OnePlus has confirmed the launch date for its OnePlus 9 series of devices, along with a partner for its cameras. Here’s everything we know already about the OnePlus 9, including leaked specs and features.
While we’re excited about OnePlus’ recent focus on making more affordable phones like the OnePlus Nord, as with every year, we look forward to seeing what the company will deliver with its flagship line.
This year the range is expected to include the OnePlus 9, the OnePlus 9 Pro and possibly even the OnePlus 9R, which could be a cheaper version of the phone to take one the best mid-range phones.
The 9 series will follow in the footsteps of the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro. Last April, the standard model launched packing the high-end Snapdragon 865 processor, 5G connectivity and a rich OLED display, while the Pro version also came with an improved quad camera and wireless charging capabilities.
The OnePlus 8T was released in October, delivering top performance, a great display and incredibly fast charging, leaving us with high expectations for the 2021 line.
OnePlus 9 release date – expect it earlier than usual?
After many months of rumours, and earlier than expected release dates for the Samsung Galaxy S21 series, OnePlus has confirmed the date we’ll see the OnePlus 9 launch.
The launch will come on March 23 at 2 PM GMT(10pm SGT). Like all launches currently, the event will stream online. We’ll bring you live coverage of the event right here on this page.
OnePlus 9 camera – Collaboration with Hasselblad for the OnePlus 9 camera
Along with confirmation of the launch date, OnePlus also confirmed the previous speculation that it would be partnering with Hasselblad for the camera system on the new phone.
OnePlus has announced a three-year deal with Hasselblad to ‘co-develop’ future camera systems for OnePlus devices. The first phone that will come as part of this deal will be the OnePlus 9.
“OnePlus has always prioritized a premium user experience over everything else. Beginning in 2021, we are making a concerted effort to significantly improve the smartphone camera experience for our users, with the expertise of a truly legendary partner in Hasselblad,” said Pete Lau, Founder and CEO of OnePlus. “With OnePlus’ top-of-the-line hardware and computational photography and Hasselblad’s rich aesthetic knowledge in traditional photography, I am confident that the OnePlus 9 Series will be a major leap forward in our ability to deliver a premium, flagship camera.”
OnePlus has also delved a little deeper into what this partnership will include. This includes advanced colour calibration to ensure snaps shot with the camera have natural hues. There will also be a Hasselblad Pro Mode with a new UI based on the brand’s image processing software.
In terms of actual camera specs, we know the OnePlus 9 series will use a custom Sony IMX789 sensor, with 12-bit RAW support. You’ll also be able to record HDR video and 4K at 120fps.
Will the OnePlus 9 be one of the best camera phones around? We’ll just have to wait and see.
OnePlus 9 specs and features – a familiar screen and the OnePlus 9 ‘Lite’
An alleged listing on the Geekbench benchmarking app has been found showing a device reported to be the OnePlus 9 Pro packing 8GB RAM and the Snapdragon 888. OnePlus has always used high-end Qualcomm chips so this news comes as no surprise.
There has also been talk of a OnePlus 9 ‘Lite’. Despite its name, rumour has it the baby in the OnePlus 9 family could pack the powerful Snapdragon 865 processor found in the OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus 8 Pro.
According to Android Central, the OnePlus 9 Lite will arrive alongside the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro early this year, offering a cheaper option to those happy to settle for last year’s chipset. The device will also reportedly boast a 90 or 120Hz AMOLED screen and 65W fast charging.
As far as the OnePlus 9’s display is concerned, we could be in for something very familiar. According to Weibo tipster Digital Chat Station, the OnePlus 9 could boast the same 6.55-inch, 120Hz AMOLED screen as the OnePlus 8T.
In January, reliable leakster Max Jamboor took to Voice to report that the OnePlus 9 Pro will come kitted with 45W wireless charging. This is a big jump from the 30W wireless charging offered by the 8 Pro, which is already capable of charging up to 50% in under 30 minutes.
Jambor later hinted in a tweet that the 9 and the 9 Pro will pack a 4500mAh battery and confirmed that the phones will come with chargers in the box. We previously saw a 4510mAh battery in the OnePlus 8 Pro, but this time it looks as though the base model will be getting a sizable battery, too.
We found the 8 Pro‘s battery life varied depending on how you use it. The phone was able to provide between 5 and 6 hours of power with the screen at 120Hz/1080p, or 4 to 5 hours with the display dialled up to QHD+, but could be stretched out by turning down the display settings.
In terms of RAM, rumours so far have suggested the Pro model at least will pack 12GB of the stuff which should put it up there with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. While we’d still say 8GB is more than enough, OnePlus is known for pushing RAM levels up and we wouldn’t be at all surprised if there was a 16GB option too.
What do we want from the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro?
1. A OnePlus camera that’s as good as it can be
Cameras on OnePlus phones haven’t been bad as such, but it has always felt like the area where we’ve wanted more.
Instead of focussing on getting the picture quality right with the main camera, OnePlus has built around it and added fairly useless macro, black and white and other sensors that are little more than just dressing for a press release.
If ditching these secondary and tertiary sensors allowed for a strong main camera then we’d be all for it. And, most of the time, the specs are there. OnePlus uses great Sony sensors, has a well-designed app and is lightning quick to shoot with. Yet, the pictures can often fall flat with the background processing not quite as good as some of its rivals.
2. Ditch the curves
There was a time when curved screens on phones were new and exciting, giving them a futuristic look and feel. Samsung pioneered it with the Edge and slowly bought it to all the main Samsung flagships. Others followed and there was a period where curved displays would adorn each and every Android phone.
Thankfully, this has subsided somewhat. Samsung has all but ditched the heavy curve and we’d love OnePlus to do the same. The OnePlus 8 Pro was a beautifully designed device let down by an overly curved body that, when combined with its sizeable footprint, made it tricky to hold comfortably.
If it meant a slightly smaller display and less futuristic look, we’d much prefer OnePlus stick with a quality flat display for the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro.
3. Bring the expandable storage from the N10 and N100
The N10 and N100 were strange releases for OnePlus. They were cheaper devices that lacked some of the stalwarts we expect from a OnePlus device like the very useful ringer switch, in-display unlocking, up-to-date software and OLED displays. What they did bring to the table, for the first time since OnePlus X, was expandable storage.
With these phones shooting videos in 4K (and in some cases HDR at 60fps), game installs getting bigger and the focus on photography, it’s easy enough to fill up even a hefty amount of internal storage. Even though OnePlus has offered sizeable amounts of storage before, the safety net of a microSD card is always welcome.
4. Wireless charging and IP rating as standard
With the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro, the brand should understand that features like wireless charging and an IP water resistance rating shouldn’t be ‘Pro’ features, but ones that should be expected.
We’d love to see both devices ship with these handy extras and not used as upsells for the pricier version.
5. Keep that speedy, high-end feel
Out of all the Android phones we’ve reviewed in 2019, none come close to matching the OnePlus 8T for pure speed. That combination of the 120Hz display, Snapdragon 865 and all the OnePlus optimisations we assume are going in on the background combined to create an absolute speed champion.
We have no doubt OnePlus will look to continue this theme with its 2021 devices and we certainly hope that’s the case.
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