saturated for some people but you can switch from Vivid to Natural in the display settings. OnePlus claims full DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage and a 10-bit colour depth but you’ll have to switch to Pro mode and then select ‘Brilliant’ to push these settings to the max. The always-on display is quite convenient and not too distracting at night.

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The macro camera is not very useful and only pads the spec sheet

 

OnePlus 10T 5G cameras

The OnePlus 10T 5G is newer and more powerful than the OnePlus 10 Pro, but is still positioned below it – and you’ll see why when it comes to the cameras. There’s no Hasselblad branding here and the cameras themselves are pretty basic. The 50-megapixel main camera boasts of optical stabilisation and a Sony IMX766 sensor but the 8-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide camera and 2-megapixel macro camera are disappointing. There’s no optical zoom or anything interesting or new.

The camera app has a few interesting options. You can choose to enable 10-bit photo captures and also use the HEIF photo format which can save space but isn’t widely used. You can choose which modes appear on the carousel above the shutter button, and which stay in a spillover menu. The rear of the phone did heat up a bit when recording video.

OnePlus 10T 5G daytime photo samples: primary camera (above); ultra-wide (below). Tap to see full size.

 

Photo and video quality is fine, but maybe not what you’d expect from a phone at this price level. Tricky exposures weren’t always handled well and sometimes the bright sky would result in foreground subjects appearing too dull. Detail is fine when shooting with the primary camera but photos can look a little over-processed, especially landscapes with objects at a distance. The ultra-wide one does introduce some perspective skew and colours aren’t quite as true to life.

OnePlus 10T 5G daytime photo samples: primary camera (above); ultra-wide (below). Tap to see full size.

 

When shooting macros, a message in the viewfinder tells you to hold the phone 4cm away from your subject for best results, but there’s no indication of how far you actually are. Macro shots are just as good or bad as anything you’d get with a sub-Rs. 15,000 phone today and it’s not likely that you’ll get much use out of this camera.

OnePlus 10T 5G low-light photo samples: primary camera (above); ultra-wide (below). Tap to see full size.

 

Nighttime shots are also just about okay, and the ultra-wide camera is noticeably weaker than the main one. Night mode is triggered automatically but you can also select it yourself if you want to be sure. Photos at night don’t come out dull or dark but don’t expect a
whole lot of detail.

As for video, daytime performance is good with both the primary and ultra-wide cameras, though the latter is barely of use at night. Footage is stabilised fairly well at 1080p but you can expect a little jitter when walking especially at night. The ultra-wide camera can’t record 4K video.

Selfies are pretty crisp and portrait mode does a good job with background separation, even at night. Thankfully, face retouching isn’t on by default.

OnePlus 10T 5G daytime photo samples: macro (above); portrait selfie (middle); low-light portrait selfie (below). Tap to see full size.

 

Verdict

OnePlus is not a plucky little startup anymore and can’t survive selling just one phone model per year. Unfortunately, that means the brand doesn’t exactly stand for what it used to, which was delivering enthusiast-class hardware and software at rock-bottom prices. The OnePlus 10T 5G is a good choice for certain niche buyers – those who want bragging rights, those who are crazy about gaming, and those who suffer from severe battery-level anxiety. It will also be a solid upgrade from an older OnePlus phone if you want to stay within the family.

The company has promised three years of major Android updates and an additional year of security updates which is a decent duration. There’s more than enough performance to keep this phone relevant for at least that long, and if you buy the 12GB or 16GB RAM versions you shouldn’t have any trouble at all even with heavy upcoming games.

If you don’t need the SoC power though, you could easily look elsewhere. Plenty of phones priced under Rs. 50,000 in India offer better cameras, an IP rating, and/or wireless charging.

Disclosure: OnePlus sponsored the reviewer’s flights and stay in New York City to cover the launch event.




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