What We Like
- Extraordinary Performance
- Great Back Cameras
- Addictive Display
- Lightning Fast Charging Support
What We Don’t Like
- No Waterproofing
- Outdated Screen Protection
- Plastic Frame
When you talk about smartphones running Android, it becomes impossible to not mention OnePlus. Such excellence demands consistency with producing great phones, having everything a buyer quests from them.
And OnePlus, with its OnePlus 9, has surely maintained the flow that earned its 2021 flagship many sought-after awards.
However, since the OnePlus 9 was launched in the market, there have been many developments, and by developments we mean, some serious smartphones.
Smartphones like Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, iPhone 13, and Google Pixel 6 have just elevated the standard that our reviewee set right after its launch.
Such competition has left the OnePlus 9 with little to no spotlight, which is directed towards the newest releases.
As a result, many people, including you, stumbled upon finally proceeding with the OnePlus 9, thanks to its competitors. However, we’d say that the OnePlus 9 isn’t a device that you should wobble with; you should consider other options, but the forgotten champion must not be neglected.
Because it is equipped with specifications that are futuristic, and still cater to your requirements.
Also, its price tag, which is reasonably reduced, provided that the OnePlus 9 launched back in 2021 for around $800, and since then has been made available against $600, a straight $200 drop.
We’d agree with the fact that the Google Pixel 6 is available for the same price tag, but the specs that the OnePlus 9 boasts are the same as the Pixel 6’s pro version, even better at some places.
So, we wouldn’t stop you from making a move for the newest flagship releases, but we’d suggest you read this OnePlus 9 review till the end to find the better device for your whatever use, be it gaming, photography, editing, multitasking, and so on…
The OnePlus 9 might be a bit old, but we’d confidently say that it is a futuristic phone having exceptional specs that many latest flagships still fail to deliver.
Anyways, let’s hop onto the journey of reviewing the OnePlus 9, and conclude its place in the modern smartphone mania once and for all.
The verdict, however, won’t be valid if a better device from OnePlus itself, or any other brand pops up, just so you know. Actually, forget it, we tried joking here, please pardon our efforts for joking at the wrong place and wrong time.
What does the OnePlus 9 offer that the latest respective flagships fail to deliver?
That’s a neat question, and besides being neat, it’s intriguing for us. Because we could answer this all day long and still have some material unspoken. However, don’t be frightened, we’d mention only as much as needed, and that would help you be decisive with finalizing your next Android smartphone.
That said, here is where the OnePlus 9 takes the lead from the respective but latest flagships coming from renowned brands in 2022. These will totally put you in a thrilling state.
OnePlus 9 65W Fast Charging + Wireless Charging Support
Though the OnePlus 9 features an arguably bigger battery, it still drains. And it hurts like anything when it drains at the most needed moment. But how about if we tell you that you could boost-charge the entire OnePlus 9’s battery within 29 minutes only?
Not to us, say thanks to OnePlus for including a whopping 65W fast charging support that was a much-needed feature if you are a gamer, photographer, influencer, etc.
However, the charging duration might fluctuate a bit because the time we told you is per the advertisement run officially by OnePlus. But it won’t fluctuate drastically, say 5 or 7 minutes more, that’s it.
Now let’s have a look at its competitors, featuring at more or less the same price tag, but bringing what fast-charging supports to the table?
Google Pixel 6, the now arch-rival of the OnePlus 9, packs a 114mAH more battery than the OnePlus 9, which makes it 4614mAh, and ultimately bigger, though by a small difference.
However, the Pixel 6 supports 30W fast charging, which is almost half of what the OnePlus 9 offers. It also means that you won’t get a full charge in 30 minutes, but half of it.
Moving forward, you get another alternative, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, which opens up to a 4500mAh battery, the same as of the OnePlus 9. But the fast-charging support it boasts is even lesser than Pixel 6, let alone the OnePlus 9. It features a 25W fast-charging speed that takes more or less an hour to fully charge your phone.
