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OnePlus 10T Review: this charger comes with a phone!

OnePlus 10T Intro

The T series for OnePlus is a weird phenomenon in the tech world. It’s the second big release for OnePlus for the year, and in 2022 this means it follows the flagship OnePlus 10 Pro model, which launched in April. And while it has a very similar look and a top-tier processor, one look at the price tells you that the new OnePlus 10T is clearly not a flagship phone, so some compromises must have been made.

And after living with the phone for a short while, we found one such compromise to be the camera. The 3X zoom camera on the flagship OnePlus 10 Pro is replaced with a mostly useless 2MP macro shooter here on the 10T, and then a few other features like wireless charging have also been removed.

We mentioned the T series is a bit weird and that is because while being cheaper than the flagship model, the 10T also has a couple of features that are actually better than the flagship model: 150W charging speeds, for once, which is just as insane as it sounds, and then the newer version of the top-tier Snapdragon processor, which heats up less and is perfect for gamers. So can this phone be a good fit for you, and should you buy one when it launches in September? Let’s take a closer look and find out!

Before we dive in, though, let’s quickly go over the OnePlus 10T prices:

  • 8/128GB — $650

  • 16/256GB — $750

This is very competitive and we believe the 10T will be the cheapest phone with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor in the United States when it launches in September. And having a version with 16GB of RAM (!) and double the storage for merely $100 more also sounds like a great deal.

What’s new about the OnePlus 10T

  • 150W SuperVOOC fast charging

  • Alert Slider is removed

  • Design is very similar to OnePlus 10 Pro

  • New Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip for faster performance

  • An impressive 16GB RAM version in some markets

  • New cooling system for gamers

OnePlus 10T Unboxing

You get the OnePlus 10T in a bright red box that is much bigger than what most other phones come in these days. The reason for its larger size is that you actually get a charger included, unlike those other phones, so for this reason we are more than happy to have a slightly larger box in our drawer.

The charger is a special one, a bit larger than your typical charging brick, and packed with technology that allows it to deliver 150 watts of power (125W if you are in the US, but more on that later). It has a single USB-C port, and you need to pair it with the Type C to Type C cable that also comes in the box. It's a thicker cable than your average USB-C cable, so that it can handle the higher load and it comes in the signature for OnePlus red color.

The charger is the big star of the unboxing, and this time around, OnePlus does not include a case for the phone inside the box, which is a bit of a disappointment. The phone does come with a pre-applied plastic screen protector though. Inside the box, you will also find the usual user manuals, a couple of OnePlus stickers, a SIM tool and other technical literature.

OnePlus 10T Design

The OnePlus 10T is first and foremost a big phone with a 6.7-inch screen and a weight of more than 200 grams (7+ ounces).

It’s actually even wider, thicker and heavier than the OnePlus 10 Pro, but so slightly that you might not even notice unless you actually look at the dimensions:

  • OnePlus 10T — 163 x 75.4 x 8.75mm, 203g

  • OnePlus 10 Pro — 163 x 73.9 x 8.55 mm, 200g

There’s been a lot of uproar about one particular, signature OnePlus design feature that is missing on the 10T: the alert slider, aka the mute switch. It’s been a staple of OnePlus phones for years, but it seems that this time around OnePlus has decided to remove it citing the need to include more antennas for better reception, but we would have loved to have the Alert Slider to easily mute the device or put it into silent or vibrate mode, so it will be missed.

For all else, this is your typical modern day smartphone: aluminum frame, glass on the back and the front, USB-C and loudspeaker on the bottom. Oh, and no 3.5mm headphone jack too, unfortunately.

OnePlus tells us the 10T has IP54 water and dust resistance rating, which is also not quite on par with flagships toting IP68 ratings these days. The difference is that an IP54 rating signifies only dust limited ingress vs total dust protection, and protection from water sprays vs long term immersion on flagships. In other words, you would be just fine leaving the phone in the rain for a while, but you’d better not drop it in water.

