OnePlus has taken the wraps off its latest smartphone, the OnePlus 5T. The latest flagship offers high-end specs, a gorgeous design, and a great price-performance ratio. But how does it compare to the competition, especially when many of today’s flagships cost hundreds more? Good question and one we’ll certainly explore more in our full review down the road.

In the meantime, we wanted to take a closer look at how the OnePlus 5 competes against the Samsung Galaxy S8, one of the most popular flagships of 2017. So let’s jump right in, shall we?

Design

The 5T is a beautiful smartphone that continues OnePlus’ philosophy of simplicity in design. This approach is reflected in the lack of color choices, with the 5T only being offered in Midnight Black. The body of the flagship is all aluminum with curved corners and edges that help with the handling.

The design language really isn’t too much of a departure from its predecessor, especially on the rear where the back is nearly identical. You’ll find a dual-camera setup and the flash module in the upper left corner, while the OnePlus branding is located in the middle of the handset. The only major difference here is the addition of a rear fingerprint scanner.

Up front is where the real change can be found, as the 5T sports a bezel-less design that makes it roughly the same size as its predecessor — despite having a larger screen. And yes, that’s means OnePlus has now embraced the 18:9 aspect ratio trend seen with a few other smartphone makers this year.

The Galaxy S8 also features a bezel-less design and is one of the sexiest smartphones Samsung has ever made. It stands out from the crowd thanks to the curved edges of the display that give off a futuristic vibe.

Unlike the OnePlus 5T, the smartphone has a glass back. It looks and feels just as nice as metal but does have a few drawbacks. It can crack when dropped on a hard surface and is also hungry for fingerprints.

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The back of the device is simple but still gorgeous. It features a nicely designed camera sensor, with the flash module and fingerprint scanner to the left and right. It’s worth noting the position of the scanner takes getting used to and hasn’t been that well received among consumers.

The Galaxy S8 comes in many color options, although not all are available in every market. You can get it in Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Arctic Silver, Maple Gold, Rose Pink, or Orchid Gray.

So what phone looks better? As always, the answer depends on what you’re looking for. The Galaxy S8 is more eye-catching thanks to its curved display and shiny glass back. It’s also available in more color options. The OnePlus 5T doesn’t have any crazy design features that would make it stand out, but is a great option if you’re looking for a smartphone with a minimalistic design and a metal body.

Specs and features

The OnePlus 5T comes with a large 6-inch AMOLED display. The screen has a Full HD+ resolution and the popular 18:9 aspect ratio. It should handle everything you throw at it thanks to the Snapdragon 835 chipset and 6 or 8 GB of RAM you’ll find under the hood.

The device is equipped with a dual-camera setup with 16 and 20 MP sensors, just like its predecessor. One key difference is the second lens has a wider aperture (f/1.7 vs f/2.6), which should result in better low-light performance. There’s also a front-facing 16 MP camera on board for all you selfie lovers out there.

The handset comes with either 64 or 128 GB of non-expandable storage and packs a 3,300 mAh battery. It supports the company’s Dash Charge technology that will get the battery to 100 percent in around 90 minutes. In addition to the fingerprint scanner, it also features facial recognition that allows you to unlock the device just by looking at it.

Other features worth mentioning are dual-SIM support and the signature Alert Slider located on the left side, which lets you switch between three notification profiles: Silent, Do Not Disturb, and Ring.

Like the OnePlus 5T, the Galaxy S8 comes with top-of-the-line specs. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 835 or Samsung’s own Exynos 8895 chipset, depending on the region. The handset has “just” 4 GB of RAM, which is still more than enough even for power users.

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Compared with its rival, the handset has a smaller 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display that offers a higher QHD+ resolution. It also has a slightly different 18.5:9 aspect ratio and is curved on the sides.

The device sports 64 GB of expandable storage and packs a 3,000 mAh battery. It supports Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging technology that gets the battery to 100 percent in 92 minutes according to our test, making it slower than OnePlus’ Dash Charge.

There’s a 12 MP shooter on the back with large dual pixels, f/1.7 aperture, optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus, and LED flash. Although it produces great results, it can’t capture bokeh images due to the lack of a second lens. There’s also a front-facing camera on board that has an 8 MP sensor and comes with a Smart Autofocus system.

The Galaxy S8 is also IP68 rated for protection against water and dust, supports wireless charging, and features an iris scanner. You can also unlock the device via facial recognition, although it isn’t the safest option you could choose.

As you can see, the OnePlus 5T has a few advantages over the Galaxy S8. It features more RAM, comes with a dual-camera setup, has dual-SIM capabilities, and offers more storage. Of course the Galaxy S8 has a few advantages over its rival as well. It sports a sharper display, has a microSD card slot, supports wireless charging, and is waterproof.

