OnePlus 10 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21

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OnePlus 10 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21: which is the right flagship for you? The two best flagships are compared!

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A OnePlus 10 Pro (left) and a Samsung Galaxy S21 (right) (Image credit: OnePlus / Samsung)

The OnePlus 10 Pro is now available in China, which means it's one of the first big flagship phone releases of 2022.

While we await news of a global launch, it's worth seeing how this year's model stacks up against one of the biggest flagship phones of 2021, the Samsung Galaxy S21.

How far has OnePlus managed to push its own flagship line? Has there been any significant progress or is it better to save some money and buy one of the best models of 2021?

Let's take a closer look at how these two phones compare on paper.

OnePlus 10 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21: price and availability

The OnePlus 10 Pro was announced on January 11, 2022, and launched on January 13. However, this release only took place in China. We still have to know when we will see the phone in other markets.

Pricing starts at 4,699 Chinese Yuan for 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage, which translates to around $740 / £550 / AU$1,056. You can also pay 4,999 Chinese Yuan ($786/£586/AU$1,123). ) for 8GB/256GB, or 5,299 Chinese yuan ($833/£621/AU$1,191) for 12GB RAM and 256GB.

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A OnePlus 10 Pro (Image credit: OnePlus)

The Samsung Galaxy S21 hit stores almost a year before the OnePlus 10 Pro, on January 29, 2021. Pricing started at $799 / £769 / AU$1,249 for the 128GB model, while the 256GB came in at $849.99 / £819 / AU$1,349.

Of course, you can get it much cheaper these days if you shop online.

OnePlus 10 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21: design

OnePlus clearly took inspiration from the Samsung Galaxy S21 with the design of the OnePlus 10 Pro.

Samsung has won our hearts with the design of its integrated camera module, which runs through the frame in a fluid 'Contour Cut' component. OnePlus adopts a similar principle, but with a squarer, more industrial camera module.

The OnePlus 10 Pro (163 x 73.9 x 8.6mm) is significantly taller, wider, and thicker than the Samsung Galaxy S21 (151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm). It's also slightly heavier at 200.5g compared to Samsung's 169g.


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A Samsung Galaxy S21 (Image credit: nextgadgetsinfo.com)

This last bit stems, in part, from the use of real glass for the OnePlus back cover. Samsung uses a plastic material called "Glastic", which we're not a big fan of. It was a bit cheap.

However, both phones have aluminum frames and super-tough Victus Gorilla Glass to cover the screens, and both have achieved IP68 water and dust resistance ratings.

When it comes to color options, the Galaxy S21 gives you Phantom Grey, Phantom White, Phantom Pink, and Phantom Violet to choose from. The OnePlus 10 Pro only offers three: black, green, and white.

OnePlus 10 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21: display

We've just touched on the size difference between these two phones, and it's also the main differentiator between their screens.

The OnePlus 10 Pro has the larger screen of the two at 6.7 inches. Samsung's is relatively small for a 6.2-inch Android phone.

This OnePlus display is also the sharper of the two, with a resolution of 3216 x 1440 compared to 2400 x 1080 on the Samsung Galaxy S21.


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A OnePlus 10 Pro (Image credit: OnePlus)

Elsewhere, the OnePlus 10 Pro has a second-gen LTPO2 AMOLED that can run the full gamut from a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz down to 1Hz, depending on the task. The Galaxy S21 can only go from 60 to 120 Hz, which is much less efficient.

Both phone screens also get bright up to the maximum height of 1300 nits.

All in all, it's a comfortable win for the OnePlus 10 Pro on paper. We'll have to test the new phone to be sure though, as Samsung is the undisputed master of OLED.

OnePlus 10 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21: cameras

There is an interesting parallel between the OnePlus 10 Pro camera and its Samsung Galaxy S21 counterpart. They both look a lot like their immediate predecessors, at least in terms of raw hardware.

That's where the similarities end, aside from the fact that they're triple-camera systems with wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto sensors.

The OnePlus 10 Pro gives you a 48 MP f/1.8 wide sensor, while the Samsung Galaxy S21 comes with a 12 MP wide sensor.

