OnePlus 10 Pro — are U.S. users missing out?

a photo of the OnePlus 10 Pro
(Image credit: Future)

The OnePlus 10 Pro is one of the best Android phones we've ever tried. And even if the U.S. version lacks a couple of big features, it turns out that neither one is that big an absence.

While previous OnePlus flagships have featured both 8GB RAM and 12GB RAM variants, this time OnePlus has decided to only release the lower-spec 8GB version in the U.S. Added to that, we have the 80W charging system, which is available in every country except for the U.S. and Canada, where it’s incompatible with local A/C standards. Instead, OnePlus 10 Pro owners in those two countries have to make do with 65W charging.

When I found out about these spec differences, I wondered if North American phone buyers are getting a sub-standard product with the OnePlus 10 Pro, or if the extra 4GB RAM and 15W of charging didn't make much difference. I ran some tests to find out.

OnePlus 10 Pro 80W charging: better than 65W, but not by much

Just looking at the numbers, you'd expect the 80W charger to fill the OnePlus 10 Pro's battery faster than the 65W charger, and that's a correct assumption. However, you get diminishing returns as you increase the wattage of the charger, as our test results show.

In the TG lab, the 65W charging filled the 5,000 mAh battery to 55% in 15 minutes, and to 93% in 30 minutes. An impressive score that lands it on our list of the fastest charging phones, but how does the 80W system do?

Again according to our own tests, the 80W system got our U.K. review unit to 63% full in 15 minutes and 98% in 30 minutes. That's obviously faster, but it's not that much faster. If you're trying to charge the phone in a rush, it'll matter more, but leaving the phone for longer eats away at the advantage that 80W provides. A hollow victory for the U.K. 10 Pro.

OnePlus 10 Pro 12GB RAM performance: no different than 8GB RAM, or perhaps worse

To gauge the performance of the OnePlus 10 Pro's 8GB and 12GB versions, we'll take a look at some benchmark scores, specifically those for CPU benchmark Geekbench 5, and the GPU benchmark Wild Life Extreme Unlimited by 3DMark.

The 8GB U.S. version of the 10 Pro scored 995 on the single core test and 3,482 on the multi-core test for Geekbench 5; it also managed to achieve 2,574 points and an average of 15.4 frames per second on Wild Life Extreme Unlimited. Meanwhile the 12GB model scored 989 and 3,309 on Geekbench, and 2,531 and 15.2 FPS on Wild Life Extreme Unlimited.

While it's only a small difference, the higher RAM version has somehow produced lower overall scores. This could be down to the individual chips we got to try, or the differing circumstances under which the tests were performed. The extra RAM is unlikely to cause a slowdown in performance, but it seems like it doesn’t help either.

I haven’t tried out an 8GB OnePlus 10 Pro for myself, but I can say that the 12GB model is a pleasure to use, and can handle high-performance games and multiple apps at once without a problem. It just seems that having that extra RAM doesn't boost the performance significantly.

OnePlus 10 Pro: good wherever you buy it

In a reversal from my initial thesis, it seems like it’s the users who pay out the extra £100 for the 12GB model outside the U.S. who are getting a rough deal. While the additional storage space that comes with the high RAM model may be appealing for its own reasons, it seems having more RAM doesn't boost the performance of the phone.

Even the 80W charging, which is available on the default 10 Pro model outside North America, isn't that big a step up from the 65W standard. You'll only notice a difference if you're charging for less than 15 minutes it seems, which could prove useful but not universally.

Let's look on the bright side though. Even though OnePlus is only selling one version of the OnePlus 10 Pro in the U.S., and it's still relying on 65W charging, the OnePlus 10 Pro you buy there is still just as good as the one you'd get if you bought one abroad. That's good news for consumers, even though it means I can no longer gloat about having a better test model than my American colleagues.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.