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  • (upbeat music)

  • - It is OnePlus phone review time.

  • There are two new models this spring.

  • This is the OnePlus 9 Pro and it's the version

  • that I'm gonna be focusing on.

  • - And there's also the regular OnePlus 9,

  • which is 240 dollars cheaper.

  • I'll jump in a little bit later and talk about that.

  • - So, OnePlus, you might think of this brand

  • as the upstart challenger

  • that costs way less than the competition,

  • that was the old days.

  • Or maybe you know the newer OnePlus phones

  • that are aimed squarely at competing with Samsung.

  • OnePlus has done a lot

  • to establish its brand over the years.

  • It's not really a household name yet,

  • but it's not really niche anymore either.

  • Now, in the US, only T-Mobile

  • is selling these phones directly.

  • So it is still a you know, you know, kind of phone,

  • but a lot of people know now.

  • And one more thing to know

  • is that the price is higher this year.

  • This 9 Pro is 960 bucks for 128 gigs of storage,

  • and it's a 100 dollars more to get to 256.

  • If you add up those new prices

  • and the fact that OnePlus really is an established brand,

  • you see that it's time for the company

  • to take the next step, to become the establishment.

  • The OnePlus 9 Pro isn't a scrapper taking on the big guys,

  • it is a mainstream alternative

  • to the Galaxy S21s of the world in its own right.

  • It's a straight up flagship, let's get into why.

  • (upbeat music)

  • Now, if you're gonna be the establishment

  • of flagship phones on Android,

  • there is one thing that you cannot skip on

  • and that is specs.

  • OnePlus likes to throw everything

  • but the kitchen sink in

  • and it has certainly done that here.

  • Let's take a look at what we've got.

  • It's got a 6.7 inch 1440 by 3216, LTPO OLED display

  • with 120 Hertz refresh rate,

  • optical fingerprint sensor,

  • 360 Hertz touch response rate,

  • Snapdragon 888 processor, all kinds of 5G,

  • 4500 milliamp battery,

  • dual stereo speakers with a WiFi 6 Bluetooth 5.2

  • and a new Sony IMX 789 camera sensor.

  • It got 8K 30, 4K 120, 1080 slow-mo at 240,

  • 4K 30 time lapse, 3.3X optical zoom

  • on the telephoto camera,

  • a monochrome like helper aid, Hasselblad partnership.

  • There is a 65 watt wired fast charging.

  • This fast charger comes in the optional 50 watt,

  • wireless fast charge, et cetera et cetera, et cetera.

  • So, yeah, the specs are there

  • and really the only Android phone

  • that can outclass these specs is the Galaxy S21 Ultra

  • with it's better telephoto lens, but also higher price.

  • Look though, a laundry list of high-end specs

  • is to be expected here.

  • What matters is how well the phone uses them

  • and whether they come together into an integrated whole.

  • And the answer is yes, they do.

  • Just look at the design here.

  • I don't like this morning mist color way myself

  • but I can't deny that the build quality

  • in this phone is top-notch.

  • If you just look at the tolerances on the aluminum rail

  • and the way the screen curves into it,

  • and even the arrangement of the lenses on the camera bump,

  • this Galaxy S20 is just really, really well-made.

  • That was a joke, because this OnePlus 9 Pro

  • really looks like a Galaxy S20.

  • And I know there's only so many ways

  • that you can sandwich glass and aluminum together,

  • but yeah, wow.

  • (upbeat music)

  • If I had a complaint, I guess,

  • it's that while the haptics feel nicely tuned

  • and not very buzzy, they're also not very strong.

  • I can barely feel this thing ring in my pocket.

  • One last thing before we get off specs

  • and this is a weird one, both the 9

  • and the 9 Pro won't support 5G on AT&T.

  • And as of this recording, OnePlus is still waiting

  • on certification on Verizon's 5G network.

  • I have more to say about how the specs translate

  • into the experience of using this phone

  • but we should probably just get

  • to the spec that usually differentiates flagship phones,

  • the camera, because when you're talking about being part

  • of the establishment of flagship phones,

  • there aren't many camera brands

  • more established than Hasselblad.

  • We have seen camera brand partnerships

  • before on smartphones.

  • I mean, heck Hasselblad itself has done it

  • with things like the Moto mount attachment.

  • The real question is, what exactly does this logo mean?

  • Let's talk about it.

  • Let's just start with the hardware.

  • As I said earlier, there are three cameras

  • on the back plus a helper monochrome camera.

  • And you know how the Pixel phone has a look

  • that's contrasty and kind of blue,

  • and the iPhone has a look that's very flat and even,

  • and Samsung phones have a look,

  • they turn the vibrancy up to 11,

  • I think with this new camera system

  • and the Hasselblad partnership,

  • we can start to say that OnePlus phones

  • have their own look too.

  • See Hasselblad apparently helped

  • out with the color science here.

  • And I think the result is a melding

  • of those other three phone styles.

  • So I think OnePlus' color tuning tends towards the blue side

  • of colors more so than Samsung anyway,

  • but it is also more vibrant

  • than what you get out of an iPhone or a Pixel.

  • One Plus also really likes to bring up the shadows a lot.

  • But look, like most smartphone cameras

  • the photos are great in good light.

