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OnePlus 12 vs Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: Flagship face off

Both launched in January 2024, the OnePlus 12 and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra smartphones are currently their respective manufacturer’s flagship models.

Boasting a variety of features, from impressive camera setups to AI-powered technology, both scored well in our reviews. But which phone is the better of the two?

Read on to find out more about the features and key differences between the OnePlus 12 and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, and determine which one would better suit your needs.

Pricing and availability

The Samsung S24 Ultra is currently the more expensive of the two handsets, retailing at £1249 / €1499 / $1299.99, whereas the OnePlus 12 is £999/€949/$899. Both became available to buy in January 2024.

Design

Both the OnePlus 12 and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra are similar in the sense they don’t deviate too far from their predecessors. They do both, however, house a few notable tweaks and upgrades. 

The biggest S24 Ultra design change is with its new flat display, which is not only different from the curved panel of previous Galaxy handsets but also from the OnePlus 12. The OnePlus 12 has a more curved screen and rounded edges in comparison, which in his review, Lewis Painter reported to feel “great in the hand.” 

OnePlus 12’s screen is protected with Gorilla Glass 5, which promises to survive up to 1.2m drops onto hard, rough surfaces. The S24 Ultra takes its screen protection one step further, with the newest Gorilla Glass Armour. In fact, Samsung is the first manufacturer to make use of this new variation. Gorilla Glass Armour is 4x stronger than previous iterations and reduces reflections by 75%.

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Rated IP68, the S24 Ultra can be submerged up to 1.5m in fresh water for up to 30 minutes, whereas the OnePlus 12 is slightly lower rated as IP65. Its IP65 rating means the OnePlus 12 cannot be submerged in water, but is water- and dust-resistant. 

The OnePlus 12 boasts an enormous peak brightness of 4500 nits, which trumps the S24 Ulta’s still impressive 2600 nits. Both handsets also have a 120Hz refresh rate, which means on-screen animations see smooth motion. 

The S24 Ultra is marginally bigger than the OnePlus 12, with a 6.82-inch AMOLED screen compared to the latter’s 6.8-inch OLED screen. Samsung has shrunk both the bezels and the centrally-placed camera cutout on the S24 Ultra to maximise the screen size and doesn’t look too dissimilar from the OnePlus 12.

Camera

Although both are capable phones for taking decent photos, the OnePlus 12 and Galaxy S24 Ultra differ in their camera setups. OnePlus 12 is a triple-camera system, featuring a 50MP main, 48MP 2x telephoto and 64MP 3x periscope lens. The S24 Ultra’s camera system includes a mammoth 200MP main lens, a 50MP 5x periscope lens, 12MP ultrawide and a 10MP telephoto lens. 

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One of the biggest differentiators between the two handsets is the lack of AI features on the OnePlus, which is especially true with the AI-based photo editing technology. The S24 Ultra offers an array of AI-powered photo editing tools that can significantly enhance your images. There’s the eraser, which removes distractions from images with accurate generative fill and the Generative Edit, where you can fix a crooked image and have your phone fill in the blanks from the borders. 

Although the OnePlus does offer decent images, especially in the daytime that boast “great dynamic range and vibrant colours that make images pop” and “can even easily handle extreme backlighting,” the fact it lacks any AI-based photo editing technology means it flails in comparison to the S24 Ultra.

Performance

Both the OnePlus 12 and S24 Ultra run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, however, there are some significant differences between the two. 

The S24 Ultra’s chipset is a custom version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, specifically designed for Galaxy. While the chipset, as it comes, has support for on-device generative AI, the OnePlus 12 still doesn’t house any features that are seen on the S24 Ultra. Powerful tools with Galaxy AI, such as AI-powered transcription, translation and the photo-editing tech mentioned earlier are simply nowhere to be seen on the OnePlus 12.

Both handsets come with the latest Android 14 but with different custom skins. The OnePlus has OxygenOS UI, which Lewis hailed its implementation as “one of the best around” whereas the S24 Ultra comes with Samsung’s OneUI skin. According to Lewis, the OneUI skin gives Samsung a “much-needed refresh” where you’ll find a redesigned notification shade with “a better quick settings layout and small tweaks like the ability to access the full quick settings menu with a swipe down from the right-hand corner.”

In our Benchmark tests, we found that the S24 Ultra scored significantly higher than the OnePlus 12 on both Geekbench single-core and multi-core, achieving 2229 and 6853 comparably to 1418 and 5054. For fps when gaming, the two were fairly evenly matched, although the S24 Ultra does boast slightly higher numbers. 

Battery life

Thanks to the OnePlus 12’s mammoth 5400mAh battery size, that’s bigger than the S24 Ultra, and the use of OxygenOS skin’s battery optimisation, the OnePlus 12 is hard to beat on battery life. 

With 100W SuperVOOC charging and 50W AirVOOC wireless charging, we found the OnePlus 12 takes just 26 minutes to charge from 1-100%, which significantly beats the S24 Ultra’s 71-minute time.

In comparison, the S24 Ultra offers 45W charging, which although is nowhere near as fast as the OnePlus 12, is still a decent level for a smartphone. However, while the OnePlus 12 comes with the 100W charger, you’ll have to buy the S24 Ultra 45W charger separately.

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