OnePlus 10 Pro vs OnePlus 9 Pro: Do you need to upgrade?

OnePlus 10 Pro vs OnePlus 9 Pro: Do you need to upgrade?

The OnePlus 10 Pro is a very fast and powerful smartphone with a gorgeous 120Hz OLED panel and a polished camera system fine-tuned by Swedish camera maker Hasselblad. You can also say the same about the OnePlus 9 Pro. This year’s Android flagships have been about iterative updates and refinements more than significant hardware leaps. Other than the processor — the OnePlus 10 Pro as expected runs on a newer 2022 Qualcomm chip — it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say most of the hardware has remained the same. So if you are on the market for a new OnePlus flagship, should you get the 2022 OnePlus 10 Pro, or save a bit and go for the 2021 OnePlus 9 Pro?

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OnePlus 10 Pro and Oneplus 9 Pro

    The OnePlus 10 Pro is a 2022 flagship with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and a polished camera system.
    The OnePlus 9 Pro is a really fast 2021 flagship that still keeps up well today.

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OnePlus 10 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S22: Specifications

Specification OnePlus 10 Pro OnePlus 9 Pro
Build
  • Aluminum mid-frame
  • Gorilla Glass 5 back
  • Gorilla Glass Victus front
  • IP68 rating (only on T-Mobile models)
  • Aluminum mid-frame
  • Gorilla Glass 5 front and back
  • IP68 rating
Dimensions & Weight
  • 163 x 73.9 x 8.55 mm
  • 201g
  • 163.2 x 73.6 x 8.7 mm
  • 197g
Display
  • 6.7-inch QHD+ 120Hz Fluid AMOLED
  • 1,440 x 3,216 pixels
  • HDR10+ certified
  • Variable refresh rate between 1Hz to 120Hz
  • 6.7-inch QHD+ 120Hz Fluid AMOLED
  • 1,440 x 3,120 pixels
  • HDR10+ certified
  • Variable refresh rate between 1Hz to 120Hz
SoC
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
RAM & Storage
  • 8GB/12GB RAM
  • 128GB/256GB/512GB UFS 3.1 storage
  • 8GB/12GB RAM
  • 128GB/256GB/512GB UFS 3.1 storage
Battery & Charging
  • 5,000mAh
  • 65W wired fast charging (North America)
  • 80W wired fast charging (Everywhere outside of North America)
  • 50W wireless charging
  • Reverse wireless charging
  • Charger included in box
  • 4,500mAh battery
  • 65W wired fast charging
  • 50W wireless charging
  • Charger included in box
Security Optical in-display fingerprint scanner Optical in-display fingerprint sensor
Rear Camera(s)
  • Primary: 48MP wide, f/1.8, 1/1.33″, OIS
  • Secondary: 50MP ultra-wide, f/2.2/150˚ FOV
  • Tertiary: 8MP telephoto, 3.3x optical zoom
  • Hasselblad color calibration
  • Primary: 48MP wide, f/1.8, 1/1.33″, OIS
  • Secondary: 50MP Sony IMX766 ultra-wide, f/2.2, freeform lens
  • Tertiary: 8MP 3.3x telephoto, f/2.4, OIS
  • Quaternary: 2MP monochrome sensor
  • Hasselblad color calibration
Front Camera(s) 32MP, f/2.2/0.8µm 16MP, f/2.4
Port(s)
  • USB Type-C
  • No headphone jack
  • No microSD card slot
  • USB Type-C
  • No headphone jack
  • No microSD card slot
Audio
  • Stereo speakers
  • Stereo speakers
Connectivity
  • 5G (mmWave) for almost all regions and carriers except AT&T in the US
  • Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2×2 MIMO
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • NFC
  • GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, BeiDou
  • 5G (mmWave) for almost all regions and carriers except AT&T in the US
  • Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2×2 MIMO
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • NFC
  • GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, BeiDou
Software
  • China: ColorOS 12.1 based on Android 12
  • Global: OxygenOS 12.1 based on Android 12
OxygenOS 12.1 based on Android 12
Other Features
  • Dual physical SIM
  • Alert slider
  • Three major Android OS updates promised
  • Four years of security patches
  • Dual physical SIM
  • Alert slider
  • Three major Android OS updates promised
  • Four years of security patches

OnePlus 10 Pro vs OnePlus 9 Pro: Hardware and Design

OnePlus 10 Pro

The OnePlus 10 Pro and OnePlus 9 Pro share very similar overall shapes and sizes — the 10 Pro is marginally thicker, heavier, and wider, but your hand wouldn’t notice unless you stack the two phones side by side. The overall shape in terms of corner radius, and screen curvature, remain identical. The 10 Pro has a more visually striking design in my opinion, with a giant camera module that spills over to the side, but the 9 Pro has a matte coating that I prefer over the 10 Pro’s sort of silky, frosted coating.

