OnePlus 10T Review: Amazing performance and battery in an otherwise conventional phone
OnePlus has a pretty consistent flagship launch strategy at this point: a flagship launch earlier in the year, followed by another refresh later on in the year. Recently, “T” variants of the company’s phones have downgraded a little bit from their earlier flagship counterparts but bring to the table some interesting improvements, too. The OnePlus 10T follows that pattern, as while it downgrades on some things like the screen and the build, it introduces 150W charging and the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1.
Is the OnePlus 10T worth your money? In my mind, it’s a great device that I love a whole lot more than I thought I would. A huge amount of that comes down to the chipset, but the rest of the phone is outright good as well. There are downgrades that make it a bit odd in comparison to the OnePlus 10 Pro that launched earlier this year, but given that it’s a bit cheaper, it does make sense.
Fundamentally, the OnePlus 10T is a good phone, and that’s all you need in a phone for it to be usable. Following on from our first impressions, much of our thoughts on this phone have remained the same. It’s good, it’s powerful, but if you want an all-rounder phone from OnePlus, get the OnePlus 10 Pro. This is a phone with performance at the forefront of its design, and it shows given the absence of pretty much everything else. No alert slider, no top-tier cameras, and a full HD display instead of a quad HD display make this a dull smartphone for those who want something a bit more flashy.
The OnePlus 10T is the performance flagship in the company's portfolio, and it certainly lives up to the name. Great performance and great battery life sums up the OnePlus 10T, though there are some downgrades that make the OnePlus 10 Pro a lot more appealing.
OnePlus 10T: Specifications
|Dimensions & Weight||
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1|
|RAM & Storage||
|Battery & Charging||
|Security||In-display fingerprint scanner|
|Front Camera(s)||16MP f/2.4, EIS|
|Port(s)||USB 2.0 Type-C|
|Audio||Dual stereo speakers|
|Software||OxygenOS 12.1 based on Android 12|
About this review: I received the OnePlus 10T in Jade Green from OnePlus U.K. on the 26th of July, 2022. While the company provided us with a review unit, it did not have any input into the contents of this review.
OnePlus 10T: Pricing & Availability
The OnePlus 10T is on sale in the U.S. It is available in three RAM/storage configurations at the following prices:
- 8GB + 128GB: $649/€699/£629/$849 CAD/₹49,999
- 12GB + 256GB: ₹54,999
- 16GB + 256GB: $749/€799/£729/$999 CAD/₹55,999
The device will be available in two colorways — Moonstone Black and Jade Green. All variants will ship with a 160W charging brick in the box, so you won’t have to purchase one separately.
OnePlus 10T: Design
- Same design as the OnePlus 10 Pro with some “Oppo-fication”
- No alert slider
- Punch hole is centered
The OnePlus 10T features quite a similar design to the OnePlus 10 Pro, though there are some subtle differences. It’s squared off from the edge to house three cameras and it curves outward to the body of the device rather than cutting off abruptly, however, the camera island curves into the back glass of the phone. It’s a bit like the OPPO Find X3 Pro or the Find X5 Pro in that regard, and I’m sure that’s no coincidence, either. You’ll also notice that the Hasselblad camera etching is missing, though I’m told by OnePlus that’s going to be reserved for the camera flagship phones that the company releases, and not “T” mid-cycle refreshes.
The front of the phone is a little bit different from the last time around, too. It’s a 120Hz AMOLED screen, but the similarities stop there. It’s flat, it’s full HD, and doesn’t have LTPO support. There’s a punch-hole camera just like last time, except this time, it’s centered instead of being off to the left. It still looks good, but the display also noticeably gets nowhere near as bright as the OnePlus 10 Pro. It tops out at 950 nits here, which has been good enough for my usage, generally speaking.
The top of the phone has a speaker grille to serve as both an earpiece and a second speaker, though it’s not as loud as the bottom-firing speaker. They sound just as good as the OnePlus 10 Pro, too. The phone is thick and somewhat heavy to hold in hand, though OxygenOS 12.1’s one-handed mode helps out when trying to use the phone with one hand. The back is very much a fingerprint magnet, especially on our Jade Green unit, and there is no case in the box with the OnePlus 10T either (in the US and EU), which is a surprising omission from OnePlus. You get a case in the box in India though.
