OnePlus 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus: Which big phone is better?

You like big screens and you cannot lie — and the recently revealed OnePlus 6 has one of the biggest in the business. But the “flagship killer” isn’t the only large display in the Android game, and the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is one of the best premium, large-screened phones that you can get.

With tip-top performance and the latest technology, both phones are amazing choices — but which one deserves your hard-earned money? We took a look to find out.

Specs

OnePlus 6 Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
Size 155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8 mm (6.13 x 2.97 x 0.31 inches) 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5 mm (6.22 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches)
Weight 177 grams (6.24 ounces) 189 grams (6.67 ounces)
Screen size 6.28-inch AMOLED display 6.2-inch AMOLED display
Screen resolution 2,280 x 1,080 pixels (402 pixels per inch) 2,960 x 1,440 pixels (529 pixels per inch)
Operating system Android 8.1 Oreo Android 8.0 Oreo
Storage space 64GB (with 6GB of RAM), 128GB, 256GB (both with 8GB of RAM)
64GB, 128GB, 256GB
MicroSD card slot No Yes, up to 256GB
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay Google Pay, Samsung Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
RAM 6GB, 8GB 6GB
Camera Dual 16MP and 20MP rear, 16MP front Dual 12MP (with OIS) and 12MP (with OIS) rear, variable aperture, 8MP front
Video 2,160p at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 30/60/120, 720p at 480 fps super slow motion, HDR 2,160p at 60 frames per second, 1,080p at 240 fps, 720p at 960 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C
Fingerprint sensor Yes (back) Yes (back)
Water resistance No IP68
Battery 3,300mAh

DashCharge

3,500mAh

QuickCharge 2.0

Qi wireless charging

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support AT&T and T-Mobile T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint
Colors Midnight Black, Mirror Black, Silk White Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Lilac Purple
Price $530 $840
Buy from OnePlus Samsung, Amazon
Review score Hands-on review 4.5 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

iphone 8 plus vs galaxy s8 grass software

Make no mistake, these are two fast phones. Both are powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 845, which gives blisteringly good performance, and top-tier real world speed. You’ll find the same amount of RAM in the Galaxy S9 Plus and the OnePlus 6’s 64GB model, but the OnePlus 6 does have more RAM in the 128GB and 256GB models, giving the challenger something of an edge — even if that edge is minimal.

Moving to battery life, there’s not much in it again. The Galaxy S9 Plus is rocking a larger battery, but the lower resolution on the OnePlus 6 should see some power savings there. The OnePlus 6’s Dash Charge leaves the Galaxy’s QuickCharge 2.0 in the dust — but the Galaxy S9 Plus has the convenience of wireless charging.

We’re finding it too difficult to separate these two in this category. While the OnePlus 6 has a larger amount of RAM, the performance impact from that is likely to be minimal. The same goes for the S9 Plus’s larger battery. Until we’ve had more time with the OnePlus 6, this is a tie.

Winner: Tie

Design and durability

oneplus 6 hands on chrome
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

2018 is calling with two of the best looking phones of the year. No matter which of these two behemoths you pick, you’re getting a phone worth gazing at. OnePlus has broken its love affair with metal to give the OnePlus 6 a full glass construction and a gorgeous bezel-less design, and while the Galaxy S9 Plus is very similar to the previous S8 range, that’s not a bad thing, since the S9 Plus is utterly stunning. Both phones get full marks in the design category.

Things start to go downhill when we look at durability, though. Glass is, well, fragile — even if it is Gorilla Glass — and you’re probably going to want a case for both of these phones. However, this is where the Galaxy S9 Plus starts to show some of its premium quality, with an IP68 rating which indicates that it can handle a short dunk. The OnePlus 6 lacks any water resistance, making it a phone you’re going to have to be careful with around the bath or toilet.

