The OnePlus 9 Pro is the manufacturer’s latest smartphone and is already one of the top models on the market due to a number of special features. But can it also convince in everyday life? TECHNOLOGY BUTTON tested the smartphone.
In the run-up to the presentation of the OnePlus 9 Pro on March 23, OnePlus advertised some of the highlights of its new smartphone. Particular attention was paid to the DisplayMate award-winning display and the latest and even faster generation of WarpCharge charging technology. Another highlight: the collaboration with the traditional Swedish camera company Hasselblad. Overall, the specifications of the OnePlus 9 Pro sound extremely promising. But can the smartphone compete with the competition, which is also very good? TECHNOLOGY BUTTON took a closer look at the OnePlus 9 Pro in the test.
- Processing and design
- Display with distinction
- Technical features of the OnePlus 9 Pro
- Clean Android 11 without bloat apps
- Camera: OnePlus cooperates with Hasselblad
- OnePlus 9 Pro battery tested
- Conclusion of the test
Processing and design
Current smartphones currently do not impress with their compact format. And the OnePlus 9 Pro, with its dimensions of 163.2 × 73.6 × 8.7 millimeters, is anything but small. People with small hands will therefore find it difficult to operate the device with one hand. A fact that didn’t bother us much in the OnePlus 9 Pro test. Because now we are used to the large displays and have adapted our handling accordingly.
The manufacturer makes no compromises when it comes to processing. The OnePlus 9 Pro is waterproof according to IP68 and consists of glass and metal, whereby all components merge almost seamlessly. We couldn’t see any sharp edges or uncleanly processed areas in the OnePlus 9 Pro’s test. This fact and the use of the said materials make for a very high quality impression. However, glass and metal are also less flexible than plastic, for example. Falls or hard knocks can therefore cause major damage to the smartphone – a point that users should be aware of. It is positive that OnePlus includes a case with the 9 Pro. It is made of solid, light gray and non-transparent silicone and looks much higher quality than the cheap cove
Our test device in the color Morning Mist has a slightly silvery back. Polished to a high gloss, it almost looks like a mirror. The disadvantage, however, is that fingerprints are very noticeable. Picked up once, and the smartphone looks somehow grubby – a shame. We therefore recommend the use of a cover not only to protect the device, but also for its optics.
Partial rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Display with distinction
The OnePlus 9 Pro’s display is impressive. It’s not only eye-catching because of its size of 6.7 inches, the manufacturer has also only slightly curved the edges. This gives it a frameless look, but at the same time avoids a common problem with more curved screens. Because if the curvature is too strong, the glass reflects on the one hand, but it can also lead to users making unintentional inputs when they hold the smartphone in their hand. Such reflections or inputs did not occur in the test on the OnePlus 9 Pro.
But apart from the optics, the display knows how to please. OnePlus uses AMOLED technology with LTPO (Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide). The special backplane reduces the power consumption of the screen. At the same time, however, it also enables a dynamic refresh rate of 1 Hz to a maximum of 120 Hz – depending on whether users are looking at a static image or need fast and fluid image changes when gaming. Another new feature is Hyper Touch, a function that significantly reduces the response time for inputs. Here, too, the OnePlus 9 Pro offers advantages for gamers that we liked in the test. However, the function must be activated manually in the settings.
Overall, the display of the OnePlus 9 Pro convinced in the test with its natural color representation, HDR10 + support, high resolution and good contrasts. The screen displays a total of 3216 x 1440 pixels (QHD +) and thus has a pixel density of very good 525 ppi. With 1300 nits, the maximum brightness is also very high – almost too much for indoor use, but ideal when the sun shines strongly on the display outside. If you want, you can also activate a general dark mode or the “comfort tint” function in the settings. It automatically adjusts the color temperature of the display, for example reducing the blue light in the evening so that eyes are less tired.
Partial rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Technical features of the OnePlus 9 Pro
The OnePlus 9 Pro positions itself in the test as the flagship, i.e. as a smartphone in the absolute upper class. The technical equipment is also correspondingly. OnePlus offers a total of two versions of the 9 Pro. One comes with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage, another with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. In both cases, the manufacturer relies on the fast UFS 3.1 memory and the modern LPDDR5 RAM. And in both cases there is unfortunately no memory expansion via microSD card. Interested parties should consider this point when choosing the variant of the OnePlus 9 Pro that suits them best.