On the telephoto front, OnePlus opted for an 8MP sensor with 3.3x optical zoom, while Samsung goes ultra-sharp with a 64MP 1.1x zoom, which can create 3x hybrid shots. A completely different approach, then.

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A Samsung Galaxy S21 (Image credit: nextgadgetsinfo.com)

Then there are the ultrawide sensors. It's the only camera component we know of that's new to the OnePlus 10 Pro, in the form of a 150-degree 50MP sensor. Samsung gives you a less expansive, sharper 12 MP ultra-wide-angle with a 120-degree viewing angle.


OnePlus retained the Hasselblad brand for the second year. In OnePlus 9 Pro, this was used to provide distinctive color tuning and a bespoke camera UI. Whether all of this has been improved for the second generation remains to be seen.

We already know what Samsung's camera offering is all about, of course. Our reviewer called it a "fantastic all-around camera," with Samsung's usual vibrant colors and even tint across the sensors.

OnePlus 10 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21: specs and performance

It's probably safe to declare a performance winner, even before we've tested the OnePlus 10 Pro.

The new phone uses a new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. While early reports suggest that its CPU component isn't much faster than the Snapdragon 888 that powers the Samsung Galaxy S21, its GPU is clearly a bit faster.

Also, most Samsung Galaxy S21 users don't get the Snapdragon 888. Only the US and China models get the silicon from Qualcomm, while the global model (aka the rest) gets the Exynos 2100 from Samsung. It's a decent chip, but not as fast as the Snapdragon 888.

Which of course means it's even further behind the OnePlus 10 Pro's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

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A OnePlus 10 Pro (Image credit: OnePlus)

Both phones come with 8GB of RAM, although there's also a 12GB option with OnePlus. When it comes to storage, both phones give you the option of 128GB or 256GB.

A slight point of uncertainty concerns the OnePlus 10 Pro's likely UI. The Chinese model adopted Oppo's ColorOS, which is a much less elegant UI than the OxygenOS UI that came to define older OnePlus phones. old. Has the merger between OnePlus and Oppo undermined this software advantage, even in the future global model? Only time will tell.

Samsung's user interface is now familiar, offering loads of customization and smooth performance across the range. Samsung is even mobilizing on the timely updates front, though some will still object to the level of bloatware.

OnePlus 10 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21: battery

Again, the larger size and weight of the OnePlus 10 Pro drives this section. The new phone's 5,000 mAh battery is much larger than the tiny 4,000 mAh cell in the Samsung Galaxy S21.

The latter is actually quite small by modern Android phone standards, and it certainly seemed to wreak havoc in our tests. Our reviewer found that the Galaxy S21 would only last a full day of use when left things were relatively light. Increase the use of GPS and other power-hungry components, and you'd die before bed.

Of course, until we've had a chance to test the OnePlus 10 Pro's endurance, we can't call a winner here. But the newer, bigger phone has all the components to stand out. In addition to that (significantly) larger battery, it also has a more efficient 4nm processor and a more efficient LTPO2 display.


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A Samsung Galaxy S21 (Image credit: nextgadgetsinfo.com)

OnePlus is in charge elsewhere too, supporting 80W wired charging and packing the right charger for the job. The Galaxy S21 only goes to 25W and you'll need to supply the brick separately.



It's a similar case on the wireless charging front, with the OnePlus 10 Pro supporting 50W and the Samsung Galaxy S21 only jumping to 15W.

Takeaway

OnePlus only saw fit to launch the OnePlus 10 Pro in China at the time of writing, so we can't help but compare these phones from afar. However, everything indicates that it will be a better phone than the consolidated Samsung Galaxy S21.

It's bigger and less maneuverable, sure, but it's also made with premium materials. It also comes with a bigger, sharper, and more efficient screen and a much bigger battery. OnePlus has also provided a faster and more efficient processor.

The OnePlus 10 Pro's camera is a bit of a question mark here, as there appears to be little hardware improvement over last year's model. Then there's the issue of the phone's hitherto unknown Western price tag and doubts about OnePlus' continued support for the brilliant Oxygen OS.

We'll really have to wait for the OnePlus 10 Pro to arrive on our shores to deliver a definitive verdict, although its real fight will likely be with the successor to the Galaxy S21.

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