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Retail price: Rs.38,999.00Rs.38,999.00 at Amazon India
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OnePlus introduced the R series of phones two years ago to bridge the ever-widening gap between the Nord series and its premium phones. While the R series has traditionally positioned itself as a cut-price flagship, the Shenzhen-based company’s strategy seems to have pivoted this year. This is a very different beast compared to the rest of the lineup, from the internals to the externals. In the Android Authority OnePlus 10R review, we see if the phone manages to retain the spirit of OnePlus, or is yet another step in the company’s journey towards commoditized hardware.
What you need to know about the OnePlus 10R
- OnePlus 10R (8GB/128GB): Rs. 38,999 (~$502)
- OnePlus 10R (12GB/256GB): Rs. 42,999 (~$554)
- OnePlus 10R 150W (12GB/256GB): Rs. 43,999 (~$566)
The OnePlus 10R is the latest India-exclusive affordable flagship smartphone from OnePlus. The sub-flagship goes by the moniker of OnePlus Ace in China. Keen followers of the smartphone industry will also notice that the specs are practically identical to the Realme GT Neo 3 from its BBK sister brand. That shouldn’t come as a surprise since the OnePlus 10R is basically just a rebadged Realme GT Neo 3 with Oxygen OS onboard.
The smartphone is an interesting evolution of the formula pioneered by the OnePlus 9R. While the OnePlus 9R and OnePlus 9RT were quite clearly a variation on the flagship formula, that’s definitely not the case here. Be it the spec sheet, or the visual identity, OnePlus appears to be aiming for a completely unique proposition instead of positioning the 10R as a cut-price flagship alternative.
Check out: The best OnePlus phones
The OnePlus 10R debuts a Mediatek chipset in the value flagship space and pairs it with competent imaging hardware. Table stakes like adequate RAM and a high refresh rate display also find their way here.
The real attention grabber is, of course, the ultra-fast charging speeds. OnePlus is offering the phone in two variants prioritizing charging speeds or battery life. The regular variant offers 80W charging speeds and a larger 5.000mAh battery. Stepping up to 150W, with the trade-off of a smaller 4,500mAh battery, also increases the asking price.
OnePlus is fielding the phone in two color options: Sierra Black and Forest Green. It can be purchased directly from OnePlus.com or Amazon India.
OnePlus has opted for a bold visual identity with the 10R that makes its presence felt, for better or worse. The dual-pane design on the rear consisting of an array of strips is certainly something. The fact that it fits nowhere in the overarching OnePlus decision language aside, it is going to be turning a lot of heads with its unique pinstripe look.
The display is yet another aspect of the phone that stands out. OnePlus phones have traditionally had pretty good displays with colors that err more towards accuracy than not. In the case of the OnePlus 10R, that means a 6.7-inch FHD+ AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate as well as support for HDR. It’s not a variable refresh rate display, so you’ll have to specifically opt between the silky smooth experience offered by the 120Hz refresh rate, or longer battery life afforded by a lower 60Hz refresh rate. Interestingly, OnePlus claims that the display is capable of a 90Hz middle-ground as well, but the software settings offer no such option.
Strictly speaking, the calibration of the screen when set to natural is very good. The display does have its caveats though, and that’s more to do with how it handles high dynamic range content. Viewing HDR10+ videos, the phone gets a mild blue cast and a slight shift in white point. I’m nitpicking here though and, generally speaking, the screen is very good indeed.
Rounding off the multimedia experience, the stereo speakers sound rather good. While the speaker in the earphone isn’t quite as loud as the downward-firing speaker, the general sound quality impresses with clear-sounding audio. There’s not much bass, but vocal tracks come through crystal clear when cranked up loud with discernable stereo separation.
The fantastic cooling solution and blazing fast charging help the OnePlus 10R shine amidst the competition.
The OnePlus 10R also manages very good performance with the shift to a Mediatek Dimensity 8100 Max processor. Details are a bit light on what the Max variant entails, but buyers can expect performance in the same ballpark as last year’s Snapdragon 888. High-end games and heavy multitasking are no problem at all for the phone, but the real standout is the cooling solution.
Set to the unthrottled Performance Mode, the OnePlus 10R manages to stay cool to the touch even when put through its paces. That robust cooling solution also helps the phone maintain unthrottled performance for longer durations of time.
Earlier this year, OnePlus promised that it would debut blazing-fast 150W charging on its phones. While it would have been fair to assume that high-speed charging would first make its way to a flagship-tier phone, it’s here and is being introduced via the OnePlus 10R — at least if you buy the more expensive 150W model. The base and mid-tier models come with still very fast 80W wired charging accompanied by a 5,000mAh battery.
We’ve got the faster-charging version with us. Over repeated tests, it took anywhere from 20 to 22 minutes to top up the phone completely. The variance in charging speeds can, of course, be attributed to external factors like ambient temperature. Even at the outer limits, the OnePlus 10R charges ludicrously fast. Battery optimization is also very good once Android’s Adaptive Battery tuning kicks in. On most days, I could get through an entire workday without worrying about battery life. A five-minute top-off later, the phone would have enough juice to get me through the night. If you, like me, are always around a charging socket, it makes sense to splurge for faster charging in spite of the smaller battery.
What’s not so good?
