OnePlus smartphones are not as easy to recommend as they used to be, and the OnePlus 9 is no exception. There are a few compromises compared to its more expensive sibling – the polycarbonate frame, the main camera has no OIS, no telephoto lens or IP68 certification, and it doesn’t offer the same 50W wireless charging.
Despite these omissions, this is still a good phone and offers much better value for money than the OnePlus 9 Pro. However, can it hold up against Samsung’s more affordable flagship, the Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition)? Well, let’s find out.
|OnePlus 9 5G||Samsung Galaxy S20 FE|
|Chipset||Snapdragon 888||Snapdragon 865|
|ram||8/12 GB (LPDDR5)||6 GB (LPDDR5)|
|Storage||128/256 GB (UFS3.1)||128 GB|
|Display||6.55-inch OLED 2400×1080 (20: 9), 120Hz||6.5-inch OLED 2400×1080 (20: 9), 120Hz|
|Battery charge||4500mAh, 65W Warp Charge, 15W Qi Wireless (only present on US version)||4500mAh, Fast Charging 25W, Wireless Charging, Reverse Wireless Charging|
|Rear cameras||48 MP main, 50 MP ultrawide, 2 MP monochrome||12 MP main, 12 MP ultra wide, 8 MP telephoto|
|Front cameras||16 megapixels||32 megapixels|
|Communication||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, 5G up to 6 GHz (dual SIM internationally)||Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n / ac / ax, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, hybrid dual SIM|
|Colors||Astral black, Arctic sky, Winter fog||Cloudy white, cloudy red, cloudy dark blue, cloudy lavender, cloudy orange, cloudy mint|
|dimensions||160 x 74.2 x 8.7mm||159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4mm|
|Weight||192 g||190 g|
|Software||OxygenOS 11 / Android 11||OneUI 3.1 / Android 11|
|Price||8/128 GB: $ 729, £ 629, 49,999
12/256 GB: £ 729, KRW 54,999
|6/128 GB: US $ 699, 47,999|
Equipment and performance
The OnePlus 9 offers newer hardware and is powered by the Snapdragon 888, the most powerful chip you can get on an Android smartphone right now. The chipset is accompanied by an impressive 8 or 12 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of storage. In terms of sheer power, you can expect the OnePlus 9 to almost outperform its rival. That said, the S20 FE with its Snapdragon 865 and 6GB of RAM isn’t bad either, and you’ll be hard pressed to notice any significant differences in day to day use.
The S20 FE is undoubtedly at the forefront of the design and assembly department as it correctly addresses the most important aspects. Instead of opting for a polycarbonate bezel and glass back like the OnePlus 9, it has an aluminum frame and a plastic back. While the glass seems more comfortable to hold, the plastic on the S20 FE by no means feels cheap, and it has a nice matte finish that resists fingerprints well. It also has a bonus in the form of IP68 certification, so it has to survive the dunk in the pool.
Regardless of which phone you choose, you get a very good display – they both have 6.5-inch OLED panels with a 120Hz refresh rate. The stereo speakers on both devices also provide an immersive multimedia experience.
Both phones have 4,500mAh batteries and should last for a day, but the OnePlus 9, with its 65W fast charging, will undoubtedly charge faster. The S20 FE only has a 25W brick. Wireless charging is supported by both phones (excluding OnePlus 9 variants outside the US), but reverse wireless charging is only available on the S20 FE.
Both phones have exclusive features. The OnePlus 9 has the convenience of an alert slider, making it easy to switch between ringer modes. The S20 FE 5G, on the other hand, supports microSD card and Samsung Pay (with MST), allowing you to make payments on non-NFC terminals.
OnePlus has talked a lot about its partnership with Hasselblad, but the cameras aren’t as good as they make us believe. Sure, they provide more accurate color reproduction than before, and the ultra-wide lens is one of the best on any phone, but the setup doesn’t really beat the S21 Ultra or iPhone 12. The S20 FE has a decent array of cameras and has the added benefit of a telephoto lens, allowing you to shoot more. high-quality portraits, and 3x optical zoom. Optical image stabilization on the main sensor is also a plus, helping to capture clear images and improve image quality in low light.
First: OnePlus 9, Second: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
If we look at some of the camera samples, it’s obvious that OnePlus delivers more natural colors, offers slightly better dynamic range, and captures more detail. The S20 FE does good images too – albeit in a different style – and rich colors aren’t necessarily a drawback. OIS support on the main sensor and telephoto lens also works in its favor.
Experience with software
The OnePlus 9 runs OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11 out of the box. The experience is still pretty good – it is fast and has a lot of features that we would like to adopt in Android. However, OnePlus is no longer at its peak. There are a few annoying issues like delayed notifications and intermittent system navigation crashes that haven’t been fixed for a long time, and the company’s update performance has only gotten worse over time.
OnePlus only promises a couple of major Android updates, and even then, the frequency will degrade as each phone gets older. With the surcharge that OnePlus is now charging, that doesn’t cut it anymore. Samsung has really helped the department recently and promised not only three major Android updates, but four years of security updates for the S20 FE. The Korean company is also rolling out these updates pretty quickly nowadays, sometimes ahead of Google with monthly security patches. While One UI is one of the best skins out there, it has its drawbacks – duplicate apps, system ads, and Samsung still promoting Bixby (it’s time to let it die).
One interface on Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
Since the S20 FE was announced with Android 10, it will only be updated to Android 13 (like OnePlus 9). However, keep in mind that it is likely that Samsung will do a better job of delivering updates, especially critical security patches, later in the life of the phone.
The most important pricing
The OnePlus 9 is priced at $ 729, while the S20 FE regularly retails for just $ 599. Despite the lower price tag, the S20 FE is still on par with the OnePlus 9. Sure, it doesn’t have the latest processor or insanely fast charging, but it does offer a lot of additional features that make it a worthy competitor. Some of these additions include IP68 certification, reverse wireless charging, telephoto lens, Samsung Pay with MST, and four years of security updates. If you ask us, it will give you a lot more profit and, therefore, it is worth outperforming your competitor.
The OnePlus 9 is a good phone, and it offers one of the fastest Android experiences, but the company’s flagships aren’t as attractive as they used to be. They no longer tempt us with attractive pricing or segment-focused features – the company’s recent hardware decisions are also questionable. As software support degrades more and more every month, it leads us to believe that OnePlus is settling for less and no longer offers best-in-class phones that are easy to recommend over the competition.