OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro Review: Great 5G Flagships With A Catch


OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro Review: Software, Pricing, And Final Verdict

The OnePlus 9 series runs Oxygen OS 11.2 on top of Android 11, and delivers the same wonderfully quick and polished user experience we wrote about in our OnePlus 8T review. Why not go read it and come right back? We’ll wait. Basically, Oxygen OS 11’s design is clean and responsive, and doesn’t deviate too far from stock Android. So, if that’s what floats your boat, you’ll feel right at home with these devices.

OnePlus 9 Series Software And User Experience

OnePlus 9 Pro 11
OnePlus 9 Pro launcher

Also, our unlocked review units came almost devoid of bundled apps. Netflix is the only pre-installed third-party app, and while it can’t be removed, it’s easy to disable. But who doesn’t use Netflix, anyway? Both phones come with Google’s app suite and a few useful OnePlus apps, like a file manager, game mode, and voice recorder. We fully expect T-Mobile’s models to be riddled with bloatware, though.

OnePlus 9 Series Pricing And Competition

Here in the US, the OnePlus 9 will be available for $729 (8/128GB, Astral Black or Winter Mist) and $829 (12/256GB, Astral Black only). The OnePlus 9 Pro will be available for $969 (8/128GB, Morning Mist only) and $1069 (12/256GB, Morning Mist or Pine Green). You’ll be able to purchase both phones (unlocked) starting April 2 (pre-orders March 26) from OnePlus, Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H.

In addition, T-Mobile will start selling the OnePlus 9 for $730 or $30.42/month (8/128GB, Astral Black or Winter Mist) and the 9 Pro for $1068 or $44.50/month (12/256GB, Morning Mist only) on April 2. Customers can also get 50% off the OnePlus 9 (or $365 off the 9 Pro) by either trading-in an eligible device or by adding a new line. Finally, the OnePlus Warp Charge 50 Wireless Charger will cost $69.

OnePlus 9 Pro 04
Warp Charge 50 Wireless Charger

The OnePlus 9 series' primary competition comes from Samsung’s Galaxy S21 ($700), S21+ ($800), and S21 Ultra ($1000), which all boast 12GB of RAM, a main camera with OIS, a telephoto shooter, and support T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon’s 5G networks -- but lack 65W wired fast charging and 50W wireless fast charging, and don’t ship with a charger in the box. Apple’s iPhone 12 series is also an option, if you don’t need Android.

But if you can live without 5G support in the US, you have other choices. Xiaomi’s Mi 11 flagship ($750 / €750) is packed with features and value. Oppo’s Find X3 Pro ($1250/ €1,150) is a premium alternative to the OnePlus 9 Pro, with very similar specs. Then there’s ASUS ROG Phone 5 ($950 / €800), if you want a gaming handset.

OnePlus 9 Series Final Verdict

Overall, the OnePlus 9 series is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s a pair of well rounded phones, no doubt, but the competition is strong, and OnePlus is no longer the value leader it used to be. We’re pretty satisfied with the OnePlus 9 Pro, which checks all of the right flagship boxes. But between the lack of OIS and the plastic frame, the OnePlus 9 just seems to cut too many corners, without beating the competition on price. And that’s a shame.

Then there’s the issue of limited 5G support in the US. Right now, the OnePlus 9 series only works on T-Mobile’s 5G network. And while compatibility with Verizon’s 5G network is coming at some point, AT&T customers are out of luck. That’s a major problem when the competition supports 5G networks for the vast majority of US carriers. On the plus side, OnePlus leads the market on charging speeds, and includes a powerful, high-quality charger in the box.

OnePlus 9 24
Find The OnePlus 9 series @ Amazon.com

As for the Hasselblad partnership, we’re happy it’s not just a branding exercise, but we were left wanting more. In terms of imaging performance, neither device quite matches Samsung, Apple, Google, or Huawei’s best. The OnePlus 9 Pro certainly packs a solid camera system, but without OIS, the OnePlus 9 falls short. Hopefully this Hasselblad collaboration will flourish over time, but for now, don't expect to be wowed.

Ultimately, OnePlus still gets a lot of things right, like great design, gorgeous displays, superb audio, snappy performance, and wonderful software. And the company learned from last year’s mistakes by giving the OnePlus 9 wireless charging and a better macro shooter. That’s worth celebrating, right?

OnePlus 9 Pro

hothardware editors
choice
  • Beautiful display
  • Solid cameras
  • Excellent audio
  • Snappy performance
  • 65W fast charger in the box
  • 50W wireless fast charging
  • Delightful software
  • Limited US 5G support
  • Middling battery life

OnePlus 9

approved hh
  • Gorgeous display
  • Solid ultrawide camera
  • Excellent audio
  • Snappy performance
  • 65W fast charger in the box
  • Wireless charging
  • Delightful software
  • Plastic frame
  • No OIS
  • No telephoto shooter
  • Limited US 5G support
  • Middling battery life


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