OnePlus 9 Pro

Both phones are covered by Gorilla Glass, but the newer model uses the newer Gorilla Glass Victus compared to the Gorilla Glass 5 used in the latter. This means, technically, the OnePlus 10 Pro may be slightly more shatter-resistant (remember, we should always take marketing claims with a grain of salt). I did not drop the OnePlus 9 Pro once during my time of using it, but I dropped my OnePlus 10 Pro on hard pavement from five feet a couple of months ago, and the phone survived with only minor scratches on the bumpers. You may want to get a case regardless for either device.

Display

Both screens are absolutely brilliant: 6.7-inch 1440 x 3216 OLED panels whose refresh rate can jump up to 120Hz. The OnePlus 10 Pro gets a little bit brighter, and supposedly has more accurate colors because OnePlus fine-tuned the display at two brightness levels. But I really can’t tell the difference. Visuals look amazing on both screens. The selfie camera is still located in the upper left corner of both phones. The 10 Pro did get a megapixel bump there, up to 32MP from the 16MP before.

Processor, memory, and battery

The OnePlus 10 Pro runs on Qualcomm’s 2022 flagship chip, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, and the 9 Pro runs on the 2021 Qualcomm flagship chip, Snapdragon 888. The newer SoC is obviously better, but other than benchmark numbers, I don’t think most people will really notice it. The Snapdragon 888 is still plenty powerful in 2022. But I suppose the newer and more powerful chip is also more future-proof — it’d be less dated four years from now — so if you do plan on keeping your phone for a long period of time, this may be something to consider.

Both models start with 8GB of RAM and can get up to 12GB, and storage is the same too — 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB.

oneplus 10 pro

The battery is where the 10 Pro brings noticeable upgrades, with a much larger 5,000 mAh cell to the 9 Pro’s 4,500 mAh. Considering the OnePlus 10 Pro’s display panel is slightly more efficient too, this results in quite a sizable battery life advantage over the 10 Pro. I’ll talk about battery life in the performance section further down.

Cameras

oneplus 9 and 10 pro camera module

The 9 Pro’s camera module (left) and the 10 Pro’s camera module (right).

The OnePlus 10 Pro and 9 Pro share the exact same main and telephoto hardware: respectively a 48MP, f/1.8 Sony IMX sensor and an 8MP f/2.4 3.3x tele lens. We can see from samples the main cameras are very good for both phones, producing shots that are detailed with accurate dynamic range and balance. The zoom lenses are of similar quality — meaning 3.3x shots are fine but don’t expect Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra level zoom prowess.

Where these two camera systems deviate is in the ultra-wide camera: the 10 Pro uses an extremely wide 50MP Samsung JN1 sensor with a 150-degree field-of-view compared to the 9 Pro’s also 50MP ultra-wide but using a Sony sensor with a more conventional 112-degree-ish field-of-view. The 10 Pro’s ultra-wide sensor may capture more sweeping shots, but it also has a smaller image sensor, so one can argue the 9 Pro’s ultra-wide is actually a bit better. The 10 Pro’s ultra-wide is so wide, in fact, it has a distorted fisheye look. OnePlus gives you the option to digitally crop in to eliminate the distortion, but by doing so, you’re reverting back to a tighter field of view, which defeats the purpose of having this wide a lens.

OnePlus 10 Pro, ultra-wide with a digital crop.

OnePlus 10 Pro, ultra-wide with a digital crop.

The OnePlus 9 Pro’s ultra-wide doesn’t have the distortion, and if you pixel peep, is a bit more detailed too.

An ultra-wide shot captured by the OnePlus 9 Pro.

OnePlus 9 Pro ultra-wide.

The OnePlus 9 Pro has an extra camera — a 2MP monochrome sensor. Like most 2MP sensors you see in smartphones, they don’t do much. The 10 Pro dropped this without losing anything of value.

Where the OnePlus 10 Pro camera wins is it has a new manual video mode that offers granular controls over video shooting. It’s a fun shooting mode for aspiring videographers, as it allows the user to pull off cinematic shots like rack focus.

oneplus 10 pro camera app

OnePlus 10 Pro’s new manual video mode.

