I tried new CHEAPER OnePlus phone that rivals the iPhone – but is it better?

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ONEPLUS has made a name for itself over the years crafting smartphones with flagship specs at cut-rate prices.

The Chinese tech firm's latest offering is the OnePlus 10 Pro, and I've tested it over the past two weeks to see if it lives up to the hype.

While it's not the company's most exciting release to date, the mobile has plenty to like and a price tag that won't break the bank.

However, OnePlus still has a long way to go before it's challenging the likes of Apple and Samsung as one of the world's top phone makers.

Design and build

OnePlus rarely disappoints when it comes to the design of its devices and the 10 Pro is no exception.

With its blacked-out camera array on the back, it's stylish without being too weird.

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That rear bump blends into the metal chassis on either side, giving a sleek and slim look that's easy on the eye.

The blower comes in two colours: Green and black. A white version was launched in China but isn't available worldwide.

The review unit I got was green, and it looks fantastic, an understated hue that's different enough to catch people's attention.

In terms of build, the 10 Pro is a little thinner than other smartphones and is easy to hold.

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It's got glass on both sides – frosted on the back – with a shiny metal band

The device feels solid and doesn't bend or creak when you put pressure on it in the way that some cheaper phones do.

Overall, I'd say the OnePlus 10 Pro is one of the better-looking smartphones to come out in the past 12 months.

Display, camera and features

The OnePlus 10 Pro's 6.7in OLED screen is up there with the very best, following in the footsteps of OnePlus' previous great displays.

It's bright and colourful with a 120Hz refresh rate that ensures animations are silky smooth.

It's truly one of the best smartphone displays that money can buy and one of the 10 Pro's biggest selling points.

The cameras, on the other hand, are solid without being spectacular.

You get three on the back: A 48MP main, 50MP ultrawide and 8MP telephoto (for 3.3x optical zoom.)

There's also a 32MP selfie camera that does a decent enough job.

My main problem is that while the main camera does an okay job, the telephoto and ultrawide leave something to be desired.

They just don't match up in terms of quality to cameras I've tried on other smartphones at the same price range, such as the iPhone SE 3.

Stick to the main camera, and you'll be alright. Photos come out bright and colourful, though the lens struggles in low light.

If your phone's snapper is the main thing you care about, I can't in good faith recommend the 10 Pro over its similarly priced rivals.

Elsewhere, the 10 Pro's superfast charging is certainly worth a mention.

The phone comes with a special charger that gets you from empty to full in roughly half an hour, faster than most phones on the market.

That rapid juicing is needed to make up for the 10 Pro's middling battery life, which is just fine without breaking any boundaries.

It'll last you roughly one day on a single charge most of the time without ever stretching into a second day.

Price

The price is where the 10 Pro really shines when compared to the flagships of the likes of Apple and Samsung.

At £799 ($899), it's still premium-priced but £30 cheaper than last year’s model.

Importantly, it's significantly less than the £950 iPhone 13 Pro and the £1,149 Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

It's also £250 less than parent company Oppo’s Find X5 Pro.

Far from being the cheapest phone on the market, the 10 Pro still offers plenty of bang for your buck.

Final verdict

Overall, the OnePlus 10 Pro is a solid phone without being spectacular.

It feels a little more middle-of-the-road than previous OnePlus releases and plays it safe compared to its predecessors.

The display and charging speed are brilliant and match or better almost anything else on the market.

However, it falls short when it comes to the cameras and battery life, in my opinion.

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All in all, I feel like the 10 Pro doesn't live up to the prowess of the top Samsung and Apple mobiles without being cheap enough to justify the drop in quality.

If you're looking for a good, cheaper phone, you're better off going for the iPhone SE 3 or Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, in my view.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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