an excellent smartphone weighed down by a nasty flaw

The OnePlus 9 Pro is the new flagship of the Sino-Finnish brand. The manufacturer offers an ultra high-end phone for less than 1000 euros and with a very solid technical sheet. This time, the focus is on photography thanks to a module produced in partnership with Hasselblad. All this gives hope for an excellent vintage from OnePlus. It remains to be seen if this cocktail holds up once in hand.

The OnePlus 9 series consists of two terminals: the classic OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro. It is the latter that we are testing today. A true flagship of the Sino-Finnish brand, it wants to compete with the tenors of the ultra high-end such as the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the iPhone 12 Pro Max or the Huawei Mate 40 Pro, but by remaining below 1000 euros.

Its technical sheet is salivating: large 1440p AMOLED display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz, ultra powerful processor and above all new photo module designed in collaboration with Hasselblad. It is on this last point that the manufacturer places particular emphasis.

OnePlus 9 Pro

The photo part has always been the weak point of the brand. Far from being execrable, it has never risen to the level of the competition. OnePlus has therefore decided to strike hard by announcing a partnership with Swedish optical giant Hasselblad for the next three years. The OnePlus 9 series is the first to benefit from this deal, and more particularly the 9 Pro. Simple marketing ad or real plus for the user? This is what we will see. More than a photophone with a beefy spec sheet, is the OnePlus 9 Pro good in everyday life? Does it manage to rise to the level of the competition? Detailed answer in this test.

Pricing and availability

The OnePlus 9 Pro will be available from March 31 on the OnePlus website. It is in two versions. The former has 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of memory and is priced at 919 euros. The second, the one we’re testing today, has 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of memory. It is sold at 999 euros.

OnePlus 9 Pro

We have much higher prices than what OnePlus offered us in the past, especially with the 8T (700 euros maximum). However, if we compare with smartphones from the competition, the 9 Pro is always cheaper with an equivalent technical sheet. Note that the classic 9 is sold for 719 euros or 819 euros depending on the model.

Technical sheet

Let’s not go four ways: the technical sheet of the OnePlus 9 Pro is a dream. We have already mentioned the 1440p 120Hz AMOLED screen, but we must also mention the presence of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, new king of the high-end market, as well as a photo module composed of four sensors (all designed by Sony, Hasselblad dealing with software processing), including a 48-megapixel main. We also appreciate the presence of Android 11 with the Oxygen OS 11 overlay, still an example to follow in this area.

OnePlus 9 Pro
Screen 6.7 “
1440p
Fluid AMOLED
120Hz Display
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (5nm)
BONE Android 11 + Oxygen OS 11
RAM 8GB / 12GB
Storage 128 GB / 256 GB
microSD No
Main sensor 50 MP + 48 MP + 8 MP + 2 MP
Secondary sensor 16 MP
Drums 4500 mAh
Fast charge 65 watts
50W wireless charging
5G Yes
Water resistance Yes

The only worry we have is in the 4500 mAh battery, which seems very thin on paper, but which is compensated by a fast charge of 65 Watts (and 50 Watts in wireless). In theory, we are dealing with a little bomb here, but you know that a datasheet is not everything.

A very neat design, but a little curious choices

The OnePlus 9 Pro is available in three colors. We have a green smartphone, but also a black one, which adopts a matte appearance. The third color, named “Morning Mist ”(Or gray), displays a glossy finish for a half-smoked mirror style. Our test copy displays this color.

OnePlus 9 Pro

Real ice placed on your smartphone, this glass finish allows you to recognize the OnePlus 9 Pro immediately. Visually, this is a great achievement and this style gives the product an ultra luxury look which, let’s not be afraid of words, is beautiful. However, this cover has the defects of its qualities since like a classic mirror, it marks very easily on fingerprints and the more manic will spend their time wiping it off. This surface is also prone to micro-scratches. Note that OnePlus provides a sober rubber shell, but chic in its case for those who want it. Other cases are also sold on the official website.

OnePlus 9 Pro

The device has two other strong visual features : the photo module, First of all, it has four sensors, two of which are the main ones that stand out clearly from the shell (which tends to make the 9 Pro wobbly when placed on its back). If this element is a little “put there” without worrying about connecting with the rest of the smartphone (Samsung for example clearly integrated the module in its design of the S21), it allows to recognize it immediately. We note the presence of a small “Hasselblad” integrated in the glass of the module.

