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With the mid-range smartphone market chock-full of options, is the new OnePlus 10R a worthy contender?
The mid-range market is really hot right now, with every brand launching their competitor at aggressive price points. We’ve seen the likes of the Realme GT 2, GT Neo 3, iQOO 9 SE and so many more, and now we’ve got the latest fighter from OnePlus as well, the OnePlus 10R, priced at ₹43,999 for the 12GB RAM, 256GB storage model with 150W SuperVooc charging.
Let’s start with the basics—the looks. Now, the 10R is a clear departure from everything OnePlus has designed in the past, and especially if you look at their devices in just this last year. There’s no curved back design or glass-back, it’s a very flat phone from all angles, with a plastic frame and back. It gets this striped design on one half of the rear, and the logo has been moved to the bottom right corner. This is the design you’ll get, whether you choose the Forest Green variant, or this Sierra Black option.
I’ll be honest, it almost seems like this phone shares its chassis with the Oppo F21 Pro, and considering OnePlus and Oppo’s merger, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to assume that.
The back of the phone also holds the triple camera array, which has a high enough bump to cause the phone to wobble on a flat surface. It wobbles even if you use the included high-quality silicone case, so that’s something to keep in mind if you tend to use your phone laid flat on a table.
Still, the phone is pretty lightweight at 186g, and fairly slim at 8.2mm thickness.
At the bottom of the phone you’ll see a USB Type-C port and the speaker grille, which coupled with the earpiece offers a pretty decent stereo sound experience. On the left side are the volume buttons and on the right is the power button, but worth noting is the lack of the signature OnePlus slider. Also missing is expandable storage and a headphone jack, which to be fair, have become much less common at this price point.
That aside, there’s a fingerprint scanner under the screen that worked quick and well during my usage, and while there’s no official IP rating, there is a rubber gasket around the SIM card tray.
Also watch: OnePlus 10 Pro Review: The Likeable Flagship
In terms of performance, the OnePlus 10R packs in the Mediatek Dimensity 8100-MAX processor, which for all intents and purposes is the same as the Dimensity 8100 on the Realme GT Neo 3.
It’s the latest from Mediatek to take on the Snapdragon 888, and whether it’s day-to-day usage or graphic intensive gaming, the 8100-MAX is a good performer.
I played more than a few rounds on Apex Legends and saw experienced no dropped frames or lag, but the phone did get a bit warm to the touch. It was a similar story with Call of Duty Mobile—smooth and fast gameplay with no stutter.
Apart from this, there’s some happy news for BGMI fans. Unlike the GT Neo 3, which only supported HD graphics and High frame rate, the 10R supports up to HDR graphics and Ultra frame rate, with support for Ultra HD graphics promised, so it’s definitely good to see optimisation for this chip coming in quickly for popular games.
For everyday app usage and multi-tasking, the 10R has more than enough grunt, and that’s also in part due to the 12GB LPDDR5 RAM loaded on this phone, which never needed to reload apps sitting in the background.
Now, a lot of what I’ve said so far almost makes it sound like the OnePlus 10R is less of a OnePlus phone and more of something that was put together at the Oppo base. However, one major way in which this phone sets itself apart is it’s operating system. Sure, OxygenOS has started borrowing elements from ColorOS but it’s still offers an extremely slick and clean user experience. It’s got barely any bloatware, unlike some other phones that have little else, and it’s still one of the best looking Android skins out there. Speaking of Android, this of course has Android 12, but with OnePlus’ recent track record of slow updates, I just hope they’re able to keep up with Samsung and the rest.
On the front of the OnePlus 10R you’ll find a really nice 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a full-HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. The display supports HDR10+ and 10-bit colour, and while there is support for Widevine L1 on Netflix, there’s no support for HDR content on the streaming platform.
Colours on the screen are punchy, with good contrast levels. Content-watching is really good with this display, and the stereo speakers add to that experience.
The 120Hz refresh rate makes everything super smooth, and it can be toggled down to 60Hz to save battery.
Now, one of the most compelling reasons to buy the OnePlus 10R is its battery, and more specifically, its battery charging speeds. That’s because it can charge at a super-fast 150W, which in my testing, got me from flat to full in around 17 minutes.
Do keep in mind that this insane charging speed is available only on the top-spec variant, and it also means you get a smaller 4,500mAh battery unit than you get on the 80W charging model, which gets a 5,000mAh unit.
If you ask me, I’d go for the faster charging any day, because the 4,500mAh unit gave me more than a day’s battery life without breaking a sweat, even with heavy usage, and being able to charge your phone fully in less than 20 minutes is a pretty nice flex. Unfortunately, there's no wireless charging support here and it would have been a welcome addition at this price point.
The OnePlus 10R has a pretty decent camera setup, that’s been seen on other phones as well. It’s got a 50MP primary shooter with the Sony IMX766 sensor, an 8MP sensor for ultra-wide images and a 2MP macro sensor.
In outdoor lighting, the primary sensor produced pretty good results, with lots of vibrant colours and strong contrast levels. There’s a fair amount of natural depth of field without the portrait mode, but even when you turn it on, you can get some really nice images with accurate edge detection.
In indoor/mixed lighting conditions, HDR works well, and shots taken with the primary sensor look quite natural.
When it comes to low-light/night shots, the 10R produced some impressive results, and whether I had the Night Mode on or off, pictures were well exposed and preserved accurate colours.
The ultra-wide sensor adds a fair bit of extra width in the frame, but it does come at the cost of detail. At times, there’s also a visible difference in the colour profile processed in ultra-wide images compared to those taken with the primary sensor.
The lack of consistency carries into the 2MP macro sensor as well, which really struggled to bring out accurate colours and correctly expose shots. Pictures taken at 2X digital zoom with the main sensor were far better in terms of depth of field and colour, so I’d suggest using that for close up shots.
When it comes to videos with the rear camera, the 10R shoots at a maximum 4K at 30fps, but sadly there’s no option for 60fps. There is OIS on the main sensor though, but there’s no setting to turn on any additional electrical image stabilisation.
The front camera on the OnePlus 10R is a 16MP unit, and in outdoor lighting, it produced decent enough results. HDR was quite aggressive, but pictures did come out sharp and with crisp details. In indoor lighting, the selfie camera did at times mess up the highlights, and in low-light images, the camera tended to produce odd skin tones.
Videos with the front camera are supported by EIS, and you can shoot at a maximum of 1080p at 30fps, but a 4K option would have been a nice touch to see at this price point.
So, is the OnePlus 10R the smartphone for you? Well, there's other options out there for sure and the phone's new design language may seem a bit strange to OnePlus loyalists. That being said, however, the10R does fit a certain niche, and it's a reasonable purchase if you're after good performance, a super clean interface and hyper-fast charging.
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