If you want an Android phone, it's hard not to recommend the OnePlus 6T. It should still get software updates for a while to come, the camera easily holds its own in daylight, and isn't bad at night either. Unfortunately if you're using Sprint, you'll want to look elsewhere.
If you're into Apple's phones — it's okay, we love you all the same — the iPhone XR is probably the best iPhone this year. It has the same hardware inside as the more expensive models, nearly the same camera, the exact same software, five color options and it's much less expensive than the other iPhones.
Apple's budget offering
The main difference between these phones is the age old question: do you prefer iOS or Android? But this comparison goes a bit further as Apple has not released a "budget" option since the iPhone SE and OnePlus is known for providing the "budget flagship" of the Android world.
This makes the comparison between the iPhone XR and OnePlus 6T that much more intriguing, that is, until you look deeper into the specs.
What are the differences?
|Header Cell - Column 0||OnePlus 6T||iPhone XR|
|Operating System||Android 9 Pie||iOS 12|
|Display||6.41-inch OLED||6.1-inch LCD|
|Chipset||Snapdragon 845||A12 Bionic|
|Rear Camera 1||16MP, ƒ/1.7, OIS||12MP rear, wide-angle, ƒ/1.8, OIS|
|Rear Camera 2||20MP, ƒ/1.7||N/A|
|Front Camera||16MP, ƒ/2.0, EIS||7MP, ƒ/2.2, EIS|
|Charging||USB-C||Lightning, wireless charging|
|Security||Fingerprint, face unlock||Face unlock|
These are similar, but very different
The OnePlus 6T is the obvious choice for those looking for more "power" out of a smartphone. While the XR is limited to just 4GB of RAM, the 6T comes with either 6, 8, or 10GB of RAM.
Both phones offer storage options of 128GB or 256GB, but the 6T takes win as the base option comes in 128GB and there's nothing lower. Considering that neither OnePlus nor Apple offer expandable storage, it's a smart move on OnePlus' part to start with 128GB of storage, versus leaving users looking for more.
Which has the better camera?
Besides the Android vs. iOS argument, there are some concrete differences between these phones. The OnePlus 6T gets an easy win considering that it has a dual-camera system with a primary 16MP lens and a 20MP secondary lens. Meanwhile, the iPhone XR "only" comes with a single, 12MP wide-angle lens.
Both primary cameras include Optical Image Stabilization, but the iPhone XR still performs better in low-light situations despite OnePlus include its own Night Mode. Apple has really worked on its software-enhanced Portrait Mode, consistently providing better "true-to-life" shots, while the OnePlus 6T seems to do a bit too much over-processing of its images.
The display on the OnePlus 6T is substantially larger, but being an OLED panel it will offer deeper blacks and use less battery life than the LCD in the iPhone. That's not to say the display in the iPhone is bad: it has all the hallmarks and technical specs of Apple's other displays. As for network compatibility, being able to use the phone where you live is supremely important, and if you use Sprint you won't be able to use the OnePlus 6T.
The OnePlus 6T and iPhone XR both offer fast face unlock, though Apple's method is much more secure. OnePlus still includes a fingerprint sensor that's just as easy to use as any other phone, but this has been moved to an in-display fingerprint scanner. The iPhone can charge via its Lightning port or with a Qi wireless charger, while the OnePlus 6T can only charge with a cable.
Dedicated OnePlus users have been clamoring for wireless charging for years, and despite the glass back of the 6T, we have been disappointed. Instead, the company is relying on the strengths of its proprietary fast charging system, which will give users more than 50% battery life in just 30 minutes.
On the other side of the fence, Apple includes wireless and corded charging, but there's a catch. Apple is still shipping the same 5W wall wort that we have seen for years and years. The XR supports fast-charging, but you will have to shell out some extra dough in order to pick up the necessary cable and wall charger to get the fastest charge.
Now for the most important feature of the iPhone XR: the color options. It's offered in (Product)Red, Yellow, White, Coral, Black, and the most perfect shade of Blue. The OnePlus 6T comes in Mirror (Glossy) and Midnight (Matte) Black.
Which is best?
The argument that iOS doesn't need all of the "extra" horsepower holds a bit of water, but OnePlus produces a phone so awesome that it doesn't really matter. When it comes to the "future-proofing" of a smartphone, OnePlus does an excellent job at ensuring that your phone will stay as fast as possible for as long as possible.
The combination of up to 10GB of RAM and 256GB of storage will provide the speed and storage users need to handle anything thrown at the OnePlus 6T. Plus, OnePlus didn't yet abandon the headphone jack, so you won't have to worry about relying on any dongles if the time arises to both charge your 6T and listen to music at the same time.
Perhaps most importantly, the OnePlus 6T is $200 less expensive than its iOS counterpart, which provides an absolutely amazing value from a brand who built its name on value. The OnePlus 6T can't be ignored, and is our choice if you are picking between this and the iPhone XR.
A great bargain
If you want an Android phone, the OnePlus 6T is one of the best out there.
The OnePlus 6T isn't just a great Android phone, it's a great phone period. It's much less expensive than comparable phones from other manufacturers, offers a very minimal version of Android, and it will likely receive software support for at least two years. Just don't buy it if you use Sprint.
The "budget" iPhone
If you prefer iOS, this will be the best iPhone for the money this year.
This iPhone stands toe-to-toe with the other models Apple announced for this year, but comes in at a much lower price. The camera will be better than that on the OnePlus, and it will easily receive software support for five years or more. Plus, that blue color is to die for.
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Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.