OnePlus 9 Review: History Repeats Itself

Over the previous few generations, OnePlus’ non-Pro smartphones have typically been uncared for in favour of the Pro fashions. The characteristic disparity between the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro remains to be one of the best instance to this point. Things did enhance barely with the 8 collection, however larger costs have additionally meant that the non-Pro fashions do not supply as a lot worth for cash. With this yr’s 9 collection, OnePlus’ much-hyped Hasselblad partnership extends to the OnePlus 9, and is not restricted to the 9 Pro, which is nice.

Add to that the improved sensors, identical charging velocity, and identical show refresh price because the 9 Pro, and the OnePlus 9 seems to be like a fantastic improve to the OnePlus 8. However, at its new larger beginning value of Rs. 49,999, is it higher worth than OnePlus’ personal 8T and 8 Pro? How does it fare in opposition to the competitors from different manufacturers? Time to seek out out.

OnePlus 9 value in India and variants

OnePlus despatched me the 12GB RAM variant (with 256GB of storage), which is priced at Rs. 54,999. There’s additionally a variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage priced at Rs. 49,999. The OnePlus 9 has the identical LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage because the 9 Pro. There are three colors on supply — Astral Black, Arctic Sky, and Winter Mist — however the latter is just out there if you happen to select the top-end variant. The pastel lilac hue of the Winter Mist trim seems to be fairly however the shiny end attracts fingerprints very simply.

OnePlus 9 design

In my first impressions of the OnePlus 9, I discussed that for the primary time, the corporate has used a polycarbonate body for its flagship quantity collection. We’ve not too long ago seen Samsung make the identical compromise with the development of its non-Plus or non-Ultra flagship smartphones. I would not care a lot if the OnePlus 9 was priced much like the OnePlus 8T’s launch value, however that is not the case, which makes this extraordinarily disappointing. It’s puzzling why a model aspiring to make a reputation for itself within the premium smartphone section would take such a backward step.

Having mentioned that, the OnePlus 9 nonetheless feels solidly constructed and the plastic body does appear like metallic, though it is not. The solely silver lining right here is that it is a lot lighter (183g) and slimmer (8.1mm) than the 9 Pro and even the 8T. The alert slider and buttons have good tactile suggestions, much like those on the 9 Pro. OnePlus has retained Corning Gorilla Glass for the back and front of the telephone. At the underside, you get a USB Type-C port, dual-SIM tray, and speaker.

The OnePlus 9 seems to be good however would have felt extra premium with a metallic body, reasonably than plastic


The OnePlus 9 has an identical 6.55-inch AMOLED show because the 8T. It’s not an LTPO OLED display just like the one the 9 Pro has, which is okay contemplating the a lot decrease value. It has a full-HD+ decision, is HDR-certified, and helps a 120Hz refresh price. You additionally get an in-display fingerprint sensor, which regardless of its awkwardly low placement, works very nicely. The 9’s show is flat, not like the curved edges on the 9 Pro, however the borders are evenly slim throughout. There’s a hole-punch cutout for the selfie digicam within the higher left nook.

The digicam bump on the again is not very pronounced and has an identical form because the one on the 9 Pro, minus just a few sensors. The OnePlus 9 would not look too completely different to the 9 Pro general, which is an efficient factor now that we have all gotten used to it. The plastic body nonetheless bugs me at the back of my thoughts, contemplating how a lot it prices, and is one thing which should not have been compromised. The field contents are much like these of the 9 Pro, aside from the case, which is clear reasonably than opaque.

OnePlus 9 specs and software program

The OnePlus 9 makes use of the identical Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G SoC because the 9 Pro, and in India, it solely helps two 5G bands in comparison with extra in different areas. This apart, the step-brotherly therapy rears its ugly head as soon as once more. In India, the OnePlus 9 doesn’t obtain an IP score for mud and water resistance, and neither does it get wi-fi charging. OnePlus continues to order these options for its Pro mannequin in India, however not in all components of the world.

The OnePlus 9 offered in Europe and North America helps 15W Qi wi-fi charging, which additionally makes it barely thicker and heavier in comparison with the mannequin offered in India. If you are within the US and buy the OnePlus 9 by way of T-Mobile, it’s going to carry an IP68 badge. There is a rubber gasket across the SIM tray even on the Indian mannequin, which appears to point some degree of water ingress safety, however make of that what you’ll.

