OnePlus 9 review: the best € 700 smartphone you can buy
I’ve been testing the OnePlus 9 smartphone for a month and there are several reasons why it might be a better buy than the OnePlus 9 Pro.
It costs the same price as OnePlus 8 at launch, sold € 200 less than the Pro model. Still, it comes with many of the same features.
Both phones are fast, super-fast charging Android devices with jaw-dropping screens.
The company has built its reputation by offering high-end specs at much more affordable prices, and OnePlus 9 continues this trend.
Spoiler alert: there is no more powerful phone for 700 €. (Or € 719 to be precise.)
Design and build
I love big-screen phones, but this 6.55-inch slim handset is quite light and narrow and therefore easy to hold.
It looks, builds, and feels similar to the OnePlus 8T and OnePlus 8, but the 9’s side frame is plastic, not metal.
It has a glass back and therefore supports wireless charging.
OnePlus 9 is available in a stunning Winter Mist color with the attractive Arctic Sky and more traditional Astral Black.
On the front is a subtly curved Gorilla Glass 5 display with minimal top and bottom bezels and a perforated cutout in the upper left corner for the selfie camera.
A screen protector is preinstalled.
Underneath the display is a reliable and fast fingerprint sensor. (You also get a quick face unlock.)
The famous alert slider, one of the best features of OnePlus phones, remains present and correct.
Only Apple’s iPhone also includes this rapid change.
The haptic engine is excellent, improving the typing and typing experience.
Like its predecessor, the 9 Pro is rated IP68 for its resistance to water and dust.
The OnePlus 9’s 6.55-inch OLED display is only FHD +, but you won’t miss the QHD resolution of the Pro model, as the 9 sports the most dazzling FHD + display on a smartphone.
Watching HDR video content on it is a breathtaking experience.
The colors are rich and punchy, the blacks are deep, everything looks vibrant and dazzling. The viewing angles are excellent. The ultra-wide 20: 9 aspect ratio is immersive.
If you switch to natural display mode, the screen still has an incredibly wide color gamut, but the colors are smoother and a bit more accurate.
It has a 120Hz refresh rate which isn’t adaptive like the Pro, but I didn’t notice any negative impact on battery life that this omission might suggest.
OnePlus 9 can hit 1,100 nits of peak brightness and manages an average of around 800 nits, making it one of the brightest displays on the market.
Ultra-fast charging / battery life
In my experience, OnePlus 9 offers better battery endurance than 9 Pro.
It uses the same size of 4500mAh battery and it comes with the revolutionary 65W wired charger that gets you fully refueled in 33 minutes.
And it supports wireless charging, but only up to 15W and not 50W like the Pro.
Being able to fully charge your phone in half an hour is a game-changer.
One of the main selling points of OnePlus phones is this top-notch charging.
The main reason I think OnePlus 9 might be the more informed choice than 9 Pro (who is examined here) for many fans of the brand, is that they will get the exact same smooth, lightning-fast and smooth OnePlus user experience on OnePlus 9 as on the Pro model.
Benchmarking tests rate the two handsets as powerful and fast as Rog Phone 5 and in my daily use both OnePlus devices easily get through multitasking and heavy gaming.
In everyday use in the real world: Apps are ultra-responsive, multitasking is a dream, and heavy play is a snap.
Apple iPhone 12 remains the fastest phone on the market thanks to its A14 Bionic chipset, but the OnePlus 9 series is the current king of the androids in terms of performance and speed.
OnePlus 9 uses the latest super-fast Snapdragon 888 processor and comes with 8GB or 12GB of the latest LPDDR5 RAM and 128GB or 256GB storage options.
It runs the company’s famous Oxygen OS 11, which sits on top of the latest Android 11 platform. And it’s 5G compatible.
Oxygen OS is like a cross between Samsung’s One UI and pure Android.
It’s my favorite Android operating system thanks to its fluidity and fluidity, along with features like an always-on display and the range of unique customization options.
OxygenOS includes Game Mode, which automatically optimizes CPU, GPU, and RAM, and Game Mode Pro, which limits the use of background apps and turns off notifications and phone calls during gaming sessions.
The 9 and 9 Pro feature the same incredible 50MP ultra-wide-angle camera that OPPO’s Find X3 Pro has.
