A small company you've never heard of is challenging Samsung with an amazing smartphone that's hundreds of dollars cheaper. Here's why I would choose it over a Galaxy S10.

op7p vs s10 cameraAntonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

  • The OnePlus 7 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10 both offer fast performance, cutting edge features, excellent screens, and great cameras.
  • But there's a big difference in price, considering the starting price for OnePlus 7 Pro is hundreds of dollars less than that of the Galaxy S10.
  • Here's a look at how the two devices compare when it comes to display quality, camera performance, and other features.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Those shopping for a new Android smartphone have no shortage of choices at their disposal, especially with new options like the Samsung Galaxy S10 and OnePlus 7 Pro arriving in recent months.

Both phones offer top-notch features like crisp, vibrant screens, speedy performance, and triple-lens camera systems for taking sharp photos in almost any scenario. But there are important ways in which they differ when it comes to characteristics like display and camera quality, and most importantly: price.

The entry level model of the OnePlus 7 Pro with 6GB of memory and 128GB of storage costs $670, whereas the unlocked 128GB Galaxy S10 with 8GB of RAM is priced at $900. The larger Galaxy S10+, which I used for this comparison, offers a bigger display and costs $1,000.

Here's a look at how the cheaper OnePlus 7 Pro stacks up against the Galaxy S10+ when it comes to design, display, and camera performance - among other elements.

Read more: A smartphone company you've never heard of rose to fame by being the opposite of Apple and Samsung. Now it looks like that might be starting to change.

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Design

Design

One of the most striking aesthetic features of the OnePlus 7 Pro is its virtually borderless screen. Edge-to-edge displays have emerged as a trend among new smartphones over the past two years. But unlike other phone makers, OnePlus has designed a phone with a screen that truly covers the entire face of the phone.

That's because it does not use a notch, bezel, or hole-punch cutout to house its front-facing camera and facial recognition sensors. Instead, the camera sensors emerge from the top of the phone when needed. The camera automatically pops up like a little periscope whenever you try to unlock the phone or switch to the front-facing camera in the camera app. If you happen to lose your grip, the camera will withdraw when the phone detects a free-fall to prevent damage. It's unconventional, but it certainly works based on my time using the phone.

With the Galaxy S10, Samsung too found a novel new way to hide the camera. Its latest flagship phones have an "Infinity O" display that essentially makes it look like the company literally punched a hole in the device's screen. It's much less noticeable than the thin strip that sat above the display on the Galaxy S9.

But the concealed camera on the OnePlus 7 Pro makes it easier to stay focused on whatever is being shown on screen without any distractions compared to the Galaxy S10+. Samsung's phone, however, is noticeably lighter, weighing 157 grams versus the 206-gram OnePlus 7 Pro, making it feel more portable. It's also less wide than the OnePlus 7 Pro, making it easier to hold.

User Interface

User Interface

Both the Samsung Galaxy S10 and OnePlus 7 Pro include the essentials (and more) when it comes to software and user interface features. As is the case with many Android phones, you can run apps in split screen mode, add widgets to the home screen, and view a feed showing news headlines, reminders, recent apps, and other content by swiping to the left of the home screen.

But each company offers their own specific features as well. OnePlus, for example, offers unique gesture shortcuts, like the ability to flip the device over to mute an incoming call, or to swipe with three fingers on the display to capture a screenshot.

Samsung, meanwhile, offers a shortcut pane called the apps edge that's accessible when swiping in from the right side of the screen. As its name implies, you can pin frequently-used apps to this area for easy access.

Neither feature is a deal-breaker (or deal-maker), and I don't find myself using either one very often. But those who do might find them very helpful for quickly navigating the device.

I generally prefer the OnePlus 7 Pro's interface — which the company calls Oxygen OS — over Samsung's because it's cleaner, and more closely resembles Google's default version of Android, which you can find on devices like the Pixel 3. Samsung's interface is still intuitive and is much less cluttered than it was in years past, particularly on phones that launched before the Galaxy S6. But it still has a look and feel that's distinctly Samsung, from the shape and size of the app icons to the Bixby home screen.

Display

Display

Both phones come equipped with large, colorful AMOLED screens capable of displaying bold colors and crisp detail. The OnePlus 7 Pro's screen is slightly larger than the Galaxy S10+'s at 6.6 inches, while Samsung's device offers a 6.4-inch screen. The Galaxy S10+'s 3040 x 1440 resolution display packs slightly more pixels per inch (522 ppi) than the OnePlus 7 Pro's 3120 x 1440 resolution screen (516 ppi).