Now if you are looking for wireless charging support, we’d say we included the wireless charging support as a value-added feature paired with a lightning 65W fast-charging, not as a separate entity. If you talk about the wireless charging support in individual manners, the OnePlus 9 would easily be outranked by all its competitors.
So, you tell us now, would you care to pick up an outdated powerhouse, or you’d rather go for the flagships that still have room for betterment as compared to the OnePlus 9. You can’t obviously opt for it just because it has a 65W fast-charging support (the rest is coming below), you may at least have got an idea about the capability of the OnePlus 9.
OnePlus 9 Cameras — Can’t find 8K, but with OnePlus
If you tell us that you don’t have to do anything with the camera, you’d only be making no sense. Because no matter how stiff of a no-photography person you are, if you come across a heartfelt or exciting moment you’d always want to capture it for the sake of old memories. And the OnePlus 9 lets you do just that, and even better.
The device boasts a camera that blows a new life into your photos and makes them even more lively. So whenever you look at them again, you feel the same joy as you felt while living the moment.
We might have already been exaggerated, which we obviously didn’t mean to. But what we meant was to place the authentic picture of the kind of camera the OnePlus 9 hosts.
Backed with three cameras, the OnePlus 9 has a main camera of 48 MP, an ultrawide camera of 50 MP, and a 2 MP macro camera.
Alright! What’s so unique about it? You’re right, any phone, but not its competitors, could boast such a camera, but not the Hasselblad color calibration—exclusive to the OnePlus 9.
The quality of photos produced from the OnePlus 9’s camera is super-exciting as it is vivid, sharp, and toned. It doesn’t matter if you are shooting with a standard or ultrawide lens, the results would be as surprising as with its pro version, the OnePlus 9 Pro.
However, there would definitely be some compromises, since the OnePlus 9 is more economical than its pro version, but you won’t even notice them.
You’d find the shadows more detailed, the exposure well-maintained, and all other factors well-balanced. So in short, it is a win-win situation for you, you just have to elicit the OnePlus 9 out of your pocket, and click the shot, saving a mesmerizing photo in your gallery.
That said, if you are from those who prefer being out at night and capturing the photos accordingly, you may face some drawbacks of the camera.
The colors won’t be as accurate as you’d see in the photos clicked under daylight, there’d be a lack of sharpness, and the exposure wouldn’t be up to the mark.
As a result, it’d be just to say that the OnePlus 9 isn’t for night-time photography, but would do if you rarely capture the night moments, or don’t care much about the detailing.
Now for the key point, which is the 8K video-recording capability, and where the OnePlus 9 explicitly dominates the competition. None of its competitors, including the Google Pixel 6, and Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, offers such a feature.
Though you could only shoot at 30 frames per second, you can still shoot. But you wouldn’t find any stability, for that you’d have to place the phone on a tripod, which would help you achieve better results.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, however, lets you record the video at 720P, and that too at 960 frames per second, which alongside being appreciated, is a feature that neither the OnePlus 9 itself nor Google Pixel 6 carries. Both of them limit to 1080P at 240 frames per second, which is still good if you are not much of a slow-motion shots-producing guy.
OnePlus 9 120Hz Fluid AMOLED Display
To crack this open, let us list the displays that its competitors and OnePlus 9 itself are equipped with:
- Google Pixel 6 – AMOLED 90Hz Display
- Samsung Galaxy S21 FE – Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz Display
- OnePlus 9 – Fluid AMOLED 120Hz Display
You may or you may not find yourself stuck when understanding the differences between each of them; either way, let us describe it all to you.
The first two smartphones Google Pixel 6 and Samsung Galaxy S21 FE both feature AMOLEDs, but the difference between them is screen refresh rate and the types of AMOLED.
The Pixel 6 features a simple AMOLED panel having a 90Hz screen refresh rate, and the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, on the other hand, encloses a 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED ‘2X’.
The difference, however, between AMOLED and Dynamic AMOLED 2X is that the latter is more vibrant and has an even enhanced peak brightness.
