The LAB - Oneplus 9 Pro review

  1. IriaCL
    Donut Mar 31, 2021

  2. matthu.2711
    The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer Mar 31, 2021

  3. yaakov5050
    Froyo Mar 31, 2021

  4. lividram
    Froyo Mar 31, 2021

    lividram , Mar 31, 2021 :
    Let's be honest that Morning Mist variant is lame :mad: It looks good on renders, but in real life this mirror-like back is a magnet for fingerprints.

  5. Gabe_M
    Froyo Apr 1, 2021

  6. Lemillion
    Honeycomb Apr 1, 2021

  7. Kushrami
    Froyo Apr 1, 2021

  8. Pravin2999
    Gingerbread Apr 2, 2021

  9. Ronin-hc
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Apr 2, 2021

    Stickied Post
    Ronin-hc , Apr 2, 2021 :
    Protons and Electrons

    Let’s talk electricity, I have always been fascinated with electronics and have done my fair share of DIY ever since I was a kid. I even plugged in a 5v dc motor direct into a 230v ac outlet thinking it’ll run faster than the flash itself and, although there was a huge flash, it just wasn’t the kind I was expecting. Let’s not get into what transpired post that experiment. It’s a vast world of electrons and protons out there and, covering even a fraction of it, is beyond the scope of this article. So let’s focus ourselves on one variation, mainly the ones running through our smartphones.


    The OnePlus 9 pro is powered by a 4500mah twin cell battery unit and while the battery is quite big we have to remember that the hardware which is being powered is not merciful at all. The huge QHD panel is the prime suspect here. When switched to 120 Hz + QHD resolution, the battery lasts a maximum of 15 hrs. of standby with just under 5 hours of screen on time. Turning things down to 1080p is helpful at times. Personally, I have kept the phone on 1080p ever since and battery life is more tolerable.
    The display panel itself utilizes an LTPO tech which in theory can ramp the refresh rate up and down actively, changing from 1-120 Hz. How much difference does this make in real life? It’s hard to say. While the phone remains fluid and smooth throughout its usage the battery life roughly remains in the same ballpark. That is about half a day worth of use with aggressive usage (which includes a fair bit of gaming) and perhaps even a full day when used stringently (only casual browsing, phone calls, and social media consumption). One thing to remember is the phone is running an early build which could play a big role, expect the battery life to improve by a few margins as more and more software patches are sent out. That said, all of this doesn’t worry me at all, why you ask? Charging.




    The thing is, in our fast-paced lives, the charging technology matters just as equally if not more than the actual battery life itself. You’re bound to run out of charge sooner or later and that’s where your charging solution comes into play. If you have to wait hours on end for your tiny 10-watt charger to juice up the big hungry batteries then all the time saved in battery life means naught.


    OnePlus is no stranger to fast charging, ever since the inception of their dash charger in the OnePlus 3, they have pushed further and further with what is capable in the world of wired charging. I still remember the days when OnePlus advertised the OnePlus 5 and the primary focus was on a student’s life, starting out with just a quick charge before classes. Years later the concept hasn’t changed, in fact, it has just gotten better. With the 65-watt charger included in the box (I still don’t believe that reviewers have to actually mention this as a perk in 2021 just because of one company) certainly, new possibilities have been unlocked, at least for me. Before we go any further let’s talk numbers, 5/10%-100% is reached in under 30 minutes flat, which is bonkers. What is even more surprising is the superfast wireless charging, which I haven’t been able to test, although I can imagine the numbers to be very similar. A very respectable 50-60% is reached within 15-20 mins of charge, which under careful use can get you through the day. This is like a godsend, not just for students but for working professionals alike.


    An exclusive cameo!

    For me, the numbers do sound cool but, it’s the technology underneath which really tickles my brain. Remember the twin cell setup we talked about? Turns out with a single unit, your charging capacity caps out after a while, no matter how much wattage you throw at it. Larger cells can accept wattage at a faster rate but the ones inside your phone are limited in both dimensions and heat output. How do you solve this? Of course by adding another cell in parallel. A combined total of 4500mah is reached only, now you can charge that much faster because you’re using it in parallel. Then there is the tech which goes in the charger unit itself. Can you imagine 65 watts? Inside that tiny dense package? My laptop charger is 65 watts and is much bigger with a thick wire ending in a three-pin setup, bulky to say the least. The warp charger unit itself is roughly the same size as the previous dash charger, only 30g heavier. The amount of performance upgrade you get for that measly 30 g is unreal.


