OnePlus 9 Review

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The non-Pro models of OnePlus smartphones have frequently been overlooked in favor of the Pro models over the past few generations. The best example to date is still the gap in features between the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro. With the 8 series, things did get a little better, but the higher prices also mean that the non-Pro models don’t give as much value for money. The fact that the much-anticipated partnership between OnePlus and Hasselblad now includes the OnePlus 9 instead of just the 9 Pro in this year’s 9 series is excellent.

The OnePlus 9 appears to be an excellent upgrade to the OnePlus 8, thanks to the improved sensors, same charging speed, and same display refresh rate as the OnePlus 9 Pro. However, its new, more expensive starting price of Rs. Is it more affordable than the OnePlus 8T and 8 Pro? How does it compare to other brands in the market? It is time to learn.

Price and options for the OnePlus 9 in India:

I received the variant with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage from OnePlus, which costs Rs. 54,999. A variant with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM is also available for Rs. 49,999. The LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage of the OnePlus 9 are identical to those of the 9 Pro. Astral Black, Arctic Sky, and Winter Mist are the three colors available; however, the latter is only available when you select the most expensive model. The Winter Mist trim’s pastel lilac hue is pretty, but the glossy finish easily attracts fingerprints.

Design of OnePlus 9:

I mentioned in my initial impressions of the OnePlus 9 that the company used a polycarbonate frame for the first time for its flagship number series. When it comes to the construction of its flagship smartphones that are not the Plus or Ultra, we have recently witnessed Samsung make the same concession. If the OnePlus 9 were priced similarly to the OnePlus 8T’s initial price, I wouldn’t care as much. However, this is not the case, which is extremely disappointing. It’s confusing why a brand trying to become famous in the premium cell phone fragment would make such a regressive stride.

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Despite this, the OnePlus 9 still feels well-built, and the plastic frame looks like metal despite not being metal. The alert slider and buttons have good tactile feedback, similar to those on the 9 Pro, and it is significantly lighter (183g) and slimmer (8.1mm) than the 9 Pro and even the 8T. Corning Gorilla Glass is still used on the phone’s front and back by OnePlus. A speaker, dual-SIM tray, and USB Type-C port are located at the bottom.

Although the OnePlus 9 has a similar 6.55-inch AMOLED display to the 8T, it does not have an LTPO OLED screen like the 9 Pro does, which is fine considering the 9 Pro’s significantly lower price. However, the OnePlus 9 would have felt more premium with a metal frame rather than a plastic one. It supports a 120Hz refresh rate, is HDR-certified, and has a resolution of full-HD+. In addition, you get a fingerprint sensor built into the display that works very well despite its awkwardly low position. Contrary to the curved edges of the 9 Pro, the display on the 9 is flat, but the borders are uniformly thin all around. In the upper left corner, there is a cutout with a hole for the selfie camera.

With the exception of a few sensors, the camera bump on the back is less prominent and has a shape that is comparable to that of the 9 Pro. In general, the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro don’t look all that different, which is a good thing now that we’ve all gotten used to it. Given how much it costs, the plastic frame still annoys me to the back of my mind and is something that shouldn’t have been compromised. Except for the case, which is transparent rather than opaque, the contents of the box are comparable to those of the 9 Pro.

Software and specifications for the OnePlus 9:

The OnePlus 9 has the same 5G SoC as the 9 Pro, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, but it only supports two 5G bands in India, as opposed to more in other parts of the world. Leaving this aside, the cruel treatment of stepbrothers comes back to haunt us once more. The OnePlus 9 does not come with wireless charging or an IP rating for dust and water resistance in India. In India, OnePlus continues to reserve these features for its Pro model, but not everywhere else.

Compared to the model sold in India, the OnePlus 9 sold in Europe and North America supports 15W Qi wireless charging and is slightly thicker and heavier. The OnePlus 9 will come with an IP68 sticker if you buy it from T-Mobile in the United States. Even on the Indian model, there is a rubber gasket around the SIM tray, which appears to indicate some level of water ingress protection.

OnePlus should have given the OnePlus 9 an official IP rating and at least basic wireless charging in India, if not 30W wireless charging like the 8 Pro. On the other hand, the OnePlus 9 Pro has curved sides. If the price had been lower, I might even have been okay with this. But it isn’t.

The 9 Pro’s additional features are comparable. In addition to having the same 4,500mAh battery and 65W fast charging, both models have NFC, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, multiple sensors and satellite navigation systems, stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, an upgraded haptic engine, and improved cooling for the SoC.

OxygenOS 11, which is based on Android 11, is in charge of software. My unit has received a few updates since its launch, and overall, it has been better than the 9 Pro, which still has a few bugs that need to be fixed. One of the few features that the 9 lacks is Hyper-Touch, which increases the display’s touch response to 360 Hz in certain games. However, the software is otherwise virtually identical to that of the 9 Pro.

Performance and battery life of the OnePlus 9:

From the start, performance has been excellent. The OnePlus 9 is a better phone to use than the 9 Pro or even the 8T because it is lighter and thinner, has a better in-hand feel, and has a flat display that almost completely prevents accidental touches. With a refresh rate of 120 Hz, any gesture feels quick and fluid. In order to conserve power, certain applications will set it to 60 Hz. The display is excellent, with vivid colors, excellent brightness, and excellent viewing angles.

