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OnePlus 9 – The Rapid Review

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Fast Facts

Operating System: OxygenOS based on Android™ 11
CPU: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 888
5G Chipset: X60
GPU: Adreno 660
RAM: 12GB LPDDR5
Storage: 256GB UFS 3.1 2-LANE
Battery: 4,500 mAh (2S1P 2,250 mAh, non-removable)
Warp Charge 65T (10V/6.5A)
15W Wireless Charging

OnePlus 9 Overview

If you’ve read any of our previous OnePlus reviews (Read here), you’ll know that we are big fans of the Chinese phone makers. Their latest offering, the OnePlus 9 Series, was recently revealed at an online launch event. They announced the OnePlus 9, OnePlus 9 Pro, and the highly anticipated OnePlus Watch. We were fortunate to have had a chance to spend some time with their OnePlus 9 handset. Read on for my Rapid Review.

What’s Included?

OnePlus 9 Review

Included in the box is the phone itself, the Warp Charge 65 Power Adapter and a Warp Charge Type-C to Type-C Cable. With many phone manufacturers now not including the charger, it’s great to see that OnePlus continues to do so.

Design and Build Quality

The OnePlus 9 is available in three colours; Astral Black, Arctic Sky, and Winter Mist. The handset that we reviewed came in the Winter Mist colour, and as you can see from the pictures below, it truly is a striking design. It’s hard to explain in words, but it almost looks like the colour starts blurry, then fades away as it moves down the handset; this can then be used as a mirror. When the light catches it, it shines, and I’ve had a few people comment on how nice the colour is.

At 192g, the OnePlus 9 feels light, but there is enough weight to the device to make it feel solid and secure when in hand. At 8.7mm thick, the 9 is a slim phone, and they have done a great job of making sure that the camera housing doesn’t protrude too much.

The front and back of the OnePlus 9 are made out of Corning Gorilla Glass, so they are both hardwearing and highly scratch resistant. The phone’s frame is made out of a “fibreglass reinforced polymer”, which to me felt like a stronger plastic. It looks great, but I feel like it might be susceptible to scratches as I did notice a couple of marks on the top of the phone, even after being very careful with the device. Of course, this could be prevented with a case.

However, it seems a shame to hide the gorgeous colour of the phone in a case. Speaking of durability, the OnePlus 9 comes with a pre-installed screen protector. When using gestures to navigate the phone, I did notice my finger catching the bottom edge of the screen protector. This isn’t a huge issue, but it may lead you to want to remove it. Fans of OnePlus will be happy to know that the alert slider is still present.

Lastly, and perhaps surprisingly, the OnePlus 9 doesn’t come with an IP rating against water and dust, whereas the OnePlus 9 Pro does. Again, this may not be an issue, but it would have been good to know you were covered if you do end up in the occasional downpour. This privilege is reserved for the OnePlus 9 Pro customers.

Screen and Sound

Screenwise, you’re getting a Corning Gorilla Glass 6.55” full HD, 120 Hz Fluid AMOLED display. If you’ve used the OnePlus 8T, you’ll be familiar with the flat display. The display is bright, up to 1,100 nits, and thanks to the HDR10+ certification, watching HDR videos on it is a treat. I watched Formula 1: Drive to Survive on the handset, and it was a great experience. Other notable features include improved auto-brightness control and comfort tone, which automatically adapts the screen colour based on ambient light.

In terms of audio, the OnePlus 9 has stereo speakers, with Dolby Atmos. This further enhances the enjoyment of watching films and playing games on the OnePlus 9—the only slight criticism of the speakers is the location. Due to the way that I hold the device, I found that I was covering the speaker at times, and as a result, the sound was quite muffled.

Powerful Performer

With 12GB of RAM and the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, the OnePlus 9 is the fastest handset that I’ve used to date. The phone’s speed was the initial improvement that stood out compared to the OnePlus 8T. The OnePlus 9 handled anything that I threw at it, whether multitasking or playing graphically intensive games. Until you try it, it’s hard to explain the difference in speed and performance. OnePlus have improved Turbo Boost, and with Turbo Boost 3.0, they state that you can keep 25% more apps open.

Great for Gaming

Gaming on the OnePlus 9 is a great experience. Thanks to a combination of hardware and software (Pro Gaming Mode), you can enjoy the most graphically-intensive games on the highest quality settings and with no distractions. The OnePlus 9 has an improved vapour chamber, which means that the phone stays relatively cool, even during long gaming sessions.

