Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs OnePlus 6: first look

At one time, pricing clearly dictated what phones were regarded as flagships. Nowadays, however, that perception has changed significantly as flagship smartphones now cover a wide gamut. Take for example the just-announced Samsung Galaxy Note 9, which at $1,000 starting is no doubt a flagship in every capacity. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the $529 OnePlus 6 that’s doing amazing things some might not fathom possible with a phone at that price. It’s an interesting dynamic, considering how they’re both flagships, but in totally opposite ends of the spectrum.


Honestly, the designs of both smartphones are extremely likeable – although, they have their differences. At the core of it all, they both exhibit premium constructions with their glass-meets-metal designs, which has become the norm amongst today’s high-end devices. When it comes to the in-the-hand feel, we’re inclined to give the advantage to the OnePlus 6 because the Note 9 is still a handful to operate, being larger and heavier.

Despite that, the Note 9 does offer more of a compelling design. It continues on with IP68 water resistant construction, dual curved edges, and the inclusion of one valuable accessory – the mighty S Pen. Don’t get us wrong, the OnePlus 6 is a polished looking device when you think about its price point, but Samsung continues to forge the more meticulous design with the Note 9.


Not only do the specs indicate which of the two offers the superior display, but even a visual look makes it apparent that the Note 9 has the more attractive one. The 6.4-inch 1440 x 2960 Super AMOLED display just comes to life, aided by its vibrant looks, exquisite details, and exceptional viewing angles. Meanwhile, there are still plenty of things to like about the 6.3-inch 1080 x 2280 AMOLED display that the OnePlus 6 is leveraging. While it doesn’t have the pixel crushing resolution as its esteemed rival, it’s still nonetheless detailed and encompasses the same qualities found with AMOLED technology.

User Interface

If there’s a reason to like the OnePlus 6’s signature OxygenOS interface, it has to be its minimalist approach and stock-like implementation. It trims the fat and relies heavily on delivering only the most meaningful tools for the user. Some people appreciate that kind of approach, one that doesn’t attempt to add any fluff into the mix, but with the Note 9, it’s on the total opposite end of the spectrum. Naturally, it’s all about catering to the power users with its set of productivity tools and features. Throw in the added new features with the S Pen, its experience is unmatched by the OnePlus 6.


So far from our cursory look, these two flagships exhibit smooth and instantaneous responses when it comes to basic tasks. With the two of them leveraging the same chipset, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, they’re pretty much evenly matched in many areas – including gaming, but we’re eager to see if there’s any significant boost with the Note 9 and its new water carbon cooling system. It’s worth pointing out, too, that the international version of the Note 9 will be leveraging Samsung’s Exynos chipset.

In terms of storage, these two juggernauts are available in a variety of configurations – 64, 128, or 256GB with the OnePlus 6 and 128 or a whopping 512GB with the Note 9. Sammy’s flagship further benefits from offering users expansion courtesy of its microSD card slot. Comparatively, you’re stuck with whatever you choose with the OnePlus 6.


Things get even juicier when we take a peek at their cameras, both of which go for the dual-camera implementation. With the OnePlus 6, it packs a 16MP main camera with OIS f/1.7 lens, as well as a secondary, 20MP camera. The latter is mostly there to aid with portrait shots. It is not a telephoto lens. Meanwhile, the Note 9 goes with a main, wide-angle 12MP shooter with OIS and a variable aperture that shoots at f/2.4 when you have good light, but opens wide to f/1.5 at night. The secondary camera is a telephoto one, with a 2x times zoom and optical image stabilization for better shots.

Obviously, we’re eager to uncover which of the two is superior, but there’s just more features packed into the Note 9’s experience from what we can gather so far. Sure, we’re able to capture portrait shots with both devices, but Samsung goes the distance by offering a brand-new intelligent scene recognition mode, a wicked super slow-motion mode, AR emojis, and some manual controls for video recording. When it comes to offering the more rounded features set, we’ll have to give it to the Note 9. Nevertheless, it’ll ultimately come down to quality to proclaim the winner!


Yet another advantage to the Note 9, it’s packing the beefier battery between the two – a monstrous 4000 mAh battery cell, versus the 3300 mAh one in the OnePlus 6. Of course, it’ll be interesting to see how the Note 9’s higher capacity battery will fare when dealing with the phone’s higher resolution display.

Priced at a lower price point than your typical flagship, you’re not going to find wireless charging with the OnePlus 6. Needless to say, it’s a feature that’s been in constant rotation with Samsung’s flagships – including the Note 9 here. Did we expect anything else?


You pay more, you get more – that's absolutely the case we’re presented here with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and OnePlus 6. With a starting price of $1000, the Note 9 is undoubtedly an investment that’ll cost you more out of your pocket. Then again, you’re getting a phone that has double the starting internal storage, a higher resolution display, wireless charging, an IP68 water resistant construction, a superior set of cameras, and all of the benefits of the S Pen. For productivity users, it’s the smartphone to choose if money isn’t a concern.

Conversely, the OnePlus 6 remains a constant figure in the flagship space because of its ridiculously low starting price of $529. That’s almost half the cost! And quite frankly, it has been an impressive offering that shows you don’t need to spend a whole lot to get a great-performing and good-looking phone. Yes, some of its specs can’t compare, nor does it offer the same depth of features found with the Note 9, but that’s not stopping it from being a disruptive force in the industry!

There’s variety in terms of owning a flagship, and these two indicate just that! You can spend a lot of obtaining a feature-rich phone with cutting-edge hardware, but some may be content by saving a few bucks and still being exposed to a great performing smartphone that won’t totally drain their pockets. It’s a matter of priorities naturally!

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Galaxy Note9


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