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OnePlus 9 Pro Review – The Final Jump To Be A Real Flagship

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By Akhil Kapoor - 
23rd Apr 2021
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OnePlus 9 Pro
Review Summary

Concluding whether to buy the OnePlus 9 Pro is pretty simple. OnePlus 9 Pro is a powerful smartphone with the Snapdragon 888 5G chipset with 8/12GB RAM and has a majestic 6.7-inch QHD+ display. If you want a well-built smartphone with the best-in-line specifications, you should love it. The phone does have exceptional software with superfast UD FPS and a facial recognition system onboard. Also, there’s this Hasselblad camera you’d definitely wanna try. However, there are some caveats to consider such as the battery life is average.

PROS
  • OxygenOS based on Android 11
  • 50W wireless charging
  • 65T Warp Charge
  • 48MP quad-camera setup powered by Hasselblad
  • AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G
CONS
  • No provisions for storage expansion
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Extremely pricy
Key Specs
Battery Capacity
Battery Capacity
4500 mAh
Operating System
Operating System
Android v11
Screen Size
Screen Size
6.7 inches
Highlights:
  • No
  • Corning Gorilla Glass
  • 4500 mAh
  • Android v11
Introduction

OnePlus keeps the best of specifications for its Pro variant and the latest OnePlus 9 Pro is no exception. It is something I would say OnePlus hit a bull’s eye marking it as one of the best smartphones out there w.r.t its hardware and camera experience. It is a complete package with just the right amount of oomph factor, a tad bit of shortcomings here and there, and bingo, the OnePlus 9 Pro is ready.

Also Check: Recycle Your Old Phone, Get Rewarded!

So, the device looks like Superman on paper but is it Superman or just Clark Kent (with no powers). Here’s a detailed hands-on on the OnePlus 9 Pro that I have prepared after testing the device for more than a week.

Prices in India, Variants, Availability

The almighty OnePlus 9 Pro 5G is available in India in two storage trims. The base variant of the OnePlus 9 Pro with 8GB+128GB storage is available at Rs.64,999/- while the higher 12GB+256GB is available at Rs.69,999/-.  You can choose from Morning Mist, Stellar Black, and Pine Green colour variants. Of course, there is a tonne of deals and discounts associated with the device such as Rs 4,000/- off on using SBI CC and EMI transactions, 10 per cent cashback on selected American Express Cards, 9-months No cost EMI on SBI CC, and so on.

Box Contents

I’m sure you guys are familiar with the red packaging of the OnePlus smartphones for the last few years. OnePlus 9 Pro is no different and comes in a tall red box as usual. The box contents include:

  • OnePlus 9 Pro device
  • 65W WARP Charge
  • Type-C to Type-C cable
  • Pre-applied screen protector
  • Free transparent case
  • Sim ejector tool
  • OnePlus sticker
Specs at a glance

Before we talk in detail about the OnePlus 9 Pro, let’s see what the on-paper specs look like?

  • Display: 6.7 Inches 120Hz Fluid AMOLED Display
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 with Adreno 660 GPU
  • Storage: 8GB/128GB, 12GB/256GB
  • SoftwareOxygen OS based on Andriod 11
  • Rear cameras: Co-Developed by Hasselblad, 48 MP (main), 50 MP (Ultra Wide Angle), 8 MP (Telephoto), 2 MP (Monochrome)
  • Selfie camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4500 mAh, 65W Warp Charging, 50W Wireless Charging
  • Weight: 197g
  • Dimensions: 163.2 x 73.6 x 8.7 mm

Now, let’s move ahead and see what’s the final jump OnePlus has taken to finally reach the flagship tag. 

Design and Build - Call it Very Premium

OnePlus 9 Pro follows the same burdenless design philosophy as with the other models from the Chinese smartphone manufacturer. The front is expansive and the display has curved edges with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on top of it. The tiny cut-out for the selfie camera sits flush on the top-left corner.

OnePlus 9 Pro uses a stainless steel frame which is greater in terms of sturdiness and reliability. It seamlessly blends with the front and back glass panel making it look as if you are holding a one-piece unit. Plus, it is slim at 8.7mm and lighter than the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra with a curb weight of just 197 grams. The tech giant rolled out the rather expensive OnePlus 9 Pro with an IP68 rating which is a relief. It will take on dust and water even if submerged at a depth of 1.5m for 30 minutes without breaking a sweat.

Also Read: Top 5 iPhone 12 Tips and Tricks

The back is also covered with a Corning Gorilla Glass 5. You get a not so huge quad-camera setup branded with Hasselblad on the top-right corner. OnePlus has kept the design DNA the same for all of the models in the 9-series with two giant lenses with metal rings stacked vertically with two small camera sensors placed horizontally.

