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Best OnePlus phones of 2021: these are the top new or older OnePlus handsets

A selection of the best OnePlus phones including OnePlus 9 Pro, OnePlus 9 and OnePlus Nord 2
(Image credit: OnePlus)

Our ranking of the best OnePlus phones has had a relatively recent and major update, as the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro have now launched and taken their places in our rankings below.

These followed the OnePlus 8T, and the company's new line - the more affordable OnePlus Nord, so between these phones and older but still excellent ones there should be a OnePlus handset for almost everyone.

We know now that the OnePlus 9T isn't happening this year so a new entry to this list isn't likely to happen until early 2022 when - hopefully - the OnePlus 10 launches.

Despite that, keep checking in regularly to see how things change for the best OnePlus phones if you want to keep on top of OnePlus phone choices. 

Our most recent additions are the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro – two high-end handsets that put a big focus on the camera, but don’t skimp on other areas either.

Best OnePlus phones 2021

OnePlus 9 Pro

(Image credit: OnePlus)

A giant leap for OnePlus photography

Specifications
Release date: March 2021
Weight: 197g
Dimensions: 163.2 x 73.6 x 8.7mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3216
CPU: Snapdragon 888
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 50MP + 8MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP
Reasons to buy
+The best OnePlus camera phone+Top-end power
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive for OnePlus-No microSD support

The OnePlus 9 Pro is a top-tier flagship and one that improves on the main weakness of previous OnePlus phones – their cameras.

Thanks to a new Hasselblad partnership and a ‘freeform’ ultra-wide lens, designed to reduce the distortion at the edge of images, the OnePlus 9 Pro is the best OnePlus camera phone.

But a fancy new camera isn’t all this has going for it. There’s also its top-tier pairing of a Snapdragon 888 chipset and up to 12GB of RAM, for enormous amounts of power, and its 6.7-inch 1440 x 3216 AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10+, ensuring visuals are among the best you’ll find on a phone.

With a typically premium design too, plus water resistance, and a respectable 4,500mAh battery with 65W fast charging and 50W wireless charging, the OnePlus 9 Pro is a phone with no obvious omissions or compromises, yet one that still costs less than the top rivals – although its price is certainly still on the high side.

Read our full OnePlus 9 Pro review

OnePlus 9

(Image credit: OnePlus)

A great-value option with no major drawbacks

Specifications
Release date: March 2021
Weight: 192g
Dimensions: 160 x 74.2 x 8.7mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.55-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 888
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 50MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP
Reasons to buy
+Great specs for the cost+Good camera
Reasons to avoid
-No telephoto camera-Lack of flagship-material polish

The OnePlus 9 has many of the best features of the OnePlus 9 Pro, including its Hasselblad camera partnership and freeform ultra-wide lens (designed to correct the distortion that ultra-wide images often suffer from). It lacks the Pro’s telephoto camera, but otherwise the photography performance is similar – and a lot better than previous OnePlus phones.

You also get just as much power here as on the Pro (or as on most 2021 flagships), thanks to a Snapdragon 888 chipset and up to 12GB of RAM. Plus the same size (4,500mAh) battery, with just as fast 65W charging – though the wireless charging is slower here, at 15W.

The 6.55-inch AMOLED screen isn’t quite as sharp at 1080 x 2400, but it still has a 120Hz refresh rate, and costs have been cut on the design of the phone, as it has a plastic rather than metal frame.

But these savings are passed on to the buyer, as the OnePlus 9 while not cheap is great value for what you get, and should be the perfect fit for anyone who doesn’t need the extra bells and whistles of the OnePlus 9 Pro.

Read our full OnePlus 9 review

OnePlus Nord 2

(Image credit: OnePlus)

Solid performance at a good price

Specifications
Release date: July 2021
Weight: 189g
Dimensions: 158.9 x 73.2 x 8.3mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.43-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: MediaTek MT6893 Dimensity 1200 5G
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 8MP + 2MP
Front camera: 32MP
Reasons to buy
+Strong performance+Fantastic fast charging
Reasons to avoid
-Lacklustre design-Only 90Hz display

The OnePlus Nord 2 doesn't have global availability and it lacks a certain amount of charm with its design, but it packs a punch where it counts.

With a 6.43-inch 1080 x 2400 resolution AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, it's smoother than some phones in its price point while also feeling just the right size to fit in your hand. 

Alongside that is a dependable 50MP wide camera that's capable of some strong results, and an 8MP ultra-wide camera too. There's suitably strong performance as well from the MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI chipset that should put you in good stead for a while to come. Best of all is its 5G support and 65W fast charging that works fantastically. It's all suitably reassuring at this price.

