Who Is The OnePlus 9 For?

  • The OnePlus 9 has a remarkable camera thanks to a partnership with Hasselblad
  • The OnePlus 9 has a flat screen instead of the 9 Pro's curved screen
  • The OnePlus 9 has almost all of the features the OnePlus 9 Pro has, but is less expensive
The OnePlus 9 has most of the impressive features from the 9 Pro, for less

Just about every cell phone that releases these days comes in a number of varieties. Usually there is a standard version of a phone release along with an upgraded model. That's the case with OnePlus and their latest flagship, the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro.

International Business Times has already covered the 9 Pro, so let's check out the standard version now and see how it compares.

Major Differences

To get this review started, let's first talk about the major differences between the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro. The short answer is that the two phones are very similar, and include most of the same features. For example, the cameras are almost identical on the two phones. The only difference is that the 9 Pro has a dedicated Telephoto camera, while the 9 regular does not. The OnePlus 9 does still have the same 48 MP main camera, 50 MP wide-angle camera and monochrome camera, and even has the same sensors built in.

Photographs look amazing on the OnePlus 9

Another major difference between the two phones relates to wireless charging. One of the key highlights of the 9 Pro is it's incredibly fast wireless charging when using the OnePlus Warp 50 Wireless Supercharger. The OnePlus 9 does have wireless charging, and does have super fast charging when using the included wired charger, but does not have rapid wireless charging. The OnePlus 9 doesn't get any advantage for using the OnePlus wireless charger over any other wireless charger.

The displays on the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro also have a few differences. The biggest is that the phones are different sizes. The 9 Pro comes in at 6.7 inches while the 9 is 6.55 inches. It's not a major difference in size, but it does make a difference when using the phones. Additionally, the OnePlus 9's screen isn't as high a resolution as the 9 Pro, and doesn't have the "smart" 120Hz refresh rate the 9 Pro has.

The only physical difference aside from the size of the phones is that the OnePlus 9 has one fewer camera on the back compared to the 9 Pro

This Smart 120Hz refresh rate is a nice way of helping to save on battery life. The OnePlus 9 Pro will alter its refresh rate based on how the phone is being used. If someone is looking through static pictures, the framerate will drop to save on battery life. If a video is being watched or a game is being played, the framerate hops up to max. For the OnePlus 9, the screen's refresh rate is constantly at max, so it does drain the battery a little faster, but content still looks great.

The final difference between the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro is seemingly minor, but can be a deal breaker for some. The OnePlus 9 is only available with a flat screen. The screen runs right up to the edge of the phone, then cuts off. By comparison, the 9 Pro only has a curved screen where the screen slopes off on the sides to give a more rounded feel. If you don't like the curved screen, the regular OnePlus 9 is the phone for you.

Price Differences

While there aren't many major physical differences between the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro, there's a pretty substantial difference between the prices of the two phones. Both models come in two variants, one with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and the other with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

The OnePlus 9 camera really heightens textures

The fully loaded OnePlus 9 Pro with 12GB of RAM tops the list in terms of expense, coming in at just over $1,000. Comparatively, the fully loaded 9 is only $829. The 9 Pro with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage retails for $969, while the OnePlus 9 with similar specs is only $729.

Phone Overview

For the majority of this review, the same things I mentioned with the OnePlus 9 Pro are also applicable here. For the sake of not being too redundant, here's a quick overview of the major highlights:

The Hasselblad camera is the major feature of the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro, and it certainly is capable of delivering some truly exceptional photographs. However, the big problem is that pictures can often look too detailed, giving them a "crunchy" look. This is especially true with images that have lots of tiny details, like bare branches on a tree or a field of grass.

A good example of the "crunchy" look of photos, especially around the tree branches and the bricks

Where the OnePlus 9's camera really excels is with close-up photography. This allows all those little details to shine without overwhelming the viewer. The OnePlus 9 is also capable of recording high quality video at 8K and 30 frames per second, or at 4K and 120 frames per second. You'll be hard-pressed to find a screen larger than a cell phone that can even play back video at those specs, so that's certainly good enough.

Audio with the OnePlus 9 is perfectly acceptable. Audio on calls, through the speaker or with Bluetooth doesn't change the game in any way, but also doesn't disappoint in any way. Everything works as intended and expected. One small notable thing to mention here is that the on-board speaker on the OnePlus 9 is capable of getting fairly loud, so expect to find yourself turning the volume down frequently.

Cloze up photography looks amazing on the OnePlus 9

In terms of recharge speeds, the OnePlus 9 blows away just about every other phone outside of the 9 Pro. Using the included charger, the OnePlus 9 can go from dead to completely charged in a little over 30 minutes. As previously mentioned, the OnePlus 9 doesn't have the fast wireless recharge speeds that the 9 Pro has, but seeing as how the wireless charger that is needed for those fast speeds costs extra, this feature isn't really missed. The OnePlus 9 can still recharge wirelessly with any standard wireless charger, but will charge at a relatively normal speed.

Both OnePlus 9 models use the same version of OxygenOS, which is based on Android 11. This is a sleek operating system and really trims out the fat found in many other Android phones. It also adds some really great features, especially the navigation screen swipes. These have become so ingrained in my cell phone use that I find myself swiping at the edge of other phones when I use them.

One OnePlus 9 is a slim phone, making it great for any kind of pocket

As for overall performance, the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro are pretty comparable. Both feature the same Snapdragon 888 setup, which allows the phones to run quickly and efficiently, be able to jump between multiple apps with no downtime, and adds support for 5G and WiFi 6.

Final Thoughts

Like the OnePlus 9 Pro, the OnePlus 9 is a remarkable cell phone. While the OnePlus 9 may focus marketing on the Hasselblad camera, its screen and recharge speeds are the real takeaways here. Those two aspects impressed me way more than the pictures I was taking, especially since the OnePlus 9 doesn't have the dedicated Telephoto camera like the 9 Pro.

The OnePlus 9 does have one major advantage over the 9 Pro, and that is price. I don't think the extra bells and whistles added to the 9 Pro make it a better smartphone, so I do recommend the 9 over the Pro on price alone.