In this review, I’ll be looking at the following:
- The setup screen,
- Optional features from OnePlus,
- The “Home Screen” where I check to see if the launcher supports screen reader “actions” and my restored apps,
- The “System settings” (where it is similar with stock android and where they part ways,
- The Camera app: Does it support Face detection from a blindness viewpoint or not?
- Microphone check and general audio quality,
- What happened after updating to Android 13,
- Conclusion: What I like and what I don’t like.
Table of Contents
The Setup Screen:
Upon powering up the device, it takes a little time to get to the Setup screen.
Unlike the Setup screen of a Pixel device where one feels a pulsating vibration that I refer to as the “Heart bit,” to let you know that you are now on the screen where Accessibility can be enabled, the OnePlus10T doesn’t do that.
On the subject of Accessibility, it does not support the legacy mode of putting two fingers down on the face of the phone to enable Accessibility, thus, the 2-volume key hold-down method is the only way of enabling Accessibility on the Setup Screen.
Once Accessibility is enabled, one finds the typical items that are found on the Setup screen—Language selector button, “the Start” and the “Vision Settings.”
A little something that is quite different from other phones is that, upon tapping on the “Start,” the next screen is about the “Terms and conditions” from OnePlus.
Once you agree to the “Terms” and tap on the “Agree button” found near the bottom-right, you are taken to the next screen where it asks you to insert a SIMCard.
Note: At the time of writing this review, no OnePlus device supports e-SIM, so, the OnePlus10T, of course does not have an option to download an e-SIM.
I hit the “Skip” at this point to skip the need of inserting a SIMCard. (I advise that if you aren’t sure as to whether or not the language spoken in your region has TTS support from the Google TTS, it’s best to use the default language that it comes up talking to you, which most probably is English. Inserting a SIMCard would rob you of speech output if your regional language isn’t supported).
Tapping “skip” (to skip the insertion of a SIMCard) takes you to the Wi-Fi screen where you choose your Wi-Fi.
Once you supplied your Wi-Fi info and tap on the “Next” button, you are Connected.
Upon a successful connection, unlike most Android phones wherein, there’s a “Next button” at the bottom-right of the phone, the OnePlus10T instead, has a “Back button” there and a “Setup offline” at the bottom-left.
Thus, you will need to tap the “Back button” at the bottom-right to be returned to the previous screen where it asked for inserting a SIMCard.
Now, it is most likely that something out of the ordinary happened here, but you are returned to the screen of the SIMCard and you would tap on the “Skip” if you don’t want to insert a SIMCard.
The rest of the Setup screens are similar to any other Android device where it first takes you to the screen where you can choose to restore your apps and whether or not you would like to use a USB cable in doing so or you would rather bring them from the cloud by signing into your Google account, (I chose the latter).
Optional Features from OnePlus:
When you are done with the preliminary Setup, including the biometrics in the way of the PIN, Fingerprint and Face unlock, you now come to the optional features from OnePlus.
I would like to mention here in passing, that unlike the experience on a Samsung or a Pixel phone, the fingerprint enrollment process doesn’t not necessarily tell you to move left, right, up or down if your finger isn’t quite on the spot, rather, you simply need to pay attention that you feel a vibration and then lift and put the finger back down again.
Also, when the finger in question is enrolled, it doesn’t offer you the ability of enrolling another finger like the other two brands I mentioned above, rather, it simply advances you to the next screen.
Now to the subject of the “optional OnePlus Features.”
These are called “co-Creations Labs.”
During my Setup process, with the device running Android12 out of the box, the checkboxes that are associated with these optional features are not read to me. Thus, I couldn’t tell whether they are checked by default or not; but these are features relating to OnePlus communities, push notifications, “Service Messaging” and the like; something I don’t’ care about and I made sure that once I was done, I revisited those features and made sure I wasn’t’ enrolled.
Tapping on “Agree,” you are taken to the screen where it talks about the differences between “Font size” and “display size.”
On the next screen, you are placed on the two modes of navigation—The traditional 3-button Nav buttons at the bottom of the screen and the “System Gestures.”
These choices are represented by radio buttons and the bad par is that the radio buttons don’t say what they are.
I realized later on, that the first radio button is for “system Gesture” navigation while the second radio button is for the 3-button navigation.
Once you tap on “next,” you are told that Setup is complete and there’s a “Start button” at the bottom-right, which wen tapped, takes you to the Home Screen.
You may hear your screen reader referring to some items on this Home Screen as “unlabeled.”
The Talkback that comes out of the box is Talkback 12.2, thus, you wouldn’t have the auto-speaking of some unlabeled buttons enabled, but it is not something to worry about as the “unlabeled” button mention is basically some widget like the date and the like which would be spoken later on once you update your Android Accessibility Suite to the currently released version of the screen reader.
The Home Screen:
We are now on the Home Screen where our apps are being restored from whatever backup we chose during the initial Setup where I logged in using my account.
