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OnePlus 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy S9+: Which should you buy?

Samsung's Galaxy S9+ is a known quantity at this point. It's been out for a few months, covered every way possible and evaluated by everyone. By most accounts, it's a darn good phone. The hardware is great, the specs are top-notch and the camera is wonderful. But ... it's expensive. Very expensive.

That's where the OnePlus 6 comes in. It's $300 less than the Galaxy S9+, but on the face of it looks like a comparable device. It also has solid hardware, top-end specs and a pile of other enticing features. So the question is, if you're in the market for a flagship phone today, should you get the Galaxy S9+ or consider the OnePlus 6? And does the story change at all if you're trying to hold to a budget? We're here to give you all of the information you need.

What's the same

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OnePlus 6 vs. Galaxy S9+

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OnePlus 6 vs. Galaxy S9+

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OnePlus 6 vs. Galaxy S9+

Smartphone designs have coalesced in the last few years. Screens got taller and skinnier, and a majority of devices are comprised of a metal frame squished between two panes of glass. The story continues when you set the OnePlus 6 next to a Galaxy S9+. Not only do they have the same type of construction, but also very similar finishes — these are glossy and shiny bodies that attract attention and fingerprints alike. They've both even went with the same type of vertical arrangement for their cameras and fingerprint sensors, though the OnePlus 6's is a tad easier to use because it's physically separated from the camera grouping.

These are metal-and-glass sandwiches that feel very similar and are filled with comparable specs.

The phones are near-identical in shape, size and weight, due to their small bezels wrapping around screens that are almost the same size. The 19:9 aspect ratio 6.3-inch display on the OnePlus 6 is barely larger and taller than the 18.5:9 ratio 6.2-inch on the Galaxy S9+ — that is to say you'd never notice the size difference. The body curves make them both a bit slippery without a case, but that's the cost of beauty. The Galaxy S9+ is a tad narrower, but in daily use you wouldn't notice. Both phones have a typical array of buttons on the side, and all of the ports collect at the bottom — including a headphone jack on both phones.

OnePlus 6 specs

Internally, the similarities continue. Both phones are powered by a Snapdragon 845 processor (aside from GS9+ models with a similar Exynos), 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. In either case you can pay to option up 128GB or 256GB of storage, but OnePlus also gives you 8GB of RAM in those higher storage models — though you'd be hard-pressed to find a need for it. The OnePlus 6 has a slightly smaller battery at 3300mAh to the GS9+'s 3500mAh, but battery life ends up being about the same — and in some cases, the OnePlus 6 actually goes longer on a charge.

What's different

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OnePlus 6 vs. Galaxy S9+

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OnePlus 6 vs. Galaxy S9+

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OnePlus 6 vs. Galaxy S9+

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OnePlus 6 vs. Galaxy S9+

So when the base of the hardware, specs and features is the same, where does Samsung differentiate to justify its higher price? Well, in the details. On the hardware side, Samsung offers IP68 water resistance, which gives you true peace of mind in knowing it can get wet without issue. Its glass back also hides dual-mode wireless charging for those who enjoy the convenience, there are dual speakers available, and its Fast Charge wired charging system, while slower than Dash Charge, is cross-compatible with every Quick Charge charger as well as USB-C Power Delivery.

The GS9+ gives you more 'nice to have' features, a proven camera and an amazing display without a notch.

Then we have to address the big difference that stares you in the face: the display notch. I can easily argue that the OnePlus 6's notch isn't bothersome and simply lets you get a little more display without making the phone larger, but the simple fact is the Galaxy S9+ doesn't have one and you don't have to deal with it. All else being equal, not having a notch is preferable. And further on the display front, the GS9+ just has a downright better panel — its brightness and clarity are unmatched by any Android phone, making it better than the still-very-good OLED panel on the OnePlus 6. It's also higher resolution, if you're into that sort of thing.

The only area on the front where the OnePlus "wins" is that its display is flat and not curved. Yes this is a bit like the complaints about display notches, but many people don't care for the Galaxy S9+'s curved screen edges because they make the phone tougher to operate in one hand. Just like the notch discussion this may not be an issue for you, but no matter what camp you land in you'll never have to think about a curved display on the OnePlus 6.

OnePlus wins the software battle, both out of the box and over time.

One of the biggest differentiators here is the software experience. OnePlus has a lot of fans purely based on its clean and fast software experience that has minimal interruptions and delightful improvements over stock Android. Samsung's phones do more, that's not even up for debate, but the trade-off is that the Galaxy S9+ probably has a whole bunch of features that you don't care about but have to deal with anyway. With its simple software the OnePlus 6 is going to be fast out of the box and stay fast over time, and that's something that isn't exactly guaranteed on a Samsung phone.

