The big talking point with the OnePlus 9 Pro series was its partnership with Hasselblad. The camera king had helped co-develop software that would mean that photos taken on the handset would be up to its exacting standards. It also meant that the monochrome lens OnePlus was famed for was no more.
Fast forward a year later and the camera partnership is still going strong. Couple this with some impressive flourishes that have been built into the OnePlus 10 Pro - a powerful chip and a new design that is bold and all about the camera - and what you have is a flagship that’ll happily rival the top phones out right now.
We’ve been playing with the OnePlus 10 Pro for a while now: here are 5 things to know…
1. The OnePlus 10 Pro design is familiar… in a good way
The OnePlus 10 Pro looks like… a OnePlus phone. This is a good thing! It's very much an upgraded 9 Pro, however the feel of the phone is a lot different. We reviewed the Volcanic Black version of the handset and it has a fantastic textured feel on the back. Seriously, we haven’t felt this kind of texture on a flagship for a long time and we are all for it.
One of our favourite flagships at the moment is the Samsung Galaxy S22 and there are hints of this handset in the design of the OnePlus 10 Pro. It is mainly with the camera bump on the back. We don’t mean the look of the array (OnePlus has opted for a square, while Samsung went vertical) but the way that it folds around the side of the device, making it that little bit more seamless. It also has a similar metal strip down its side.
2. The OnePlus 10 Pro has a screen that’ll entertain you
The OnePlus 10 Pro has a 6.7 inch screen. This is the same size as the iPhone 13 Pro Max but is just a touch under the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (which is 6.8 inches).
It’s a glorious screen and while it may be the same size as what was found on its predecessor, there are a number of new additions.
The biggest is the 120Hz refresh rate. Yes, this is all ‘very’ OnePlus 9 Pro but where that screen could switch between 120Hz and 60Hz, depending on what you are doing, this new OnePlus screen has a much smoother ratchet between the Hz, going from 120Hz all the way down to, well, 1Hz.
This helps with battery efficiency. Essentially, if you are being a lazy git then your phone will be a lazy git as well and conserve energy by reducing the Hz.
We are also big fans of the phone’s AI that seems to have learned that we are constantly toggling with our automatic brightness as it’s not quite right. The OnePlus 10 Pro learns if you are tinkering and will tinker to your tinkering standards.
Colour calibration is decent, too. The screen popped in both light and dark surroundings and was a joy to use when watching HDR movies and shows on Netflix. There is a toggle in the menu that is called Bright HDR Video Mode which enhances the picture further. It’s worth noting, though, that it’s a bit of a battery hog.
Other enhancements include Image Sharpener and Video Color Enhancer.
When it comes to screen resolution, the OnePlus 10 Pro by default is on FHD+ (which is 2410x1080). You can push this up to QHD+ which is 3216x1440. There’s a nice auto select option here which will choose the res for you, depending on what you are doing with the phone.
3. The triple camera setup means business
The third lens is an 8MP telephoto and that is the same that has been seen on previous OnePlus efforts. All of this is given a lovely bit of imaging love, thanks to Hasselblad. The camera company's name adorns the side of the lens array on the OnePlus 10, and for good reason...
4. Hasselblad has made photo taking hassle-free
With Hasselblad on board, you would be forgiven for thinking that taking a picture with the OnePlus 10 Pro would be a complicated experience, but it’s the opposite. Sure, there are pro features on board, but these are there to be seeked out rather than in your face from the moment you head to the camera settings.
What you get instead are four modes for photo taking: Photo, Portrait, Video and Night. Layered on top of these modes are a number of features to help with the look of your images.
OnePlus is using AI again here. Its AI Enhancements feature in the camera app is decent. Essentially, when you are composing your picture it will shift colour and the like to suit what’s in the frame. If, for instance, you are taking a picture of your vast book collection then you will see the word Text appear and this means the scene is primed to make the text a little cleaner. This also works outside, so the AI will recognise plants and the like. This isn’t new but it’s well worth using if you don’t want to go down the filter route to ‘improve’ your images.
If you do want to go down that route, then there are around 20 filters you can use.
So, where does Hasselblad fit into all of this? Well, the OnePlus 10 Pro uses ‘second generation Hasselblad camera for mobile’ and while this means that it has helped the company calibrate its camera software, it has also had a hand in the more professional elements of the camera tech.
One of the standouts of this is 10-bit photography. Essentially this is an upgrade from how most pictures on the likes of Instagram are presented. They are usually shot in 8-bit, using some 17.7 million colours. Here this is ramped up some 64 times to offer 1 billion colours.
It’s big numbers but you have to be wary of shooting in this format. Yes, it will make those sunsets ping but it won’t save the image as a JPEG but in HEIF format.
Now, this is pretty powerful stuff for a camera phone.10-bit photography is usually something found in prosumer cameras, the only thing is that you will need a high-end Mac or equivalent to view the images properly. It’s great to see this feature in the phone, but this is more about OnePlus hedging its bets on where camera photography is going, which is no bad thing for those who are looking for a phone to last them a good few years.
5. Performance is punchy
Aside from the cameras, this really is a punchy handset. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is super speedy and packs AI smarts and it shows in the handset.
We skipped between apps and games with ease. Netflix opened in seconds without much wait and we only felt the phone get warm in the hand a few times (mainly when using the HDR capabilities).
The stereo speakers on the bottom of the device boom out music which your fellow bus passengers will just love, while OxygenOS 12.1 is close enough to stock Android for us to be happy (though we still prefer the OS on the Google Pixel 6).
Battery life, too, is decent. OnePlus has squeezed a 5,000mAh battery into the device and it shows with us never fearing the thing would run out at the end of the day. Charging is fast, though, if that is the case with 85W charging on board.
OnePlus 10 Pro: Final Verdict
The OnePlus 10 Pro isn't a 'back to the drawing board' handset for OnePlus. It's more a refinement of the OnePlus 9 Pro with a much better design and camera software upgrades that really make sense.
While we don't feel we have seen the full potential of the Hasselblad partnership as of yet, the camera company does make more of an impact of the photos you take with this device.
The bigger battery life means that you don't mind putting on some of the harsher battery draining features, like an always-on display and higher refresh rates, and the fast-charging is another reason why you can just crank everything up on this phone.
The look and feel of the OnePlus 10 Pro is another bonus: this really is one of the best-looking phones on the market.
It just falters a little with its OS and while its camera tech is improved, the likes of the Pixel Pro 6 is still better for quick photos - but a reduction in the amount of blur OnePlus puts into its portrait shots may well fix that.
These are minor niggles, though, as this is a handset that can stand tall with the rest of the flagships on the market.
The OnePlus 10 Pro, with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, costs $899 / £799. It is available in Volcanic Black.
A higher spec version will also be released in Emerald Forest (12GB/256GB). You can pre-order now, with the handset released 4 April.