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[The Lab] My experiences with the OnePlus 9

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What would you like to see in my full review?

Poll closed Apr 7, 2021.
  1. batterylife

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  2. real world camera test

    6 vote(s)
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  3. performance of Oxygen OS

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  1. missmobiletech
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Apr 1, 2021

    missmobiletech , Apr 1, 2021 :
    OP9 1.png
    First of all I'd like to thank the amazing team at OnePlus for giving me the chance to share my personal opinions of this phone but not only me. It's an amazing idea to let the actual users check the phone in real life, I've always thought so. So before I start, thanks again for the whole OnePlus team for making this possible for me and for all of us.

    I haven't read any of my fellow Lab submissions yet, because I didn't want to get influenced by their style of writing or perhaps opinions so what you see and hear in this review, is all mine and to make it clear, I live in Amsterdam which means everything I say is about the European version of the OnePlus 9.


    Unboxing
    So let's start with my first look at the device. Of course I didn't know which device I was gonna get so I was so exited to recieve it and finally find out. I got the beautiful Winter Mist color of the OnePlus 9 as you may have learned from the title. And eventhough I would have been happy with any phone, of course you always have some preferences and I was actually hoping to recieve one of the colored phones so I was more than stoked when it arrived!!

    Here is my unboxing video to show you my first look at not only what's in the box but also some first impressions.



    Extra first impressions
    When I opened the package, the first thing I thought was, that purple hue colour finish.. Beautiful, so gradient and classy. It doesn’t feel that heavy next to my Pixel 4a 5G and Huawei P40 lite and it definitely feels lighter than the ZTE Axon 20 5G which is a big phone.

    I had expected it to feel bigger in my hands since it is a phone with a big screen but this surprised me in a good way. Just to explain, I have small hands so phones tend to be too big for my hands quickly.

    I loved the phlat but slightly rounded finish of the phone and the very sleek looking camera setup on the back. It does make the phone wobble a bit on a surface but not too much for it to be a real problem. As a personal bonus the alert slider is here yet again, great to have you back my friend!

    So far my unboxing and first impressions of the OnePlus 9 in the color Winter Mist. Stay tuned for the rest of my written review followed by a round-up video review with everything put together.


    Design & Build
    PXL_20210331_123801970.jpg The first thing I thought was, what an amazingly beautiful design. Both the colour of the phone and the build are great. The back and front are covered with Corning Gorilla Glass, the back is called 3D Corning Gorilla Glass but that just means the sides are really edged off. I figured it would be a fingerprint magnet but in reality, not that much so that was nice to find out. By the way, Corning Gorilla Glass is strong but it is of course still glass and therefore I do advise a case or skin to protect your beauty. I am not really a case type of person but I have tried out the included silicone case for the last few days and I have to say, it’s a good alternative when, 1 your ordered case or skin hasn’t arrived yet or 2 you want basic protection but you don’t want to buy something expensive. In my case I am just careful with it since it’s not mine to keep yet and I don’t want anything happening to it. If I will be able to keep it, I will probably go for a clear skin so you still see the amazing color but who knows, we’ll see! Might share the options with ya’ll and let you pick, let me know if you would be into that! :)

    Alright moving on, the buttons on the OnePlus 9 are simple yet elegant and very clicky and I always love the alert slider with it’s extra texture to it. In all honesty it is strange to have the volume rockers on the left side since I’m quite used to having them above or under the power button but I’m sure I will get used to that in no time. The phone feels very steady in your hand because of it’s aspect ratio probably, which I’ll come back to in my display review. It has USB-C 3.1 which is great but unfortunately no headphone jack. I know, everybody uses wireless headphones these days and honestly, so do I but for me, a headphone jack is an extra tool. As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, I have a YouTube channel and I use my phones to record both video and audio. Since on most phones the audio is not great for recording, I use the headphone jack to add a professional microphone and that way, much better audio. Of course in my camera review, I will be giving examples of video recording, both the front and back camera with audio from the phone itself so you can judge for yourself (and of course I would love to hear what you think at that point!).

