While browsing through old things before moving to a new home this week, I came across the original OnePlus One box. Seven years have passed since the phone was launched and in those years OnePlus has changed a lot.
What was once a single phone brand is now more like Apple with multiple phones throughout the year. That’s essentially not a bad thing, and it shows how the brand has become secure enough to enter other product categories and segments. And this means that the “flagship killer” now has multiple flagships in its industry, trying to take on other flagships in different price segments.
The new OnePlus 9 Pro clearly aims at the top of the competition with features that hope to satisfy the needs of the most demanding user.
OnePlus 9 Pro price in India: Rs 64,999 for 8GB / 128GB | Rs 69,999 for 12GB / 256GB
OnePlus 9 Pro Specifications: 6.7-inch AMOLED display with 1440 x 3216p at 525 ppi and 120 Hz smart refresh rate | Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 with 8/128 GB and 12/256 GB options | 48MP + 50MP ultra wide angle main camera + 8MP telephoto and 2MP monochrome + 16MP front camera | 8K video recording at 30 fps | 4500 mAh battery with Warp Charge 65T (10V / 6.5A) Warp Charge 50 Wireless | OxygenOS based on Android 11 | 197g
OnePlus 9 Pro: What’s good?
The OnePlus 9 Pro looks like a OnePlus phone right out of the box. The design language hasn’t changed at all, despite the prominent new four-camera block. That’s a statement on its own, accented by the Hasselblad branding underneath it. The review unit we got came in the Morning Mist color, which is very interesting, almost a metallic finish that gives it a hazy look to one side of the phone. Yes, the phone has a design that will make it stand out.
Actually, I couldn’t help but think that the Morning Mist metallic finish is slowly entering Samsung territory with its ultra-luxurious looks. But this is a OnePlus phone all the way with the single notification toggle still taking pride of place on the side.
OnePlus has done a lot of work on the OnePlus 9 series display. The OnePlus 9 Pro offers a lot in terms of display. This is a phone that can adjust its refresh rate from 1Hz to 120Hz depending on what you are doing. This is also a practical thing, considering you barely need 120Hz all the time and a 1Hz will do the trick if you’re looking at something static. The phone performs very well in bright environments and even under this year’s exceptionally sunny March sky, I was able to drive with only half the brightness.
There is more on this screen. OnePlus has added a Hyper Touch to offer a much faster response time to gamers. And to accompany the impressive display is loud, crisp audio, good enough for enjoying movies and playing games.
Thanks to Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 888 5G, the processing power is the best you can get on Android phones. The phone is clearly capable of handling it all. I did notice a bit of warming after about 30 seconds of 8K recording, but that’s understandable. For high-end games, where it will use a 120Hz refresh rate and push the CPU and GPU to their limits, OnePlus has added the CoolPlay feature that keeps device temperatures low. So all my efforts to get the car back on the road in a fairly long and very unsuccessful Hashiriya session didn’t have much of an impact on the phone.
But the selling point of the OnePlus 9 Pro for me is clearly the Hasselblad camera. Now OnePlus is using only Hasselblad’s software knowledge to improve what has always been a decent camera. For me, the biggest impact of this unison is how OnePlus is no longer an Android camera with Hasselblad’s improved color reproduction. The results are now more natural, more like those of an iPhone.
View full unedited camera samples on Flickr by clicking the image below
I have not been able to say this for any other Android camera before, where the colors have always appeared and looked better than in real life. Plus, the mono lens is to die for and gives photographers a great tool to express themselves, without the distraction of color. This is also the sharpest ultra-wide camera I have used with a 50MP sensor and therefore lacks the noise you are normally used to with these cameras. The macro camera works as advertised.
One more reason this phone will excite many camera enthusiasts is its video capabilities. This camera can do 4K at 120fps and 8K at 30fps. Along with the best still camera, the OnePlus 9 Pro now stands out as an option for those looking to get more out of the phone’s camera, even using it for professional needs. But there are some caveats here.
Then there is wireless charging. I remember asking OnePlus founder Pete Lau a couple of years ago about wireless charging. He told me there will come a time when it will be as fast as cable charging, not as slow as then. And true to its word, the Warp Charge 50 wireless charger, which can be purchased for the OnePlus 9 series, charges the 4500 mAh battery of the OnePlus 9 Pro in about 45 minutes. This could end the wireless charging problem once and for all.
OnePlus 9 Pro: What’s not so great?
As has been the case with flagships of late, the OnePlus 9 Pro bets on the legacy of the company’s previous devices. So this phone doesn’t really hit anything out of the ballpark when it comes to features. Everything is great, nothing impressive.
The camera is the best feature of this phone, but it does have some rough edges. For example, lenses jump from one to another, especially when you click on a subject up close. Then in the video there is no zoom available when you use 4K at 120fps and 8K at 30fps, which is a bit strange.
But that’s about it when it comes to problems that I was able to spot in the first week of use.
OnePlus 9 Pro: Should You Buy It?
I highly recommend this phone for those with older versions of OnePlus smartphones prior to 2020. These users will notice a huge leap in experience and features, especially with the camera and display. This is also a good option for those who are looking for a high-end Android phone, but don’t really want to spend that much. Also, those who use a phone for serious photography and video work may see this as a good option that offers natural results. Then players have a new phone that does other things very well too.
Overall, the OnePlus 9 Pro has a lot to offer. This is one of the best Android flagships right now and quite frankly there isn’t much to choose from in the price range the OnePlus 9 Pro sits in.