OnePlus 9 Review: Here, i’m getting to be sharing our long-term review of the OnePlus 9. While I’ve been busy testing numerous midrange phones that have launched in 2021 thus far , one among our team members who is additionally a OnePlus enthusiast was tasked with using the OnePlus 9 as his daily driver for two months. Okay, let’s get into it.
OnePlus 9 Specifications:
|Body:||74.2 x 160 x 8.7mm, 192 gm, Corning Gorilla Glass 5|
|Display:||6.55-inches Fluid AMOLED, 120Hz Refresh Rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate, 1100 nits, HDR10+, Corning Gorilla Glass 5|
|Resolution:||FHD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels), 20:9 aspect ratio, 402 PPI|
|Chipset:||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G (5nm Mobile Platform)|
|CPU:||Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4×1.80 GHz Kryo 680|
|Memory:||8/12GB LPDDR5 RAM, 128/256GB UFS 3.1 storage (fixed)|
|Software & UI:||Android 11 with OxygenOS 11 on top|
|Front Camera:||16MP f/2.4 Sony IMX471 sensor (punch-hole)|
|Audio:||Dual stereo speakers, Noise cancellation, Dolby Atmos|
|Security:||Optical in-display fingerprint sensor, Face unlock|
|Sensors:||Accelerometer, Electronic Compass, Gyroscope, Ambient Light, Proximity, Sensor Core, Flick-detect|
|Connectivity:||Dual-SIM (Nano), WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (Dual-band), Bluetooth 5.2, GPS / AGPS / Glonass / Galileo / Beidou, USB Type-C, NFC, 4G LTE, 5G|
|Battery:||4500mAh with 65W fast charge (15W wireless charging)|
|Color options:||Winter Mist, Arctic Sky, Astral Black|
|Price in Nepal:||Rs. 104,999 (12/256GB)|
OnePlus 9 Review:
- Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G SoC (5nm)
- 8/12GB LPDDR5 RAM, 128/256GB UFS 3.1 storage (fixed)
- Android 11 with OnePlus’ OxygenOS 11 on top
Okay, let’s start with the performance side of things. needless to say , the corporate has not made any compromises here compared to the costlier OnePlus 9 Pro.
Hence, it delivers nearly as good a smartphone experience as relatively costlier devices. Yet it seems like OnePlus has cheaped out a touch bit in terms of the vibration motor as its haptics isn’t nearly as good because the 9 Pro. Regardless, we are yet to encounter even the slightest hint of stutter during this Snapdragon 888-powered beast—no matter the intensity of the workload.
Plus, it doesn’t heat up the maximum amount because the 9 Pro either. I don’t mean to mention the OnePlus 9 stays cool under every condition but I even have experienced its cooling solution to be slightly simpler than the 9 Pro while playing games or shooting 4K videos and such.
Moving on. like all the opposite phones with this flagship chipset, the OnePlus 9 is in a position to handle even the foremost graphics-intensive titles like Genshin Impact smoothly within the default settings. But, cranking up the settings to 60 fps, the gameplay remains fairly smooth although it introduces few jitters every now then .
However, the larger caveat here is that the phone heats up beyond 42-43ºC surface temperature under this. So, we recommend you persist with the default setting in Genshin Impact for a stable and cozy gaming experience.
During this review, we also played our justifiable share of PUBG Mobile on the OnePlus 9. Here, the phone maintained a stable 40 fps within the highest of settings. And because of the incredibly low touch latency of 240Hz, the gameplay on this phone is further elevated.
However, to differentiate it from the professional model, the corporate has skipped the “Hyper Touch” feature here which will bump the screen’s touch response all the thanks to 360Hz. Such petty compromises from OnePlus became so common within the past few years that I can’t say I’m surprised.
On top of the discounted touch rate , OnePlus has did not bring 90fps gameplay in PUBG Mobile on this year’s flagship phones like on the OnePlus 8 series. As a result, the newer models can only hit a maximum of 60fps in extreme frame rates and HDR graphics.
Plus, as i discussed earlier, the OnePlus 9 does heat up while gaming. a few of recent updates have minimized the difficulty to some extent, but it’s like Snapdragon 888 is that the bigger culprit here.
Gaming aside, normal day-to-day task on this 120Hz refresh rate screen has been an excellent experience. The company’s OxygenOS is basically well implemented and we’ve had no issues concerning sluggishness or stutters while scrolling, multitasking, and therefore the likes here.