While both of these phones are neck and neck in looks and design, the Galaxy S9 Plus really pulls ahead with that water-resistance — and that wins it the round.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Display

galaxy note 8 vs. galaxy s8 plus
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Both of these devices showcase great visual fidelity with their massive AMOLED screens, and you might be hard pressed to notice any differences at first glance. The differences are definitely there once you look for them, though — you’ll find a 2,280 x 1,080-pixel resolution on the OnePlus 6’s 6.28-inch screen, which just isn’t as sharp as the 2,960 x 1,440 pixels on the Galaxy S9 Plus. The OnePlus 6 also has the notch at the top of the screen, extending the available screen real estate — but possibly at the expense of style, if you’re not a fan of the notch trend.

While the difference between 1080p and 1440p might not be hugely noticeable on screens this size, we have to award this to the phone with the objectively better display.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Camera

oneplus 6 hands on top half
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Camera quality has become a serious battleground for higher-end phones, with recent phones seeing some serious upgrades in this area. The OnePlus 6 isn’t necessarily focused on the camera, but that doesn’t mean OnePlus has slacked off. You’ll find two lenses arranged vertically on the back of the OnePlus 6 — a 16-megapixel and 20-megapixel lens — as well as a 16-megapixel selfie shooter around the front. Both the front and back cameras are kitted out with Portrait Mode selective blur, and the few sample pictures we took looked good.

In contrast, the Galaxy S9 Plus was focused on the camera, and comes with two 12-megapixel lenses, and an 8-megapixel lens at the front. The S9 Plus has all the same selective blur trickery, but Samsung has really upped the game here with a variable aperture that does the business in strong and low light, and provides good pictures across the board.

Moving over to video, both offer support for shooting in 4K at 60 frames per second, but the S9 Plus delivers super slow-motion at 960 fps, while the slow-motion option in the OnePlus 6 is limited to 480 fps.

We’re hesitant to declare a winner before we’ve had a proper chance to play with one of the cameras, so this is a tie for the moment.

Winner: Tie

Software and updates

oneplus 6 hands on apps
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Being flagships of their respective brands, you’ll find the top tier of Android on both of these, albeit with both manufacturers having placed their own skins over the top.

OnePlus can be pretty speedy in getting new versions of Android out to its phones, with the OnePlus 3 and 3T receiving updates to Android 8.0 Oreo in November of last year. By contrast, Galaxy S8 users had to wait until February 2018 to get Oreo on their phones. While it was longer until the OnePlus 5 and 5T got the Oreo update, based on previous performance we’re confident that OnePlus will have an Android P update out faster than Samsung.

Winner: OnePlus 6

Special features

best of mwc 2018 samsung dex pad accessories v2

Being a phone focused on bringing great performance to a lower price bracket, the OnePlus 6 doesn’t have all that many special features to call its own. There’s a face unlocking feature, as well as the Shelf, which contains recently used apps and the like — but otherwise, it’s fairly barren in this regard.

By contrast, the Galaxy S9 Plus is stuffed with features. If you’re into using your phone as a workstation, there’s the Dex Pad or Dex Station. If trying your hand at VR sounds like fun, the Gear VR is there. There’s Samsung’s built-in voice assistant Bixby too, not to mention AR Emojis.

The Galaxy S9 Plus has so many extra features built-in that this is simply one-sided.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Price

You’ll be able to pick up the OnePlus 6 from May 22, with prices starting at $530 for the 64GB model, but the handset will only work on AT&T and T-Mobile. The Galaxy S9 Plus is a lot more expensive, starting at $840 for the 64GB model, but it will work on all the major U.S. carriers.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

While this result may mean the OnePlus 6 falls short of its reputation as a flagship killer, don’t let that put you off. With all the latest hardware and software, the OnePlus 6 is a force to be reckoned with, and it delivers all the power and performance you’d expect from a phone that costs hundreds of dollars more — it’s only in the peripheral areas that it falls short, like water-resistance, special features, and not having a 4K resolution. These are areas that most people can afford to ignore or may not notice. If you’re restricted to around $500 for a phone, then the OnePlus 6 is one of the best phones you can buy, maybe the best.

However, if money is no object, then it simply has to be the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. Yes, it’s over $300 more, but money really does talk, and in this case it means an extra level of polish that the OnePlus 6 simply doesn’t have the budget to meet. It has the power, the performance, the display, the design, and that amazing camera which all adds up to a seriously tempting smartphone.

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