My folders are not restored, rather, it restored all of my 300-plus apps by dropping them onto the Home screen and I wound up with some 17 or 18 home screens.
It is also worth mentioning here that the Screen Reader “actions” are not supported. and Also, if you are using the 3-button navigation, the “home button” is flanked by the “Overview” button on the left and the “Back button” on the right.
Updating the OS later on complies with “Actions” support by the Screen Reader.
The System Settings
We now come to the “System Settings” where we find it to be resembling the stock Android with the exception of a very few differences.
For example, at the very beginning of the “System Settings,” we come across an item that says:
“login with a OnePlus account to link your devices and get some “red-cable” perks.”
Next, we see the typical items one sees on most Android phones and then moving downwards, we come across something called “Special Features.”
Tapping on the “Special Features” reveals features like “the Quick launch,” “Split screen,” “OnePlus Shelf,” “Work like balance,” “Scout,” “Gestures and motions,” etc.
Tapping on “Gestures and motion,” one comes across some settings that would conflict with some of our Screen Reader-based gestures.
e.g. swiping down with three fingers to take a screenshot would definitely conflict with the 3-finger swipe down to change granularities. Thus, if you like using the 3-finger swipe down to change granularities, you may want to disable this feature for taking the screenshot.
So, be sure to turn off features in here that you think would conflict with your screen reader experience.
Also, in here, you would find a feature that would let you use gestures when the screen is off.
For example, you can turn this feature on and choose certain gestures to use when music is playing with the screen off.
You’ll also come across things like: “Lift the phone to your ear to answer a call,” and also “lift up to auto-switch to the receiver” which might be the “speaker mode” (I didn’t test this feature).
For some strange reason, OnePlus hasn’t caught up with the times, thus, the camera app doesn’t do the “face-detection” when one is running a screen reader whereupon one is told as to whether or not there’s a face in the view of the camera as we see on Pixel and Samsung phones.
For this reason, I highly suggest installing something like the free “OpenCamera” by Mark Harman.
Microphone Check and General Audio Quality
The stereo speakers on this phone sound good but don’t have the “boomy” sound that one hears on a Pixel phone, especially when using the screen reader.
When it comes to recording audio, the recording sounds great.
I tested with the HiQ MP3 Recorder and this does not disappoint.
The Android13 Upgrade
After updating to Android13 and doing a factory reset, I realized that the optional features from OnePlus, wherein, the “Co-Creations Labs” checkboxes didn’t speak, now speak as well as the two radio buttons representing the selection of either the 3-button navigation or the System Gestures, now speak.
Moving onto the Home Screen upon post update to Android13, the screen reader now supports “actions.”
It is, however, worth mentioning that unlike the Pixel phone where the empty spots between icons aren’t spoken as “Home” when engaged, thus, in order to use an action for customizing the Home Screen, one would need to be on a Home Screen with fewer icons where one knows where the blank spot is, or going to the System Settings to customize it from the “Home Screen and lock” screen area.
Using the “Gesture” navigation is a pain as most of the time, it doesn’t work.
For example, swiping up with two fingers to go home, doesn’t work most of the time and you’d find yourself doing so several times before it works.
The “Back” gesture on the other hand, however, isn’t as bad.
I had to resort to using a screen reader-based gesture to navigate home.
The onePlus10T is a great device is you don’t mind some of the shortcomings mentioned in my review above.
Unlike the previous flagship OnePlus devices, the 10T doesn’t have the physical “mute” button that OnePlus Flagships until this model are known for.
With a total of 16gigs of Ram and running SND 8 gen1+, this is a powerhouse of a beast.
It’s worth mentioning that the sides of the phone are plastic, while the back is metallic.
Unlike the in-glass Fingerprint reader on a Samsung device whereupon, one can simply place their finger where the Fingerprint is located to unlock the device when the screen is shut off, the one found on the OnePlus10T requires that you leave the likes of “AOD” (Always on Display” on and similar features in order to make it work.
If you turn those off, it wouldn’t wake up, but if they are on, touching that area unlocks the screen instantaneously.
Although OnePlus refers to this customized Android skin as “Oxygen” OS; the truth, however, is that this is basically the “Color OS” found on Oppo phones and I will even argue that some of the OnePlus phones are a simple rebranding of oppo phones.
As one who uses the Google Fi Wireless service for my phone services, I couldn’t use this phone as it couldn’t make or receive phone calls.
So, if you are on Google Fi Wireless, this is not the phone for you.
Overall, the OnePlus10T is a great phone and yet in the same breath if you aren’t a fan of the “Color OS” and like using the “Gesture” navigation over the traditional 3-button navigation, then this phone may not be for you, unless if you happen to be one of those that like using screen reader-based gestures for doing so.
The OnePlus10T is slated to receive three years of OS updates and four years of security patches.