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The best OnePlus phones in 2021: a guide to the handsets and best OnePlus deals

best OnePlus phone: Closeup of two phones
(Image credit: OnePlus)

The best OnePlus phones might not attract as many headlines as Apple or Samsung. But they're excellent devices with great cameras. And depending on the discounts available on any given day, they'll probably offer better value overall than the latter. 

So in this article, we've gathered together the very best OnePlus phones on the market right now. Which one you choose will depend on a number of factors, such as the amount you want to spend, and what you're most looking for in a phone, whether that's in terms of photographic process, speed of operation or simply good looks. 

With that in mind, we explain what's unique about each one of these similarly named Android smartphones and share the details you need to make your decision, so you can be sure you're getting the best OnePlus phone for your needs.

The best OnePlus phones in 2021

(Image credit: OnePlus)

1. OnePlus 9 Pro

The best OnePlus phone overall

Specifications
Release date: March 2021
Android version: 11
Screen size: 6.7 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 3216
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear cameras: 48MP + 50MP + 8MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP
Weight: 197g
Dimensions: 163.2 x 73.6 x 8.7mm
Reasons to buy
+Brilliant camera+Shoot 4K at 120fps+Fast charging
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

Right now, the OnePlus 9 Pro is hands down the best OnePlus phone available today. In fact, it’s one of the best camera phones, period. 

A landmark partnership between the Chinese smartphone brand and camera makers Hasselblad, the OnePlus 9 Pro offers a photography experience that’s simply sensational. The main camera module features a 48MP Sony IMX 789, while the 50MP ultrawide is one of the best we’ve ever used, and the 18MP telephone is useful in bright scenes. What’s more, you can shoot video at 4K resolution at 120fps, with robust image stabilization.

Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, with either 8GB or 12GB RAM, the smartphone as a whole works quickly and smoothly, there’s generous onboard storage, and both 65W wired charging, and 50W wireless charging are fantastically fast.

In short, while this is an expensive phone, it’s also a world-class phone that’s very much worth the money. To learn more, read our OnePlus 9 Pro review.

(Image credit: OnePlus)

2. OnePlus Nord

The best cheap OnePlus phone (UK)

Specifications
Release date: July 2020
Android version: 10
Screen size: 6.44 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 765G
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,115mAh
Rear cameras: 48MP + 8MP + 5MP + 2MP
Front cameras: 32MP + 8MP
Weight: 184g
Dimensions: 158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2mm
Reasons to buy
+Cheap+Decent screen+Two selfie cameras
Reasons to avoid
-Not the highest specs

Want a great phone but don’t want to spend a lot of money? Then the OnePlus Nord has an awful lot to offer.

The 6.44-inch wide Full HD display is very decent, thanks to its 90Hz refresh rate and Fluid AMOLED tech. 5G is supported, and you get up to 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. 

The quad-core camera features a 48MP main lens, an 8MP ultrawide lens with a 119° field-of-view, a 5MP depth sensor and a 2MP macro lens. Plus there are not one, but two selfie cameras: a 32MP lens and an ultrawide 8MP lens. Not bad at all, at this price. To learn more, read our OnePlus Nord review.

(Image credit: OnePlus)

3. OnePlus Nord N10 5G

The best cheap OnePlus phone in the USA

Specifications
Release date: October 2020
Android version: 10
Screen size: 6.49 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,300mAh
Rear camera: 64MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP
Weight: 190g
Dimensions: 163 x 74.7 x 9mm
Reasons to buy
+Low price+64MP sensor+Supports 5G
Reasons to avoid
-Not the highest specs

The OnePlus Nord N10 5G is a slight variation on the OnePlus Nord, number 2 on our list, for the US market. 

It’s pretty similar to the OnePlus Nord, although it does have a different camera setup, based around a 64MP main sensor, an 8MP ultrawide with a 119-degree field of view, and a 2MP monochome lens. It’s also got a slightly slower processor, but in practice that doesn’t make a huge deal of difference. 

Overall, with a decent battery, a high-res screen, 128GB of storage and 5G connectivity, this represents excellent value: definitely the best budget OnePlus phone that Americans can buy today.

(Image credit: OnePlus)

4. OnePlus 9

The best mid-priced OnePlus phone

Specifications
Release date: March 2021
Android version: 11
Screen size: 6.55 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 50MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP
Weight: 192g
Dimensions: 160 x 74.2 x 8.7mm
Reasons to buy
+Delightful camera+Quality screen+Fast processor
Reasons to avoid
-No telephoto lens

Providing strong competition for Apple and Samsung, at the same time as undercutting them, the OnePlus 9 is an excellent phone for its mid-range price. 

A little smaller and lighter than the pricier OnePlus 9 Pro (number one on our list), its 6.55-inch screen is ‘only’ Full HD, but support for HDR10+ and a maximum brightness of 1100 nits makes it a pleasure to watch, even in low light. The three-lens camera is a delight, with a 48MP main sensor, a 50MP ultrawide and a 2MP depth sensor, and it delivers great shots in practice. 

The fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, paired with 8GB or 12GB RAM and running Android 11, means everything works nice and smoothly. You get 65W wired charging and 15W wireless charging. In short, this is an easy smartphone to recommend at a mid-range price. To learn more, read our OnePlus 9 review.

(Image credit: OnePlus)

5. OnePlus Nord CE 5G

The best value OnePlus phone

Specifications
Release date: June 2021
Android version: 11
Screen size: 6.43 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 64MP+8MP+2MP
Front camera: 16MP
Weight: 170g
Dimensions: 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.9 mm
Reasons to buy
+Headphone jack+5G support+Excellent value
Reasons to avoid
-No telephoto lens

Selling for a low cost but offering high specs, the OnePlus Nord CE 5G offers the best value of any smartphone on this list. 

Launched in June this year, the Nord CE 5G is a super-slim 7.9mm but somehow still manages to squeeze in a headphone jack. Its camera features a 64GB OmniVision sensor, an 8MP ultrawide and a 2MP depth sensor. It’s not the best camera in low light, but it does a good job in general. 

There’s a decent 16MP selfie camera on the front, too, and the screen offers a quite acceptable 1080 x 2400 resolution and 90Hz refresh rate. 

Running Android 11, this a smart, stylish and very up-to-date smartphone. And while you’ll find higher specs elsewhere, you may on balance prefer the lower price and good all-round performance offered here. To learn more, read our OnePlus Nord CE 5G review.

(Image credit: OnePlus )

6. OnePlus 8T

The best looking OnePlus phone

Specifications
Release date: October 2020
Android version: 11
Screen size: 6.55 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 16MP + 5MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP
Weight: 188g
Dimensions: 160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4mm
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous design+Shoot 4K at 60fps+Fast processor
Reasons to avoid
-No telephoto lens

Want a good looking phone? With its glass rear, protected by Gorilla Glass tech, a metal frame and oh-so-tiny bezels, the OnePlus 8T has a stylish and premium look. And it’s a great performer to boot.

The 6.55-inch screen comes with 1080 x 2400 resolution and smooth 120Hz refresh rate. The camera module features a 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor, a 16MP ultrawide sensor and a 5MP macro sensor. You can shoot 4K at up to 60fps, and noise handling is particularly impressive.

Running Android 11 and powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, paired with 8GB or 12GB RAM, this phone is super-fast. The 4500mAh battery powers up from zero to 100 percent in around 40 minutes. And overall, while this isn’t the cheapest OnePlus phone, it is very capable indeed. To learn more, read our OnePlus 8T review.

(Image credit: OnePlus)

7. OnePlus 8 Pro

The best looking OnePlus phone screen

Specifications
Release date: April 2020
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.78 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 3168
Storage: 256GB
Battery: 4,510mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 48MP + 8MP + 5MP
Front camera: 16MP
Weight: 199g
Dimensions: 165.3 x 74.4 x 8.5mm
Reasons to buy
+High res screen+120Hz refresh rate+Supports HDR10+
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

Looking for a great phone screen? Then check out the OnePlus 8 Pro, another mid-range phone that’s been around a while, but still offers good value

Its 6.78-inch Fluid AMOLED screen offers a staggeringly high-res 3168 x 1440 resolution, which is only exceeded (very slightly) by the more expensive number-one phone on our list. With a wide 19.8:9 aspect ratio, this display supports HDR10+ content, features an advanced blue light filter to protect your eyes, and boasts a high refresh rate of 120Hz.

Camera-wise, you get a primary 48MP sensor, a 3x telephoto sensor with 8MP resolution, a 48MP ultra-wide sensor, and a 5MP Color Filter sensor. Overall, this is a high-end camera in all respects, a fact reflected in the price. To learn more, read our OnePlus 8 Pro review.

(Image credit: OnePlus)

8. OnePlus 8

Cheaper alternative to the OnePlus 8T

Specifications
Release date: April 2020
Android version: 10
Screen size: 6.55 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
Storage: 256GB
Battery: 4,300mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 16MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP
Weight: 180g
Dimensions: 160.2 x 72.9 x 8mm
Reasons to buy
+Cheaper than the 8T+5G support+Fast charging
Reasons to avoid
-Still quite pricey

Like the look of the OnePlus 8T (number 6 on our list), but can't quite stretch to that price? Another excellent mid-range phone, the OnePlus 8T is basically an earlier version that’s still pretty similar, but – depending on the discounts available on any one day – will probably be a bit cheaper. 

That includes 5G support, and a very nice 6.55-inch screen with a 90Hz refresh rate. The 4,300mAh battery supports fast charging and the Snapdragon 865 chipset is suitably speedy. Like the 8T, the OnePlus 8 has a 48MP main camera, a 16MP ultra-wide one, and a 2MP macro one, only missing out on the monochrome lens. 

The OnePlus 8 is a little less advanced and recent than the OnePlus 8T, then. Most notably, it runs Android 10 rather than 11. But if you can find one for less cash than the latter, it's still a very decent phone for the money.  

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Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specializing in art, photography, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.