The final part of this comparison is the cameras. OnePlus has made a big improvement with the OnePlus 6, using a new 16MP primary sensor that's larger, with an f/1.7 lens and OIS. It's supported by a 20MP secondary camera to help with Portrait Mode photos, and is no longer for zooming. The pair is undeniably a large step beyond the OnePlus 5 and 5T. It gets close to what the Galaxy S9+ can do, and in daylight scenes you can't really tell the difference unless you set the two side-by-side.

OnePlus 6 (left) vs. Galaxy S9+ (right) — click images to view larger.

OnePlus 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy S9: Camera comparison

The Galaxy S9+ still has better HDR and colors in many scenes, which can somewhat be attributed to its overall warmer color profile, but the OnePlus 6 isn't far behind on average. Samsung's camera also just seems smoother and crisper in areas of fine lines and details. On the other side of things, the OnePlus 6 doesn't seem to have the same kinds of exposure issues that can often over-brighten shots from the Galaxy S9+. In poor lighting, the Galaxy S9+ is still the king — the OnePlus 6 just doesn't have the same level of clarity and fine edges when the lights get dim. It's good, but not on the same level of the best cameras available today.

Which should you buy?

OnePlus 6 vs. Galaxy S9+

Choosing which phone is right for you really should start with a discussion of price. The OnePlus 6 starts at $529, which is dramatically cheaper than the base Galaxy S9+ at $839. Even the top-end OnePlus 6 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is $629, still $210 less than the base Galaxy S9+.

The Galaxy S9+ undeniably offers more, but it's tough to say it's worth an extra $300 over the OnePlus 6.

But what if you're willing to spend the extra money, but don't want to if it's not actually worth it? A whole lot of the experience is shared between these two phones. The hardware is great on either one, as is the performance, specs and core features — they're also nearly identical in size, both in display area and overall. For the extra money the Galaxy S9+ offers a better display (without a notch), a marginally better camera experience, and extra hardware features like wireless charging — and we can't entirely discount the value of its more recognizable brand. That being said, the OnePlus 6 has a cleaner software experience that's simpler to use and isn't as susceptible to long-term problems — and, as previously noted, the entire package is dramatically less expensive.

If your budget for a phone is only about $600, it's tough to imagine that you'd all of a sudden decide to spend an additional $250 beyond that to get a Galaxy S9+ — and the few improvements it offers over the OnePlus 6 don't really justify that price increase if you're at all price sensitive. But If the extra money doesn't mean much to you, the Galaxy S9+ does indeed offer a better overall experience provided you're enticed by the extra features rather than the simplicity of the OnePlus software. But no matter your budget, you'd be doing yourself a disservice to not consider the OnePlus 6 in any case — it has a whole lot going for it as a complete package at any price.

Update May 2018: Now that the OnePlus 6 is fully released, we've updated the comparison with details on how the battery life and cameras compare between these phones.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

