The OnePlus 10R 5G is now the second phone in the company's latest number series. It's a direct successor to the OnePlus 9R (Review) from last year and is priced starting just below this year's OnePlus 9RT (Review). The OnePlus 10R 5G starts under Rs. 40,000, which used to be the sweet spot for OnePlus' flagship phones at one point. It's also one of the reasons the 9R was launched at around this price for the Indian market, in order to appease OnePlus' long-standing fanbase.
With the company now under new management, we're beginning to see a lot of outside influence from Oppo and its sister brands such as Realme, diluting its once iconic and recognisable image. These changes are most noticeable in the company's budget Nord CE series of phones and now, the 10R 5G.
As a successor to the 9R, the OnePlus 10R 5G seems like a good upgrade as it offers a more powerful 5G SoC, an interesting new design, upgraded cameras, and quicker charging on the top-end version than even the 10 Pro. However, all of this has come with a few compromises, which might not seem very significant to the average buyer, but could be disappointing to fans of the brand.
It's hard to peg the 10R 5G as a OnePlus smartphone without the logo
The design of the OnePlus 10R 5G is good place to start. If you look at this phone from the rear and cover the OnePlus logo, it's not instantly recognisable as a OnePlus smartphone. The design isn't bad but is definitely missing some character. This phone is also missing OnePlus' iconic Alert slider which is a trademark that's been on every OnePlus smartphone except for the Nord CE series. Another change, or should I say downgrade, is the materials used. The OnePlus 10R 5G has a polycarbonate back panel and frame, compared to the glass and metal used for the OnePlus 9R. This shouldn't hamper day-to-day usage, especially if you put a case on this this phone, but it's a compromise nonetheless.
On the bright side, the top-end version of the OnePlus 10R 5G has a very cool party trick, and that is its ability to charge at up to 150W. This model that I have with me ships with a 160W SuperVOOC Endurance Edition charger. It's about half the length of the phone and is quite heavy. OnePlus claims that you should be able to charge the 4,500mAh battery in this incarnation of the 10R 5G from empty to full in just 17 minutes, which is incredibly quick.
To safeguard the battery's health for long-terms use, this model gets an exclusive Battery Health Engine feature which is said to ensure safety when charging rapidly and also that the battery can retain 80 percent of its original capacity even after 1,600 charge cycles. This model is priced at Rs. 43,999 and is available with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
The 160W SuperVOOC Endurance Edition charger comes with the top-end OnePlus 10R 5G model
The standard OnePlus 10R 5G can still be charged at a very quick 80W and comes with an 80W SuperVOOC fast charger in the box, just like the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G (Review). This model lacks the Battery Health Engine feature but it does have all the basic safety considerations for fast charging in place. The battery capacity in the standard model is 5,000mAh, and it is rated to deliver longer usage time than the 4,500mAh battery in the 150W model. Prices for the 80W model start at Rs. 38,999 for 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and Rs. 42,999 for 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
The OnePlus 10R 5G checks a lot of boxes when it comes to premium features, which we've come to expect from phones in this segment. It lacks wireless charging and an IP rating, but it does have a vivid 6.7-inch AMOLED display with an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. It supports a 10-bit colour depth, is certified for HDR10+ video playback and has Corning Gorilla Glass 5. The phone also has stereo speakers and an in-display fingerprint sensor. For software, you get OxygenOS 12.1 which is based on Android 12.
The SoC in the OnePlus 10R 5G is the MediaTek Dimensity 8100-Max, which is a customised version of the standard Dimensity 8100 SoC found in another recent launch, the Realme GT Neo 3. I'll be testing its performance in detail in my full review, but in my opinion, the ‘Max' moniker is most likely related to few custom AI algorithms for photo or video processing. We've seen similar custom SoCs in the past such as the Dimensity 1200-AI in the OnePlus Nord 2 (Review) and the Dimensity 1200-Max in the Oppo Reno 7 Pro (Review).
The missing Alert slider on the OnePlus 10R 5G is a little surprising, not to mention disappointing
The main rear camera uses a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 sensor and benefits from optical stabilisation. We've seen this sensor in plenty of flagships already, so I'm expecting good results. The ultra-wide camera has an 8-megapixel Sony IMX355 sensor with an f/2.2 aperture and no autofocus. The third camera on the back is a 2-megapixel macro camera. OnePlus has upgraded the 9R's selfie camera to a Samsung sensor with the 10R 5G. It has a 16-megapixel resolution along with an f/2.4 aperture.
The OnePlus 10R 5G is definitely an exciting new addition to the Rs. 40,000 smartphone segment. If you look past the plastics used for the body and the lack of some familiar OnePlus features, it still manages to offer solid specifications for the price. However, the 10R 5G also faces a direct threat in the form of the Realme GT Neo 3. In addition to its similar pricing and specifications, the GT Neo 3 also comes in two distinct models with support for 80W or 150W charging, making it suspiciously similar to the 10R 5G. We are currently testing both smartphones and will have our final verdicts on them in the full reviews, coming up soon.