What’s The Best Phone – iPhone 13, OnePlus 9 and Samsung S21?

Picking a new phone is no mean feat. We rely on our mobiles to help us organise every inch of our lives, from appointments and gym classes, to health trackers and TV apps. Some of us do business off of it, and we can even use our phones to take control of our homes when we’re not there. It makes sense, therefore, that we choose a phone that is exactly right for us.

While three ­– iPhone 13 vs OnePlus 9 vs Samsung S21 ­– stand out as top choices, which is our pick of the bunch? Read on to find out which phone comes out top when it comes to the most important aspects of the one gadget we can’t live without.

Best display

The 6.1 inch display of the new iPhone 13 is hardly any different to the previous models, and it doesn’t gain any ProMotion functionality – a special feature reserved for the Pro and Pro Max. The Galaxy S21, however, offers a crystal clear 6.2 inch AMOLED display with the added benefit of a 120Hz refresh rate, plus the design is sleeker overall than the iPhone. The OnePlus 9 has the largest screen of all, at 6.55 inches, and also boasts an impressive 120Hz refresh rate.

Verdict: This one’s a draw. If you prefer a brighter screen, opt for the S21. If you want to watch a lot of videos and prefer a larger display to work from, OnePlus 9 is the model for you. Otherwise, the iPhone13 is probably best for a more regular phone user who likes their mobiles compact.

Best camera 

It’s pretty hard to beat the Galaxy S21 for a great camera experience, with its 12MP wide and 12MP ultrawide angle camera sensor, 64MP telephoto lens, and impressive software. In all S21 models, there is a Directors Mode, which allows you to capture video from multiple cameras at the same time, and toggle between angles, including between a front and rear lens.

Comparatively, the iPhone 13 has a dual 12MP setup comprised of a wide-angle lens, a 13mm ultrawide camera with a 120-degree field of view, and a sensor-shift optical image stabilisation – the latter of which is also built into the S21, with an added 3X hybrid zoom. OnePlus 9 actually holds up well against the two frontrunners in the camera department, with three cameras on the back, including a 48MP main sensor and a 50MP ultrawide camera.

Verdict: If you want a phone to be creative with and take outstanding video and photos, the Galaxy S21 is your best bet.

Best performance

The OnePlus 9 and Galaxy S21 both use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 system-on-chip. However, OnePlus 9 manages to outperform the S21, largely because of the RAM included in the phone. OnePlus also performed better in terms of graphics, with a 34.4 frames per second result, compared to S21’s 33 frames per second. As for the iPhone? Well, it knocks the spots off the other two in this area. Apple claims the 5nm A15 Bionic chipset has a six-core CPU that makes it around 50% faster than its Android competitors.

Verdict: The other two models may have double the RAM, but the iPhone has the best performance, and also boasts a consistently high frame rate for graphics too.

Battery life

The iPhone’s MagSafe charging and 23W fast charging means it can easily last throughout the day without leaving you short or needing to reach for your charger for around 10 hours. The Galaxy S21 was expected to blow away its iOS competition, but because of its higher refresh rate amongst other issues, the battery runs to around 10 hours too.

However, OnePlus 9 is particularly impressive in this area. In one battery test, it held out for 10 hours and 51 minutes, making it one of the longest lasting phones on the market. This time was achieved even with the 120HZ refresh rate turned on, proving it can combat the hit on battery life that often troubles other models.

Verdict: OnePlus 9 stunningly edges the competition on this one.

Best price

The iPhone, as ever, is the most expensive model of the three. Launched in October 2021, prices started at £779 for a base 128GB model, climbing to £1079 for a 512GB model. Galaxy S21 came out on the market 10 months prior to this in January 2021 at a fractionally lower starting price of £769 for 128GB, with prices going up to £819 for 256GB.

In terms of value for money, however, the OnePlus 9 really wins out here, with a starting price for a base 128GB model of £629, while a 256GB model costs £729.

Verdict: OnePlus 9 is really tough to beat on budget, saving the average buyer over £100 for a base model.


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