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Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus vs OnePlus 9 Pro: Which to Pick?

author Luis Silva (June 2021 Updated: March 2022 - 6 min. reading time)

The 9 Pro is a little bit more expensive, but it isn't the best of the two.

The Galaxy S21 Plus features better glass protection, a better display, and better battery life.

Are there other things worth mentioning?

The 9 Pro gives you a telephoto lens (+48 mm), faster-charging speeds (65w vs. 25w), faster wireless charging (50w vs. 15w), and Bluetooth 5.2.

Keep in mind that these are both great devices as they achieved a pretty even score.

How much more will those additional features cost me?

If you're not considering subscribing to a service provider, you can be saving up to around $71, so think about it.

Is it worth buying the Galaxy S21 Plus in 2022?

You shouldn't ignore the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus at all, even in 2022. Of course, you'll also be happy with a device like the Vivo X60 Pro, but we should praise it because it features good performance, good battery life, excellent glass protection, and 8K recordings.

Is it still worth buying the 9 Pro in 2022?

Of course, I still recommend the 9 Pro in 2022. You'll love it for its good performance, good battery life, fast charging, fast wireless charging, and a great display. It doesn't mean you can't take a quick peek at (again) the Vivo X60 Pro, though.

Just keep reading if you want to know everything about them, how they differ from their competition, and you'll know how the tech experts evaluate their specs.

Check prices on Amazon Check prices on Amazon
Click here or scroll down to check prices on eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 PlusOnePlus 9 Pro

CONTENTS

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Introduction

While OnePlus's 9 Pro hit stores in March 2021, Samsung's Galaxy S21 Plus went on sale in January 2021.

Here you can look at the Galaxy S21 Plus and the 9 Pro, compare each other's features, and decide which one is best for you. Let us delve into the finer details.

The weight of each section

For additional information regarding our smartphone comparisons, check this FAQ.

to check who their rivals are.

Price*
vs.
Device Galaxy S21 Plus 9 Pro
Release Date 2021, January 2021, March 0y.
OS Updates 3 years 2 years -1y.
Security Updates 4 years 3 years -1y.

*Reference: 100: Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Which One Has The Best Performance?

Geekbench 5 scores the 9 Pro 10% ahead of its rival in the multi-core ranking. All in all, there's not much of a difference between the two.

We can label both of them as high-end.

Performance*
vs.
Features Galaxy S21 Plus 9 Pro
SoC Exynos 2100 Snapdragon 888
Graphics Mali-G78 MP14 Adreno 660
Geekbench 5 Score 3113
3427
314
OS Android 11 and OneUI Android 11 and OxygenOS 11
Tek-Score
7.0
7.5
0.5

*Reference: 100: Apple iPhone 13.

Which Phone Has The Best Display?

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus front transparent png OnePlus 9 Pro front transparent png

The 9 Pro is the title-holder here, and it wins by a significant margin. But the glass on the Galaxy S21 Plus is much rougher.

Considering the Galaxy S21 Plus, you should know that 84% of its rivals can play HDR content and have an Always-On display, and all have an AMOLED screen.

Compared to the 9 Pro, as a reference, 96% of its rivals can play HDR content. Plus, all have an AMOLED screen, and 83% have an Always-On display.

Display Density (DPIs)*
vs.
Features Galaxy S21 Plus 9 Pro
Size 6.7
6.7
0.0
Screen Type AMOLED AMOLED
Resolution (px) 1080x2400
1440x3216
2039040
Refresh Rate 120hz 120hz 0
Dots per Inch 392.81
525.92
133.11
Always-On-Display Yes Yes
Notch Hole Hole
Peak Brightness 883 nits
871 nits
-12
HDR HDR10+ HDR10+
Sub Tek-Score
9.0
9.8
0.9
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Tek-Score
9.6
7.1
-2.6

*Reference: 100: Sony Xperia 1 II.

Which Phone Has The Best Cameras?

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus back transparent png OnePlus 9 Pro back transparent png

By DXOMARK's standards, the Galaxy S21 Plus is also roughly 45 points above its rivals with comparable prices. But you can pick either one.

About the Galaxy S21 Plus: DXOMARK gave this shooter a score of 123. And if you take into account its wide-angle lens, it can go up to 137 points. If you want to know more about it, click here.

To put things in perspective: you'd probably like to know that all of its rivals can record videos in 4K or more and have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and 92% feature Optical Image Stabilization. Nevertheless, only 20% of them feature a macro lens.

About the 9 Pro: The guys over at the DXOMARK labs scored this camera with 129 points. And by adding the telephoto and wide-angle lenses, we'll get to the final score of 141 points. Just click here to read about it.

Furthermore, just to let you know, all of its rivals can record videos in 4 or 8K, have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and feature Optical Image Stabilization. Regardless, only 12% of them feature a macro lens.

