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OnePlus 9 First Impressions And Hands-On Review

Is the OnePlus 9 the best smartphone under Rs 50,000 in India? While we work on our OnePlus 9 review, here are our first impressions of the smartphone.

March 28, 2021 / 11:13 AM IST
OnePlus 9
OnePlus 9 price in India starts at Rs 49,999 in India, slowly creeping into the ultra-premium category of flagship devices. With that price, the OnePlus 9 competes against the likes of the Vivo X60 Pro and the Asus ROG Phone 5. OnePlus is betting big with the camera system on the OnePlus 9 series that is has tuned in partnership with camera maker Hasselblad. Is the OnePlus 9 the best smartphone under Rs 50,000 in India? While we work on our OnePlus 9 review, here are our first impressions of the smartphone.
OnePlus 9-9
Let's start our OnePlus 9 first impressions with the design. Much like the OnePlus 9 Pro, the vanilla 9 comes with a glass back. However, OnePlus chose to add a plastic frame instead of metal. It doesn't make the device look cheap but we can't vouch for the plastic frame's durability. The back also has this glossy/ mirror finish on our Winter Mist variant that has a shade of Lilac. We would prefer a matte or a frosted finish found on previous OnePlus devices. However, design preferences are subjective and you might like the glossy look.
The phone does offer a good in-hand feel, courtesy of the curved edges. it also weighs only 183 grams and is easier to hold with that 20:9 aspect ratio. Also, the Indian variant of the OnePlus 9 is slimmer than the international model at 8.1mm thickness. OnePlus chose to remove the wireless charging capabilities to keep the weight (and the price) down.
The phone does offer a good in-hand feel, courtesy of the curved edges. it also weighs only 183 grams and is easier to hold with that 20:9 aspect ratio. Also, the Indian variant of the OnePlus 9 is slimmer than the international model at 8.1mm thickness. OnePlus chose to remove the wireless charging capabilities to keep the weight (and the price) down.
At the front, you have a 6.55-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display. The screen is plenty bright, and even under direct sunlight, we were able to watch content. The bezels around the flat display are quite narrow, helping with an immersive viewing experience. The colours are vibrant too with the screen calibration, by default, set in Vivid mode.
At the front, you have a 6.55-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display. The screen is plenty bright, and even under direct sunlight, we were able to watch content. The bezels around the flat display are quite narrow, helping with an immersive viewing experience. The colours are vibrant too with the screen calibration, by default, set in Vivid mode.
It also comes with a 120Hz refresh rate support for that smooth scrolling experience. However, unlike the more-expensive OnePlus 9 Pro's LTPO display, you do not get an adaptive refresh rate support that switches between 1-120Hz depending on the task on the screen. There is an Always-On display feature that displays the time, battery percentage, and some more details. Off by default, you can choose to schedule it or set it On all day. The latter, however, will consume more battery life.
It also comes with a 120Hz refresh rate support for that smooth scrolling experience. However, unlike the more-expensive OnePlus 9 Pro's LTPO display, you do not get an adaptive refresh rate support that switches between 1-120Hz depending on the task on the screen. There is an Always-On display feature that displays the time, battery percentage, and some more details. Off by default, you can choose to schedule it or set it On all day. The latter, however, will consume more battery life.
We are yet to test the battery life on the OnePlus 9. The device packs a 4,500 mAh battery and comes with 65W fast charging support. Yes, you get the charger in the box. Thank you, OnePlus. However, there is no 15W Qi wireless charging support that you get on the international variants of the OnePlus 9.
We are yet to test the battery life on the OnePlus 9. The device packs a 4,500 mAh battery and comes with 65W fast charging support. Yes, you get the charger in the box. Thank you, OnePlus. However, there is no 15W Qi wireless charging support that you get on the international variants of the OnePlus 9.
Performance has been at the core for OnePlus flagships. The Oneplus 9 comes with a Qualcomm SNapdragon 888 SoC under the hood. Our variant packs 12GB of RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 internal storage. You can also choose to pick the 8GB RAM variant. During our brief time with the device for our OnePlus 9 first impressions, we played a couple of Call of Duty Mobile Team Deathmatch rounds. Goes without saying, the Snapdragon 888 SoC is a beast and offers more than enough power for your gaming sessions. There wasn't any stutter or lag while playing the battle royale. We will test out the device more for our OnePlus 9 review to check the thermal management or if there is any stuttering.
Performance has been at the core for OnePlus flagships. The Oneplus 9 comes with a Qualcomm SNapdragon 888 SoC under the hood. Our variant packs 12GB of RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 internal storage. You can also choose to pick the 8GB RAM variant. During our brief time with the device for our OnePlus 9 first impressions, we played a couple of Call of Duty Mobile Team Deathmatch rounds. Goes without saying, the Snapdragon 888 SoC is a beast and offers more than enough power for your gaming sessions. There wasn't any stutter or lag while playing the battle royale. We will test out the device more for our OnePlus 9 review to check the thermal management or if there is any stuttering.