  • In the dark, I think OnePlus' nightscape mode

  • is a bit too bright for my tastes, but it works really well.

  • So as usual, you have to look

  • at the edge cases and the difficult situations

  • to see where the real differences are.

  • So for example,

  • I think OnePlus adds unnecessary noise sometimes

  • by brightening those shadows.

  • And in general, there is a bit of a processed look

  • from over sharpening, especially on the ultra wide,

  • it can get into trouble with that.

  • I mean, just look at this fringing.

  • On the other hand, the ultra wide is really good

  • at getting rid of distorted lines on the edges.

  • Now the telephoto lens, it's only 3.3 optical

  • and I think it's actually fine enough at that zoom level.

  • Yeah, and if you try and do digital zoom at up to like 30X,

  • it's just gonna get pantsed by the S21 Ultra.

  • Oh, and there is that monochrome helper camera

  • but if it does anything that you couldn't just do yourself

  • the black and white photo filter, I really couldn't see it.

  • Finally, the selfie camera is good

  • and that it doesn't over smooth faces.

  • But I do think that OnePlus

  • could have tried a little bit harder

  • to clean up the details on a lot of these photos.

  • The color tuning is fine, but if I'm honest,

  • the Hasselblad influence that I liked the most,

  • is Pro mode, it is great.

  • It's very easy to see what settings you have changed.

  • You can see what's in automode

  • and it even has focus peaking draws that will line

  • or what's it focus?

  • This camera has a relatively narrow focus steps.

  • So it's super fun to play with what is in focus

  • and what's out of focus.

  • Honestly, I wish my full-on mirrorless camera

  • had an interface that was this good.

  • As for video, well, I mean, OnePlus put up a number,

  • is 8K 4K 120, et cetera, et cetera,

  • and it has big talk about improved HDR

  • but it just doesn't come through.

  • The HDR can't really hold up to an iPhone 12 Pro Max at all

  • and the basic quality and the details,

  • especially in a 4K and especially in 8K, it's just lacking.

  • That was a lot of criticism.

  • So let me go back and put all of that in context.

  • I am being very picky

  • and I'm comparing this phone to the best of the best,

  • the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the Galaxy S21 Ultra,

  • both of which cost more than this phone.

  • The fact that the OnePlus 9 Pro can hang even a little bit,

  • is a win.

  • So that's the camera system on the OnePlus 9 Pro,

  • but we've also got the OnePlus 9

  • and by we, I mean my colleague, Alison Johnson,

  • who is reviewing it and who's gonna be coming

  • to this channel more in the future.

  • So let's find out how that phone is different

  • from the Pro version.

  • - If you're not too concerned with the camera

  • and you wanna save a few dollars,

  • the OnePlus 9 is a really great offer.

  • There are a few notable differences

  • between the 9 and the 9 Pro, beginning with the price.

  • The 9 starts at $730 for eight gigs of RAM

  • and 128 gigs of storage.

  • And then there's the camera.

  • The OnePlus 9 uses a different main image sensor.

  • It's the same size and pixel count,

  • it's just from last year's OnePlus 8 Pro.

  • The main camera doesn't include optical image stabilization

  • and there's no telephoto lens here either,

  • just digital zoom, which doesn't look great.

  • But you do get the 50 megapixel ultra wide camera

  • which I really like using.

  • And of course there's still a Hasselblad color tuning,

  • which does a nice job with landscapes,

  • but it's kind of a mixed bag overall.

  • Outside of camera stuff, the OnePlus 9 misses out

  • on a few features.

  • The big one is that there's no IP rating

  • for dust or water resistance.

  • Though, I can tell you from personal experience,

  • a little drizzle doesn't do any damage.

  • The T-Mobile version will have an official IP 68 rating,

  • but it's the exact same hardware as the unlocked version,

  • so make of that what you will.

  • You don't get the faster wireless charging speed.

  • The screen is a bit lower resolution

  • and the display is flat rather than slightly curved.

  • Oh, and it doesn't support millimeter wave 5G,

  • but no big loss.

  • None of these felt like significant trade-offs to me.

  • The fast refresh rate screen is excellent,

  • the phone is super responsive jumping between apps

  • and scrolling through social media

  • and wired charging is seriously fast.

  • The 6.5 inch screen is big

  • but the phone's tall aspect ratio makes it easier to handle

  • than its dimensions suggest.

  • You won't sacrifice build quality for opting

  • for the more basic model either.

  • The back panel is Gorilla Glass, just like the Pro,

  • and that's not the case with the Samsung S21 series.

  • Overall, it's a phone I really like using.

  • It just gets out of your way,

  • handling tasks quickly and seamlessly.

  • The interface feels minimalized and grown up

  • and I really love using the ultra wide camera.

  • I've probably used it as much as I used the main camera.

  • This is a very good premium mid range device,

  • so long as you're okay with some camera trade-offs

  • and its lack of broad 5G support.

  • - Now if you wanna go from the premium mid range,

  • OnePlus 9, to the flagship OnePlus 9 Pro,

  • you have to spend an extra $240.

  • And that's where the rest of the specs

  • and how OnePlus integrates the really comes in.

  • The camera system is a bit of an upgrade,