If you’re upgrading from the OnePlus 5 or 6 Series, look no further than the OnePlus 9 with its significantly improved performance and features.

OnePlus 9 in Winter Mist
Atom Review Thursday, April 08, 2021 - 18:20

The sore point about OnePlus devices has always been the camera, and with its partnership with Hasselblad the company aims to fix just that. And it has been its focus with the 9 series launch this year. While the OnePlus 9 Pro may have the spotlight, the OnePlus 9 isn’t too much of a step down for a significant price reduction. 

Starting off, the phone, by design, has a flat screen rather than a curved one, and is fairly similar to the OnePlus 8T. But the device has moved to a plastic frame (though the back panel is still glass). We received the OnePlus 9 in Winter Mist, a lilac variant of the phone. While pleasing to look at, the glossy finish ensures that the back panel is a fingerprint magnet. The camera is in the same location but is larger than earlier. The phones other features are the same as earlier — the alert slider on the right, stereo speakers, USB-C port and no headphone jack. Despite being a large phone, it weighs in at 183 grams and is comfortable to hold and use in one hand. The fingerprint sensor, built into the screen, is quick and responsive.

Both the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, 120Hz display, Warp Charge 65T and a 4,500 mAH battery. 

Coming to the phone’s main focus — the camera. It features three lenses — wide, ultrawide and 2 MP monochrome. What the phone lacks, however, is a telephoto zoom camera. The Pro, on the other hand, has a quad camera array with a telephoto camera as well for better zoom, and a better camera sensor (with optical image stabilisation) when compared to the OnePlus 9.  

If the camera is of primary importance, the OnePlus 9 Pro may be a better choice, but the OnePlus 9 does not disappoint. Both of these phones can shoot upto 8K at 30 frames per second as well. 

The camera does have a pro mode for you to make your adjustments while you shoot in daylight as well as in nightscape. Photos captured at low light and at night are excellent, and capture details well. Shots captured at daytime are more natural and true to life, and have more colours as well. 

The 16MP front-facing camera capture is good with accuracy when it comes to skintones, but seems to be smoothing out details or imperfections on the skin. 

Performance

We tested out the 12+256 GB, and the phone was responsive and quick and did not lag, despite switching between multiple apps, watching videos or playing games. However, while playing games as well as using Bluetooth, the phone did mildly heat up.  

Out of the box, the OnePlus 9 runs on the Android 11 based OxygenOS, and in the week we used the phone, there were already two updates which included updates to the camera and system updates as well. The phone is responsive, and did not lag despite constantly switching between multiple apps. The phone does come with a power adapter with Warp Charge 65T, and charges the phone from 0-100% in around half an hour, as promised. 

Coming to battery, the phone lasted me a full day and then some on a regular day’s use — including calls, using the bluetooth headphones for both calls and music, attending meetings as well as watching episodes on streaming platforms. 

Fair warning - the OnePlus 9 does not have an IP rating for water and dust resistance, unlike the 9 Pro.

The OnePlus 9 does have its shortcomings, but it isn’t too much of a downgrade from the OnePlus 9 Pro for a significant reduction in price. If you’re upgrading from the OnePlus 5 or 6 Series, look no further than the OnePlus 9 with its significantly improved battery life, camera as well as performance. If you’re looking at upgrading from the OnePlus 8T, you could hold off on getting the OnePlus 9.

OnePlus 9 is priced at Rs 49,999 for the 8+128GB, and Rs 54,999 for the 12+256GB.  

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