Lemonade in [The Lab] - A OnePlus 9 Pro Review

  1. naveenjafer
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Mar 29, 2021

    Stickied Post
    naveenjafer , Mar 29, 2021 :
    Design: A closer look at the Lemonade
    “Don’t judge a book by its cover” said no one when it comes to smartphones. OnePlus markets the 9Pro as the latest in its series of devices with a “Burdenless design” (Not very burdenless on the wallet though are we.. cough cough. We will come back to pricing in the closing remarks). I will break down some of the less obvious design choices of the lemonade in this section.

    Fresh lemonade anyone?
    The Hasselblad bump
    Let’s talk about the camera bump. This is probably the first time you have a camera bump on top of a camera bump. The dual metallic rings around the Primary and Ultrawide shooter are reminiscent of a retro look that cameras in the 90s sported. However, I can’t help but wonder if a matte finish might have been a complementing (and better) look on the otherwise glossy device. The italicized Hasselblad font on a device that uses straight and vanilla fonts throughout does grind my gears a tad bit.

    The dual cameras bump-out over the existing bump

    Once you slap on a case, the only visible part of a device is the camera bump. It has more of Hasselblad’s DNA and less of OnePlus’s. I find it surprising that OP is willing to give up on this real estate.

    The camera module with the telephoto and b&w shooter placed under the bump.

    With a great camera ( I mean it has to be, right? Hasselblad is the senzu bean to otherwise average cameras from the past?) comes a not-so-thick bump. It was a pretty smart design decision to bump the 2 individual cameras separately instead of packing them under the glass bump. Adds some flair while also keeping the main bump subtle and slim.

    The lenses are a gorgeous look on the back

    The not so Hasselblad front shooter
    The hole-punch camera cutout is well implemented. Stealthy and subtle when the display is turned off and crisp and tiny when it is not. I can only say that I am glad the front shooter does not feature a silver grill around the camera to stay in line with the rear setup (I am looking right at you Samsung, for the ugly implementation in the S20 FE).

    Being an avid dark mode user, the camera cutout is barely ever visible

    I am extremely relieved that the curvature on the screens has been cut back on. I am no fan of curved displays and the 7Pro gives me all sorts of anxiety to this day. I see no benefit whatsoever to having them. Chromatic aberrations, vulnerability, unintentional touches, high cost of replacement, shortage of reliable tempered glasses kept me away from the pro series over the last 2 iterations. Historically, curved display featured in Samsung phones to allow for a quick glance at the notification text (from the days when phones used a flipbook case). OnePlus has little to show to justify its decision to stick with a curved display the third time around. Make no mistake, it looks great, but that is as all there is to it.

    The subtle curve on the new display.
    The QHD resolution sure looks great while catching up on some youtube content, but you barely notice the difference in day-to-day usage. Running some quick battery drain checks shows that the device does scale down to FHD wherever possible if set to adaptive mode.

    Overall Design elements
    The front and back of the phone curve right into the thin glossy railings on the sides. It expands just a bit to house the alert slider and lock button before tapering back. You get the good old stuff when it comes to the feedback and quality of the buttons and slider. The dual sim tray sits at the bottom, right next to the charging port and the dual vented speaker grill design (which is more resistant to accumulating dust compared to the design with holes).

    What is a morning mist without any dew on it? Notice a mild bump on the side railing to house the alert slider and lock button.​

    Glossy railings are pretty prone to microscopic scratches and the reflections hog the limelight from the device’s design. More or less the same concerns that I had with the iPhone 12 pro.

    Honestly, morning mist was the color I preferred the least during launch. The pine green is an exciting shift from OnePlus’s traditional blue and black colorways. However, the color has started to grow on me, especially under dim lighting. When the device is set away face down on the table, the color gradient is worthy of praise. The mirror bottom end of the phone catches the blacks. This results in a silver to blackish hue (as seen in the pics) that sits well with me. Anyhow, this is not a device that I plan on using without a case, so the finish and the texture are factors that would not matter a week from now.

    A more accurate representation of how the back finish appears outdoor.

    Sandstone case: Celebrating the origins
    Disclaimer: This case is NOT the one that ships by default with the device. I have purchased this separately from the OnePlus store.

