The OnePlus 10T shows that the Chinese tech company ditching its ‘T’ line of phones was just a one-off for 2021, not a permanent change – although 2022 certainly brought some curveballs for the brand’s phone strategy.
In the past, OnePlus has used its T line to make affordable alternatives to its numbered series (as in the OnePlus 8T) or slightly improved versions that make the most of several months of tech advancements (like the OnePlus 7T phones).
The OnePlus 10T has pitched its tent in the former camp. It’s clearly based on the OnePlus 10 Pro that debuted at the beginning of 2022, with a similar design and size, but it has a lower price and a few corners rounded down to reach that lower price point.
Intriguingly, the OnePlus 10T actually beats out its 10 Pro sibling in two key areas. One is the processor, as the 10T has the ‘plus’ version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 that the Pro came along with. The other is the charging speed which, at 150W, is lightning fast… as long as you enable the mode in the settings menu and use the in-box charger.
‘Speed’ was one of the key marketing terms of the OnePlus 10T, and with a faster charging and processor, the phone definitely fits that bill. However, if we were tasked with coming up with a second abstract noun to describe the phone, it’d probably be ‘middling’.
That’s not necessarily an insult, given the middling price (this is a mid-range handset, after all). And as with all mid-rangers, the OnePlus 10T has a few rough corners to keep the price low.
A great example of that is the cameras. The 10T has no zoom camera, and misses out on lots of the fun 10 Pro modes, making the photography experience worse than on the older, more expensive phone. The cameras actually match some much more affordable phones, so you shouldn’t buy this if you just want a cheap camera phone.
The battery life is also middling, which is a shame. OnePlus has clearly prioritized charging speed over battery endurance, and you’ll be relying on that quick powering to see the device through a day of use.
Some of these issues are easy to overlook given the price, but others – like the battery life – really aren’t. So while this is a decent Android phone, it’s certainly not perfect.
But that’s the mantra of mid-range phones, isn’t it? To bring certain key features to a lower price tier, with other elements dropped along the way.
OnePlus used to give a lot more love to its mid-price phones, with its numbered series historically having a mid-range model alongside a Pro version, and eyebrows were raised when the OnePlus 10 Pro didn’t get a non-premium sibling. But, many months later, we’ve finally met the standard OnePlus 10 – the company just decided to stick a ‘T’ on the end.
OnePlus 10T release date and price
The OnePlus 10T costs $649 / £629 for 8GB RAM and 128GB storage – there’s also a 12GB model available in India – while the 16GB/256GB version costs $749 / £729. For context, the 10 Pro cost $799 / £799 in the 8GB RAM/128GB storage configuration and $869 / £899 for 12GB/256GB.
So this mid-range take on the 10 Pro isn’t a huge amount cheaper, just enough to distinguish between the two phones. That means people who buy the 10T won’t feel like they’re getting a dramatically poorer phone than the 10 Pro. If you want to spend even less, the OnePlus Nord line is there for you.
At this price, the phone is best compared to the similar-priced Google Pixel 6 which costs $599 / £599 / AU$999 for 128GB storage. The OnePlus 10T has a bigger screen, more powerful chipset and faster charging, though the camera and software aren’t as good.
The OnePlus 10T went on sale on August 25, several weeks after the August 3 launch event. If you're in the US, you're waiting longer though, as the release date there is September 29.
- Value score: 4/5
OnePlus 10T design
On the surface, the OnePlus 10T looks a lot like the 10 Pro, and that’s most apparent in the camera bump. It has the same square promontory as before, situated on the top-left of the rear of the phone, with the same four circles. The sensors and lenses here are different than the Pro’s, and the flash is in a separate place, but those are just minor changes in an otherwise similar-looking device.
The sleek and shiny rear, complete with OnePlus’ logo, doesn’t exactly help these comparisons either. The 10T comes in black and pale green options, and both are fingerprint magnets.
One big change here is that the OnePlus 10T has a totally flat screen – the 10 Pro had a curved-edge one – and that makes the phone feel bigger, even if it isn’t. This kind of design also stretches the hand a little more, making a large phone feel huge in your palm.
The phone’s dimensions are 163 x 75.4 x 8.8mm, and it weighs 204g. It’s a touch thicker and heavier than the 10 Pro, but by so fine a margin that you probably won’t notice unless you compare them side-by-side.
This is the first flagship phone OnePlus has made in years that doesn’t have an alert slider, the handy little toggle that lets you switch between silent, vibrate and volume-on modes. Fans of the brand have maligned this removal, which means you have to change these settings by unlocking the phone.
