Who Is The OnePlus 9 Pro For?

  • The OnePlus 9 Pro has the fastest charging around, both wired and wireless
  • The screen on the OnePlus 9 Pro is vibrant and crystal clear
  • The Hasselblad camera is impressive, and photos are incredibly detailed
The OnePlus 9 Pro is much more than its Hasselblad camera

Cell phones generally have new features and improved specs with each iteration, and each generation of products usually picks a selling point to help make their product stand out over the competition. That's the case of the OnePlus 9 Pro, which proudly touts its partnership with respected camera company Hasselblad as frequently as possible.

While the OnePlus 9 Pro does have a generally impressive camera, it feels like OnePlus is highlighting the wrong aspects of the 9 Pro. What OnePlus should be focusing on is the absolutely insane charge times and the crystal clear display.

All About The Camera

Given the partnership with Hasselblad, the major highlight of the OnePlus 9 Pro is its camera. The 9 Pro has four camera lenses: a 50 MP wide-angle lens, a 48 MP main camera, an 8 MP optical zoom lens (which has up to a 3.3x optical zoom), and a dedicated monochrome camera. To put it simply, the 9 Pro's camera is almost too good.

The 9 Pro's wide-angle lens

A basic photograph with the 9 Pro includes an incredibly high level of detail. It's possible to zoom in on a person's face and count individual eyebrow hairs. It's incredible, but that level of detail has some major downsides. The biggest is that pictures can look very "crunchy". The 9 Pro seemingly highlights every texture possible, which can make photos look visually overloaded.

The same shot as above, but with the standard lens

That's not to say the OnePlus 9 Pro has a bad camera. Far from it. The 9 Pro really excels in landscape photography, and can make every pixel of a photo shine regardless of light or shadow. Close up photography also consistently impresses with the 9 Pro, as the photos really highlight the texture and minute details of a subject.

The same shot again, but using the telephoto lens

That same level of detail is present in photographs of people's faces. That means every detail of someone's face is captured in a photo, both good and bad. Don't want to see wrinkles around your eyes? Too bad. You have a scar from surgery you are self-conscious about? Expect it to be pronounced.

To see what I mean with "crunchy," look at the grass. It's almost too textured, making it look overloaded and unnatural

The 9 Pro also stands out on the video side of things as well, with recording capabilities as high as 8K resolution at 30 frames per second. If a smoother video is wanted, the 9 Pro is capable of filming at 120 frames per second, but only in 4K. That's still crazy, and it'll be difficult to find a large screen that can even play back anything in 8K, let alone 4K at 120 fps.

Screen Display

While the Hasselblad camera on the 9 Pro has its ups and downs, the 9 Pro's screen shines, both literally and metaphorically. The pictures the 9 Pro takes all look remarkable on the 9 Pro screen, as do videos and games.

One of the secrets to the great display is what OnePlus calls Fluid Display 2.0. This allows the 9 Pro's screen to change its refresh rate to allow for a smooth experience while conserving battery life. If looking at a static image, the phone will drop the framerate low, as no movement is happening on the screen. When watching videos or scrolling through social media, the screen will increase up to 120 frames per second for a smooth experience.

I could spout out all the test results and stats for the screen when it comes to brightness, features and others, but to keep it simple, the 9 Pro's screen looks fantastic. When watching a 4K video with HDR, like this video of Costa Rican wildlife, the reptile textures and floral colors practically jump off the screen. The 9 Pro's screen is probably the best one in my apartment, and that includes TVs and computer monitors.

The screen fills the entire front of the OnePlus 9 Pro

The 9 Pro also uses up the entirety of its 6.7-inch display with the only cutout being for the front-facing camera lens in the upper left corner. This allows pictures, videos and games to really show off their stuff as they can take up the whole screen.

Performance

The OnePlus 9 Pro is fast, responsive and doesn't come with a lot of the bloat that other cell phones come bundled with. The speed of the phone is largely thanks to the impressive CPU hardware hidden inside. This includes the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 mobile platform, which packs in support for WiFi 6, 5G wireless and Bluetooth.

The 9 Pro really excels at close-up shots

When the Snapdragon 888 pairs with OnePlus' OxygenOS 11, it makes magic. OxygenOS 11 is a sleek, improved version of Android that removes a lot of the junk that comes pre-installed on many cell phones and includes tons of unique and useful features. For example, there's a setting that will automatically launch one of a number of apps depending on the shape you draw on the lock screen. This can be made so fine-tuned that it will directly launch into a specific Twitter account if wanted.

There are tons of cool little features in OxygenOS 11, and the more I spent digging into settings and configurations, the more I discovered. I'm also a huge sucker for the swipe controls, to the point where I find myself trying to swipe on other cell phones to perform actions that the 9 Pro includes.

Audio

Every aspect of audio when it comes to the OnePlus 9 Pro is fine. Nothing really stands out as a new breakthrough in audio technology or performance, but there are certainly no complaints either. Phone calls sound just fine and don't require any adjustments or balancing. Bluetooth devices connect quickly and have an impressive signal strength, allowing for listening from across my apartment without any audio breaking up. It's not going to blow anyone away, but it all works exactly how it should.

