OnePlus 9 Pro review

GSMArena Team, 23 March 2021.

Introduction

OnePlus continues to find its place in the smartphone industry with the OnePlus 9 duo. The 9 and 9 Pro establishes OnePlus with a new partnership in the camera space - every major Chinese OEM has one, after all. With the new smartphones bearing the "Hasselblad" name, does the OnePlus flagship finally have a camera experience free of compromises? OnePlus uses the tagline "Your best shot" so we are setting our expectations high for the cameras' performance.

OnePlus has entered into a three-year cooperation agreement with Hasselblad and the first phones to benefit from that are the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro. For these phones, Hasselblad and OnePlus collaborated on calibrating the contrast and color processing with a view of tuning them to Hasselblad's distinct style.

OnePlus 9 OnePlus 9 Pro
OnePlus 9 • OnePlus 9 Pro

In this review, we'll focus on the larger of the two phones. The OnePlus 9 Pro's overall look does not deviate far from its predecessors, but it does dial back on a couple of design elements that help to improve the phone's ergonomics. The centered linear arrangement of cameras is no more, and the 9 Pro now has a more conventional camera placement in a rectangular setup.

OnePlus 9 Pro reviewOnePlus 9 Pro next to OnePlus 9

The display on the 9 Pro uses a new display technology that OnePlus promises should reduce the power consumption of the panel by up to 50 percent. The savings is credited to a new LTPO backplane in the AMOLED panel. This enables the new 'Smart 120Hz' feature that variably adjusts the refresh rate all the way down to 1Hz if it needs to.

Debuting with the OnePlus 8T last year, the 9 Pro now sports the same dual-cell battery system compatible with an included 65W charger, capable of fully replenishing the 9 Pro's battery in just about a half-hour but with improved charging software and lower internal battery resistance, they've been able to provide even faster initial charging from flat. OnePlus is also debuting a faster Warp Wireless charger with the 9 Pro that outputs 50W and we'll be giving that a test as well.

OnePlus 9 Pro specs:

  • Body: aluminum frame and glass construction, 3D Gorilla Glass back and dual-curved display edges, Gorilla Glass 5 front and back.
  • Display: 6.7" Fluid Display 2.0 (LTPO AMOLED), 10-bit color, 120Hz, HDR10+, MEMC, Automatic color temperature setting, 1,300 nits (peak), 1440x3216px resolution (20.1:9).
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 (5 nm): Octa-core (1x2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3x2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4x1.80 GHz Kryo 680); Adreno 660.
  • Memory: 8GB or 12GB LPDDR5 + 128GB or 256GB UFS 3.1 storage (non-expandable).
  • OS/Software: OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11.
  • Rear cameras: Wide (main): Sony IMX789 48 MP, 1/1.43", f/1.8, 23mm, 1.12 µm Multi Autofocus (PDAF+LAF+CAF), OIS + EIS; Ultra wide angle/macro: Sony IMX766 50MP, 1/1.56", f/2.4, 14mm, Freeform lens; Telephoto: 8MP, 3.3x zoom, 1.0µm pixels, f/2.4, 77mm equiv; Monochrome: 2MP.
  • Front camera: Sony IMX471 16MP, f/2,4, 1.0 µm pixel size, fixed focus, EIS.
  • Video capture: 8K @ 30fps, 4K @ 30/60/120fps, Super Slow Motion 720p @ 480fps, 1080p @ 240fps, 4K time-lapse, DOL-HDR.
  • Battery and charging: 4,500 mAh dual-cell battery, Warp Charge 65T, Warp Charge 50 Wireless, Reverse wireless charging @ 5W.
  • Misc: In-display optical fingerprint scanner; front RGB sensor (for automatic tone adjustment), alert slider.

Apart from the screen size and resolution, the main difference between the 9 and 9 Pro's camera systems is the addition of a dedicated telephoto camera on the OnePlus 9 Pro. The main camera gets an updated IMX789 Sony sensor which still supports omnidirectional Phade Detection auto focus and dual native ISO, and the ultra-wide now gets a 50MP sensor and a new type of lens to reduce lens distortion.

Video recording has been beefed up to support 8K video at 30 frames, and 4K video at 120 fps. There's also a new Nightscape Video 2.0 which promises better low-light video so we're looking at all-around improvements to the camera system on the 9 Pro.

OnePlus 9 Pro review

We're excited to see how much the image quality has improved on the camera trio (main, tele, wide) of the 9 Pro with this new Hasselblad partnership. We'll also be looking to see how much battery life will improve despite having the same 4,500 mAh capacity as its predecessor. The lower-power display and Snapdragon 888 with integrated Qualcomm X60 modem should help in this regard.

Tag along as we look over the ins and outs of OnePlus' new flagship device. If you're looking to upgrade from an older OnePlus device, we'll give you the scoop on whether the 9 Pro is improved in all the right places or if it's more like a scoop of ice cream you've already tasted before.

Unboxing

The media package that we received from OnePlus included both the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro, along with one protective case for each, and the Warp Charge 50 Wireless Charger. This time around, some may be happy to learn that the new Wireless charging dock does come with a removable connector and supports any 50W USB-C PD charger.

OnePlus 9 Pro review

The OnePlus packaging has become a standard fare and the 9 Pro is no exception. Inside the now familiar red box is the phone at the top layer, followed by some paperwork, a silicone case in some markets, the 65W Warp Charge power adapter, and the usual red Type-C to Type-C USB 2.0 cable.

The silicone case this year has been switched to an opaque design. It's not clear yet why OnePlus chooses to omit this accessory in some markets and decides to leave it in elsewhere. There will be aftermarket cases, obviously, along with some first-party options from OnePlus.

OnePlus 9 Pro review

Two things that we can always count on OnePlus smartphones to come with are a set of OnePlus stickers, and a letter from the company's founder Pete Lau that encourages customers to participate in the OnePlus community forums. A SIM tool is attached to this letter.

As usual, there are no audio accessories inside the package. Not even an audio adapter.

Reader comments

DX tested the camera before the last update so...

  • Anonymous

Any chance for long term review to touch on the camera and "performance" fix?

  • R.

Well said. Makes sense. Stick with your apple