Gadgets

OnePlus 10T Review: Zippy but Bland

OnePlus has a new phone, but I can’t list a tremendous number of reasons why you should buy it. Though it’s named the OnePlus 10T, it’s not quite a successor to the OnePlus 10 Pro that debuted a few months ago, which the company says will be seeing a permanent price drop from $899 to $799. Instead, the 10T is even cheaper at $649, omits a few features, and focuses largely on speed and … speed. No, really. Its goal is to get you some of the swiftest performance, internet connectivity, and charging available on an Android phone.  

If those three aspects are the holy trinity of smartphone features for you, then you’ll like the OnePlus 10T. But having used it for almost two weeks, it’s what this phone is missing that sticks with me, making me feel rather blasé about it. 

Need for Speed

The three main hallmarks of this phone are the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor (with 8 gigabytes of RAM), 125-watt wired charging, and a 360-degree antenna. It doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? Well, here’s what it all means:

This Android phone is among the first in the US to use Qualcomm’s slightly newer version of its 2022 flagship chipset. How does it differ from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1? In the OnePlus 10T, it apparently translates to 30 percent better CPU efficiency, 10 percent faster GPU clock speeds, and 30 percent GPU power efficiency. My benchmark tests have it sitting barely higher than the OnePlus 10 Pro, and below the Samsung Galaxy S22 series (both of which use the earlier chip). In reality, that tracks. You’re not going to see much of a difference in performance with this processor. Apps launch quickly, and switching between them feels speedy, but it’s almost the same experience I’ve had using other top phones like the Google Pixel 6 or the Galaxy S22.

After a 30-minute match in Apex Legends Mobile (which I’d like to point out I won), the OnePlus 10T barely felt warm. That’s likely due to the various cooling methods the phone employs to keep temperatures low as the processor does its heavy lifting. For starters, it has the largest vapor chamber in a OnePlus phone yet. This process evaporates liquid in the chamber into vapor, which then condenses and dissipates heat, thereby reducing the processor’s temperature. OnePlus also says it uses 3D graphite and a copper foil to aid this process. The phone remains pretty cool, which means you can play graphically intense games for a longer period of time without having to deal with stutters (which happens when the processor is hot and needs to throttle itself down). 

Photograph: OnePlus

OnePlus says its HyperBoost Gaming Engine has a few other tricks to make mobile gaming more stable, responsive, and efficient, but honestly, I’d rather have a phone that makes interacting with games easier. The upcoming Asus ROG Phone 6, for example, has software that lets you map touch controls to physical buttons on a controller, which makes it so much easier to play when your fingers don’t have to slide across warm glass to find virtual buttons on the screen. The 10T is a good gaming phone, but if you’re serious about games, I’d save up for the pricier Asus.  

Next, there’s 125-watt wired charging. OnePlus speeds up its phone charging times every year—the OnePlus 10 Pro fully recharges in just 30 minutes, and the 10T cuts this down to 20 (or 19 for the international version which comes with a 150-watt charger). The caveat is you can only access these speeds if you use the (thankfully) included cable and chunky charging brick. Indeed, in my test starting at 2 percent, the OnePlus 10T hit 62 percent in just 11 minutes of charging, and 99 percent after 21 minutes.


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