The OnePlus 10T returns to a winning formula of high specs, low ($649!) price

Four months after the launch of the OnePlus 10 Pro, OnePlus is back with a new device, the OnePlus 10T. After we beat up the OnePlus 10 earlier this year for having a high price, the OnePlus 10T looks like a decent correction: It’s $649, $250 cheaper than the $899 OnePlus 10 Pro.

Let’s look for the missing $250 in the spec sheet: The OnePlus 10T is slightly faster than the more expensive OnePlus 10 Pro, thanks to the Snapdragon 8+ Gen1 SoC. This has a minor 10 percent faster MHz boost over the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and turns in benchmark scores right around that amount. That 10 percent speed boost finally brings Qualcomm’s 2022 CPU performance back up to the level of its 2021 chip—previously it was a bit slower.

The phone still has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage (and a new 16GB/256GB tier for $100 more). There’s still an in-screen fingerprint reader and a USB-C port. The battery is 4 percent smaller at 4800 mAh instead of 5000 mAh, and the wireless charging is gone. The phone doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6E (just Wi-Fi 6), and it sounds like the cameras are all a tier lower, with the phone now sporting a 50 MP Sony IMX776, and then a just-for-fun 8 MP ultrawide and a 2 MP macro camera.

Look at this beautiful, flat display. No distortion here!
Enlarge / Look at this beautiful, flat display. No distortion here!
OnePlus

The 10T has a 6.7-inch, 120 Hz, 2412×1080 OLED display with a dynamic refresh rate that switches between 120, 90, and 60 Hz, depending on the content. The more expensive 10 Pro has a higher resolution, 3216×1440, and a more dynamic refresh rate that can scale all the way down to 1 Hz for more power savings. For the price, I’ll take both of these trade-offs. We’ve long said phone displays have too many pixels, and the extra resolution is invisible in real life. The 10T display is still 394 ppi, and that’s totally fine.

The label on the OnePlus 10T charger. The US 120 V system tops out at 20 V, 6.25 amp. There's no PPS functionality, so it won't charge a laptop very well.
Enlarge / The label on the OnePlus 10T charger. The US 120 V system tops out at 20 V, 6.25 amp. There’s no PPS functionality, so it won’t charge a laptop very well.
Ron Amadeo

I actually prefer the cheaper 10T display over the OnePlus 10, just because it’s flat. Most flagships from Samsung, OnePlus, and Google use a display that is curved along the long edges. Years ago it was technically impressive to be able to bend an OLED display, but in real life, these displays only seem to have negatives. They distort any video or text along the edges of the phone, and they lead to more accidental screen touches. There is no benefit at all to curving the screen. OnePlus probably views it as some kind of cost-cutting measure, but in reality, the flat screen is a big improvement.

Another cost-cutting measure: OnePlus’ three-position alert switch is missing from the OnePlus 10T. Previous OnePlus phones have had a physical switch on the side that would change between sound-on, vibrate-only, or no-sound/no-vibrate. OnePlus sent over a seven-paragraph PDF titled “Statement on No Alert Slider,” as if the company thought it would be responding to some massive controversy. The closing paragraph even promises: “While the OnePlus 10T does not have the alert slider, this does not mean it will be removed from all future OnePlus devices.” I really couldn’t care less about its removal and wouldn’t have noticed if OnePlus didn’t say anything. Most phones don’t have an alert switch because the volume keys work fine!

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.”

Zoom-in on this official picture and you can see the ridge pattern.
Enlarge / Zoom-in on this official picture and you can see the ridge pattern.
OnePlus

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.

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