TCL 20 Pro 5G vs OnePlus 9 5G: Which phone should you buy?

TCL 20 Pro 5G vs OnePlus 9 5G: Which phone should you buy?

The TCL 20 Pro 5G is TCL’s new flagship smartphone for 2021, and it made its way to the United States in June this year. While the TCL 20 Pro 5G is a good smartphone in its own right, there are plenty of other great phones in the market, which are being offered at similar or slightly higher price points. One such phone is the OnePlus 9 5G. This article will discuss which of the two — the TCL 20 Pro and OnePlus 9 5G — makes more sense to buy.

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TCL 20 Pro 5G vs OnePlus 9 5G: Specifications

SpecificationsTCL 20 Pro 5GOnePlus 9 5G
Dimensions and Weight
  • 164.2 x 73.8 x 9.07mm
  • 190g
  • 160 x 74.2 x 8.7mm
  • 192g
Display
  • 6.67-inch AMOLED
  • Full HD+ (1080 x 2400 pixels) resolution
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • 20:9 aspect ratio
  • Hole-punch cutout
  • 6.55-inch Fluid AMOLED
  • Full HD+ (1080 x 2400 pixels) resolution
  • 20:9 aspect ratio
  • Hole-punch cutout
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • Corning Gorilla Glass
SoC
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G
    • 2x Kryo 570 (Cortex-A77) @ 2.2GHz
    • 6x Kryo 570 (Cortex-A55) @ 1.8GHz
  • Adreno 619 GPU
  • 8nm process
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
    • 1x Kryo 680 (Cortex-X1) @ 2.84GHz
    • 3x Kryo 680 (Cortex-A78) @ 2.42GHz
    • 4x Kryo 680 (Cortex-A55) @ 1.80GHz
  • Adreno 660
  • 5nm process
RAM and Storage
  • 6GB RAM
  • 256GB storage
  • MicroSD card support
  • 8GB
  • 128GB flash storage
Rear Camera
  • Primary: 48MP Sony IMX582 primary, f/1.8, 0.8μm, OIS
  • Secondary: 16MP ultra-wide-angle, 123° FoV, f/2.4, 1.0μm
  • Tertiary: 5MP macro, f/2.2
  • Quaternary: 2MP depth, f/2.4
  • Video: Up to [email protected]
  • Primary: 48MP Sony IMX689, f/1.8, 1/1.43″ sensor, 1.12μm
  • Secondary: 50MP Sony IMX766, wide-angle, f/2.2
  • Tertiary: 2MP, monochrome camera
  • Video: Up to [email protected]
Front Camera
Battery
  • 4,500 mAh battery
  • Up to 18W wired charging (inside the box)
  • Up to 15W wireless charging
  • 4,500mAh
  • Up to 65W wired charging (inside the box)
  • Up to 15W wireless charging
Connectivity
  • Bands (North America):
    • 2G Bands: GSM 850/900/1800/1900
    • 3G Bands: UMTS B1/2/4/5/8
    • 4G LTE Bands: 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12(MFBI)/ 13/14/17/20/25/26/28/29/ 30/38/40/41/48/66/71
    • 5G Bands: n2/5/7/41/66/71/78
    • 4×4 MIMO(DL) B2/4/7/30/66
  • NFC
  • WiFi 802.11ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz)
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • USB Type C
  • Bands (North America):
    • 2G Bands: GSM 850/900/1800/1900, CDMA BC0, BC1, BC10
    • 3G Bands: UMTS B1/2/4/5/8/9/19
    • 4G LTE Bands: 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/ 13/14/17/18/19/20/25/26/28/30/ 32/38/39/40/41/46/48/66/71
    • 5G Bands (NSA): N1/2/3/5/7/8/20/25/28/38/40/ 41/48/66/71/77/78
    • 5G Bands (SA): N1/2/3/5/7/25/28/41/48/66/71/77/78
    • 4×4 MIMO(DL): B1/2/4/7/25/38/66/41/48; NR: N1/2/7/25/38/41/48/66/77/78
  • NFC
  • WiFi 802.11ax (2.4GHz + 5GHz)
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • USB Type C
Other features
  • In-display scanner
  • In-display fingerprint scanner
Software
  • Android 11 with TCL UI

Design and Display

TCL 20 Pro 5G display

TCL 20 Pro 5G

As you can expect, the OnePlus 9 5G and TCL 20 Pro 5G designs are different. Most of these design differences won’t however make you pick one over the other. But there’s one thing that could impact your buying design — Corning Gorilla Glass. The OnePlus 9 Pro 5G is covered with Gorilla Glass on both the front and back. Even the TCL 20 Pro has a 3D glass cover on the front and a portion of the back but it’s not a protective glass like the Corning one.

Another positive for the OnePlus 9 5G is its 120Hz display. TCL has unfortunately chosen to go with a 60Hz refresh rate screen. In other display specifics, both phones have full-HD AMOLED panels and a 20:9 aspect ratio.

