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Review: Did The OnePlus 9 Live Up To Its Hype?

The OnePlus 9 sacrifices a few bells and whistles for a tempting price point

The Hasselblad partnership was the most important facet of OnePlus’ latest series of smartphones, or at least OnePlus made it seem like that. While the partnership, as of now, is only mostly adding to the color science behind images taken on the Series 9 smartphones, it is key to the OnePlus 9 Pro—the phone with an additional telephoto lens. In the OnePlus 9, it isn’t such an important factor. The fact that buyers are willing to sacrifice a telephoto lens for a lower price point should inform how we review the phone. So, when we got the OnePlus 9, we put it through the paces but also kept in mind what the average user would be looking for in the phone. 

To start with, let us talk about the things that have changed compared to the 8T. The 9 does improve on color fidelity, low-light performance, as well as digital zoom. The 48MP main 50MP ultra sensor is reasonably good and the improved color science shows up easily with more vibrant and truer-to-life hues, while both sensors do well even when shooting dimly lit subjects. The 16MP front-facing camera does a great job of shooting sharp and vibrant selfies.  

The camera aside, much of the phone is very similar to last year’s 8T. Even the design is fairly identical, save for the new camera bump. The 6.55-inch Full HD Plus resolution AMOLED display continues to be used but it is just as stellar as last year and gives us no reason to complain. The 120Hz refresh rate also comes in handy and the phone feels fluid to use. Games that can take advantage of the high refresh rate display suddenly seem far more immersive than on some other phones. The biggest hardware change, however, has to be the addition of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor. Performance as you’d expect from a OnePlus smartphone is snappy and all through our testing period, the phone never struggled or stuttered even once. Performance benchmarks have proven that the OnePlus 9 stands up to almost every other Android flagship. Buyers in the US will be disappointed that there is only an option to buy the variant with 8GB LPDDR5 RAM. The lack of expandable storage also might irk some buyers. 

The 4,500mAh battery holds up to demanding usage easily and I struggled to kill the battery in a day. And when it did die, the 65W charging ensured that I barely had to wait for half an hour for it to be charged to 100%. 

Like every year for the past few years, an incredible OnePlus smartphone has turned up like clockwork. In short, there is nothing really to complain about the OnePlus 9. Sure, if you are looking for a smartphone with an exceptional camera, you might be better off looking elsewhere. For almost everyone else, the OnePlus 9 is the perfect combination of performance, features, and price.  

Specs:

BODYDimensions160 x 74.2 x 8.7 mm
Weight192 g
BuildGlass front (Gorilla Glass 5), glass back (Gorilla Glass 5), plastic frame
DISPLAYTypeFluid AMOLED, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1100 nits (peak)
Size6.55 inches, 103.6 cm2 (~87.6% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~402 ppi density)
PLATFORMOSAndroid 11, OxygenOS 11.2.5.5
ChipsetQualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 5G (5 nm)
CPUOcta-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4×1.80 GHz Kryo 680
GPUAdreno 660
MEMORY
Internal128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 12GB RAM
 UFS 3.1
MAIN CAMERATriple48 MP, f/1.8, 23mm (wide), 1/1.43″, 1.12µm, omnidirectional PDAF
50 MP, f/2.2, 14mm (ultrawide), 1/1.56″, 1.0µm
2 MP, f/2.4, (monochrome)
SELFIE CAMERASingle16 MP, f/2.4, (wide), 1/3.06″, 1.0µm
BATTERYTypeLi-Po 4500 mAh, non-removable
ChargingFast charging 65W, 1-100% in 29 min
Fast wireless charging 15W
Price$729
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