62 Comments
  • Easy for folks like me on Sprint. No CDMA love, no OP6.
  • I just bought a Galaxy S8+ instead of a Oneplus 5T. I have no regrets.
  • The article is talking about the op6 not the 5t.....
  • and the S9+, not the S8+...
  • some people can't follow parallels….
  • The gap has closed between the two.
    The differences between S8+ and a OP5T aren't the same as a S9+ compared to a OP6.
    Sure, the phones got progressively better, but its the OP6 that closed the gap. (Probably the 6T even more.)
  • Shouldn't the first sentence be : "no one plus 6 if you're on Verizon or Sprint." ?
  • Indeed!
  • Gee, I don't know, which one works on Verizon with over 150 million customers?
  • There's about 2 billion non-Verizon customers in the world.
  • But here in US, Verizon is # So for a lot of us the 6 is out of the question.
  • Question, if it did work on the cmda carriers, would you get one??
  • If the camera is good and it has good speakers.
  • I would have tried out a One+ phone a LONG time ago!
  • Over the last few months I've been looking to replace my old Nexus 5.
    I've never been enamored with the curved screens and with the software bloat on the S9+ it was a definite no.
    The LG V30 uses an old processor. The LG G7 was underwhelming with its features.
    If I had to pick today I'd pick the OnePlus 6 based on features and price point.
    However, I'm going to try and wait to see what the Pixel 3 might offer.
  • N/M, with comment
  • I'm a Oneplus fan it's the best UI I've used and I like being a bit different.
    Definitely not a Samsung UI fan.
    If it was the same money I would go S9, but as it is Oneplus 6.
  • If it was ip68 rating i would of went for the op6, maybe the op6t will have it.
  • That was my missing as well. IP68 and it would have really been a no brainer.
  • What is that about the IP68 with so many people. I never take myn smartphone with me in the shower and never go swim with it.
    The OnePlus 6 can stand a little rain (my OnePlus 5 can also) , and if it's a rain shower than I search for I dry place (I did that already before the smartphone was born). The IP68 rating makes the rain not any funner to be in.
  • Yeah, I don't understand it either. When we were all buying smartphones 3 years ago, none of them had IP68, and nobody cared. Ever since Samsung did it, now people act like it's this essential feature that every phone must have. Who cares! In the last 10 years, I've never had a phone die due to water exposure, including one that I intentionally dunked in a glass of water and left it there for like 5 minutes, just to see how long it would take to fail. After it dried out, it was fine. That was 8 years ago, on a phone that had no IP rating whatsoever.
  • I would like IP68 rating on a phone, but as no manufacturer will guarantee any amount of waterproofing or include it in the warranty I'm not that bothered.
    I've still got to insure my phone.
  • I never needed it before either, however, every since i bought the LG G6, then Note 8, I have taken great photo footage of my kids in the pool that I never could have done 3 years ago. So for me, not all people of the world, but for me, water resistant phones are very welcome.
  • I beg to differ Sony had phone 4 years ago that where IP68 rated, i don't know if they where the first but definitely one that advertised their phones being able to be used under water at one time.
  • Not sure; IP68 doesn't mean anything in real world usage. It's not waterproof, it's certified to be sufficiently water resistant in one specific set of test conditions which would be impossible to mirror in the real world. Every liquid scenario I've ever heard a real person describe has aspects that are not covered by the test. Things not covered by the test:
    Any variance in temperature from "room temperature" (generally 15-25C)
    Any motion of the device or of the water (current, device descending or ascending in depth, etc)
    Any chemicals in the liquid, such as chlorine or salt or lemons or beer other than straight H2O
    The device being on while submerged
    Any impact, whether it be surface impact or impact with the container holding the liquid So if the scenario is, "dropping it in the (pool, river, sea, puddle, etc), spilling (water, milk, beer, etc) on it, or using it while (submerged, being rained on, etc)... there is no aspect of the test that addresses this. So what is tested? Device powered off or put into sleep mode
    Device gently submerged in room temperature, still, tap water with no significant quantities of other chemicals and lowered to testing depth.
    Device sits submerged at testing depth for 30 minutes.
    Device is gently raised out of the water.
    Device is dried off.
    Once dry, device is tested to see if it still has basic functionality - ie, can it make a phone call. It could have serious and permanent display damage, it could have non working buttons, it could make 1 call and then turn off and never turn back on... and those are all passing because it can make that call. IP68 does represent something in terms of build quality, but the gist of this text wall is that... it doesn't mean the device is waterproof or that the manufacturer is saying that it's ok to use it underwater, etc. and that they will warranty damage caused by that. They generally say that they specifically will not cover water damage. Is it more protection against the real world than IP53? Maybe, perhaps even probably. But there's no way to know, because they're not testing against anything that people actually experience.
  • One advantage of the OP6 not mentioned in the article is the early access to the Android P Beta, when S9 users will be lucky if they get Android P on their devices early in 2019.
  • One disadvantage of the OP6 is that they will steal your data, and even your credit information if given the chance. As much as I don't like samdung devices, I would buy ANYTHING vs the OPlus devices.
  • That's Huawei, not One Plus. No reports on that.
  • If I only had the choice between the S9 and OnePlus 6, I'd choose the OnePlus 6 all day long, as I like their UI, can't stand Samsung's bloated software. But I've already decided on the Pixel 2 XL, it has everything I'll ever need (pure Android and Google with guaranteed updates for 3 years) and want, and I don't trust OnePlus and the Pixel 2 XL was always gonna be my number one choice.
  • This!
  • Not even a choice. S9+ all the way.
  • I need updates blah blah blah, if my s9 plus never gets another update I don't care, thing runs perfect. Nothing in android pee pee will make using my phone so much better
  • Yeah right, keep telling yourself that, until your S9- gets Android P this time next year while us lucky Pixel owners will be Android Q have fun with your lag bloat before then lol.
