OnePlus 9, analysis and opinion

The OnePlus 9 Pro has proven to be a performance beast with which you can also take good photos. But what about the OnePlus 9? In this analysis, we tell you all the details of the OnePlus 9 we give you our opinion.

Following the analysis of the OnePlus 9 Pro, it has now been up to its older brother to stop by our lab where we have subjected it to our test battery and real use as the main smartphone.

The OnePlus 9 is a reference to the rest of the OnePlus 9 series where you share much of the hardware with the OnePlus 9 Pro, but you also leave some things on the way.

Subtle changes that make you feel so top

A few days ago we saw in the analysis of the OnePlus 9 Pro – which you can read here – that this is mobile with everything you need to succeed in the high end. But what about the OnePlus 9?

Put next to each other, and at first glance, it is even difficult to differentiate them because both mobiles have similar dimensions in hand and a very similar aesthetic.

However, in this analysis, you will find that, in reality, there are differences between the two models that justify the 200 euros of them.

With dimensions 160 x 74.2 x 8.1 mm and a weight of 192 grams we cannot say that the OnePlus 9 is a precisely small and light mobile, but it is quite content to be a 2021 model with a screen of 6.55 inches.

Neither is the most compact nor the lightest, but holding it in the hand delivers very good sensations with a comfortable grip and that is allowed to be used even with one hand without major problems even if you don't have big hands.

If we focus on the design section, the OnePlus 9 retains the essence of OnePlus' new range of mobile phones with a curved side back made of Corning Gorilla Glass.

With dimensions 160 x 74.2 x 8.1 mm and a weight of 192 grams we cannot say that the OnePlus 9 is a precisely small and light mobile, but it is quite content to be a 2021 model with a screen of 6.55 inches.

Neither is the most compact nor the lightest, but holding it in the hand delivers very good sensations with a comfortable grip and that is allowed to be used even with one hand without major problems even if you don't have big hands.

If we focus on the design section, the OnePlus 9 retains the essence of OnePlus' new range of mobile phones with a curved side back made of Corning Gorilla Glass.

It's a spectacular finish but in turn a real nightmare with footprints that will force you to be constantly cleaning it to keep it medium presentable.

In the back, we find the OnePlus logo right in the center of the smartphone and in the upper corner the same type of camera encapsulation that we saw on the OnePlus 9 Pro with the two main lenses protruding from that rectangular module framed in two metallic rings.

The camera count of the OnePlus 9 is different from its older brother, and this module does not offer such a recharged look. Displays a single secondary camera with the monochrome sensor under the main ones. Next to them, the name Hasselblad is downloaded from the LED flash.

The rear is set directly into the chassis that, in this model, abandons aluminum and opts for a mixture of polycarbonate and fiberglass with a metallic finish.

The location of the buttons is very convenient to use with one hand, with the power button and Alert Slider on the right side and the volume buttons on the left. All are located at a correct height that does not force the position of the hands to reach them.

At the bottom we find the stereo speaker, the USB C port, and the tray for two nanoSIM cards and support for 5G, leaving out the option to expand the external storage by microSD. OnePlus has also not recovered the headphone jack that was no longer included in the latest models of the brand

If we go to the front we find a flat screen with the whole perimeter smoothed with a 2.5D curve with which it is delivered to a black plastic frame that inserts it into the chassis.

Although the screen has frames contained throughout its perimeter, the presence of this plastic frame creates the feeling that this front frame is larger, thus deleting the feeling of every screen that should have a high-end mobile.

Inserted right at the junction of this frame with the Corning Gorilla Glass protective glass we find the call speaker perfectly mimicking with the edge.

The front camera is inserted into a hole in the screen of just 3 mm in the upper left corner and, when activated by this camera, is indicated by illuminating this hole with animation and showing a green dot next to it.

When it comes to design, the OnePlus 9 maintains the same line of design and sensations as its older brother the OnePlus 9 Pro, but when you get to the screen you can see that you find a step below with certain details in your assembly making the user experience not as high-end.