OnePlus doesn’t fail to ever disappoint us with its colour variants. I got a Midnight Mist variant which has a glossy back appearance. It is cloudy on top and transitions to a mirror-like finish at the bottom.

Well, the iconic alert slider for changing audio profiles is still there on the top right corner along with the volume rocker and power button. There’s a bottom-firing loudspeaker and the earpiece that doubles as a secondary speaker for a stereo setup. Overall, the weight is well-distributed and I bet you would love it for sure.

Display - Treat To Eyes

OnePlus 9 Pro has one of the best displays, hands down. So much so that it exceeds that of Samsung although shy short of Pixel or iPhone 12 Pro displays. Anyways, the display is humongous at 6.7-inch edge-to-edge, and OnePlus has used an LTPO OLED panel for the device now. This allows for a refresh rate as high as 120Hz and as low as 1Hz since LTPO displays are made to support varying refresh rates.

Read More: OnePlus 9 Full Review 

The display has a rich resolution of 1440×3216 and has a 525 PPI which makes it vibrant. It comes with a 10-bit colour depth that allows it to show 1B colours unlike any ordinary OnePlus device out there. You get HDR10+ content which is mind-blowing and you will be gasping for air if I am not wrong.

The display shimmers at 1,300 nits of peak brightness which is exceptionally bright even when viewing in a broad daylight so that’s a relief. Moreover, the OnePlus 9 Pro has 8,192 levels of adjustments when auto-brightness is enabled.

Perhaps the icing on the cake is the LTPO OLED panel with a Smart 120Hz refresh rate. It dives to the highest based on the content requirements such as when gaming. Plus, there’s a 360Hz touch response rate for gaming is bliss on the device. The display clocks to 24Hz when watching movies while reading an ebook and gets the refresh rate to 1Hz. Although the hardware and the OxygenOS optimize it further, I did feel that transitioning between various refresh rates is a bit bumpy although you won’t feel it if you don’t know what you are looking out for.

Overall, the display is huge, has extremely thin bezels that are curved on the edges forming an edge-to-edge viewing experience plus, the punch-hole shooter doesn’t eat away a lot of screen real estate. The colour calibration is on-point and so is the colour accuracy. Plus, you can control display temperature, colour profiles, screen calibration, resolution and you name it, it’s available on-board the OnePlus 9 Pro.

Spectacular Performance

One of the strongest suites on the OnePlus 9 Pro is its performance. Thanks to the inclusion of the almighty Snapdragon 888 octa-core SoC clocked at a whopping 2.84GHz and with a tri-cluster setup, the OnePlus 9 Pro will take anything you throw at it. It’s Adreno 660 CPU is 35 per cent more powerful than the last-gen Adreno 650 which translates into a sheer performance like no other. Enjoy seamless gaming at 60 to 120Hz refresh rate and 360Hz touch sampling range that you can enjoy titles like Brawl Stars, PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty Mobile, and so on.

Well, I used the phone for a while and did feel that it gets a bit warm when you are done with a match on PUBG. But hey, I am talking about slight warmth after maxing its graphics and fps. OnePlus 9 Pro uses Cool Play that uses a combination of large copper foil, thicker graphite sheets, and a larger vapour chamber to dissipate heat evenly and quickly so luckily, you won’t get much heat on your plate.

When tested on benchmarking platforms, the OnePlus 9 Pro scores almost in line with the Asus ROG Phone 5 although the Apple iPhone 12 and 12 Pro were the clear winners.

In any case, the OnePlus 9 Pro files irrespective of the number of apps opened. Plus, it has Virtual RAM that allows users to keep 25 per cent more apps open by allocating some space from the storage to be used as RAM temporarily.

The device is 5G-ready although Indian users will have to wait for a long time to get their hands on the 5G network. The 4G network reception on the OnePlus 9 Pro is superior and when clubbed with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth v5.2 support, it leaves no stones unturned to squeeze the performance out of its hardware components.

Software - One of the Best Custom UI

OxygenOS 11 takes the place of main attraction as it is considered as one of the best custom UI using Android OS. OnePlus 9 Pro OxygenOS 11 has a tonne of functionalities including the OnePlus Shelf, a lightweight interface, Ambient Display, Edge Lighting, and more. OnePlus ensures that the device will receive three major Android OS upgrades i.e., OnePlus 9 Pro will get Android 12, 13, and 14 without any second thought.

Cameras - Tried Hard This Time

OnePlus 9 Pro sports a quad-camera setup partnered with Hasselblad. It uses a 48MP primary sensor with OIS and EIS; a 50MP ultrawide sensor with f/2.2 aperture; an 8MP telephoto lens and a 2MP monochrome sensor.

