Nokia 9 PureView vs. OnePlus 6T: Which affordable flagship reigns supreme?

Nokia 9 PureView
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Nokia 9 PureView is here boasting a massive five camera lenses, a clean Android experience, and all at a relatively low price. But it’s not the only so-called “affordable” flagship-tier device. OnePlus has been the king of affordable flagships for some time now, with the latest model being the OnePlus 6T.

If you’re considering buying a phone in this price range, both will be on your radar. But which is the better device? We put the two head to head to find out.

Specs

Nokia 9 PureView OnePlus 6T
Size 155 × 75 × 8 mm (6.10 × 2.95 × 0.31 inches) 157.5 × 74.8 × 8.2 mm (6.20 × 2.94 × 0.32 inches)
Weight 172 grams (6.07 ounces) 185 grams (6.53 ounces)
Screen size 5.99-inch P-OLED 6.41-inch AMOLED
Screen resolution 2,880 × 1,440 pixels (538 pixels per inch) 2,340 × 1,080 pixels (402 pixels per inch)
Operating system Android 9.0 Pie Android 9.0 Pie
Storage space 128GB 128GB, 256GB
MicroSD card slot No No
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay Google Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
RAM 6GB 6GB, 8GB
Camera Five 12MP sensors (two RGB sensors, three B/W sensors) rear, 20MP front Dual 16MP and 20MP rear, 16MP front
Video 2,160p at 30 frames per second 2,160p at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps, 720p at 480fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C USB-C
Fingerprint sensor Yes (in-display) Yes (in-display)
Water resistance IP67 No
Battery 3,320mAh

Quick Charge 3.0

Qi wireless charging with Fast Wireless Charging 10W

3,700mAh

Fast charging

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon (No Sprint)
Colors Midnight blue Thunder purple, mirror black, midnight black
Price $700 $549
Buy from Amazon, B&H, Best Buy OnePlus, Amazon
Review score 3.5 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

OnePlus 6T review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Both the Nokia 9 PureView and OnePlus 6T offer near-flagship specs in 2019, and while phones with improved processors are out now, that doesn’t mean that the Nokia 9 and OnePlus 6T should be ignored. The Nokia 9 PureView comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 with 6GB of RAM, while the OnePlus 6T offers the same chip with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, depending on the model you get. While the Nokia 9 PureView has 128GB of storage, the OnePlus 6T has options for either 128GB or 256GB of storage. Neither of the two has a MicroSD card slot.

When it comes to battery life, the Nokia 9 PureView has a 3,320mAh battery — while OnePlus steps things up to a 3,700mAh battery. The Nokia 9 PureView also has both Quick Charge 3.0 and Qi wireless charging, and while the OnePlus 6T does have OnePlus’ so-called “Dash Charge,” the phone does not have any wireless charging — which is a bit of a bummer.

Despite the lack of wireless charging, the OnePlus 6T does have an option for a little more RAM and storage, and a bigger battery, so it’s the winner here.

Winner: OnePlus 6T

Design and durability

OnePlus 6T review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The OnePlus 6T may not have any wireless charging, but OnePlus has still included a glass back on the device. The 6T is easily the best-looking OnePlus phone to date, offering an edge-to-edge display with a small teardrop notch at the top and a relatively unnoticeable chin. On the back of the phone, you will get a dual-camera setup, with the fingerprint sensor located under the display.

The Nokia 9 PureView looks nice, but not anywhere near as modern as the OnePlus 6T. The Nokia 9 does away with the edge-to-edge display and goes with a rather sizable forehead and chin instead. On the back of the phone, you will find five camera sensors flush with the body. The fingerprint sensor is located under the display.

With an IP67 rating for water resistance, the Nokia 9 PureView can take a dunk without damage. The OnePlus 6T lacks an IP rating. Both are glass sandwiches, so will be prone to drop damage, making a case a very good idea.

Both phones look good, but the OnePlus 6T has a more modern, sleeker design.

Winner: OnePlus 6T

Display

Nokia 9 hands-on review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The OnePlus 6T and Nokia 9 PureView have very similar display sizes, with the Nokia 9’s display coming in at 5.99 inches, and the OnePlus 6T coming in at 6.41 inches. While the OnePlus 6T has a 1,080p display with a pixel density of 402 pixels-per-inch, however, the Nokia 9 PureView steps things up to a 1,440p display and a pixel density of 538 pixels-per-inch. Considering the sizes are so similar, and they’re both OLED screens, the higher resolution makes the Nokia 9 PureView the winner here.

Winner: Nokia 9 PureView

Camera

nokia 9 pureview review nokia9 fw
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The camera is perhaps the biggest point of difference between the Nokia 9 PureView and the OnePlus 6T. The OnePlus 6T offers a dual-lens camera setup with one 16-megapixel sensor with an f/1.7 aperture, and one 20-megapixel sensor with the same aperture. The sensors work together for things like bokeh and other dual-lens camera features.

The Nokia 9 PureView takes things a step further. It has five camera sensors with two RGB sensors and three black-and-white sensors. The sensors essentially all take a photo simultaneously and then merge them together to create a detailed, colorful photo that makes the most of the available light. All of the sensors are 12 megapixels.

The OnePlus 6T can take great photos, but considering the unique camera tech in the Nokia 9 PureView, it’s the winner.

Winner: Nokia 9 PureView

Software and updates

OnePlus 6T review
OnePlus 6T Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Nokia 9 PureView has a very clean software experience. In fact, the device has Android One, which means that the software is handled by Google, and you’ll get timely updates and upgrades when they’re available. The device ships with Android 9.0 Pie.

The OnePlus software experience is pretty clean, too. The device also ships with Android 9.0 Pie with OnePlus’ Oxygen OS 9.0.3 over the top, which adds a few features that might come in handy. For example, you’ll get a “Gaming Mode,” which blocks notifications and sets brightness to maximum, and adds a few gestures.

Considering the fact that the Nokia 9 PureView has Android One, which guarantees at least two years of Android version updates and three years of security updates, it’s the winner.

Winner: Nokia 9 PureView

Special features

nokia 9 pureview review nokia9 image editing 1
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The OnePlus 6T is built to be a top-tier phone at an affordable price, and as such there aren’t a ton of “special features” available.  As mentioned, the OnePlus 6T does have its gaming mode, and can be heavily customized too, which is a handy option to have.

The Nokia 9 PureView doesn’t have a ton of special features either, apart from the camera sensors and image processing technology under the hood. There are some really interesting options in the camera app that you won’t find elsewhere.

Winner: Tie

Price

While both phones have relatively good specs, they’re not priced like most flagship phones in 2019. The Nokia 9 PureView costs $700, and it’s available from a few different retailers. Having said that, it’s important to keep in mind that the phone is technically a “limited edition” device, so once it sells out it won’t be available to purchase. The OnePlus 6T is also pretty well-priced — perhaps even more so. It starts at $549 for the 6GB RAM model, and ranges up from there. It’s available from the OnePlus website and from Amazon, though keep in mind that it can’t be used on Sprint’s network.

Overall winner: Nokia 9 PureView

Both the OnePlus 6T and the Nokia 9 PureView are excellent phones, with a lot to offer. While this has been a close competition, the newer Nokia 9 PureView sneaks the win. If you want a great all-around phone, then the OnePlus 6T is probably the way to go. It’s powerful, well-designed, a little cheaper, and aimed at everyone. But all you photography fans out there should definitely go for the Nokia 9 PureView, which also has a better display.

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