The one cost-cutting move that really hurts is water resistance. The phone only has an IP54 rating, which means it’s OK with water splashes, but it’s not submersible, and you can’t wash it off in a sink. If I could change anything, it would be to get this up to the usual IP68 rating.
Another major downside is the software: Just like on the OnePlus 10 Pro, OnePlus is still limiting background applications. That means you won’t reliably get notifications from your apps, like email and messaging. We ran the phone through two quick bouts of the “Don’t kill my app” benchmark, which operates in the background for an hour and logs how much background work is allowed to be done. Phones with normal Android background limitations—which are significant—score 100 percent in this test, but Android manufacturers don’t always follow Google’s recommendations. Out of the box, the OnePlus 10T only allowed 47 percent of the background events to happen. After jumping into the OnePlus system settings and checking “allow background activity” and “allow auto launch” for the Don’t Kill My App benchmark, a second run of the benchmark got worse and dropped to 39 percent. The settings do nothing! Personally, my phone’s primary purpose is that notifications for things like texts and emails arrive in a timely manner, so this is a big deal-breaker. It is so unbelievable that you can’t even turn this background sabotage off! At least make the checkboxes work!
Fast charging has been a trademark feature of OnePlus phones, and the 10T is somehow getting even faster. The phone will be able to charge at 125 W in the US and comes with a “160W SuperVOOC” charger in the box (it can only hit 160 W in Europe). That’s a higher wattage than most laptop chargers, which without PPS (Programmable power supply) functionality, won’t charge most laptops very well. OnePlus says the 10T charges from 1 to 100 percent in a breathtaking 20 minutes, which will offer an average of about 1 percent every 12 seconds. OnePlus says there has been a big focus on battery health, with lots of temperature sensors and smart charging schemes. OnePlus says even with quick charging, the battery “retains at least 80 percent of its original capacity after 1,600 charge cycles, equivalent to four years of usage.”
Like the OnePlus 10 Pro, the 10T again has a sparkly back, at least if you get the black version. The 10 Pro had the glitter design under a smooth pane of Gorilla Glass, but the 10T goes all-in with the back texture and no longer feels like glass. OnePlus swears the back is still Gorilla Glass, but now it has a tiny series of long, vertical ridges that run across the back. Have you ever seen one of those changing lenticular image printings, where a series of vertical ridges in a plastic card or sticker makes an image change based on what angle you view it from? The back of the OnePlus 10T feels like one of those. Run your fingernail across the back and it will feel every little ridge.
Overall the feeling of the back texture is… weird. It’s not really bad, but it comes across more like vinyl or plastic instead of glass. I suppose it’s slightly less slippery than smooth glass, but not as nice as other exotic options we’ve seen, like the matte, soft-touch glass texture on the Pixel 4.
OnePlus says the 10T will “receive three major Android updates and four years of security updates,” but keep in mind that Android 13 will ship either this month or next month, so the “three major updates” will quickly tick down to two. After the disappointing OnePlus 10 Pro, the 10T feels like a step in the right direction. It’s not the highest-specced machine on Earth, but it makes a lot of good decisions to land at a good price. I would just really like the addition of decent water resistance, and OnePlus needs to fix its software.
The phone hits stores on September 1.