5 ways the OnePlus 12 beats the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

5 ways the OnePlus 12 beats the Galaxy S24 Ultra
(Image credit: Future)

The Galaxy S24 Ultra has landed at the top of the best Android phone rankings, and for good reason — the new Galaxy AI features put artificial intelligence to practical use in ways that speed up everyday tasks. Add that to some standout hardware like powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 silicon and a superior camera setup, and you've got one of the best phones around.

But the Galaxy S24 Ultra is also a pretty expensive device. Its starting price of $1,299 is the most you'll pay for a phone that doesn't fold in two. As great as the Ultra may be, no one would blame you for looking at more affordable alternatives.

That's where the OnePlus 12 comes in. The new OnePlus flagship is a top Android device in its own right, even running on the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset. (Note that Samsung's version has been specifically optimized for Galaxy phones.) In fact, in some ways, you can even make the case that the OnePlus 12 is the better device and not just a second choice you turn to if the price on the S24 Ultra feels a bit too steep.

Here are five areas where the OnePlus 12 outshines the Galaxy S24 Ultra and that may just tip the scales in OnePlus' favor when you're buying your next phone.

The OnePlus 12 has a better price

OnePlus 12 held in the hand.

(Image credit: Future)

We've mentioned the difference in price for the two phones, so let's tackle that area first. The OnePlus 12 costs $799, which is $500 less than what Samsung asks for the Galaxy S24 Ultra. I don't know about you, but where I'm from, $500 is not exactly chump change.

Yes, Galaxy S24 Ultra deals can lower the cost of Samsung's phone. But there are OnePlus 12 deals, too. When you buy the phone through OnePlus and trade in a device in any condition, you can get at least $100 back in credit. Higher credits apply to newer device in good condition, all the way up to $1,000.

Any way you slice it, buying the OnePlus 12 instead of the Galaxy S24 Ultra leaves more money in your pocket at the end of the day.

The OnePlus 12 lasts longer on a charge

OnePlus 12 held in the hand.

(Image credit: Future)

So what does that lower OnePlus 12 price buy you? Try one of the longest-lasting phones we've tested, beating even the Galaxy S24 Ultra on our battery test.

That's no small feat. The Galaxy S24 Ultra rides the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3's superior power management features to a time of 16 hours and 45 minutes on our battery test, in which phones must surf the web over a cellular connection until they run out of power. That's nearly 4.5 hours better than the Galaxy S23 Ultra's time on our test.

But remember, the OnePlus 12 has the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 as well. And with a 5,400 mAh cell keeping things powered up, it's also got a bigger battery than the Galaxy S24 Ultra. As a result, the OnePlus 12 bests the Galaxy S24 Ultra's time by nearly an hour.

Both devices offer some of the best phone battery life we've recorded. But when you get greater endurance from a cheaper device, that's a clear mark in the OnePlus 12's favor.

The OnePlus 12 charges faster

OnePlus 12 IR blaster.

(Image credit: Future)

It's not just battery life where the OnePlus 12 can boast to topping the Galaxy S24 Ultra. OnePlus' phone also features faster charging, whether you top off the phone's battery wirelessly or with a wired connection. 

U.S. OnePlus 12 owners can expect 80W wired charging speeds when they use the included charger. (Outside the U.S., the OnePlus 12 charges even faster at 100W.) In contrast, the Galaxy S24 Ultra remains stuck at the same 45W speeds that past Ultra models have featured. Wireless charging is no contest, either, with the OnePlus 12 offering 50W speeds to the S24 Ultra's 15W speeds

In practical terms, this means you can nearly fill up the OnePlus 12's battery after 30 minutes of charging. In our testing, we got a drained phone to a 97% charge after half-an-hour. In that same time, the Galaxy S24 Ultra hit a 71% charge.

If you're about to dash out the door, and only have a little bit of time to power up your phone, those few extra minutes of charging are going to take you father with the OnePlus 12 than they would with the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

The OnePlus 12 lets you add more memory

OnePlus 12 held in the hand.

(Image credit: Future)

The Galaxy S24 Ultra comes packed with a respectable 12GB of memory, but so does the OnePlus 12. And OnePlus gives you the option of adding even more RAM, with a 16GB version of the OnePlus 12 available. That will cost you a little extra, but even at $899, it's still cheaper than the base model Galaxy S24 Ultra.

The extra memory should help with multitasking on the OnePlus 12, and you'll definitely be able to jump between apps without too much of a pause. It should also mean a modest boost to the overall performance of the OnePlus 12 as well.

The OnePlus 12's display features more accurate colors

OnePlus 12 held in the hand.

(Image credit: Future)

Displays are becoming a big battleground for phones, and OnePlus is geared up to fight, as its latest flagship promises a peak brightness of 4,100 nits. Compared to 2,600 nits for the Galaxy S24 Ultra. 

It should be noted that peak brightness figures are achieved under ideal conditions, and the average smartphone owner is unlikely to see displays that bright in everyday use. Indeed, neither the OnePlus 12 nor the S24 Ultra came close to reaching those lofty heights when we tested them with a light meter. In fact, the Ultra's screen had a slightly higher reading, though you wouldn't have trouble making out either phones' display in bright sunlight.

Where the OnePlus 12's display did top the Galaxy S24 Ultra was in color accuracy. We recorded a Delta-E rating of 0.20 in the OnePlus 12's default Natural setting; that compared to 0.23 for the Galaxy S24 Ultra. (The closer a Delta-E rating is to zero, the more accurate the screen's colors.)

Is that a big difference? Honestly, it's not. But it once again shows that a much less expensive phone in the form of the OnePlus 12 can go toe-to-toe with the S24 Ultra and provide a very similar experience.

OnePlus 12 vs. Samsung Galaxy S24 outlook

I'd still assert that looking at the big picture, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is the better device overall. Its cameras produce better photos than the OnePlus 12, even as OnePlus and its partner Hasselblad have made great strides that area. There's also the matter of AI features — the S24 Ultra has them and the OnePlus 12 doesn't really, though it is rolling out some capabilities via a software update (though only to China for now).

But it's very clear that there are some areas where the OnePlus 12 is a better buy. And if those things matter to you, the new OnePlus flagship deserves your consideration if you're shopping for a phone, especially if a $1,299 device is out of your reach.

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Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.