Credit: David Emel / Android Authority
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C. Scott brown
Writing for Android Authority Since 2017. When I first started as a freelancer, my daily driver was OnePlus 5. Later, when I became a full staff member, I got the OnePlus 6T. Today, I am using OnePlus 7 Pro. Because of my devotion to OnePlus (and 7 Pro, especially), I am known as the “OnePlus man” on our team. However, the Samsung Galaxy S21 has put that nickname in jeopardy.
I will not put words here. OnePlus had a very bad situation in 2020. Things started with the OnePlus 8 Series, especially the OnePlus 8 Pro. Unfortunately, more problems followed than successes. The disappointing OnePlus Nord N10 and N100, Carl Pei’s farewell, Facebook controversy, and the brand’s steady oppo-efication all made it very difficult to be proud of being a “OnePlus man”.
Now, with my beloved OnePlus 7 Pro getting old and the company dragging its feet when it comes to Android 11 rollout, I am tempted to switch teams. With the launch of the Galaxy S21 series, the temptation has increased substantially. In fact, I will admit that I pre-ordered both a vanilla Samsung Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus. My intention is to try them both and see if OnePlus is really what I want to do.
Samsung Galaxy S21: Why I’d Switch
Credit: David Emel / Android Authority
Samsung really stepped up its game with the Galaxy S21 series this year. Designs look great, low pricing is an important and smart move, and the Ultra model ultimately lives up to its name. The COVID-19 pandemic may prevent sales from going through the roof, but I think the company has established itself to real success this year.
I wrote Android Authority Review for Vanilla Galaxy S21. In short, I loved my time with the phone. The camera is great (especially for the $ 800 asking price), its palm-friendly shape is a breath of fresh air in the Android world, “bigger is always better”, and the Snapdragon 888 processor is a total monster. Controversial changes did not mean much to me this year as well. Yes, the lack of a microSD card slot is annoying, but the plastic back trick is really good in my eyes. Let me read you a review of all my thoughts on those things.
Check it out: The Android Authority Samsung galaxy s21 review
In the past, the biggest reason I bought a Samsung phone was to buy the software. Simply put, One UI is not my favorite Android skin. I would take minimal simplicity of Oxygen OS or Pixel UI whenever a UI is bloated and sometimes messed up. When you factored in Samsung’s dismal reputation for delivering Android updates, it was enough to make me swear the brand.
However things have changed. A UI is now better than before. Yes, it is still bloated with apps I don’t want and features I will never use, but Samsung has done a great job, which will make your face look younger. In addition, the company has pulled one-eighty when it comes to market support. Security patches are flying at furious speeds. Android 11 landed in record time on all its flagship flagship.
In short, the Samsung Galaxy S21 series has superb hardware And Great software. This is not something I can ever say with conviction about a Samsung phone.
OnePlus 7 Pro: What I Want To Be
As great as the Galaxy S21 phones are, the OnePlus 7 Pro is still my favorite Android phone. In so many ways it seems like OnePlus has made the phone specifically for me. This closes many of my essential smartphone feature boxes.
I have already written an entire article about why I like the OnePlus 7 Pro, so I will not tell it all here. I want to focus on two things that the phone offers that the Galaxy S21 series does not: a seamless display and warning slider.
related: OnePlus Phone: History of the company’s entire lineup so far
I think currently pop-up selfie camera is the best way to get rid of notches and display cutouts in smartphones. The pop-up camera on the OnePlus 7 Pro is one of its best features, even though the display cutout has now become the industry standard. Yes, eventually we will have selfie cameras that solve both problems. At the moment, technology is not yet sufficient for widespread consumer adoption.
It would be hard to walk with a large selfie camera hole at the top with a 1080p display with cutouts from that gorgeous 1440p display. Nevertheless, after a week of using the Samsung Galaxy S21, the cutout was reduced to an annoyance. But at some point I started playing a game or watching a YouTube video, which reminds me that this display just isn’t as good as the 7 Pro.
It will also be difficult to leave the alert slider. For the life of me, I don’t know why not all Android OEMs have stolen this feature. When I don’t want to be interrupted, it’s great to flip the slider. Thankfully, the premium version of the third-party Side Acts app gives me a workaround on Galaxy devices. Nevertheless, the warning slider will be greatly missed.
What else is in the pipeline?
Credit: David Emel / Android Authority
We are still not out of the first month of 2021. Although I am very impressed with the Samsung Galaxy S21 series, I have to wait a bit to make a commitment to a good idea?
Apparently, the OnePlus 9 Series is around the corner. However, the OnePlus 9 Pro will not be offered on the Vanilla Galaxy S21. The Galaxy S21 is expected to have a better rear camera system, while the rest of the specs should be the same in both phones. Also a display cutout with the 9 Pro, the only real benefit would be that I would have to keep the alert slider and stay with the Oxygen OS.
related: OnePlus needs to hit home run with OnePlus 9
Asus ROG Phone 4 (or 5) is also coming soon. Asus ROG Phone 3 was my favorite smartphone of 2020, so its follow-up is definitely on my radar. However, the major problem I have with the ROG phone series is how massive the phones are. I like to use them for specific tasks – including gaming, obviously – but they don’t like to hang around with me wherever I go. Nevertheless, it is likely that this phone will have a seamless display, which makes it enticing.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we expect the Google Pixel 5a to land at some point in the first half of the year. If it is anything like the Pixel 4a, then it is bound to be a stellar device with a great camera, great software and a low price. Nevertheless, my big hand with the Pixel phone is on the back side of the fingerprint reader. My phone is on my desk 10 hours every day so I need my sensor on the front side.
It appears that what I am doing, I need to give something to do something new.
Decision time: what is it going to be?
Honestly, I hope that writing all this will make this decision easier for me. I’m not sure it worked, though.
On one hand, I have a Samsung Galaxy S21. It will have a better camera than OnePlus 7 Pro, faster processor, 5G support and smaller form-factor. However, it will have display cutout and lack of alert slider.
On the other hand, I have the OnePlus 7 Pro. It has a high-resolution uninterrupted display. Its Snapdragon 855 processor is still fully capable, its camera is good enough to get the job done, and its software suits my taste.
related: The Samsung Galaxy S21 is here, but should you wait for the OnePlus 9?
Essentially, I need to upgrade. I can’t use 7 Pro forever. I think whether the question is of the right time or not. The remarkable aspect of this whole affair is that I am thinking of switching to Samsung for the first time. I don’t know if Samsung says much about its game or the recent fumble of OnePlus. 2021 is already a year full of surprises.
Maybe you can help? Answer the poll above, and then tell me in the comments what you think I should do!