If you think about it, this comparison should not make sense. Ideally, we should be comparing the best of OnePlus to the best of Apple, right? That makes sense and we might end up making a video comparing the OnePlus 9 Pro to the iPhone 12 Pro Max. But for now, here in India at least, the OnePlus 9 Pro and the iPhone 12 are actually priced really close to each other, which makes them both equally compelling options for smartphone buyers shopping in this price bracket. Which of course, makes it our moral duty to compare them. So, let’s do just that!
Right off the bat, let’s make one thing clear here. I understand if you’re still wondering if this is a fair comparison because the iPhone 12 is a budget phone of Apple’s lineup and the OnePlus 9 Pro is the maxed out flagship. But the thing is that the iPhone 12 is actually still slightly more expensive than the OnePlus 9 Pro. The 64GB variant of the iPhone 12 is actually more expensive than the maxed out 256GB OnePlus 9 Pro. So, for buyers looking at a budget of Rs 70K, this comparison more than makes sense.
Table of Contents
OnePlus 9 Pro vs iPhone 12: Design and Build Quality
Let’s compare the design and the build quality. Starting off with the similarities, both phones have glass fronts and backs with aluminium frames in the middle. Both phones have nice clicky buttons with highly functional Mute Sliders. Both phones also carry the camera islands on the top left of the back glass, and the manufacturer’s logo in the middle. That is where the similarities end.
The iPhone 12 comes with a glossy finish to the back glass which is a fingerprint magnet. You get a far more diverse selection of colours ranging from something playful like the red to something understated like the black. The OnePlus 9 Pro comes in three different colours and all these colours have different textures on the back. Now, while the OnePlus 9 Pro feels amazing in hand with its curved back glass and thin, rounded aluminium edges, it basically looks very similar to most Android flagships in the market today.
The iPhone 12, on the other hand, carries a more striking design language with completely flat edges, a completely flat display and a completely flat back glass. It is unlike anything in the market today and you will love it if you loved the iPhone 4 or 5 back in the day. However, do note that these beautiful flat edges can actually get really uncomfortable to hold without a case. In this regard, the OnePlus 9 Pro is definitely the more comfortable feeling phone in hand, even after being larger.
Simply put, if you want the phone which gets more attention or which is easily recognisable as a premium device, get the iPhone 12. However, if you want something discrete or low key, get the OnePlus 9 Pro.
However, we would definitely recommend getting a case for these expensive, fragile phones.
You must check out our lineup of Best Cases for the iPhone 12 and while you’re there, go the extra step and also invest in one of the Best Screen Protectors for the iPhone 12.
OnePlus 9 Pro vs iPhone 12: Display
Let’s talk about the displays now. The iPhone 12 has a 5.1 inch, 60 Hz, Retina XDR display and it is stunning. It is a huge step up from the shoddy LCD panels used in the iPhone 11 last year. The colours are very well tuned where they are vibrant enough without looking blown out of proportion. I love this display and I honestly think this is the biggest upgrade on the iPhone 12 from last year’s model.
When we talk about the OnePlus 9 Pro, the display is a significantly larger 6.7 inch AMOLED panel with a 120 Hz refresh rate. This is an excellent display as well and you can actually fine tune the colour profiles here to match your needs. There is no doubt that the iPhone 12 and OnePlus 9 Pro pack two of the best displays of any smartphone today. However, there are still 2 major advantages with the OnePlus 9 Pro. The 120 Hz refresh rate is the first one which just makes every animation and transition look more pleasing. I definitely miss it when I move from the OnePlus to the iPhone.
Secondly, the punch hole on the OnePlus 9 Pro is just way more cleaner and futuristic compared to the ancient looking notch on the iPhone 12. Talking purely in terms of displays, I think the OnePlus 9 Pro has an undeniable victory over the iPhone 12.
OnePlus 9 Pro vs iPhone 12: Software Updates
Where the iPhone has a victory over the OnePlus, is software updates. Forget OnePlus, no one does software updates as good as Apple. Every new iPhone gets software support for a minimum of 5 years. To add on to it, every model of the iPhone, no matter how old it is, gets the new update on the same day at the same time. This is in contrast to Android, where older models usually get updates months after the latest flagships.
