3
[The Lab] Reviewing the OnePlus9 Pro - Let's Try This Again Edition

  1. LucasM6
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series May 18, 2021

    LucasM6 , May 18, 2021 :
    CameraHighRes-1.jpg

    Hi everyone! I’m Lucas and you might have already read a review of mine earlier in the year. I came here wanted to add another update to my initial post after being told to improve upon it, and came to the conclusion that just starting a whole new post from scratch would be more beneficial because of all the stuff I've changed and added in. So here we go:

    So again, a little bit about me: I used to be a professional concert photographer over the last five or six years, until this past year where the Coronavirus, well, made concerts nonexistent. I’ve attended around 250 shows in those years before, shooting locals to huge arena selling artists, like Green Day, Shinedown, and Panic at the Disco. One of the reasons I get so excited when a new phone is about to release are the possibilities that come with a new camera. In a concert setting, we only get the first three songs for each band to shoot up close with our DSLRs and then we have to go back into the GA crowd, where sometimes us photographers aren’t allowed to keep our camera with us. In those instances having a top of the line phone with a phenomenal camera is something that’s been high on my wanted list. Having a device in my pocket that I could rely on to get the shots I want after the first three songs (because memorable moments obviously happen outside of those) is an invaluable safety net to have, which is why I’ve been so thrilled to test out this new OnePlus 9 Pro.


    Contents

    1. Unboxing

    2. Product Design

    3. Camera

    4. Gaming

    5. Charging/Battery


    Unboxing
    Getting this package and opening it up was the closest I've gotten to being a kid around Christmas time. I couldn't wait to get it, and I couldn't wait to find out which kind of phone I had been sent. We didn't get told which color we'd get, or even if it'd be the Pro or the base model.

    9Pro4x3-4.jpg

    9Pro4x3.jpg

    It was the silver Pro one! What a pleasant surprise. Part of me was hoping for the pink-ish, purple Arctic Sky one, even if that would mean getting the base model and not the pro. I am more than happy with this one, what OnePlus calls Morning Mist.

    9Pro4x3-2.jpg

    These are all the goodies that come in the box. They're all your usual instruction manual, quick start guide and charger and cable (I guess that isn't that usual, with Apple doing away with including power chargers with their phones). But also included is a nice welcome sheet, welcoming you to the OnePlus family, with some other heartfelt words from CEO Pete Lau. What could come off as pandering in any other circumstance, comes off as genuine and makes me feel just that much more like I've made the right decision to invest as much money into this company as I did (at least in the instance of my 8 Pro).

    What I am slightly upset about though this time around is there was no case included with my phone. I've seen some of my fellow reviewers from overseas had gotten one included in theirs, so I'm quite curious as to why over here in the US it doesn't seem to be the case (no pun intended). It was a nice luxury to have come with my 8 Pro to help protect that phone. It wasn't anything special of a case, basically nothing more than a clear plastic cover, but in the case of this 9 Pro and how gorgeous it looks, I would have loved to have a case similar included to protect from scratches and those dreaded fingerprints.


    Product Design
    9Pro4x3-3.jpg
    The reflection from the bottom of the phone to the top isn't a trick of the light, it really does fade like that.

    The phone itself looks great. For their Morning Mist, OnePlus have described it as shimmering from silver to black, but to me this phone looks more blueish tinted gray (ice cold!) that fades into a chrome, mirrorlike look on the bottom. Slight difference, but it’s a look I can enjoy just as much, if not more because I think the bit of blue give it a little more character than if it were just straight silver. In fact when looking for cases for this phone, instead of getting a purple one like I did for my black 8 Pro, I decided I couldn’t in good conscious cover up the beauty of the way the back of this phone looks, so I got a clear case. It’s kind of hard to photograph the way the back fades from a mirror on the bottom to a more metallic faded gray like I mentioned, without me getting in the way of the photo because of the mirror, so hopefully my photo up there portrays it good enough for you reading. It’s not a play of the light, the phone really does look that light on top and dark/mirrorlike on the bottom.

