“We find out if 5T > S8 or not”

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Ever since OnePlus took the covers off its original “flagship killer” – the OnePlus One, the brand’s phones have been pitted against reigning flagships from the other Android big guns like Samsung, LG and HTC. While the earlier smartphones from OnePlus more or less matched their competition, 2017 was a little different. Yes, the speed was perfect, the interface was fluid and there was even some dual-camera magic on the OnePlus 5. But it missed one of the more defining aspects of a 2017 flagship – a bezel-less design, especially after Samsung brought it to the masses pretty early in the year with its Samsung Galaxy S8 duo.

Related read: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review 

So now that OnePlus has revealed a more modern update to the OnePlus 5 in the form of the OnePlus 5T (review), it’s only natural that we compare it against one of the most popular flagships from Samsung’s portfolio – the Samsung Galaxy S8. Let’s get right into it. 

Design and display: big, bold, beautiful

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Samsung jumping onto the bezel-less bandwagon meant other brands were forced to follow. The Galaxy S8 remains one of the more pleasing devices to look at, partly because of the symmetric design, thanks to minimal bezels on the top and bottom of the display. Interestingly, this also means that there is no Samsung branding on the front of the device. Talking about the symmetric design, the OnePlus 5T also features a similar look. However unlike the Galaxy S8, the OnePlus 5T does not feature curved corners for the display, neither does the screen on the 5T curve around towards the edges. In a nutshell, this means that even though the OnePlus 5T boasts a spectacular new design, the Galaxy S8 just “edges” ahead in this regard, especially with its IP68 rating. On the flipside however, the OnePlus 5T comes with a black metal unibody, which is different from the more fragile and smudge-friendly glass back on the Galaxy S8. 

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Talking about the displays, the Samsung Galaxy S8 flaunts a 5.8-inch 18.5:9 Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1,440 x 2,560 pixels. Taking advantage of the AMOLED panel, Samsung allows the users to choose between HD+, FHD+ and 2K+ resolution on their smartphone, which can help save battery life when needed. On the other hand, the OnePlus 5T uses a 6.01-inch 18:9 Optic AMOLED display with FHD+ resolution, that is specially tuned to offer better visibility in direct sunlight. Picking one winner here is nothing short of impossible. 

Performance: zooms ahead

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It goes without saying that both the Galaxy S8 and the OnePlus 5T come with top-of the-line specifications. In India, the Samsung Galaxy S8 draws power from an octa-core Exynos 8895 processor, coupled with a Mali-G71 MP20 GPU and 4GB of RAM. In comparison, the OnePlus 5T flaunts an equally capable octa-core Snapdragon 835 SoC, an Adreno 540 GPU and 6GB or 8GB of RAM. In terms of storage, the Galaxy S8 features 64GB of onboard storage with room for a microSD card up to 256GB. On the other hand, the 6GB RAM variant of the OnePlus 5T comes with 64GB of internal storage, while the 8GB RAM variant gets a mammoth 128GB of internal storage. Both these variants do not come with support for microSD cards. 

Camera and battery: different takes, similar results

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The camera is the first area where we start to see major differences between the two devices. The Galaxy S8 is devoid of a dual camera setup, as it uses a single 12MP primary snapper at the back, with f/1.7 aperture and OIS. While Samsung may not have used a dual camera setup on the S8, it remains one of the best smartphone cameras till date. The videos are smooth, the photos are sharp, and the selfies taken from the 8MP front camera can be easily flaunted on social media platforms. 

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Meanwhile, OnePlus has interestingly dropped the telephoto lens in the 5T in favour of a better secondary sensor this time. The smartphone comes with a 16MP + 20MP primary camera combo, both with f/1.7 aperture. Incidentally, the front camera also houses a 16MP sensor, and is apt for taking selfies and video calls. Both smartphones have excellent optic prowess, software-based zoom, as well as other features like slow motion video recording. All said and done, there is little to separate both cameras when we talk about the end results, but if we had to pick a winner here, it would be the Galaxy S8. 

In terms of battery, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is fuelled by a 3,000mAh unit, with support for fast charging. In contrast to this, the OnePlus 5T packs in a larger 3,300mAh battery, with the ever so popular Dash Charge technology. Both smartphones use USB Type-C ports for charging and data transfer. As you might have noticed, the OnePlus 5T is a clear winner in this department. 

Software and connectivity: stock or not

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First things first, both the Galaxy S8 and the OnePlus 5T run on Android Nougat out of the box. The S8 uses Samsung Experience UI on top of stock Android, while the 5T boots Oxygen OS instead. The latter is one of the cleanest takes on stock Android, and as such is loved by a large audience. In comparison, Samsung’s UI adds its own touch to Android, with additional features like a game mode. Some might like it, some might not. But at the end of the day, it remains a fact that it is one of the most fluid and smooth UI experiences on a Samsung device. 

Talking about connectivity, both smartphones support dual SIMs, 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC and GPS with A-GPS. 

Other features

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The glass back of the Samsung Galaxy S8 is not there only for the looks, it serves a purpose. It allows the Galaxy S8 to charge wirelessly, something the OnePlus 5T does not allow as wireless charging does not work through metal. Both smartphones also come with fingerprint scanners at the back, though the one on the OnePlus 5T is much easier to reach. There are other ways to secure your device too – face recognition, patterns, pins and what not. In fact, you even get the option of iris scanning on the Galaxy S8. You can dunk the S8 in water too as it comes with IP68 certification, while the OP5T misses out on any dust- or water-resistance. Talking about common features, both smartphones come with 3.5mm headphone jacks, and there goes our chance to slip in a joke. 

Pricing and availability

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Despite being launched well over half a year ago, the Galaxy S8 has somewhat maintained its price, which is completely opposite of what generally happens with Samsung flagships. Perhaps this is an indicator of how well the Galaxy S8 has done for the Korean giant. The device is available at a price point of Rs 53,900 via both online and offline channels. In comparison, the OnePlus 5T has been priced at Rs 32,999 for the 6GB / 64GB variant and Rs 37,999 for the 8GB / 128GB variant. It will be available online via open sales starting November 28th.  

Closing thoughts

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Both smartphones come dangerously close in this battle and it is almost impossible to pick one of them as a winner. That said, if you like the curvier design of the S8, or are a big fan of wireless charging and water resistance, then getting the Galaxy S8 would make sense for you. For all others, the price gap between the OnePlus 5T and the Galaxy S8 is too big to justify the minor differences in real-world usage. On top of that, the cleaner Oxygen OS is like a cherry on top. As such, the OnePlus 5T runs away with the title in this contest, if only just.