Today they are really similar. Most manufacturers are shipping, the same two pieces of glass and aluminum, and sometimes even the same processors, which makes it hard to find a difference. Two of the biggest players in the space right now are the oneplus 9. Pro and the samsung galaxy s21 ultra both offer similar experiences at similar prices, and while one continues to dominate in the photography genre, the other relies on performance and software to get the job done. So then, are there enough differences to make them stand out from each other i’m luke pollock with android authority and today we’re, comparing the oneplus 9 pro with the samsung galaxy s21 ultra the design language of these two devices couldn’t be more different. The samsung galaxy s21 ultra is heavier, has a matte finish across all color ways and the larger camera bump. In fact, the camera bump is significantly larger. Both the body and the display are protected by the latest gorilla glass victus and the phone has an ip68 rating for water and dust resistance. Samsung is calling its camera module, design, contour cut and i have to admit it feels intentional and looks very dramatic in person, while the phone is gigantic, it doesn’t feel overwhelming, and the overall weight gives a premium impression in the hand. On the other hand, the oneplus 9 pro is slimmer, has a glossy finish and a smaller camera bump and an alert slider do keep in mind that there are matte color ways of this phone stellar black and forest green, but the one we’re comparing today is the Morning, mist version the body and display are made up of gorilla glass 5, and while there is an ip68 water and dust resistance rating as well, the device feels cheaper in part.
This is due to the glossy finish and lighter weight of the phone, but i also prefer the camera design on the s21 ultra while smaller the oneplus 9 pro’s camera module feels more of an afterthought than a staple of the device, the location of the usbc port Stereo speakers and sim card tray is in almost identical positions. However, the volume rocker is located on the left side of the oneplus 9 pro, as opposed to the right on the galaxy s21 ultra. I would give the s21 ultra a slight edge here, as the button presses are a little bit more tactile now. Haptics on both of these devices are good, but the oneplus 9 pro comes away with a narrow wind. The vibrations are just more precise and nuanced than those on the s21 ultra taking a look at these displays. Both of these screens are impressive in their own right. Each features: a qhd plus resolution 120hz adaptive refresh rate and a punch hole cut out for the camera. I will admit that i prefer the front camera’s location on the oneplus 9 pro, but that said, the s21 ultra has a smaller cutout. Also, the ultra’s display is slightly larger, coming in at 6.8 inches compared to the 6.7 inches on the 9 pro. Comparing the display side by side, i couldn’t recognize any perceivable differences in resolution or color, but the display on the s21 ultra is slightly less curved than the 9 pro.
Another. Considerable difference is battery life, the samsung galaxy ships with a five thousand milliamp hour cell, whereas the oneplus 9 pro ships with a 4500 milliamp hour battery on paper, this 500 milliamp hour difference doesn’t, really sound like much, but in real life it’s a completely different story In the stock configuration which is full hd plus and an adaptive 120 hertz refresh rate, the oneplus 9 pro makes it through just about a full day, and i usually need to recharge around 10 pm. On the other hand, the s21 ultra again set to the same full, hd, plus and dynamic 120 hertz, refresh rate, can make it through almost two days with about 15 left towards the end of the second day. For both of these tests, i used the phone moderately with some light gaming, a couple hours of youtube, some photography and social media, but still the s21 ultra absolutely destroys the oneplus 9 pro when it comes to battery life performance. However, that’s not the end of the story where the oneplus 9 pro has the s21 ultra beat is in its charging technology. The 9 pro actually comes with a 65 watt charger in the box. Yes, there’s a charger in the box, but there’s no charger included with the galaxy. This alone could be a deciding factor. However, the advantages for oneplus don’t stop here: the 9 pro charges at an incredible rate of 65 watts, which takes the phone from 0 to 75.
In just under 20 minutes by comparison, the galaxy s21 ultra only charges at a rate of 25 watts making for significantly longer charging times also with oneplus. First party 50 watt wireless charger, though 9 pro can power up from 0 to 70 in just 30 minutes. Even with samsung’s first party wireless charger, the s21 ultra can only charge at a rate of 15 watts, wirelessly so it’s interesting to see two sides of very different charging ideologies. Here samsung chose the route of longer raw battery life, whereas oneplus seems content with offering shorter battery life in exchange for wildly fast charging. Unfortunately, whichever device you choose will come at a trade off, so i’ve talked about this before, but phone specs today, don’t really mean a whole lot. Still the raw power on the galaxy s21 ultra and the oneplus 9 pro is nearly identical. Both phones, ship with the latest snapdragon 888 processor, but the 9 pro – has options of 8 gigabytes and 12 gigabytes of ram, while the s21 ultra starts with a base of 12 gigabytes, going up to a whopping 16 gigabytes for the top model. Now, in our test, both phones scored well in geekbench 4 in both single and multi core performance. What this means for your day to day is that both phones will provide a smooth experience across the board. Yes, the 9 pro is technically more powerful than the galaxy s20 ultra, but you’re not going to experience this marginal difference in speed.
Now gaming is no different, with both phones performing impressively in their own right. I didn’t notice any significant difference in games such as pubg mobile or asphalt 9.. The adaptive 120 hertz screen comes to bat in both devices as gaming at 60 frames per second was smooth with noticeable hangs or stutters. I will say that the 9 pro remains slightly cooler to the touch when gaming for more extended periods, but again the difference here is negligible. So one of the biggest differences between these two phones is in the software experience. Both devices run android 11, but ship with different skins. The oneplus 9 pro runs oxygen, os 11, which i found to be far cleaner than one ui 3 that runs on the samsung galaxy s21. This may come as a surprise to some, but the 9 pro also ships with less bloatware than the galaxy s21 ultra now, aesthetic differences aside functionality on both skins remain almost the same, but strictly from a user standpoint. I might add that the oxygen os is slightly more easy to navigate. But again this is my personal opinion. Finding settings is simple and both default launchers feature native google integration with the google discover feed on the leftmost home screen. Okay, so it might seem, like we’ve, been talking about the bigger differences between these two phones and while you might think that the most significant difference with these two flagships is the cameras this time around it’s, actually closer than ever, oneplus partnered with hasselblad.
In an attempt to fix some of its long, lasting camera issues, this new change has proven to be pretty successful, but, as you’ll find out, the samsung galaxy s21 ultra performs slightly better than the oneplus 9 pro in most metrics. Both of these phones handle dynamic, range white balance, detail and color. Well, however, the oneplus 9 pro seems to produce slightly more detailed images compared to the galaxy s21 ultra on paper. You might think the s21 ultra would beat out the 9 pro due to its larger 108 megapixel wide angle camera. By comparison, the oneplus 9 pro only uses a 48 megapixel primary camera. However, due to pixel binning, both produce 12 megapixel images by default and the results are pretty comparable, like i’ve said before, specs don’t mean everything and the 9 pro is an excellent example of this. That said, i think the difference comes down to software processing. The 9 pro does tend to over sharpen images, giving the effect of a more detailed photo, whereas the galaxy s21 ultra’s detail is on par, but the software processing softens the image regardless. This is the closest we’ve seen oneplus get when it comes to camera performance. The s21 ultra still produces more saturated punchy and brighter photos, like we mentioned in our full review. Thanks to the partnership with hasselblad oneplus has improved its color processing. This generation, which airs on the side of realism. The images produced are flatter with less contrast and saturation and appear to be more true to what your eyes actually seem.
Some might view this as a downside, but it gives you some added flexibility to edit the photos in post. I did prefer the overall look of the s21 ultra’s color science over the 9 pro, but this will come down to personal preference. If you like punchier brighter images, then the galaxy s21 ultra might be the camera phone for you, hdr performance on the oneplus 9. Pro is not as good as compared to the galaxy s21 ultra. In most cases, the s21 ultra retains more detail on the shadows and highlights making for a slightly more natural looking hdr image. This is especially seen in lower light indoor photos, as the 9 pro produces. Some over saturated scenes, even still in daylight scenarios, the 9 pro competes but tends to reduce the highlights and lifts the shadows a little bit more. The resulting image is a little bit flatter than the s21 ultra, but not at all unpleasant. Now the wide angle lenses on both of these phones are pretty dang good. The images coming out of the 9 pro are detailed and white balance and sharpness are good too. However, the s21 ultra does tend to produce a slightly sharper photo with higher dynamic range. It also creates a more accurate white balance and images are brighter and more saturated. Overall, the galaxy s21 ultra takes the win here, but by a slim margin. Finally, the telephoto and selfie cameras are both very close, but again the galaxy s21 ultra produces brighter sharper and less noisy images.
This is especially significant in the telephoto lens, considering that the s21 ultra is capable of 10 times optical zoom, compared to the oneplus 3 times. Optical zoom, still even at three times the s21 ultra produces far sharper and cleaner images. Lastly, in low light, the samsung galaxy s21 ultra performs better dynamic range and white balance are slightly more accurate versus the oneplus 9 pro. That said again, the 9 pro seems to retain more detail on the highlights and shadows. Both devices produce incredibly close images and low light, but i still prefer the more saturated images coming out of the s21 ultra alright, so let’s talk prices in the us. The oneplus 9 pro starts at a base price of 969 dollars for the eight gigabyte of ram 128 gigabytes of storage option. If you want to move up to the 12 gigabytes of ram 256 gigabyte model, that brings up the price to 10.69, the samsung galaxy s21 ultra starts at 1 1999 for the 12 gigabytes of ram and 128 gigabytes of storage prices do go up in fifty dollar Increments, if you want the higher tier options so then, which one should you buy? Well, both devices are really solid. The specs compete on paper and in real life, which means choosing one of these premium flagships over the other has never been so difficult. Furthermore, the main cameras on both of these devices perform so closely that i don’t believe it’s a metric to choose one over the other.
That said, the samsung galaxy s21 ultra provides a more premium experience both in design and battery life, albeit at a much higher msrp. This might make it a better option for some power users. On the other hand, the 9 pro has crazy, fast charging times a minimalist design and competitive cameras all for 200 less for the base model, which makes this phone a more budget friendly choice, bottom line. If you want smoother ui incredibly fast charging times, then go with the oneplus 9 pro, but if longer battery life overall camera versatility and a more premium design is your cup of tea, then the galaxy s21 ultra is the clearer choice to go with alright, so that’s Gon na wrap it up for this versus video make sure to check out our in depth written review of both phones via the links below.