OnePlus Nord N10 5G Review: A Solid Phone If You'll Settle

OnePlus Nord N10 5G: Audio Quality, Performance Benchmarks And Battery Life

OnePlus Nord N10 5G Audio, Data And Call Reception

We used the OnePlus Nord N10 5G on T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon’s 4G LTE networks in San Francisco without any problems. Calls quality and data speeds were fine. Obviously, this is a sub-6GHz 5G phone, but our European review unit only lists one US-compatible 5G band, and that’s band n41 (2.5GHz) for T-Mobile, which isn’t deployed in the Bay Area. We don’t have 5G specs for the US model yet, so stay tuned.

Nord N10 5G 24

The N10 5G packs stereo speakers and a headphone jack with Dirac audio enhancement. It also supports aptX HD and LDAC for lossless audio over Bluetooth. While the stereo speakers are a big improvement over the Nord’s basic mono setup, it’s the headphone jack that surprised us the most. The DAC sounds great, and the amp delivers enough power to drive a wide variety of headphones and earbuds.

OnePlus Nord N10 5G Performance Benchmarks

Performance has always been one of OnePlus’ strengths, and the original Nord proved that with proper optimizations, the Snapdragon 765G can feel just as quick as the Snapdragon 865 in day-to-day use. The OnePlus Nord N10 5G features a Snapdragon 690 SoC with built-in 5G, 6GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage (plus microSD support up to 512GB). And honestly, it’s kind of a mixed bag.

While the Snapdragon 690 fares rather well in our benchmarks (see below), the N10 5G just doesn’t deliver the kind of performance you’d expect from a OnePlus handset. Basically, it’s just competently fast, not impressively fast like previous OnePlus handsets we've tested. Despite the 90Hz display keeping everything smooth, the N10 5G lacks that amazingly quick and responsive OnePlus experience we’ve all come to love. 

That being said, the N10 5G juggled our usual collection of benchmark apps without hiccups. We didn’t experience much in the way of latency or performance issues. Hard-core gamers aside, we think most people will find this phone snappy enough.

GeekBench 5
Synthetic CPU Benchmark

The latest version of Geekbench for Android has aligned its scores with the desktop version of Geekbench 5. Let's see how the OnePlus Nord N10 5G fares versus some of its competitors...

OnePlus Nord N10 5G GeekBench5 Score

In these Geekbench 5 tests, the Nord N10 5G finishes in the middle of the pack. The iPhone 11 Pro still has the strongest single-core performance overall, but despite using a Snapdragon 690, the Nord N10 5G manages to hang with Snapdragon 765G-equipped devices like the original Nord and LG Velvet,

Futuremark PCMark For Android
General Purpose Pocket Computing Performance Metrics

Futuremark's PCMark for Android is an excellent suite of tests if you want to benchmark a wide range of tasks on any handset -- things like image and video editing, as well as lighter-duty, everyday workloads such as email and web browsing. When you see the test running live, it's clear the scripted application tests are carefully selected and tuned to make use of the each mobile platform in a very controlled way.

OnePlus Nord N10 5G PCMark Score

In PCMark, the Nord N10 5G also slots between the Snapdragon 730G-equipped Pixel 4a and Snapdragon 765G-equipped LG Velvet. While the Snapdragon 690 powering the Nord N10 5G clearly doesn't match the performance of current flagships for the workloads used in PCMark for Android, these results are still respectable.

AnTuTu 8
Platform Benchmarks

AnTuTu’s latest benchmark returns a number of metrics ranked with somewhat nebulous scores, rather than frame rates or time to complete. Here we're running the latest version of AnTuTu across an multiple Android devices. AnTuTu returns four top level performance results which are all included here: CPU, RAM, 3D, UX (or User Experience), along with a total score...

Nord N10 5G AnTuTu Score

We saw more of the same in the AnTuTu benchmark. Here, the Nord N10 5G comes in right between the Snapdragon 730G-equipped Pixel 4a and the Snapdragon 765G-equipped LG Velvet.

3D Graphics Benchmarks: 3DMark And GFX Bench
Pushing The Pixels

Next we're checking how the Nord N10 5G compares in GFXBench, which has been one of the standard mobile graphics/gaming performance benchmarks for years. To ensure that display refresh (v-sync) and resolution aren't limiting factors, we're comparing off-screen test results here. GFXBench tests OpenGL ES graphics workloads and we're specifically testing OpenGL ES 3.0 and 2.0.

Nord N10 5G GFXBench Trex Score

Nord N10 5G GFXBench Manhattan scores

Graphics performance clearly isn't the Snapdragon 690's strongest suit. Here, the Nord N10 5G's scores are consistently about one third that of current Snapdragon 865-equipped flagships. Still, these result almost match the Snapdragon 730G-equipped Pixel 4a's.

Futuremark's 3DMark Sling Shot is a newer benchmark module that's been added to the 3DMark mobile suite. Unlike previous gen 3DMark mobile tests, Sling Shot is a much more advanced OpenGL ES 3.1 and Metal API-based benchmark that employs more advanced rendering techniques, like volumetric lighting, particle illumination, multiple render targets, instanced rendering, uniform buffers and transform feedback.

3DMark Sling
Shot Test
Futuremark 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Benchmark

We're running this test in off-screen mode once again to remove display resolution differences from the equation. This lets us compare cross-platform results more reliably...

Nord N10 5G 3DMark Sling Shot Score

The Nord N10 5G also performed worse than current flagships in these 3DMark tests. It scored about slightly less than half what the Snapdragon 845-equipped Pixel 3 XL scored, but still matching the Snapdragon 730G-equipped Pixel 4a.

OnePlus Nord N10 5G Other Features And Battery Life

The rest of the N10 5G’s specs are pretty standard, and include CAT 18 LTE, WiFi 5 (802.11ac), Bluetooth 5.1 (LE), NFC, and dual-band A-GPS / GLONASS / Galileo / Beidou, plus the normal sensor suite (accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, ambient light, proximity, and barometer). While the capacitive fingerprint scanner is quick and reliable, the vibration motor is a step down from previous OnePlus handsets.

Nord N10 5G battery life

In terms of battery life, the N10 5G really surprised us. Our PCMark test ran for a whopping 16 hours and 28 minutes. That’s just phenomenal, especially for a 4300mAh cell. We’re basically looking at two days’ use on a charge. Clearly, the Snapdragon 690 sips power. Topping off is a breeze thanks to 30W fast charging (Warp Charge 30T) -- with a charger supplied in the box. Obviously, there’s no wireless charging.

Next up: the software, pricing and our review verdict...

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