    9Pro4x3.jpg

    It is ever so slightly smaller than the 8 Pro is, but the bezel is ever so slightly smaller as well. Already on the phone is a screen protector just like the 8 Pro, which I am a huge fan of. It’s not a super fancy glass tempered protector, but it’s one nonetheless, and definitely puts me at ease right away when using the phone knowing that if it happens (hopefully not) to get scratched, it’s not the end of the world. I’ve had my fair share of anxiety when getting new phones because I just don’t want to spoil such a great looking screen!

    9Pro4x3-2.jpg
    The camera bump on the 8Pro almost acts as a phone stand itself. Wasn't a fan. 9 Pro is in front, and flat!

    The 9 Pro is slightly thicker than the 8 Pro at 8.7mm versus 8.5. Not that huge of a difference and most likely imperceivable to most people in everyday use, but what is a big improvement is the bezel for the camera lenses is now in the corner and doesn’t protrude nearly as much as the 8 Pro’s did. The entire time having the 8 Pro it was just awkward having such a big camera bump on the back and was one of the main reasons I got the case I did for it because it leveled it out. You don’t realize how much you appreciate being able to lay your phone on a table evenly until it happens that you can’t.


    My first proper smartphone was the Samsung Galaxy S8+, so curved screens hold a special place in my heart, which means I’m quite glad that the 9 Pro has kept the curved glass. The back of the 9 Pro is also a very slick glass which when initially held, does feel nice and premium in hand, but the more I use it, the more I wish it had the matte backing like the other Pro models have. The curve of the edges are smoother, resulting in a more comfortable feel in the hand but still, it’s just so slippery! On my walk through my neighborhood this afternoon, I felt I had to be way extra careful while holding it so I wouldn’t drop it on the ground or worse, in the creek. A case is definitely a must purchase, even just to be able to hold on to it more comfortably.


    9Pro4x3-7.jpg


    Front camera notch like on the 8 Pro is in the top left corner, and to be honest before I got that phone I was worried I wasn’t going to like it there. I was strongly considering the S21 because of it being in the middle and being a fan of symmetry, but after using the phones for a significant amount of time, I do think it’s the better spot to have it in the corner. Yes, notifications are pushed over a bit, but the lens feels like it’s out of the way of everything. I do really wish that there was an LED notification light, but for the sake of having a sleek (mostly) uninterrupted screen, I understand why it’s gone.

    Okay, so, onto my biggest qualm, leading up to this phone. I knew about it before I got it didn't think it would be as bad as people were making it out to be, but having taken this photo and seen the two phones side to side with the same image, it's a lot more apparent than I thought.

    9Pro4x3-11.jpg
    OnePlus 8 Pro left, 9 Pro on the right of the same Rise Against photo I took a few years ago.
    Before I received the 9 Pro, I had experience with the display of the 8 Pro lacking quite a bit the lower you dimmed the brightness. You'd lose color, and detail in the shadows and blacks, and in some cases a green tint would emerge (I only had that with gray colors), but this photo puts into perspective just how improved the 9 Pro is as far is it's display goes. A device isn't going to be a good tool for editing if it can't accurately portray colors. The 8 Pro lost a lost of details in the shadows, the blues are more blue, and there's even some purple tint added in on the middle left. The 9 Pro just looks correct. it's the same color of teal/green that I know I got from my DSLR and no detail lost.

    All this is a long winded way of saying I was quite annoyed while using my 8 Pro late at night and if I wanted to see a certain photo in it's best quality, I'd have to turn the brightness up. It's an extra step that gets tedious, and going to the 9 Pro fixes that issue. So hooray to late night scrolling!

    Speaking of, it seems about time for me to go do that now! Coming soon will be my new section of observations about the the camera. Stay tuned! Any questions that I could add and answer, let me know!
     

    #1
  2. LucasM6
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series May 19, 2021

    LucasM6 , May 19, 2021 :
    Camera

    9Pro4x3-4.jpg
    OnePlus, Hasselblad, and a little bit of my hometown Minneapolis.

    9Pro4x3-12.jpg
    It just looks pretty, doesn't it?
    The camera is really where OnePlus seemed to focus this phone, coming out with a partnership with Hasselblad, one of the leading manufacturers of cameras, their lenses and everything in between.

    First impression was that this was a noticeably faster camera and software than the 8 Pro. Five cameras return on the 9 Pro (4 back, 1 front); a 48 MP main lens that shoots at 23mm and f/1.8, a 50 MP ultra-wide lens at 14mm and f/2.2, a 8 MP telephoto lens at f/2.4, and a 5 MP monochrome.