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The OnePlus 9 (backside) has a flat show in comparison with the curved sides of the OnePlus 9 Pro (high)


I believe OnePlus ought to have given the 9 an official IP score, and not less than primary wi-fi charging in India, if not 30W wi-fi charging just like the 8 Pro. I’d even have been okay with this had the pricing been decrease, however it’s not.

The different options are much like these of the 9 Pro. Both fashions characteristic Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, a number of sensors and satellite tv for pc navigation techniques, stereo audio system with Dolby Atmos, an up to date haptic engine, and a greater cooling system for the SoC. They even have the identical 4,500mAh battery together with 65W quick charging.

Software is taken care of by OxygenOS 11, which is predicated on Android 11. My unit acquired just a few updates put up launch, and general, the expertise has been higher than with the 9 Pro, which nonetheless has some bugs that should be squashed. Hyper-Touch, which bumps the show’s contact response to 360Hz in sure video games, is among the few options that’s lacking within the 9, however the software program is in any other case roughly an identical to that of the 9 Pro.

OnePlus 9 efficiency and battery life

Performance has been very stable proper from the get go. The OnePlus 9 is a extra comfy telephone to reside with than the 9 Pro and even the 8T. The decrease weight and thickness assist in attaining a greater in-hand really feel, and the flat show just about guidelines out unintentional touches. The 120Hz refresh price makes any gesture really feel snappy and fluid. It will drop right down to 60Hz in sure apps, with the intention to save energy. The show is superb – colors are vibrant, brightness is superb, and viewing angles are greater than passable.

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The OnePlus 9 has a slim profile, making a bit extra ergonomic to make use of than the OnePlus 9 Pro


The earpiece and the underside speaker supply an excellent stereo impact, and the quantity degree is nice. Sound high quality is much like what I heard from the 9 Pro, which makes gaming and video consumption an actual deal with. Just just like the OnePlus 9 Pro, the OnePlus 9 can deal with even essentially the most demanding video games within the Google Play Store. It would not get too sizzling, since every little thing is rendered at full-HD+ and never QHD+ like on the 9 Pro. Titles similar to Asphalt 9: Legends and Call of Duty: Mobile regarded unbelievable on the telephone’s show.

The OnePlus 9 delivers excellent battery life; a bit higher than the 9 Pro actually, for my part. Our HD video battery loop check ran for an hour longer too, clocking in practically 17 hours. With typical use, which included a little bit of gaming, video watching, and random social and Chrome utilization, I used to be simply capable of go one total day and a bit extra earlier than having to cost this telephone. You can kill the battery in below a day with heavy digicam use and gaming, however usually, it is protected to imagine you may get a full day’s value of use on one cost. Even once you do run low on energy, the OnePlus 9 fees extremely rapidly due to the 65W charger.

OnePlus 9 cameras

The cameras on the OnePlus 9 are a giant improve in comparison with its predecessor’s primarily resulting from higher sensors. There’s in fact the entire Hasselblad partnership as nicely, however for the 9 collection, the profit is principally seen within the color tuning of JPEGs and never a lot else. The foremost 48-megapixel sensor is lifted from the OnePlus 8 Pro, with the additional benefit of Hasselblad’s color science. However, OnePlus has eliminated optical stabilisation, which I believe was an odd alternative. The 50-megapixel ultra-wide digicam has the very same sensor and lens setup as on the 9 Pro, whereas the third digicam is a 2-megapixel monochrome sensor. The OnePlus 9 lacks a telephoto digicam, which implies all magnification is strictly digital.

Landscape photographs taken through the day packed in excellent element and colors, and infrequently matched as much as the standard of photographs taken with the OnePlus 9 Pro. The ultra-wide digicam captured glorious element too, with minimal distortion across the edges. However, not like on the 9 Pro, the digicam app would not routinely interact the ultra-wide digicam once you shut in on a topic. You’ll should allow macro mode manually.

