Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G vs OnePlus 8 Pro: two top phones head to head

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G and OnePlus 8 Pro have a lot in common, here's how they compare

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G (left) and the OnePlus 8 Pro (right).
(Image credit: Samsung / OnePlus)

We're here to pit two of the very best Android phones of 2021 against each other – the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G and the OnePlus 8 Pro – and we're not going to stop until we've explained everything you need to know to make a purchase decision between them.

If you've been trying to figure out the best smartphone for you for a while, then you might well have come across these two handsets already: they offer top-of-the-line specs, polished designs, and camera setups that will get you great shots more often than not.

Read on for a comprehensive rundown of exactly how the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G stacks up against the OnePlus 8 Pro in all the areas that matter – performance, features, battery life, software, camera – and why you might end up picking one or the other.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G vs OnePlus 8 Pro: design and screen

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

(Image credit: Samsung)

These are two big phones, so the small-handed and those who like to travel light might want to find alternative options (perhaps in our guide to the best small phones): the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G comes with a 6.5-inch, 1080 x 2400 pixel, 20:9 aspect ratio AMOLED display, while the OnePlus 8 Pro sports an even larger 6.78-inch, 1440 x 3168 pixel, 22:10 aspect ratio AMOLED display. Both phones feature minimal bezels and a small punch hole notch on the front.

Both phones follow the handsets that preceded them from the same manufacturer to some extent, with the Samsung device positioning its rear camera array in the top right-hand corner of the casing as you look at the back, and the OnePlus phone going for a more central position. Both of these devices have their fingerprint sensor technology embedded under the screen rather than around the back.

These handsets are actually quite difficult to separate in terms of design, though the colours might do it. You've got Cloud Lavender, Cloud Mint, Cloud Navy, Cloud White, Cloud Red and Cloud Orange to pick from with the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, while when it comes to the OnePlus 8 Pro your options are Glacial Green, Ultramarine Blue and Onyx Black – something for everyone really, especially in the case of the Samsung phone.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G has more colours, and the OnePlus 8 Pro is slightly bigger, but you're getting a fantastically designed phone with a big, crisp, bright screen whichever option you go for – even the option for a super-smooth 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ colour balancing is the same on the two handsets. If you're looking for major differences then you need to look elsewhere.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G vs OnePlus 8 Pro: camera and battery

OnePlus 8 Pro

(Image credit: OnePlus)

Phone cameras are tricky to compare against each other, though our respective reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G and the OnePlus 8 Pro should help you out a bit here. We found the Samsung phone to offer an impressive level of quality in the vast majority of shots – unless the rather gimmicky 30x digital zoom is deployed, while the OnePlus 8 Pro left us feeling very satisfied in terms of its crispness, colour reproduction and focus time.

You could say honours even here, but the rear camera arrays aren't exactly the same. The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G has a triple-lens 12MP wide + 8MP 3x telephoto + 12MP ultrawide rear camera, while the OnePlus 8 Pro offers up a quad-lens 48MP wide + 8MP 3x telephoto + 48MP ultrawide + 5MP colour filter camera setup on the back. Both these phones are able to capture 4K video at up to 60 frames per second.

With optical image stabilisation, 3x optical zoom, night mode capabilities and an ultrawide mode on both the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G and the OnePlus 8 Pro, there isn't really anything you can do on one camera that you can't do on the other. That said, we'd say both these phones are a slight step down from the picture and video results that you're going to get from the very best flagships on the market.

In terms of battery life – 4,500 mAh capacity on the Samsung, 4,510 mAh on the OnePlus – you're good for a full day of heavy use between charges whichever of these phones you go for. The OnePlus 8 Pro charges a little faster though: 30W wired and 30W wireless fast charging, compared with 25W wired and 15W wireless on the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G. Battery life is another area where both of these handsets really hold up.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G vs OnePlus 8 Pro: specs and features

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G comes running a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB of internal storage (which you can expand with a memory card if you need to). Those are top specs for a phone in 2021, even if the very best handsets on the market are now starting to eclipse it – this is a phone that will run all of your apps at a very healthy speed for years into the future.

Over to the OnePlus 8 Pro, and that also comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor on board. With this phone you can pick from either 8GB or 12GB of RAM, while the 128GB and 256GB internal storage options are the same as the Samsung device. When it comes to the OnePlus 8 Pro there's no option for expandable storage, but it's just as fast and maybe a touch more capable than the Galaxy S20 FE 5G.

While the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is available in a 4G model, the version we're talking about here is very much 5G – as its name suggests. 5G is also available on the OnePlus 8 Pro, even though OnePlus hasn't shoehorned it into the actual name of the phone, so if you have the next-gen connectivity speeds up and running in your area then you'll be able to log on and take advantage with either of these phones.

Both these phones launched with Android 10 and have now been upgraded to the latest Android 11 software, so it's difficult to differentiate between them in this department as well. In terms of Android skins, we do slightly prefer the sleek look and intuitive touches of the OxygenOS that OnePlus develops, but Samsung's One UI has plenty going for it as well (and is packed full of customisation options).

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G vs OnePlus 8 Pro: price and verdict

OnePlus 8 Pro

(Image credit: OnePlus)

Check the widgets embedded on this page for the latest online details, as their age means these phones will be cheaper than at their launch date. The official retail prices for these phones started around £700. There is some discrepancy in the US, where the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G costs around $700 and the OnePlus 8 Pro around $900, but special deals are being offered all the time.

Which phone is the best one for you may well end up being the one that costs you the least amount of money. Both the Galaxy S21 and S22 phone series is now out in the wild of course, while the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 10 range has also launched since.

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.