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Monday, March 15, 2021

Samsung S21 and S21 Ultra Vs OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro

Expect to hear a lot about the OnePlus 9 this month. We're due for a release of yet another flagship device from the upstart phone maker, with the company pointing to an announcement this Monday (March 8). We're expecting to hear a lot about release plans for the OnePlus 9 on that date, possibly along with some concrete information about what kind of features we can expect when the new phone does arrive.

OnePlus 9 Pro

You figure that Samsung will be paying very close attention to whatever new info comes about the OnePlus 9. The electronics giant has just come out with a trio of well-received flagship phones as part of the Galaxy S21 launch. But as impressive as the S21 is — and it's among the best Android phones you can currently buy — OnePlus has positioned its phones as lower-cost alternatives to Samsung's phones. Expect that to continue with the OnePlus 9.

OnePlus is following Samsung's example in one respect — its next phone launch is likely to include a trio of devices. Just as the Galaxy S21 lineup is made up of the standard Galaxy S21, a larger Galaxy S21 Plus and a tricked-out Galaxy S21 Ultra, the OnePlus 9 lineup will reportedly feature a higher-end OnePlus 9 Pro and an entry-level OnePlus 9E joining the regular OnePlus 9. 

Samsung S21 Ultra

The Pro model is certainly no surprise — OnePlus has issued Pro versions of its phones for the past two years dating back to the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro launch. The OnePlus 9E will be a bit of a departure for the company, which has long been rumored to be working on a "lite" version of its flagship phones that remove some features in exchange for a lower price. Think of this as OnePlus' version of the Galaxy S20 FE, a phone Samsung released last year that adapted many Galaxy S20 features while costing a couple hundred dollars less.

We'll leave the OnePlus 9 Pro vs. Galaxy S21 Plus comparisons for later. At this time let's largely focus on how the OnePlus 9 compares to the main Galaxy S21 model.

It's not hard to find a Galaxy S21, which is available from all the major U.S. carriers as well as from Samsung and other retail sites. Samsung's flagship phone starts at $799 — a $200 discount from the debut price of last year's Galaxy S20. For that, you get 128GB of storage; an extra $50 boosts the storage to 256GB. (And you may need that added capacity, as there's no microSD card slot on the S21.)

Hasselblad lens on the OnePlus 9 Pro

Since OnePlus traditionally tries to undercut Samsung on pricing, the lower starting price on the S21 puts some pressure on the company. Last year's OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8T still cost less than the S21, with starting prices of $699 and $749, respectively. But should the OnePlus 9 retain that pricing — it's unclear right now exactly what OnePlus has planned — the OnePlus 9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S21 price gap won't be as wide as it used to be.

From the leaked renders we've seen of the OnePlus 9, it looks like the new phone will sport a similar design to the Galaxy S21. Both phones look to have flat displays and like Samsung's handset, the OnePlus 9 features a square camera array in the upper left corner on the back of the phone. (This is a departure from the OnePlus 8, where the rear cameras descended vertically down the center of the phone.) Samsung introduced a new contour cut design with the S21 that better blends the camera array with the phone's frame, so we'll see how the OnePlus 9 handles making the camera array less prominent.

One of the ways Samsung kept costs down on the S21 was by using plastic materials for the phone's case instead of the glass backs found on the S21 Plus and Ultra models. We're not sure what materials OnePlus is using for its phone, but rumors point to the OnePlus 9 arriving in Arctic Sky, Astral Black and Winter Mist colors. The S21 features four colors — with violet and pink joining more traditional gray and white options.

Where the OnePlus 9 will stand out is screen size, as OnePlus is rumored to be going with a 6.5-inch panel for its new phone. That's bigger than the 6.2-inch OLED screen on the Galaxy S21. If you like your screens even bigger, the OnePlus 9 Pro will reportedly opt for a 6.7-inch display, matching the Galaxy S21 Plus.

Samsung gave adaptive displays to its Galaxy S21 lineup, with all three phones able to adjust their refresh rate depending on the task at hand. Activities like scrolling get a faster refresh rate, while the screen slows down to preserve battery life when your activities are more static. In the case of the S21, the screen's refresh rate ranges between 48 Hz all the way up to 120 Hz.

In fact, software skills abound on Samsung's phones, with the S21 supporting features like an improved Single Take that produces multiple versions of the same shot with one press of the shutter button. All S21 models include Directors Mode, which lets you capture video from multiple cameras at the same time, allowing you to toggle between angles and even the front and rear lenses.

OnePlus has typically come up short with its photo processing software, so this is an area where the OnePlus 9 will have to step up if it hopes to keep pace with the Galaxy S21. Recent betas for Oxygen OS — the Android-based software that runs on OnePlus' phone — have hinted at features like "Tilt-shift," "Focus Peaking" and moon-based photography filters, so it's possible OnePlus has some improvements to its photo-processing powers in store.

Flagship phones from Samsung and OnePlus tend to offer the same mobile processor, and that's likely to continue with the OnePlus 9 vs. the Samsung Galaxy S21. That latter phone uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 system-on-chip, helping Samsung's new batch of phones deliver the best performance we've ever seen from an Android device. (The iPhone 12 family, and its A14 Bionic processor, still tops our testing, though.)

There's no reason to believe the OnePlus 9 won't follow suit with a Snapdragon 888 chipset of its own. And because OnePlus tends to pack its devices with RAM, we could see a slight performance edge for the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro, once we get the chance to test those two phones.

The definitive OnePlus 9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S21 comparison will have to wait until OnePlus unveils its new phones. Based on the current rumors, though, the Galaxy S21 could be in for some stiff competition. The OnePlus 9 figures to offer the same processor, a fast refreshing screen, and much better charging features than Samsung's phone. That's an impressive set of potential features

The definitive OnePlus 9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S21 comparison will have to wait until OnePlus unveils its new phones. Based on the current rumors, though, the Galaxy S21 could be in for some stiff competition. The OnePlus 9 figures to offer the same processor, a fast refreshing screen, and much better charging features than Samsung's phone. That's an impressive set of potential features.

Ultimately, though, this clash will come down to price (and maybe camera performance). If the OnePlus 9 can deliver premium for less than the Galaxy S21 — a challenge given that Samsung's phone can be had for $799 — then the competition among Android phones is about to get a lot more interesting.

Source: Tomsguide

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