It’s time to compare the best of what Samsung and OnePlus have to offer, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs OnePlus 9 Pro. The OnePlus 9 Pro launched quite recently (at the time of writing this article), while the Galaxy S21 Ultra arrived back in January. These two phones are a part of the same generation of smartphones, though, which makes this comparison rather interesting. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is the more expensive smartphone, but some of you may think the difference is worth forking out.
We’re here to help you make a purchasing decision, basically, based on what these two phones offer at this very moment. Is the Galaxy S21 Ultra worth the extra cash? Well, it all depends on what you’re looking for in a smartphone, of course. We’ll compare these two phones across a number of categories, to help you reach a conclusion. We’ll start off by listing their specifications, and then move to the design, display, performance, and various other aspects of these handsets. That being said, let’s kick off the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs OnePlus 9 Pro comparison, shall we.
|Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra||OnePlus 9 Pro|
|Screen size||6.8-inch WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (120Hz adaptive refresh rate)||6.7-inch QHD+ AMOLED LTPO curved display (120Hz adaptive refresh rate)|
|Screen resolution||3200 x 1440||3216 x 1440|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 / Samsung Exynos 2100||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888|
|RAM||12GB/16GB (LPDDR5)||8GB/12GB (LPDDR5)|
|Storage||128GB/256GB, non-expandable (expandable in some countries)||128GB/256GB (UFS 3.1); Non-Expandable|
|Rear cameras||108MP (f/1.8 aperture, OIS, 0.8um pixel size. Produces 12MP images with 2.4um pixel size)|
12MP (ultrawide, Dual Pixel AF, 120-degree FoV, f/2.2 aperture, 1.4um pixel size)
10MP (telephoto, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, f/2.4 aperture, 1.22um pixel size, optical zoom 3x)
10MP (telephoto, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, f/4.9 aperture, 1.22um pixel size, 10x optical zoom, 100x Space Zoom)
|48MP (Sony IMX789, f/1.8 aperture, 7P lens, OIS, EIS, 1.12um pixel size 48MP images, 2.24um pixel size 12MP images (4-in-1 binning), 23mm focal length)|
50MP (ultra-wide, f/2.2 aperture, Freeform Lens, 7P lens, Sony IMX766)
8MP (telephoto, 1.0um pixel size, f/2.4 aperture)
|Front cameras||40MP (f/2.2 aperture, 80-degree FoV, 0.7um pixel size, PDAF)||16MP (Sony IMX471, 1.0um pixel size, EIS, Fixed Focus, f/2.4 aperture)|
|Battery||5,000mAh, non-removable, fast battery charging (USB PD 3.0), Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare||4,500mAh, non-removable, 65W wired charging, 50W wireless charging, reverse wireless charging|
|Dimensions||165 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm||163.2 x 73.6 x 8.7mm|
|Weight||229 grams||197 grams|
|Connectivity||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C|
|Security||In-display fingerprint scanner (ultrasonic)||In-display fingerprint scanner (optical)|
One UI 3.0
|Price||$1,199.99||$969 / $1,069|
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs OnePlus 9 Pro: Design
Both of these smartphones are quite large, even though they do look noticeably different. They are both also quite slippery, as they’re made out of metal and glass. That being said, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is a bit taller, wider, and thicker than the OnePlus 9 Pro. On top of that, it’s considerably heavier. The Galaxy S21 Ultra weighs 227 grams, compared to 197 grams of the OnePlus 9 Pro. That’s a considerable difference, and you’ll feel that in the hand, that’s for sure. Neither of these two phones are one-hand devices, especially the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra features a recognizable camera module on the back. Its camera module is an extension of the phone’s frame. The camera module on the back of the OnePlus 9 Pro has that regular design that you’d expect. Both phones include extremely thin bezels, along with curved displays. A display camera hole is included on both phones as well. On the Galaxy S21 Ultra, it’s centered, on the OnePlus 9 Pro, it sits in the top-left corner of the display.
Both of these phones offer a high-end build, that’s for sure. Neither of the two companies decided to cut corners when it comes to the design. You’ll feel that premium build in both cases. Just make sure you don’t mind your phone being large, as both of them are, though the Galaxy S21 Ultra more so than the OnePlus 9 Pro. Also, you’ll probably want to use a case with both of them, as they’re quite slippery.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs OnePlus 9 Pro: Display
Both devices come with fairly large displays. Both displays are also curved. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra features a 6.8-inch QHD+ (3200 x 1440) Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. That is a 120Hz display that supports HDR10+ content. It’s protected by Gorilla Glass Victus, and it offers a peak brightness of 1,500 nits. This phone, and its display, also support Samsung’s S Pen stylus, in case you’re wondering.
The OnePlus 9 Pro, on the other hand, has a slightly smaller display. It comes with a 6.7-inch QHD+ (3216 x 1440) Fluid AMOLED 2.0 display. This is also a 120Hz display, and it delivers a peak brightness of 1,300 nits. This panel does support HDR10+ content as well, and it’s protected by the Gorilla Glass 5. Both of these displays offer LTPO technology, which means they offer an adaptive refresh rate.