We don’t need to clear the difference between refresh rates, as the higher the rates, the better the smoothness on the screens. Now let’s pair it with the display of the OnePlus 9, which is 120Hz Fluid AMOLED.
Though its display is better than Google Pixel 6, and doesn’t vary much from the Samsung S21 FE, it is still better than both of them.
Why? Because the smoothness you’d experience in the Fluid AMOLED panel will be slightly better than the smoothness in both the Google Pixel 6 and Samsung S21 FE. And while you could scroll both S21 FE and OnePlus 9 at 120Hz, you’d still feel the difference.
That said, all three smartphones work excellent under bright sunlight and produce great colors. But since all of them are AMOLED, you’d have to be extra careful with your phone; because the moment you drop it off from a considerable height (say any higher than 6.5ft), you’d find your display burst.
OnePlus 9 Internals — All but one
The word ‘internals’ engulf processors, RAM, ROM, and GPU. And all of them in the OnePlus 9, and all of its competitors are truly phenomenal. However, then again, there is a ‘but,’ raised by the OnePlus 9 itself. And for what? For the variance in internals.
Where both Google Pixel 6 and Samsung Galaxy S21 FE feature a maximum of 8 gigs of ram, the OnePlus 9 tops them with 12 gigs of random access memory, being the only bearer in the competition.
We know, 6 gigs or 8 gigs might do well for you, but then again, you need to take every single thing into account, for this is the OnePlus 9 review.
Anyways, the RAM capacity isn’t the only difference among the three, you should also be aware of the ROM type. The Samsung S21 FE doesn’t feature a UFS (universal flash storage) ROM, rather a standard one.
The rest of the two, however, are empowered with the UFS 3.1 storage, which is faster than the standard eMMC ROMs. So, not very much, but you’d definitely notice the difference in the speed if you put your smartphone into rigorous use.
All right! How else does this all concern me? Surely with the use. We are sure if you opt for an 8 gigs variant, you wouldn’t feel any lacking or poor performance, but 12 gigs variant will mean more speed, more space, and more performance, which you’d feel right away as soon as you tag along with a video game, browsing, or multi-tasking.
What do other respective flagships offer that the OnePlus 9 fails to deliver?
No smartphone in the world is perfect, and cannot be. Because in the past years, the competition among the brands has launched off the skies, enabling brands to put every single effort into producing one beast of a phone, which would ultimately let their brand take the lead.
The same is the case with the OnePlus 9. Where it proves worthy of your every single penny, there are some gray areas that wouldn’t let it do so—the areas that would let its competition win, and not make the OnePlus 9 lose, but struggle.
With that being said, here are the areas where the OnePlus 9 in comparison with its competitors struggles to get where it needs to be.
After exploring these marks, you’d finally be able to conclude if the OnePlus 9 is the device you’d be opting for, or there lies an alternative to cater to your requirements.
OnePlus 9 Selfie Camera
Samsung S21 FE has an explicit lead here since it features a 32 MP selfie camera, which allows you to record videos at 2160P (4K) at 60 frames per second, and the results are actually good. As for the OnePlus 9, you could only record the video in 1080P (Full HD) at 30 FPS, shot with a 16 MP front-facing camera.
The Google Pixel 6 has even less, equipped with an 8 MP lens, and offering 1080P video recording at 30 frames per second. So if you are more of a selfie or vlogger guy, you might not find the OnePlus 9 meeting your standards, thereby, looking elsewhere would be suggested.
OnePlus 9 Screen Protection
When making a decision of buying a phone worth $600, would that be okay if you don’t expect any protection on its screen? It surely won’t be, what’s the point of buying such an expensive phone, when all it requires is a tiny drop on the surface and you’ll again have to spend half of the actual price you bought the phone for.
However, you wouldn’t have to spend that much money if you opt for the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, or Google Pixel 6. And why is that? Because both of them carry the newly formulated Corning Gorilla Glass Victus protection, which is way better than that of the OnePlus 9’s Gorilla Glass 5.