    I initially was disappointed in that there was just a lens for monochrome, and who wants just a 5 MP lens these days? But reading into it it's pretty interesting. Honestly it's hard for me to call it a lens when it's more of a filter, but to access it, you go into the color wheel at the bottom corner of the viewfinder and scroll all the way to the end and it'll switch. What it apparently does is it supplements the main lens with the 5 MP sensor to help give more details in the black and shadows. In theory that sounds neat, but on the other hand it's still not going to make me shoot monochrome. I'm much more privy to shooting in color, and then if I'm curious I'll convert in Lightroom to monochrome. You can always convert to black and white, but if you shoot in monochrome there's no switching.

    9Pro4x3-13.jpg

    First time out shooting was doing one aspect of photography that I love, landscapes. Wide angle lenses and shots are what I'm all about so my first instinct was to go right towards that mode. I love being able to capture as much of an area in a single image. Taken outside my apartment along Minnehaha Creek Trail in pro mode, at 1/2000 sec and 100 ISO, it was a fairly easy shot to make in this bright light. But it shot instantly with no lag between pressing the shutter button and being stored. Colors were represented accurately, feeling no needs to edit or alter any of it in post. Which has become a trend while using the phone. The one main nuance on this walking trip I notice was the phone seeming to overexpose. If you had everything on auto and pressed on the screen to focus, it would be to bright for me liking. That's what led to me going in to pro mode to change the shutter speed to 1/2000 sec and turn the ISO all the way down to the lowest.

    Portrait mode was my go to mode with the 8 Pro, and I'm finding myself in a similar spot with the 9 Pro. The sharpness you get is somehow greater than just basic photo mode. The bokeh that the phone’s software adds in is phenomenal. I feel when you look at Apple and Samsung photos that are taken in their portrait modes, the bokeh looks too artificial like it’s trying to act like an actual DSLR, too much so that it just looks unnatural for the scene you took the photo in. I was very impressed with my 8 Pro when I had it and equally impressed with the 9 Pro. In this mode I'd be hard pressed to tell it came from a cell phone and not a DSLR, especially when looking at this next shot:

    CameraHighRes-1-7.jpg
    My Max-ie man! Honestly this is the best photo I've take of him, and probably ever will.
    The only editing of this photo was to raise the shadows and lower the highlights. Pretty simple, nothing too fancy. Very impressed that that was all I needed to do with it.

    9Pro4x3-9.jpg
    8 Pro portrait mode compared (right) compared to 9 Pro portrait mode (left)
    Another example of the color accuracy and representation on the 9 Pro being better. When looking at the two phone's examples side by side, you realize how drab the 8 Pro looks. Colors aren't as vibrant, and the detail in Spider Man's webbing is much more natural looking. The 8 Pro's looks more compressed especially on the top of his head. The light coming in through the window also looks a lot more pleasing in the 9 Pro's image.

    CameraHighRes-1-8.jpg
    Kitro-man!
    Front facing photo this time. I'm not one to take random selfies, so using the front camera to check in on my cat behind me is going to be about the only time I use this lens. This time I decided to shoot the photo because of the cuteness. Turned out pretty good! 9Pro4x3-14.jpg

    A recent panorama shot I took while on a boat trip up the St. Croix River. Panorama handles really well. I haven't had any of those issues or weird warped people or objects in my time of using the mode. What I truly dislike about the mode though is the inability to do a panorama while holding your phone sideways in landscape mode. My old S8+ was able to do that and it felt natural. Not sure why that's not possible here.

    CameraHighRes-1-10.jpg

    This photo is where I really tried testing pro mode and also adding in post production and my usual editing process. I don’t like noise in my photos so I set the ISO 400 (my actual DSLR I don’t like to go above 1600 if possible), 1/40 sec shutter, and the rest were auto. White balance is easy enough to edit in post, and the focus seemed to always pick what I’d want, so no need to mess with those. For some reason though the exposure compensation option sometimes gets grayed out or unavailable to use, and I have no idea why. Closing out and reopening the camera app has always seemed to fix it, so it’s nothing more than a few seconds of annoyance. Hopefully that doesn’t come into play later on in maybe a concert and make me miss “the” shot.