The OnePlus 10T has a USB-C port but no 3.5mm headphone jack (sorry, fans of wired audio) but in 2022 so few phones have audio ports that you couldn’t really expect one. The power button is on the right edge and the volume rocker is on the left one. To unlock your phone, you’ll be relying on the in-screen scanner – this was reliable and quick most of the time.
- Design score: 3.5/5
OnePlus 10T display
The OnePlus 10T has a big 6.7-inch display, with specs that are fairly average for the price.
The resolution is 1080 x 2412, or FHD, which is the resolution most video and gaming apps output at. The refresh rate is 120Hz, meaning the screen updates its image 120 times per second, or twice as fast as the ‘standard’. As a result, motion looks quite smooth.
OnePlus phones generally have good-looking screens, and this one has support for a billion colors and HDR10+, so we found the display great for games and streaming video.
A ‘punch-hole’ cut-out for the front-facing camera breaks up the display at the center-top of the screen. The bezel is very slender too, so there’s no noticeable black ring around the screen.
- Display score: 4/5
OnePlus 10T cameras
The camera array is possibly the biggest downgrade that the OnePlus 10T has over the 10 Pro – we’ve seen budget phones with the exact same array, so this phone isn’t one for pro photographers.
The main camera uses the 50MP Sony IMX766 sensor. We’ve previously heaped praise on this sensor, as it’s good for low-light photography, but that’s because it usually shows up in budget phones. We rarely see it in handsets atthis price.
That’s joined by an 8MP ultra-wide and 2MP macro sensor. The former is just fine, taking fine-looking wider pictures, albeit with a rather low resolution, however, the latter is basically useless. In theory, it’s for close-up pictures, but they end up being so grainy and dim that it’s better to simply use the main camera for this kind of shot.
The lack of zoom is disappointing – with no telephoto lens, you’re relying on digital zoom when you close the distance, which caps out at a measly 10x. It’s not quite the 30x zoom of the similar-price Samsung Galaxy S22, and it means you lose quality quickly as you zoom in.
We’ve seen phones at half this price offer this exact same camera array (like the Realme 9 Pro Plus, from OnePlus’ sister brand), so it’s disappointing to see such an expensive phone show up with these cameras. However, photography clearly isn’t the focus for the phone, OnePlus is focusing on speed for this phone.
Pictures are quite saturated, bordering on oversaturated at times, but they’re certainly social media-worthy as long as the lighting is good.
The phone has all the standard modes, like Portrait, Night, Pro and Long Exposure. There are also two we don’t see all the time: Tilt-Shift, which replicates tilt-shift photography in creating wide depth of field effects, and Film, which brings all the settings of Pro Photography mode to video shooting.
Some of the Hasselblad camera modes have been dropped, mainly since this is the first numbered OnePlus phone in a while that doesn’t make the most of the partnership with the camera brand. However, these were all quite niche modes so that’s no big deal.
For selfies, you get a 16MP wide camera on the front of the phone, and selfies look just fine, with lots of detail but some oversharpening issues. In Portrait mode, there’s an issue with the AI differentiating between the subject and the background, but it’s not always a noticeable issue.
- Camera score: 3/5
OnePlus 10T performance and specs
Powerful processing is one of the key pillars of the OnePlus 10T, and that’s why it’s packed with top-end specs.
The processor is the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, the top-end chip available to Android phones as of the 10T’s launch, with a few tweaks over the non-Plus version found in the OnePlus 10 Pro.
With this chip, the phone is great for intensive processes like gaming or video editing. You can crank the graphics on your favorite mobile title to their top option without worrying about the device crashing.
We’ve had issues with Snapdragon 8-series chips getting way too hot through use, and there are definitely echoes of that here, but it’s by no means the worst phone we’ve seen in terms of overheating. Clearly, OnePlus has an internal cooling solution at play.
It’s paired with, as we’ve mentioned, either 8GB or 16GB RAM. OnePlus says that the latter supports 30 apps running simultaneously, but we can’t envision a time where that’d ever be useful. You should just use the storage space or price to decide which phone is for you.
This is, as you’d expect for the price, a 5G phone, so you can connect it to these networks if you have a compatible contract and live in an area with them. Your connection speed will depend almost entirely on your provider and location though, and not the phone.
- Performance score: 4.5/5
OnePlus 10T software
The OnePlus 10T comes with OxygenOS, OnePlus’ fork of Android, so you get all the key features of the Google-built operating system like access to the Play Store and lots of customization options.