    A grey color case does not exactly fit in with my aesthetic, but I went with it nonetheless over the black variant. In went my credit card and out came a gorgeously designed case. The contoured lines on the sides make it extremely grippy. The case buttons do not mute the tactile feel of the buttons. The curved extension around the alert slider is now longer and allows for a more hassle-free sliding experience. I don’t have the heart to test the drop protection capabilities of the case yet, but I assume the raised lips in the corners should help.

    The contouring in the edges allows for a reliable grip.

    As for the touch and feel, it is a version of the sandstone with smaller grains. It directly translates to a less rough texture than the OG Oneplus Sandstone finishes. The durability and resistance against dirt is anyone’s guess at this point. But I assume any oil stains while dining could be pretty hard to get rid of in this color variant.

    Notice the more spacious curves around the slider slot in the case. This is the kind of attention to detail that I have come to expect from OnePlus.
    The Judgement

    Overall, a returning user would feel right at home. For someone shifting from Samsung flagships, the look on the display bears a strong resemblance to some of the older S series devices (like the S8). For someone shifting from Apple, this device is a good 12 percent lighter than the equivalent pro version and a tad bit taller.

    If you are someone with moderately long fingers, you would be just fine. If not, you might probably want to take it up with your parents :3

    The camera review is up next.

    [COLOR=rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.847)][/COLOR]
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2021

  2. Helder_DAlmeida
    Marshmallow Mar 29, 2021

    S1616560051062 and naveenjafer like this.
  3. naveenjafer
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Mar 29, 2021

  4. naveenjafer
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Mar 29, 2021

    naveenjafer , Mar 29, 2021 :
    Thank you so much Martin! :)

    I am excited that you are excited :D Thank you! :)

  5. KaranRIyer
    KitKat Mar 29, 2021

    KaranRIyer , Mar 29, 2021 :
    Wonderful shots, the first shot is brilliant... as usual the writing is great. The Punch hole which you tried to show ,the photo kinda leaks yours friends insta ids.., i recommend changing that .. The last line color adjust seems to be in its own mood.. But did you actually spray water to test this phone thats neat... Great writing.. Great shots.. Excuse me for being nitpicking...

    naveenjafer likes this.
  6. NShankaraN
    Ice Cream Sandwich Mar 29, 2021

    NShankaraN , via OnePlus 5 , Mar 29, 2021 :
    That's a great review so far with some excellent shots. Looking forward to read more in upcoming parts. Beautiful header too👍👏👏

  7. YRJ
    The Lab - OnePlus 7T Reviewer; Community Hero 2020 Mar 29, 2021

    YRJ , Mar 29, 2021 :
    The pleasure is all mine. :)
    That's great! Going through it in a bit.

    naveenjafer, KaranRIyer and Caomhin like this.
  8. thechangingtime
    Gingerbread Mar 29, 2021

    thechangingtime , Mar 29, 2021 :
    Thanks for the review so far and I am looking forward to the camera portion which you will be posting later.

  9. Gracjallini
    Donut Mar 29, 2021

    Danny C. likes this.
  10. eddyros
    Gingerbread Mar 29, 2021

    eddyros , Mar 29, 2021 :
    Piece of art *_*

    naveenjafer likes this.
  11. xLiKWiT
    Eclair Mar 29, 2021

    naveenjafer likes this.
  12. Danny C.
    Gingerbread Mar 29, 2021

  13. MosheG1
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Mar 30, 2021

    MosheG1 , Mar 30, 2021 :
    @naveenjafer this is some excellent writing!
    What camera did you shoot with and what color edits did you use? This looks phenomenal!

  14. Mark Falsing
    Moderator Moderator Mar 30, 2021

  15. SRD.
    Lollipop Mar 30, 2021

    naveenjafer likes this.

  16. #56
    naveenjafer likes this.

  17. #58
  18. naveenjafer
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Apr 3, 2021

    naveenjafer , Apr 3, 2021 :
    Haha yes, sprayed it very carefully. Will probably have to delete this proof when I take it to a service eventually :p In case the IP rating gives in to some accidental splashes in the future lol. Uh oh, good catch with the insta IDs, but most of those peeps have a public profile, so shameless plug for them I guess :p

    KaranRIyer likes this.
  19. naveenjafer
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Apr 3, 2021

    naveenjafer , Apr 3, 2021 :
    Thank you Shankar, Yup next parts coming up real soon!