The Best OnePlus Phones for 2021

OnePlus made quite the entrance when they debuted their first smartphone back in 2014 — the OnePlus One. It was a device that packed flagship-level specs at a not-so-flagship price. The hype train only sped up when the company paired its attractive value proposition with a limited stock of devices — only available to purchase via an invitation code. Since then, OnePlus has gone from a Chinese startup to a premier smartphone manufacturer competing with the titans of Apple and Samsung.

Driven by a community of active and loyal users, OnePlus now offers a wider range of smartphones than ever, the best being the OnePlus 9 Pro. But not everyone wants a top-of-the-line flagship phone — if you fall into that category, there’s still a OnePlus smartphone for you.

Best OnePlus smartphones at a glance

Best OnePlus smartphone overall: OnePlus 9 Pro

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Why you should buy this: You want a high-powered OnePlus phone with powerful specs, an utterly stunning 6.7-inch AMOLED display, and the best camera OnePlus and Hasselblad could produce.

Who it’s for: It’s the best OnePlus has to offer and the choice for you if budget is no concern.

Why we picked the OnePlus 9 Pro:

If you want the best, shiniest phone OnePlus has to offer, then you’re going to love the OnePlus 9 Pro. OnePlus’s latest flagship smartphone is an excellent smartphone, worthy of trading blows with the best from Apple and Samsung and equipped with 5G. As you’d expect, it comes with top specs. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, and you have the choice of 8GB or 12GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of internal storage. As such, it’s amongst the strongest smartphones around in terms of pure performance. However, keep in mind there’s no microSD card, so the storage you start with is all you’re going to get.

Those strong specs are backed up by a good battery, too. It has a 4,500mAh capacity, and it should last you a day with average use — though not much longer, and those who use their phones heavily will probably need to charge up more often. However, the OnePlus 9 Pro also has access to some of the fastest wired charging around, and 65W of power is enough to charge your phone from zero to 100% in 28 minutes (or so OnePlus claims).

The display is big, beautiful, and exceptionally smooth. It’s a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a 3216 x 1220 resolution. That results in a wonderfully crisp pixel density of 525. It’s also smooth, thanks to an adaptive refresh rate that moves between 1Hz and 120Hz, depending on your phone’s current operation.

The camera, while not on the level of Samsung’s and Apple’s latest flagships, is still very capable. The quad-lens rear camera has been created with Hasselblad and consists of a main 48-megapixel lens, a 50MP wide-angle lens, an 8MP telephoto lens with a 3.3x optical zoom, and a 2MP monochrome lens, which can be used by itself. It’s an impressive performer and creates images with strong color balance, vividness, and a lovely natural tone. It’s nothing really special, like some of the best camera phones, but it’s definitely a great little performer.

At $969 for the basic model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, that does mean the OnePlus 9 Pro isn’t exactly one of the cheapest around — but it’s a good enough price for a very strong phone and the top choice if you’re looking for the best OnePlus phone.

Read our full OnePlus 9 Pro review

Best OnePlus smartphone under $700: OnePlus 8 Pro

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Why you should buy this: You get an immersive 6.78-inch Fluid AMOLED screen capable of a 120Hz refresh rate and the first OnePlus device with wireless charging and water and dust resistance.

Who it’s for: Anyone who doesn’t want to pay flagship prices but still wants a strong smartphone.

Why we picked the OnePlus 8 Pro:

The gap between OnePlus and the old guards of Apple and Samsung is closer than ever thanks to the OnePlus 8 Pro. Despite no longer being OnePlus’ top-of-the-line choice, the OnePlus 8 Pro is still a power user’s paradise, and the marriage of 12GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 865 chipset, and the 120Hz Fluid AMOLED screen give you one of the most buttery-smooth mobile experiences money can buy.

Why buy it over the other smartphones that OnePlus has to offer? The OnePlus 8 Pro fixes most, if not all, of the weaknesses that plagued its predecessor, the OnePlus 7 Pro. IP-rated water and dust resistance? Check. Warp Charge 30T wireless charging? Check. A camera that can compete with the likes of the Google Pixel and Apple iPhone? Check. The OnePlus 8 Pro nails all the bells and whistles of an ideal flagship smartphone. It also ships with the latest version of Oxygen OS 11 (based on Android 11), and with OnePlus’ positive track record, you can expect at least two years of software updates.

Best of all, since the OnePlus 8 Pro is no longer the top flagship of the company, you’ll no longer need to pay the original starting price of $899 — $699 is the new starting price for this phone, and it’s a great price for a great phone.

Check out our full OnePlus 8 Pro review

Best smartphone under $600: OnePlus 8T

OnePlus 8T WarpCharge 65
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Why you should buy this: It delivers everything that makes a OnePlus phone special at a price that’s more than reasonable.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants the features that make OnePlus special but doesn’t want to pay more than $600.

