OnePlus 9 review: a good, well-priced top-spec smartphone | Smartphones

The OnePlus 9 gives the identical top-performance, slick expertise and lengthy battery life because the agency’s finest telephone however with a number of corners reduce to slice £200 off the value.

The £629 handset appears to be like virtually equivalent to its dearer sibling, the £829 OnePlus 9 Professional. It has a slightly smaller display that’s flat fairly than curved on the sides, and the sting of the telephone is plastic not metallic, however the remaining is in impact a replica – which is an efficient factor.

OnePlus 9 review
The again of the telephone is curved for a greater grip. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The 6.55in OLED display is brilliant, vibrant and handsome, with its 120Hz refresh fee maintaining animations and scrolling tremendous clean. The display has an FHD+ decision, making it barely much less crisp than the QHD+ show on the 9 Professional, however it’s according to rivals from Samsung and others.

Specs

  • Predominant display: 6.55in FHD+ OLED (402ppi) 120Hz

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

  • RAM: 8 or 12GB of RAM

  • Storage: 128 or 256GB

  • Working system: Oxygen OS 11.2 primarily based on Android 11

  • Digicam: Triple rear: 48MP huge, 50MP ultra-wide, 2MP monochrome; 16MP front-facing

  • Connectivity: 5G, twin nano sim, USB-C, wifi 6, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2 (AAC, aptX/HD, LDAC) and placement

  • Water resistance: none

  • Dimensions: 160 x 74.2 x 8.7mm

  • Weight: 192g

Fast, clean and super-fast charging

OnePlus 9
The telephone expenses from lifeless to 100% in solely 34 minutes, hitting 50% in 14 minutes with the included 65W adaptor. It additionally has 15W wi-fi charging and reverse wi-fi charging. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The OnePlus 9 has the highest chip obtainable to Android units, Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 888 processor, with at the very least 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It matches the 9 Professional for velocity and clean expertise, making it one of many fastest-feeling telephones obtainable.

It additionally has excellent battery life, solely needing charging each different evening. It lasts just below 47 hours with the display used for five.5 hours in varied apps, that means a single cost lasts from 7am on day one till at the very least 5am on day three.

Sustainability

OnePlus says the battery ought to final 1,000 full-charge cycles whereas sustaining at the very least 80% of its authentic capability. The battery could be changed and the smartphone is mostly repairable by OnePlus within the UK.

The corporate gives a trade-in programme for its personal telephones and fashions from rivals. It didn’t touch upon using recycled supplies in its smartphones. OnePlus doesn’t publish environmental impression assessments however did publish a sustainability report in 2019.

Oxygen OS 11.2

OnePlus 9
The in-screen fingerprint scanner is quick and correct, making it one of many best obtainable. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The 9 ships with the newest model of OnePlus’s Oxygen OS, which is among the most refined and bloat-free western-oriented variations of Android 11 obtainable. It’s quick, slick and simple to make use of, with a superb quantity of customisation choices that aren’t overwhelming.

OnePlus gives software program help for 3 years from launch, together with two years of Android model updates after which an extra yr of safety updates bimonthly. Samsung gives 4 years and Apple gives 5 for his or her respective telephones, so OnePlus nonetheless has work to do.

Digicam

oneplus 9
The digicam app has easy point-and-shoot and ‘Hasselblad Professional’ modes with guide management. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

On the again of the telephone are three Hasselblad-branded cameras, together with a 48MP most important and 50MP ultra-wide, plus a gimmicky 2MP “monochrome” digicam that may be safely ignored.

The 50MP ultrawide digicam is similar as outfitted to the 9 Professional, making it among the finest obtainable, taking pictures good photographs throughout a spread of sunshine ranges whereas supporting Nightscape and different particular modes.

The principle 48MP digicam is completely different to that fitted to the 9 Professional, missing a number of of the extra superior applied sciences. Nonetheless, the captured photographs are very related, being typically well-exposed and balanced however a little bit oversharpened when blown as much as full dimension. Low gentle efficiency was strong, if a little bit extra susceptible at hand shake because the digicam lacks optical picture stabilisation, whereas the devoted Nightscape mode works nicely. There’s a superb macro mode and a few enjoyable digicam results to play with alongside the “Hasselblad Professional” mode for in depth guide management just like a DSLR digicam.

There’s no optical zoom, that means something magnified past 3x with digital zoom lacks element. The 16MP fixed-focus selfie digicam shot some great-looking images in good lighting however was a little bit tender on element when seen at full dimension and lacks a devoted low-light mode. Video captured as much as 8K at 30 frames a second was good, too.

Total, the digicam is mostly good for the cash however a scarcity of optical zoom and its tendency to oversharpen photographs is barely disappointing.

Observations

Oneplus 9
The alert slider on the aspect of the telephone toggles between silent, vibrate and ring. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
  • Name high quality and 5G efficiency on Three was wonderful.

  • The display is roofed within the older Gorilla Glass 5, not the newest considerably extra shatter-resistant Gorilla Glass Victus.

  • The telephone comes with a pre-installed display protector and a superb clear rubber case within the field.

Worth

The OnePlus 9 prices £629 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage or £729 with 12GB and 256GB.

For comparability, the OnePlus 9 Professional has an RRP of £829, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely prices £1,149, the Galaxy S21+ prices £949 and the Xiaomi Mi 11 prices £749.

Verdict

The OnePlus 9 has taken the agency considerably again to its “upstart” roots, providing a top-flight expertise for considerably much less cash than premium smartphone rivals.

However to take action the corporate has reduce corners that it hasn’t resorted to prior to now, resembling utilizing plastic fairly than metallic for the telephone’s body, and but it’s nonetheless asking for £30 greater than final yr’s wonderful OnePlus 8. It makes the 9 good worth however not fairly the discount earlier iterations have been identified for being.

There are nonetheless few rivals priced beneath £650 that provide the mix of velocity and slick expertise, massive display, strong digicam and good software program you get with the OnePlus 9. However with solely three years of software program help, there are telephones providing equally nice experiences and higher worth over the long run from rivals Samsung and others for less than a little bit extra.

Professionals: tremendous slick, lengthy battery, prime efficiency, good 120Hz display, good software program, speedy charging, quick fingerprint scanner, alert slider, good digicam, decrease price.

Cons: solely three years of software program help, digicam can oversharpen photographs, no optical zoom, display glass not the hardest obtainable, no water-resistance ranking, plastic body.

Oneplus 9
The selfie digicam pokes by a small gap within the prime left of the display. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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