OnePlus opted for the Snapdragon 888 from Qualcomm for the System on Chip (SoC). Presented at the end of 2020, the chip manufactured using the 5 nanometer process offers a very modern architecture. The performance driver is the new Cortex-X1 core with up to 2.84 GHz, which is also known as the Prime Core. It gives the smartphone the boost it needs for particularly demanding tasks. On the other hand, three Cortex-A78 cores with up to 2.42 GHz are responsible for the rather everyday high performance. The four Cortex-A55 cores work less powerfully, but more efficiently. The Adreno 660 is used as the graphics unit.
With this architecture, the Snapdragon 888 is currently at the forefront of smartphone SoCs. In the AnTuTu test, the OnePlus achieved a peak value of 878,782 points and thus surpassed the Galaxy S21 by around 250,000 points in the list. Users * benefit from this performance not only in normal operation – here the OnePlus 9 Pro glides smoothly and without delay through applications. Gamers in particular can take advantage of the potential. Together with the display optimizations and the 120 Hz, we were even able to play demanding games like PUBG MOBILE in the test with the OnePlus 9 Pro without it stuttering anywhere. Very good!
Also read: Samsung Galaxy S21 in the test
Wifi 6E and 5G
The Snapdragon 888 gives the OnePlus 9 Pro even more advantages. He brings, for example, the 5G module Snapdragon X60, which allows up to 7.5 Gbit / s in the downstream and up to 3 Gbit / s in the upstream via the new cellular standard. The frequencies common in Germany are supported. If you prefer to surf via WLAN, you can not only use the 2.4 and 5 GHz band, the new Wifi 6E in the 6 GHz frequency range is also available. According to the Federal Network Agency’s plans, the band will be released this spring and will then allow significantly higher and faster data throughputs of up to 3.6 Gbit / s.
Partial rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Clean Android 11 without bloat apps
OnePlus delivers the 9 Pro with OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11. Thus, Google’s current mobile operating system runs on the smartphone. In addition, at the time of testing in mid-March, the security patch from February 2021 was installed. There are hardly any third-party apps, so the system is clean and tidy. OxygenOS 11 also offers some optimization options that are not only noticeable in operation, but also in optics.
For example, OnePlus has integrated the so-called Turbo Boost 3.0, which optimizes memory management. Users can now leave even more apps open in the background without affecting performance. If desired, the user interface can also be adapted – for example with system-wide dark mode, changeable accent colors or individual icons. The always-on display, which normally shows important information in white text on the black lock screen, can also be expanded with the new canvas function, even if it is still in beta. Users can select an image from the gallery, from which the Canvas extracts the outlines and displays them like a simplified drawing on the lock screen.
The OnePlus 9 Pro has various unlocking methods to protect the system, and we liked the fingerprint sensor the best in the test. It is fast and reliable and works even when the finger is a little wet. The optical sensor sits under the display and is easily accessible with both the index finger and the thumb. As an alternative to this method, the smartphone can also be unlocked with a PIN or password and face unlock.
Partial rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Camera: OnePlus cooperates with Hasselblad
In the past, there were already more frequent collaborations between large camera and smartphone manufacturers. Huawei, for example, has launched some of the best camera smartphones together with Leica, while Nokia has some successes with Zeiss. Now there is another cooperation with OnePlus and Hasselblad that is extremely promising. The Swedish company Hasselblad can look back on 180 years of experience in photography. One of the company’s cameras has even been on the moon: Neil Armstrong took one of the most famous photos of his colleague Buzz Aldrin in a spacesuit.
Together with Hasselblad, OnePlus has now developed a new camera system specifically for smartphones that will be used on OnePlus’ flagship devices over the next three years of cooperation. The Hasselblad camera in the OnePlus 9 Pro pays particular attention to software improvements including color matching and sensor calibration.
Ultra wide angle is in focus
OnePlus uses Sony camera sensors in its current flagship, although the main sensor is not in focus in the quad camera setup. Instead, the ultra-wide angle moves into the center, which also has the highest resolution at 50 megapixels. The basis here is the Sony IMX766 sensor with HDR and a 140-degree field of view, which is combined with a freeform lens. The advantage of this lens is the distortion-free display at the edges of the image compared to aspherical lenses. Lines, for example in buildings, appear less curved. Another special feature: The Sony IMX766 in the OnePlus 9 Pro is 1 / 1.56 inches, the largest ultra-wide-angle sensor in a smartphone to date. The competition uses significantly smaller sensors with 1 / 3.6 inches in the iPhone 12 Pro Max and 1 / 3.24 inches in the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
First smartphone camera with 4K and 120 FPS
The regular wide angle is based on the IMX789 sensor from Sony and offers a resolution of 48 megapixels. It is supported not only by an electronic image stabilizer (EIS), but also by an optical one (OIS). The aperture has a size of f / 1.8 and lets in a lot of light. The special thing about this sensor is, among other things, the ability to record 4K videos with up to 120 FPS (frames per second). In the test of the OnePlus 9 Pro, however, we initially had problems with video recording. After a short time, the smartphone overheated during 4K recordings with 30 FPS, so that the video stopped. This point would have been a big deduction in the test of the OnePlus 9 Pro if the manufacturer hadn’t reacted to our criticism so quickly. A short time after our report, OnePlus released an update, that eliminated the problem. Now the camera lasts much longer when recording video and works reliably.