    I mostly wanted to take a darkish photo kinda close up, take the RAW file (always gotta shoot on RAW) and see how easy editing it would be in Lightroom and how sharp the photo would end up being. Not totally an equal comparison to what I'm used to after a concert setting, but I simulated to the best of my abilities. It felt good, and not any different than with my proper DSLR. I didn’t have to edit anything in a way I don’t normally do, like remove or blend anything, which bodes well. I really can't wait to be able to test this phone out at an actual concert. Here's a favorite concert photo I was able to take with my old S8+ for reference:

    1575179-b10b6f4f55ca1867944499613dc7557e.jpg
    If I can get this good of a shot with my S8+, how good of a shot will I be able to get with a phone with 4 years of improvement?
    IMG_20210404_204610.jpg
    Martinis by the fire, anybody?

    I was out with family for Easter and late at night we sat outside around a fire pit when I had the realization that fire is a pretty good substitute for a concert type lighting situation. And heck, even when bands have fire up on stage, just getting a good shot incorporating that in well is hard enough, so I tried getting a good shot of the fire which would include editing it in Lightroom.

    9Pro-6.jpg

    Lightroom worked like a breeze. Super fast and responsive, exactly what I want with a photo editing tool when cutting down on time is super important. I remember it not working too great with my S8+ and now with the 9 Pro I feel like I don’t even need my work PC. Just edit everything in phone!

    You can tell that the phone struggles a bit in low light situations. There was only the light of the fire going really and there's a good amount of noise in the blacks from bumping up the exposure as much as I did. I didn't do any noise reduction which possibly could have made the image look slightly better, but left it in for purity's sake.

    Now to test out telephoto:

    IMG_20210515_132811.jpg

    Starting out with the wide angle, just to get a sense of placement from where I’m sitting. Obviously great quality, super sharp.

    IMG_20210515_132842.jpg
    3.3x zoom
    Zooming in just a bit. Still looking really good.

    IMG_20210515_132935.jpg
    10x zoom
    Okay, starting to get noisy/grainy, especially in the frame of the print but still, pretty good quality considering how close up I am and how far away I am from this photo. Starting to get real hard to keep the phone very steady and focused right.

    IMG_20210515_133021.jpg

    (30x)

    Honestly, not that good at all. Very grainy and noisy and not that sharp. All things though that are a given when you’re zoomed in so much, so I’m not that surprised and don’t really hold it against the phone. I don’t ever see myself in a situation where I’d need to zoom in so close. The environment I’m in now for these photos are as close to ideal as you can get though. I had myself stabilized, good diffused indirect light, and a stationary target. If you were to change any of those variables, I highly doubt the photo would turn out this good. Again, in a concert setting with hardly any lights and people on stage running around, there’s no way I’d be able to get anything good. But I also think it’s unfair to ask this phone to do that, because it’s not what it’s meant to do.

    IMG_20210518_160404.jpg
    3.3x Zoom
    IMG_20210518_160429.jpg
    10x zoom. Pretty impressive in this image.
    Some more random shots I've taken:
    9Pro4x3-16.jpg
    From the same park as those duck photos. Wide angle lens just does it for me. This park get absolutely gorgeous in the fall, looking forward to taking photos of the trees then with this phone.

    IMG_20210403_121657.jpg
    IMG_20210514_180039.jpg
    Cocktails and Charcuterie in portrait mode​
    IMG_20210403_121909_Bokeh.jpg
    Portrait mode. That bokeh is just so good!

    IMG_20210508_112202.jpg
    I've still got some more testing I would like to spend more time on (astrophotography macrophotography?), but I'm going to leave tonight's post at this for now. Hopefully you guys take some good things from this update.

    As always, if there's anything else you'd like to know, anything else you'd specifically like me to test, please let me know!
     

    Attached Files:


    #2
    RacerZ likes this.
  3. LucasM6
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series May 24, 2021

    LucasM6 , May 24, 2021 :
    Camera (Pt. 2)
    As I've mentioned times before, concert photography is my specialty. I started it back in 2016 (maybe 2015? I can't exactly remember anymore) and it quickly became a passion of mine. Music has always been my greatest interest even though I've never been all too proficient at the performance side of it. Photographing not just bands, but some of my all time favorite bands and allows me to entrench myself in the music scene still, while at the same time still creating something artistically and creatively.