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    I love the camera setup, simple yet sleek although I do find it a bit weird for the camera’s to be a bit more raised from the camera bump. Don’t get me wrong, it looks amazing, the steel finishes are beautiful but I do find the fact it’s raised even higher interesting and am curious to the idea behind it because it does make it more prone to wobbling on a table for example.

    Oh yes, when I started using my OP9 I thought it was a dust magnet, it just clinged to the screen like a bee to honey but! When I removed the already applied plastic screen protector, that was history so if you're having 'problems' with that, it might be the answer for you too.

    And with that one last tip: If your charger wobbles in your charging input, you don’t need a new charger or even a new phone. Just go to a phone repair shop and they’ll remove the dust piled up in your charging input within a minute. I know ‘cause I was a manager at a repair store.

    Alright this was my review of the build and design, up next, display and sound!


    Display & Sound
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    When you turn on the OnePlus 9 for the first time and go through the setup you’re greeted with the amazing 6.5 inch AMOLED fluid display with a 20:9 aspect ratio. That’s a lot of words to describe a display I know but that’s just to get all the specs out of the way and with that being said. The aspect ratio we’ll come back to later but the screen is beautiful to look at. It’s a flat screen with a slightly smaller forehead than chin but you hardly notice it unless you look very closely. It looks very premium and when you scroll through your social media channels, it looks and feels fluid and just great the whole time.

    It has a small camera holepunch on the left upper corner, which for me is the best place to have it since it’s much easier to lose sight of it when you’re watching content or playing games than when it would have been in the center or right corner..

    Extra very interesting point; I'm one of those people who is always aware of the camera that's in my face when I use my phone. I don't like the idea it being on without me noticing. But! With the OnePlus 9 when the front camera is on, there is a little green led indicator on the direct right side of the camera to let you know it's in use. A small yet very handy way to make it clear which keeps me at ease a lot.

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    Taking a closer look at the display when watching a movie, the screen is amazing and the 20:9 aspect ratio makes watching content on this quite beautiful. 20:9 means you get to see the newest content super crisp but of course, depending what it's been shot in, you will still get some bars on the top/bottom and/or sides. This is just to keep the image quality clear and it works! It’s so vibrant and you can change its warmth and colour brightness the way you like it within the settings. With a 120Hz refresh rate, any action displayed on the screen looks as if you were really there but if you don’t actually need to have it that high, you can manually change it to 60Hz which is great for any user who isn’t gaming a lot with heavy games (like me). Viewing angles are really good, although I don’t think you will watch a movie from the side of your phone, but still, if you want to show something to a friend but still want to see where you are at from the sides, this is no problem.

    The OnePlus 9 display can go up to 1100 nits in brightness but also has two ambient light sensors which basically means it will change the brightness and warmth of the screen according to your surroundings. In my experience though, when I was outside in bright daylight, I had to change the brightness level myself a bit more because it was just not visible enough. When I did change it myself though, it looked great and you really ‘see’ the higher nits.

    When watching content, the sound from the speakers is pretty amazing, it goes really loud but I never have it on full volume because that’s a little too loud for me. Actually I don’t often use the stereo speakers since I either use headphones of some kind or I cast both video and audio to a box or my surround set. But for those who often watch something or listen directly from the phone, you will not be disappointed and also when calling on speaker phone, the sound is clear and good to hear on both sides.

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    There is an in screen fingerprint reader which is setup really quick, check my unboxing video if you’re curious, and response is very fast and reliable. I always love the option of a fingerprint reader, although I preferred a side or back oriented fingerprint reader because they were much faster. From using this phone and fingerprint reader for a few days now, I have to say I like the fast response and how reliable it is when it works. With that being said, I do find it a bit irritating it doesn’t always respond when you don’t see the fingerprint section first. When that happens I first have to tap the screen before I can open it up. There is also an optional face unlock function which works pretty darn fast as well but you have to push the power button or double tap the screen before it works so again, very fast but too bad it doesn’t open instantaneously when you pick it up.

    Now let's go to the heart of every phone, the battery.

