OnePlus 9 review: Power reloaded!

OnePlus 9
Rating:

OnePlus 9 features a high-end processor, a lot of memory, an excellent display, and very fast charging times. As you can imagine, performance is the name of the game for this smartphone. Even more so, this is one of the first devices made by OnePlus in collaboration with Hasselblad, one of the most renowned camera manufacturers of the world, coming from the nordic lands of Sweden. Do you want to know more about what you get from the OnePlus 9 and whether it’s a good buy? Read our review and find out:

OnePlus 9: Who is it good for?

OnePlus 9 is an excellent fit for:

  • People who want a very powerful Android smartphone
  • Those who want a phone that charges its battery extremely quickly
  • People who prefer real-life color calibration in their photos
  • Fans of the OnePlus brand

Pros and cons

There are many good things to say about the OnePlus 9:

See price on:

  • Powerful hardware and first-class performance
  • Fluid AMOLED display, with a 120Hz refresh rate
  • Excellent cameras and accurate colors
  • IP68 rating for dust and water resistance
  • Battery life is great
  • Very fast charging, including wirelessly

Here’s what you might not like about the OnePlus 9:

  • It doesn’t have an optical zoom camera
  • No headset included in the box
  • You can’t add a memory card to increase the storage space
Product rating 5/5

Verdict

OnePlus 9 is an excellent Android smartphone, and there are many things we like about it. After seeing its first-grade results in benchmarks and using it daily for a week, we feel that the OnePlus 9 is a good choice for people who want a powerful Android smartphone. It’s a good buy if you need a phone for work-related tasks, browsing the web, and social networks, and it’s an excellent smartphone if you love playing mobile games. There’s nothing that can make it lag or feel slow or unresponsive. It’s also a good smartphone if you’re a casual photographer who likes accurate representations of real-life, and you don’t care about zooming. On the other hand, if you’re more into vivid and punchy colors and you also want a telephoto camera, you should probably test the OnePlus 9 before you buy it.

Unboxing the OnePlus 9

OnePlus 9 is a premium, high-end Android smartphone, and its packaging is a statement for that. You get it in a large and long rectangular box, painted all red, featuring its name in the middle and the “Co-developed with Hasselblad” message at the bottom.

The packaging used for OnePlus 9

Inside the box, you find the OnePlus 9 smartphone, a Warp Charge 65 power adapter, a Warp Charge USB Type-C to Type-C cable, the quick start guide, some safety and warranty documents, a welcome letter, and a SIM tray eject pin. No headset though, even though OnePlus 9 is a flagship device.

OnePlus 9: What's inside the box

The OnePlus 9 is a premium device, with impressive packaging, that is very satisfying to unbox. Unfortunately, it doesn’t bundle a headset, and some users are going to be disappointed by this.

Design and build quality

The OnePlus 9 is a large smartphone, just like most high-end smartphones are these days. Its display measures 6.55 inches diagonally from corner to corner, and the whole phone measures 160mm (6.3 inches) in height, 74.2mm (2.92 inches) in width, and 8.7mm (0.34 inches) in thickness. If you’re accustomed to regular mid-range phones, the OnePlus 9 might also surprise you with its weight. At 192 grams (6.77oz), this smartphone is heavier than the average.

OnePlus 9 is available in three color variations: Astral Black, Arctic Sky, and Winter Mist. You see what each version looks like in the image below.

OnePlus 9: Color options

The sample that we tested was the latter: Winter Mist. It looks fancy and classy, but the Gorilla Glass back is a magnet for fingerprints, and it’s also very slippery.

The front of the OnePlus 9 is all about the screen: it goes from side to side, top to bottom, to cover almost the entire body. The bezels are very slim, and the selfie camera is inside a small punch hole, on the top-left side of the screen.

The screen uses Corning Gorilla Glass 5

The back of the OnePlus 9 is plain and simple, holding only the triple-camera system and the company’s logo. The cameras and the flash are slightly protruding and confined in a rectangular area where you also see that OnePlus worked with Hasselblad to make this smartphone.

The back of the OnePlus 9

The USB 3.1 Type-C port, together with the SIM tray, a speaker, and a microphone, are found on the bottom edge of the OnePlus 9. The secondary microphone and the ear speaker are positioned on the top edge.

The bottom edge of the OnePlus 9

You’ll find the volume rocker on the left of the phone. They’re slightly protruding out, so it should be easy to find and identify what’s what, even if you’re not looking at the phone.

