Do we have a good one for you today – the Samsung Galaxy S9 takes on the new OnePlus 6. These two devices have a few things in common, starting with their stunning and sturdy build, even though the Galaxy S9 is an all glass design while the OnePlus 6 has a metal back. The S9 series is arguably the best-looking smartphone on the market, but OnePlus has always delivered an eye-catching product, especially considering the price. Also ‘eye-catching’ on the OnePlus 6 is that they chose to stroll down through the ‘Apple’ grove and decided to go with the a ‘notch’ on the display – again, begging the question, why.
The OnePlus 6 is physically larger than the Galaxy S9 due to the larger display. Both devices use the AMOLED technology and Gorilla Glass 5, but the S9 has a QHD+ resolution while the OnePlus 6 stayed with the FHD+ resolution. Both devices use the Snapdragon 845 processor and the Adreno 630 GPU. Both have a base memory of 64GB, but only the S9 has a choice of expandable memory. The OnePlus 6 sells a 128GB and a 256GB model for those that crave more memory. The S9 and OP 6 have a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor to unlock the smartphone, but the S9 also uses facial recognition and an iris scanner, called Intelligent Scan, as an option to unlock it. The OnePlus 6 has a slightly larger battery, but the Galaxy S9 offers quick wireless charging.
Please take a careful look at the detailed specifications comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two high-end Android smartphones stack up against each other. After that, we will look at each mobile offering in more detail and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on overall specs, as well as the execution of design and functions.
Samsung Galaxy S9
The new Samsung Galaxy S9 is the basic flagship in their smartphone lineup. Samsung did not provide a notch, but they followed Apple by coming out with two new flagships that have different features, besides just a larger display. If you want the 6GB of RAM and dual cameras, then you must pay extra for the Galaxy S9 Plus. The Galaxy S9 does come with just about every other feature – the new processor/GPU, Hi-Res audio with stereo speakers, and the new Super Dual Pixels in the same 12-megapixel camera with Adaptive Aperture. Samsung repositioned the fingerprint sensor below the camera lens for less smudging, but it would not hurt if it were even further away from the camera. Samsung also added AR Emoji for fun and Intelligent Scan (iris + facial recognition working simultaneously) for more accurate and faster authentication.
The Samsung Super AMOLED display is arguably the best you can get on a smartphone, and the 5.8-inch Infinity Display on the Galaxy S9 will not disappoint. It uses a QHD+ technology that provides a 2960 x 1440 pixel resolution with 570 pixels-per-inch (PPI) and an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. It uses the Always-On feature to make it easier for the user to glance at their notifications to see if they want to unlock the phone to view them and at the same time saving battery life. The displays are slightly less curved than their predecessor to make it easier to pick up and hold in your hand without activating and app on the display. Gorilla Glass 5 protects the display.
Samsung flagships come in two different variants, depending on your area and carrier. The US/China version uses the newest Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor clocked at 2.7GHz with an Adreno 630 GPU to handle any graphic you can throw its way. Models destined to the EMEA countries use the Exynos 9810 octa-core clocked at 2.7GHz and a Mali-G72-MP18 GPU – both are very comparable in performance. One big difference is that the S9 Plus now packs 6GB (up from 4GB) of DDR4 RAM rather than the 4GB in the Galaxy S9, although both have a base of 64GB of expandable memory. Samsung will also manufacture both models with 128GB or 256GB of memory, but again, it will depend on where you live and which carrier you use.
The Galaxy S9 uses a 12-megapixel Super Dual Pixel for its camera. It also comes with an exciting new piece of technology called Adaptive Aperture that works like the human eye’s iris – in bright light situations, the aperture will reduce itself to f/2.4, but when the camera senses a lowlight situation, it will open wider to an f/1.5. It also uses Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF), OIS, 10x Digital Zoom, and an LED flash, giving the user excellent pictures. The front-facing camera (FFC) is the same 8-megapixel used on the Galaxy S8 and included a large aperture of f/1.7, auto-HDR, and has autofocus. This makes for taking excellent selfies and a video chat a breeze.
The Galaxy S9 uses the same 3,000mAh non-removable battery as the Galaxy S8 and provides support for Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging and includes quick wireless charging for both Qi and PMA formats. The battery will last most users an entire day, but with it charging capabilities, you will be charged up in no time.