Considering this score, we can classify these two as high-end.

Picture Quality*
vs.
Primary Camera Galaxy S21 Plus 9 Pro
Megapixels 12
48
36
Aperture 1.8
1.8
0.0
Lens 26mm
23mm
-3
Lens Type Wide-Angle Wide-Angle
Flash 1 2 1
HDR Yes Yes
OIS Yes Yes
Video 4320 4320 0
Score 137
141
4

*Reference: 100: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

Extra Camera(s) Galaxy S21 Plus 9 Pro vs.
Megapixels 64
8
-56
Aperture 2.0
2.4
0.4
Lens 29mm 77mm (3x zoom)
48
Lens Type Regular Telephoto lens
Megapixels 12 50 38
Aperture 2.2 2.2 0.0
Lens 13mm 14mm 1
Lens Type Ultra-wide-Angle Ultra-wide-Angle
Megapixels - 2
Aperture - 2.4
Score 14 12 -2
Selfie Camera Galaxy S21 Plus 9 Pro vs.
Megapixels 10
16
6
Aperture 2.2
2.4
0.2
Lens 26mm -
Galaxy S21 Plus 9 Pro vs.
Tek-Score
8.1
8.3
0.2

Who has the best frame?

They're not that far apart, so there is no wrong choice here.

Adding to that, both weigh about the same: 197 g. (6.95 oz). But because screen size also matters, I've come up with an adapted "display size to phone weight ratio" score. The Galaxy S21 Plus got 4.6, showing it has an acceptable score for its screen size. The 9 Pro, on the other hand, has 4.9, so nothing to state here.

The Galaxy S21 Plus is water-resistant in up to 1 to 3 meters, much like the 9 Pro. But remember: it's for a maximum period of half an hour, in standby mode, so no underwater photos.

Looks*
vs.
Body Galaxy S21 Plus 9 Pro
Size 161 x 75 x 7 mm
(5.68 x 2.65 x 0.25 in)
163 x 73 x 8 mm
(5.75 x 2.58 x 0.28 in)
10667
Weight 200 g. (7.05 oz)
197 g. (6.95 oz)
-3
Build Front and back glass Front and back glass
Colors Phantom Black, Phantom Violet, Phantom Silver, Phantom Red, Phantom Gold, and Phantom Pink Morning Mist, Stellar Black, and Forest Green
Screen To Body Ratio 89.75%
90.78%
1.03
Disp.Size To Weight Score 4.6 4.9 0.3
Looks 10.0/10
9.1/10
-0.8
Waterproof IP68 IP68
Biometrics Under Display Fingerprint Under Display Fingerprint
Tek-Score
7.2
7.1
-0.1

*100% = 4+ colors + front and back glass + S2BR: 86+%.

Which has the best battery?

The Galaxy S21 Plus has a 4800 mAh battery, and the 9 Pro has a 4500 mAh. And according to GSMArena's tests, the winner is the Galaxy S21 Plus.

Just be aware that the Galaxy S21 Plus is also beating most smartphones. Do check our best-of listing.

Fast charging is indeed fast with the 9 Pro. Devices with similar prices usually sit at nearly 33w.

Quick wireless charging must be one of 9 Pro's most-loved features. You won't find many phones as fast at about its price.

Battery*
vs.
Features Galaxy S21 Plus 9 Pro
Capacity (mAh) 4800 4500 -300
1h Talk + 1h Web + 1h Video 84% left
82% left
-2
1h Talk + 3h Web + 1h Video 70% left
67% left
-3
1h Talk + 1h Web + 3h Video 74% left
67% left
-7
Bat. To Phone Size Score 3.6 3.3 -0.2
Sub Tek-Score
7.6
7.2
-0.4
Fast Charging 25w
65w
40
Wireless Charging 15w
50w
35
Reverse Charging 4.5w
5w
0.5
Tek-Score
7.3
8.3
1.0

*Reference: 90: Samsung Galaxy A42.

Which has more storage?

They share the same amount of storage.

Storage*
vs.
Features Galaxy S21 Plus 9 Pro
RAM (GB) 8GB
8GB
0
Internal (GB) 128GB
128GB
0
Micro SD No No
Tek-Score
6.0
6.0
0.0

*Internal Storage + 256GB Memory Card (Max: 512GB).

Which is the most connectivity-friendly?

I'd go for the 9 Pro if you really value Bluetooth 5.2.

They both run on (LTE and) 5G networks.

Connectivity
vs.
Features Galaxy S21 Plus 9 Pro
Network 5G 5G
Bluetooth 5.0
5.2
NFC Yes Yes
3.5mm jack No No
Tek-Score
4.6
5.1
0.5

Which is more affordable?

Here are their recently updated prices:

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

Reference: $999

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

OnePlus 9 Pro

Reference: $1,070

OnePlus 9 Pro

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions, but it will mean a lot if you click on one of these buttons before purchasing your next phone (or whatever else you end up buying). You'll be helping to take this to the next level.

