The perfect Android alternative 4/5
OnePlus launched its latest flagship device on March 31 and the Chinese vendor looks to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung with another high-end addition to its portfolio.
OnePlus’ 8 Pro was one of the best-reviewed devices last year, so the manufacturer has quite a bit to do to ensure it continues its hot streak of impressive flagship devices.
It helps that the Chinese vendor has placed a clear emphasis on its camera and announced that its latest smartphone would feature a Hasselblad camera as part of a long-term R&D partnership with the Swedish camera manufacturer.
The OnePlus 9 Pro aims to put the other Android vendors on notice but how far does it succeed in doing so?
Design and unboxing
OnePlus doesn’t deviate too much from its tried and tested formulaic design. While it isn’t one of the best-looking phones on the market, its 91.8 per cent screen-to-body ratio will give you a whole lot of screen to enjoy.
The front of the device features a hole punch selfie camera which doesn’t disrupt the experience of using apps. The smartphone also has slightly curved edges which are similar to the Huawei Mate 40 Pro but it doesn’t curve as much as that particular smartphone.
The Hasselblad quad-camera lenses on the back of the device look as neat and compact as could be expected. The back of the smartphone features a mirror-type design which I am not the biggest fan of. I think that kind of design looks quite outdated, but it does suit the space theme that OnePlus was going for with this device, so they get a pass. Unfortunately I found that without a cover on the phone, the back of the device was prone to fingerprint marks.
The 9 Pro, unfortunately, doesn’t come with a headphone jack and it is beginning to look like this will be a feature that most flagships choose to abandon in the future.
The box includes a 65W Warp Charging plug and cable and a phone cover for the device.
I was also lucky enough to be sent the OnePlus Warp Charge 50 wireless charger which retails for £69.95 and works on non-Oneplus devices, making it a valuable addition to any desktop. The wireless charger charges my iPhone XR quicker than any device cable I currently own.
- OS: Android 11, OxygenOS 11
- Processor: Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888
- Screen: 6.7 inches, 90.3 per cent screen-to-body ratio
- Resolution: 1440 x 3216 pixels
- Memory: 8GB RAM, 12GB RAM
- Internal storage: 128GB, 256GB
- Rear camera: 48MP, 8MP telephoto, 50MP ultra-wide, 2MP depth
- Front camera: 16MP
- Video: 1080p@30fps
- Battery: 4500mAh
- Charging: Fast charging 65W, 50W
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2
- Dimensions: 163.2 x 73.6 x 8.7 mm
- Weight: 197g
As previously mentioned, OnePlus has placed a renewed focus on its camera set-up and its partnership with Hasselblad is a huge deal for the vendor.
The first note to make about the camera is that it works best in well-lit conditions. The photos I captured produced sharp, detailed imagery that was brimming with natural colour using the standard camera. This is a major focus for OnePlus and the images clearly show a focus on natural colours and sharp detail.
Yet I sometimes felt that the images felt that they were sharpened a bit too much for my liking in quite a few photos that I had taken.
However, in environments that do not have great lighting, the colours do not pop as I expected them to. Here are two images I captured of a tree, one on a nice, sunny day and one on a cloudy day. You can see clear differences in the way the colours present themselves in the images.
This was the only real major concern I had with the camera and while it still may not rival the likes of the Huawei Mate 40 Pro in the camera department, it is still a major step forward for OnePlus.
Saying that, the OnePlus 9 Pro’s 50MP ultra-wide camera works superbly and offers a much larger scope in images than most cameras on the market.
The telephoto camera offers a 3.3x zoom and it doesn’t offer anything extraordinary compared to the likes of Huawei and Samsung. Close up photos worked very well as evidenced below:
Video quality, meanwhile, is a mixed bag. The smartphone allows users to shoot 8K 30 or 4K 120 videos but neither looked as good or included as many features as some of the other flagships on the market today.
While OnePlus still has quite some way to go in the camera department, I suspect the new and improved camera courtesy of the Hasselblad partnership will garner the South Korean company plenty of new fans.
The OnePlus 9 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 888 chipset which is currently the fastest processor that chip manufacturer Qualcomm currently offers. The device also comes with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM and on first use, the device immediately feels like a flagship that rivals the iPhone 12 and Samsung S21 just because of the sheer speed it when loading up apps.
This speed isn’t something brand new to this OnePlus device but it continues to be mightily impressive and I’d be surprised if it wasn’t among the fastest smartphones on the market today.
The device also provides IP68 water and dust resistance which is a valuable addition to any high-end smartphone.
The 4500mAh battery can charge with either the 65W wired charger or the 50W wireless charger that I mentioned earlier. The battery life on this device is average for a top-of-the-range device but certainly bad by any stretch of the imagination.
Having frequently used the device throughout the week, I found that it lasted around a day which falls short of some of its competition.
This isn’t too much of a problem, however, with the super-powered charging which ensures that the smartphone charges as quickly as possible.
The wired charger included in the box charges the phone from 0-100 per cent in less than 30 minutes which completely mitigates the average battery of the device since it charges so quickly.
The 50W wireless charger fully charges the phone in just over 40 minutes, which, again, is supremely impressive and a welcome addition if you choose to buy it.
At a glance
· Speed – 5/5
· Camera – 3.75/5
· Battery – 4/5
· Design – 4/5
· Value – 4/5
· Price – £829
While the OnePlus 9 Pro is a flagship device for the South Korean vendor, the 8GB/128GB variant of the device is priced at £829 – less than the £1000 mark and other flagships on the market, making it the perfect, slightly cheaper Android alternative.
While it may still need work in the camera department to rival some of its more expensive rivals, the OnePlus 9 Pro has a lot going for it. The speed and fast-charging of the device stick out as highlights and while it may not excel in other aspects, it certainly performs well enough to justify its position in the market.
The OnePlus is an important device for the market, and the vendor could be on the cusp of greatness. There will be great anticipation for what they do next.
The OnePlus 9 Pro is available for £829 in Morning Mist, Stellar Black, and Pine Green here.