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The best OnePlus phones in different categories — budget, camera, and more

Which OnePlus phone is best for you depends on your wants and needs. But no matter your budget, this list has you covered.
By
December 12, 2021
OnePlus 9 Pro vs OnePlus 9 bright cameras
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

OnePlus doesn’t have as many phones in its lineup as Samsung or most other Android manufacturers, but there are still enough of them available to complicate your purchase decision. Which OnePlus model to go with depends on several factors, including your budget and the specs and features that matter to you. We’ve listed the best OnePlus phones you can currently get in different categories to help you out. Your needs should be covered here, no matter what you’re looking for. Let’s dive in.

Best OnePlus phones:

  1. 2021 — OnePlus 9 Pro — The best overall phone from the company
  2. 2021 — OnePlus 9 — For those who want a high-end experience but to also save a bit of money
  3. 2020 — OnePlus Nord — The best mid-range OnePlus phone outside the US
  4. 2021 — OnePlus 9R — The best OnePlus phone for India
  5. 2021 — OnePlus N200 — For the best budget experience in the US
  6. 2019 — OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro — The best phones to buy used

Editor’s note: We’ll regularly update this list of the best OnePlus phones as new models launch.


1. OnePlus 9 Pro — The best overall phone from the company

OnePlus 9 Pro in hand angled
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

One thing that’s bogged down OnePlus for years is its cameras. While none of its camera systems have ever been downright bad, most of them fail to compete with the industry’s heavy-hitters — most notably Samsung, Google, and Apple. However, that’s all changed with the launch of the OnePlus 9 Pro, which is one of the best OnePlus phones ever made.

While the phone’s specs match the usual 2021 flagship expectations, its camera is unique. OnePlus partnered with renowned camera company Hasselblad to help develop the camera software on the phone. This helps push the high-end camera hardware even further than one would have expected from OnePlus.

See also: OnePlus 9, OnePlus 9 Pro, and OnePlus 9R buyer’s guide

Outside of the camera, though, the OnePlus 9 Pro is just a great overall phone. It has a premium build, the most powerful Android chipset on the market right now, ultra-fast wired and wireless charging speeds, and an IP68 rating against water and dust. Its only real drawback is that it doesn’t see the best battery life.

Of course, the best phone from the company is going to be the most expensive. The OnePlus 9 Pro’s starting list price is $969, which is not cheap. However, if you want the best-of-the-best, it’s going to cost you.


OnePlus 9 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, Quad HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 48, 8, 50, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

2. OnePlus 9 — Not the best, but a great cost-effective option

OnePlus 9 review back
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

As mentioned in the previous section, the OnePlus 9 Pro is the best-of-the-best from the brand. The vanilla OnePlus 9, however, scales back or outright removes a few features to bring the cost down. That makes it one of the best OnePlus phones you can get, just not the best.

The most notable change with the OnePlus 9 compared to the Pro model is removing the telephoto lens. Without a dedicated telephoto sensor on the back, getting clear, high-resolution shots from far away will be much more difficult. Do note, though, that the other three lenses are nearly the same as what’s offered with the 9 Pro, so you’re still getting a great main, a good ultrawide, and that 2MP monochrome sensor. You’re also getting the Hasselblad software tweaks to step up the hardware’s output.

Related: OnePlus 9 vs Samsung Galaxy S21 — Which should you buy?

The rest of the alterations to the OnePlus 9 are relatively minor. Instead of 50W wireless charging speeds, you get 15W speeds. There’s no IP rating against water and dust. The build materials aren’t as premium. The display resolution drops from 1440p to 1080p. These are all considerable sacrifices for power users, but the average buyer probably won’t mind.

In exchange for dropping those perks, you save quite a bit of cash. The OnePlus 9 starts at $729, which is a pretty good price for what you get.


OnePlus 9 specs:

  • Display: 6.55-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 48, 50, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

3. OnePlus Nord 2 — The best mid-range OnePlus phone outside the US

OnePlus Nord 2 Pac Man edition showing rear design of the phone
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

In 2020, the OnePlus Nord set the company up to take on the competition from Xiaomi, Samsung, and more in the mid-range category. Then, in 2021, OnePlus followed it up with a worthy successor in the Nord 2. It may not improve on all aspects of the original, but it’s a solid buy for the money.

Unfortunately, the OnePlus Nord 2 still isn’t available everywhere. You can pick up this phone in various markets across Europe and Asia. The United States is left out of this one.

Related: OnePlus Nord 2 review — Powerful hardware, ailing imaging

The Nord has a 6.44-inch Full HD+ display with a 90Hz refresh rate powered by the 5G-capable Snapdragon 765G processor. It trades last year’s six-camera setup for a set of four lenses this year — three on the back and one on the front. The Nord 2 may not have a flagship processor like most recent OnePlus releases. However, it’s still a capable phone, especially considering its comparatively cheaper price tag.