 OnePlus 5TSamsung Galaxy S8
Display6-inch 18:9 AMOLED
2160 x 1080 resolution
401 ppi
5.8-inch 18.5:9 Super AMOLED
2960 x 1440 resolution
570 ppi
Processor2.45 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8352.35 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or 2.3 GHz Samsung Exynos 8895
GPUAdreno 540Adreno 540 or Mali-G71 MP20
RAM6/8 GB4 GB
Storage64/128 GB64 GB
MicroSDNoYes, up to 256 GB
CameraMain: 16 MP Sony IMX 398 sensor, 1.12 μm, ƒ/1.7 aperture, EIS, dual LED flash
Telephoto: 20 MP Sony IMX 376K sensor, 1.0 μm, ƒ/1.7 aperture

Front: 16 MP sensor
Main: 12 MP AF sensor, 1.4 μm, ƒ/1.7 aperture, OIS, LED flash

Front: 8 MP AF sensor
Battery3,300 mAh
Non-removable
3,000 mAh
Non-removable
SoftwareAndroid 7.1.1 Nougat
OxygenOS
Android 7.0 Nougat
Samsung Experience
Headphone jackYesYes
Water resistanceNoIP68
Dimensions156.1 x 75 x 7.3 mm
162 g
148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm
155 g

Software

Although the OnePlus 5T and Samsung Galaxy S8 both ship with Android Nougat on board, the software experience on the two devices differ significantly.

The 5T comes with the OxygenOS skin on top that looks like stock Android but offers many customization options. You can switch between capacitive buttons under the display and on-screen software buttons. You also have the option of opening an app of your choice by drawing an O, V, S, M, or W on the display.

Additionally, OxygenOS offers Reading Mode that filters out blue light for a better reading experience, and App Locker which secures your data-sensitive apps from prying eyes. Then there’s Auto Night Mode, Gaming Do Not Disturb mode, Expanded Screenshots, and the option of waking up the device by double-tapping the display.

The Galaxy S8 comes with the Samsung Experience skin on top that used to be called TouchWiz. It changes the look and feel of Android more than OxygenOS but also comes with a few unique features.

Edge Panel in one of them, which you can bring up by swiping in from the edge of the screen. The feature is customizable and gives you quick access to apps, contacts, as well as sports scores, among other things. The manufacturer has also pre-installed a number of apps on the device including the popular Samsung Health, which tracks your activity, nutrition, and sleep.

But the star of the show is Bixby, Samsung’s digital assistant that can be launched with the dedicated button on the side or by swiping right on the home screen. It’s similar to Google’s Assistant, as you can ask it to set an alarm, play music, tell you what the weather is like, etc. Of course Bixby hasn’t exactly been well received, so not exactly a “plus” point for it. Still, it’s there if you want it.

Which skin is better? It comes down to your personal preference. If you’re looking for a more stock-like experience, OxygenOS is for you. But if you see yourself using Bixby and other features like Edge Panel, the S8 with its Samsung Experience UI is the way to go.

Price

The OnePlus 5T is more expensive than its predecessor but only in the US (+$20). In the UK and the rest of Europe, pricing remains the same. The 64 GB version will retail for $499/€499/£449, while the 128 GB model will set you back $559/€559/£499. In the US and Europe, sales kick off on November 21 via the company’s online store.

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The Galaxy S8, of course, costs more than the OnePlus 5T. The unlocked version of the device launched in the US back in May for $725 and is still listed at that price on Samsung’s website. That makes it $225 more expensive than the 64 GB version of its rival, which is a lot of money.

Pricing differs from country to country in Europe but is higher when compared to the US. For example, the Galaxy S8 retails for €800 Samsung’s German website.

The good news is that Samsung’s flagship is often on sale. For example, Microsoft will offer a $150 discount on the device as part of its Black Friday deals, bringing the price down to $575. This makes the smartphone a lot more appealing, although it’s still more expensive than the 5T.

Final thoughts

The OnePlus 5T and Samsung Galaxy S8 are similar when it comes to performance, but there are a lot of differences between them that makes it hard to say one is better than the other.

The 5T has more a metal body, more RAM, a larger screen, and comes with more storage in the highest-end option. It’s also a lot cheaper, supports dual-SIM, and offers a more stock-like Android experience. Let’s not forget about the dual-camera setup, which allows you to capture those bokeh images that are all the rage these days.

The Galaxy S8 is made of glass and has a smaller display that makes the device more compact. The display also has a higher resolution and features those sexy curved edges. The device sports a microSD card slot, will survive in up to 1.5 meters (five feet) of water for 30 minutes, and supports wireless charging. Sure, it’s a lot more expensive, but you can come across a great deal from time to time that can significantly reduce the price.

Both the OnePlus 5T and Samsung Galaxy S8 are great smartphones, and you can’t go wrong with either of them. Which one is better comes down to your personal preference.