The only thing i’m slightly disappointed by is that OnePlus has been pretty slow with monthly updates on its phones since both the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro are still running on May’s security patch while we’re already halfway past June.
In comparison, Samsung has been doing incredibly well during this regard and that i desperately hope OnePlus raises its software update game. Besides this, the corporate has also made other compromises here.
For instance, the Indian variant of the OnePlus 9 only supports two 5G bands at a time when cheaper phones just like the Realme X7 Max bring seven 5G bands. To note, the worldwide variant that we’ve with us supports overflow ten 5G bands. i feel this regional variation is presumably to stay the costs lower in India since the worldwide variant is 20-25% pricier than what OnePlus 9 costs in India.
Design & Build
- 74.2 x 160 x 8.7mm, 192 grams
- Gorilla Glass 5 (front/back), plastic frames
- No IP certification for dust/water protection
And to not forget that it doesn’t have any IP rating either—well, that’s not entirely accurate. The frustratingly exclusive truth here is that the OnePlus 9 buyers within the US who purchase it from T-Mobile are indeed aware about IP68 certification. And no market else.
On top of this, it comes with plastic frames which i feel is yet one more letdown considering comparatively affordable phones like iQOO 7 Legend and therefore the Mi 11X Pro brag metal frames.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the OnePlus 9 features a really impressive ergonomic design. It’s handy and with the flat display, we’ve had no issues regarding accidental or ghost touches here either. Also, it’s quite lightweight too. So unlike other bulkier phones, it’s not a struggle using the OnePlus 9 for a extended duration.
Despite all this, if we had to rate its looks, well i might only provides it a B+. That’s because the phone doesn’t look and desire a premium device. Instead, it’s like all other mid-range phone out there, especially this glossy Arctic Black variant that we’ve . OnePlus seriously could have done such a lot better during this regard!
Older-gen Gorilla Glass 5
Also, just like the 9 Pro, the corporate has gone with the older-generation Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back rather than the Gorilla Glass Victus, which is Corning’s latest and greatest offering. Our unit hasn’t suffered from scratches yet, but i feel they might have a minimum of settled for the Gorilla Glass 6 if not the Victus.
- 6.55-inches FHD+ Fluid AMOLED display
- 120/240Hz refresh/touch sampling rate
- 1100 nits peak brightness, HDR10+
Anyway, we’ve little to complain about the display though. While it doesn’t get as bright as that on the 9 Pro, it’s bright enough under any quite harsh lighting situation.
Do note that this 6.55” AMOLED screen isn’t QHD. Yet, its FHD resolution remains high quality . Plus, with the ever-so-optimized software, we’ve never faced laggy UI transition or jerky interface, which we’ve frequently encountered on Xiaomi or Realme phones. this is often one among the few things great about OnePlus phones!
However, it misses out on the DC dimming feature which was present on the OnePlus 8 series. Regardless, watching videos on this phone has been a pleasant ride. Plus, its stereo speakers are nearly as good as those on the 9 Pro which further adds to the content-consumption experience. They’re loud with really balanced mids and highs.
This AMOLED screen is additionally house to an optical in-display fingerprint sensor which is expectedly fast and accurate. Still, OnePlus could have placed the sensor a touch higher, but over time you’ll get wont to it.
- Triple-camera setup at the back
- (48MP main, 50MP ultrawide, 2MP mono)
- 16MP selfie camera (punch-hole cutout)
Alright, now let’s mention the cameras. I even have already emphasized at length on how OnePlus created unnecessary hype around its partnership with popular camera maker Hasselblad in my review of the OnePlus 9 Pro, so I don’t want to beat a dead horse here.
Anyhow, this phone borrows the 48MP Sony IMX689 primary sensor from the 8 Pro. But the great news is that it gets an equivalent 50MP ultra-wide free morpheme lens just like the 9 Pro and completing the setup is an underwhelming 2MP monochrome sensor. For this review, we compared the cameras of the OnePlus 9 against those on the 9 Pro.
Now, because the OnePlus 9 introduces an equivalent Hasselblad color calibration, compared to its Pro sibling, normal daytime images look almost similar.
In some instances, the OnePlus 9 features a slightly saturated output but most of the time, you’ll have a difficult time remarking the differences. the extent of detail and dynamic range is pretty similar too.
However, since the phone doesn’t have OIS, there are certain instances when it doesn’t behave well as a point-to-shoot camera should. So, if you’re shooting a moving subject, the OnePlus 9 fails to lock focus quickly, thereby leading to blurred artifacts which isn’t the case with the OnePlus 9 Pro.