Haptics-wise, I really enjoy the OnePlus 10T and find that it does a good job. Vibrations are noticeable in your pocket, and it’s not too loud when the phone is on a table and vibrates, either. It’s nice to type on and I know when I get a notification, and that’s the most important thing.
It’s not all good though, and I do have a few complaints. For starters, removing the alert slider seems like a weird move, as it’s something that was iconic to OnePlus and helped the company’s phones stand out with their own identity. I don’t really think it’s the death knell for OnePlus that people seem to think it is, but nevertheless, I find it odd. The other complaint I have is that the frame of the phone is plastic. It’s essentially a OnePlus Nord 2T build and feels quite similar to it as well. I like the phone and it’s a functional design, but there are some definitive downgrades here.
OnePlus 10T: Camera
- Downgrades across the board
Remember how I mentioned that the OnePlus 10 Pro is the company’s “camera flagship” of the year? Yeah, the OnePlus 10T takes a pretty big downgrade in the camera department. It goes from Sony IMX789 primary sensor to an IMX766, from a 50MP Samsung JN1 to an 8MP ultra-wide, and a 2MP macro camera in place of the 3.3x telephoto from last time around.
This camera is a noticeable downgrade from the OnePlus 10 Pro, and excruciatingly so at that. If you care about your phone for the camera and really want a OnePlus phone, then you’ll want to look at the OnePlus 10 Pro instead of this. This isn’t the company’s camera flagship, and that’s pretty evident from my testing of it. From my usage, it’s perfectly fine for the daytime, but the quality drops off hugely when taking photos at night. If this is the only camera on you when you need to take photos, then you would usually be content with what you click — but don’t expect to win if you get into a pixel-peeping fight because there are better camera phones out there.
OnePlus 10T: Performance
- Great performance
- Great efficiency
- Amazing thermals
The OnePlus 10T may not be the camera flagship of the company’s phones, but OnePlus tells me that it’s the performance flagship. It’s got the best chipset, a ton of RAM, and fast storage which makes this the complete package when it comes to anything intensive. Thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, that would definitely be the case. There’s still a toggle in the phone’s battery settings that will enable a high-performance mode (which is off by default), so we’ve run tests with it both on and with it off. I ran CPU Throttling Test and Geekbench 5, and the results are below.
No matter which mode you use, the performance feels basically the same in most tasks. I don’t notice any major difference aside from the phone heating up more when high-performance mode is enabled. With the toggle switched off, the throttling test identified a throttle to just 93% of its max performance in a half-hour test, one of the best results I have seen from a flagship chipset in a long time. The difference between when the toggle is on or off is also minimal.
A lot of this is very likely down to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, as this phone is very similar to the OnePlus 10 Pro aside from that. Along with those efficiency improvements, we’ve also spotted some clear battery gains in screen on time and overall device usage. The Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 features an improved Qualcomm Kryo CPU, with a Cortex-X2 prime core clocked at 3.2Ghz, three Cortex A710 performance cores clocked at 2.8GHz, and four Cortex A510 efficiency cores clocked at 2.0GHz. Qualcomm claims that the upgraded CPU is 10 percent faster than the one on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and offers 30 percent better CPU power efficiency. We made similar findings in our testing of the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 reference device Asus previously shared with us. And so far, every device we’ve tested with this chip has been consistent with those findings, like the ROG Phone 6 Pro and the Zenfone 9.
UI Stutter/Jank Test
The OnePlus 10T has a 120Hz refresh rate display, but how well does the phone actually maintain 120 FPS? It’s a pretty smooth phone to use in the day-to-day, but it’s not always going to be at 120Hz. For example, the phone will lower the refresh rate to 60Hz when a video starts playing, though I tested scrolling through Facebook or Twitter, and videos in the feed do not drop the refresh rate to 60Hz. This means you can scroll on social media and not have jarring switches between 60Hz and 120Hz all of the time, which some devices will do.
To quantify how well the OnePlus 10T can maintain 120 FPS in real-world scenarios, we ran a modified version of Google’s open-source JankBench benchmark. This benchmark simulates a handful of common tasks you’ll see in everyday apps, including scrolling through a ListView with text, scrolling through a ListView with images, scrolling through a grid view with a shadow effect, scrolling through a low-hitrate text render view, scrolling through a high-hitrate text render view, inputting and editing text with the keyboard, repeating overdraws with cards, and uploading bitmaps. Our script records the draw time for each frame during the test, eventually plotting all the frames and their draw times in a plot along with several horizontal lines representing the target frame draw times for the 4 common display refresh rates (60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, and 144Hz.)