Prices on eBay are in $US but Europe-based. You can click to check the prices in your country.

Prices marked with ! are from renewed/refurbished/carrier-locked phones (except eBay prices that, as a last resort, can be from bids or used devices).

How much of a "phone" can your money buy?
That's how much "score" you can get with $100 based on the global score that you'll see in the next section (higher is better).

Have you found better prices elsewhere? The formula is simple: score/price*100.

Value for money Galaxy S21 Plus 9 Pro VS
Amazon - - -
eBay 1.15 0.98 -0.17
Best Buy - 0.98 -
Walmart - - -

Also, don't forget to check the latest deals from these four stores, and the state of the art on mobile technology, if you don't want to overpay on your next smartphone.


Related articles:


Best smartphone deals


The Best Unbiased Smartphones For All Budgets


Smartphone Specs Statistics: The State Of The Art (Q1 2021)

So, what about that global score? We'll get there. But first, let's see where its rivals are. The Galaxy S21 Plus class is at 6.9, and the 9 Pro 7.1.

Verdict: Does any of them really stand out?

What can the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus give you that the OnePlus 9 Pro can't:

- Better glass protection

- Better display

- Better battery life

What can the OnePlus 9 Pro give you that the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus can't:

- More DPIs

- A telephoto lens (+48 mm)

- Faster charging speeds (65w vs. 25w)

- Faster wireless charging (50w vs. 15w)

- Bluetooth 5.2

Pros Galaxy S21 Plus 9 Pro
#1 Performance Performance
#2 AMOLED AMOLED
#3 Always-On-Display Always-On-Display
#4 Cameras Cameras
#5 Battery Life Fast Charging
#6 Fast Charging Wireless Charging
#7 Wireless Charging
#8 Glass Protection
Cons Galaxy S21 Plus 9 Pro
#1 MicroSD Slot MicroSD Slot
#2 Weight Weight
#3 3.5mm Jack 3.5mm Jack
#4 Price Price
Relative Score*
vs.
Global Score Galaxy S21 Plus 9 Pro
Gaming Score
7.6
8.0
0.5
Tek-Score
7.43
7.33
-0.10
Your Score

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Scroll the sliders down below to get your own personalized score. Let's suppose you value performance and battery life, and you don't really care about anything else. Then, just set the "Performance" and the "Battery" sliders up to 5 (5+5=10), and then the other sliders down to 0. You'll know what's the best phone for you.

Performance 1.9
Display 1.7
Cameras 1.4
Frame 0.9
Battery 1.9
Storage 2.0
Connectivity 0.4
Total Should be 10 or as close as possible: 9.6

For suggestions and bug reports, click here. Your help is appreciated. Thank you.

If you want to know more about them, click here:

About me

Hello!

My name is Luis Silva, and I have a degree in computer management. Ever since I was a teenager, I've loved everything to do with tech. Music, pictures, video editing, I've done it all! This site is a place for me to share some of the knowledge I have, as well as keep up-to-date with current trends. This is a wonderful place for tech-geeks and everyone else that just want to learn more about tech and smartphones in general.


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Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Related Comparisons


OnePlus 9 Pro Related Comparisons

×

"Display size to phone weight" ratio explained

This indeed is a "display size to phone weight" ratio, but because every phone ended up somewhere between 0.0272 and 0.0421, I've amplified (adapted) those values so they would fit in a 0-10 scale. As of now, the best smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy A40, with 140g. (4.94 oz) for a 5.9 inch display. It got a score of 9.92. While the worse device is the iPhone 8 Plus, which weighs 202 g. (7.13 oz) and has a 5.5-inch display. It ended up with a score of 0.75.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

"Battery to device size" ratio explained

This score should give you an idea about the energy footprint of the devices you're considering. It reflects not only the hardware and the energy that it requires but also the amount of energy that the battery can deliver.

The major spenders on any device should be the display and the SoC. But everything from a notification led to its modems need to be optimized, or else, the OEM should simply include a bigger battery as a compensation. Unfortunately, it isn't always possible due to size limitations. But in the end, if a particular OEM can do a good job and give you excellent battery life on a small device, so should everyone else. That's why I've added a "battery to device size" ratio. But since the real scale went from 119 (for the Galaxy S10e, Snapdragon variant) and up to 164 (for the iPhone 7 Plus), I've decided to convert them so they would fit in a 0-10 scale, being 0 the worst device, (the iPhone 7 Plus) and 10 the one every OEM should look up to.

As an example, Apple did an excellent job on the iPhone 7. It has a score of 8. Despite having a small capacity, the hardware is well optimized, and it still gives you decent battery life considering its size. The iPhone 7 Plus, on the other hand, with those bezels shrinking its display size, clearly could've been the #1 in our top 10 list of best battery devices if Apple simply filled all that empty space with a bigger battery.