The volume rocker of the OnePlus 9

On the right edge, there’s the power button and a physical alert slider that you can use to control how you receive notifications. The latter is something us and many other people appreciate having on their smartphones. It’s not a common button to have on modern-day smartphones, unless you own an OnePlus device or an iPhone. All the physical buttons are easy to reach and press, if you have average or long fingers. If your hands are small, then this smartphone is most likely too big to use comfortably.

The power switch and the alert slider on the OnePlus 9

Like any high-end smartphone, OnePlus 9 also holds an IP68 rating. IP means Ingress Protection and categorizes electronic devices by how well protected they are against dust, water, and other damages. The digit 6 from the IP68 grade held by the OnePlus 9 means complete protection against dust, while 8 tells us that it can survive unharmed in water as deep as 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes.

OnePlus 9 looks beautiful and robust. We like the available colors and appreciate its IP68 dust and water resistance rating. Although the design of the smartphone doesn’t have anything spectacular, it’s very well done. Furthermore, the tried-and-tested body shape and the positioning of its buttons should make it easy for anyone to adjust to using the OnePlus 9.

Hardware specifications

OnePlus 9 is the second-best smartphone from OnePlus’ current Android lineup, after the OnePlus 9 Pro. Before we go into details, the TLDR version is that the OnePlus 9 is one of the most powerful smartphones you can get right now.

It features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 system on a chip which is the best and fastest mobile SoC of 2021, at least up until now. It comes with eight Kryo 680 cores: one running at 2.84 GHz, three at 2.42 GHz, and four at 1.80 GHz.

The graphics chip used by this, the Snapdragon 888 is a high-end Adreno 660 that supports OpenCL 2.0 FP, Vulkan 1.1, OpenGL ES 3.2, and DirectX12.

OnePlus 9: CPU details

In terms of storage, the OnePlus 9 is available in two configurations: 128GB storage space and 8GB RAM, and 256GB storage and 12GB RAM. Both versions use UFS 3.1 (Universal Flash Storage 3.1), which means that the flash storage is really fast. You can think of UFS as solid-state drives for smartphones.

The camera system on the OnePlus 9 is top-notch also. The main triple-camera system uses one 48 MP camera (f/1.8 aperture, 23mm - wide, omnidirectional PDAF), one 50 MP camera (f/2.2 aperture, 14mm - ultrawide), and one 2 MP camera (f/2.4 aperture, depth camera). On its front side, inside a hole in the screen, the selfie camera features a 16-megapixel sensor with an f/2.4 aperture.

The triple-camera system on the OnePlus 9

Looking at the technical specifications, the cameras should be great for video recording also. The triple-camera system on the back of the smartphone supports recording video at resolutions of up to 8K at 30fps. However, if you don’t just happen to have an 8K resolution TV around, you might be happier with recording in 4K at 30 or 60 frames per second (fps), or even in 1080p, where you can use frame rates as high as 240 fps. On the front, the selfie camera is able to record video in 1080p resolution and at 30 frames per second. Both camera systems support Auto-HDR and gyro-EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization).

OnePlus 9’s screen is a beautiful piece of technology: a 6.55 inch Fluid AMOLED display with a high refresh rate of 120 Hz, HDR10+, 1080 x 2400 pixels resolution on a 20:9 aspect ratio, and a high 402 pixels per inch (ppi) density.

OnePlus 9: Display technical specifications

On the matter of communications, the OnePlus 9 offers support for 5G and Wi-Fi 6 wireless networks (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6) and also comes with Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, NFC, and a USB 3.1 Type-C port. Among the sensors you get, there’s an optical under-the-display fingerprint reader, an accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, compass, and a color spectrum sensor.

OnePlus 9 works with Wi-Fi 6 networks

On the audio part, the OnePlus 9 offers two stereo speakers and supports 24-bit/192kHz playback but doesn’t have a 3.5mm audio jack.

The autonomy is provided by a non-removable 4500 mAh Li-Po battery that supports fast charging at 65 Watts, which means that you can fully charge the smartphone in about 29 minutes! The OnePlus 9 also supports 15 Watts wireless charging.

For more details regarding the OnePlus 9’s features and hardware specs, visit OnePlus 9 Specs.

Next, read the second page of this review to find out more about the smartphone experience offered by the OnePlus 9, its cameras, the operating system and bundled apps, and its performance in benchmarks.

Discover: Smartphone Android Hardware and Sound Recommended Reviews