Best OnePlus Smartphones for May 2024

OnePlus 12 Review AM AH 09

OnePlus is a smartphone manufacturer that was founded in late 2013. The company launched its first smartphone in early 2014, called the OnePlus One. It was different from other smartphones in the market as it was a high-end device with flagship specs and CyanogenOS on-board. The device was priced at just $250, and a 256GB model was available for a bit more money.

Over the years, OnePlus has grown from being a scrappy startup that sent out invites to buy their phones to becoming one of the leading Android manufacturers in the world. This is partly due to its parent company, BBK Electronics, which owns other smartphone brands such as OPPO, Realme, Vivo, and others. OnePlus has released several great smartphones since its inception, and in this article, we will highlight the best OnePlus smartphones currently available in the market.

Best overall: OnePlus 12

OnePlus 12 Review AM AH 21

OnePlus has consistently pushed boundaries in the smartphone world, and the OnePlus 12 exemplifies their commitment to delivering incredible performance at an accessible price. Here’s why it’s the ultimate OnePlus phone:

At its core, the OnePlus 12 blazes with the cutting-edge Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, paired with an astounding 16GB of RAM. This powerhouse delivers seamless multitasking, buttery-smooth gaming, and effortless handling of demanding applications. It’s a true speed demon designed for power users.

The OnePlus 12 takes visual immersion to the next level with its 2K 120Hz ProXDR display. Colors burst with vibrancy, details are razor-sharp, and the ultra-high refresh rate makes everything flow like liquid. Brightness? This phone can handle even the harshest sunlight.

OnePlus continues its collaboration with Hasselblad, and the OnePlus 12’s camera system is a testament to that partnership. Expect stunningly detailed photos, true-to-life colors, and exceptional low-light performance thanks to the innovative Sony sensor. The inclusion of telephoto and ultrawide lenses adds versatility to every photographic situation.

The OnePlus 12 decimates the competition with its 100W wired and 50W wireless charging. You’ll go from a dead battery to fully charged in mere minutes, ensuring you’re never tethered to an outlet for long.

OxygenOS remains one of the most beloved Android skins. Fast, fluid, and packed with thoughtful features, it enhances the overall user experience without unnecessary bloatware.

The OnePlus 12 doesn’t just challenge flagships; it aims to dethrone them. With top-tier specs, a sublime display, pro-grade cameras, and a remarkably refined software experience, it’s the most complete OnePlus phone to date and a serious contender for the title of the best Android phone overall.

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Best Foldable: OnePlus Open

OnePlus Open AM AH 32

The OnePlus Open is by far my favorite foldable of 2023. 

OnePlus debuted its first foldable in 2023, even though OPPO has released them since 2020. For those unaware, OPPO and OnePlus technically merged a few years ago – though they were always under the BBK umbrella. So, the OnePlus Open is the same phone as the OPPO Find N3 for all intents and purposes. And it’s a damn good one.

With the OnePlus Open, the company really went above and beyond in terms of what a foldable will be in 2023. Competitors have pretty big gaps, large and visible creases, and not-so-great cameras on board. OnePlus addressed all that with the Open, including bringing down the weight.

One of my favorite features of the Open is the camera. This huge camera module is on the back of the phone, but it is definitely worth it. This is the first OnePlus phone where we can see Hasselblad’s influence on the company. In my review of the OnePlus Open, I talked extensively about these cameras. In fact, with the primary sensor, you can set the default focal length to 35mm. This is a feature that I have only seen on the iPhone 15 Pro (Max) and now the OnePlus Open. It’s a very underrated feature that I hope more OEMs adopt moving into 2024.

The pictures coming out of these cameras are simply stunning. And let’s not forget about the 3x optical zoom camera here, which has enough resolution that OnePlus can do 6x optical zoom. That’s a step above the Pixel Fold but not as good as the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Then there’s the software on OnePlus Open. With this phone, the company debuted Open Canvas, which is a great foldable experience. Remember that foldable phones typically have a square main display. Which makes having a single app open, a rather bad experience. And having two apps open side-by-side isn’t great either. But OnePlus has fixed that by giving you more screen real estate than you have. You can push apps off the screen and tap to bring them back. Allowing you to have multiple apps open at the same time. And since the cover display is a 20:9 aspect ratio, it makes two apps side-by-side look normal on the main display.

OnePlus invited me to their September media briefing in New York City to check out the Open and pick up my review unit. I have not put it down since. This is one of the most liked phones I’ve ever used. I typically switch phones every month or so for reviews, but I keep going back to this.

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Best Budget Phone: OnePlus Nord N30

OnePlus Nord N30 6

For under $300, the Nord N30 delivers the full OnePlus experience. 

Gone are the days of sub-$300 smartphones being complete garbage. These days, cheap smartphones are pretty good. And the OnePlus Nord N30 shows that quite well. As people say, good smartphones are getting cheap, and cheap smartphones are getting good.

We reviewed the OnePlus Nord N30 earlier this year and found it was the “perfect mid-range phone.” This is because of the beautiful display, incredible performance, and impressive battery life. That’s all you could ask for for a $300 smartphone. And it delivers on all of those fronts.

On top of all of that, the OnePlus Nord N30 is also fairly lightweight. That does help to make it feel cheaper, but after using so many pretty heavy phones – looking at your Google Pixel Fold – the Nord N30 is a breath of fresh air in that regard. It has a glass back, which is quite surprising for this price point.