    Excuse my cats, they're increasingly bedazzled by all things fast

    Talking about the longevity of the battery cell, I can’t say much. I have had the device for only 5-6 days now and, it is far too little to comment on the effects. There is a helpful mode included within the software which optimizes the charging speed based on your usage scenarios and automatically adjusts the charging speed. Say, for example, you charge your phone daily in the night, the software can ramp down the charging at those times to preserve battery health.

    While it is a well-known fact that the battery does deteriorate over time with fast charging, I have yet to see any tangible effects on my OnePlus 7 which is almost 2 years old now. Safe to say that even the OnePlus 9 pro will continue charging fast for years to come. It’s so confidence-inspiring to see that a company still believes in the future of fast charging and is not out there to fool people into spending big money on fancy but useless hardware like magnets. Overall while the battery life itself may not be the strongest suit of the OnePlus 9 Pro, it definitely makes up for it through its mind-boggling charging solutions.

    Attached Files:

    superplus, meatandy, hennes and 2 others like this.
  10. Ronin-hc
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Apr 2, 2021

    Ronin-hc , Apr 2, 2021 :
    Thank you so much for your kind words, everyone!

  11. Ronin-hc
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Apr 2, 2021

    Ronin-hc , Apr 2, 2021 :
    Thank you so much! Markus Zusak happens to be one of my favourite authors!

    puccellino likes this.
  12. Ronin-hc
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Apr 2, 2021

    Ronin-hc , Apr 2, 2021 :
    Thank you so much!

  13. Ronin-hc
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Apr 2, 2021

    Ronin-hc , Apr 2, 2021 :
    Thank you!

  14. DhavalA
    Eclair Apr 2, 2021

  15. J1579018029223
    Gingerbread Apr 2, 2021

  16. WASIM OnePlus
    Gingerbread Apr 2, 2021


  17. #57
  18. Rajan1572
    Cupcake Apr 4, 2021

  19. Ronin-hc
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Apr 4, 2021

    Stickied Post
    Ronin-hc , Apr 4, 2021 :
    Megapixels and Negatives

    It’s no secret that the camera is the main highlight of this year. Earlier this year when OnePlus dedicated much of its efforts towards showcasing its collaboration with Hasselblad, a lot of expectations were garnered both in the minds of critics and fans alike. What people forgot intermittently was to keep their suppositions in due check and in line with reality. There was a sudden requirement for the OnePlus 9 Pro to come on stage and beat every possible mobile camera system to date. Whether it succeeded or not is what we shall try to find out in this section.


    For me personally, the whole experience was a bit of a mixed bag, to be very honest. On one hand was the sheer excitement as an analog photographer, seeing Hasselblad in the limelight alongside one of my favorite technology companies but on the flip side, there was the skepticism that finds itself whispering in my ears from time to time. So I approach this section with the same mélange of beliefs and criticism.

    (Unfortunately for me, as soon as I received the phone I had to go in a two-week quarantine for having come in direct contact with our dear friend who’s quite famous by now. Please bear with me as I try to navigate this section from the confines of my mother’s garden.)

    Before we get started, we have to address what exactly is color science. You see above everything else, what color really is that, it’s subjective. There is no right or wrong in the science of colors, just you and your preferences alone. That’s why most photographers have a preference for brands, it mostly boils down to their perception of good color. Hasselblad as a company has committed much of its time working with artists perfecting their vision for good color. The iconic Swedish company has spent a better part of the last two decades working towards a more honest presentation of those tonalities which make up most of our natural world. This isn’t necessarily the best or even appealing to many out there and that’s what I think gets lost in the mix of all the comparisons.

    As a photographer, the following sections are what I believe go be essentials in any camera system and it’s where the makings of any great photograph begin.

    Perceptions and Flexibility

    Before we can converse about the inherent qualities let’s talk about the hardware. The phone comes with mainly three different focal lengths which allow you to exercise your creativity in terms of perception and composition. The main sensor is a 48MP Sony imx789 wide-angle with an aperture of f1.8 which is used for everyday photographs. It does have both OIS and EIS along with an equivalent of 23mm field of view.


    Regular Wide Angle

    Following which we have an ultra-wide, with another top-of-the-line Sony sensor, a 50MP IMX766 with an effective aperture of f2.2. It also comes with OIS and has an effective field of view of a 14mm lens on a full-frame. This Ultra-wide is also paired with what OnePlus calls a freeform lens, it basically helps in cutting out lateral distortion in the photographs also known as barrel distortion. This Wide angle has also an added benefit of being capable of macro shots which definitely makes things fun from time to time.


