The new OnePlus 8 strikes a meaningful balance for consumers on a budget, offering flagship-level specs while forgoing the top-end price of many of today’s smartphones. But it’s hardly the only new phone to make this pitch in 2020.
The Samsung Galaxy S20, released in March 2020, was the most 'affordable' of Samsung's early-2020 line of devices, though it came with most of the features of the more expensive Galaxy S20 Plus and S20 Ultra.
Similarly, the iPhone 11 from September 2019 was the most 'basic' of Apple’s 11 series, which made it the most affordable in the iPhone 11 range, and therefore the model that many people gravitated to.
Both Apple and Samsung’s phones nearly price match the OnePlus 8 in most parts of the world, and the specs and performance of each device make them ideal for a head-to-head match up. Let’s see how they all compare.
OnePlus 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S20 vs iPhone 11 price and availability
The OnePlus 8, Samsung Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11 are generally somewhat similar in price, depending on where you live and what storage variant you opt for.
The OnePlus 8 is available in two storage options: if you want 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage that's $699 / £599 (roughly AU$1,050), and then 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is $799 / £699 (roughly AU$1,250).
The Samsung Galaxy S20 costs $999 / £899 / AU$1,499, and that gets you 8GB of RAM with 128GB of storage, and there's also a non-5G option available in certain regions for £799 / AU$1,349 (roughly $1,000).
Finally, the iPhone 11 costs $699 / £729 / AU$1,199 for 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, rising to $749 / £779 / AU$1,279 for 128GB of storage and $849 / £879 / AU$1,449 for 256GB of storage.
The storage space all the phones have in common, then, is 128GB, and by comparing that we can see the Samsung Galaxy S20 is a touch pricier than the other phones, with the iPhone 11 then OnePlus 8 cheaper in steps.
In the grand scheme of things, though, all three phones occupy that space between mid-range and premium prices.
Design and display
The OnePlus 8, Samsung Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11 are all fairly premium phones, so their build is to be expected: glass fronts and backs with an aluminum frame. The iPhone 11 may feel slightly different, as it's the only one without a curved display, but in general the phones aren't wildly different in terms of design.
None of the three phones has a 3.5mm headphone port (is it time to sound the death knell for them?) and while the iPhone 11 has a Lightning connector, the OnePlus and Samsung devices have the standard USB-C instead.
It's also worth pointing out that the OnePlus 8 and Samsung Galaxy S20 have in-screen fingerprint scanners, a technology Apple has largely ignored in favor of Face ID, which some will prefer and others may find unreliable.
In terms of display, the iPhone 11 is the smallest with a 6.1-inch 828 x 1792 LCD panel, so it's a little low-res compared to its competitors. The Samsung Galaxy S20 has a slightly larger 6.2-inch screen with a much higher 1440 x 3200 resolution and Dynamic AMOLED tech, so in most ways it's actually a better phone for display quality.
The OnePlus 8 has the biggest screen of the three, with a 6.55-inch display, which is Fluid AMOLED and has a resolution of 1080 x 2400.
If you like high refresh rates, the Samsung Galaxy S20 is the best choice as it has a 120Hz refresh rate, compared to 90Hz on the OnePlus 8 and the 'standard' 60Hz on the iPhone 11.
The screen of the iPhone 11 is broken up by a fairly large notch housing the Face ID technology, while both the OnePlus 8 and Samsung Galaxy S20 have small punch-hole cut-outs to house the selfie cameras, though the Samsung phone has a central hole while the OnePlus device has it to the left side.
Overall, if you care about screen quality the Samsung Galaxy S20 is the best option here, but if you want a bigger screen you might want to look to the OnePlus 8.
The OnePlus 8 has three rear cameras, consisting of a 48MP main, 16MP ultra-wide and 2MP macro snapper. On the front it has a 16MP selfie camera.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 has the same number of lenses on the back, though their purposes differ. It has a 12MP main, 64MP telephoto (for 3x hybrid optical zoom) and 12MP ultra-wide camera, joined by a 10MP module on the front.
The iPhone 11's specs are easiest to remember, as it has a 12MP main and 12MP ultra-wide camera on the back, joined by an extra 12MP snapper on the front.
If you're looking to take zoom pictures there's a clear winner here, but other than that it's hard to judge the best phone camera by its specs, as post-processing software is so important for pictures. Both Samsung and Apple are known for their great image-processing AI, and OnePlus's is nothing to turn your nose up at either.
The iPhone 11 may be better for its specific modes though, as its Night Mode shooting is genuinely impressive, but the Samsung Galaxy S20 has versatility on its side with a shooting mode that captures from multiple lenses, so you can decide on the best picture after you've already taken it.
Specs and features
The OnePlus 8 and Samsung Galaxy S20 run Android 10 with their own custom user interfaces (UIs) laid over the top, while the iPhone 11 comes with iOS 13. Since fans of Android or iOS tend to be pretty dug in with their preference, this fact will likely be enough to sway most users in one direction or another.
The iPhone 11 has an A13 Bionic chipset, which seems to be the most top-end chipset available to smartphones right now, just a touch ahead of the Snapdragon 865 found in the Samsung and OnePlus phones.
In most regions outside the US, the Samsung Galaxy S20 comes with the Exynos 990 chipset instead, which based on benchmarks is even less powerful than the Snapdragon, so if you're in the UK or Australia the Samsung phone might be the worst of the three in terms of processing capabilities.
However the Apple handset isn't a 5G phone, which the OnePlus 8 is, as is the Samsung Galaxy S20 unless you opt for the slightly cheaper 4G version. So if you want the next generation of connectivity perhaps the iPhone 11 isn't the phone for you.
In terms of battery capacity, the OnePlus 8 is the clear winner with a 4,300mAh power pack, larger than the Samsung Galaxy S20's 4,000mAh or iPhone 11's 3,110mAh. However battery capacity isn't the same as battery life, and the OnePlus 8 has a larger display to use up that power quicker.
The OnePlus 8 is king of charging though, with 30W wired charging, which is quicker than the iPhone 11's 18W or Samsung Galaxy S20's 25W.
The OnePlus 8 doesn't support wireless charging though, which the other two phones do - the Samsung Galaxy S20 even supports reverse wireless charging (where you use your handset as a wireless charging pad to power up other devices).
The Samsung Galaxy S20 is arguably the best phone of the three in terms of raw specs, with its impressive display quality, reverse wireless charging, telephoto lens and decent battery life making it a great handset. However it's pricier than its competitors too, which might put a lot of people off.
In some ways the OnePlus 8 is an intriguing replacement with its big screen, high-res main camera and large battery. It's also, generally, the most affordable of these three phones.
If you're an Apple fan you're likely going to go for the iPhone 11 though, as it runs iOS, which you already know, and Apple fans tend to be rather loyal.
So the 'best' phone of these three depends on the amount you're willing to spend, and which specs you value more than others.
- Huawei P40 Pro Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: the showdown
- Compare iPhone 11 deals to find the best options
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Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.
He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.