OnePlus is back with another mid-cycle upgrade to its top Android phone – this time with the lightning-fast-charging 10T handset, which can fully power up in under 20 minutes without destroying its battery life.
After a two-year hiatus, the “T” series of phones is back to debut new technology halfway through the year, this time with 150W charging – more than five times the power of Apple’s top iPhone.
The OnePlus 10T costs £629 ($649), undercutting fast-charging rivals from Xiaomi and other Chinese smartphone manufacturers that typically cost £1,000 or so.
The moulded glass back feels smooth – it slides around on non-level surfaces if you’re not careful. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
On the outside the 10T follows a familiar formula. The shiny metallic sides meet glass front and back. The back plate now fully envelops the camera lump in one smooth piece of glass, similar to the Find X5 Pro from parent company Oppo.
The 6.5in screen is very good-looking and has a high refresh rate of 120Hz, which keeps things smooth. It is a little less bright than the older 10 Pro and some top rivals, but is otherwise excellent.
OnePlus’s unique alert slider, which quickly switches the phone between silent, vibrate and ring, and has been a fan favourite for years, is nowhere to be seen, which is a shame.
Screen: 6.5in 120Hz FHD+ OLED (393ppi)
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
RAM: 8 or 16GB of RAM
Storage: 128 or 256GB
Operating system: OxygenOS 12.1 (Android 12)
Camera: 50MP main, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro; 16MP selfie
Connectivity: 5G, eSIM, wifi 6, NFC, Bluetooth 5.3 and GNSS
Water resistance: None
Dimensions: 163 × 75.4 × 8.8mm
A full charge in a little over 19 minutes
SuperVooc 150W charging may have a stupid name but it is certainly fast. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The 10T has Qualcomm’s very latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, which on paper is 10% faster than the regular 8 Gen 1 processor used in top Android phones at the start of the year.
It is certainly snappy and responsive, but the biggest improvement is that the chip is 30% more energy efficient, which helps conserve battery life and keeps the phone noticeably cooler in operation.
The battery life is good but not great, lasting about 36 hours between charges, with the screen on for about six hours using a mixture of messaging and media-consumption apps. That’s seven hours short of the 10 Pro, but on par with a Google Pixel 6 Pro.
What the 10T may lack in stamina, it makes up for in both charging speed and battery longevity. Using the included USB-C power adaptor, the phone will fully charge in just over 19 minutes from 1% and does so consistently without getting super-hot, unlike Xiaomi’s nearest rival.
Its tremendous charging speed doesn’t hurt the battery either. OnePlus rates it for a full 1,600 charge cycles while maintaining at least 80% of the original capacity – double most rivals. That means the battery should last more than 6.5 years if charged every day and a half, so you probably won’t have to replace the battery in the lifetime of the phone, which can’t be said for most phones.
The phone does not contain recycled materials but is generally repairable by OnePlus, with a replacement battery costing about £20 plus labour. The company operates a trade-in scheme and is included in parent-company Oppo’s yearly sustainability reports.
OnePlus in-display fingerprint scanner is super quick and accurate for unlocking the phone, but is placed a bit too low down on the display. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The 10T runs the same OxygenOS 12.1 software based on Android 12 as the 10 Pro from April, not the recently announced Android 13-based OxygenOS 13. OnePlus will provide bi-monthly security patches for four years from release and three major Android version upgrades, including OxygenOS 13 later this year.
For now, it has the same slick look and similar niggles as before, so for more, see the 10 Pro review.
The OnePlus camera app is fairly simple to use with a few useful tools for getting the best shot. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The camera system on the 10T is a downgrade from the 10 Pro, eschewing the Hasselblad technology from OnePlus’s previous smartphones and ditching the telephoto camera. It still has a 50-megapixel main and an 8MP ultrawide camera, plus a rubbish 2MP macro camera that can safely be avoided.
The main 50MP camera is pretty good, capturing shots with a good level of detail, reasonable good colour balance and dynamic range. With a bit of effort you can get some really beautiful images. It becomes a little more grainy than better cameras in low light, but portrait mode, night mode and other fancy features work well. Video captured up to 4K at 60 frames a second is decent, too.
The ultrawide camera is weaker, however, struggling with detail and dynamic range, often making scenes look significantly darker than the main camera. The digital zoom is also not great, producing obviously blown-up images beyond 2x. The 16MP selfie cam produces detailed images but lacks dynamic range, becoming a bit bleached-out in bright light.
Overall the main camera is decent for the price, but not a patch on the best in the business, and it can’t compete with the 10 Pro or cheaper rivals such as Google’s Pixel 6a.
The OnePlus 10T costs £629 ($649) with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, or £729 with 16 and 256GB shipping on 25 August.
For comparison, the OnePlus 10 Pro costs £799, the Google Pixel 6 costs £599, the Pixel 6a costs £399, the Samsung Galaxy S21+ costs £949, and the Xiaomi 12 Pro costs £999.
The OnePlus 10T is a good phone at a cheaper price – one that undercuts most of its close rivals. But corners have been cut to reach that price, so how good it is will depend on what your priorities are.
It genuinely charges so fast, it changed the way I thought about using it. I no longer needed to charge it overnight because it was full again in the time it took me to brush my teeth.
It also has a better chip, slick performance and a large and fast screen.
But that screen is less bright that top models, and the camera is a marked downgrade on previous highs for the brand. The removal of OnePlus’s unique alert slider makes the phone more generic and feels like an erosion of the brand by parent company Oppo, which is a shame. Four years of software support is also a bit short for 2022, when top rivals offer at least five.
Buy it for the performance and charging, not the camera, and the OnePlus 10T is a good top-spec phone at a highly competitive price. But with extremely good mid-range phones such as the Pixel 6a costing £400-ish, is that enough?
Pros: Slick performance, good software, reasonable battery life, sub-20 minute full charge, long battery longevity, decent screen, reasonable price.
Cons: no optical zoom, weak ultrawide camera, useless macro camera, no water-resistance rating, no alert slider makes it feel more generic, only four years of updates.
The phone is available in this hospital-green colour, which is a fingerprint magnet, or the more interesting textured black. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
This article originally appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/aug/08/oneplus-10t-android-review-this-phone-fully-charges-in-19-minutes