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The OnePlus 10 doesn’t exist because no one wants it

With all the noise around the OnePlus 10 Pro, you may be forgiven for thinking a humble non-Pro OnePlus 10 has been seriously overshadowed by its more expensive sibling this year. But it hasn’t, and that’s because there isn’t a OnePlus 10. There were two only devices announced during OnePlus’s March 31 launch event, the OnePlus 10 Pro and the OnePlus Buds Pro in a new color.

Where is it? At the moment, the OnePlus 10 is an absolute no-show. But judging by previous non-Pro OnePlus phones and the current state of not only the market but OnePlus’s own range of devices, it’s probably for the best.

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No reason to exist

We gave the OnePlus 9 a rather disappointing 6/10 score in our review from April 2021, not because the phone was especially bad, but mostly because it didn’t really have a place in the market. It had to take on the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, the iPhone 12, and the Google Pixel 5, all very capable all-rounders available for a similar price. The OnePlus 9 Pro was the far better proposition if you were set on a OnePlus phone, although it was considerably more expensive.

OnePlus 9 screen and box.

The OnePlus 9 was quickly dismissed because it had nowhere to belong, and its higher-than-usual price put it up against some seriously desirable smartphones. Would it be any different in 2022 if OnePlus had announced a OnePlus 10? Let’s imagine the phone for a moment. It may have a flat 1080p display, a camera without the optical zoom, and 150-degree ultra-wide-angle mode from the 10 Pro, and a $699 price, $200 less than the OnePlus 10 Pro, Looking at this, would you care about it?

Perhaps, but there would be no reason to buy it. For around that price you can have the excellent Google Pixel 6 or for a little more the Pixel 6 Pro, the Samsung Galaxy S22 or the Galaxy S21 FE, or the iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 Mini. Elsewhere in the world the Realme GT 2 Pro, the Xiaomi 12, or the Oppo Find X5 all shout for your attention too. Where would a stripped-down OnePlus 10 Pro fit in?

OnePlus has too many phones already

Wait, you’re saying, I need a OnePlus phone! That’s fine, may I suggest the OnePlus Nord 2? Still too expensive? What about the OnePlus Nord CE 2 then? Or what about the Nord N200? OnePlus’s Nord range has become the de facto low-cost alternative to the OnePlus 10 Pro, to the point I said the Nord 2 could have been called the OnePlus 9 Lite when it was released. Squeezing a OnePlus 10 between the Nord 2 and OnePlus 10 Pro will fill a price gap for the company, but devices demanded by the accountants rarely tug at our heartstrings.

The OnePlus Nord 2 and the OnePlus 9 Pro.
OnePlus 9 Pro (left) and OnePlus Nord 2 (right) Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Those same accountants may also be behind the lack of a OnePlus 10. OnePlus saw considerable success in the U.S. during 2021, with Counterpoint Research indicating a 524% growth year-on-year, singling out the Nord series and its general availability as a key factor. If the OnePlus 9 also played a part in this impressive increase, a OnePlus 10 would make sense. But the absence of the phone indicates the Nord and the Pro models are considerably more popular with people buying new phones.

There haven’t been any meaningful rumors about a OnePlus 10 either. Usually, we would see or hear something about upcoming phones, and the lack of chatter surrounding it could mean the phone has never been part of the plan at all. However, there has been talk about a OnePlus 10R, a version of the OnePlus 10 Pro destined for India and potentially other regions too. In addition to the OnePlus 10R, names of other OnePlus phones have also spread recently, including hints about a OnePlus 10 Ultra and eventually, a Nord 3 too.

The non-Pro version of OnePlus’s annual flagship smartphone hasn’t had a reason to exist for a while

OnePlus started off with one smartphone in its range, before moving to two phones. These days it has multiple devices at all different prices, aimed at different people living in different regions. OnePlus fans aren’t lacking choice. A simple non-Pro OnePlus 10 just doesn’t make sense anymore.

Does that mean it’s not coming at all?

When Digital Trends asked OnePlus whether there was anything official to share about a OnePlus 10, the answer was a simple (and standard) “nothing to announce at this time.” It’s as non-committal as we expected, in that the statement could be taken as either it’s never coming so don’t bother asking, or that we should wait a few months for the OnePlus marketing machine to leap back into life with a new announcement.

We shouldn’t be sad if it never arrives. The non-Pro version of OnePlus’s annual flagship smartphone hasn’t had a reason to exist for a while. The OnePlus 8 failed to stand out, and the OnePlus 9 was lost in a sea of better phones for about the same price. I’m not against a OnePlus 10, but it needs to be worthwhile. At the moment it’s redundant, caused not only by aggressive competition but also by OnePlus’s own varied range of cheap smartphones.

If you’re clutching a OnePlus 9 right now take care of it, as it could be the last of its breed.

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