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The OnePlus 9 has a slimmer profile than the OnePlus 9 Pro, making it easier to use. The earpiece and bottom speaker produce a very good stereo effect, and the volume level is adequate. The 9 Pro’s sound quality is comparable to this one, making gaming and watching videos a pleasure. The OnePlus 9 is capable of handling even the most demanding games in the Google Play Store, just like the OnePlus 9 Pro. Since everything is rendered at full-HD+ rather than QHD+, as on the 9 Pro, it doesn’t get too hot. Examples include Asphalt 9: Call of Duty and the Legends: On the phone’s screen, mobile looked great.

The OnePlus 9 has an excellent battery life; actually a little bit better than the 9 Pro, in my opinion. Additionally, our HD video battery loop test took nearly 17 hours to complete. I was easily able to go an entire day without having to charge this phone with typical use, which included some gaming, video watching, and random use of social media and Chrome. Gaming and heavy camera use can drain the battery quickly, but in most cases, you should be able to use it for a full day on a single charge. The 65W charger ensures that the OnePlus 9 can be charged quickly even when power is low.

Cameras on OnePlus 9:

The OnePlus 9’s cameras are significantly better than those of its predecessor, primarily due to improved sensors. Naturally, there is also the Hasselblad partnership as a whole. However, the 9 series benefits primarily from JPEG color tuning. The main 48-megapixel sensor is taken from the OnePlus 8 Pro and features Hasselblad’s color science as an added benefit. However, I find it odd that OnePlus has eliminated optical stabilization. The third camera has a 2-megapixel monochrome sensor and the 50-megapixel ultra-wide camera has the same sensor and lens setup as the 9 Pro. Since the OnePlus 9 does not have a telephoto camera, all magnification is done digitally.

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Landscape photographs taken during the day had excellent color and detail and frequently matched the OnePlus 9 Pro’s quality. In addition, the ultra-wide camera captured excellent detail with minimal edge distortion. However, in contrast to the 9 Pro, when you get close to a subject, the camera app does not automatically activate the ultra-wide camera. Macro mode must be manually enabled.

Close-ups also had good colors and sharpness, but every now and then I noticed that the subject was out of focus or that the area in focus wasn’t exactly where I wanted it. I’m hoping that a software update can resolve this somewhat sporadic occurrence. Landscape shots taken with either of the rear cameras are excellent in low light, but close-up shots require some effort due to the lack of stabilization to account for slight hand shakes. When compared to the 9 Pro, detail and colors are a little weaker.

The OnePlus 9 Pro’s selfie camera is the same one used here, and it’s okay but not great. If you angle the camera just right during the day, you can get some nice selfies, but most of the time, the pictures look pretty average and the quality gets worse in low light.

Software updates improved the cameras on the majority of OnePlus flagships in the past, and the OnePlus 9 has received numerous software updates since its launch. Here’s what I noticed after updating the 9 and 9 Pro to the most recent Oxygen OS at the time of this review. When magnified all the way, the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro continue to aggressively sharpen textures, which results in some fringing along the edges of objects. Despite having the same sensor, the OnePlus 9 produced slightly better landscape shots than the 8 Pro. The OnePlus 9’s close-ups, on the other hand, were still a bit hit-and-miss, with the final image sometimes not matching what was seen in the viewfinder.

The OnePlus 9 occasionally struggles with close-ups, whereas the 9 Pro and 8 Pro do not. The OnePlus 9’s video capabilities are comparable to those of the 9 Pro. It can record 4K at 60 frames per second, not 120 like the 9 Pro, but it can shoot 8K at 30 frames per second. Even low-light footage is clear and relatively free of noise, and daytime video quality is good. However, the video exhibits some jitter due to the electronic stabilization, which is more pronounced at night. In contrast to the 9 Pro, which can automatically activate HDR video based on the scene, the OnePlus 9 cannot capture HDR video.

When shooting 8K video, the OnePlus 9 did give me a warning about overheating, but only after recording three clips in a row (8K videos can only be five minutes long). During the fourth clip, the phone eventually stopped recording; slightly superior to the 9 Pro, which typically halted the second clip midway through.


Since the OnePlus 7 series, every non-Pro OnePlus model has been designed for general consumers, while the Pro model was for people who want everything at reasonable prices. The 9 series’ starting price of Rs. 50,000, it would appear that the premium market is now being targeted by both models. The lower-priced OnePlus 9R, which aims to fill the “value” gap between the OnePlus Nord and the OnePlus 9, is OnePlus’ third model for the Indian market this year. Therefore, should you purchase the OnePlus 9?

The cost isn’t too bad if all you want is the most recent Qualcomm SoC. The Asus ROG Phone 5 and other phones with the Snapdragon 888 SoC start at the same price. The OnePlus 9 has better rear cameras and ergonomics than the OnePlus 8T, which may be worth the extra money for some.

If I had to choose between the OnePlus 8 Pro and the OnePlus 9, I’d pick the 8 Pro for the additional 5,000. The latter has a sharper display, an aluminum body, an optically stabilised main camera, an IP68 rating, and 30W wireless charging, but it is not as slim or light as the 9 and has slightly weaker ultra-wide camera performance in some instances. Additionally, the OnePlus 8 Pro appears and feels much more expensive than the OnePlus 9.

After reviewing the OnePlus 9, I can’t help but feel like I’m back in the same situation I was in when I tested the OnePlus 8. Despite the fact that the OnePlus 8 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G are selling for roughly the same price, it is difficult to recommend the OnePlus 9 as a smartphone in and of itself. Additionally, the OnePlus 9 appears to be in limbo for the time being due to the presence of the OnePlus 9R.

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