Fluid AMOLED and 120 Hz for a display that stays at the top

Seen already the design of the OnePlus 9 we move to another of the important sections for any smartphone: the screen.

The OnePlus 9 we're analyzing mounts a Fluid AMOLED panel of 6.55 inches and a Full HD+ resolution (2,400 x 1080 pixels) that leaves a density of 405 dpi.

It also includes HDR10+ support and has a dynamic refresh rate of 120 Hz, so it changes the screen frequency to suit the type of content being viewed to save battery life and deliver a smoother user experience.

The OnePlus 9 does not feature the second generation Fluid AMOLED display as the OnePlus 9 Pro, so it is left in the inkwell functions such as HypertactileSensitivity, motion processing, or adjusting the white balance of the screen based on ambient light.

The factory color calibration of this panel comes somewhat cold as standard but can be customized from the system options with three color profiles: Intense, Natural, and Advanced. Enabling the latter opens more customization options that allow you to adjust the color space and modify the color temperature and tint of the screen.

In our opinion, the Intense color adjustment mode is best suited for most everyday uses but if you want to watch the most color-fidelity series and movies, you can opt for the Advanced and select the Display P3 (DCI-P3) color space to get a color profile more suitable for hdr10+.

Both for its sharpness and vividness and richness of color, this is a magnificent screen to consume series and movies, obtaining a very well-adjusted HDR.

In the brightness section of the screen, our experience of analyzing the OnePlus 9 Pro has been repeated and we have had some surprises regarding the behavior of the automatic brightness sensor.

This sensor is responsible for changing the brightness of the display depending on the intensity of the ambient light. The truth is that, when moving from indoors to outdoors (and vice versa), its reaction is very good and manages to quickly adapt the brightness of the screen to keep it perfectly visible.

However, even though OnePlus advertised a brightness of 1,100 nits for its screen, we have not managed to achieve all that brightness or using the smartphone in full sun on a clear day, where we would have needed that extra point of brightness.

That doesn't mean the OnePlus 9's display isn't able to reach that brightness rate. It does, and in fact, we've measured it in our lab.

With manual brightness adjustment and maximum power, the OnePlus 9's display achieves an average brightness of 668 luxes, enough brightness to see in full sun, but not for a high-end that is prized to be.

If we subject the brightness sensor of the OnePlus 9 to a more intense light by activating the automatic brightness setting we have managed to activate the HBM(High Brightness Mode)that triggers the brightness rates up to 1,130 luxes as indicated by OnePlus in its specifications. So, what's the problem?

The problem is that under daily use this high brightness mode has not come into operation when it should and, unless OnePlus includes a patch in its next update, it will not because the current light threshold is too high even for a sunny day.

As a result, we have a smartphone with a screen with the potential to offer good visibility even in a sun of justice, which, not well optimized, will be left with a brightness typical of a mid-range mobile in that situation.

Having a 120 Hz display is always a plus point and if you also have a variable refresh rate that lowers its frequency to a minimum in static content such as photos to save battery or is delivered to the maximum to offer a smoother gaming experience, as the satisfaction is full.

The tactile response is not left behind and we have not found noticeable differences from its older brother as they both use the same touch recognition frequency most of the time.

Generally speaking, this is a very good display with top-notch features, but it is also true that the mid-range already has panels of this type, so the OnePlus 9 can lose many integers in this field in a comparison against some mobile phones that cost much less.

Brutal performance you can with whatever you're thrown out

Performance is one of the sections where the OnePlus 9 looks in its own light thanks to hardware that stands out for its power.

Captaining the hardware configuration we find the almighty Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor with eight Kryo 680 2.84 GHz cores manufactured in a 5nm lithography that combines brutal power with controlled power consumption.

This is the most powerful processor in Qualcomm'scatalog, so the performance of the OnePlus 9 is outstanding in any situation, even when many apps are kept open in the background or multi-window.

