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OnePlus 9 Pro Review: The Very Definition of Feature-Packed

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OnePlus used to be the embodiment of focus and nerd culture with its phones that had the “never settle” and “flagship killer” mantras. Of late, it’s been changing its path. It now wants to be a big company. 

The OnePlus 8 Pro was the company’s first attempt to manufacture a smartphone with IP-certified waterproofing and wireless charging; features that are trademarks of a flagship. OnePlus has also struggled with the cameras with colours and consistency in the past, and the OnePlus 9 Pro promises to bring Hasselblad’s iconic colour science to its gadgets.

Yes, Hasselblad is the same company that makes $50,000 worth of camera gear. In collaboration with OnePlus, Hasselblad has calibrated the contrast and colour processing to be tailored to the distinct style of Hasselblad cameras. With all the cutting-edge features and specifications you would expect from a true flagship like the OnePlus 9 Pro, it is no wonder people absolutely love the device. Here’s what we think about the all-new OnePlus 9 Pro:

What’s Warped:

  • The OnePlus 9 Pro is a substantial phone. It houses a 6.7-inch screen that runs from edge to edge around the phone’s body. Its entire perimeter is curved into a rail of aluminium with no seams anywhere. In addition, the display of the OnePlus 9 Pro is no longer aggressively curved like the one of the OnePlus 8 Pro. Despite being curved, the display is much more subtle and does not go as far down the sides as the 8 Pro did. Overall, it is a really well-balanced, elegant, and solid phone with a good in-hand feel.
  • The OnePlus 9 Pro employees a 6.7-inch, 10-bit LTPO display with a QHD+ resolution. The phone’s screen runs at a variable refresh rate that maxes out at 120Hz. The display is proficient in HDR and OnePlus has incorporated provision for HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG standards. The display panel on the OnePlus 9 Pro gets a big thumbs up from DisplayMate and has a 360Hz touch sampling rate, making the scrolling and gaming experience hyper smooth. The phone’s display is clearly visible under direct sunlight, has plenty of details and good viewing angles. In short, it is undoubtedly one of the best displays out there in the market, if not the best.
  • The display’s refresh rate can adjust itself varying from 1Hz to a max of 120Hz based on the tasks being performed on the phone, in an attempt to save battery; this is possible thanks to the LTPO panel being used on the smartphone. The phone is being powered by the Snapdragon 888 SoC, and thanks to the software optimizations along with the power-efficient chipset, the phone can last a day on a single charge. OnePlus has upped its game from 30W Warp Charging on its previous generation to Warp Charge 65T, which uses the dual battery structure to charge faster efficiently. There’s 50W wireless charging, which can charge the device completely in about 45 minutes, which in itself is a record.
  • The performance on the phone has been excellent, games load up swiftly and multitasking has been smooth. However, there are a few minor frame drops here and there, which we hope OnePlus will fix in the upcoming OTA updates. The fact that you can run games like PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty or even Fortnite at the maximum settings along with high refresh rates on a smartphone, adds to the wonderful gaming experience.
  • The smartphone runs on the company’s latest custom Android skin based on Android 11, OxygenOS 11. The animations on the phone have been fast and fluid, and navigating around the UI has been a breeze. It is the typical OxygenOS we all love.
  • The cameras are where one expects to see a major upgrade from the previous generation, after all the hype around the Hasselblad cameras. The main camera on the OnePlus 9 Pro uses a custom-developed Sony IMX 789 sensor centred at 48-megapixels having a 1/1.43-inch sensor size, optically stabilized, and an f/1.8 aperture. The output images have ample detail, and colours close to real life. The shots from the phone are good during daylight, while the image quality takes a slight hit with low lighting scenarios. There’s the manual Pro mode with sound effects to the shutter button to match the Hasselblad cameras. The ultra-wide-angle sensor is where one could spot a generational difference: the 50-megapixel sensor on the OnePlus 9 Pro takes superb photos in both day and low lighting conditions. These are amongst the best ultra-wide-angle cameras we’ve tested on a smartphone in a long time. 
  • The OnePlus 9 Pro can shoot up to 4K 120 frames per second and also do 8K video considerably nice without flaming up the back panel too much. The stabilisation and low light performance of these phones are excellent and right up there with the best in the business.

What’s not:

OnePlus 9 Pro Stellar Black
OnePlus 9 Pro in Stellar Black
  • There’s an 8-megapixel 3.3x telephoto camera, which is not anything special at this level. Beyond 3.3x, the zoom is sort of a mess. A periscope-style lens on the S21 Ultra (read our review here) topples this camera. Among other things, there is a monochrome camera that serves only as a support for the rest of the system, but it is not individually important. 
  • We’ve tried out various colour variants of the OnePlus 9 Pro. The Morning Mist colour comes with a glossy finish that gets steadily more reflective going down on the rear panel. The Pine Green colour, on the other hand, has a shade of green with a matte finish, while the Stellar Black has a frosted matte finish with a look comparable to the sandstone back of older OnePlus phones. The Morning Mist colour variant is a smudge magnet.
  • The Hasselblad branding has created a sense of over-hyping around the device which the smartphone fails to fulfil. This phone certainly doesn’t have the best of the best in camera tech, something one associates with Hasselblad. 
  • The smartphone is priced significantly higher than its predecessor starting at Rs.64,999 compared to Rs.54,999 and now enters the upper tier of smartphones directly competing with the S21 series of devices.

Also, don’t forget to check out: Why the OnePlus Buds Z Should have been the first TWS from OnePlus

To wrap it all up, the OnePlus 9 Pro offers the top of line specifications for an Android phone available at its price range. There are exciting improvements in virtually every area from its predecessor. The charging capabilities on the phone are outstanding, with a full charge in just under 30 minutes over a cable, and in 45 minutes via wireless charging. For 64,999 rupees, this phone enters the upper tier of the smartphone market, where there’s no room for slack. The regular OnePlus 9 is about Rs.15,000 cheaper than its Pro variant is a greater value for money smartphone lacking out on OIS, a telephoto lens, and a couple of more things.

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