As you’d probably expect on a $300 phone, the camera experience is not the best. It’ll get the job done, give you some thirst traps for Instagram, and a few pictures to send over Telegram or WhatsApp. But these likely won’t be pictures you’d want to print out. But that’s not because it doesn’t have enough resolution—quite the contrary. The primary sensor on this phone is a 108-megapixel sensor with a 2-megapixel macro and 2-megapixel depth sensors rounding out the cameras. Of course, that means you’re only really using one camera here. And that’s fine for this price.

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Best Cheap Flagship: OnePlus 10T

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OnePlus 10T does miss out on a few flagship features, but has flagship performance for under $600.

When OnePlus announced the 10T back in late 2022, it was a bit of an interesting announcement for a lot of us. I, for one, was struggling to figure out why OnePlus would debut this phone. It wasn’t better than the OnePlus 10 Pro. It lacked wireless charging and had a worse camera experience, but it was cheaper. It’s quite a bit cheaper, at $599 (though these days you can find it on sale for around $379). However, when I did put my review together in August of 2022, I did call it “The inexpensive performance powerhouse”, which is a pretty accurate description.

The OnePlus 10T is a pretty incredible phone on some fronts and not-so-incredible in other areas. When it comes to performance, it’s one of the best available today. Inside, it has the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which was made by TSMC and greatly improved battery life compared to the OnePlus 10 Pro. In our testing, we were getting around 10 hours of on-screen time. That’s still a number that is rarely matched a year later. There’s also 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage included. However, for $70 more, you can get the 16GB of RAM and 256GB storage model.

The camera system on the OnePlus 10T is okay. It’s not the best out there, but again, it’ll get the job done. A good bit of this comes down to OnePlus not having Hasselblad’s branding on this camera, which means that Hasselblad did not work on this phone at all. Basically, if you’re okay with an “Okay camera,” then this is a great phone. But if you want the best camera, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

OnePlus has removed some features with the 10T, including the Alert Slider. Many people loved this feature, and it’s surprising that it was removed, even if it was only for one phone. Additionally, wireless charging was also removed, and the phone now has an FHD+ 120Hz display, which is adaptive but only from 60Hz to 120Hz, not an LTPO display.

As I mentioned earlier, this phone is the perfect choice for those who prioritize performance over other quality-of-life features, such as camera, Alert Slider, or Wireless Charging. If these features are essential for you, then you might want to consider other options. However, it’s worth noting that the price of the OnePlus 10T is quite affordable, particularly with the recent sales.

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How to pick the best OnePlus Phone?

We have evaluated all the OnePlus phones on the market and have come up with a list of the top ones that you can purchase right now. While other phone manufacturers offer a wide range of models, OnePlus has a limited selection, particularly in the US. So, if you are looking to buy a OnePlus phone, you may be wondering which one is the best choice for you.

To make the right decision, you must first establish which features matter the most to you. Do you prioritize having a display with the highest resolution or the longest battery life? Are you looking for a foldable phone or an affordable one? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be better equipped to select the best OnePlus phone to meet your needs. In our opinion, the OnePlus 11 is the best option for most people. Currently priced at around $500, it’s a fantastic deal if you can get your hands on it during a sale.

How do we test OnePlus Phones?

We recently made some changes to how we test OnePlus devices, so the methods described below were only used for the OnePlus Open but will be used for future OnePlus phones, including the OnePlus 12.

With every phone that we get, we run a few benchmarks and other tests on the phones. We start out with Geekbench 6, which helps us decipher the raw performance of the CPU and GPU. Then, we move on to 3DMark’s Wildlife Extreme Stress Test. This benchmark allows us to see how well the phone will perform under extensive loads. It will run the same one-minute-long benchmark 20 times in a loop. Giving us the best score, the lowest score, and the stability percentage – this is basically the difference between the best and lowest loop. The last benchmark we run is PCMark Work 3.0. This benchmark simulates working on your phone. Opening Word docs, spreadsheets, watching videos, etc.

These days, a lot of people are editing and posting short videos from their phones. So we have a test for that as well. Essentially, we use a 60-second video that we export in Capcut—timing to see how long the export will take. We use the same video on each phone, so that it’s as close to the same experience as possible.

Finally, battery life and charging. For these tests, we play a video on YouTube about 24 hours long (no phone has outlasted the video so far) at full brightness from 100% to about 1%. It’s not super indicative of how well the battery life will last. But again, this is a test that we can run on every phone the exact same way to see the difference.

Then there’s charging. For charging, we use a USB-C to USB-C cable that has a display to show us the speed at which the phone is charging. However, we are not really looking at that. Instead, we are looking at charging speed. So we set a timer when we plug it in at 1%, and stop it once it hits 100%. For phones that come with a charger in the box – like many OnePlus phones – we use that charger. As it typically has a faster speed. But we also test them all the same way with the same charger and charging cable too. To see what the difference is.

Do OnePlus phones work on US carriers?

For the most part, OnePlus only sells its phones unlocked in the US, which comes with its own issues for OnePlus. Though, some models will get picked up by T-Mobile. Verizon used to sell a few OnePlus phones, but they no longer do. So, what does that mean for compatibility?

Most OnePlus phones in the US will work on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. That also means that they will work on MVNOs using those networks, too, including Straight Talk, US Mobile, Visible, and many more.

OnePlus has taken steps to ensure their phones are compatible with all three networks before they launch. That was not always the case. In the past, there were many times when Verizon customers would buy the latest OnePlus smartphone, only for it to not be compatible with Verizon for a few months while they waited on certification. So that is definitely good news. Hopefully, soon, OnePlus can get all of their phones working on all three of the major carriers in the US.

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