In previous generations, we could guess what the next OnePlus phone was going to look like based on recently released devices from OnePlus' sister brands. With the OnePlus 10 Pro, it feels like the Oppo sub-brand is making an effort to stand out from its BBK counterparts.
The OnePlus 10 Pro has a less generic-looking design this time around. After having a rectangular-shaped camera bump with the OnePlus 9 Pro and a linear, vertical setup on the 8 Pro, the new 10 Pro has a flag-shaped camera bump that "merges" from the frame to the back panel. This gives the phone a unique design element enough to stand out amongst other devices. The three cameras and LED flash ring very much give stovetop burner vibes.
Interestingly, only two of the camera rings protrude past the camera bump: both the main and telephoto cameras. The ultrawide camera and LED flash ring sit just below the surface of the bump. Since the camera bump is so wide this time, it is easy to inadvertently leave at least one of the cameras smudged with fingerprints after briefly holding the phone in landscape.
Our OnePlus 10 Pro review unit is the Volcanic Black model. You can think of it as if OnePlus took the looks of the sandstone finish it was known for but instead made it feel like a premium matte glass finish. Under soft light, the finish looks like most other matte phones, but under a bright lamp or under the sun, you'll see what resembles the metallic paint of a high-end vehicle. This is identical to the finish we saw on the black OnePlus 9RT.
The phone weighs 201g and feels well balanced in hand. The textured glass makes holding the device a pleasure - it isn't slippery, and the coarse but soft texture repels fingerprints very well. Keep in mind, however, this is indeed a larger-set smartphone at 163 x 73.9 x 8.55 mm. The OnePlus 10 Pro does not feature an official IP rating except for the T-Mobile variant in the US, where it is IP68 rated. Basically, you can expect that the 10 Pro would be fine if you accidentally took a quick dip, but we would advise against bringing it with you to a water park.
Aside from the new camera setup that merges into the frame, the layout of the 10 Pro is what we've come to expect from the last couple of predecessors. The handset has a flat top, though contrary to assumption - you can't balance it on its head. Anyway, there's a noise-canceling microphone here for calls, and the in-call receiver is housed in a thin slit along the top of the screen.
The left side of the phone is home to the volume rocker, and the right side has the power key and the physical Alert Slider. It has three positions: down is Ringer ON, middle is Vibrate only, and the top position is silent. Like the slider, the keys have a slim profile, but are pleasingly tactile.
The bottom side of the phone is home to the in-call microphone and the loudspeaker port. There's also a nanoSIM tray here with no option for expandable storage.
The aluminum frame is quite slim along the sides of the phone, with a matte anodized finish that nearly matches the volcanic black backplate in both color and texture.
Overall, the 10 Pro's design looks nice. It does enough to stand out with its bold camera bump and sparkly matte finish. Though OnePlus has been known to make colorful and iridescent finishes in the past, it kind of took a step back with volcanic black and emerald green. There's a white variant too, though that one is only available in China.
We can't comment on the long-term reliability of the 10 Pro's hardware, but if you followed the 10 Pro's coverage closely, you'd know that the device quite literally snapped in half in front of the camera during a YouTuber's hand bend test. It was concluded that the hardware has a potential structural weak point along the horizontal line that sits at the bottom of the camera bump. This includes the frame cutout at the top of the volume key, and the antenna line inserts along both sides of the phone. It may not be a cause for concern unless you routinely store your device in a back pocket, including when sitting, which could put pressure on the phone's structural integrity.