Quality Cameras

Main CameraUltra-Wide CameraMonochrome CameraFront Camera
Sensor: Sony IMX689
Sensor Size: 1/1.43″
Megapixels: 48
Pixel Size: 1.12µm
Lens Quantity: 7P
Focal Length: 23mm equivalent
Aperture: ƒ/1.8
Sensor: Sony IMX766
Sensor Size: 1/1.56″
Megapixels: 50
Lens Quantity: 7P
Focal Length: 14mm equivalent
Aperture: ƒ/2.2
Lens: Freeform Lens
Megapixels: 2Sensor: Sony IMX471
Megapixels: 16
Pixel Size: 1.0 µm
EIS: Yes
Autofocus: Fixed Focus
Aperture: ƒ/2.4

The majority of the time in the 9 series launch was taken up with the announcement of the new partnership with Hasselblad and how they have helped OnePlus with their cameras. The initial improvements are focused on the colour balance of the cameras. So, what are the cameras? You’re getting three cameras, all of which are the same ones that can be found on the OnePlus 9 Pro. They are a 48MP primary camera, a 50MP Ultra-Wide Camera, and a 2MP monochrome camera. Hidden in the top-left hand corner of the phone, you’ll find a 16MP Front Camera.

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As with all of my reviews, I’m going to let the pictures do the talking. You will see in the gallery that the picture quality you can achieve is fantastic. As an amateur photographer, taking photos of this quality without doing much is a selling point for me. Furthermore, if you want to have more control over your photographs, you can use the Hasselblad Pro mode. This mode allows you to tweak different aspects of your picture, for example, ISO, exposure time and focus.

Furthermore, the OnePlus 9 records fantastic videos, with the main camera capable of recording up to 8K 30FPS. Other notable features are the ability to record timelapse videos and using Nightscape Video 2.0; you can record detailed videos at nighttime.

Worth the Hasselblad?

This is the beginning of OnePlus’ partnership with Hasselblad, and therefore I do not think we’ve seen the partnership’s full potential. The OnePlus 9 cameras have benefited in that the colours are far more natural and accurate. Still, I feel that we will see the full benefits of the partnership in future handsets.

Battery and Charging

I put the OnePlus 9 battery through its paces, and the 4,500 mAh battery will easily get you through the day. After a day of gaming, tweeting, listening to podcasts, sending emails, and watching videos on Netflix, the battery still had some power. However, with the 65T charger, thankfully included in the box, battery life should never be an issue as you’re able to charge the phone in around 30 minutes fully. It’s incredibly satisfying to see the battery fill up in front of your eyes. The OnePlus 9 also features wireless charging, although this is only 15W Qi wireless, nowhere near as fast as the 65T charger. Another helpful aspect of the charger is that you can use it to power other devices such as laptops, tablets and gaming devices.

Oxygen OS 11

I’ve spoken previously about how good Oxygen OS 11 is, which continues to be the case on the OnePlus 9. It’s a very smooth experience, and I like the different ways you can customise the look and feel of the UI. Fans of always-on displays will be thrilled to know that the analogue clock now has TWO moving hands. I jest, but in all seriousness, it’s these little bits of attention to detail that OnePlus will hope that fans will enjoy.

Rapid Recap

+ Blazingly fast
+ Great for Gaming
+ Gorgeous Screen
+ Brilliant Cameras
+ Ultra-fast charging
– Slow wireless charging
– Plastic feeling edges liable to scratching
– No waterproof rating
– The pre-installed screen protector can get in the way.

The Final Word

The OnePlus 9 takes the crown as the best Android phone that I’ve used to date. It looks great, performs amazingly well, and the cameras produce excellent shots. If you haven’t given OnePlus a go before, now might be the time.

Rapid Reviews Rating

gold score

4.5 out of 5

4.5

You can pre-order the OnePlus 9 from the OnePlus Store.

If you enjoyed reading this phone review, follow this link to read our other phone reviews.

One Comment

  • Millie

    YESSS, I’ve been waiting for this review from you guys! I didn’t catch the virtual event due to work so really appreciate this review. I don’t think I’m going to be able to buy the new phone but it is still exciting to see what has been updated. I’m excited to hear more about the OnePlus Watch over the next month as that is something I may buy!

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