As a side note: I haven't included the dept of the devices in this formula because even if a device ended up being 1mm/0.03 inches thicker, it wouldn't matter that much to those who really value battery life.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

Rivals

As of now, these are the rivals that were considered for each of them. They may change every time its prices are updated.

These are the lowest prices found on Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.


 Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12
    $709
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • ApplerivaliPhone X
    $564
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 9
    $598
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro
    $584
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS Max
    $650
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro Max
    $749
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ SD
    $534
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 EX
    $697
  • OnePlusrival7T Pro
    $560
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $680
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Plus
    $749
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • OnePlusrival8
    $630
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Pro
    $600
  • OpporivalFind X2 Neo
    $543
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
    $739
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21
    $609
  • OnePlusrival8T
    $675
  • XiaomirivalMi 10
    $529
  • OpporivalReno4 Pro
    $594
  • XiaomirivalMi 11
    $698
  • OnePlusrival9 Pro
    $749
  • OnePlusrival9
    $530
  • OpporivalFind X3 Lite
    $554
  • ApplerivaliPhone 13 Mini
    $729

 OnePlus 9 Pro 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12
    $709
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS Max
    $650
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro Max
    $749
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 EX
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 SD
    $799
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20+ SD
    $799
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $680
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Plus
    $749
  • HuaweirivalMate 30 Pro
    $849
  • HuaweirivalP40 Pro
    $799
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • OnePlusrival8 Pro
    $799
  • OnePlusrival8
    $630
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Pro
    $600
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Ultra
    $846
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
    $739
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21
    $609
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Plus
    $650
  • OnePlusrival8T
    $675
  • XiaomirivalMi 11
    $698
  • ApplerivaliPhone 13 Mini
    $729
  • ApplerivaliPhone 13
    $829
×

Formula deviation

Since the guys at DxoMark don't review every camera out there, I've come up with a formula based on the ones that they do rate, so I could get an equivalent score for the ones they don't review. After testing it against these cameras, I got the deviation between that and their DxO score.

Device: DxOScore Deviation
Samsung Galaxy A50: 88 -1
Apple iPhone XR: 104 1
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro: 108 -7
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro: 87 1
Sony Xperia 1: 99 -1
Sony Xperia 5: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: 126 2
Apple iPhone 8 Plus: 96 -3
Xiaomi Pocophone F1: 92 -1
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: 90 -1
Apple iPhone X: 101 3
Apple iPhone 11: 112 -1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: 107 1
Apple iPhone XS Max: 110 -2
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: 124 1
Samsung Galaxy S10: 124 2
Apple iPhone XS: 110 -1
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus: 120 -2
OnePlus 7 Pro: 122 0
OnePlus 7T Pro: 122 0
Huawei P30 Pro: 125 -1
Google Pixel 4: 117 0
Google Pixel 3: 103 0
Google Pixel 2: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: 127 -2
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 132 2
OnePlus 6: 100 0
OnePlus 6T: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus: 105 -1
Huawei Mate 20 Pro: 120 0
Xiaomi Mi 9: 115 0
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: 132 0
Huawei P40 Pro: 140 -1
Apple iPhone SE 2: 101 0
OnePlus 8 Pro: 126 0
Xiaomi Mi 8: 105 1
Samsung Galaxy A71: 89 1
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro: 134 0

As you can see, most cameras sit between 1 and -1, while a few of them go up to 2 or -2. That means it's reasonable to assume other similar cameras that they don't review to, in the worst-case scenario, be anywhere from -2 to 2 points from the score that the formula gets.

For example: Given that the Pixel 4 got 117 points and that the Pixel 4 XL share the same year and camera specs, it's reasonable to expect a score of 117 too. But in reality, if they do review that camera, it may end up anywhere between 115 and 119.

Be aware that at DxO, they give a score based on their opinion, not based on any formula. That's why I think there's an odd difference of 6 points between the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. In theory, they should have the same camera.

I'm guessing that the Mi 9T Pro got a deviation of 7 points because they tested its Chinese variant (the K20 Pro).

Update: They just changed their protocol to include preview image evaluation and trustability. I'm keeping the old table (for now) for reference purposes, and I'll be adding a new one as soon as they review at least a couple of new mclass-range cameras.

You can expect the same (or a bit bigger) deviation for high-end cameras, but anything with a score below 100-110 should be taken with a grain of salt.

This is valid for all cameras tested with the previous protocol. For those that they dclassn't test, the deviation may be up to twice as much.

×

About GeekBench 5

This is just a quick note to let you know that, if, by any chance, the smartphone you're looking for isn't on the GeekBench site yet, you can check on GsmArena.com, as they also usually test smartphones with that benchmark tool.



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