OnePlus 9 foremost digicam pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)

OnePlus 9 ultra-wide digicam pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)

OnePlus 9 macro digicam pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)


Close-ups had good sharpness and colors too, however each every so often, I seen the topic had tender focus or that the realm in focus wasn’t precisely what I had chosen when taking the shot. It’s a little bit of a random incidence, and I’m hoping this may be mounted by a software program replace. Both the rear cameras do good jobs in low mild with panorama photographs, however close-ups require a little bit of effort to seize nicely since there is not any stabilisation to compensate for minor hand shakes. Detail and colors are a bit weaker in comparison with what the 9 Pro produces.

OnePlus 9 low-light selfie digicam pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)

OnePlus 9 Nightscape pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)


The selfie digicam is identical one used for the OnePlus 9 Pro, and it is respectable however not nice. You can get some pleasing selfies through the day if you happen to angle the digicam excellent, however for essentially the most half, photos look pretty common and the standard dips additional in low mild.

With most OnePlus flagships of the previous, the cameras obtained slightly higher after just a few software program updates, and the OnePlus 9 has already acquired a bunch of them because it launched. After updating the 9 and 9 Pro to the most recent Oxygen OS (on the time of this assessment), here is what I noticed. Both the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro continued to aggressively sharpen textures, which causes a little bit of fringing alongside the perimeters of objects if you happen to amplify the pictures all the way in which. The OnePlus 9 nonetheless produced barely higher particulars in panorama photographs in comparison with the 8 Pro, regardless of having the identical sensor. However, close-ups remained a bit hit-or-miss with the OnePlus 9, as though it might appear as if you’ve got obtained shot within the viewfinder, the ultimate photograph may not match as much as that.

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The OnePlus 9 tends to battle with close-ups once in a while, which is not an issue for the 9 Pro or 8 Pro


The OnePlus 9 has comparable video capabilities because the 9 Pro. It can shoot at 8K 30fps, however 4K recording is proscribed to 60fps and never 120fps like on the 9 Pro. Video high quality is nice within the daytime and even low-light footage is clear and comparatively free from noise. However, the digital stabilisation causes a little bit of jitter within the video, which is extra pronounced at evening. The OnePlus 9 can shoot HDR video too, however this must be enabled manually, not like on the 9 Pro which might interact it routinely primarily based on the scene.

The OnePlus 9 did give me an overheating warning when capturing 8K video, however this was after recording a 3rd consecutive clip (8K movies are restricted to 5 minutes per clip). The telephone finally stopped recording through the fourth clip; barely higher than the 9 Pro, which normally stopped mid-way by the second clip.

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The OnePlus 9 has the identical ultra-wide digicam because the OnePlus 9 Pro


Since the OnePlus 7 collection, every non-Pro OnePlus mannequin has been meant to cater to mainstream consumers, whereas the Pro mannequin was for individuals who need all of it, with the suitable costs. With the 9 collection beginning at Rs. 50,000, it seems that each fashions are actually being focused on the premium section. OnePlus has gone so far as to introduce a 3rd mannequin this yr for the Indian market, the lower-priced OnePlus 9R, which is available in to bridge the “value” hole between the OnePlus Nord and the OnePlus 9. So, do you have to be spending your cash on the OnePlus 9?

If it is simply the most recent Qualcomm SoC you crave, then the pricing will not be that dangerous. Other telephones with the Snapdragon 888 SoC such because the Asus ROG Phone 5 additionally begin on the identical value. When in comparison with the OnePlus 8T, the OnePlus 9 has higher ergonomics and rear cameras, which for some can be well worth the premium.

If I had to decide on between the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 8 Pro for Rs. 5,000 extra, I’d go together with the 8 Pro. The latter may not be as slim or mild because the 9, and its ultra-wide digicam efficiency is a bit weaker in some instances, however it has a sharper show, an aluminium physique, an optically stabilised foremost digicam, IP68 score, and 30W wi-fi charging. The OnePlus 8 Pro additionally seems to be and feels much more premium than the OnePlus 9.

I am unable to assist however really feel an acute sense of déjàvu after reviewing the OnePlus 9, because it’s the identical sentiment I had after testing the OnePlus 8. The 9 is an efficient smartphone in its personal proper, however exhausting to advocate when you will have the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G and OnePlus 8 Pro promoting for across the identical value. Plus, with the OnePlus 9R within the image, the OnePlus 9 appears to be caught in limbo in the interim.

Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, has a double invoice this week: the OnePlus 9 collection, and Justice League Snyder Cut (beginning at 25:32). Orbital is accessible on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.

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