My go-to phones over the past five or so years have been the Pixel line. Simply put, I really enjoy the pure Android experience and the top-of-the-line camera. Outside of those two features, the Pixel line has been quite the hit-and-miss experience. Take, for instance, the pathetic battery life found in the Pixel 4 or the underperforming Pixel 5. The Pixel 6 Pro fixed most of the issues that haunted the 4 and 5, which has led it to not only be my favorite phone in the Pixel line, but one of my all-time favorite Android devices.
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However, if OnePlus has its way, it might well usurp the Pixel 6 Pro from that vaunted throne.
I recently received a OnePlus 10 Pro to review. I’ll be honest: I was skeptical. The last time I touched a OnePlus was the 6th iteration. And although that was a good device at the time, it was what I’d have called a deal breaker.
The OnePlus 10 Pro, on the other hand, is a phone that could easily take the place of the Pixel 6 Pro as my go-to.
Let’s dive in and find out why.
First impression: That OnePlus 10 Pro camera!
One of the first things I did with the OnePlus 10 Pro was snap a quick photo. I took no time in setting it up, I just opened the camera, tapped Portrait, and then tapped the shutter. If a single photo could speak a thousand words, it would be what you see in Figure A.
That photo was taken in low lighting and the crispness of the image cannot be denied. As well, the way the OnePlus 10 Pro handled the background blur was nothing short of astonishing.
I then wanted to compare colors. OnePlus partnered with Hasselblad (the makers of some of the finest cameras on the market) to tweak the color profiles for the 10 Pro, and I’ve never seen such rich and accurate colors on a phone camera. Take a look at Figure B.
The difference between the colors of the bamboo on my AudioEngine A5+ speakers is dramatic, and the OnePlus camera absolutely nailed it. The color in the OnePlus 10 Pro photo matches the wood to perfection. In fact, I’ve yet to take a picture with the OnePlus 10 Pro that didn’t perfectly match the color of the subject I was shooting.
But it’s not just about the coloration. The OnePlus Pro 10 camera has a lot of tricks up its sleeve, such as:
• 150-degree view
• Outstanding low-light ability
• A fully-manual option
• Long exposure
• Dual-video (so you can do video from both the front and rear cameras simultaneously)
But let’s set aside the camera for now because a mobile phone is much more than just a means to snap selfies.
Second impression: That OnePlus 10 Pro battery!
The OnePlus 10 Pro battery is a massive 5,000 mAh, and it performs exactly as you might expect … all day. Given I’ve been accustomed to the lesser battery life in the Pixel line (although the Pixel 6 Pro does enjoy a battery life that is well above average), I was not prepared for the lasting power of the OnePlus 10 Pro.
I have yet to see the OnePlus battery fall below 50%. It’s just remarkable how long this thing goes. Of course, as I said, I’ve grown accustomed to babysitting the Pixel batteries to keep them from draining too fast, so the OnePlus 10 Pro battery might be more what you’re used to…but I doubt it. That 5,000 mHa battery holds a lot of charge.
Third impression: The OnePlus 10 Pro login options
The OnePlus 10 Pro did what Google couldn’t with the Pixel 6/6 Pro—deliver both fingerprint and facial scanners. With the 10 Pro you can authenticate with:
• Facial scan
To further best the Pixel 6 Pro, the fingerprint scanner (which is done via the display) is instant. With the Pixel 6 Pro, the fingerprint scanner is not only hit-and-miss, it’s slow. The OnePlus 10 Pro immediately unlocks as soon as you touch the scanner on the screen. And facial recognition offers the same speed and accuracy. I would say the OnePlus 10 Pro fingerprint and facial recognition are leagues ahead of what Google offered in the Pixel 6 Pro.
Fourth impression: Android on the OnePlus 10 Pro
This is where the OnePlus does fall slightly behind the Pixel 6 Pro. Google always offers one of the purest Android experiences on the market. Most other devices add their own take on the operating system, and OnePlus is no different. With OxygenOS, OnePlus does distract from that pure experience. In the case of the OnePlus 10 Pro, I’m happy to report what OnePlus has done is deliver a remarkable Android experience.
One of the first things I noticed was how buttery smooth the UI is. Whatever secret sauce OnePlus used, it works. Even the animation for the fingerprint scanner is impressive. Slide down the notification shade and it’s like navigating through the silkiest UI you’ve ever used. And OxygenOS does not, in the slightest, dampen the Android experience. And that’s with the default FHD+ resolution (running at 2412 x 1080). Switch it over to QHD+ (running at 3216 x 1440) and things get even better.
However, configuring the device to always use QHD+ will take a considerable hit on your device’s battery life. Your best option is to go with Auto select, which will change the resolution based on the content you are viewing. To do that, go to Settings | Display & Brightness | Screen Resolution. In the resulting window (Figure C), tap Auto Select.
If battery life is more important, stick with FHD+.
Is the OnePlus 10 Pro worth it?
If you value brilliant photos, all-day battery, and flagship-level performance, the OnePlus 10 Pro (starting at $899) is one of the finest options on the market. This is the first phone in a long time that has me questioning my loyalty to the Pixel line of phones. If you’re in the market for a new phone, you’d be remiss if you didn’t put the OnePlus 10 Pro at the top of your list of options.
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