OnePlus 9: Here’s a look at the new OnePlus 9 in real life. We will let you decide if it is worth your money.
Is the OnePlus 9 worth it? Is it worth paying that much for a smartphone? All of these questions are answered in our review.
OnePlus phones have, to date been among the most performant in their price range due to top-class storage and RAM modules.
The camera experience is where they have fallen short. This is what the company hopes to rectify with a three-year partnership with Swedish camera manufacturer Hasselblad.
The partnership will start with the OnePlus 9 series. The OnePlus 9 offers a wide range of premium features, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC and a 120Hz refresh rate LCD, a Hasselblad-tuned camera unit, and many premium features.
It has also missed out on a few premium features, such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC, a 120Hz refresh rate display, and a Hasselblad tuned camera unit.
Is it worth paying that much for a smartphone? We’ll get into all that in our review. But let’s start with what’s new.
OnePlus 9 Review: What’s new? Is it worth it?
This is the first OnePlus flagship smartphone to feature a plastic frame rather than an aluminum one.
The latter is much stronger. The company could have decided to switch to plastic because plastic is lighter than metal.
But, I prefer a heavier phone with more security and peace of mind than a lighter one that is less reliable.
Instead of partnering with a film franchise or a car manufacturer, this time the company decided to partner with Hasselblad to improve its camera performance.
The camera’s performance is still disappointing to me. The company needs to improve its image processing software.
Both the image sensors and lenses are top-quality. This issue can be fixed by the company with an OTA upgrade at a later time.
OnePlus 9 Review: Design and build quality
In terms of appearance, the OnePlus 9 is not a standout amongst the rest; it has a simple look. The only thing that makes the OnePlus 9 stand out is the Hasselblad branding found on the Samsung-esque camera module.
Although the back panel is made of 3D Corning Gorilla Glass it feels very brittle and will break easily if dropped. I believe the plastic frame will not be of any help as it will also sustain visible damage.
The display is very similar from the front to the OnePlus 8T. A curved display like the 9 Pro would be a better choice. It makes the phone feel more premium and the viewing experience is a lot more seamless.
Although the device is easy to hold, it does not feel secure when being used. Although the back panel feels fragile, it has a rough paint job that looks almost like a brushstroke.
A small disappointment is a fact that the device doesn’t yet have an official IP rating. All other design elements, except for the plastic frame and camera module, remain the same as the OnePlus 8T.
Display Review of OnePlus 9: OnePlus 9
The OnePlus 9 display features the same specs as the OnePlus 8T. The company could have cut development costs and used the same display to save money, but decided not to fix what was not broken.
The OnePlus 9 has a 6.55-inch HD+ display measuring 2400×1080 pixels with a brightness of 1,100 nits. This display is also certified HDR10+.
This means that the display automatically boosts brightness and saturation when viewing compatible content.
Even while playing games or browsing the UI, the display looks great with vibrant colors and excellent viewing angles.
The brightness levels are perfect, with the display easily legible in direct sunlight and dimming enough to not cause eye strain even in total darkness. You can calibrate your phone with many options.
The 120Hz refresh rate makes it feel smoother. The 120Hz refresh rate makes gaming much easier as the graphics appear fluid and crisper to the eye.
The device has a variable refresh rate which is both a plus and a drawback. The display’s ability to lower the refresh rate saves the battery.
The internals would be damaged if the refresh rate was kept constant at 120Hz. The downside is that UI navigation can sometimes feel choppy because the display’s refresh rate has been decreased.
Keep in mind that some apps make the hole punch cutout too small. This can cause problems with the viewing experience.
For a more coherent viewing experience, I’d love to see OnePlus take a step back from the 7 Pro series and return the pop-up camera module.
OnePlus 9 Review: Performance
The best OnePlus phones are known for their performance, and the OnePlus 9 is no exception. This device is not comparable to the powerful Asus ROG Phone 5 which has up to 18GB RAM.
The device performed flawlessly in daily use. I didn’t notice any slowdowns or stuttering. It was capable of handling anything I put in front of it. None of the apps I use every day felt slow or loss of memory during my usage.
With the Game Space, the device will provide stable framerates for long gaming sessions. The device will warm up quickly during long gaming sessions.
If you continue to use the device, it will heat up even more, and eventually, you will need to leave it alone to cool off.
To take my usage to the next level, I played several games on the device, including Call of Duty: Mobile and Garena Free Fire.
Asphalt 9: Legends were also available. I didn’t experience any frame drops or lags during extended gameplay.
Although the vibration feedback was plentiful, it was not unusual. It was capable of handling all kinds of games. Even after hours of intense gaming, there was not a single frame drop.
For heavy usage testing, I opened 40 tabs in Chrome. I switched between them and the phone responded quickly with no lag. During this process, none of my tabs were lost.