Know what’s surprising about Gorilla Glass Victus? You could drop your phone from as much as 6.5ft and still be picking it up intact. But, when you talk about Corning Gorilla Glass 5, you’d have to be cautious even when measuring a distance of 3.5ft between your phone and the floor because its screen will be crack-rich as soon as you have a look at it after picking it off the ground.
As a result, you’d be spending, if not 70%, 50% of the original price tag on its repair, which would ultimately cause you as much expenditure as the OnePlus 9’s price tag at the time of launch, i.e.$800. With this in mind, let’s conclude that you’d have to be extra careful with its handling and placement, otherwise you’d be facing a great loss and internal regret.
OnePlus 9 Aluminum Frame
While the OnePlus 9 is generous with the internals, cameras, display, and charging support, there is a part where it stopped being one, the body frame. Where the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE and Google Pixel 6 feature aluminum frames, the OnePlus 9 has one made of plastic.
At the first glance, you may be forced to believe the frame is made of metal, but as soon as you examine it, you’d feel the difference.
Now if you are wondering what does the plastic or aluminum frame have to do with you? Let us tell you. Smartphones having plastic body frames tend to look less premium and robust.
That said, since the OnePlus 9 has a Gorilla Glass 5 screen protection, and now a plastic frame, you may not want to go for this device if you seek a rough and tough smartphone.
Because the back and the front are made with Glass, which itself isn’t that protected against the drops or hits.
So, here, I’d say you are better off looking for other choices. Or if you deem it fine, choose one from its competitors, because the build isn’t that solid, and may test your patience, if you often find your phone under the table, couch, or with a missed call from another phone.
OnePlus 9 Waterproofing
We wouldn’t believe it if you tell us that the smartphone you are using, for now, hasn’t been through the spills, splashes, and drowning of water. Because, I, being an absolute caring person for my smartphones, have had devices going down just because they had a few spills of water.
However, some of them managed to come back from death, thanks to their waterproofing, and stubbornness of not dying.
But, if it was for the OnePlus 9, we are sure it would have long asked us to pass our blessings and recite ‘Rest In Peace.’ Because it doesn’t have any waterproofing on it, except for the T-Mobile version as per some websites, though we haven’t tested it yet.
But I’d suggest you keep your distance if you are or were opting for the OnePlus 9 just because it would be solid and waterproof.
And absolutely not, if you often eat with your smartphone playing movies, dramas, or serials, and placed right below your devouring mouth.
There would be the spills of your food on your phone, which would ultimately cause it to exhale its last breaths. And we can bet you wouldn’t want it to happen to your, a bit new, but $600 smartphone.
The OnePlus 9 is a powerhouse, that’s for sure, and you can expect amazing things from this device, i.e., performance, swift and flawless gaming, photography, and fluid display.
But, if you are more of a guy who’s into opting for the smartphones that come pre-sealed for water or spillage, have robust build (in terms of body frame), and exceptional screen protection, you may have to look elsewhere. Because that’s a trade-off you’d have to make to experience the majesty of the OnePlus 9.
But, if you say you’d be cautious and careful with the OnePlus 9, you could do more with the device. What we meant to say is if your use with the device is within the stone walls, and more on the bed and couches, the OnePlus 9 as we said, is a forgotten champion, and by opting for it, you’d be reviving it for the world.
Not to forget the selfie camera, it is good, it is even better, but not as better as its competitors. I’d suggest you not opt for it if you are an influencer or social media photographer etc. But we would definitely recommend the OnePlus 9, if you occasionally take photographs of yourself and your friends hanging out at parties, bars, and cinemas, this would do more good for you.
You’d find the results also better, and this way what you paid for, will be compensated with its performance. So, to conclude it all, the OnePlus 9 is actually a phone made in 2021 for 2022, but from the performance side, and lacks the charm when it comes to the overall protection of the device.
All hail, the forgotten performance champion!