For OxygenOS, there are a few extra features over stock Android, including a Zen Mode to reduce distractions for a set amount of time. Some of these seem a little redundant though – primarily, the swipe-down dashboard that you access by swiping down from the top-right.
This gives you lots of shortcuts, but they’re either easier to access by other means – there’s no point in swiping down and pressing the camera icon to open the Camera app when simply pressing the Camera app from your home screen will do the same – or just didn’t work for us, like the pedometer. At least the dashboard was useful for writing notes.
OnePlus has promised that OxygenOS 13, based on the as-yet-unreleased Android 13, is coming at the end of 2022, with some design and function tweaks. It’ll be coming to the 10 Pro first, but the 10T will get it soon after.
- Software score: 4/5
OnePlus 10T battery life
When companies make smartphones, they’ve often got to decide between battery capacity and fast charging – the bigger the battery is, the less space there is for charging tech. And OnePlus has clearly decided on fast charging with the 10T.
The OnePlus 10T has 150W charging, a super-fast speed that barely any phones hit right now. At this speed, the phone will power from empty to full in about 20 minutes – that’s incredibly quick.
You do have to use the in-box charger though, and enable the full speed in the settings menu – otherwise, you default to 80W powering, which is, admittedly, still speedy.
The sacrifice for this fast charging speed is that the battery life is really poor. The capacity is 4,800mAh which is actually pretty big, but for whatever reason, the phone struggles to hold up.
In medium use, we’d struggle to get the phone through a day of use – by ‘medium’ we mean ‘normal’, with the odd social media scroll, some music streaming, and maybe a quick photo shoot or TV episode stream in the evening.
Heavy use, like gaming, speeds up the battery drain. However, to OnePlus’ credit, it does offer lots of easy tools to improve the battery performance, including turning off 5G or toggling dark mode. Using these we could get to the end of a day with a lot more certainty.
- Battery score: 3/5
OnePlus 10T score card
|Design||While the OnePlus 10T misses some top-end bells and whistles, it's fit for purpose.||3.5/5|
|Display||The OnePlus 10T has a good-looking display that's fit for most needs.||4/5|
|Performance||This is one of the most powerful smartphones on the market right now.||4.5/5|
|Camera||The OnePlus 10T's camera array won't disappoint but it won't wow either.||3/5|
|Battery||The phone's battery struggles to hold up, but a fast charging speed compensates.||3/5|
|Software||OxygenOS has some improvements over stock Android, though a few annoyances too.||4/5|
|Value||The OnePlus 10T is a competitively-priced mid-range phone.||4/5|
Should I buy the OnePlus 10T?
Buy it if...
You want fast charging
With its 150W powering, or even 80W if you don’t use the in-box charger, you can rely on the 10T to fill up its battery in a flash.
You’re a mobile gamer
Thanks to its top chipset, good-looking screen and internal cooling, the OnePlus 10T is a good choice for mobile gaming fans, though it doesn’t beat bespoke gaming phones.
You want a ‘budget’ OnePlus 10 Pro
More so than OnePlus Nord phones, the 10T feels like a stripped-back version of its older sibling, so if that device is too pricey for you, this might be a good alternative.
Don't buy it if...
You’re a photography fan
Thanks to its lackluster cameras, the OnePlus 10T won’t impress those users to whom smartphones are cameras that can also make calls.
You need a reliable battery
Despite not being the worst modern phone we’ve seen in terms of battery life, the 10T could sometimes struggle to last through a day, making it a suboptimal choice if you need a dependable device.
You have small hands
Thanks to its massive size, the OnePlus 10T just won’t be comfortable to use if you have small hands, or even if you have medium-sized mitts but want to be able to fully grasp your device.
Now that you've read this OnePlus 10T review, here are a few other similar phones you might also want to consider.
OnePlus 10 Pro
The 10T’s older and more premium sibling, the 10 Pro has a more premium design, a better camera array and a longer-lasting battery, though it charges slower, costs more and isn’t as powerful.
Check out our OnePlus 10 Pro review
OnePlus Nord 2T
If you want a OnePlus phone but without the high price, the Nord 2T is the company’s latest mid-ranger. It has mostly the same camera performance as the 10T but it’s not as powerful for gaming.
Check out our OnePlus Nord 2T review
Nubia Red Magic 7
If gaming’s what you really care about, this Nubia phone is almost as powerful and has a better-looking screen than the OnePlus, as well as physical triggers to give you the edge. It’s cheaper than the 10T, by varying amounts depending on region, making it an intriguing alternative.
Chec out our Nubia Red Magic 7 review
First reviewed August 2022