OnePlus 6T vs iPhone XS: the Apple flagship versus the flagship killer

How do two of the best smartphones of 2018 stack up against each other?

OnePlus 6T vs iPhone XS

When the dust settles on 2018, there's no doubt two of the best phones of the year are going to be the OnePlus 6T and the iPhone XS from Apple – but exactly how do these two smartphones stack up against each other? And which one is the right buy for you?

Here we'll take a look at the design, the specs, the features and the prices of the OnePlus 6T and the iPhone XS, and explain just what you're getting for your money in each case – and you can then make a more informed choice about which one is the best purchase.

OnePlus 6T vs iPhone XS: design

OnePlus 6T

OnePlus 6T

Both the OnePlus 6T and the iPhone XS are difficult to fault from the design perspective – we've got two very good-looking phones here, thin slices of glass with bright and sharp screens for all your smartphoning needs. If we had to pick a winner, we'd say the iPhone XS just edges it, but your mileage may vary.

The OnePlus 6T has a 6.41-inch, 1080 x 2340 pixel (402 ppi) OLED display, and is 8.2 mm (0.32 inches) thin. You can get it in three colours: matte black, glossy black and "Thunder Purple". It has a notch up top on the front display, but it's a very small, teardrop-shaped one, and the fingerprint sensor is built into the front screen – which means the back of the phone is a little more clean and minimal.

When it comes to the iPhone XS, we've got a smaller 5.8-inch, 1125 x 2436 pixel (458 ppi) OLED display, and is 7.7 mm (0.3 inches) thin. The colour choices are space grey, silver and gold. The same iconic notch debuted with the iPhone X is present and correct on the iPhone XS as well, and of course fingerprint sensors have been ditched completely in favour of Face ID.

OnePlus 6T vs iPhone XS: specs

iPhone XS

iPhone XS

Inside the OnePlus 6T we've got a Snapdragon 845 processor and either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, depending on your model and region. Your storage options are 128GB or 256GB, and there's no memory card slot for expanding that. There's also the McLaren Edition – for a little extra you can get 10GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, with the same processor.

As for the Apple iPhone XS, you get an A12 Bionic processor made by Apple itself – recently bested by the A12X Bionic processor embedded in the new iPad Pros – and 4GB of RAM. The storage options for the phone are 64GB, 256GB or 512GB, and as usual with iPhones there's no memory card for expanding that.

Which one is faster, then? Well it's a close call – the iPhone XS has less RAM but thanks to Apple's knack for hardware and software optimisation, it's likely that it beats the OnePlus 6T in terms of raw performance. That said, both these phones are among the fastest on the market at the moment, and both will be able to tackle even the most demanding smartphone tasks for several years to come.

OnePlus 6T vs iPhone XS: features

OnePlus 6T

OnePlus 6T

One of the biggest differences between the OnePlus 6T and the iPhone XS is the mobile operating system on board – whether you prefer Android or iOS is likely to go a long way to telling you which of these excellent handsets is best for you. Both phones run the latest versions of their respective OSes, Android 9 Pie and iOS 12.

Then you've got the cameras on board. The OnePlus 6T sports a 16MP+20MP dual-lens rear camera, while the iPhone XS has a 12MP+12MP dual-lens rear snapper. While the OnePlus 6T has the advantage in terms of the number of megapixels, by all accounts the iPhone XS takes slightly better photos, so that's something to bear in mind if you find yourself choosing between these two handsets.

The iPhone XS also offers wireless charging and full IP68 waterproofing and dustproofing, features the OnePlus 6T can't match. On the other hand, the OnePlus 6T comes with a special fast charging mode – getting a day's power in 30 minutes – that the iPhone XS can't keep pace with.

OnePlus 6T vs iPhone XS: verdict

iPhone XS

iPhone XS

As you can see from the rundown above, the OnePlus 6T and iPhone XS are both super-fast, well-equipped phones that feel great in the hand and look great in use. Neither one is going to let you down and both offer appealing value for money – even at this relatively high price point.

Speaking of prices, check the widgets on this page for the latest deals, but the OnePlus 6T is a good chunk of change cheaper than the iPhone XS, so that's something to factor into your considerations. You'll have more money left over if you go for the OnePlus phone, no matter which configuration you go for.

Another important consideration is the Android vs iOS question. Remember that you're not just choosing between the various qualities of both operating systems, but also what these OSes connect with – iPhones work very well with other Apple hardware, for example, but are less friendly towards Windows and Android devices, so think about the other hardware you've got at home.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.