OnePlus 10T is a curious phone tasked with correcting generation gaps

We would like to approach the latest OnePlus 10T 5G smartphone from a different perspective. It’s not a matter (as it seems otherwise) of launching a new phone just because OnePlus can. In fact, this is a correction that was needed as Qualcomm made up for the weaknesses of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, which powered the OnePlus 10 Pro flagship that launched earlier this year. OnePlus only had to get a phone out of the closet, giving potential buyers an up-to-date choice.

For how it turned out in the end, the OnePlus 10T 5G is a curious mix of the OnePlus 10 Pro and the OnePlus 10R. So much so, it’s in between the two, in the quote. The OnePlus 10T is priced at: 49,999 for the entry-level spec (that’s 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage) and 54,999 (12GB + 256GB). In comparison, the OnePlus 10 Pro prices set you back by 66,999 while the OnePlus 10R is priced 34,999 up.

How similar are the OnePlus “10” smartphones?

There will probably not be a OnePlus 10 to complement the OnePlus 10 Pro this year. The OnePlus 10T probably will be, albeit with all three phones in the “10” series sharing the same 6.7-inch screen size. The OnePlus 10T’s design is much closer to OnePlus 10 Pro (albeit with one glaring omission, the very handy alert slider), but doesn’t have Hasselblad-tuned cameras or wireless charging quite like the OnePlus 10R.

Also read:OnePlus phones under 15,000: a buyer’s guide

But is there enough on the OnePlus 10T’s spec sheet to justify the price tags it imposes? The latest processor plays a big part with performance boosts and battery life improvements that, while corrective, give this phone its flagship-like foundation.

Are the two Qualcomm chips very different?

The then latest generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, which was the preferred chip for most Android flagship phones in the first half of 2022. Nothing surprising considering phone makers spend time launching their flagship phones. But it turned out that the chip struggled with heating issues that affected performance (which was previously limited) and battery life (discharge rate was uncomfortably fast, even on phones with large batteries). The OnePlus 10 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22 series, just two examples, struggled.

With the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, Qualcomm has moved from Samsung’s 4 nanometer process to TSMC’s 4 nanometer process, while delivering a slight increase in power core (from 3.0 GHz to 3.2 GHz). The changes have worked. The OnePlus 10T does not suffer from heating. This also bodes well for casual and serious smartphone gaming. You’ll be using this in balanced mode for most of the day, but for the best gaming performance (eliminating even the slightest reduced frame rates), it’s best to switch to performance mode, albeit temporarily.

For its part, OnePlus has given this phone what it believes to be the latest and most advanced cooling system. The vapor chamber has twice as many vents as most other phones. And instead of ordinary graphite layers, 3D graphite is used. Maybe it’s not all Qualcomm’s effort.

It’s time for a new OxygenOS

The OnePlus 10T was unveiled to the world along with the upcoming OxygenOS 13. But that’s what it is: upcoming. For now, this phone runs with OxygenOS 12.1, which is well known at best and very well known at worst. Mind you, this is the same generation that was feared to draw more inspiration from Oppo’s ColorOS 12, than it eventually did. Will that also be the case with OxygenOS 13? Time will tell. It will be rolling out in a few weeks, starting with the OnePlus 10 Pro and then the OnePlus 10T in the next batch.

However, it is not all known, to the point of equality. There’s deeper integration with the beating heart, so is the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip – software and a series of complex algorithms result in what definitely seems like a shorter boot time (switch off to enable and usable), as well as behind the scenes predictability to get apps ready.

Buying a flagship-style phone without wireless charging?

The new processor and improvements to underlying software have resulted in better battery endurance. That is topped off with the fast charging of 150 watts and the charger is included. That’s one thing OnePlus hasn’t changed, and the whole experience isn’t complicated by having to buy a separate charger. That’s a full discharge to 100% in 19 minutes according to the company – and 21 minutes in our experience, which also includes variables such as ambient temperatures.

But all this cannot make up for the lack of wireless charging. For this price. It’s a must-have in any phone that has even the slightest bit of its flagship DNA. In the case of the OnePlus 10T, it’s also more expensive than the OnePlus 10R – it was understandable there, maybe not so much now. But again, OnePlus has said that the new cooling mechanism and more antennas meant space inside was at a premium. That is why the alert slider has been eliminated. Wireless charging coils also take up space.

Is it really a OnePlus phone without a notification slider?

One of the endearing consistencies of OnePlus phones (on the more expensive flagship models) was the physical slider on the right side of the back. This allowed users to switch between ring, silent, and vibrate modes without unlocking the screen and navigating through multiple layers of settings. Handy for walking into a meeting, and a simple slide to silent does the trick.

That’s gone now. For lack of space for the mechanism. It feels like a OnePlus phone has lost a lot of its identity. We don’t know if it will return in the next flagship phones. The rest of the design bears a lot of resemblance to the OnePlus 10 Pro, right down to how camera modules are placed on the back. Note that the OnePlus 10T does not have a display that curves slightly around the edges.

Cameras are a matter of consistency, but nothing exciting

Let’s get this out of the way from the get-go – this camera system doesn’t have the Hasselblad expertise to draw on. That exclusivity is reserved for OnePlus 10 Pro. Furthermore, the triple camera system is what you would have expected for the most part: a 50-megapixel main sensor that works alongside an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens and a 2-megapixel macro.

The photography performance is fine, no complaints really. There is some inconsistency in the way lighting is handled and reproduced in photos – the same photos taken in succession look very different. The detailing is remarkably good, and colors also look fairly accurate without ever really popping out (that’s for your next edits).

OnePlus 10T as a phone is in a difficult place

All said and done, the OnePlus “10” lineup is a complicated place. OnePlus 10T hit the spot for a specific purpose, to keep the portfolio up to date, with the new Qualcomm chip. Still, it should hold back and not walk on the toes of the flagship, the OnePlus 10 Pro. That means the phone with the latest processor doesn’t have all the bells and whistles. At the same time, there had to be enough to give the OnePlus 10T a different positioning from the more affordable OnePlus 10R.

But because the OnePlus 10T often holds back, it doesn’t define any aspect of the experience. Though the price tag can’t exactly be taken lightly. But then again, maybe the OnePlus 10T doesn’t have to set the benchmark anywhere. It’s a phone that almost completes the puzzle and deserves its place in the portfolio.


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