Read our full OnePlus Nord 2 review

OnePlus 8 Pro

(Image credit: OnePlus)

A great OnePlus phone

Specifications
Release date: April 2020
Weight: 199g
Dimensions: 165.3 x 74.4 x 8.5mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.78-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3168
CPU: Snapdragon 865
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 256GB
Battery: 4,510mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 48MP + 8MP + 5MP
Front camera: 16MP
Reasons to buy
+One of the best displays around+5G and plenty of power
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest option-Sizable rear camera bump

Before the OnePlus 9 Pro launched, the OnePlus 8 Pro was the company's best handset, and it's still great now. It stands out both from previous OnePlus phones through having a 120Hz refresh rate, and that refresh rate is attached to an all-round superb screen.

The OnePlus 8 Pro also packs high-end power, 5G, wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, water resistance, an in-screen fingerprint scanner, a quad-lens camera, and just about every other high-end feature you’d expect.

As a result of all this it’s also expensive, and was almost as pricey as big-name rivals at launch, but there’s no denying that you get plenty of phone for your money.

Read our full OnePlus 8 Pro review

OnePlus Nord CE 5G

(Image credit: OnePlus)

Decent specs at a mid-range price

Specifications
Release date: June 2021
Weight: 170g
Dimensions: 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.9 mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.43-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 750G 5G
RAM: 6/8/12GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 64MP+8MP+2MP
Front camera: 16MP
Reasons to buy
+Good battery life+Comfortable build
Reasons to avoid
-No waterproofing-Basic camera performance

It might not be available in the US but for everyone else, the OnePlus Nord CE is worth considering. Comfortable and light in your hand, the phone boasts a classy looking 6.43-inch AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. It looks great for streaming your favorite videos or simply browsing at speed.

It's not the fastest OnePlus out there and the camera performance is a little lacklustre for the price, but look past that and you'll be pleased to see a speedy charging time and a suitably well performing battery. For the non-photographer out there, you'll be happy with what's here.

Read our full OnePlus Nord CE review

OnePlus 8T

(Image credit: OnePlus)

The OnePlus 8T is more of the same – and that’s okay

Specifications
Release date: October 2020
Weight: 188g
Dimensions: 160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.55-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 865
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 16MP + 5MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP
Reasons to buy
+Long-lasting battery+Beautiful display
Reasons to avoid
-No wireless charging-No telephoto camera

While the OnePlus 8T is newer than the OnePlus 8 Pro, it doesn’t quite reach that phone’s heights, but with a lower price it doesn’t need to, and while it’s rather familiar, it’s also very good.

Highlights include a great 6.55-inch 1080 x 2400 AMOLED screen with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate, a long-lasting 4,500mAh battery with super-speedy 65W charging, and plenty of power from its Snapdragon 865 chipset and up to 12GB of RAM.

The OnePlus 8T also has a quad-lens camera, 5G, and strong software. There’s no telephoto camera or wireless charging, but in most other ways this could almost be a flagship.

Read our full OnePlus 8T review

OnePlus 8

(Image credit: OnePlus)

The OnePlus 8 is the new affordable flagship to beat

Specifications
Release date: April 2020
Weight: 180g
Dimensions: 160.2 x 72.9 x 8mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.55-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 865
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 256GB
Battery: 4,300mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 16MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP
Reasons to buy
+Affordable 5G connectivity+Impressive specs
Reasons to avoid
-No telephoto camera-No wireless charging

The OnePlus 8 is rather shown up by the OnePlus 8 Pro, but it’s still a great phone in its own right, thanks to its similarly high-end power (you’re getting the same Snapdragon 865 chipset) and lower price.

The OnePlus 8 also supports 5G as standard and has a 90Hz refresh rate on its 6.55-inch 1080 x 2400 screen – specs that aren’t quite a match for the OnePlus 8 Pro, but are still decent.

There’s a big 4,300mAh battery here too, with support for fast charging, plus an in-screen fingerprint scanner, a triple-lens camera, and up to 12GB of RAM. Unlike its Pro sibling this isn’t quite a rival to the best Samsung and Apple handsets, but at what it costs it doesn’t need to be.

Read our full OnePlus 8 review

OnePlus Nord

(Image credit: OnePlus)

Killing its own flagships

Specifications
Release date: July 2020
Weight: 184g
Dimensions: 158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.44-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 765G
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,115mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 8MP + 5MP + 2MP
Front camera: 32MP + 8MP
Reasons to buy
+The cheapest OnePlus phone +Premium design 
Reasons to avoid
-Average battery life-No IP rating 

While OnePlus claims it has not gone back to its roots with the Nord, it’s hard to believe the company. The £379 Nord is very well priced considering the specs, and undercuts the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro without sacrificing too much.

Its Snapdragon 765G processor is fine for all but the top end of mobile gamers, the cameras are pretty good, the 90Hz display is lovely and the design while not anything special stands out in the blue colour option.

It’s a shame it’s not available in the US but for the UK, Europe and India this is all the OnePlus phone many people will need at a price that drastically undercuts similar phones. The lack of IP rating and wireless charging will put some people off though, plus the frame is made of plastic.

Read our full OnePlus Nord review