The camera app has been optimized and has a Hasselblad-branded orange colour for the shutter button. Talking about the primary sensor, it captures images with true-to-life colours with higher dynamic range and incredibly detailed shots. It mimics natural colours and comparatively, comes close to Pixels and iPhones which is a big deal for OnePlus devices given the fact that their cameras have suffered a lot.

Switch to Pro mode and you will be able to use Hasselblad’s software that has been optimized beyond expectations. The shots are warm, inviting, vibrant, with high dynamic range, and shots are on-point with shots using the iPhone 12. It captures images at 12-bit RAW which lets users tweak images to their extent.

There’s a 50MP ultrawide snapper with a freeform lens which surprisingly captures high-quality images with loads of details. Moreover, there’s minimal barrel distortion on the ultrawide shots which is one of the first.

Next up, you get an 8MP telephoto lens with 3.3x which is the same sensor as that of the OnePlus 8 Pro. This does capture exceptional images with loads of details at 3.3x, however, it looks underwhelming given the fact that the primary and ultrawide sensors overshadow it. The smaller sensor size does tend to have some restrictions on how far you can go with it. Finally, we have a 2MP monochrome sensor that works with the primary sensor to create phenomenal black and white shots.

Low-light photography on the OnePlus 9 Pro is bliss when it comes to both primary and ultrawide snapper. With less distortion, highly detailed images, a dedicated Night Mode, OnePlus 9 Pro doesn’t disappoint you in any use case.

Turn to the front snapper and you get a 16MP snapper that has the utmost level of details, high dynamic range and captures better images than its predecessors.

OnePlus 9 Pro can capture videos at up to 8K resolution at 30fps. You can yank it up to 4K videos at up to 120fps using the rear camera setup. The front has a 1080p@30fps with gyro-EIS video recording support.

Battery - All About Charging Only

With a dual-cell battery tech, OnePlus 9 Pro gets two 2,250 mAh batteries equating to 4,500 mAh which is the same as the OnePlus 8 Pro. Even though the OnePlus 9 Pro offers the best of specifications, it lacks a rich battery life and we were able to get around 5 hours of screen-on-time on moderate usage. The device does have a dip in endurance, lagging just behind Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro.

The faster Warp Charge 65T comes to its rescue by juicing up the battery in just 31 minutes which is barely 2 minutes more from what OnePlus advertised. It is also able to reduce internal charging resistance to charge faster. There’s a 50W wireless charging tech as well that has proven its mettle charging the phone in just 43 minutes. There’s a 5W reverse charging as well.

Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics

OnePlus 9 Pro has a stereo speaker setup. Here, the bottom-firing speaker acts as a right channel while the earpiece doubles as a left channel when landscape mode is detected. When tested, the stereo speakers setup on the OnePlus 9 Pro has a -24.1 LUFS loudness score which goes in line with that of the OnePlus 9. It does give an edge over Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G and OPPO Find X3 Pro although Xiaomi Mi 11 bruises it with almost the same score. Overall, the speakers do distort sound and it is surprisingly loud and the haptic motors do make a great impact.

OnePlus 9 Pro is a specimen of excellence. It has a USB Type-C 3.1 port, NFC, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth v5.2 with aptX HD, LE, and A2DP support, GPS support with a plethora of navigation systems support among others in its arsenal of connectivity features.

OnePlus 9 Pro doesn’t just have an under-the-display fingerprint scanner to unlock the phone but blows your mind every time you use it. The in-display fingerprint sensor is ultra-fast and reliable irrespective of the lighting conditions thrown at it. The facial recognition system is equally fast and reliable. I have personally been using an OnePlus device for three years now and certainly can say that OnePlus keeps optimizing the speed and reliability with every iteration.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • OxygenOS based on Android 11
  • 50W wireless charging
  • 65T Warp Charge
  • 48MP quad-camera setup powered by Hasselblad
  • AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • NFC enabled
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G

Cons

  • No provisions for storage expansion
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Extremely pricy
Verdict
Concluding whether to buy the OnePlus 9 Pro is pretty simple. OnePlus 9 Pro is a powerful smartphone with the Snapdragon 888 5G chipset with 8/12GB RAM and has a majestic 6.7-inch QHD+ display. If you want a well-built smartphone with the best-in-line specifications, you should love it. The phone does have exceptional software with superfast UD FPS and a facial recognition system onboard. However, there are some caveats to consider such as the battery life is average, the phone is damn expensive so if you are looking for a flagship smartphone with better battery life, I wouldn’t think twice before considering any other alternatives. So, I would suggest potential buyers weigh the scales and compare the OnePlus 9 Pro with any of the given alternatives to discern better. Some of the notable alternatives include Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, Xiaomi Mi 11, Oppo Find X3 Pro, Asus ROG Phone 5, and Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max.


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