    Battery & Charging
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    At the beginning op 2021, a 4500 mAh battery is not the standard anymore since most phones ship out with around 5000 mAh so I was wondering how the OnePlus 9 would keep up. Well, with this phone will keep you going through a day depending on your usage of course but not much more. I personally think the best thing about this battery is actually the 65 watt Warp Charging system because, spoiler alert, it really does only take half an hour to charge the phone completely so even if you feel like you won’t get the whole day, it will literally only take you up to 30 minutes to get a full phone again and only 15 minutes for about 65%. That for most people is the rest of your day.

    In all honesty, some people have had 0-100 in 29 minutes, some in about 35 but this also depends on the heat of the phone, the room temperature itself and if the screen is on or off. Still, even 35 minutes for a full charge is pretty amazing in my eyes!

    Of course this phone is also capable of wireless charging although not like it’s big brother which can wireless charge at 50W where the OnePlus 9 can wirelessly charge at a max of 15W. Since I don’t think wireless charging should come with a wire, I haven’t really tried it out, plus, wired charging is warped so I don’t need it!

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    The 65 watt charging brick is a big thing to carry around though, keep that in mind. In the Netherlands there is a song right now where they say if you’re sleeping over you only need your ‘underwear, toothbrush, perfume and charger’. Well, you’re gonna need some extra room to fit in this big brick but then again, if you only stay away 1 night and you charge your phone beforehand, you won’t need it at all before you're back.

    On a small personal note I want to add I love the OnePlus charging cable always coming with holders that keep your cable straight and secure. You have to take the 30 seconds or so to get them in place again but speaking for myself, I really don’t mind those extra seconds if it means my cable is securely tucked away (and yes, I might be a little bit OCD).

    So what are the hours of usage with this beauty? Well, this of course depends on your usage and the refresh rate you put the screen on. With 60Hz you will definitely get more hours out of it but at 120Hz games will feel like a breeze. At 120Hz I got about 6-6.5 hours out of it but I didn’t game too much, I did edit a video however from start to finish and rendering so that’s great.

    Performance
    PXL_20210405_141055511.jpg
    The OnePlus 9, comes with 256GB of internal memory and a whopping 12GB of RAM! There is no room for an external memory card but with the 256GB as a starting point and a lot of storage options in the cloud these days, you probably won’t need a lot more. Also playing heavy games should be again amazing with this kind of RAM installed, I’ve only tried my favorite game of all time Kingdom Hearts (yes, I love Disney), Asphalt 9 racing and a bit of PUBG which I’m horrible at but still, it worked great. There are 2 sim card slots and I like the reversible way this is set up, footage of this in my unboxing video. Of course it has 5G and I have to say, this is the first phone for me with 5G. It has bluetooth 5.2 which works fine. I did get a slight lagg with the sound when I paired it with bluetooth earbuds but this could also be because of the buds.

    What’s 5G like after using 4G for some time now? And does it really feel faster?
    Well I like the fact I'm 'part of the it crowd now' so to speak, to be able to have access to the 5G network. That being said, it's not really faster opposed to 4G in my opinion but that’s not actually a problem of the phone, it’s more to do with the provider I have, Tele2 which uses the T-Mobile network, which apparently doesn’t provide a high enough 5G connection to really show me the difference. It feels steady enough though and I'm sure in a few years, there will actually be a lot more speed and possibilities with 5G.

    PXL_20210402_082742035.jpg
    While running on Oxygen OS 11, which already got two OS updates with (among other things) fixes for camera and battery usage, the OnePlus 9 comes with the newest Android 11 with 2 years of OS updates and 3 years of security updates. The Snapdragon 888 processor also makes sure your phone can take the heaviest of games in a heartbeat. While I am not good at for example PUBG, whether I’m good doesn’t matter. Even on the highest settings, the phone runs this game on a breeze and switching between games and other apps is done really quick. If you do get back to your game it will take like a millisecond before you are actually gaming again but that is to be expected. I use my phones for editing and both the editing itself and rendering the video actually went faster than I had expected. I am not much of a benchmark person since I think usage really tells you more than numbers but I’m sure there are other reviewers that have added them if you are interested.