Likewise, during nighttime, because of the shortage of OIS and a rather inferior sensor, low-light images look muddy and grainy when zoomed in. As evident from these photos, the OnePlus 9 Pro’s normal nighttime shots retain better details and fewer noise.
With the Nightscape mode turned on, details improve significantly though. Still, most of the time, the OnePlus 9 Pro does a far better job.
Ultra-wide nighttime images from both phones have similar performance, be it under normal or Nightscape mode.
The daytime ultra-wide photos also are pretty close.
Plus, its free-form lens helps reduce distortion round the edges here. But a bit like the pictures from the first camera, sometimes, it leans a touch more on the saturated side.
Moving to the portraits, well we’ve liked what OnePlus has done here. the topic focus is sweet and edge detection is good also .
The only difference lies within the skin tone which may be a little yellowish on the 9 Pro and pinkish on the OnePlus 9. no matter the colour tone, both look pretty good in my eyes.
Selfies from both phones end up similar too, courtesy of an equivalent 16MP sensor. this is often us nitpicking but the OnePlus 9 Pro does maintain highlights slightly better.
Still, there’s nothing much distinguishable in most instances. However, there are a couple of occasions when the OnePlus 9 wasn’t ready to manage exposure like during this picture here.
In terms of selfie videos, well, a bit like the 9 Pro, this phone can only shoot 30 or 60 fps videos in 1080p resolution. The footages are stable and their quality is decent also .
But again, with a premium phone like this one, i feel OnePlus should have offered higher resolution options also . Nevertheless, the audio pick-up from the microphone sounds ok for vlogging and such.
At the rear , its video capabilities are almost just like the 9 Pro, apart from a 4k 120 fps option which is absent here. It still features 8k 30 fps mode though and therefore the quality is nearly similar on both phones.
Surprisingly, the 4k 60 fps videos also end in an identical performance, so that’s great. But sometimes, the shortage of OIS is dearly missed in dimly lit or low lighting situations where it falls victim to slight jerks while its Pro sibling manages to deliver relatively stable output.
Overall, i need to say that the OnePlus 9 may be a good camera phone. it’s more or less almost like the expensive OnePlus 9 Pro and is way ahead compared to other Snapdragon 888-powered phones just like the Mi 11X Pro and therefore the iQOO 7 Legend when it involves the cameras.
Still, the matter here is that despite the Hasselblad partnership, aspects like inferior color, shadow processing, and inconsistency across lenses are still prevalent. Even after quite 2 months of the discharge of those phones, OnePlus has did not fix these issues.
- 4500mAh battery with 65W fast charging
So, what did we miss? Hmm, oh yeah, the battery. Under a typical usage with the refresh rate set to 120Hz in the least times and therefore the Ambient display turned on, we managed to squeeze out just 5 hours of screen-on time throughout the review period from the 4500mAh battery of the OnePlus 9. This translates to but a day’s endurance on behalf of me . And that’s strictly average battery life in my books.
One of the explanations for this might even be from the shortage of LTPO backplane technology. You see, unlike the professional variant, the OnePlus 9 can’t dynamically toggle between the screen’s refresh rate between 1 to 120Hz.
What this ultimately means is that the screen is unnecessarily taking over more power even when you’re interacting with static content—compared to how the 9 Pro can dial it down up to only 1Hz for optimum power consumption.
Also, you’ll notice quite significant battery drain with the Ambient display turned on. During our usage, we noticed around 7-10% battery drain overnight. So, if you prioritize battery life more, you ought to consider turning it off.
But since it supports 65 Watt fast charging just like the 9 Pro, the OnePlus 9’s dual 2250mAh cell jumps from 0 to 100% in around half-hour only. However, i used to be quite annoyed to ascertain the phone’s Indian variant losing the wireless charging capability entirely while the worldwide model features a mediocre 15W charging speed. i feel they might have a minimum of offered a 30W wireless charging.
Okay, time to conclude this review of the OnePlus 9. As you might’ve guessed, our verdict on the device is that it’s a reasonably good phone for the worth and that i would probably pick it over the 9 Pro because it’s more value-oriented and that’s what OnePlus is all about.
Having said that, I desire OnePlus has priced it 10-15% quite what feels justifiable. as an example , the phone lacks OIS, a zoom lens , LTPO technology, an IP rating, and it’s plastic frames. So, due to all this, buyers could be tempted to travel with the cheaper alternatives like Mi 11X Pro or the iQOO 7 Legend, which practically offer similar specs because the OnePlus 9.
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