  • But you still have to look at that crappy screen. lol
  • What "crappy screen"? It's been fixed now actually use a Pixel 2 XL because making false statements about the screen.
  • Exactly! That's why when us Samsung users get a new Android letter we are like meh nothing's new. Mostly complaints about how the new Android version ruined or took away features we already were use to having. Android R might catch up to a Galaxy still on Oreo. Android is slowly turning into TouchWiz each update at a time 🤣
  • E.g.?
  • Difference is Google does it better and doesn't make it a complicated clusterf**k like Samsung's.
  • Funny because I like pure Android but features that Samsung adds are most option. For example, I like their SmartStay feature which keeps the display on while it detects you are still looking at the screen. You forget it's there but it really adds convenience. And Samsung pay is 95% reliable for me, unlike Google Pay which was crazy unreliable.
  • Maybe not battery improvements.
  • Dont know why people endlessly go on and on and on about Samsung bloatware and being sluggish with updates. All this is such a non event...and like updates really make much difference,(seriously get a life if you think this stuff is important). I have had many Notes (currently Note8) and started out with Galaxy S3.They have been by far the best Android phone the whole time. If you cant see this then you basically have no idea or too much of a tight ass to buy one.
    Get real.
  • I've had many S series phones, up to the S7.
    All very good phones.
    The UI is not my favourite and they all did get buggy.
    I understand why people love them and my next phone is looking likely to be a Note 9 but there are many good phones out there many of which suit people better than the S or Note series.
  • I'm not interested in an S9 or anything Same phone because of their bloated UI, the Pixel 2 XL is the phone I truly want as it has everything I'll ever need, pure Android and Google, fast, fluid and the best Android experience and my favourite version of Android, the best camera, no useless duplicate apps and junk, it's the best Android and fast updates plus being first in line for the latest version of Android direct from Google. Oh and it has the best camera. Don't care about wireless charging or expandable storage either as 128GB of on board storage is more than enough for me.
  • you hate Samsung. you have never owned an S7, S8 or S9 so you are regurgitating crap from the old S4 days because that what children do. bash what they don't own.
    Samsung Experience on the Note 8 and S8, S9 is just as smooth as the pixel. wanna know How I know this? I just bought a pixel just for the fun of it. I still have the iPhone X and Note 8 and the Note 8 is Just as fast as the pixel. in everything. The great part about the Note is all the extra S pen features that the pixel can't touch. Pixel is a great phone, but it doesn't have Anything on Samsung. I am speaking from Fact. I OWN both. I am not just fanboying BS I heard back in the day. like you are.
  • Beno... No disrespect intended, but until you actually own/use the Pixel, please refrain from knocking other phones in comparison. I sincerely hope you get the phone you seem to feel is the best.
  • This right here
  • And even withe Note7 fiasco....i was looked after with free phones (S7 edge to keep) and $500 in credits on my virgin account, then a preorder Note8. Cant complain about that.
  • Thanks for the comparison. I'm currently on the S7 and pretty happy with the photos from it - as long as the OnePlus 6 matches or beats them then I'd be happy. I'd miss the always-on screen but haven't used wireless charging much. Would also prefer Quick Charge as I've got a few of those chargers already, but if the battery life is better anyway (and it can't be much worse than my horrendous S7 battery life) then I'd be able to use those chargers as just normal USB ones anyway. Really would like to get rid of Samsung bloatware so that would be a big thing in favour of OnePlus...
  • How to root my Samsung Galaxy S9+ device under more secure way?
  • The best ever way to root any Android device is now SuperSU Pro. Right now SuperSU Pro can be named as the best ever rooting tool in the public and this is the only rooting tool which gives all compatible settings for the all Android versions in the public, moreover SuperSU Pro is complete free tool for all Android users, this is not just an another rooting tool. This is much complex tool with number of amazing features for the end users. Right now any user can download the latest version of SuperSU Pro via https://www.supersupro.co/
  • So, in this comparison, as far as displays go, we have a choice between an inexplicable curve, with no actual utility (that actually HAMPERS utility in many cases), or a derivative notch. I don't love EITHER choice, to be perfectly honest. At the moment, I'm trying out the S9+, but I got a carrier one, and am hating the bloatware & popups. I much prefer the idea of unlocked, and the OnePlus 6 definitely has that going for it (I wanted features like Wi-Fi calling and HD voice, though, which would have been crippled on the unlocked version of the S9+). If the OnePlus 6 would have been out when I was buying the S9+, I'd might have gotten it instead. Its certainly good ENOUGH, and is available at a much more agreeable price.
  • The S9+ on Verizon is $300 off. You're not settling when you pick up the S9+ like you are with the OnePlus 6.
  • Best OnePlus 6 feature that the S9+ doesn't have? No Bixby button. I'm still on a Note 5 and was all set on waiting for the Note 9 until news broke that Samsung doubled down on Bixby. Now just don't know.
  • Less of an issue now that you can fully disable BIxby if you really don't want it.
  • Yeah, honestly Bixby is a non-issue if you just disable it.
  • Currently Samsung has s9+ at 639.99 and the s9 at 519.99. No trade ins required. I think at these prices its a no brainer over the one plus 6.
  • Where are you seeing these prices?
  • So much IP68 crying, notch crying, no wireless charging crying, no Verizon crying... and just crying.
  • « All else being equal, not having a notch is preferable » I don’t see really why. It’s a non issue, a lot less distracting tgan the curved screen because it doesn’t go on the way of content
  • One question: does the OP6 have a curved screen?
  • Hey Android Central. I'm using the app and there is NO left or right when looking at pictures, they are stacked. Any clarification for this...... It's always this way. Any way to rewire your articles for the app or say "when using the app the pictures are...."
  • Though it was just me!