I’m a phone deals expert and the OnePlus 12 could be the biggest flagship bargain of 2024

OnePlus 12
(Image credit: Peter Hoffmann)

When OnePlus announced the OnePlus 12 globally, the consensus was, almost unanimously, that the new model was a near-definitive example of what we should expect from a high-value flagship device. Now, a couple of months - and a couple of launches - later, this fact seems more true than ever. 

I, like many, have always had a quiet curiosity about the appeal of OnePlus devices. For years, the phones have had a smaller, but loyal, following, yet, with the OnePlus 12, and the continual limits to competition in major markets such as the US, we could be about to see a breakthrough in high-value flagships hitting the mainstream, with the OnePlus 12 leading the charge.

Older and wiser

OnePlus 12

(Image credit: Peter Hoffmann)

Launching globally on January 23, it would be easy to assume that the OnePlus 12 would quickly be surpassed in quality by its competition. But, from what I can see, this is unlikely to be the case. 

More recently we've seen the launch of both the Samsung Galaxy S24 and the Xiaomi 14, which both serve as a great indicator of what we should expect from 'flagship' devices this year. Frankly, the OnePlus 12 proves just why it should be so popular amongst high-value flagship lovers. 

Comparing the three, the OnePlus 12 sits as the middle-man of the phones in terms of price, retailing at £849/$799, compared to the Samsung Galaxy S24's price of £799/$799 and the Xiaomi 14 being £899 in the UK and unavailable in the US. 

These devices aren't the only consideration, however, as we've also seen the likes of the Honor Magic 6 Pro launch, and we're expecting another device from Nothing to potentially enter this market this year. However, these devices don't quite sit on the same level, as despite what many may believe, the battle between the OnePlus 12 and the Galaxy S24 is closer than we've ever seen before. 

David or Goliath?

Close up of OnePlus 12 next to Google Pixel 8 and Samsung Galaxy S24 boxes

(Image credit: Future / James Ide)

I would be lying if I said I wasn't like the masses in instantly considering the Galaxy S24 as the phone to choose, but with closer investigation comes a much closer contest between the Samsung's new standard flagship model and the OnePlus 12 than many may have previously considered. 

For starters, the devices run very close to each other in terms of display, with the Galaxy S24 using a better display panel, but the OnePlus 12 offering a larger display with a much better resolution and a higher peak brightness. 

Both devices also run the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in the US, with the S24 using an exclusive 'Made for Galaxy' version and the OnePlus 12 running the standard chipset. However, unlike the Galaxy S24, the OnePlus 12 is available with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 globally, whereas buyers outside the US, Canada, or China will receive a Galaxy S24 running Samsung's Exynos 2400 chipset which, while still being very strong, isn't quite as good. 

For the phone storage eaters, the OnePlus 12 offers 256GB or 1TB options, running UFS 4.0 and up to 16GB RAM depending on the model. Comparatively, the Galaxy S24 offers between 128GB and 512GB storage, with the 128GB variants running UFS 3.1, and RAM options of 8GB or 12GB depending on the storage option you choose.

In terms of cameras, OnePlus has, somewhat surprisingly, put a big gap between itself and the Samsung Galaxy S24, and in a very good way. Working with Hasselblad has landed the OnePlus 12 in a much stronger position than many had predicted and makes the camera experience on the OnePlus 12 one of the leading options currently available, and the same can be said for the selfie camera on the front. 

If you're looking to keep your phone for longer, there are numerous cases for both with regards to their longevity. The OnePlus 12 offers a larger battery, with faster charging, superior device cooling and battery maintenance tech, while also offering Wi-Fi 7 compatibility. The Samsung Galaxy S24, for comparison, has a smaller battery with slower charging, but offers seven years of Android features and security updates. So, depending on your preference, you'll likely be more than satisfied with the longevity of either device. 

Future or faster?

OnePlus 12

(Image credit: OnePlus)

In all honesty, picking between the Samsung Galaxy S24 and OnePlus 12 will, most likely, come down to this: how long do you want to use it for. See, both phones will last much longer than most flagships we've seen over the past maybe ten years, but will either truly satisfy what you want to get out of your phone for that long?

For the first time, arguably ever, your interest in your phone is more than likely to die off before your phone makes the choice to switch for you. If you are someone who never so much as thinks about their phone, and simply wants a great value Android flagship, the Galaxy S24 is almost unbeatable. However, if you will likely look to switch your phone in the next few years, OnePlus might just be the way to go. The OnePlus 12 hits the nail on the head in too many ways in comparison to its main Galaxy S24 rival, and frankly deserves more love than it likely will ever get. 

Plus, if you're looking for the best phone deal on either the Galaxy S24 or the OnePlus 12, the chances are you will find the OnePlus 12 to either be cheaper, or more regularly on sale, due to its slightly older release date and reduced popularity among the masses, but this doesn't mean it isn't one heck of a piece of kit. 

Which phone will you choose?

Rob Dunne
Deals Editor

Rob is the Mobile and Broadband Deals Editor for TechRadar. Coming from years of experience working with phones on shop floors and giving customers the best deals on their tech, Rob is the dream adviser for readers looking to save money on top mobiles, accessories and broadband no matter what their needs are. Whether it's helpful information and expertise, niche benefits, or simply finding the best value for money, Rob has the know-how to guide you in the right direction towards your next tech endeavour. Outside of work, you'll find Rob on the tennis courts, in the gym, or diving into the biggest and best games of the year.