Are they any good? Well, these two panels are amongst the best displays on smartphones these days, easily. Both panels are not only great on paper, but in real-life use as well. They are extremely sharp and vivid, the colors are beautiful. They both get extremely bright, and outdoor use is not an issue whatsoever. If you’re worried about viewing angles, don’t be, they’re excellent on both displays. You’ll hardly find better displays out there at the moment.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs OnePlus 9 Pro: Performance
Both of these phones are flagship-grade devices, but is the performance as good as it should be? Well, the short answer is, yes, it is. Both of these smartphones more than deliver in the performance department. When you pay as much for a phone, you’d expect the absolute best in regards to performance, and these two phones do offer stellar performance. Anything you can imagine doing with a phone shouldn’t be a problem for either of these handsets, pretty much.
The Snapdragon 888 SoC fuels both phones, though the European and Indian Galaxy S21 Ultra models come with the Exynos 2100 SoC. The Snapdragon 888 does trump the Exynos 2100, though not by much. In any case, both of them also come with top-of-the-line RAM and flash storage, and in combination with up-to-date software, they offer excellent performance. Their high refresh rate displays do help things quite a bit.
During our testing of each phone, we’ve put quite a bit of performance pressure on them. Neither phone slowed down, or showed any signs of doing so. They handed regular tasks such as browsing, consuming multimedia, multitasking, filming, etc. without a problem. In fact, they also handled games like champs, and the same goes for photo editing. These two phones perform admirably at the moment, and chances are that will continue for quite some time.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs OnePlus 9 Pro: Battery
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra includes a 5,000mAh battery, while the OnePlus 9 Pro packs a 4,500mAh battery. What do they perform like in terms of battery life? Well, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has the upper hand, at least at the moment. OnePlus may boost the OnePlus 9 Pro battery life, but at the moment of writing of this article, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a much better battery life, actually.
The phone can easily cross that 7-hour mark in a single day, and it may push some of you all the way to the 8-hour mark. It all depends on what you’re doing on your phone, of course. The OnePlus 9 Pro, on the other hand, can cross the 6-hour mark without a problem, and may push you towards the 6 and a half mark, but not much more than that. If you push the phone a bit harder, the battery life may be worse, of course. That goes for both phones. We can only way what we’ve experienced in our usage. All in all, the Galaxy S21 Ultra was considerably better in that regard, although both phones deliver really good battery life.
In regards to charging, well, that’s where the OnePlus 9 Pro shines. The device offers 65W fast wired charging, along with 50W wireless charging. The Galaxy S21 Ultra, on the other hand, offers 25W wired charging, and 15W wireless charging. It is worth noting that both do offer reverse wireless charging as well. Now, not only does the OnePlus 9 Pro trump the Galaxy S21 Ultra in terms of wired and wireless charging speed, but it also comes with an included 65W charger for wired charging. The Galaxy S21 Ultra includes a charging cable, but not the charger itself.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs OnePlus 9 Pro: Cameras
OnePlus has been hyping up the OnePlus 9 Pro camera setup quite a bit before the launch. The company even partnered up with Hasselblad, a well-known name in the camera world. The thing is, the OnePlus 9 Pro did not deliver the camera experience we were hoping for, at least not initially. OnePlus is well-known for considerably improving its camera via updates, so the same may happen with the OnePlus 9 Pro. At the moment of writing this comparison, however, the cameras were not as good as the hype would lead you to believe.
The OnePlus 9 Pro cameras are good, but they cannot compete with the Galaxy S21 Ultra at the moment. The Galaxy S21 Ultra setup delivers better photos in almost every way. The ultra-wide photos are a close call, as that camera works great on the OnePlus 9 Pro. The same goes for macro photography. The Galaxy S21 Ultra does deliver a bit sharper photos, though, with its main camera, and it is also more consistent in general. It also has that periscope camera that the OnePlus 9 Pro does not deliver.
Both phones are fairly good in low light, though the Galaxy S21 Ultra does perform a bit better at the moment. The front-facing camera is better on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, without a doubt. OnePlus should upgrade that camera sensor next year. The thing is, OnePlus used great camera hardware in the 9 Pro, and with more camera updates, on the software side, it could become a force to reckon with.
Both the Galaxy S21 Ultra and OnePlus 9 Pro come with a stereo speaker setup. In fact, both phones do deliver really good sound, well, considering they’re smartphones. Their speakers can get quite loud, while the distortion is barely noticeable at the highest of volumes. The sound from both sets of speakers is quite sharp, though there’s not a lot of bass on either. Samsung’s setup does seem to offer a bit more in that regard.
If you hook up a good pair of headphones to these phones, either wired or wireless, you’ll get good results. Do note that neither phone offers a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you’ll need a dongle for wired connections. The sound is well-balanced across the spectrum on both devices, and there’s really not much to complain about here.