    Oxygen OS
    PXL_20210405_140925899.jpg
    The look of Oxygen OS is not my absolute favorite since I like Stock Android’s clean look but it does have some great extra options to make your OnePlus 9 experience more personal and better and well, that’s something I always like to see.

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    For example, the way the settings menu makes sure it is still possible to handle your phone with one hand. In the top of the screen you see the name of the setting you’re in but much lower, where your hand is, are the actual options you can choose and/or scroll through. You see this way of design in basically all the native OnePlus apps.

    There is an always on display function which you can model to your liking and as mentioned earlier, the alert slider is back which is a feature only OnePlus provides. With this you can (as you of course know) very easily change your phone to either ring, vibrate or silent. Simple yet unmistakable handy and when you’ve gotten used to it, it’s just horrible to have to give it up if you switch to a device from another manufacturer.

    One thing I did have to get used to quite a bit is, on my old phone(s) I could swipe anywhere on the main screen down, I immediately got to the notification panel and quick menu but when you do this one the OnePlus 9, you get to a screen with a sort of quick combination of apps and appliances. You can mark the location of your car, quickly open recent apps, write a memo and some other features you can either turn on or off. It's a very handy screen but I do miss to get quickly to the notification pane quickly from the main screen.
    Update: it is possible to change this option but it is only possible from the main screen, holding down any empty spot and than choosing right bottom corner settings. You can't get there through the normal settings but still it was nice to find out it is possible after all.

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    When I got this phone and started searching through it, I stumbled onto Zenmode which brought me back to my childhood. Why you might ask? Well, since I was pretty young, my mother took me with her when she went to meditation and while I waited, I had some lessons in meditation as well which was fine while I don’t know if it actually did something. Then again I was only around 6-10 years old so what did I know haha! Anyways as if it was only yesterday, I still remember the lessons I got and the OnePlus 9 has a Zenmode which feels like a way to meditate both alone and in company. I use it as a way of clearing my head before bedtime but I’m also gonna try it during the day to see if my head gets clearer that way. I really like the way you can set the duration but also the scene/music because some days you will find a simple piano melody very nice while other days, you might find the sounds of the forest much more relaxing.

    Camera
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    What can I say about the Hasselblad camera setup that you don’t already know? Not much probably but oh well.

    All lenses have 12-bit RAW support which means you can capture photos uncompressed in any way. Since I am not much of a RAW shooter though, I will focus on using the main standard camera app without edits of any kind. Next to the main 48MP camera, there is an amazing 50MP ultra wide camera but also a 2MP monochrome camera and well, I do love a good monochrome camera, don’t ask me why, I just do :) so let's see if I can get some nice shots with that!

    I find it really hard to tell you about the camera because in my opinion, the camera is the one thing you really have to see for yourself so with that being said. Let me show you rather than tell you what these cameras can do with my camera-test video!



    Oh My Unicorn!
    After finishing my camera video with all the options, I realized I didn’t use the monochrome camera at all.. I guess that’s because there is no dedicated option in the menu.. I actually love using a monochrome lens but if I have to dig it up in the camera options and it justs looks like a filter, I don’t like it AND (and this is worst), I forget about it which is a shame because there is an actual 2MP monochrome lens! If that’s there, why not give it a dedicated camera menu option, I think it’s a shame and I really hope to see it pop up in future camera updates.
    Update: some community members told me it was possible to add the option to the standard camera menu but this is on the Pro model only so far, on the OnePlus 9 version, it is only a filter and not an option or mode you can add to the camera menu.

    So tell me, what is your opinion on the cameras? Do you think they’re ‘Hasselblad worthy’ or do you think the cameras are overly hyped? Let me know, I’d very much like to hear your opinion!