It was even more impressive when I did the multi-app test. I tried 23 different apps, switched between them, and then switched between 40 tabs on three browsers. The device handled this task well without killing any tabs or apps.
The device will perform well in everyday use. It will also handle daily tasks without any issues, even if you play resource-intensive games or don’t want to lose any apps.
Due to software bugs, I had to format my device three times during testing. This could be due to the fact that our review unit ran pre-production software.
Software review of OnePlus 9: OnePlus 9
OxygenOS was a favorite Android skin for a while, but OxygenOS 11 has replaced the stock-looking skin.
The skin seems to have been inspired by Samsung’s One UI. This is robust skin. I’m now less impressed with OxygenOS.
The new skin was launched alongside the OnePlus 8T last year. The UI has not changed much since then. Dark Mode still works well with the new Always On Display. The skin is just as peppy as ever.
For most users, OxygenOS 11 can be a simple and straightforward interface. The skin will be easy to use.
Security review of OnePlus 9
The device has an in-display fingerprint scanner and faces recognition for security. Both work well.
The in-display fingerprint sensor works well and faces recognition is equally quick. The front camera is used to activate the feature. This is less secure than fingerprint authentication.
Cameras: OnePlus 9 Review
OnePlus has not been a strong performer in the field of cameras. The company hopes to change that with the new 9 series.
It has a three-year partnership, Hasselblad, with the Swedish camera brand Hasselblad. Hasselblad isn’t the first company to partner with a smartphone brand. In fact, it previously partnered with Motorola for a zoom camera mod that was compatible with its semi-modular Moto Z smartphone.
The OnePlus 9 features a Sony IMX689 48 megapixel primary sensor, with a 7P lens on the top and EIS. The secondary ultra-wide angle sensor, a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 sensor with a 7P lens is also available.
The device also features a 2-megapixel monochrome camera with multi-autofocus. It also features the 16-megapixel Sony IMX471 sensor that was used in the OnePlus 8T.
I was not impressed with the camera’s performance, despite all the specs. The images were not as good as a flagship smartphone.
Bright light images taken with the primary camera produced pictures that were punchy and saturated.
The camera wasn’t able to capture the colors properly. It turned orange to yellow, dull to bright red, and many other colors. Some photos were too saturated, making them unusable.
The phone was able to capture some good shots, with lots of trial and error. A normal user won’t put in the effort to capture just one shot.
The camera over-brightened the background artificially lightened the skin tone and smoothened the skin while it was photographing a person. The photos looked fake and as though someone had done extensive editing.
Monochrome photography isn’t recommended unless you are a black-and-white photographer.
The device had a difficult time focusing on objects close up, making it impossible to take good photos.
These shots were difficult to use because they lost all the details and had lots of blurring. The images were too blurry with the 10x zoom mode.
The wide-angle camera wasn’t a great choice. The image colors were too saturated and the images had a lot of blurring and grain.
The Pro mode, which includes customizations by Hasselblad was also not up to par. It left much to be desired. The clicked images were very similar to those clicked in normal mode. Custom controls were also of little use.
The low light performance of this device meant that the images clicked were blurred and grainy. These images also had oversaturated colors, artificial brightness, and blurred subjects.
Although Nightscape mode helped reduce the grain of the images, the results were very similar.
Although daylight selfies are acceptable, the algorithm of the device artificially brightened and smoothened the subject. It was almost as if the beauty mode was being turned on even though it was turned to zero.
The primary camera’s colors were also oversaturated. Low-light selfies did not fare as well with grain added to the images.
Overall, I think the Hasselblad partnership has done nothing to improve camera performance. OnePlus could also do this. However, OTA updates could make all this better.
The camera performance isn’t great at the moment, so if you are looking for a OnePlus 9, I recommend you check out other options in the same price range.
Battery review of OnePlus 9
The OnePlus 9 has a 4,500mAh battery. It is similar to the OnePlus 8. The phone’s battery life was good.
It lasted me for around a day and a half with moderate usage, including browsing social media apps, making calls, sending texts, and watching a few shows.
The device lasted me around 12 hours with heavy use, including extended gaming and watching Netflix movies.
It is easy to charge the device, and it will go from 0 percent up to full capacity in just an hour after plugging it in.
Wireless charging is still not available on the phone, even though it has had Pro versions since last year.
Another problem was having a wireless charging infrastructure in my home that I couldn’t charge my phone via. Wireless charging is not yet mainstream in the country so it may not be a problem for everyone.
Verdict: OnePlus 9 Review
Overall, the OnePlus 9 was not my favorite phone. There are some pros to the OnePlus 9, such as a great display and performance.
The cons, such as the poor build quality and sub-par camera performance, outweigh the benefits of this device.
You should consider other options, such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 and Apple iPhone 11.
Also Read: Oneplus Nord CE 5G Review