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Phone Comparisons: Samsung Galaxy S21 vs OnePlus 8T

AH Samsung Galaxy S21 vs OnePlus 8T comparison
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In this article, we’ll compare the Samsung Galaxy S21 vs OnePlus 8T. Think of these two phones as more affordable flagship-grade offerings from the two companies. The Galaxy S21 is not exactly the most powerful Galaxy S21 series smartphone the company announced, and something similar can be said for the OnePlus 8T as well, as the OnePlus 8 Pro is also in the game.

Truth be said, the OnePlus 8T is one generation behind the Galaxy S21 at this point, but still, the two phones are surely worth comparing. Many of you are probably wondering whether it’s worth spending all the extra money on the Galaxy S21, or should you go for the OnePlus 8T. We’ll try to help you make that decision by comparing the Samsung Galaxy S21 vs OnePlus 8T, and leaving you to decide. Having said that, let’s get to it, starting with their specifications.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S21OnePlus 8T
Screen size6.2-inch FullHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (120Hz adaptive refresh rate)6.55-inch fullHD+ Fluid AMOLED (120Hz)
Screen resolution2400 x 10802400 x 1080
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Samsung Exynos 2100Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
RAM8GB (LPDDR5)8GB / 12GB LPDDR4X
Storage128GB/256GB, non-expandable128GB/256GB UFS 3.1; Non-Expandable
Rear cameras12MP (f/1.8 aperture, 1.8um pixel size, OIS, Dual Pixel PDAF)
12MP (f/2.2 aperture, 1.4um pixel size, 120-degree FoV)
64MP (f/2.0 aperture, 0.8um pixel size, OIS, PDAF, Hybrid Optic 3X, 30X Space Zoom)
48MP (Sony IMX586, f/1.7, 0.8um, OIS, EIS)
16MP (ultra-wide, Sony IMX481, f/2.2 aperture, 123-degree FoV)
5MP (macro, 3cm focal length)
2MP (monochrome)
Front cameras10MP (f/2.2 aperture, 1.22um pixel size, 80-degree FoV, Dual Pixel AF)16MP (Sony IMX471, f/2.4, 1.0um, EIS, Fixed Focus)
Battery4,000mAh, non-removable, fast battery charging, Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare4,500mAh, non-removable, 65W fast battery charging
Dimensions151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4mm
Weight171 grams188 grams
Connectivity5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C
SecurityIn-display fingerprint scanner (ultrasonic)In-display fingerprint scanner (optical)
OSAndroid 11
One UI 3.0
Android 11
OxygenOS 11
Price$799.99€599 / €699 (8GB & 12GB) ; $749 (12GB only)
BuySamsungOnePlus

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs OnePlus 8T: Design

Both of these smartphones come with a metal frame, though their backplates are different. The Galaxy S21 incorporates a plastic back cover, while there is glass on the back of the OnePlus 8T. Both phones offer rather thin bezels, and both include a display camera hole. On the Galaxy S21, it’s centered at the top of the display, while the one on the OnePlus 8T sits in the top-left corner.

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Both of these phones come with flat displays. Both of them have three cameras on the back, and they even sit in the same spot, pretty much. Both sets of cameras are vertically-aligned, and they’re moved to the left side (top-left corner). The Galaxy S21’s camera housing is actually an extension of the phone’s frame, so it’s made out of metal. An LED flash is moved to the side on the Galaxy S21, while it is included in the OnePlus 8T’s camera housing.

Both of these phones feel really good in the hand, and they both feel like quality products. The Galaxy S21 is a bit lighter (19 grams is the difference), while it’s also shorter and narrower than the OnePlus 8T. That is to be expected considering that it does include a smaller display than OnePlus’ offering. The two smartphones are almost equally thick, the difference is only 0.5mm, which is negligible.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 vs OnePlus 8T: Display

Both devices offer excellent displays. The Galaxy S21’s is more advanced, though, at least on paper. The Galaxy S21 features a 6.2-inch fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) Dynamic AMOLED 2X with an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. The OnePlus 8T, on the other hand, comes with a 6.55-inch fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) Fluid AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate (not adaptive). The Galaxy S21’s panel is protected by the Gorilla Glass Victus, while the OnePlus 8T’s comes with the Gorilla Glass 5.