What’s interesting is that it appears that OnePlus is being very selective about when it allows the display to reach its true 120Hz potential, which is the same as on the OnePlus 10 Pro. Whether it’s for performance or thermal reasons is unclear, but the above tests show different target refresh rates. Nevertheless, I never notice the phone dropping down to lower refresh rates when using it (and I’m usually quite sensitive to that), and if that’s because OnePlus has nearly perfected when exactly to drop the refresh rate of the display, then that’s perfectly fine by me.
Sustained performance and thermals
Just like last time as well, there is a “pro gamer mode” that will enable whenever a game is launched. This is the “Hyperboost” gaming tech that debuted with the OnePlus 10 Pro, and the company has been pretty open about its inclusion in its flagship phones. From what I could gather when I tested it on the OnePlus 10 Pro, it simply raises the thermal limits to reduce thermal throttling, and that’s about it. It doesn’t even enable high-performance mode.
The OnePlus 10T has the same GPU as the already-excellent OnePlus 10 Pro, and there’s nothing really different to say about it. Performance is excellent in pretty much everything, and like with the chipset, thermals are improved too. You’ll get both great performance and it’ll be sustained, perfect for playing intensive games or resource-hungry emulators like AetherSX2 and Dolphin Emulator.
Note as well that because of the 1080p display (instead of it being 1440p), you’ll get better performance in native Android games as there are less pixels that need to be rendered. That’s another plus to a lower resolution display, though obviously, it won’t look as crisp in normal day-to-day usage.
OnePlus 10T: Battery and Charging
- Super fast charging
- Charging brick supports 45W USB PD again
- Good battery life
OnePlus has always been known for super-fast charging, and the OnePlus 10T is no different. The company this time packs in 150W charging in the box, with promises that it can charge your phone from 1% to 100% in just 19 minutes — and we reached that number in just about that time, so their claims are on point.
Since our first impressions article, I have had even better battery life, frequently clocking in close to seven hours of screen on time. This is much, much higher than the OnePlus 10 Pro, and almost double in some instances. The Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 is a winner not just in performance, but in efficiency as well. This phone is a battery champ.
OnePlus 10T: OxygenOS 12.1
OxygenOS 12.1 is the same OxygenOS as on the OnePlus 10 Pro: that is, it’s still based on ColorOS. It works well, I don’t have many complaints at all, and I think that the immediate panic response of the tech enthusiast community at the mere thought of ColorOS was overblown. OxygenOS 12.1 takes several cues from ColorOS, and that’s not a bad thing thanks to its stability. I still get notifications too, which I had a lot of trouble with previously. Overall, I see this as a net benefit. I don’t think there are many downsides so far to the switch over.
OnePlus’ own Android outing isn’t all that different from previous versions. Visually, everything looks more or less the same. The same customization options that you know and love are all present, the OnePlus Launcher and the OnePlus Shelf are there too, and it’s a pretty nicely rounded experience, even if I find that OxygenOS now lacks some features versus the competition. Even Google, in my opinion, is beginning to best OnePlus in terms of customization — and Google hasn’t really been known for letting users customize much on Pixel phones
Given that it’s the same as OxygenOS 12.1 on the OnePlus 10 Pro, that also means the company hasn’t really solved any of the weirdness with OxygenOS 12.1. For example, the OnePlus Shelf is still treated as an app, so pulling it down when watching YouTube will actually minimize the video that you’re playing. Swiping out of it will also have the same behavior as if you were swiping away from an app.
In terms of software updates, OnePlus is promising three years of major updates and four years of security updates. In theory, this should bring the OnePlus 10T all the way up to Android 15, and OxygenOS 13 based on Android 13 is coming “later this year”, though a proper timeline hasn’t been given. The company took the time at the launch event to announce OxygenOS 13, and we have an Open Beta build available for the OnePlus 10 Pro. What’s even stranger is the OnePlus 10 Pro will get the stable release first before the OnePlus 10T, despite the 10T being a newer phone.
OnePlus 10T: Miscellaneous
The speakers on the OnePlus 10T are more or less on par with the OnePlus 10 Pro. They get loud and are decent for watching videos and listening to music if you don’t have any better. I wouldn’t use it all the time to listen to music, but it gets the job done.