While both phones looked stunning when viewing 4K images at maximum brightness at their highest resolution side-by-side, I noticed that the OnePlus 7 Pro sometimes exaggerated colors compared to Samsung. This was most noticeable in images with lots of orange, red, and yellow colors. Whether or not this is a benefit for a hindrance depends on your preference. Sometimes I preferred the OnePlus 7 Pro's inflated colors, while other times I felt like the effect was overpowering and made the subject look less genuine.

The OnePlus 7 Pro's screen is also capable of running at a 90Hz refresh rate, which is noticeably higher than that of most other smartphones. This can make navigating the user interface feel more smoother and snappier, but since not every app supports the ability to run at 90Hz it's not always apparent.

Camera

Camera

Whether you choose the Galaxy S10+ or OnePlus 7 Pro, you're bound to be pleased with the quality of photos taken with either phone. But there are some differences worth noting.

Both devices come with a triple-lens camera system that include an ultra wide-angle lens. The Galaxy S10+ has a 12-megapixel telephoto camera, a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, and a 16-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera with a field of view of 123 degrees. The OnePlus 7 Pro has a 48-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel telephoto lens, and a 16-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens with a 117-degree field of view.

In everyday use, the Galaxy S10+ tended to outperform the OnePlus 7 Pro when it came to capturing close-up shots with a high level of detail, contrast, and color. But the OnePlus 7 Pro generally rendered colors more accurately and produced photos that looked truer to the scene. It also performed better in low-light scenarios.

Take a look at our side-by-side camera comparison of the Galaxy S10 and OnePlus 7 Pro here.

Miscellaneous features

Miscellaneous features

Despite the difference in price, the Galaxy S10+ and OnePlus 7 Pro offer many of the same features. However, there are a couple of characteristics the OnePlus 7 Pro is lacking in comparison to Samsung's flagship.

The OnePlus 7 Pro does not support wireless charging, a feature that's become a staple of most smartphones in recent years. That also means OnePlus' phone does not have the ability to charge peripherals like headphones just by resting them on the back of the phone, as the Galaxy S10+ does. OnePlus' new phone technically isn't rated as being water resistant like Samsung's, although the company did post a video of the phone being dropped in a bucket of water. Samsung's phone also has a headphone jack unlike the OnePlus 7 Pro, a rare find on most modern smartphones.

Otherwise, both devices have cutting edge features that have started to appear on high-end smartphones in recent years, like in-screen fingerprint sensors and fast-charging. Overall, I found that OnePlus' fingerprint scanner performed faster than the Galaxy S10's, since it was able to unlock the device almost instantly. The two phones felt equally quick when using facial recognition, which is impressive considering the OnePlus 7 Pro must take the extra step of extending its camera from the top of the device first.

Overall thoughts

Overall thoughts

Choosing between the two phones can be a tough decision. But if value is your biggest concern, the OnePlus 7 Pro is a no-brainer. It offers a sharp, truly-borderless screen, a sophisticated camera that in some cases performs better than Samsung's, advanced features like fast-charging and in-screen fingerprint detection, and a smooth screen with a higher refresh rate for hundreds of dollars less than Samsung.

But without an official water resistance rating, you'll likely want to be extra careful with it around the pool or in the rain. And while the new pop-up camera works well for snapping selfies and unlocking your phone, it's unclear how durable that mechanism will last over prolonged periods of time — like years — considering the phone just launched in May. It's also larger and heavier than the Galaxy S10+, which is an important albeit superficial critique considering the amount of times we typically take out our smartphones each day.

While wireless charging is hardly a necessity worth sparing the extra expense over, it's a convenient feature nonetheless that could be considered a drawback for those who want the benefit of just resting their phone on their nightstand to charge it. And since it doesn't have a headphone jack, like most new smartphones, you'll have to be willing to part with your favorite wired headphones unless you're willing to use an adapter.

Samsung, meanwhile, offers a sleek, powerful phone in the Galaxy S10+ with a gorgeous screen that in my opinion renders color more accurately than OnePlus. The S10+ includes every feature you could possibly want in a phone — even the nearly obsolete headphone jack. But in an era during which smartphones are more expensive than ever before, it's hard to justify spending around $1,000 for a phone that's only marginally better than a phone priced at $670.

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