OnePlus still isn’t delivering a flagship camera

OPINION: OnePlus revealed its global launch plans for the OnePlus 10 Pro this week, finally unveiling pricing for the flagship phone it originally detailed three months ago.

The elongated release schedule for the OnePlus 10 Pro hasn’t done the device any favours, reducing hype and revealing all the surprises months ahead of us actually getting our hands on it.

But the time has finally come and our mobile writer Peter Phelps has now reviewed the OnePlus 10 Pro, concluding that this is a very fast phone – both when it comes to performance and charging – with a glorious screen. There’s a hefty caveat though, and that’s the quality of the multi-camera array on the back of the phone.

If you’re familiar with the past phones of OnePlus then this conclusion will come as very little of a surprise. Summing up the brand’s previous flagship as ‘fast phones with disappointing cameras’ has been a constant, even with seemingly more focus on imaging each year.

The camera bump on the back of the OnePlus 10 Pro
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

I have often given OnePlus a free pass and accepted the sub-standard cameras, either because the cheaper price of the phone made it an acceptable sacrifice or because there wasn’t anyone doing it better at that end of the market. But that’s just not the case anymore.

The OnePlus 10 Pro starts at £799, a price that’s higher than the Samsung Galaxy S22, Pixel 6 and the iPhone 13 – three phones with far superior cameras. Yes, it’s cheaper than many other ‘Pro’ phones like the Oppo Find X5 Pro (£1099) and the Galaxy S22 Ultra (£1199) but those both have really strong imaging skills that leave the OnePlus in the dust.

What’s wrong with the camera?

We go in-depth with the OnePlus 10’s Pro camera in our full review, but in short, it didn’t impress our reviewer very much.

One of the biggest issues he had with it was the lack of consistency between the three different cameras, with colours often appearing radically different when he switched between the wide, ultrawide and zoom lenses. You can see this in the image samples below, with the green coming across very differently in the two shots.

OnePlus 10 Pro main camera image of bridge on canal
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)
OnePlus 10 Pro ultrawide camera shot of bridge on canal
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The problem persists in the images below, with the shot from the main wide camera looking a whole lot warmer than the very cool ultrawide.

OnePlus 10 Pro bridge main camera
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)
OnePlus 10 Pro ultrawide camera picture of bridge
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Peter also noted that images from the ultrawide repeatedly felt washed out (especially when compared to the other lenses) and the main camera frequently lacked a strong punch of colour.

What makes the whole camera situation here even more baffling is that it’s clearly a focus for the brand in so many ways. The OnePlus 10 Pro itself has one of the largest camera modules I have ever seen on a phone, covering a large portion of the rear and creating a divisive design in the process.

Then there’s the glossy partnership with imaging brand Hasselblad that includes hits of the brand’s iconic orange in the camera app and a big logo on the camera housing. Oh, and of course the three high-specced cameras themselves.

There’s such a camera focus here that it should be one of the best aspects and it can’t be ignored. If OnePlus really wants to be up there with those making the best phones then it needs to follow through with all these camera promises.

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