    It's been so aggravating, to say the least, this past year and more to not be able to have that creative outlet because of concerts not being a thing because of COVID. Before lockdown I had been considering upgrading to a new phone with the hopes of it helping capture some photos at shows that I might not be able to because of maybe not having my DSLR, but I could never exactly justify the purchase since my S8+ was for all intents and purposes working...fine. That was until I accidentally went swimming with that phone. I upgraded to the One Plus 8 Pro last summer thinking ahead to when concerts would come back and thinking that phone would be best camera wise.

    Now I have the 9 Pro to test and last night was the official start of concerts being back! Up here in Minnesota we've been doing really well against COVID and getting our vaccines, so with that restrictions are being listed and live shows are being able to be put on. A group of friends and I went out to Dayblock Brewing for an outdoor gig of a couple local ska bands, that I don't know if it was because I hadn't seen live music in so long or not, but they both killed it.

    I was originally thinking this was going to be an indoor show, so I was thinking great, I'll be able to decently test the camera out in concert settings (as close as I'd get at least) but then I found out about it being outside. It was extremely nice weather outside, nice and sunny and not too hot, and while that's great for just hanging out, it meant the almost all the photos I'd take would turn out fine. Cameras like these don't really ever struggle in sunlight conditions, or when there's an abundance of light. But, to my excitement, the music continued on into the night to make it dark enough to get some fog and stage light going.

    I'm going to be posting a handful of images from this night and talk through the process, what I think of them and my overall feelings of the camera in this kind of setting:

    9Pro4x3.jpg 9Pro4x3-2.jpg

    The first kinds of photos I tried were zoomed in ones just on basic photo mode. It may have been a side effect of not doing this for a lot period of time but there was a sense of awkwardness for me if I were to get too close and photograph them, which is the preferred way of mine to take photos. I'd much really walk myself up to a subject them have to rely on zooming in. I can't remember exactly how far I zoomed in for these, but it was a good deal more then the 3.3x zoom option. Looking at these photos uploaded on here, they aren't terrible. On instragram or some site where they would be shrunk down even smaller, they'd look even more manageable, but once you look at them full resolution the flaws are very apparent. So noisy and just not really clear images, and these were taken when the band members were relatively standing still.

    9Pro4x3-3.jpg

    This photo was taken with the 3.3x zoom option in the basic photo mode too, and it is much better. I'd even go as far as saying it's really good. It's just as soon as you go further than the 3.3x zoom the flaws of zooming in become more and more evident it seems, and I wouldn't recommend it. If you have the option, get yourself as close physically rather than zoom in.

    9Pro4x3-4.jpg

    9Pro4x3-5.jpg

    One of my favorite shots of the whole night. I love the leading lines. This was taken with the ultra-wide mode. Like I've mentioned previously, I'm a sucker for a good wide angle shot, and this phone handles it really well. I can forsee myself defaulting to this mode at future concerts. The one downside I can see people maybe not liking so much is there's a warp, or curvature of the image when you go this wide, giving off a very subtle fish eye lens look. That's something that can be fixed though in post in Lightroom is so desired with the Lens Correction tool. I personally kind of like the effect; my Sony A6000 has the same kind of issue, and I most often tend to keep it in.

    9Pro4x3-6.jpg

    This image is just a quick one I shot from in back. My usual process at concerts is to get the close ups during the first three songs in the pit, and then make my way towards the back in GA to get full crowd, wide angle venue shots kind of like this. I love shots that most make you feel like you've been place in that moment in time.

    9Pro4x3-7.jpg

    This was the second band that played and initially they played for about an hour or so and then got of stage and I thought they were done, but a half hour or so after that they came back up on stage and played a few more songs. At that point it was well past sunset and the lighting that was up on stage was able to be used in full. I tried taking photos in basic photo mode but quickly found out that it was not translating to good photos. I can only guess that the ISO was too great and the shutter to slow automatically selected for that mode to produce anything noteworthy. This photo was taken in Pro mode, and looking at the details now, I had set the settings to RAW and shot it at 1/15 sec shutter speed and 100 ISO. This photo turned out great and is one of my favorites from the night. There's a little oversaturation of the capturing of the green spotlight on the singers clothes, but isn't too distracting from the rest of the image.