In games, we have been able to enjoy an excellent graphics experience thanks to the power of the Adreno 660 GPU integrated into this SoC. Titles such as Genshin Impact, Asphalt 9, PUBG, or COD: Mobile have run in their graphics configurations at their highest level without the processor showing the slightest sign of fatigue when running them.

The 8 or 12 GB of LPGDDR5 RAM available has also taken some responsibility for this fluid behavior. This RAM has made it possible to quickly switch between open applications and even games as if nothing.

Integrating the most powerful hardware at the moment also means assuming that the temperature will also rise when the nuts are tightened to this processor. In this sense, the OnePlus 9 has behaved well keeping the temperature under control.

The increase in temperature is especially noticeable in the area near the cameras and at the edge of the terminal that accuses the change of material dissipating but the heat that the rest of the mobile.

The OnePlus 9 experience with the most powerful games of the moment has not only been good during the game but has also been noticed when running the games and loading the different levels thanks to a storage memory that gives the size.

The OnePlus 9 is available in versions with 128 GB and 256 GB of storage with UFS 3.1 support that allows you to prime the data read speed to the maximum.

The experience of using the OnePlus 9 places it among the most outstanding models of the high-end transmitting a feeling of absolute power and is that it has literally been able with everything we have thrown at it.

OxygenOS fluency puts the icing on the user experience

The best hardware at the moment is of little use if then the operating system is not up to the task and def standards down the road undermining a smooth user experience.

Luckily, the OnePlus 9 features OxygenOS, one of the best layers of Android customization thanks to its good optimization and simplicity of use. The OnePlus 9 comes with OxygenOS 11.2 installed from the factory running on Android 11.

OnePlus has flag fluidity on all your phones, and that's what this layer of customization provides. For its simplicity, it is not far from the stock versions of Android, although after the change of version it has moved a little away from the original aesthetics of Android.

In the interface of the OnePlus 9, we find a lot of Google presence, not only in terms of pre-installed apps including the main ones of the big G (Gmail, Photos, Maps, Drive, etc.) but also with the presence of Google Discover on the left of the main screen.

And speaking of third-party apps, it is worth noting the low presence of bloatware when turning on the OnePlus 9 for the first time. Just half a dozen OnePlus apps including a file manager, or an app to migrate all the data from the previous phone. As a special guest, the Netflix app.

In short, the apps that are included in the source are useful and that, most likely, the user would end up going to the Google app store to install them.

OxygenOS has created a space in the form of an application called Games in which everything related to the use of the gaming smartphone is concentrated. From usage times and statistics to controls to optimize phone performance and configure notifications while a game is running and previously within Fnatic mode.

The OnePlus 9 comes equipped with a biometric fingerprint unlocking system integrated into the display. As we discussed in the analysis of the OnePlus 9 Pro – which we recommend reading here– we believe that the fingerprint recognition area is too low and forces you to force the position to unlock the terminal.

However, its operation is very good, perhaps not so much because of its speed when compared to other high-end mobiles as for its good level of detection hits.

We also find a facial recognition system by software, which increases the brightness of the screen to use it in complicated light conditions and as an unexpected function, allows to unlock the mobile even with the mask on.

In short, OxygenOS remains one of the best layers of Android customization offering an incredibly smooth user experience but supported by hardware like the one that equips this OnePlus 9 allows one of the best user experiences of today's Android scene.

Cameras for those who don't want to complicate their lives

OnePlus has set out to improve the photographic experience on its mobiles and, thanks to its partnership with Swedish manufacturer Hasselblad, seems to have found a way to lay the foundation for this improvement.

However, the OnePlus 9 follows you closely with a very solid set of cameras and processing that comes from Hasselblad's hand that will be perfect for those users who just want to take their mobile out of their pocket and take good quality photos without complications. In that sense, the cameras of the OnePlus 9 do very good work.

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