The "1-Minute" Review
VerdictOffering outstanding performance, eye-catching and durable design, the latest software, and display that hits nearly all the important marks, the OnePlus 9 might not be quite as budget-friendly as previous models, but its still far more affordable than its similarly specced competitors.
- Good battery life
- Insane charging speed
- Fast, smooth performance
- 120Hz refresh rate
- Cannot expand storage
- No IP rating
The OnePlus 9 is the little brother to the OnePlus 9 Pro, offering most of the experience at a lower price point. Does it make the right compromises as a budget-friendly option? Or are you better off looking elsewhere?
OnePlus likes to make big phones, and the OnePlus 9 is no exception. Reviewers were that OnePlus dropped the curved glass from the previous model. They said this change prevented a lot of the accidental screen touch issues from earlier phones. Unfortunately, reviewers also found the camera bump on the top-left corner of the back of the phone caused unavoidable wobble and instability. Still, a protective case might help with this.
The 120Hz high refresh rate display was a highlight for reviewers. However, that’s becoming increasingly common in new phones. However, even without the refresh rate perks, reviewers found the 6.55-inch display bright, responsive, and excellent for everything from video watching and gaming to checking emails and reading ebooks.
The OnePlus 9 is powerful too. Reviewers said that the phone continued to run great performance, no matter how much they put it through. No doubt, the refresh rate helps with that as well. Reviewers were overall very happy with the performance of the OnePlus 9.
Software & Storage
OnePlus 9 runs on Android 11 along with a OnePlus UI which makes it minimal while providing additional organization to the standard software. Reviewers were disappointed about the lack of a MicroSD slot for storage expansion. So be sure that you pick a model with enough internal storage to meet your needs for a few years unless you’re a frequent upgrader or don’t mind relying on cloud storage.
OnePlus had made improvements to their camera setup on this phone, much to the delight of reviewers. Even without the telephoto lens, there was plenty more to explore. Reduced wide-angle lens distortion, better color accuracy, and sharper detail were all mentioned with reviewers finding the phone plenty capable if not still falling a bit short of top-tier phone options.
Battery life was decidedly average. However, reviewers found the 65T charger could charge the phone to 100% in about half an hour. This is virtually unheard of, even on other phones with fast charging. If you’re less worried about speed, you can also take advantage of wireless charging to keep things topped off.
If you enjoy watching media or playing games, the front-firing stereo speakers won’t muffle when holding your phone in a landscape position. While they won’t beat most decent Bluetooth speakers or headphones, reviewers found the speakers were quite loud and performed well.
Specs at a Glance
- Plastic chassis
- 6.55-inch AMOLED display
- Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 processor
- 8/12GB of RAM
- Android 11
- 128/256GB of storage
- 48MP rear/ 16MP selfie camera
- 4500mAh battery
Despite the myriad of smartphone options out there today, the OnePlus 9 makes its case very well. If you’re looking for a premium feeling phone without a premium price tag, the OnePlus 9 is definitely one to consider.
Tom’s Guide says, “The OnePlus 9 doesn’t have all the features of the OnePlus 9 Pro, but it’s a great phone with a lower price that matches up well against other Android flagships.”
The Verge states, “The OnePlus 9 checks all the boxes required of a 2021 flagship phone: Snapdragon 888 processor, great high-refresh screen, good battery performance, and cameras aplenty. You’ll get top-of-the-line performance for ... less than the other base model flagships. That in itself is a great reason to consider the OnePlus 9.”
What the Critics Are Saying...
- Lynn Anderson, DxOMark
The OnePlus 9 put in an outstanding performance for touch smoothness and accuracy, as well for faithful color rendering. However, its overall score took a hit due to readability and video scores that were adversely affected by low brightness at the device’s default settings.
- Lynn Anderson, DxOMark
The OnePlus 9 puts in a great performance for its price range, with two full days of autonomy, decent on the go results, and an especially impressive charger.
- Jeramy Johnson, Android Central
Now that OnePlus has embraced the ultra-premium end with its Pro series and the budget segment with its Nord series, it seems to have refocused on its bread and butter — the value flagship space. The OnePlus 9 delivers just about everything we could ask for in a phone at this price point, with a gor...
- Paul Carroll, DxOMark
With an overall score of 115, the OnePlus 9 occupies a mid-table position in our Premium ranking. Compared to similarly priced devices, the OnePlus 9 is a little behind pace setters like the Apple iPhone 12 (122), Google Pixel 5 (120) and Xiaomi Mi 11 (120), achieving a score closer to the Samsung G...
- Chris Welsch, DxOMark
The OnePlus 9 isn’t a standout in audio at this price point, but it’s not bad either. It achieves average or slightly above average results in most use cases and below average in only a few instances, like recording artifacts and the spatial attribute for both recording and playback. In produced rou...
Prices (Where to Buy)
OnePlus 9 prices will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. OnePlus's suggested retail price is $729.00. You can compare 9 prices from around the web here on The Informr.
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the OnePlus 9 user manual here.
OnePlus backs up the 9 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your 9 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact OnePlus support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find OnePlus's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.
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Manuals / User Guides
- OnePlus 9 Manual (PDF)
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