The last-gen OnePlus 9 series featured an in-display optical fingerprint scanner that was positioned towards the bottom edge of the phone. This was a little odd and difficult to position your thumb at, though you eventually get used to it. The OnePlus 10 Pro brought the fingerprint scanner back to a conventionally expected height from the bottom, though now we’re back down to the bottom of the screen again. It’s a bit odd, but you get used to it.
Phone calls, signal strength, and 5G
The OnePlus 10T has really good signal strength, just like the OnePlus 10 Pro. Not a lot has actually changed in this regard, and it’s more or less the same. The Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 with its Snapdragon X65 modem is pretty good.
However, keep in mind there are limitations to its 5G capabilities. There’s no mmWave support for one, and you won’t have 5G support at all on AT&T, just like with the OnePlus 9 Pro. The competition in the US has a leg up on these end, so you need to assess if these are dealbreakers for you.
Bootloader unlock and kernel sources
OnePlus has historically been quite good when it comes to bootloader unlocking, and the OnePlus 10T is no different. You can unlock the bootloader in your developer options as you normally would, and the company has also generally and relatively been good at releasing kernel sources on time. They haven’t been published yet, but hopefully, they will be in the coming days before the phone reaches the hands of general consumers. Their sources do get out of date when they make platform jumps, so keep that in mind.
It’s also important to mention though that the OnePlus 10 Pro never had any publicly available recovery tools to fully flash your device like previous devices in the series.
IP ratings are confusing as ever
The IP rating issue with the OnePlus 10T is actually kind of funny because it shows how an IP rating is just a licensing issue, just like the OnePlus 10 Pro did. To recap what we’ve talked about here before: an IP rating does not guarantee that your phone will be fixed under warranty if you water damage it. Instead, what it ensures is that your phone is water-resistant, but if water gets in, then you’re still going to have to pay for an out-of-warranty repair. IP ratings merely give you an idea of what should be okay.
Having said all of that, the OnePlus 10T has an IP54 rating on T-Mobile, only. The phone is structurally the same in other regions (except for the fact that the NA OnePlus 10T also has a barometer in the center of the camera module in accordance with U.S. law), meaning that the IP54 rating it has in the U.S. actually applies globally, too — at least, in terms of the protection offered. OnePlus can’t advertise it on the specification sheet as an IP rating is something that companies pay for a license to advertise with, but rest assured that your phone is water-resistant.
In essence, the OnePlus 10 Pro has an IP54 rating, but it also doesn’t. As an aside, an IP54 rating is lower than what the OnePlus 10 Pro offers. It only means it’s protected against water splashes and limited amounts of dust and other particles. The OnePlus 10 Pro has an IP68 rating, which is 1.5 meters underwater for up to 30 minutes. Bit of a difference, really.
Should you buy the OnePlus 10T?
The OnePlus 10T is a dull, boring smartphone, but that’s not inherently a bad thing. It’s fast, it’s smooth, and it gets the job done for anyone who wants a pretty decent phone for a little bit less than the top-tier flagships that OnePlus offers. It’s a shame that you can’t get this particular chipset in the OnePlus 10 Pro because that phone with this chipset would be close to perfect.
I think all of that goes to show just how much the OnePlus 10T is missing, though. The best part of it is the chipset, and if you took every other aspect of the phone and replaced it with the OnePlus 10 Pro, you’d have a fundamentally better phone in every single way bar the charging speed. Even that charging speed, while absurd, doesn’t matter all that much in practical life. There’s a massive sense of diminishing returns when “downgrading” from 150W charging to 80W charging, as it only increases the charging time from 19 minutes to about half an hour. It’s hardly a big deal when dealing with such short time differences.
To sum things up, the OnePlus 10T is a good phone that does cost a bit less than the OnePlus 10 Pro, but not by much. The OnePlus 10T starts at $649, and with the OnePlus 10 Pro’s price drop to $799, you get a whole lot more phone for just $150 more. With the OnePlus 10 Pro also receiving OxygenOS 13 first, I think it’s clear that OnePlus has a favorite child here, and it’s not the OnePlus 10T. You can’t go wrong with the OnePlus 10T, but for my money, I’d be choosing the OnePlus 10 Pro any day of the week when it costs only that much more to get a far superior experience in every way but the chipset.