The third sensor of the quad camera is a telephoto lens with 8 megapixels and f / 2.4 aperture as well as 3.3x hybrid and up to 30x digital zoom. An optical image stabilizer ensured sufficient stabilization of the recording in the test of the OnePlus 9 Pro with moderate zoom. However, if the zoom is used to the maximum, the OIS does not comply. The use of a tripod is therefore recommended here. Last but not least, the quad camera also has a monochrome sensor with 2 megapixels. It can be used to take real black and white photos without the software having to filter the colors.
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Camera recordings in the check
The camera app has two special features, if you want to call it that. On the one hand there is a trigger button in the typical Hasselblad orange, on the other hand OnePlus has modeled the trigger tone that of the Hasselblad cameras. The autofocus of the OnePlus 9 Pro responded extremely precisely and quickly in the test – a point that we noticed particularly positively. This means that you can take snapshots from the hip, as it were.
Tip: To enlarge the included sample photos, click on the respective image.
The quality of the photos can convince. However, you have to like the natural color representation. Unlike some other smartphone cameras, colors are not amplified or even exaggerated afterwards. Rather, the Hasselblad camera of the OnePlus 9 Pro captures motifs as they are. On a rather cloudy morning in March, a photo sometimes looks a bit gloomy and gray – as the weather suggests. But we didn’t think that’s bad, on the contrary. In this way a very special mood can be captured that would otherwise be lost.
We also enjoyed the macro mode during the recordings. It allows a subject to be approached to within a few centimeters without it becoming blurred. This way, details can be captured with astonishing sharpness and magnification.
OnePlus 9 Pro battery tested
120 Hz, gaming, 4K videos – all of this drains the battery. And the large display also needs to be supplied with power. With regard to these requirements, the battery capacity of 4500 mAh sounds rather average. The smartphone could not manage two days without power, but in the test of the OnePlus 9 Pro we came to one and a half days with average use. A good value, which is certainly due to the various energy-saving measures in hardware and software.
As is usual with current smartphones, the battery itself is permanently built into the housing. However, OnePlus has come up with something for the charging process and has updated its WarpCharge technology. When wired, the OnePlus 9 Pro now charges with a full 65 watts – so far, no smartphone charging technology has been faster. It is particularly positive that the manufacturer has included the appropriate power supply unit and cable in the scope of delivery. Buyers have an advantage here compared to the current smartphones from Apple or Samsung.
Even those who like to charge their smartphone wirelessly can now do so faster than before. Because the OnePlus 9 Pro supports wireless charging with up to 50 watts – with the OnePlus 8 Pro it was still 30 watts. The manufacturer uses the so-called dual-cell configuration. The battery is divided into two independent cells that charge at the same time with 25 watts each via the charging coil. According to OnePlus, a full battery charge is achieved in around 43 minutes. Wte were able to roughly confirm this value in the test of the OnePlus 9 Pro. We came to just under 46 minutes here. In order to be able to achieve such fast charging power wirelessly, users need the right wireless charger. OnePlus offers the WarpCharge 50 Wireless Charger as an optional accessory. He is allowing it,
Partial rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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Conclusion of the test
With the OnePlus 9 Pro, the manufacturer has launched a really good smartphone. The design is pleasing, even if the reflective surface of our test device chosen by OnePlus is unusable in everyday life. After a short period of use, it just doesn’t look nice anymore. In addition, the smartphone is anything but small, and interested parties should also consider this point when making a purchase decision.
The OnePlus 9 Pro offers the equipment of a current flagship smartphone and scores with some special features. So not only the display and the strong performance were convincing in the test, the Hasselblad camera also delivered. The photo results are more natural, so if you prefer stronger color optimizations, you are wrong here. However, the extensive camera modes offer plenty of opportunities to experiment with the images. However, users also need some time to get to know them all. Regarding the camera and the ability to record 4K videos in 120 FPS, it is a shame that the OnePlus 9 Pro does not have a memory card slot. In return for this, unlike some other smartphones, buyers get important accessories such as a power supply unit, a charging cable and even a usable cover for the OnePlus 9 Pro.
Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars