“Who can become the leader of the pack? Find out”

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After a flurry of leaks, teasers and tons of excitement, the OnePlus 6 has officially been announced by the Chinese brand. Not only does the new smartphone come with the latest and most powerful hardware available in the market right now, but it also features quite a few enticing changes in the design department. Much like previous OnePlus phones, the new smartphone will go up against major flagships such as the Samsung Galaxy S9+ (review) and the Apple iPhone X (review).

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In just a few years, OnePlus has been able to garner a large and loyal customer base, owing to its philosophy of “Never Settle” by offering some of the best hardware and software at much lower prices than the competition. That said, this year, the battle is going to be fiercer, with Samsung perfecting its smartphone game with the Galaxy S9+. Can the new OnePlus 6 go one-up against the Galaxy S9+, or does it fall short? Read on to find out.

Design – a flashy remake

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The OnePlus 6 joins the list of flagships that have now ditched the metal unibody design in lieu of flashier all-glass bodies. Yes, a glass back is prone to fingerprints and is more likely to break, but it seems like many flagship smartphones in the future will continue to use it. That said, OnePlus has used Gorilla Glass 5 on both sides of the device to make it more durable. Interestingly, the Samsung Galaxy S9+ also features a glass design with a vertical camera arrangement, just like the OnePlus 6. But when you do get both the phones in the hand is when you realise that there’s more to the OnePlus 6. The company is offering the device in three colours – Midnight Black, Mirror Black and Silk White. Each of these variants give the OnePlus 6 a completely different look, and may appeal to entirely different audiences. The Galaxy S9+ isn’t half bad either, specially in its Lilac Purple avatar.

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Both smartphones also come with additional hardware keys apart from the power and volume rockers. While the one on the OnePlus 6 is used for the highly useful alert slider, the one on the Galaxy S9+ is used for invoking the Bixby smart assistant. One thing worth noting here is that OnePlus claims that the 6 is only “splash-proof”, which is nowhere close to the IP68 rating of the Galaxy S9+. Turning the phones over, brings us to…

Bezels? Notch anymore

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Now that we’ve got the customary pun on the notch out of the way, we can talk about the display of the new OnePlus 6 in a little more detail. OnePlus had already revealed that the 6 would feature a display with a notch, and had even given away its dimensions. The notch isn’t as big as the one on the iPhone X, but it is a notch nonetheless. On the other hand, the Galaxy S9+ features minimal bezels on the top and bottom of the display, without a notch. Interestingly, the display on the OnePlus 6 does not stretch all the way to the bottom like the iPhone X. It leaves a very slim bezel on the bottom, something which shouldn’t be a problem for most people.

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Talking about the specifications, the OnePlus 6 boasts a 6.28-inch FHD+ Optic AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 19:9. The display also features more rounded corners than the OnePlus 5T (review). In contrast the Galaxy S9+ comes equipped with a 6.2-inch QHD+ Super AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9. These are two of the best displays you’ll find on smartphones these days.

Performance – enough to counter the infinity stones

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While that may have been an overstatement, OnePlus has in fact released a limited edition Marvel Avengers variant of the OnePlus 6. Under the hood, the smartphone draws power from an octa-core Snapdragon 845 SoC, coupled with 6GB or 8GB of RAM. This competes against the octa-core Exynos 9810 SoC (or Snapdragon 845, depending on region) inside the Samsung Galaxy S9+, which is aided by 6-gigs of RAM. Throw any game or application at these devices, and they will handle it without breaking a sweat.

Camera and storage – bigger, better, bolder

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The camera on a smartphone is often the ‘make it or break it’ factor for most people. But given we’re talking about flagships, you can almost certainly expect good stills. For instance, OnePlus has gone ahead with a 16MP + 20MP primary camera setup on their new flagship. The primary sensor is now 19 percent larger, and comes with OIS and an aperture of f/1.7. OnePlus has also built a wide array of in-built modes for its customers, including an improved Portrait mode which now works even with selfies, as well as an Advanced HDR mode and Smart Capture mode, which improves the clarity of your images in the background. The device is capable of shooting 4K video at 60fps and slow motion video at up to 480fps. For selfies, the smartphone uses a 16MP Sony IMX 371 sensor.

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The Samsung Galaxy S9+ on the other hand, uses two 12MP primary cameras arranged vertically on the back. You can use the setup for features like optical zoom and improved bokeh effect, but the mainstay of the primary camera on the Galaxy S9+ is its dual aperture. The smartphone can quickly shift between an aperture of f/1.5 and f/2.4 depending on the scene. The S9+ also beats the OnePlus 6 by being capable of shooting slow motion video at 960fps. Lastly, the front camera on the Galaxy S9+ is an 8MP unit. In terms of storage, the Galaxy S9+ offers 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of internal storage. These are also the exact storage variants available with the OnePlus 6. The only difference is that the Galaxy S9+ supports a microSD card whereas the OnePlus 6 does not.

Software – a plethora of features in two different avatars

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Oxygen OS on the OnePlus 6 is as close to stock Android as a non-stock UI can be. It is based on Android 8.1 Oreo and includes features like a gaming mode, a reading mode, app locker and even screen off gestures. Talking about gestures, OnePlus also offers an option to replace the navigation bar with complete gesture control. And did we mention that the 6 is also under the Android P Beta program? Sweet.

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On the other hand, the Galaxy S9+ also boots Android Oreo out of the box, with Samsung Experience UI on top. The Korean giant has vastly improved its user interface over the years, and we can confidently say that it is one of the most refined in its current form. Samsung also offers features like a gaming mode and an always-on display, as well as the ability to change the screen resolution. Connectivity options on both phones include dual-SIM support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC and 4G LTE.

Battery – lasts long, lasts strong

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Samsung has packed the Galaxy S9+ with a large 3,500mAh battery with fast charging support. In contrast, the OnePlus 6 only has a 3,300mAh unit, but it more than makes up for the smaller size with its Dash Charge technology. One weird thing we noticed is that despite sporting a glass back, the OnePlus 6 does not support wireless charging. This is a feature that has been present on the Galaxy flagships for a while now, and we thought this time OnePlus would bring it along as well.

…and the itsy-bitsy

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Both the OnePlus 6 and the Galaxy S9+ come with face recognition technology, though the Galaxy S9+ also boasts an iris scanner. Moreover, the Galaxy S9+ also comes with a heart rate sensor, which may or may not be a big deal for you. Another thing which you might like are AR Emojis, which are offered with the S9+, but not with the OnePlus 6. That said, in our time with the Galaxy S9+, we found the feature to be rather gimmicky. Oh, and by the way, both phones still come with headphone jacks. Rejoice.

The million dollar question – What’s the price?

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The Samsung Galaxy S9+ is available via all major online and offline stores, as is the case with almost all Samsung smartphones. The device is currently available starting at Rs 61,999 for the 64GB variant. Meanwhile, the OnePlus 6 will be an Amazon India exclusive and will be available via an early access sale for Prime users at 12 pm on May 21st. The company if offering the 6GB / 64GB variant at a price of Rs 34,999, while the 8GB / 128GB variant will set you back by Rs 39,999. Regular customers will be able to get their hands on the phone in exclusive pre-sale pop-ups to be held in eight major cities on May 21st and 22nd in India. The phone will also go on open sale on Amazon India on May 22nd.

Final thoughts

OnePlus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S9+

The OnePlus 6 is an extremely capable device. And unless you’re a big fan of Samsung’s UI or Bixby, the OnePlus 6 also seems to be a more logical choice. That’s not to say that the Galaxy S9+ fares badly, it’s just that the OnePlus 6 is a better value proposition, considering its expected pricing of around Rs 40,000. That said, if you’re not a fan of the notch, things can be a little different, with the Galaxy S9+ getting the upper hand in this case. What’s your pick and why? Do let us know in the comment section below.
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