OnePlus 10T Display

The OnePlus 10T comes with a 6.7-inch screen, the same size as the flagship 10 Pro model, and this is a big reason why both these phones feel extra large.

The only major difference is the slightly lower resolution: you have 1440p on the flagship 10 Pro model, while here on the 10T you get 1080p resolution. We wouldn't really sweat over this difference, unless you really have the habit of examining every individual pixel from up close.

For all else, color calibration is great and the screen gets plenty bright so you can see it outdoors under direct sunlight, no complaints here.

The 10T also supports adaptive refresh rate, meaning that the phone can automatically decide to run from 120Hz that looks buttery smooth while scrolling, and down to 90Hz or 60Hz when the higher refresh rate is not needed.

OnePlus 10T Camera

The OnePlus 10T comes with a 50MP main camera (that shoots 12MP photos), an 8MP ultra-wide camera and a 2MP macro shooter. No telephoto lens in this mix, which is a sore disappointment, but to be honest it's hard to justify the existence of that 2MP macro camera as well.

Photos from the main camera are merely decent. A good photographer can turn that decent hardware into great photos, but in itself this is definitely not a flagship-grade camera.

Images often turn out a step overexposed, resulting in way too bright, burned out highlights. Colors are way too vivid and even compared to phones like the Galaxy S22 series, which are known for capturing vivid photos, the OnePlus goes a step beyond that. Colors overall also feel a bit flat. OnePlus still has a month to update the phone before its launch, and we sincerely hope that it takes note and fixes those issues.

Additionally, you have no telephoto camera on this phone whatsoever, which means zoom quality suffers quite noticeably. Digital zoom maxes out at 10X, but even at 3X you start noticing big differences compared to the immediate competition.

The included 2MP macro camera is another weird thing to have. It can photograph objects at close distances of around 4cm or 1.6in (the main and ultra-wide camera cannot), but you still end up with… 2MP photos that lack sorely in detail! It would make far more sense to include a proper ultra-wide camera with macro shooting capabilities, like most of the industry, but instead you get… this.

The 8MP ultra-wide camera is also not a stellar performer. An 8MP camera does not inspire confidence as the level of detail is low, but you can also see that in some cases there is a very noticeable artificial over-sharpening that results in lots of artifacts around the edges of objects in a photo.

The selfie camera is quite wide, but unlike other phones that offer both a wide view (for group shots) and a close-up view (for one-person shots), you only get this one wider view.

Video from the OnePlus 10T maxes out at 4K60 resolution. There are fewer issues with video quality than with photos, plus we appreciate the excellent video stabilization. However, make no mistake: this is still not flagship-grade experience.

The 8MP ultra-wide camera, for instance, cannot be used for 4K video recording at all (the resolution is not enough), an annoying limitation. You can use the ultra-wide camera in 1080p mode, though.

Footage out of the main camera comes out well-stabilized, but the issue with overly vivid colors persists and when the camera is moving, you can see a weird color shift. In our OnePlus 10T video sample above, you can see it starting from the 0:30 mark when the sky weirdly changes its color as you walk.

At the end of the day, the OnePlus 10T feels like OnePlus deliberately withdrew its photography team from the making of this phone, just so that this camera would be so bad, that it wouldn’t endanger sales of the flagship OnePlus 10 Pro. We guess there is always some reason to leave specific features for the flagship device, but the OnePlus 10T feels way too compromised in the camera department.

OnePlus 10T Performance & Benchmarks

Equipped with the latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, the OnePlust 10T has screaming fast performance. We’ve already mentioned that this is one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, phone with this processor, which seems to be one of the best-made Qualcomm chips in recent years.