Miscellaneous hardware

Both phones have stereo speakers that are satisfactory. The OnePlus 10 Pro has a bit better haptics. The OnePlus 9 Pro has IP68 water- and dust-resistance rating for all devices, while the OnePlus 10 Pro only advertises this for the T-Mobile version. But OnePlus has gone on record saying there are no hardware differences between the T-Mobile version and the other 10 Pros, so this is simply a matter of OnePlus not wanting to pay extra for that “IP” license. I have, in fact, dipped my Hong Kong unlocked 10 Pro underwater for a couple of minutes and the phone survived. The IP rating is a seal of approval that phone brands have to pay to acquire, it isn’t the universal method to determine if a device is waterproof or not.

OnePlus 10 Pro vs OnePlus 9 Pro: Software and Features

The OnePlus 9 Pro came out in 2021, so it shipped with an older version of OxygenOS, but most devices have since received the update to OxygenOS 12.1, which is the same software run in OnePlus 10 Pro’s sold outside China (inside China, the 10 Pro runs on Oppo’s ColorOS).

So for the most part the software experience should be identical unless you’re buying a China model of the 10 Pro. OxygenOS’ reputation has taken a hit the last year due to OnePlus and Oppo’s murky handling of OxygenOS’ direction, but I think it’s a bit overblown. OxygenOS is still clean (less bloatware than, say, Samsung’s OneUI), fast (animations zip around) and very customizable (you know Pixel 6’s ability to tweak UI color schemes? OxygenOS offered that years ago). The experience is better when you start fresh on ColorOS, so avoid restoring all your data onto the untouched, unupdated OxygenOS and do it post an update on both the phones.

The only complaint I have about OxygenOS now is it cannot open apps in a floating window mode — you can only split-screen multi-task. Most Android skins offer us the option to open apps in floating windows, which in my opinion is the best way to multi-task.

OnePlus 10 Pro vs OnePlus 9 Pro: Performance

The OnePlus 10 Pro runs on a newer processor, so it’s more capable. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 core is supposedly 20% more powerful than the Snapdragon 888’s CPU, but again, most people won’t notice. I certainly didn’t when testing the phones.

Where the 10 Pro performs noticeably better is battery life. The larger battery plus more efficient display results in longer endurance. From my testing, the OnePlus 9 Pro is not a phone that can last all day (which is around 12 to 13 hours) because I am quite a heavy user. The OnePlus 9 Pro battery tend to dip below 10% after eight hours out. The OnePlus 10 Pro can barely squeak by a 12- or 13-hour day for me.

Warp Charge 65T on the OnePlus 9 Pro

The good news is both phones charge super fast, and the wired charger is included. The 9 Pro includes a 65W charger, while the 10 Pro includes either an 80W or 65W depending on the region. With either charger, a 10-minute top-up mid-afternoon will ease any battery anxiety.


OnePlus 10 Pro vs OnePlus 9 Pro: Which one should you get?

In my opinion, each phone has one noticeable area of superiority over the other. The 10 Pro has noticeably better battery life, the 9 Pro has a noticeably better ultra-wide camera. Otherwise, performance and day-to-day use are very similar. Again, the 10 Pro is technically more powerful, but unless you’re a heavy gamer or doing photo or video editing on the phone, I just don’t see how one would even notice. If your smartphone usage, like 99% of people on earth, consists of just texting, scrolling through various social media apps, and reading or typing words, the Snapdragon 888 will perform just as well as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

OnePlus 10 Pro

OnePlus perhaps even knows this, because the price difference between the two is small. The 10 Pro retails for $899, the 9 Pro retails for $799. So how much does $100 matter to you? For me, I’d rather just pay the extra Benjamin and get the peace of mind of having a chip that is one year newer (I also think the 10 Pro looks better, but that’s subjective). If saving $100 matters to you, or you are getting an even better deal, then get the OnePlus 9 Pro. 2022 has been the most incremental update year for smartphones, and it isn’t just OnePlus.

    The OnePlus 10 Pro is a 2022 flagship with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and a polished camera system.
    The OnePlus 9 Pro is a really fast 2021 flagship that still keeps up well today.

About author

Ben Sin
Ben Sin

I'm a senior editor at XDA Developers. I have been a journalist for a decade, the last five years covering the mobile tech scene closely, reviewing just about every phone and attending trade shows and launches. I also run a gadget review channel on YouTube.

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