It's possible to zoom into the beard on the statue to see its texture

The speaker built into the OnePlus 9 Pro is capable of getting pretty loud. Even when it is set low, I find myself having to turn down the volume before I become too distracting to others. While the volume is loud, the quality never suffers from it. The speaker never gets buzzy or distorted, so music does come through pretty clearly.

As expected with any cell phone these days, the 9 Pro does not come with a 3.5mm headset jack. That said, the USB-C port used for charging can also be used for USB-C powered headphones. USB-C to 3.5mm converters also work just fine with the 9 Pro if you don't have anything wireless or with a USB-C plug.

Stylish Looks

The OnePlus 9 Pro is an attractive phone from a physical standpoint, although it doesn't do much to stand out from most other cell phones. The 9 Pro is still a flat rectangle with its major camera lenses on the back and a few buttons on the sides. At only 2.2mm thick and around 0.4 pounds, the 9 Pro easily slips into any pocket and isn't going to weigh anyone down.

The 9 Pro is nice and thin, making it great for slipping into pockets

While this certainly isn't reinventing the wheel, the 9 Pro still feels great to the touch. The 9 Pro only comes with a curved display, which may be annoying for those of us who prefer a flat screen. The 9 Pro also comes in three different color options, but seeing as how my phone stays in a case almost exclusively, this doesn't really make a difference for me.

Battery Life

Wireless charging was introduced to OnePlus with the OnePlus 8 line of phones, and the feature has returned for the OnePlus 9 line as well. Wireless charging hasn't just returned either, it's been improved over the older line of phones.

The OnePlus 9 Pro includes Wireless Warp Charge. When using the OnePlus Warp 50 Wireless Supercharger (which doesn't come with the 9 Pro and needs to be purchased separately for $70), the OnePlus 9 Pro can go from dead to 100 percent charged in under 50 minutes. This is an improvement over the OnePlus 8 line's wireless charging capabilities. Along with the faster speeds, the OnePlus 9 Pro can also sit horizontally on the wireless charger if users want to watch something while their phone is charging.

The 9 Pro can be charged both in vertical and landscape orientation wirelessly

All of this speed does come at a cost, which is noise. The Warp 50 wireless charger has a fan built into the bottom of it which kicks on when the 9 Pro is charging. The noise isn't that loud, and is drowned out when sitting next to my desktop computer. If it does get annoying, the 9 Pro can activate what is referred to as Sleep Mode. This mode slows down charging while also dropping the power of the charger. This allows the fan to take a break.

In my tests, my OnePlus 9 Pro went from 10 percent to 25 percent charged in five minutes when using the Warp 50 wireless charger. After 30 minutes, the 9 Pro had reached 76 percent, and was fully charged in 45 minutes and 21 seconds, when starting from 10 percent. The charging is so fast, it went from 10 percent to 12 percent in under 45 seconds. That's outrageous.

My 9 Pro is the Morning Mist color, though it basically lives in a protective case

Of course, wired charging for the OnePlus 9 Pro works even faster than wireless charging. Starting from a completely dead state, the OnePlus 9 Pro took about four minutes from being plugged in until it had enough juice to power on and give me the starting "1%" indicator. When I looked back at around the 16 minute mark, the phone had already reached 52% charged. Twenty minutes after plugging the charger in the phone had reached a 65% charge, and reached 100% in 37 minutes. This is with the phone completely off, so charge speeds are probably a little faster than normal. Additionally, the 9 Pro has gotten a little hot while charging, but nothing too extreme.

As for how long the 9 Pro battery lasts, that comes down to usage. Using the phone fairly heavily, my full charge lasted me through the afternoon, overnight, and into the morning. The battery won't last me a full 24 hours, but it will get me maybe 20 hours of life (with eight of those hours spent sleeping).

Weird Hiccups

The OnePlus 9 Pro is certainly not a perfect device, as it has its own list of weird hiccups and limitations. The most annoying is that the screen will occasionally decide not to work. I'll be using my phone regularly when the screen will decide not to turn on. Pressing buttons does nothing, and putting the phone on its charger doesn't bring the display back on.

The 9 Pro's camera captures every nook and cranny on this tree

The only fix I've found for this issue so far is to just wait and let the 9 Pro sort itself out. This means the phone usually resets itself. I haven't figured out why this happens, as my screen seems to shut down seemingly at random. It's not like I'm using any particularly intensive apps or making a phone call or anything like that.

Another hiccup is with Face Unlock. In other OnePlus phones I've used, like the 7T, the Face Unlock option allows users to access their phone just by looking at it. This same feature is in the 9 Pro, but it's not as reliable and seemingly very slow. With the 7T it felt like my face only had to be somewhat near my front camera for my phone to spring into action. With the 9 Pro, it can take seconds of staring into my front camera for the device to even start doing anything, and sometimes it doesn't even work.

Final Thoughts

The OnePlus 9 Pro is an amazing cell phone, but not for the reasons OnePlus has highlighted. While the Hasselblad camera can be impressive, it often leaves photos looking somewhat fake given how every detail of an image looks heightened and exaggerated.

The real prowess for the 9 Pro lies in its great screen and mind blowing charging speed. Many phones come with great cameras, but few other devices can rival the 9 Pro's screen and no other device charges anywhere near as quickly as the 9 Pro. The 9 Pro's use of OxygenOS 11 and its impressive CPU hardware also makes using the 9 Pro lightning fast. Throw in 5G support, and the 9 Pro is a tough phone to beat.