Why we picked the OnePlus 8T:

The OnePlus 8T was a welcome, if not outstanding, addition to OnePlus’s roster when it arrived in 2020. But regardless of that fact, the OnePlus 8T is still an excellent phone and one of the best ways to immerse yourself into all the features that make OnePlus special — and for an excellent midrange price.

Let’s talk specs. The OnePlus 8T doesn’t have the newest specs around, but last year’s Snapdragon 865 still does an excellent job, and you’re unlikely to find the other specs lacking, too. You get to choose between 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage or 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Neither amount of RAM is likely to disappoint, but think twice before buying the amount with less storage space. There’s no microSD card slot in this phone, so that’s all the physical storage you’re going to get. However, if you don’t save a lot of media or apps, 128GB will be fine.

But what’s so special about this phone? While the battery is a somewhat average 4,500mAh cell that provides a day’s worth of power, it’s backed up by OnePlus’s montrously fast Warp Charge 65T. This super-fast charging can charge from zero to 60% in around 15 minutes, which is very fast indeed. The 6.5-inch AMOLED display is another highlight and offers a 120Hz refresh rate for buttery-smooth operation and a high 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution.

What about the camera? It’s certainly good enough, though nothing special, but the dedicated monochrome lens is fun to play with and a welcome addition for those who love to play with this sort of photography. It’s not the most capable camera phone on this list, so don’t buy it just for the camera, but it’s still more than capable enough if you just want to take the occasional snapshot.

The OnePlus 8T was often hard to recommend at the original starting price of $749. But now, with prices starting from $599, this phone has really come into its own. The OnePlus 8T offers solid flagship specs at a midrange price, and that’s a very hard bargain to pass up.

Read our full OnePlus 8T review

Best smartphone under $400: OnePlus 7T

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Why you should buy this: An all-around performer with some of the best specs you’ll find for a device priced under $400.

Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a snappy and user-friendly OnePlus experience without breaking the bank.

Why we picked the OnePlus 7T:

OnePlus has built a reputation for putting out high-end smartphones at an affordable price. While their pricing models have deviated from that over the last few launches, they stuck to their roots with the OnePlus 7T. The OnePlus 7T offers the cutting-edge speed that you’ve come to expect with OnePlus devices, packing 8GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 855 Plus, and a 90Hz refresh rate display that will make any other phone in this price range inferior.

As manufacturers continue the arms race for the best combination of hardware and software, a typical flagship smartphone will easily cost you $1,000, and that’s before throwing on some spec upgrades. Yes, the OnePlus 7T omits less-demanded features like wireless charging and an official IP-rating certification in order to cut costs. But what you do get is more than enough to make you forget all that. The OnePlus 7T packs a triple-camera setup, including a 16MP ultrawide lens and a 12MP telephoto lens. The array of lenses gives consumers the flexibility to spice up their shots no matter the object or place. After a long day of use, juice up the device with Warp Charge 30T — OnePlus’ proprietary charging technology that lets you go from zero to 70% in 30 minutes.

The OnePlus 7T can be yours for $499 from the OnePlus website as well as Amazon — though pricing and availability may vary. There is only one model available with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but you’ll be able to choose between a frosted silver or glacial blue finish.

Check out our full OnePlus 7T review

Best OnePlus smartphone under $300: OnePlus Nord N10

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Why you should buy this: It’s a budget thriller that offers 5G, good battery life, 128GB of storage, and good specs for less than $300.

Who it’s for: Someone who wants the OnePlus experience but at a budget price.

Why we picked the OnePlus Nord N10:

You don’t have to pay midrange prices or above to get hold of a OnePlus phone. With decent midrange specs, a 90Hz refresh rate, and solid battery life, the OnePlus Nord N10 is the best choice if you’re looking for a reliable OnePlus smartphone for less than $300.

A fair few concessions have been made to push the phone down to this price, though. The phone’s body, while it looks nice, is very obviously plastic, and there are some comparatively chunky bezels spoiling the 6.49-inch display. However, that display is running a 1080p resolution, and it rocks a 90Hz refresh rate, too, which isn’t something we see often on phones this cheap. The specs are also slightly disappointing, and we did come across some laggy performance from time to time — but the 4,300mAh battery has enough juice for a full day, and it comes with 30W fast charging to boot.

The camera is a quad-lens camera, but it’s nothing groundbreaking. Four lenses sounds great on paper, but when it’s beaten by the single lens on the Pixel 4a, you have to wonder why OnePlus bothered. Still, Google’s midrange phone is definitely an outlier in terms of photographic oomph, and it’s fair to say the OnePlus Nord N10 takes good — if desaturated — photos.

However, many of the downsides can be cast aside when you factor in that this little phone has 5G connectivity, making it one of the cheapest ways you can access the next generation of mobile network. At just $300, the OnePlus Nord N10 is an absolute steal and well worth considering if you’re looking for a good cheap phone.

Read our full OnePlus Nord N10 review

Editors’ Recommendations

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