Both displays support HDR10+ content, by the way, and both are flat. The screen-to-body ratio is almost identical on these two phones, by the way. Both of these displays are excellent, to say the least. Both of them are more than sharp enough, while they’re also quite bright, even in direct sunlight. The colors are vivid, while the viewing angles are excellent as well. They look great overall, and you won’t really notice they’re not QHD+ panels, not at all.

The Galaxy S21’s display has the advantage of the adaptive refresh rate, but that’s only useful when it comes to battery life, pretty much. That is not an issue on either of the two phones, though, as we’ll find out later in the comparison. All in all, if you like really good displays, you cannot go wrong with either of these two phones.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 vs OnePlus 8T: Performance

The performance is stellar on both smartphones, to say the least. The Galaxy S21 is the more powerful smartphone on paper, but that’s not something you’ll notice in day-to-day performance. The Galaxy S21 includes the Snapdragon 888 SoC, while the OnePlus 8T comes with the Snapdragon 865. The Galaxy S21 also offers faster RAM and flash storage, by the way. The Galaxy S21 includes 8GB of RAM, while the OnePlus 8T comes in both 8GB and 12GB RAM flavors.

The Galaxy S21 will load graphically-intensive games a bit faster, but that’s pretty much the only difference you’ll notice performance-wise. They both do everyday tasks about the same. They’re blazing fast when it comes to opening / closing apps, multitasking, consuming multimedia, browsing, taking pictures and videos, and so on. Pretty much anything that comes to mind, you can do on these two smartphones as well as you’d do on any other flagship device. There’s really nothing to complain about when it comes to performance.

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs OnePlus 8T: Battery

The OnePlus 8T comes with a beefier battery than the Galaxy S21. That handset also has a larger display, though. The OnePlus 8T features a 4,500mAh battery, while the Galaxy S21 includes a 4,000mAh unit. Which of the two performs better, though? Well, in our testing, the OnePlus 8T provides more battery longevity on a daily basis. We were able to cross the 7-hour screen-on-time mark easily. The Galaxy S21, on the other hand, delivered over 6 hours, died before the 7-hour screen-on-time mark.

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Both smartphones deliver really good battery life. Your mileage may also vary, of course. Everyone uses their smartphone in a different way, so… you could get considerably different results. If you do a lot of gaming, download content from the Internet often for longer periods of time, and so on… your battery life stats will be considerably lower than what we were able to get, that’s for sure.

Both smartphones also offer fast charging. The OnePlus 8T beast the Galaxy S21 in terms of wired charging, as it offers 65W charging, while the Galaxy S21 offers 25W wired charging. The OnePlus 8T does not offer wireless charging at all, though. The Galaxy S21, on the other hand, delivers 15W wireless charging, and also Wireless PowerShare aka reverse wireless charging, if that’s something you need.

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs OnePlus 8T: Cameras

In terms of camera hardware, these two smartphones are quite different. They do have one thing in common, both phones are quite capable in this department. The Galaxy S21’s setup did not change much hardware-wise in comparison to last year, but the results have improved. The Galaxy S21 is capable of delivering really great shots in all lighting conditions, and it can take advantage of its night mode with all of its cameras.

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Images from the device can look a bit over-processed sometimes, but that’s the case with the OnePlus 8T as well. The OnePlus 8T also takes really good shots in low light, though the Galaxy S21 does do a better job in that regard. The over-sharpening is also more visible on the OnePlus 8T. If you like the looks of such images, that certainly will not bother you. The Galaxy S21 can find a somewhat better balance in that regard.

You can read our separate reviews for more information on the cameras, but the bottom line is, they’re both quite good in that regard. We’d give an advantage to the Galaxy S21, for sure, but if you’re not extremely demanding in the camera department, the OnePlus 8T will do the job as well.

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Audio

When it comes to audio, neither of these two phones includes a 3.5mm headphone jack. That is something we’ve come to expect out of flagship-grade smartphones these days. Luckily, they both do a great job in the audio department. Both phones include stereo speakers, and the ones on the Galaxy S21 are tuned by AKG. Bass is not exactly either phone’s strong suit, but other than that, they deliver great audio via those speakers. The audio is sharp, and quite loud, while you won’t notice any significant distortion.

Something similar can be said for audio output through a pair of good headphones. You’ll get rich audio, which is well-balanced across the spectrum. The bass isn’t as heavy, but that’s something that will probably suit most people, so that’s not something you should worry about.