    Ultra Wide Angle

    Apart from this we also have an 8MP 3.3x telephoto on board which is good but not at the level of the main cameras. It does work in a pinch when you absolutely need it but I would personally prefer moving with my feet and utilizing the main cameras as much as possible.


    All these options are truly fantastic and for the most part, are quite well implemented. It allows for a more diverse shooting experience without worrying about quality too much.

    Colors –

    It’s the main highlight and the part where Hasselblad and OnePlus came together to try and deliver something unique. From the get-go, the colors from the auto mode in the OnePlus 9 pro are vibrant and quite life-like. The perception of reds and greens is quite matched with what I observe myself. This in the past has been a weak point in OnePlus and I’m glad to report they’re on the right path. Under Challenging conditions as well the colors hold up and don’t get washed out. Right away we can see the Natural color calibration at work.




    Under Artficial lighting the colors look just as good!

    White Balance consistency as a topic is something where I feel more work needs to be put in. The sensors themselves are truly extraordinary and Sony has a done an amazing job in bringing a lot of commendable performance to the table. That said the ultra-wide and the wide still have some conflict between themselves with regards to white balance. The ultra-wide-angle does prefer a more warm tonal range than the rest of the sensors. The gap widens much further when we bring the telephoto into context. This I believe will take some calibration on OnePlus’ side to truly get it right, but nonetheless completely possible.


    As we move to the Pro mode there is a dramatic shift in tonal capacities. To my eye the Pro mode, more often than not tries to overexpose the highlights which results in the colors looking slightly washed out. This is a rather peculiar aspect that I couldn’t bring myself to explain well quite yet. This can be curbed by manually adjusting the settings but even when equally matched the whites are a bit of a hit or a miss in the pro mode.


    Auto Mode


    Pro Mode (Notice the over-exposed concrete elevations around the water)

    Moving to the monochrome sensor, it’s something I would like to explain well first before talking about it further. Many people have pointed out how a 2MP monochrome sensor even compares to the main 48mp sensor. The thing is the photo you take is still captured by the 48MP sensor assisted alongside the monochrome sensor. So why does this make sense? Why not just take a normal photo and convert it later to b&w? My answer to that is, a monochrome sensor in itself is better suited to capture certain colors beyond our visual spectrum and even generic color RGB sensors. The grey tones it assigns to these certain areas are what give it that unique look. Take, for example, the far more expensive Leica m10 monochrome, why would anyone pay so much for a camera that just shoots b&w? It’s because the look it renders is unlike any other. It’s why I love shooting B&W film from time to time because the looks are unique.



    How useful is this in a smartphone? Well, that question is still up for debate. Arguably, people using the phone aren’t really looking for those special b&w photos and would be much happier with a simpler filter on top of a normal photo.

    Dynamic Range

    Talking about dynamic range and low light performance, this is really where the new hardware starts to flex its newly acquired muscles. Under what be considered very challenging situations, the OnePlus 9 pro handles beautifully. In the past companies have tried to curb this problem via software, but I believe there’s only so much fooling physics. The fact at the end of the day is bigger sensors are irrefutably better. The large sensor (1/1.43 inch) underneath the wide angle, paired along with some very cool technology can handle the shadows and highlights without compromises. Things like Digital Overlap HDR (DOL-HDR), unlike staggered HDR, can capture several photos of varying exposures simultaneously. This ensures that you have only the best shot at all times. These accolades are extended towards both the main sensors, namely the Ultra-wide and wide-angle. Both performing just as well in varied situations.


    An Example of extreme conditions. This may look simple but is incredibly difficult with the backlit sun. Retaining so much detail in the shadow is truly a herculean task.


    Here's another example taken on the ultra wide angle. Say hello to the evevning sun!

    There’s another advantage to large sensors and bigger apertures, and that is low light performance. Lowlight performance mainly is dictated by two things, one is larger apertures and the second is pixel size. The first one has been quite good in mobile smartphone photography for a while now, we have seen apertures as low as f1.6 which is quite remarkable but the second half has not been possible until now. Pixel size is usually measured in micrometers and it basically translates to how much real state each pixel in your 12mp sensor truly has. More real state equates to better low light performance. This Id argue is so important, that even though the OnePlus 9 pro has a dedicated night mode, the photo taken on auto outperforms the former. Yes, overall brightness is a little low but the amount of detail you get instead is shocking, to say the least.