OnePlus 9 Pro

The second visual feature is more classic, since it is curved edges on the sides (the screen is also curved, we’ll come back to that) which give an impression of finesse. The whole thing takes place thanks to an aluminum frame in which the physical buttons are integrated.

OnePlus 9 Pro

As usual, OnePlus places the power button on the right edge and the volume button on the left, unlike most other Android models where everything is on the right. If the 9 Pro is your first OnePlus, then you will be confused at first. On the right, we find the button dedicated to silent mode, a manufacturer’s gimmick. The latter, notched in appearance, can be placed on three levels: silent, vibrator and ringtone. It doesn’t sound like that, but it allows you to mute your smartphone without even turning it on. Handy if you’re in a meeting or at the movies (well, not right now). A small addition that we would like to see more often in the Android market, because it is so practical on a daily basis.

OnePlus 9 Pro

For the screen part, we have a panel taking almost the entire front (screen / front ratio greater than 90%) of 6.7 inches. The screen is curved at the sides. A very slight tilt, almost invisible, but sufficient to make the vertical edges practically disappear and give an impression of extreme finesse to the product (which is still 8.9 mm, which is higher than the average). Love it or hate it, it depends on taste. For our part, we are rather customers. Note that the classic OnePlus 9 has a flat panel.

OnePlus 9 Pro

The fingerprint sensor is obviously placed under the panel and can really be disconcerting at first. It is indeed located very low on the screen. Too low. A somewhat curious placement which does not really make its use very natural and which is a bit blemish when you notice that it was placed higher on the 8T, for example. It will take some getting used to this sensor, but it may take some time (we are still struggling after a week of testing). Technically speaking, it is still as effective as ever. We did not find any difficulty in identifying ourselves during our test. This fingerprint unlocking can also be paired with Android facial recognition, which is disabled by default here.

OnePlus 9 Pro

In hand, the OnePlus 9Pro is pleasant, especially thanks to a very balanced weight (192 grams). However, we do not avoid some pitfalls, such as a smooth surface, certainly pleasant to the touch, but which tends to slip between the fingers during handling. Watch out if you’re the Gaston Lagaffe type. Overall, the design of the OnePlus 9 Pro is successful. We appreciate the know-how of the manufacturer in this area as well as the very chic, even luxurious visual appearance. However, the devil is in the details and we can regret a couple of little things, like a badly placed fingerprint sensor or a very messy shell. But overall, it’s a success for the manufacturer.

OnePlus 9 Pro

An almost perfect screen

The One Plus 9 Pro is equipped with a Samsung AMOLED panel with a size of 6.7 inches and of a definition in QHD +, or 3168x 1440 pixels. It has a refresh rate of 120 Hz, which brings additional visual comfort to the user compared to 60 Hz, but which has the drawback of consuming more battery. It should be noted that it is quite possible to switch back to 1080p and 60 Hz if you want to gain a little autonomy. We obviously analyzed the performance of the display using a probe, and the results convinced us.

OnePlus 9 Pro

The OnePlus 8T had us a little disappointed with the calibration of its panel. The brand has corrected the mistakes of the past by offering an almost perfect screen. It is possible to opt for three options. The first, Vif, “explodes” the colors to make the panel more impressive to the eye. The “Natural” mode offers, as its name suggests, respectful colors. Finally, the “advanced” mode gives the informed user the possibility of adjusting the temperature and colors themselves.

AMOLED obliges, we have infinite contrast, and this in all modes. The blacks are therefore deep and the whites are brilliant. In Vivid mode, the smartphone displays an average Delta E of 3.5, which is good. On closer inspection, we notice that it is mainly the reds, greens and yellows that are “flashy” to give a sparkling appearance to the screen. In natural mode, this average drops to 1.9, which is excellent. The original colors are therefore respected and this is the fashion to choose to admire your photos. Of course, it looks duller compared to “Lively”.

OnePlus 9 Pro
It is possible to customize the screen settings

We note that the “Vivid” mode displays a temperature of 6800K, which is good and close to the 6500K of the video standard. On a completely white display, it therefore draws very slightly towards the blue, but this is almost imperceptible. The natural mode is still exemplary, with a perfect temperature at 6500K. Finally, regarding the maximum brightness, it is correct without necessarily shining, at 545 cd / m² in vivid mode and 480 cd / m² in natural mode. This is not exceptional, but sufficient to have good visibility in direct sunlight. Ultimately, the screen of the OnePlus 9 Pro is excellent and flawless, offering perfect calibration and an image worthy of its rank.

