The year 2020 has been one of the best years for growth over at OnePlus, despite the ongoing pandemic. Not only did they manage to release amazing flagship devices such as the OnePlus 8 Pro that are “premium” everywhere, but they’ve also dipped their toes into the mid-range and budget space with the OnePlus Nord lineup, from decent mid-range phones all the way down to cheap budget devices. OnePlus started off with “flagship killers” and eventually moved on to flagship phones, their lineup has gotten cohesive enough that we can now put together an actual list of some of the best OnePlus phones you can check out this year. From high-end phones all the way down to dirt-cheap devices, chances are that if you want to check out an OnePlus smartphone this holiday season with the full OxygenOS experience and all the goodies OnePlus brings you, you can do so regardless of your budget. If you are looking for other options, we have also collated lists of the best Android smartphones and the best Samsung Galaxy smartphones too.
All of the smartphones in our list come with basic headlining OnePlus features such as high refresh rate panels, as well as the same basic design. Read on to know more!
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Best Overall: OnePlus 8 Pro
The OnePlus 8 Pro is on a lot of people’s list for the best smartphone of the year. And for good reason. The OnePlus 7 Pro from last year, and the OnePlus 7T Pro that succeeded, showed people that OnePlus could actually make and sell a premium smartphone. OnePlus was a company that, up until that point, was known for releasing smartphones with flagship specifications, but that often lacked premium features compared to their more expensive peers. The OnePlus 7 Pro was OnePlus’ first real attempt at a smartphone that was truly premium. And the OnePlus 8 Pro refined that formula even further.
The phone features a Snapdragon 865, a 120Hz display, and up to 12 GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. It features a premium build, 5G connectivity, and a 4,510 mAh battery. It also features a very decent 48MP camera, with the impressive IMX689 sensor, and a very versatile quad-camera array. While it did away with the pop-up sensor from the OnePlus 7 Pro, the phone still manages to look very modern and premium.
The OnePlus 8 Pro is the best OnePlus phone to date, and it’s also the most expensive. But if you’re looking for a premium experience, this is it.
Runner-Up: OnePlus 8T
While the OnePlus 8T doesn’t attempt to be as premium as the more expensive OnePlus 8 Pro, the result is a smartphone that comes at a respectable price point and still manages to inherit a lot of DNA from its premium older cousin, while also bringing back some fan favorites. For starters, the OnePlus 8T does away with the curved display while upping the refresh rate from 90Hz to the same 120Hz as the Pro, following a similar formula as its predecessor, the OnePlus 7T: a device that inherited a lot of features from the OnePlus 7 Pro while significantly reducing the price.
The OnePlus 8T also comes with the same Snapdragon 865 and is one of the first smartphones to come with Android 11 out of the box, based on OxygenOS 11. It features the same beefy battery, quicker fast charging and a similarly premium build while downgrading things like the camera very slightly. It’s one of the best Android devices out there, and one of the best OnePlus phones to date.
Best for the Average User: OnePlus 7T
With the OnePlus 8 Pro and the OnePlus 8T, most people have forgotten the OnePlus 7T even exists. While it’s a very old device and it’s far from the biggest thing in OnePlus’ lineup, it’s still worth a close look because it’s still very decent even by the standard set by other devices. The OnePlus 7T comes with a 90Hz panel, which is still very respectable in 2020. It also has the same premium design as other OnePlus smartphones, and a 48MP camera which, while not the same sensor as the OnePlus 8 Pro, is still usable and features similar versatility.
The OnePlus 7T was the middle step between last year’s OnePlus 7 lineup and this year’s OnePlus 8 lineup, and as a result, is powered by the slightly older Snapdragon 855+, which still provides a decent punch of performance even entering 2021 and with upcoming Snapdragon 888-powered phones around the corner. So if you’re eyeing that one but want something a tad cheaper, the OnePlus 7T might very well still be worth a look as one of the best OnePlus phones. And it’s currently available for $349, making it an absolute no-brainer.
Best Mid-Range: OnePlus Nord
The OnePlus Nord is OnePlus’ first budget device since the launch of the OnePlus X several years ago. And for what it’s worth, it earned praise from reviewers and consumers alike. And for very good reason. The OnePlus Nord doesn’t attempt to emulate OnePlus’ flagship killer formula that catapulted them to where they are today years ago. Instead, it’s all about bringing the current OnePlus experience to a much lower price point. Which is definitely not a bad thing. The OnePlus Nord inherits features such as the 48MP camera and the high refresh rate display while cutting corners at other places. We have a Snapdragon 765G — it’s actually the first OnePlus phone to not feature a Snapdragon 800-series processor — with up to 12 GB of RAM and up to 256 GB of storage.
If you’re in the market for an OnePlus device that doesn’t break the bank, the OnePlus Nord is one of the best OnePlus phones out there.
Best Budget (with 5G): OnePlus Nord N10 5G
The two lower-tier OnePlus are a hard recommendation for me in a lot of aspects since, while they are OnePlus smartphones, they don’t have a lot of the DNA that make OnePlus devices special. The Nord N10 5G removes things like the long-loved alert slider and replaces the AMOLED display for a more conservative LCD panel, things that an OnePlus device has never lacked since the very first OnePlus One was launched. But, if you’re on a budget, then these phones are worth a look. Mainly because the performance they provide is okay for the price. A Snapdragon 690 with 5G support runs things behind the scenes and manages to provide nice performance on a tighter budget.
If you’re looking for a device that does the job and doesn’t cost that much (and comes with 5G), the N10 5G still holds its ground as one of the best OnePlus phones out there.
Best Budget: OnePlus Nord N100
The N100 is, just like the N10 5G, an unapologetically budget device. It’s big, it doesn’t try to be premium, and the specs won’t blow you away, which is exactly where its magic is. If you’re looking for a smartphone on an even tighter budget, it’s worth checking out. It has a Snapdragon 460, up to 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, and a very basic rear 13MP triple camera setup. Perhaps the best thing about it, though, is the battery: at 5,000 mAh, it’s the biggest that’s ever been packed into an OnePlus phone, and the 11nm Snapdragon 460 barely sips battery — which is helpful since the phone only has 18W charging, unlike other OnePlus phones.
Far from being one of the best OnePlus phones, this is the cheapest OnePlus smartphone to date, and it’s worth a look if you’re on a tight budget and you want a OnePlus device. If branding is not as important to you, there are other great options for cheap Android phones.
Honorable Mention: OnePlus 8
The OnePlus 8 was a close contender for the “Best for the Average User” spot, but with the OnePlus 7T being much more cheaper, it was a pretty hard decision. The OnePlus 8 is still, for the most part, a very decent device, even after it’s been revised by the OnePlus 8T. The OnePlus 8 brings a 90Hz panel and the same Snapdragon 865 processor that powers other OnePlus devices in 2020. There’s also the same options of RAM and storage options. And, of course, we also have the same 48MP camera as the OnePlus 8T, and attractive color options such as Interstellar Glow.
Even though it didn’t earn a spot on our list, it still is a good device. Oh, and it also has full carrier support for 5G, in case you’re into that. Check it out!
This is pretty much it for our list. One of our shortest ones so far, but it encompasses OnePlus’ different offerings pretty well. The best OnePlus phone currently available in terms of features is the OnePlus 8 Pro, with sheer premium quality, with the OnePlus 8T reaching up a close second. The OnePlus 7T is probably the best for most people because it provides the best balance between performance and price. Lastly, we have the many mid-range OnePlus releases through the year as the best spots for mid-range and budget.