Do note that there is also a newer (and cheaper) variant of this phone called the OnePlus Nord CE (which stands for “Core Edition”). However, we still recommend trying the Nord 2. It’s only slightly more expensive and offers much more than the Nord CE.


OnePlus Nord 2 specs:

  • Display: 6.43-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 6/8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 50, 8, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

4. OnePlus 9R — The best OnePlus phone for India

OnePlus 9R in hand showing back
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

OnePlus is huge in India. However, India is a very different market from the rest of the world. What works in the United States, for example, might fail spectacularly in India. The OnePlus 9R is one of the company’s attempts to craft a device that keeps the Indian customer in mind. It’s one of the best OnePlus phones out there, but its limited availability might make it difficult for you to get one if you don’t live in India.

On the outside, the 9R takes a lot of design cues from its more expensive siblings. The camera module is pretty much directly lifted from the OnePlus 9 Pro, and the overall build is similar to that of the OnePlus 9.

See also: The best Android smartphones in India you can get

Inside, however, the phone is much less powerful. For example, it has the Snapdragon 870 chipset rather than the top-end Snapdragon 888. That’s a powerful chip, no doubt about it, but it’s not nearly as powerful as the SD888. Its camera system is also weaker (even though it has an extra lens compared to the OnePlus 9). You won’t find a telephoto here, and the ultrawide gets a pretty serious downgrade. OnePlus also axes the Hasselblad software tweaks present on the other two models.

Still, Indian fans will be pretty happy with the price. The OnePlus 9R starts at 39,999 INR (~$540), making it the cheapest entry in the OnePlus 9 series. Just keep in mind that the previous phone on this list is a viable competitor to this phone for India, and it cuts the cost down even more.


OnePlus 9R specs:

  • Display: 6.55-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 870
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 48, 16, 5, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

5. OnePlus Nord N200 — The best entry-level OnePlus phone in the US

OnePlus Nord N200 5G rear to the right
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The OnePlus Nord N200 is one of the cheapest the company has ever produced, with a starting retail price of $240. That wallet-friendly aspect makes it one of the best OnePlus phones out there.

Obviously, with such a low cost, this phone will not be a powerhouse. It has a pretty weak chipset, a rear camera that leaves a lot to be desired, and low-end build materials. It also doesn’t have the famous OnePlus hardware alert slider, which every other phone on this list does have. However, it does have a pretty good display for its price bracket, great battery life, and 5G support.

See also: OnePlus phones — A history of the company’s entire lineup so far

Despite its low-cost nature, the Nord N200 also comes with OnePlus’ popular Android skin (Oxygen OS) on top of Android 11. Unfortunately, it won’t see the same update promises of more expensive OnePlus phones. The company confirmed the phone would see Android 12 in the future, and then there will only be security patches and other maintenance updates after that.

As of now, the Nord N200 is only available in the United States and Canada. It’s possible it could see a release in other countries in the future.


OnePlus Nord N200 specs:

  • Display: 6.49-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 480
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Cameras: 13, 2, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

6. OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro — The best OnePlus phones to buy used

OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition back panel of the phone

The OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro launched in late 2019. Yes, they are a bit old. However, OnePlus fans would consider these two devices some of the best OnePlus phones ever made. As such, we’d be remiss not to mention them on this list.

However, since these phones are older, it’s not easy to get them from OnePlus or your local carrier. Thankfully, there are plenty out there on the used market which could net you a flagship-level phone at a mid-range price.

See also: Why you should (and why you shouldn’t) buy a used smartphone

The OnePlus 7T is probably the best when it comes to what you’ll get for what you’ll pay. It has a decent rear camera setup (including a telephoto lens!), a high-end chipset in the Snapdragon 855 Plus, a nice display with a 90Hz refresh rate, and 30W wired charging.

The OnePlus 7T Pro ups the ante. It has many of the same specs but adds in a laser auto-focus on the back to really make your photos crisp. Most notably, though, it has an all-screen display with no notch and no cutouts. It achieves this by using a pop-up mechanism for the selfie camera.

In the United States, we have the OnePlus 7T and a McLaren edition of the OnePlus 7T Pro (shown above). The rest of the world has the OnePlus 7T and the vanilla Pro model. Check out listings on eBay and other used retailers for some incredible deals.


OnePlus 7T Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.67-inch, Quad HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855 Plus
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Cameras: 48, 16, and 8MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,085mAh
  • Software: Android 11

OnePlus 7T specs:

  • Display: 6.55-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855 Plus
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 48, 16, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 3,800mAh
  • Software: Android 11

These are the best OnePlus models you can currently get your hands on. We’ll update this post once the company announces new phones.