Which Is The Best Smartphone Under $800?

The iPhone 12 and OnePlus 9 are loaded with impressive features and specs for under $800, but which is the best purchase? Here’s how they compare.

Apple struck a solid balance of price, features, and specs with the iPhone 12 last year, but when compared against the OnePlus 9, how does the phone manage to hold up? For all intents and purposes, the iPhone 12 is the best smartphone for most people right now. It’s stupidly fast, has a gorgeous design, excellent cameras, and runs the latest and greatest iOS 14 software that’s backed by years of updates. For anyone that’s in the market for a new iPhone, the $799 iPhone 12 is difficult to say no to.

Looking to directly compete with the iPhone 12 and beat Apple at its own game, OnePlus recently launched the OnePlus 9. It’s one of the first smartphones to be released from OnePlus in 2021, and it stands out as the company’s latest value flagship offering. It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles as the more expensive OnePlus 9 Pro, but it manages to offer a similarly great experience for just $729.

Related: How iPhone 13’s Smaller Notch Might Impact Overall Design

Before digging into the hardware differences between the two phones, there’s the matter of software that Apple and OnePlus offer. The iPhone 12 runs iOS while the OnePlus 9 runs Android, and for some shoppers, that’ll be the deciding factor right there. For someone that’s deeply entrenched in the Apple ecosystem and doesn’t want to leave it, it just makes sense to go with the iPhone 12. Yes, the OnePlus 9 has a few hardware advantages over it and is more affordable, but Apple fans will be happier and more comfortable getting the latest iPhone. Similarly, someone that’s all-in on Android with no intentions of switching should play it safe and get the OnePlus 9. For everyone else that can happily use either operating system, there’s a bit more to dig into.

The OnePlus 9 Is A Fantastic (And Cheaper) iPhone 12 Alternative

OnePlus 9 in Winter Mist color

Starting with the display, there are pros and cons of each. The iPhone 12 has a 6.1-inch OLED display with a sharp 2532 x 1170 resolution, but unfortunately, its refresh rate is limited to just 60Hz. By comparison, the OnePlus 9 has a larger 6.55-inch AMOLED display with a much faster 120Hz refresh rate — allowing for smoother animations and scrolling. It does have a slightly lower resolution of 2400 x 1080, but the OnePlus 9 also comes with an always-on display feature while the iPhone lacks this entirely.

Cameras are another key factor to consider when deciding on a new smartphone, and once again, Apple and OnePlus stand out for their own reasons. The 48MP primary camera on the OnePlus 9 is very good, but the 12MP main shooter on the iPhone 12 does manage to come out slightly ahead — benefitting from more consistent images, better video recording, and optical image stabilization (something that’s not found on the OnePlus 9). That said, the OnePlus 9’s 50MP ultra-wide camera is one of the best money can currently buy. It has similar colors and detail compared to the main sensor, and thanks to its freeform lens design, OnePlus was able to reduce edge distortion to just 1%.

In regards to smaller details, the hits keep coming from both sides. The OnePlus 9 and iPhone 12 can get through a full day on one charge, but OnePlus’s 65W wired charging is far and away better than the max 20W charging speeds offered by the iPhone. Not to mention, OnePlus actually includes its charger in the box. The OnePlus 9 also benefits from Bluetooth 5.2 compared to the iPhone 12’s Bluetooth 5.0 standard, but the iPhone touts an IP68 dust/water-resistance rating no matter which model someone buys. By comparison, only the T-Mobile variant of the OnePlus 9 has that certification. The OnePlus 9 also lacks 5G on AT&T, whereas the iPhone 12 has 5G support for all U.S. carriers.

At the end of the day, these are two excellent smartphones for someone that has an $800 budget. The OnePlus 9 comes out ahead with its 120Hz refresh rate and incredible charging speeds, not to mention its lower price tag. The iPhone 12 may not win the price comparison, but it stands out for its own reasons. It’s the better choice for users that want the best possible camera experience, 5G support and IP68 protection don’t come with any weird stipulations, and the smaller 6.1-inch display size makes it more comfortable for one-handed use. Depending on where someone’s wants/needs lie, either handset is easy to recommend.

Next: iPhone 12 Pro Max Vs. OnePlus 9 Pro: Best Premium Phone To Buy?

Source: Apple, OnePlus

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