The latest phones from OnePlus and Samsung always cause a bit of a stir, and with good reason. OnePlus has carved out a vision of selling only one phone at a time for a cheaper price than rivals and updating the phone every six months.
Samsung is more of a household name though, and its S9 phone is one of the best in the world. But is the OnePlus 6T better?
Price and availability
OnePlus prides itself on its ability to sell its phones for less than the competition, but the OnePlus 6T is its most expensive ever from £499 in the UK and from $549 in the US.
You can buy it directly from OnePlus.
The Galaxy S9 is an amazingly slick and well-designed piece of technology even if it is near identical to the S8. Its look has been aped by countless other phones in the past couple of years but Samsung’s build quality and attention to detail is excellent.
Like the S9, the OnePlus 6T is an all-glass phone with very slim bezels. The 6T has a small teardrop notch at the top of its display to house the camera – Samsung opts to not use notches on any of its phones.
The S9 is a physically smaller device but packs in so much including waterproofing, wireless charging and a headphone jack. Amazingly, the OnePlus 6T has none of these features, even though the company claims the 6T is water resistant.
With the S9 you get a tall 18.5:9 5.8im display, and it’s one of the best uses of space on a smartphone that is actually quite small. The larger OnePlus 6T has a 19.5:9 6.41in screen, and ends up being 6mm wider than the S9 because of it.
The 6T does have an in-screen fingerprint sensor rather than a physical one that you’ll find on the back of the S9. It also has dual cameras compared to the S9’s one (the larger S9 Plus not discussed here has two, though).
Both are slick smartphones and the choice will come down to the size of device you want and perhaps if the notch on the 6T bothers you.
Here’s a handy comparison table of all the specs of both phones:
|Specification||Samsung Galaxy S9||OnePlus 6T|
|Operating System||Android 8.0 Oreo||Android 9 Pie|
|Display||5.8in SuperAMOLED Infinity Display, 18.5:9, HDR10, Quad HD+ (1440×2960), 570ppi||6.41in Full HD+ (2340×1080) AMOLED, 19.5:9, 402ppi|
|Processor||Exynos 9810 or Snapdragon 845||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor|
|Storage||64/128/256GB (expandable by up to 512GB via microSD)||128/256GB|
|Primary Camera||12 Mp, f/1.5-2.4 dual aperture, 26mm (wide), 1.4µm, OIS, dual pixel PDAF||16Mp and 20Mp rear camera, f/1.7|
|Front Camera||8 MP, f/1.7||16Mp f/2.0|
|Video Recording||4K @ 60fps, 1080p @ 240fps||4K @ 30fps, Slo-mo 720p @ 120fps|
|WiFi||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band|
|Bluetooth||5.0 with aptX||5.0 with aptX|
|Fingerprint scanner||Yes||Yes, in-screen|
|Colours||Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Lilac Purple||Mirror Black, Midnight Black|
|Ports||USB-C, 3.5mm Headphone jack||USB-C|
|Waterproof||IP68||Usable in light rain showers|
|Dimensions||147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5mm||157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm|
Samsung uses different processors depending on your region – the Exynos 9810 in Europe or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 elsewhere. The OnePlus 6T uses the latter and both phones are especially powerful in 2018 and 2019. They’ll both blast through ay task you throw at them, from the simplest apps to multi-tasking and the most demanding mobile games.
As well as a larger display the OnePlus 6T also has more RAM than the 4GB on the S9. Depending on the model you buy you’ll get 6 or 8GB with the 6T.
The S9 comes with 64, 128 or 256GB of expandable storage whereas the OnePlus 6T is non-expandable at 128 or 256GB.
The single 12Mp camera on the S9 takes impressive photos and has a clever physical dual-aperture function that changes depending on the light. A single lens does mean it can’t take portrait style photos though.
This is possible on the dual camera OnePlus 6T. OnePlus uses a 16Mp and 20Mp set up to allow for bokeh and 2x zoom. Both phones can record 4K video at 60fps.
Both phones have NFC, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0 and USB-C ports. The S9 has a smaller 3300mAh battery compared to the large 3700mAh cell in the OnePlus 6T, though both can fast charge with the provided chargers.
Samsung’s phones are some of the most popular in the world, the S9 included, but the company actually changes the look of stock Android quite considerably with its Samsung Experience skin. It all works well, but it’s not as clean and zippy as the OnePlus 6T’s OxygenOS skin.
The S9 isn’t technically slower but the software animations sometimes make it feel as though it is. In comparison the 6T feels incredibly slick and smooth with its no frills approach to Android.
The 6T also runs Android 9 Pie out of the box whereas the Galaxy S9 comes with Android 8 Oreo. This doesn’t make the S9 less secure, but it does mean the 6T has a few more Android features at the time of writing.
The S9 will get Pie but we don’t know when and even then, it’ll depend on your region and operator. The S9 has advantages like compatibility with DeX but you might prefer the do not disturb while gaming mode on the OnePlus 6T.
The 6T also lets you pick the classic Android navigation buttons if you don’t like the new gesture system Google has introduced.
It’ll depend a lot on your budget, whether you’re buying on contract and your overall taste in phone design but these are both good phones. But on paper, the Galaxy S9 simply has more features like an IP rating, wireless charging and a headphone jack.
The OnePlus 6T has a zippier, cleaner version of Android, and Android 9 Pie at that. It also has a larger screen, dual cameras and a larger battery.