The audio quality is also very good. You get dual speakers with the earpiece doubling up as a secondary outlet for audio. In case you are wondering, there is no 3.5mm headphone jack.
The audio quality is also very good. You get dual speakers with the earpiece doubling up as a secondary outlet for audio. In case you are wondering, there is no 3.5mm headphone jack.
Coming to the highlight of this year's OnePlus 9 series - the camera. The OnePlus 9 comes with a triple-camera setup on the back with a 48MP Sony IMX689 f/1.8 sensor. It also borrows the 50MP Sony IMX766 f/2.2 sensor from the OnePlus 9 Pro. Lastly, there is a 2MP monochrome sensor.
Coming to the highlight of this year's OnePlus 9 series - the camera. The OnePlus 9 comes with a triple-camera setup on the back with a 48MP Sony IMX689 f/1.8 sensor. It also borrows the 50MP Sony IMX766 f/2.2 sensor from the OnePlus 9 Pro. Lastly, there is a 2MP monochrome sensor.
The camera app is very simple and easy to use. You get various modes like Photo, Video, Nightscape, Portrait, etc between the viewfinder and the shutter button. The top row above the viewfinder is home to other camera settings like Super Macro, Flash, Timer, etc.
The camera app is very simple and easy to use. You get various modes like Photo, Video, Nightscape, Portrait, etc between the viewfinder and the shutter button. The top row above the viewfinder is home to other camera settings like Super Macro, Flash, Timer, etc.
The camera performance on OnePlus smartphones in the past was its weakest link. OnePlus partnered with Hasselblad to tune the OnePlus 9 series camera, and based on our first impressions, it looks like the partnership has resulted in better camera performance. Take a look at the camera sample uploaded below.
The camera performance on OnePlus smartphones in the past was its weakest link. OnePlus partnered with Hasselblad to tune the OnePlus 9 series camera, and based on our first impressions, it looks like the partnership has resulted in better camera performance. Take a look at the camera sample uploaded below.
This image has been shot on the OnePlus 9's primary camera. The colours are very, very close to real life. You get ample detail in images shot during daylight. The colour science between the wide and ultrawide sensor also matches in most cases. We will test out the camera and share more samples shot for our OnePlus 9 review.
This image has been shot on the OnePlus 9's primary camera. The colours are very, very close to real life. You get ample detail in images shot during daylight. The colour science between the wide and ultrawide sensor also matches in most cases. We will test out the camera and share more samples shot for our OnePlus 9 review.
For selfies, the phone has a 16MP front camera sensor. It is the same Sony IMX471 sensor that was first introduced on the OnePlus 7 in May 2019. The front camera smoothens out the skin a bit while trying to get more details. We will test the front camera more for our OnePlus 9 review.
For selfies, the phone has a 16MP front camera sensor. It is the same Sony IMX471 sensor that was first introduced on the OnePlus 7 in May 2019. The front camera smoothens out the skin a bit while trying to get more details. We will test the front camera more for our OnePlus 9 review.
Coming to the final bits of our OnePlus 9 first impressions. The phone has an in-display fingerprint scanner, which is among the fastest to detect and unlock the phone. It even managed to authenticate my partly-sweaty finger, which could be a one-off instance but we will test this further. Face unlock, as usual, is swift to unlock but we recommend using the more-secure fingerprint scanner.
Coming to the final bits of our OnePlus 9 first impressions. The phone has an in-display fingerprint scanner, which is among the fastest to detect and unlock the phone. It even managed to authenticate my partly-sweaty finger, which could be a one-off instance but we will test this further. Face unlock, as usual, is swift to unlock but we recommend using the more-secure fingerprint scanner.
The OnePlus 9 runs on Android 11 based Oxygen OS out of the box. We have already received an update that is claimed to bring several improvements in the system and camera performance. More details in our OnePlus 9 review.
The OnePlus 9 runs on Android 11 based Oxygen OS out of the box. We have already received an update that is claimed to bring several improvements in the system and camera performance. More details in our OnePlus 9 review.
These were our OnePlus 9 first impressions. The smartphone goes on sale starting April 15 in India for Rs 49,999. Is the OnePlus 9 the best smartphone under Rs 50,000? Or should you consider its competitors like the Asus ROG Phone 5 and the Vivo X60 Pro? We will answer that and more questions in our OnePlus 9 review. Stay tuned.
These were our OnePlus 9 first impressions. The smartphone goes on sale starting April 15 in India for Rs 49,999. Is the OnePlus 9 the best smartphone under Rs 50,000? Or should you consider its competitors like the Asus ROG Phone 5 and the Vivo X60 Pro? We will answer that and more questions in our OnePlus 9 review. Stay tuned.
Pranav Hegde
first published: Mar 28, 2021 11:13 am

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