    Taken On Auto Mode

    Coming to the Night-Mode itself, there seems to be very slight problem with the software trying to overexpose a little bit. This results in slightly blurrier photos when compared to the auto mode. It’s a tiny difference and one that can be easily fixed. On a general note, the night mode on the OnePlus 9 pro is commendable. (Take into consideration that the photos presented above and below are taken in absolute darkness ie there is absolutely no light source near the subject)


    Taken on Night Mode

    Moving to sharpness is where I have a gripe with the OnePlus 9 Pro camera system. The photos coming out of the phone have a very visible amount of artifacts around sharp edges and text. This is slightly improved when switching over to the pro mode but then the previously addressed issues around white balancing make themselves known. On outdoor scenes the sharpening can be observed near tree leaves, there’s just too much going on here. While the difference is small, it makes a world of difference in making the photos appear true to life. Unless zoomed in, this does work to make the photo look relatively sharp but the resulting photo looks very noisy and grainy.


    Notice the text, there is a fair bit of oversharpening going on here.

    While I understand the thought process behind this, I’m very confident when I say that they went a tad overboard with this. OnePlus’ camera software team definitely has their work cut out for them and I hope they’re can fix this as soon as possible. For now it seems that the regular wide angle in auto mode is the worst hit by this. Apart from this small overlook the photos coming out of the phone have plenty of detail and definition.


    Software and Controls

    Finally, we move to the software, the topic that both excites me and at times is the source of my disappointment. Talking about the good stuff, the UI feels clean and fluid, with well-thought-out controls and adjustments. Video functions are found towards the left-hand side while photography controls occupy the right. The best part is this order can be rearranged and be made to suit you the best. The option to do this lies in the settings under custom modes which can be accessed through the auto mode.


    In auto mode itself, there are handy tools to aid you to take better photos of your friends and families. There is also a filter button should you fancy some creative takes on a scene or even take that monochrome sensor for a spin.


    It’s in the pro mode where things start to come to life, at least for me, somewhat. It offers a host of controls such as white balance, ISO performance, shutter speed, and even a focus wheel. Paired with the focus peaking which has been included this time around, you can achieve critical focus very easily. However, I found the included laser autofocus sensor does its job quite well, even with lowlight scenes. There are also options to shoot in RAW, should you need that extra color information.
    There is also a very handy histogram along with a digital level, allowing to quickly compose correctly on the go.

    Diving even deeper into the settings you can find settings for ultra-shot HDR, scene recognition, and many other things.



    Talking about the smaller issues, one very peculiar thing which plagues most of the camera system is the overheating warning which comes on more often than not and has been very frustrating. This is reportedly a known issue and rests assured that the engineering team is working on a solution as we speak. Fingers crossed it arrives sooner than later. There is also the sharpening issue I have previously discussed along with a more niche problem regarding shutter lag. The latter being the most known out of any other.

    My general take on the software is that frankly, it has quite a journey in front of it before it can truly start making proper use of the extremely capable hardware that underpins this very phone.

    Overview and final thoughts –

    In a brief, the camera system has potential and a lot of it. The hardware OnePlus has chosen to go along with this year is fantastic, unmatched even. It’s the software where all the ailments start to take form. Now, this is definitely fixable, in-fact in the last week or so I have received as many as 3 software updates all of which aim to improve the shortcomings on the camera front. To put things into context, I think OnePlus has quite a winner on their hands this year. From the actual hardware itself to the efforts spent behind calibration and bringing the whole package together. The small issues with regards to exposure consistency, over-sharpening, and white balance are all things that are handled by the software, which gives me hope. A hope that things in fact can and will get much better.

    Here are a few more samples, I was able to capture in and around my home. These have been processed a little so I have decided to include them here separately. Apart from these select few, none of the photos have been retouched.





    We have yet another Cameo!

    Side Note -

    As a staple in most studios, the colors out of a Hasselblad camera are most suited towards natural skin tones and portraits. This is true for the tuning available on the OnePlus 9 Pro as well. Now, I’m hardly qualified as a portrait photographer, only taking the occasional pictures of my family. My fellow lab reviewer @Kurt_Paris is a far more talented photographer with regards to portraiture and I urge you to check his review for more insight in this section.

    Attached Files:

  20. Rawniebrow
    Gingerbread Apr 6, 2021 at 3:25 PM