The story of OnePlus and Software Updates is unfortunately quite messy. OnePlus has recently started falling behind when it comes to supporting their older models. The OnePlus 7 series is a classic example where the Android 11 update was around 6 months late and made the phones practically unusable when it finally landed. I hope OnePlus fixes their game with the OnePlus 9 series this year but until we actually see that happen, I think it’s safe to say that Apple takes the software update round victory.
OnePlus 9 Pro vs iPhone 12: Software & EcoSystem
But forget software updates, what about the actual software. These are two top of the line smartphones from two top smartphone brands so of course we get the latest and greatest software experience from both the eco systems. The iPhone 12 runs on iOS 14 which finally brings widgets and customisation to the Apple experience. It is very stable, very reliable but a very closed garden for someone who’s fond of tinkering.
The OnePlus 9 Pro runs Android 11 based Oxygen OS 11. It is one of the fastest and lightest Android skins you can get today. Every animation races as fast as possible and bugs and app crashes are rarely seen.
Simply put, both the smartphones represent the best of their respective software platforms. If you have preference for either iOS or Android, the choice is very easy for you.
I also want to take a moment to talk about the eco systems. The Apple eco system is more developed and lucrative with widely adopted services like iMessage and FaceTime. Even the Apple Watch and AirPods are far more popular than counterparts from OnePlus. However, do note that the cost of entry into the Apple Ecosystem is also quite high compared to OnePlus.
Another small add on if you’re a gamer- while both phones are excellent for gaming and definitely two of the best gaming phones out there, a lot of users have reported Overheating Issues with the OnePlus 9 Pro. It has been improved in recent software patches but still not 100% patched. If you’re facing these issues, our guide on How to fix OnePlus 9 series heating issues might prove useful!
OnePlus 9 Pro vs iPhone 12: Camera
Moving on, let’s talk about the cameras. In terms of optics, the OnePlus 9 Pro sports a quad camera setup with a brand new 48MP Sony sensor as the primary camera, a 50MP ultrawide, an 8MP telephoto camera with 3.3x optical zoom and a 2MP Monochrome camera on the rear. On the other hand, the iPhone 12 sports a dual camera setup, a 12MP f1.6 primary snapper and a 12MP f2.4 ultra-wide camera. This year, OnePlus has created a lot of hype by partnering with a well known camera brand, Hasselblad. Hasselblad has contributed to the color calibration aspect of photography for the OnePlus 9 Pro. Let’s find out how the OnePlus 9 Pro fares against the iPhone 12.
- Apart from the minor tonal and white balance differences, both devices shoot excellent pictures. The iPhone 12 shoots brighter and more appealing pictures with a high dynamic range. On the other hand, the OnePlus 9 Pro shoots slightly contrasty pictures with better highlight recovery and more accurate colors. Thanks to its larger sensor, the 9 Pro shoots sharper pictures with more details and better noise processing than the iPhone 12.
- When it comes to Ultrawide cameras, the OnePlus 9 Pro leads the comparison with its sharper sensor. It shoots pictures with better noise processing and rich details. On the other hand, the iPhone 12 shoots brighter pictures with a wider FOV.
- The OnePlus 9 Pro is the clear winner when it comes to Telephoto cameras. It sports a dedicated 8MP telephoto camera which offers 3.3x optical zoom. On the other hand, the iPhone 12 can only shoot digitally zoomed-in stills.
- The real difference lies while shooting portraits and selfies. The iPhone 12 shoots pictures with a more accurate depth perception which look captivating. On the other hand, the OnePlus 9 Pro shoots sharper portraits and selfies with more accurate colors and better highlight retention.
- Apart from the color temperature differences, the Low light performance is very good on both smartphones. The OnePlus 9 Pro shoots sharper pictures while the iPhone 12 shoots brighter stills.
- The OnePlus 9 Pro also offers a Macro mode and monochrome filter which take respectable pictures.
