To jumpstart 2024, we’ve got flagship phones from both Samsung and OnePlus launching at nearly the same time. Let’s look at Samsung’s Galaxy S24, S24 Plus, and S24 Ultra, and see how they compare to the OnePlus 12 and 12R in terms of specs and features to figure out which one is the best value.
The Models and Prices
Let’s actually start with the prices of each model so we have a relative ranking in mind as we dive into the detailed differences.
At the bottom is the OnePlus 12R at just $500, while stepping up to the OnePlus 12 is $800. But $800 is actually also the price of the base Samsung S24. To get the S24 Plus brings the price up to $1000 and the S24 Ultra leads the pack at $1300.
Storage and Memory Upgrades
With each major model, there are also upgrades you can choose. OnePlus’s upgrades actually has both storage and memory included.
The OnePlus 12R starts at 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and paying $100 extra brings it up to 16GB RAM and 256GB storage.
The OnePlus 12 starts at 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and paying $100 more brings that up to 16GB RAM and 512GB of storage. Note that during the preorder period, OnePlus is offering the upgraded version of the 12 for no extra charge.
Samsung’s upgrades are for storage only, which also makes them a bit cheaper. The S24 has only 8GB of memory, while the S24 Plus and Ultra have 12GB of RAM.
The S24 starts at 128GB of storage, and can be upgraded to 256GB for $60 more. The S24 Plus starts at 256GB and can be upgraded to 512GB for $120 extra, which is the same $60 per 128GB ratio. And finally, the S24 Ultra starts at 256GB as well, offers the same upgrade to 512GB for $120 more, but also raises the limit by going up to 1TB of storage for another $240 on top. Again, pricing for all the storage upgrades remains consistent at $60 per 128GB. And yes, Samsung also had pre-order pricing for free storage upgrades, and typically Samsung’s trade-in and promotion deals are better than OnePlus, making up for some of the price difference.
So if you need more than 512GB of storage on your phone, you’ll have to choose Samsung’s S24 Ultra. On the other hand, if you want the most RAM, then the 16GB OnePlus models are something Samsung can’t match.
The heart of the phone is the chip powering it, and here we have some key differences to be aware of. The cheapest OnePlus 12R has the last generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, while all the other phones on this list have the current generation Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, which is about 10% faster in single core and 35-40% faster in multi-core and GPU performance.
However, Samsung’s phones go the extra mile by having the Snapdragon Gen 3 for Galaxy, which have slightly increased clock speeds compared to the regular Gen 3 chip in the OnePlus, so performance should be ever so slightly better, but probably nothing too major to worry about. But if your use case calls for the absolute best performance, then Samsung’s phones have an edge.
One of the biggest features in a phone these days is the camera, and both OnePlus and Samsung have some great camera systems, at least on paper. I’ll just talk about the megapixel count and zoom lengths for easy comparison, but more specs will be on the screen so pause to go over the details.
The OnePlus 12R has 3 back cameras, with a 50 megapixel main, an 8 megapixel ultrawide, and a 2 megapixel macro lens that lets you shoot as close as 4 centimeters. The front camera is 16 megapixels.
The OnePlus 12 brings Hasselblad branding to its cameras, starting with the 50 megapixel main or wide camera, accompanied by a 48 megapixel ultrawide, along with a 64 megapixel periscope telephoto camera for a 3x optical zoom. The front camera on the OnePlus 12 is 32 megapixels.
Notably, the video recording capabilities on the OnePlus 12R are limited to 4K at 60 fps or 1080p at 240 fps, but the OnePlus 12 is capable of 8K at 24 fps and 1080p at 480 fps.
Samsung’s S24 features a 50 megapixel wide lens, 12 megapixel ultrawide, and a 10 megapixel telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom. The front camera is 12 megapixels.
Jump up to the S24 Plus and you get… actually the exact same set of cameras. That’s right, you don’t get any better cameras for your extra money here.
But go all the way up to the S24 Ultra, and now you get a whopping 200 megapixel main camera, but the ultra wide, 3x telephoto, and front cameras are still the same. However, you do get a 4th rear lens that is a 50 megapixel 5x zoom. And with the 200 and 50 megapixel cameras, you can actually record up to 8K video at 30 fps or 4K at 120, while all the other phones on this list top out at 4K 60.
From the specs, I’d say the most balanced camera system is the OnePlus 12, with high megapixel counts across the board, though the 200 megapixel camera on the S24 Ultra could potentially do things the others can’t, and the 8K30 or 4K120 video recording could be a deciding factor for some. However, cameras are an area where specs, and especially megapixel counts, really don’t tell the whole story, so be sure to check out sample images and videos from all of these phones to see which one you like best.
You’ll also need a great display to view all those high res images and videos. The budget OnePlus 12R isn’t a small phone, with a 6.78” FHD+ screen that gives it 450 dpi. The OnePlus 12 has a similar size 6.82” screen but at QHD+ resolution, giving it a higher 510 dpi. Both also have curved edges.
Samsung’s S24 has the smallest display here, at only 6.2”, with a FHD+ resolution that gives it 416 dpi, and a curved edge. Stepping up to the Plus gives you a 6.7” QHD+ screen with 513 dpi, still with a curved edge, but the Ultra bumps it to 6.8” and a flat screen, but at the same QHD+ resolution, so the dpi is slightly lower at 505.