The Galaxy S9 comes with the usual Samsung ‘accessories’ – Samsung Pay and Samsung’s personal assistant Bixby. They added Intelligent Scan that uses both the iris scanner and facial recognition for a more secure and faster way to identify you. It comes with the usual Samsung features such as a heart rate monitor, an O2 sensor, is IP68 certified for water and dust resistance. The big addition of stereo speakers is a long overdue and the new AR Emoji feature is a fun addition, but needs some work and the blood pressure monitor is an industry first. Samsung’s DeX module (sold separately) that allows you to turn your phone into a ‘desktop’ experience has been improved. The Galaxy S9 is available in Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Titanium Gray, Lilac Purple, Burgundy Red, and Sunset Gold depending on your market and carrier, and comes with Android 8.0 Oreo running out of the box. The device measures 147.6 x 68.7 x 8.4mm and weighs in at 163 grams. It is retailing from $750 to $800, but there are quite a few promotions going on at dealers.
The OnePlus 6 takes its place along with the other flagships released in 2018 – but with OnePlus, one always wonders if a OnePlus 6T is already in the pipeline to debut later this year. The OnePlus 6 does not look much different from its predecessor – but then the Galaxy S9 doesn’t look much different from the Galaxy S8 either. This is not a bad thing because no matter which color you choose, the OnePlus 6 is a fine looking smartphone with its painted metal backing. OnePlus listened to the criticism and gave additional functions to the Alert Slider, like zooming in and out when the camera is functioning. OnePlus still refuses to include expandable memory, but does include cheat options to increase memory up to 256GB. If we have anything to complain about it would be the ‘notch’ in the display – a direct copy from the iPhone, albeit smaller, that is just not necessary.
The OnePlus 6 sports a notched 6.28-inch Optic AMOLED display. While it uses the latest 19:9 aspect ratio, OnePlus continues to use a Full HD+ resolution of 2280 x 1080 pixels and only 402 PPI. It does incorporate DCI-P3 technology that is a common RGB color space for digital movie projection. As with other Android smartphones that use a notch, you can falsely hide the notch by making it look like there is a small bezel across the top, but it is still ‘there’. Gorilla Glass 5 protects the display.
The OnePlus 6 uses the latest processor on the market from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 845. The SD845 is an octa-core processor that is clocked at 2.48GHz and works with the Adreno 630 GPU for excellent graphics. The base model comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of non-expandable internal memory. OnePlus sells 2 additional models with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of internal memory – each additional memory upgrade is only $50 from the previous one. A 3,300mAh battery powers the OnePlus. There is no wireless charging available, but you do have OnePlus Dash Charge that claims to give you a 63-percent charge of your battery in 30 minutes.
The OnePlus 6 has a dual camera setup –a 20-megapixel main sensor with an aperture of f/1.7, EIS, and OIS. The 16-megapixel secondary camera comes with the same f/1.7 aperture. Both cameras use a PDAF, and a dual LED flash. The FFC is a huge 16-megapixel that comes with EIS and Auto HDR. It should provide great selfies and video chats. More than the lenses, OnePlus has designed a better interface and you can now use the Alert Slider to zoom in/out on subject matter.
The most exciting thing about the OnePlus 6 is its great build and the amount of memory you get for such a reasonable price. Not only do you get 6GB or 8GB of RAM, the OnePlus 6 also comes with an excellent dual camera setup and a 16-megapixel FFC. You do not get Samsung Pay, but the next best thing, Android Pay. The OnePlus 6 uses its own OxygenOS on top of Android 8.1 Oreo. The user interface is of the light variety and should make receiving Android updates easy. The device measures 155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8mm and weighs in at 177 grams. It comes in Midnight Black, Mirror Black, or Silk White. It will cost you $529 for the 6GB/64GB version, $579 for the 8GB/128GB version, and $629 for the 8GB/256GB version.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
There is no question that the Galaxy S9 has a lot more features than the OnePlus 6 – better display with no notch, IP68 water resistance, adjustable camera aperture, stereo speakers, facial recognition, iris scanner, wireless charging, Samsung Pay, Samsung DeX, heart rate monitor, O2 sensor, and Bixby. However, a price differential of almost $300 for the 64GB model of the OnePlus 6 cannot be ignored and that is why I am picking it as the winner of this comparison.
The OnePlus 6 has a solid build and looks the part of a flagship device. It has the same Snapdragon 845 processor and Adreno 630 GPU as the Galaxy S9. It has 6GB of RAM – two more that the S9 – and if you jump to the 256GB model for $629, you get 8GB of RAM. The OnePlus 6 has dual camera setup with a 20-megapixel and 16-megapixel sensors with better software and a huge, 16-megapixel FFC. You have to purchase the more expansive, Galaxy S9 Plus to get dual cameras. The OnePlus 6 also has an excellent ‘Dash’ charging system that will have you powered up in only one-half hour. When you add up these features and take into account the price, the OnePlus 6 is a winner.