    9Pro4x3-8.jpg

    This one is actually my favorite, I'm a sucker for purple and blue tones in my photos, and I love the motion I captured of the singer. This photo I tried cranking the ISO to 1000 to get the shutter speed up to 1/100 sec. Sometimes if the movement on stage is interesting enough you have to make sacrifices to be able to capture the fast paced-ness, and here I decided that I could accept some noise in the photos if jumping to ISO 1000 would help capture the scene. The noise is pretty apparent in the lower right hand corner, but as like the photo before, I don't think it takes away from the photo and everything else is sharp and in focus. The only way noise might become too apparent is if you were to print it at a big size, but I don't think they will ever be the case.

    9Pro4x3-9.jpg

    Last example photo from the night and the flaws of the camera really start to show here. I had to raise the ISO even further to 2000 and even lower the shutter speed to 1/25 sec to capture this. While not a terrible photo, there is quite a bit of noise in the crowd, which I can accept. Which bugs me most is the lights and the stage. The best way I can explain the lights without just saying oversaturated is a music analogy; if you record a band playing and it's too loud and you have too much noise for the frequency range, you'll get what's called clipping, where things start to sound static-y. Similart thing happened here, just visually where I got too much light in a given area that the camera sensor wasn't able to capture the data, resulting in the solid blues and whites. Often times if I have a RAW image like that with my DSLR, the data of what color should be there is actually there, even if it was kind of blown out. You can bring it into Lightroom and adjust setting to bring that back out, but that wasn't the case here.

    Other minor annoyances
    My process while I'm at First Avenue or some other bigger concert venue is I take a handful of photos and then take a second or two in go back into the camera and on the screen make sure when I was seeing through the viewfinder was being translated to photos. I tried to do that this night but when going back to the camera after checking the gallery, I had to then reselect pro mode, and then reselect the settings I had picked. At the time I would have preferred if the setting would be saved, but looking more at the phone, I was doing too much and found that it does get saved if you go into the gallery through the button in the camera app. Don't be like me at first and go to the home screen each time.

    The one thing that I don't think phone cameras can still reproduce similar to DSLR is the depth of field you can get. I wish you could change the f stops on what the lenses can shoot at. What makes cell phone photos all look like, well, cell phone photos is the majority of the time everything will be in focus and everything sharp except if your shooting up close enough or using portrait mode. That's not the case a lot of the time. Having everything in focus is good for certain shots, like my last couple shots, and worse for others, like the first couple close(r) ups.

    Now with me being as much of a fan of wide angle, all encompassing photos, I'm am still very much excited to test this phone out even more so, specifically at my favorite music venues. If this night was an example, it's that it should handle exactly what I ask of it.
     

    #3
    Crystal Z., jlasensiofi and RacerZ like this.
  4. LucasM6
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series May 28, 2021

    LucasM6 , May 28, 2021 :
    Battery, Gaming, And Thoughts After Two Months
    It's something so simplistic, but honestly one of my favorite features over these last couple months have been the battery of this phone and how fast it can charge. Like I've mentioned previously, the phone has been able to handle all of my everyday typical usage through out the days. I would post a screenshot of my screen times, but I don't really want to out myself in that way (I should really stop being on my phone so much), so trust me when I say it would average anywhere between 4-6 hours most days. But, a lot of that time is while at work watching videos on Youtube. Anyway, I digress. Considering how much screen time I average in a day, I've never left my home with a full battery and come back anywhere close to having run out of charge, even after a day of heavy usage.

    This phone has almost fundamentally changed how I use and feel about my phones. Before having this phone, I would worry quite a bit about running out of battery. I never wanted to be at a concert and have it die on me before having to leave, especially if I was at a venue I've never been to. The anxiety of not being able to get directions back home was very real. So every night I made sure to charge my battery. I knew if I didn't go to bed with it charging that I'd struggle to have good battery life the whole next day. The 9 Pro changes that to the point where I don't worry about it at all anymore, even (or when, really) if I'm at 1%.

