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A comprehensive overview of OnePlus 9: What to expect?

OnePlus 9 phone

If you are a gadget freak, here’s something that might interest you!

OnePlus has come up with a new duo of flagship Android phones, the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro. The OnePlus 9 is a competitor of the iPhone 12 with its high-end camera and other features. Being part of the brand’s latest pitch for the flagship Android smartphone space, this is quite a competent model with the price starting from $729 (€699 / £629 / 49,999 INR). 

It is to be noted that iconic Swedish camera manufacturer, Hasselblad, has entered a long-term partnership with OnePlus, significantly leveraging their efforts to improve the camera quality.

Read on to get a comprehensive review of this new smartphone. 

Body

Interestingly enough, the OnePlus 9 isn’t very different from its predecessors in terms of appearances, despite being a much superior model. The phone still carries the typical shape and design that the other OnePlus phones do. However, the body is now made of polycarbonate, unlike the previous models with aluminium bodies. 

OnePlus also made a few modifications to the design, giving the phone a more sophisticated look. Just like the predecessor models, the OnePlus 9 comes with a flat display and gorilla glass panes at the front and the back.

Colour and finish

Although made of plastic, the body’s finish could trick one into thinking it to be metallic. The phone comes in three different colours: Arctic Sky, Winter Mist and Astral Black. The first one is bluish, with a matte glass finish at the backside. 

The Winter Mist version comes with a diffused mirror-esque effect. A mix of blue and purple, it looks like a metallic pattern depending on the angling of the light falling on it. Like the Arctic Sky, the Astral Black comes with a matte finish as well. 

The matte finish on these variations is better than glassy ones, considering the fact that it’s easy to hide smudges. 

Camera

The most notable feature of the OnePlus 9 is its powerful camera. The camera is predominantly a strong point in the OnePlus phones, with the predecessors of this model boasting some of the best cameras among Android handsets. 

This model comes with a 48-mega pixel main camera, and a 50-megapixel ultrawide camera on the rear. Swedish camera manufacturer Hasselblad is particularly well-known for their medium format cameras, which were used by NASA’s Apollo missions to capture lunar landings. The partnership with Hasselblad has taken OnePlus’ cameras to a truly flagship level. 

Users who have a particular knack for mobile photography would also benefit from the Pro mode, which offers a wide range of manual control such as ISO, white balance, shutter speed, etc. It is possible to save the pictures in 12-bit RAW format, which protects the image quality and allows easier editing. The front camera is of 16 megapixels are can generate fairly sharp selfies while capturing the skin tones accurately. 

What’s special about the new cameras?

With the necessary guidance from Hasselblad, OnePlus has co-developed the camera sensors for the OnePlus 9. Colour correction used to be a flaw in the OnePlus phones in the past. However, the new model comes with superior colour correction, thanks to Hasselblad. 

With improved colour processing algorithms, OnePlus 9 delivers high quality photos in natural colours. iPhones have typically been well-known for their quality. The new OnePlus model is likely aimed to compete against the iPhone 12 with the new technologies that it comes integrated with. 

Video recording using the rear camera also turned out to be of very high-quality, with its sharpness and colour accuracy. The videos are shot in 8K 30 fps, which results in a pixel count that is 16 times of that of the standard 1,080 resolution. Compared to the video recording quality of the previous OnePlus phones, this is indeed a major upgrade too. 

Overall, it seems that the cameras are where the brand put special emphasis while building the OnePlus 9. 

Specifications

The OnePlus 9 comes in two variations in terms of RAM: 8 GB and 12 GB. While the 8 GB variation is good enough for most users, those who plan to use the phone for heavy multi-tasking or gaming may find the 12 GB variation more convenient due to its greater bandwidth. 

Buyers may also choose between 128 GB and 256 GB storage options. However, the memory isn’t expandable as the model doesn’t come with a micro-SD slot. This model runs on an octa-core processor, with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip. All this hardware is essentially quite high-end and suitable for a flagship smartphone.

Performance

The UFS 3.1 storage standard ensures fast data reading speed, which, in turn, allows the apps to run more smoothly. In addition to it, the TurboBoost 3.0 feature compresses RAM and uses fast storage as virtual RAM when necessary. These would essentially enable the users to keep more apps open in the background without any problems. 

Heavy games similar to Call of Duty can be run on this phone without any issues, due to its silky-smooth performance. Essentially, it delivers the performance that a high-end phone should.

Battery

Although the battery backup of the OnePlus 9 isn’t as large as some of the other flagship smartphones, it is still quite decent. For most users, the 4,500 mAH battery is expected to be enough for an entire day. A key feature that makes the battery of the OnePlus 9 stand out, however, is its construction. It is split into two cells of approximately 2,250 mAH each. 

The phone comes with the Warp Charge 65T charger in the box, while the variations sold in Europe and North America also support 15W Qi wireless charging. The 65W wired charger is capable of charging up the phone to 100% in about 30 minutes. 

The reason behind the incredibly fast charging speed is the battery construction mentioned earlier. The two cells are charged simultaneously in a parallel manner by the 65W charger. OnePlus had already introduced these batteries in the OnePlus 8T model. However, the OnePlus 9 witnessed further improvements in the power brick of the battery. 

Display

The OnePlus 9 features a 6.55-inch AMELED display. With its resolution of 2400X1800, it delivers superior quality visuals. The high display quality, once again, is a feature that was noticed in the OnePlus phones developed in the past. 

The display comes with a high refresh rate of 120 Hz. Games which support up to 120 fps would certainly run smoothly. Other activities such as scrolling newsfeeds would be quite more pleasant too. The top-left corner of the display is broken by a punch-hole to fit in the front camera. 

Fingerprint sensor

The OnePlus 9 comes with an on-screen fingerprint sensor. While this is convenient, it is to be noted that the sensor often fails to recognise a fingerprint unless the thumb is positioned upright in relation to the device. This is a major drawback for sure, and may cause inconveniences. 

Value for money

Last but not the least, one needs to consider whether the phone is worth buying. Indeed, it is not 100% perfect in certain aspects. For instance, it doesn’t come with an IP rating for waterproofing, the fingerprint sensor doesn’t work as conveniently as many other phones, etc. However, it is certainly a great value for money due to the various high-end specifications it offers. OnePlus’ approach has been typically one where they focus on addressing the various demands of the consumers and this model effectively does so. 

Written by Rishi Biswas

Rishi Biswas is a journalist-turned freelance content writer from India, known for his insightful travelogues, poetry, blogs and articles. As an accomplished writer, Rishi is helping various digital marketing agencies and businesses organizations.