Read also – OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro: 120 Hz, LPTO, DisplayMate … the brand reveals information on the screen

More than a good display, OnePlus offers a few interesting little things on its screen part. The most important is the adaptive resolution when the screen is in 1440p, in order to save energy. In other words, when you watch a video in 1080p, the screen automatically adopts this resolution in order to save battery. Clever and especially deactivatable if you want to upscale a video. Likewise, the 9 Pro has an adaptive refresh rate (as Samsung does on its S21) which ranges from 1 to 120 Hz. Once again, the screen adapts according to the content displayed (photos, videos, games, etc.). Small, very nice things that enhance user comfort and above all allow you to gain autonomy. We will see that the smartphone really needs it.

OnePlus 9 Pro

Finally, OnePlus places a lot of emphasis on the Hyper Touch function. Compatible with four games for the moment (Brawl Stars, LoL Wildrift, PUBG and Call of Duty), it allows to gain in game touch response time. Let’s face it, we are not avid mobile gamers and we are not. We haven’t noticed any big differences between our games with the mode activated and without, but there is no doubt that high-level players will find their advantage. Asus, for example, relies heavily on it on its ROG range.

OnePlus 9 Pro

Regarding the audio part, OnePlus has done a good job given the format of the product with clear and well-balanced sound. Note all the same an ingenious placement of the speaker, on the lower edge, but close to the edge. This means that when watching video, your palm will not press for the audio output, which is very welcome. A second speaker is located at the top of the screen.

OnePlus 9 Pro

An ultra-powerful smartphone

OnePlus has always used to put the latest Qualcomm processors in its terminals. The OnePlus 9 Pro (and the classic model) is no exception. It embeds a Snapdragon 888, the manufacturer’s flagship processor currently. The smartphone comes in two versions, one with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of memory and one with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of memory (which we are testing). Let’s not get into the suspense the OnePlus 9 Pro is one of the most powerful smartphones on the market today, placing itself alongside behemoths like the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the Asus ROG Phone 5 or the Redmi Mi 11. No worries about that.

OnePlus 9 Pro

In use, this translates into a powerful phone, both in classic navigation (no stuttering or crashing, obviously) or in games, which all run with the graphics at full blast. note that OnePlus still offers its game mode (formerly Fnatic) which allows you to see at a glance the performance, the heating of your phone and to share images or videos.

OnePlus 9 Pro

The Snapdragon 888 is a hot SoC and the OnePlus 9 Pro is no exception to this pitfall. However, the heat is well distributed over the surface of the phone and if it is there, it does not make the game unpleasant.

OnePlus 9 Pro

An OS still so well thought out

The OnePlus 9 Pro does not reinvent the wheel in its software part. We still have Android 11 with the Oxygen OS overlay, a duo that we know well because it is already present on the brand’s previous models. We are on familiar ground and we can say it once again, Oxygen OS is still the best overlay on the market.

OnePlus 9 Pro

Ultra customizable, it allows you to modify all aspects of the phone as you wish, such as the colors of the interface, the shape of the icons … but also various small things such as the animation of the fingerprint sensor, the color of the screen edges (when lying on its back and showing a notification) or even the OS font. We appreciate the always-on display mode, which offers several different and original displays (summary of your day, canva, classic photography, etc.).

OnePlus 9 Pro

But the great strength of Oxygen OS is good its ease of use. Indeed, it really brings more compared to classic Android, especially in its layout and the way it is designed. For example, when you use the screen with one hand, everything has been designed so that interactions can be done with the thumb in the proprietary applications, so in the lower part. It might be a detail, but we appreciate it. In short, not much to complain about this overlay, always exemplary both in its form and in what it offers in terms of use. An example to follow.

A quality photo part, but perfectible

OnePlus has always struggled to convince on its photo part. To try to correct this problem, the brand has put in the great means by signing a partnership with the Swedish manufacturer Hasselblad. This collaboration runs over three years and the OnePlus 9 range is the first to benefit from it. Thus, the company specializing in optics takes care of all the software part of the OnePlus 9 Pro, with some success. The terminal is equipped with a module consisting of four sensors. The main one is a 48 megapixel Sony IMX789 while the wide angle is a 50 megapixel Sony IMX766. Added to this is an 8-megapixel Telefoto sensor as well as a 2-megapixel monochrome sensor. Note that the classic OnePlus 9 has different sensors, but also benefits from the work of Hasselblad.