All 5 phones are capable of up to 120 Hz refresh rates, which is great. cough Apple…
One big difference here is that the Samsung phones go up to 2600 nits of brightness, but the OnePlus 12 and 12R claim up to a whopping 4500 nits. The OnePlus phones also support 2160 Hz PWM compared to the “improved” 492 Hz PWM on the Samsung S24 series. Faster pulse width modulation frequency means less flicker and strain on your eyes.
Another difference for the S24 Ultra is that screen is made of Gorilla Armor, said to be 4x more scratch resistant than Gorilla Glass Victus 2, which all of the other phone models come with.
On paper, the OnePlus 12 seems to have the best screen, unless you really hate curved edges, in which case the S24 Ultra is the only completely flat screen here (the S24 and S24+ also have flat edges, but curved corners.
Size and Weight
Display size also determines the physical size and weight of the device… or maybe vice versa.
All of these phones have pretty thin borders so the physical size is determined by the screen size. I’ll just talk about the relative weight between these.
The Samsung S24 and S24 Plus are actually the lightest of the bunch at just under 6 oz and 7 oz respectively. The OnePlus phones come in slightly heavier at 7.3 and 7.8 ounces, while the the S24 Ultra is much heavier than it’s siblings at 8.2 oz, despite offering a titanium frame like the iPhone 15 Pro series. The larger phones here are comparable to an iPhone 15 Pro Max weight of 7.8 ounces.
Another difference worth nothing is that both OnePlus phones have an IP65 rating, which means they are dustproof and protected against water jets, but not submersible. All 3 Samsung phones have a higher IP68 rating, meaning they are also dustproof, but also protected against submersion in water.
Battery and Charging
Moving on, battery life is heavily dependent on how you use the phone, what apps you run and the screen brightness. So let’s look at the battery size to compare them.
The OnePlus 12R actually has a 5500 mAh battery, slightly larger than the OnePlus 12’s 5400 mAh. Both these phone are quite a bit larger than Samsung’s, however, which come in at 4000, 4900, and 5000 for the S24, Plus and Ultra.
When it comes to charging those batteries, both OnePlus phones support up to 80 watts of wired charging, compared to only 45 watts on the Samsung S24 Plus and Ultra, or only 25 watts on the base S24. Wireless charging on the Samsung devices is 15 watts, and while the OnePlus 12R doesn’t support wireless charging at all, and the OnePlus 12 supports up to 50 watts of wireless charging. The OnePlus 12’s reverse wireless charging is also more than twice as fast as the Samsung phones.
For battery size and charging speed, OnePlus takes the win, except for the 12R if wireless charging is important.
Speaking of wireless, do note that the Samsung S24 and S24 Plus only support Wi-Fi 6E and not the newer Wi-Fi 7, which is supported by the S24 Ultra, as well as both the OnePlus 12 and 12R, so that’s a bit disappointing on Samsung’s part.
The final difference to note about these phones is the software support. OnePlus and Samsung both use their own versions of Android, and whether you like them or not is personal preference. But one aspect we can compare is how long they promise to provide updates.
The OnePlus 12R guarantees 3 major Android updates and 4 years of security updates, while the OnePlus 12 bumps it up a year to 4 major Android updates and 5 years of security updates. Since Android updates are generally annual, only the latter number really matters here.
Samsung takes the lead this time, however, as they promise 7 years of OS and security updates for all 3 of the S24 series of phones, besting OnePlus by two to three years.
The Winner Is…
So after comparing all of the prices and specs, there are 2 conclusions. First, if you’re on Samsung’s ecosystem and want a Samsung phone, then the S24 Plus stands out as the best value. Compared with the $800 S24, jumping up to the S24 Plus for $200 more gets you: a larger and higher resolution screen size, 50% more RAM, a 23% larger battery, and more storage. In fact, the $60 storage cost upgrade means the rest of benefits cost $140. The only downside is it’s 17% heavier.
The S24 Ultra isn’t really worth it. $300 more gets you: a slightly larger and lower dpi, more scratch resistant display, a durable titanium frame that is also 18% heavier, a 2% larger battery, Wi-Fi 7, and most importantly, the upgraded camera system with 200mp main lens and the additional 50mp 5x telephoto lens, along with unique capabilities, such 8K or 4K 120 fps video. The Ultra is only worth it if you really care about the camera features.
But in my opinion, the OnePlus phones are a much better value, giving you the same or better specs in many cases for a lower price. The OnePlus 12R is a great value at $500, but the OnePlus 12 at $800 would be my choice, since the price is the same as the cheapest Samsung S24, but it often bests the Ultra in specs. Upgrading from the 12R to the 12 for $300 gets you: a higher resolution display, the latest Snapdragon Gen 3 chip, 50% more ram (although both can go up to 16GB), a much better camera system, fast wireless and reverse wireless charging, a 2% smaller battery, and an extra year of Android updates.
In particular, having the latest chipset and wireless charging are both important factors for me that make the OnePlus 12 worth it, on top of it’s overall affordable price versus the competition.