It delivers sharp images of the highest quality thanks to a high-end Sony imaging sensor.
It is one of the best ultra wide angle lenses on any smartphone. It also takes great macro photos.
The new OnePlus machines also share the same 16MP selfie camera and the same 2MP monochrome sensor.
The latter works with the main camera to give you more detailed images if you’re shooting in black and white, but it’s not something I’ll ever use. A zoom lens on the 9 would have made more sense.
The 16MP selfie shooter performs poorly in low light, although you will get good results from it in decent lighting conditions.
The biggest difference between the two OnePlus phones is the main 48MP wide-angle camera on OnePlus 9.
This is a modified version of the Sony IMX689 1 / 1.43in large sensor that supports 12-bit RAW capture, native dual ISO, and 3HDR.
It uses 4-in-1 pixel binning to deliver 12MP resolution images in automatic mode.
The company said the camera system offers faster focus speeds and 64 times more color information compared to traditional 10-bit sensors.
But beware, the cameras do not have optical image stabilization.
It’s not uncommon, but it does mean you’ll need a steady hand in some low-light conditions when using the primary wide-angle lens. This is less of a problem with the ultra wide angle lens.
One cool feature is tilt-shift, which lets you keep the center strip of a scene in focus and blur the rest.
The camera system includes new Hasselblad Camera for Mobile technology such as Hasselblad Pro mode and improved, more natural color accuracy.
Hasselblad also contributes to the excellent Pro mode in the camera app. It offers options for white balance, ISO, shutter speed, etc. But note that Pro mode only works on the main wide angle shooter.
There’s an orange Hasselblad-style shutter release button that makes that company’s camera shutter sound when you press it. I love this feature.
Video quality on the rear cameras is excellent, whether capturing 8K, 4K images at up to 120 frames per second, or Full HD.
But the video on the selfie camera can only be shot in Full HD, at 30fps or 60fps, which might annoy vloggers.
The ultra-wide camera can shoot time-lapse videos, for that matter, and there’s a low-light video option called Nightscape Video 2.0.
But there is no pro mode for video.
OnePlus still lacks the intelligence of computer photography from Apple, Google, Huawei, and Samsung. And consistency on the main wide-angle lens is an issue.
This doesn’t mean that OnePlus 9 can’t take great photos like it certainly can.
Overall, I found little difference between the test images I captured on the 9 and 9 Pro.
And that’s another key reason why I think the 9 is a better buy than the 9 Pro.
Other features worth mentioning include loud and clear Dolby Atmos sound from stereo speakers and support for higher quality audio codecs like aptX HD and LDAC.
The device is also certified to handle bit rates up to 24 bits / 96 kHz.
There is no expandable storage, so I would advise you to go for the 256GB storage option if you are shooting a lot of videos or taking a lot of photos.
As with all OnePlus phones, the best feature is the price.
The 256GB / 12GB OnePlus 9 will set you back $ 320 less than the equivalent spec Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus which only has 8GB of RAM and not 12GB.
It also costs $ 280 less than the comparable Apple iPhone 12.
OnePlus 9 continues the large series of smartphones equipped with the company’s flagship technologies that cost considerably less than devices from major Android competitors.
OnePlus 9 costs € 819 (256GB storage / 12GB RAM) or € 719.00 (128GB storage / 8GB RAM) from Oneplus.
Dimensions: 160 mm x 74 mm x 8 mm
Colors: astral black, arctic sky, winter mist
Operating system: Android 11 / OxygenOS 11
Display: 6.55 inch, FHD +, 2400 x 1080 resolution, 20: 9 aspect ratio, 402ppi
Refresh rate: 120Hz
RAM: 12 GB / 8 GB
Storage: 256 GB / 128 GB
Rear cameras: 48MP wide angle: Sony IMX689, 1 / 43in (sensor size), f / 1.8, 23mm equivalent; 50 MP ultra wide angle: Sony IMX766, 1 / 1.56 inch (sensor size), free-form lens, f / 2.2 aperture, 14mm equivalent; Monochrome 2MP
Front camera: 16MP, f / 2.4, 1.0μm (pixel size)
Video: up to 8K at 30 fps on rear cameras
Battery: 4500 mAh
Charging: 65W wired (charger included), 15W wireless