In automatic photo mode, the processing software works wonders. By day with good light, we have very mastered clichés, with good light balance and excellent color management. We are not at the performance level of a Huawei Mate 40 Pro, but we are facing a good digital camera, especially when we know the manufacturer’s liability in this area.

OnePlus 9 Pro
OnePlus 9 Pro
OnePlus 9 Pro

The module has a still very good 0.6 X wide angle as well as a 3.3 X optical zoom. Added to this is an X30 digital zoom which offers readable shots, if not usable.

OP9Pro
From top to bottom: Zoom x0.6, zoom x1, zoom x3.3 and zoom x30

The AFN is particularly good close upincluding a super macro mode that allows you to take excellent close-up photos.

OnePlus 9 Pro
OnePlus 9 Pro
OnePlus 9 Pro
OnePlus 9 Pro
OnePlus 9 Pro

The OnePlus 9 Pro has in a very well done portrait mode which allows you to focus on your model (both human and animal) and create a blur effect around him (and which also works in selfie). This treatment, of course software, works perfectly and gives natural photos. The cutting of the subject’s silhouette is indeed flawless. Good pick.

OnePlus 9 Pro
OnePlus 9 Pro

Note also the presence of a “tilt change” mode that allows you to take pictures in “model” mode. A little gadget that is not necessarily useful, but which once again gives very correct photos. Ideal for posting on social networks.

OnePlus 9 Pro
OnePlus 9 Pro

Night mode has also been improved, making it possible to have readable images even when the light is lacking. However, it should be noted that the software tends to exaggerate the brightness for a clearer rendering, to the detriment of the natural.

OnePlus 9 Pro
From top to bottom: day photo, night photo without night mode, night photo with night mode

Finally, OnePlus offers a very complete pro mode for the most informed users (with the possibility of saving their photos in RAW!), In addition to the traditional timelapse, panorama or slow motion modes.

Oneplus 9

A good camera, which finally allows OnePlus to offer a correct experience. We are not here facing the best photophone on the market, but a product that masters its subject, in particular thanks to its efficient software processing. It should be noted, however, that all is not rosy in the land of OnePlus, since we noted a small lag time between the moment we take the photo and the final snapshot, of the order of a few milliseconds. This poses no problem on models who know how to pose or on landscapes, but it can quickly become frustrating on constantly moving subjects, such as children or animals. Likewise, a perceptible grain may appear on some pictures, which is suspected to be the result of sometimes too much software processing.

OnePlus 9 Pro
The point is very responsive

Note that the video makes it possible to record in 8K and 30 FPS or 4K 120 FPS, which is very appreciable. The results are, not surprisingly, very good.

OnePlus 9 Pro

Autonomy that leaves much to be desired

The OnePlus 9 Pro has a 4,500mAh battery, which looks a bit tight on paper. In practice, this is confirmed. By activating the definition in 1440p as well as the refresh rate of 120 Hz (the maximum that we can do in terms of quality), we have struggling to make ends meet using the phone in a “normal” way with the battery level below 15% at bedtime. If you force a little on the use, you will be forced to go through the recharge box during the day. You save between 10% and 15% just by having a refresh rate of 60Hz. Switching to 1080p / 120Hz mode can last a day and a half, which is much better. In Full HD + and 60 Hz, we can still scavenge a few hours. Admittedly, the 1440p may seem a little gadget on this screen size and the visual gain is not huge, but it’s a bit of a shame to have to restrict yourself to a product at 1000 euros to hope to use your smartphone serenely, no ? In short, we are disappointed on this point, the battery being really the weak point of this terminal.

OnePlus 9 Pro

On the other hand, the OnePlus 9 Pro still offers a fast charging of 65 Watts very appreciable thanks to the charger provided in the box. In our various tests, we measured a recharge time of 2% to 100% in 39 minutes, which is very fast (but beyond the 28 minutes promised by OnePlus). Note that the terminal is also compatible with 50 Watt wireless charging. Using the suitable dock (but sold separately on the OnePlus website) we measured a charging time of 58 minutes. Again, this is impressive.

OnePlus 9 Pro

Note that when charging, Oxygen OS displays various information such as notifications or your commute time to work if you recharge it at the time you usually leave.

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