OnePlus 10T Settles For Just Being Good Enough [Review]

With so many similarly priced smartphones on the market, is this phone worth your time and money?
(credit: Tech TRP)

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Before we start, as a disclaimer, I’m writing this review from the perspective of someone who has never used a OnePlus before. So, this is all very new to me. That being said, let’s get on with the review after I have been using it for three weeks.

What’s in the box?

(credit: Tech TRP)

You get the phone, a USB-C to USB-C cable, a 160W SUPERVOOC charger, a SIM removal tool, and some reading materials that you can chuck aside. There’s no plastic case included with the phone.

The Build Quality and Handling

This is a huge phone. Luckily, I’ve got big hands, so I don’t have any trouble holding it with one hand. Even though the frame of the phone is made from plastic, the phone feels solid. The front and back are covered by Gorilla Glass 5 and there’s a heft to it. This adds to the sense of premiumness to the phone. But I disliked the placement of the volume keys. Personally, I feel the volume keys should be placed on the right side of the phone, above the power button, for easier manipulation.

(credit: Tech TRP)

The biggest missing feature on this phone is the alert slider. The slider is OnePlus’s signature feature, and the company said the removal of the slider was to make space for other components. But, OnePlus says the slider will return in the future. For me, who has never used a OnePlus phone before, this missing slider is not that big of a deal. The phone comes with a pre-applied plastic screen protector, and you should remove it immediately. Why? because it attracts a lot of dust and I have to keep wiping it. It is very annoying.

The Display

The phone has a large FHD+ 6.7-inch Fluid AMOLED display that is capable of outputting 1 billion colours, with support for 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10. Sadly, this is not an LTPO display, which was present in the OnePlus 10 Pro. I guess that is reserved for the highest-end OnePlus phones. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that the display is simply amazing to look at. It can go up to 950 nits of brightness and it is perfectly legible even on a bright sunny day.

(credit: Tech TRP)

The automatic brightness is a bit janky right now. Most of the time, I have to manually adjust the brightness because it is either too dim or too bright. Hopefully, this is just a software issue.

The selfie camera is small enough and doesn’t distract me. My eyes have already learned to ignore it after a few days of using it. There are a few display colour options for you to choose from. Do you want the colours on your screen to pop with little regard to colour accuracy or be more true-to-life? OnePlus has got you covered.

The under-display fingerprint scanner works reliably and quickly. Occasionally, I need to place my thumb a few times on the scanner before it will register. Perhaps this is due to my thumb or the dust on the screen. However, the scanner is placed a little low to the bottom, and it would have been preferable if the scanner had been placed higher.

The Speakers

The OnePlus 10T has a stereo speaker. It can get quite loud at max volume, so I don’t recommend turning it up to the max, not to mention the sound distortions you will get. Just leave it at 70% volume and it will sound decent with nice bass and clarity.

The bottom-firing speaker is louder than the earpiece one, so there will be some imbalance, but you won’t notice it that much. The phone supports Dolby Atmos. You can choose specific profiles that are tailored to what you are doing or listening to.

(credit: Tech TRP)

The Charging Speed and Battery Performance

The phone comes packed with a 4,800mAh battery and an included 160W SUPERVOOC charger that can do 1-15% in just 19 minutes, according to OnePlus. They are not lying. I have tested the charging speed from 2 to 100% and it takes just less than 18 minutes. But the battery can get warm while charging. There’s no reason to charge overnight anymore. Just wake up and charge before you go out.

On average, I get around 7+ hours of screen-on time, so you can rest assured the phone can easily last you for an entire day. But if you do find yourself running low on battery life, you can always top it up very quickly using the included charger.

The OnePlus 10T doesn’t have a wireless charger, but that doesn’t bother me as I always prefer faster-wired charging.

The Software Experience

Out of the box, the phone greeted me with the latest OyxgenOS 12.1, which is based on Android 12. OnePlus promised that users would get three major Android updates and four years of security updates.

Compared to other Chinese-branded smartphones, the OnePlus 10T came with surprisingly little to no bloatware. There are Google and OnePlus apps preinstalled, and Netflix is the only bloatware that came with it. Well done, OnePlus.

My day-to-day usage is nothing but a smooth and lag-free experience. At the time of writing, I have not encountered any bugs or issues with OxygenOS 12.1.

I did dislike one feature that OnePlus has included with the OS; it is the “Shelf” feature. You can access it by dragging it down from the top right corner. Here you can check the weather, your daily steps, notes, storage and data used, and your app shortcuts. I recommend disabling this feature as I found myself accidentally dragging the shelf instead of the notification panel more often than I liked.

(credit: Tech TRP)

I tried playing Genshin Impact, Diablo Immortal, and Tower of Fantasy on the phone. The phone has gaming tools that you can use to monitor frame rates, CPU and GPU usage, turn on performance mode, disable notifications while gaming, and etc.

Genshin Impact ran very well on the highest settings, but don’t expect it to stick to 60FPS. Most of the time, it hovers around 45-60FPS. Diablo Immortal sticks closer to 60FPS, but has some stutters every now and then. I’m not sure if this is related to the game or the phone. You can enable 90FPS mode in Tower of Fantasy, but the phone can’t hit that frame rate most of the time. The phone warmed up when I was playing games on it, but never became unbearably hot to touch. The OnePlus 10T is not a gaming phone, but you can play games on it without worrying.

The Camera

The OnePlus 10T comes with a triple-camera setup on the back and a selfie camera. It has a Sony IMX766 50MP main camera with optical image stabilisation (OIS), an 8MP ultrawide, and a 2MP macro camera. There’s also a 16MP selfie camera.

Unlike its more expensive sibling, the OnePlus 10T doesn’t come with the Hasselblad branding. No doubt the company removed this to save some cost.

In broad daylight or under adequate lighting conditions, the main camera can take some really nice photos. You can see all the details, and the colour is pleasing to the eyes. The dynamic range can be hit-or-miss sometimes.

The 8MP ultrawide camera is capable of taking some good photos too, but only when it is under good lighting conditions.

The 2MP macro camera is just there to inflate the marketing points. It is hard to take photos properly, and I don’t see the point of this camera. Either remove it or give us another camera, preferably telephoto.

In low-light conditions, the main camera can take some good shots. There isn’t much noise in the photo, which has good dynamic range and is quite well exposed. The camera will automatically take photos in night mode and you can’t turn this off.

I struggled to find the difference when I turned on the night mode. However, if you are using the ultrawide camera, you need to enable the night mode to take cleaner and better photos.

The selfie camera takes serviceable photos. They are good enough for you to post on social media.

Is It Worth The Price?

At RM3,199, can you find another smartphone in Malaysia that offers 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, running on the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon chip? I don’t think so. Should you buy it? I feel there are better phones out there that deserve your money.

For example, the realme GT2 Pro is only RM2,999. It is still using the 8 Gen 1, but you get an LTPO screen, a bigger battery, and a more interesting ultrawide fisheye and microscope camera setup. A proper flagship smartphone for less than RM3,000.

Or get the recently released OnePlus Nord 2T for a more authentic OnePlus experience. This phone still retains the alert slider and can be yours for just RM1,899.

OnePlus should have brought in the cheaper configuration and priced it below RM3,000 if they wanted to have a chance in this crowded smartphone market. Nobody needs 16GB RAM, not even the most hardcore mobile gamers.

If, for some reason, you really want to buy this phone, I suggest waiting for the price to come down. The OnePlus 10T 5G is a perfectly good phone, and it settles for being just that.

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