- In terms of resolutions and frame rates, the OnePlus 9 Pro can shoot videos in [email protected], and [email protected] from the rear cameras. But it can only do [email protected] from the front camera. On the other hand, the iPhone 12 can shoot videos in [email protected] from both the rear and front cameras.
- When it comes to video quality, the iPhone 12 shoots videos with industry leading dynamic range with rich colors. Dolby Vision HDR video support is a game changer if you own a supported display. It allows you to shoot 10-bit videos with excellent dynamic range.
- On the other hand, the OnePlus 9 Pro shoots videos with rich details and an overall contrasty look. It also offers a dedicated portrait and a low light video mode for better video shooting experience.
To conclude, if you love shooting detail oriented stills, then the OnePlus 9 Pro with its larger sensors is the right choice for you as it offers more versatility for post production. On the other hand, if you’re more of a video enthusiast, there’s nothing better than an iPhone. Thanks to the it’s industry leading stabilization and Dolby Vision support, the videos shot on iPhone 12 are outstanding.
And if you’re a casual user who just wants a good overall camera, both smartphones offer great photo and video shooting capabilities though I believe the iPhone does edge out simply because of its better optimisation with third party social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat.
OnePlus 9 Pro vs iPhone 12: Battery Life and Charging
When it comes to the battery life, we get around 4 to 5 hours of Screen on Time on the iPhone 12, which is not as good as the iPhone 11, but still gets you through a day of mid to heavy use. The OnePlus 9 Pro used to be quite similar battery wise but has actually gotten better than the iPhone 12 with the recent software patches.
Even when it comes to charging, the OnePlus 9 supports faster 65W charging which takes you from 0 to 100 in a cool 40 minutes. The iPhone simply cannot compete. To add insult to Apple’s injury, you get the fast charging brick in the box with the OnePlus 9 Pro while you get just the Type C to lightning cable with the iPhone.
You do get MagSafe support with the iPhone 12 which is a cool add-on if you want to check out some magnetic MagSafe compatible cases and accessories.
So with the iPhone, you will have to shell out extra to get one of the Fast Chargers for the iPhone 12. You can either go with Apple’s first party accessories or check out the line up of Anker or some other trusted third party!
OnePlus 9 Pro vs iPhone 12: Miscellaneous
- The iPhone offers more secure Face Unlock but the OnePlus 9 Pro offers secure Fingerprint unlock and a functional but comparatively less secure Face Unlock.
- Both the speakers and the haptics are better on the iPhone although not by a lot.
- Both phones have Mute Sliders which is a very functional tool in day to day life.
- Call quality is again very similar on both the phones although I think the OnePlus 9 Pro is better when it comes to transitioning between Voice over WiFi and VoLTE. But still, a very minor difference.
OnePlus 9 Pro vs iPhone 12: Conclusion
Now, let’s conclude. See, both these phones are amazing, amazing smartphones in their own regard with a classic clear cut difference. With the OnePlus 9 Pro, you’re simply getting more cutting edge hardware with more storage, a better display and better charging. With the iPhone comes the Apple Ecosystem advantages like the more reliable software support, longevity and access to Apple Services. Both these phones are very different and yet very lucrative options for shoppers. I would love to know your pick in the comments section below!
Also, no matter which phone you end up picking, you must get some accessories to one-up your smartphone usage experience.
Check out our list of the Best Accessories for the iPhone 12 which ranges from gaming controllers to headphones all the way to wearables!
We also have a similar lineup for the Best Accessories for the OnePlus 9 Pro which is an equally exhaustive round up ranging from Watches to Gimbals!
Check OnePlus 9 Pro Price on:
Amazon (US): https://amzn.to/3cJvFT1
Amazon (India): https://amzn.to/3rLP0Y1
Amazon (UK): https://amzn.to/31Ix9qh
Check iPhone 12 price:
Amazon (US): https://amzn.to/3er6cwK
Amazon (India): https://amzn.to/3eqlQst
Amazon (UK): https://amzn.to/3p0iP72