    Summary
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    I have loved OnePlus phones since the beginning, yes a lot has changed but although the price has gone up, so have the specs and possibilities. It is a rather large phone and as said before I do have small hands but because of the aspect ratio and the way Oxygen OS works this doesn’t bother me half as much like it has on other big phones. Also it runs like a champ, and although I am not a big gamer, I am a big fan of editing on my phone since I don’t have a laptop capable of running a smooth editor. The OnePlus 9 does a great job at this, rendering my videos quick while not using a lot of battery while doing it. It does heat up a bit if I play Pokemon Go for too long while out (yes I’m one of those people too) but which phone doesn’t. For me the OnePlus 9 has been amazing in what it offers and like I said, it might not have the biggest and best battery but it has absolutely without a doubt the best charging system which makes it great to take with you!!

    Who is this phone for?
    If you want the best of the best out there on all fronts, you might not like this phone because yes it is a good phone absolutely but is it the best phone out there with the best overall performance? I don't know, maybe the pro version might be the better option for you.
    But. If you're looking for a phone with a great camera and a beautiful fast and vivid screen, this could very well be the phone for you. It doesn't have the best battery but it does charge the fastest so big bonus there. It's not too big in your hand even though it has a 6.5 inch screen so if you're looking for an upgrade in any of those areas, this could be the phone for you.

    Is it worth upgrading from an 8 series?
    I wish I could give you an honest full answer on this question but since I didn't own an 8 series device, I can't be sure. There are some upgrades of course but I will leave this to people who have experience with an 8 series OnePlus.

    I hope you liked my review, a full video review of my first days with the OnePlus 9 will be coming soon to my channel, I’ll drop a message here when it’s ready!
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021

    #1
  2. missmobiletech
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Apr 21, 2021

    Stickied Post
    missmobiletech , Apr 21, 2021 :
    Hi all!
    I've just been informed my review didn't have enough photos (even though they are all in my video) so I was asked to upload some more photos. said:
    Like I just said, I have made a lot of photos but I put them all in the camera video I made.
    Anyways I've made some more since then so, here they are, some shots taken with the OnePlus 9, enjoy!
    IMG_20210407_175019.jpg IMG_20210330_175314.jpg IMG_20210402_161306.jpg IMG_20210420_150159_Bokeh.jpg IMG_20210417_101326.jpg IMG_20210417_101320.jpg IMG_20210416_202734.jpg IMG_20210416_201729.jpg IMG_20210413_165950.jpg IMG_20210413_164802.jpg IMG_20210413_104354.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021

    K1616682385394 likes this.
  3. jlasensiofi
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Apr 5, 2021


    #2
  4. missmobiletech
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Apr 6, 2021


    #3
  5. Young_Blood
    KitKat Apr 7, 2021

  6. CALBINE
    Cupcake Apr 7, 2021

  7. Vinay Raghvani
    Honeycomb Apr 7, 2021


    #6
    J.shah and missmobiletech like this.
  8. J.shah
    Eclair Apr 7, 2021

  9. Sashank_10
    Gingerbread Apr 7, 2021

  10. bdiazjr85
    Donut Apr 7, 2021

    bdiazjr85 , via OnePlus 9 Pro , Apr 7, 2021 :
    You can change the swipe down notifications from main screen thing, it's in the settings and also to get monochrome or macro it's in the camera settings just have to play around with the buttons and you will find it!! 😁
     

    #9
  11. Willsphills
    Eclair Apr 7, 2021

  12. dom_k
    The Lab - OnePlus 9 Pro Reviewer Apr 7, 2021


    #11
  13. PrashantKarma
    Ice Cream Sandwich Apr 7, 2021


    #13
  14. X1579868576027
    Cupcake Apr 7, 2021

  15. MUTD3
    Froyo Apr 7, 2021


    #15
    missmobiletech likes this.
  16. gbvreddy
    Gingerbread Apr 7, 2021


    #16
    missmobiletech likes this.
  17. PriyankaDhende
    Cupcake Apr 7, 2021

  18. Kushrami
    Gingerbread Apr 7, 2021

  19. Tanayesh
    The Lab - OnePlus 9 Pro Reviewer Apr 7, 2021


    #19
    missmobiletech likes this.
  20. Aryan0489
    Cupcake Apr 7, 2021


    #20