You have to know, however, that the phone defaults to a balanced performance mode that goes the extra mile to ensure the chip will not overheat and one consequence of that is you don't always get the maximum performance in this mode. You also have a “High performance mode”, which unleashes the chip, but OnePlus warns may decrease your battery life (enable it from Settings > Battery > Advanced settings). We noticed that in the regular mode, some benchmarks yielded results more akin to the non-plus version of the same Snapdragon chip, while enabling the high performance mode delivers that extra punch that you expect to see from this processor. Gamers might also consider running this phone in high performance mode all the time, especially if you are the kind of person who plays Genshin Impact or Diablo Immortal.

On the other hand, in daily use, we found the performance perfectly smooth and zippy, even in the default mode. The base model of the phone ships with 8GB of RAM, but we had the souped up 16GB version, which is another insane feature and allows you to keep literally dozens of apps open in the background.

You also have 128GB UFS 3.1 storage in the base model, the fastest type currently available on Android, or a 256GB in the pricier version. Keep in mind that storage is not expandable (there is no microSD card slot).

OnePlus 10T Connectivity

In the United States, the OnePlus 10T will launch only on T-Mobile and expectations are that it will be available in September. Naturally, expect support for all key T-Mobile 5G bands. Interestingly, the OnePlus 10T will also support 5G bands for Verizon's mid-band 5G network, but no mmWave support. You will not be able to bring the OnePlus 10T to AT&T, however, because it is not certified to run on the carrier.

Being based on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 platform, the OnePlus 10T comes with the powerful Qualcomm X65 5G modem, and in addition to that OnePlus has included 15 antennas all across the device for better all-around connectivity (having so many antennas is also cited as the reason to ditch the Alert Slider). This might just be one of the best equipped phones when it comes to connectivity.

The OnePlus 10T supports Bluetooth 5.3 and NFC for wireless payments, as well as Wi-Fi 6 (but not the newer 6E standard).

OnePlus 10T Android version, OxygenOS and software support

The OxygenOS skin on top of Android 12 is a mostly clean affair with a few signature OnePlus touches like the Shelf, which is essentially a one-stop shop for all sorts of widgets and shortcuts. The one thing that we love most about this skin is how well optimized it feels, every swipe is buttery smooth, there are no hiccups, it all just flows together very nicely and instills confidence that this phone will remain fast for years to come. OnePlus promised three major Android updates and four years of security updates. This used to be the standard for most Android phones, but this year, Samsung announced that it is expanding support to 4 years of major updates / 5 years of security updates, and Apple traditionally supports its iPhone for 5 or even 6 years, so OnePlus could definitely up its game in this regard.

OnePlus 10T Competitors

The OnePlus 10T might be priced aggressively, but it doesn't exist in a vacuum and there are plenty of phones that you may consider as alternatives.

The Pixel 6 is closest in price, as the $600 Google phone is actually cheaper, while offering better photo and video quality. The Pixel is not as powerful and has a smaller screen, plus it doesn't charge nearly as fast as the OnePlus, though. Read more in our OnePlus 10T vs Pixel 6 comparison.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus is quite a bit more expensive, but it delivers a flagship camera experience that you won't find on the OnePlus. Its software, however, doesn't feel as snappy as the OnePlus and of course, it cannot match it in charging speeds. Read more in our OnePlus 10T vs Galaxy S22 Plus comparison. Finally, some of you may look at the other side of the fence over at iPhones. The iPhone 13 is a bit more expensive, but a worthy alternative with a more capable camera (still no zoom lens, though), and much longer software update support. Read more in our OnePlus 10T vs iPhone 13 comparison.

OnePlus 10T Summary and final verdict

At the end of the day, the OnePlus 10T follows a familiar path for OnePlus: it's filled with the latest and most powerful hardware, it's fast, it's great for gamers, and it offers insane charging speeds, but it compromises on the camera quality.

We have to once again emphasize this: the OnePlus 10T is a great phone for gamers, so much so that we almost expect the next version to come with RGB lights, fans for cooling and all that jazz. But that kind of look might be a turn-off for average users and the truth is that the average user who values performance in a phone and a clean software experience will also find this to be a great option, but those looking for the ultimate camera better look elsewhere.

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