SoC, RAM, and Storage

There’s little going for the TCL 20 Pro 5G in this department. OnePlus has used Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 888 (S888) SoC in its smartphone, whereas the TCL phone comes with a mid-range Snapdragon 750G (S750G) SoC. Although the S750G would be more than enough for a lot of your day-to-day tasks, the S888 makes sure that you don’t have to worry about performance at all.

The OnePlus 9 5G also packs more RAM at 8GB, but the TCL phone has more built-in storage at 256GB. TCL has also included a microSD card slot, so you can further increase the storage. OnePlus does offer a 256GB model of the 9 5G in select markets, but that model is not sold in the US.

TCL 20 Pro 5G vs OnePlus 9 5G: Cameras

OnePlus 9 in hand showing off Astral Black back color

OnePlus 9 5G

OnePlus partnered with Hasselblad to enhance the camera performance of its 2021 flagship phone. The fruits of that partnership show in the photos taken by the OnePlus 9 5G. In our OnePlus 9 5G camera review, we noted it has the “most refreshing OnePlus camera” to date. The phone captures accurate colors and a great amount of detail in both natural and artificial lighting. This excellent camera performance is not limited to just the primary camera. Even the wide-angle shooter takes impressive photos.

The same cannot be said for the TCL 20 Pro 5G. The phone occasionally takes good photos in perfectly lit situations, but you’ll get muted colors and very low detail in poor-lighting scenarios. The performance of the wide-angle camera is on the same lines, and the low-light photos leave a lot to be desired. The one positive TCL primary camera has is the optical image stabilization (OIS) support. OIS will allow you to take steady shots.

The front shooters are decent on both smartphones.

Battery and Connectivity

Both the OnePlus 9 5G and TCL 20 Pro 5G feature a 4,500mAh battery each, which will easily last you a day. However, OnePlus has included support for 65W fast charging in the 9 5G, whereas the TCL phone only comes with 18W fast charging support. While super-fast charging isn’t going to be a big deal if you charge your phone overnight, in crunch situations when you need to charge quickly before leaving home, 65W charging is very handy. Apart from wired fast charging, the two phones can also be charged wirelessly, up to 15W.

In terms of connectivity options, you get sub-6GHz 5G support on both phones. But the TCL phone can only work with T-Mobile 5G right now, with support for Verizon 5G said to be coming. The OnePlus 9 5G, on the other hand, already supports Verizon 5G and T-Mobile 5G networks. Neither of the two phones will work with AT&T 5G.

The 20 Pro 5G also lacks Verizon 4G LTE support right as the phone is yet to be certified for use on Big Red. The OnePlus phone, on the other hand, supports the 4G LTE on all three major networks.

OS and Android Updates

TCL 20 Pro 5G back

TCL 20 Pro 5G

Android 11 is present on both the TCL 20 Pro 5G and the OnePlus 9 5G. But OnePlus has promised to provide three major Android updates and four years of security updates to the 9 5G. The TCL phone will only get two major Android updates and security patches till April 2024. The longer software support on the OnePlus is a big positive if you’re planning to hold on to your phone for the next few years.

TCL 20 Pro 5G vs OnePlus 9 5G: Pricing and Color Options

The OnePlus 9 5G was launched at $729 for its lone storage variant. But the phone has since been discounted to $649.99 on the OnePlus website and $699.99 on Amazon. The TCL 20 Pro 5G will however cost you just $499.99. The higher price tag of the OnePlus phone is justified by its comparably superior set of specifications to the TCL phone.

Both OnePlus and TCL are offering two color options for their phones. The OnePlus 9 5G has Astral Black and Winter Mist, whereas the TCL 20 Pro 5G is sold in Marine Blue and Moondust Gray.

Conclusion

If we put aside the pricing of the two phones, the OnePlus 9 5G is a pretty clear choice. It packs Qualcomm’s flagship processor, great display, good cameras, and a decent battery. The phone will also get software support for a much longer time. But the relatively lower price tag of the TCL 20 Pro 5G makes it slightly more enticing if you don’t need a flagship-grade processor and are ready to sacrifice on other features to save some money.

Which of the two phones are you planning to get? Let us know in the comments section. Meanwhile, you can also check out our comparisons of the TCL 20 Pro 5G with Samsung Galaxy A52 5G and Motorola One 5G Ace.

    TCL 20 Pro 5G
    The TCL 20 Pro 5G is the top-of-the-line phone in the company's 20 series. It packs a Snapdragon 750G SoC, and runs on Android 11.
    OnePlus 9 5G
    The vanilla OnePlus 9 is for those who want flagship performance but don't want to pay top dollar. It offers a 6.5-inch 120Hz AMOLED display, a triple-camera setup tuned by Hasselblad, and the Snapdragon 888 SoC.

If you’ve purchased the phones, do check out our recommendations on accessories, cases, screen protectors, and more:

About author

Gaurav Shukla
Gaurav Shukla

Gaurav has been covering technology for over a decade now. He has done everything from blogging about Android to reporting the latest from the world of Internet giants. When he is not writing about the tech companies, he can be found binge-watching new TV series on the web.