    The first thing I did when I got this phone was test if the claims of it being charged 1-100% in 29 minutes was accurate, so I used the phone until it died and charged her up while timing it on my 8 Pro. It ended up taking 28:30, so even faster than advertised, and absolutely bonkers. I've now changed to waking up and charging in the morning while eating breakfast before leaving for work because I know given 15 minutes, I'll be able to get a good 50% or so. The freedom of knowing that if my battery is low and that I have a short amount of time to charge but get a significant amount of charge back, is very freeing. I just need to be sure to have the charger with me, which I usually do. Basically as long as I have that and an available outlet, battery is infinite, no matter the task.

    MTG.jpg

    I'll be the first to admit that I've never been too much of a mobile gamer. The most I've gotten into a game has been Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle, and that game isn't all that taxing. I did do a relatively good amount of Pokemon Go playing too, though. With this 9 Pro though I had been getting into mobile card games and tested them on it. Magic the Gathering Arena, somehow taxing on my three year old Microsoft Surface Pro, ran great on the phone. I had no issues with overheating while playing, nor lag or anything of the sort. And that goes for Legends of Runeterra as well. With the phone running on a Snapdragon 888, an Adreno 660 and 12 GB of RAM, I would really hope that the device would excel playing games.

    Speaking of Pokemon Go, one thing that bothered me on previous phones was the load time being slow. I used this phone as an excuse to get back into the game somewhat, and loading was fast. Walking around parks has shown that the game is quite responsive to my gestures and the location tracking spot on. I've had phones in the past where the GPS would be way off or just not work at all, so it was reassuring to know that it's in proper working order here.

    Other Random Tidbits
    Can we just talk about the screen for a second? The 120hz refresh rate was one of the things to blow me away on my 8 Pro when I got it and still does the same on the 9 Pro. Buttery smooth is always how I describe it. I'm a huge hockey fan and with it being playoff time and my favorite team, the Minnesota Wild, still playing (and hopefully winning next game), I've been finding streams to watch on my phone, either at work so I don't miss what's going on, or as a second or third screen at home. The fast paced action of the hockey games really accentuate how nice the refresh rate is. I couldn't tell you the amount of times I've gotten lost in just scrolling through my app drawer or random web pages because of how nice it looks.

    To go along with the screen looking gorgeous, reading comics is a surprising joy. I'd have thought it wouldn't be after getting used to reading on my Surface's bigger screen, but it's still pretty comfortable if you want to get some stories in. I would still prefer to read in bigger if given the option, to be able to see all the artworks proper details, but if the choice is no comics or comics on the 9 Pro, that's an easy choice. Plus you'd be reading on the app rather than the god awfully formatted website, and would be able to read on mobile data, unlike my surface.

    I have somehow lost getting push notifications for emails in my Gmail account? Don't know how or why, but it's slightly annoying not getting messages for my mail. I've tried checking if something was turned off in the settings (it wasn't) and resetting the phone. No fix yet.

    Speaking of resetting, I've had a handful of annoying occurrences where I'll get a phone call and I wont be able to hear the other person. I try recalling, and still can't hear. I've had this happen in the past but would feel dumb when I realize that it was because I had bluetooth connected but not in my ears, but these times that was not the case. Another issue I have no idea what the cause is, but what fixes it is resetting the phone. Slightly annoying too when this happens and is so far out of anything the biggest issue with the phone.

    Screen brightness I think could be brighter in sunlight settings.

    Spotify seems to freeze more often than I remember, but at the same time I doubt that's a phone issue and closing out of the app fixes it.

    Overall, after another month of using this phone, my stances haven't changed too much. It is better than my 8 Pro? Absolutely. Is it better enough to justify spending the money on, if I were to be in the situation? I don't think so, but know what I know now about the 9 Pro, about it's better, more accurate screen, better camera, and better battery, I really wouldn't want to go back to using my 8 Pro.

    I'm sure I'm forgetting a few aspects of the 9 Pro I want to talk about but it's getting late here. Please let me know if there's anything specific you'd want to know about the phone, or test. I'm actually going to be going to another concert tomorrow night, this time indoors and should be a more challenging task for the camera to take on, so I'll be testing it out again more and possibly/probably posting again more concert photos in the near future.
     

    #4
    RacerZ likes this.