As we’ve established, the OnePlus 10R is a dramatic departure from the entirety of the current OnePlus smartphone lineup. From the flat sides to flat display, and the materials used, there’s precious little here that reminds you of the full-blooded OnePlus 10 Pro. While it is a bit unusual for OnePlus to introduce a fresh identity in the middle of a smartphone cycle, what’s particularly odd is the drastic drop in quality. Be it the quality of plastics, or the glass at the rear, the phone simply doesn’t feel premium to the touch. This is particularly noticeable in the plastic camera module that attracts fingerprints for days and looks like a smudge fest minutes after taking the phone out of the box.
The missing alert slider signals the end of an era at OnePlus.
That drop in quality is also reflected in the missing alert slider, something we’d previously only seen removed from OnePlus’s cheapest Nord phones. The removal of the slider isn’t just a hardware omission, it is a statement that the new OnePlus isn’t afraid to break from tradition. Unfortunately, what is, prima facie, a simple cost-cutting measure, ends up being yet another nail in the coffin of the brand’s uniqueness.
And that’s before we get to the software. The OnePlus 10R is powered by Oxygen OS 12.1, which is a mish-mash of elements cribbed from Oxygen OS and Oppo’s Color OS. Elements like the icons and notification toggle, for example, lack consistency, and there’s odd text scaling at play that can make certain elements appear just too big.
At least you get two years of major software updates and three years of security patches, giving OnePlus plenty of time to get Oxygen OS right with future iterations. Though even this update guarantee lags behind the likes of Samsung, Apple, and even Xiaomi’s main flagships.
OnePlus 10R camera review
That theme of inconsistency slips over into imaging, which should perhaps come as no surprise for a OnePlus phone. This starts with the phone’s proclivity to shift the white balance towards warm tones. While it is a color profile that I don’t personally mind, it just isn’t very accurate. The age-old OnePlus problem of crushed shadows is yet another concern. That said, the 50MP primary sensor can pull out a decent amount of detail and performs adequately in dimly lit situations.
The same can’t be said for the ultrawide shooter. The 8MP camera’s limitations are immediately apparent, with heavy noise reduction being the norm to mask the limited details.
Things hit rock bottom when it comes to the macro camera. The 2MP macro sensors commonly seen doing the rounds are generally pretty bad, but the one on the OnePlus 10R hits a new low. Between the extreme distortion, poor colors, and pitiful detail, I wouldn’t even bother trying to use it.
The theme continues over to the selfie camera, which is light on detail and goes heavy on noise reduction algorithms. The dynamic range is particularly poor, and image quality goes south rapidly as ambient light dips.
Video quality is passable but suffers from the same optimization issues that plague the cameras. White balance and crushed shadows in particular are something that the OnePlus 10R struggles with.
Check out full resolution OnePlus 10R camera samples at our Google Drive link.
OnePlus 10R specs
20:9 aspect ratio
2,412 x 1,080 at 394ppi
120Hz refresh rate (Adaptive 60/90/120)
360Hz touch response rate
Gorilla Glass 5
Mediatek Dimensity 8100-Max
Min: 128GB UFS 3.1
Max: 256GB UFS 3.1
No external storage support
150W/80W charger in box
No wireless charging
No 3.5mm headphone jack
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
1) 50MP main
, ƒ/1.8, OIS and EIS
2) 8MP ultrawide
3) 2MP macro
16MP single (Sony IMX471)
1.0μm with EIS
ƒ/2.4, fixed focus
4K at 30 or 60fps
Super slo-mo at 720p/480fps or 1080p/240fps
Time lapse at 1080p/30fps or 4K/30fps
aptX, aptX HD, LDAC, AAC
Dual stereo speakers
No IP rating against water/dust
In-display fingerprint sensor
Face unlock (software)
Oxygen OS 12.1
Dimensions and weight
163.3 x 75.5 x 8.2mm
Sierra Black, Forest Green
OnePlus 10R review: The verdict
The OnePlus 10R is an oddly positioned device. It’s not a bad smartphone per se, but the lackluster imaging and less-than-premium materials let it down. Moreover, it is a clear downgrade over the OnePlus 9RT (Rs. 42,999), which is still available for a similar price. Then there’s the inconsistent software to consider. It’s hard to get past the clashing elements strewn across the interface and the loss of some much-loved features, like the hidden apps feature in the app drawer.
The Xiaomi 11T Pro (Rs.39,999) is perhaps the most direct competitor to the OnePlus 10R. Xiaomi’s premium mid-ranger wins out on the imaging front thanks to its well-calibrated 108MP sensor as well as a stellar telemacro system. Additionally, it strikes the right balance between battery life and charging speeds by including 120W support with a 5,000mAh cell.
You could also look at the iPhone SE (2022) ($429) if you want to take a walk in Apple’s walled garden. While the phone certainly won’t be winning any design comparisons, it delivers blistering performance, longevity, and the general excellence of iOS.
Despite its shortcomings, the OnePlus 10R does fit a niche. For one, the dual-panel look is certainly a head-turner. And then there’s the blazing-fast 150W charging. Sure, the Realme GT 3 Neo does it too at a lower price, but it comes at the cost of an abundance of bloatware onboard. The OnePlus 10R could be a good fit for users who want the absolute bleeding edge of charging tech and competitive performance, but don’t want to pay flagship prices. I’m just not sure there are enough of those buyers that will be able to overlook the limitations here completely.