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[The Lab] Reviewing the OnePlus9 Pro - Unboxing and More!

  1. LucasM6
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Mar 28, 2021

    LucasM6 , Mar 28, 2021 :
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    Hi everyone! I’m Lucas and this is the first time for me participating in this Lab event. I’m very excited to take part in this as I’ve been a fan of the OnePlus brand for awhile, and to be a part of it in some way is very humbling and something I’m proud of.

    A little bit about me before I get on to talking about the phone; 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 that time period, 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 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 is an invaluable safety net to have, which is why I’m so thrilled to test out this new OnePlus 9 Pro.

    Contents
    1. Unboxing
    2. Product Design
    3. Camera
    4. Gaming
    5. Charging/Battery

    Unboxing

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    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.

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    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.

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    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 over seas 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.

    As for the phone itself, I will be going into detail about it coming up!
     

    #1
    hennes, Shubham_Ag., MosheG1 and 4 others like this.
  2. LucasM6
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Apr 3, 2021

    Stickied Post
    LucasM6 , Apr 3, 2021 :

    Product Design
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    The phone itself is excellent. It is ever so slightly smaller than the 8 Pro is, but the bezel is ever so slightly smaller as well. 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. 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 proper case will be a necessary purchase, eventually.

    Camera

    First impressions tell me this is 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 2 MP monochrome. Essentially it’s a three lens in my mind, because in my time of having the 8 Pro, I never found a use for the monochrome lens. I’d much rather just take a shot of something with the main lens and convert it to monochrome in Lightroom.

    I really wish I could test out these other cameras in a concert setting, one which I have the most experience in. I have intimate knowledge in getting the most out of a camera in low light situations that are constantly changing, and I just don’t know how to properly replicate that in a meaningful way outside of a concert itself. So the other day I just went on a walk through the neighborhood and took photos of anything that might be interesting. I’ve also always been partial to landscape photography, mainly really wide shots so that’s what I tested out on this walk.

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    Probably my favorite shot of this outing. Super sharp throughout. Colors accurate to real life. Just need the warm weather too.

    First thing I tried out was going to pro mode because I want control over all of my camera settings. I don’t like letting a computer or third party decide what settings are best for a certain situation, although to be fair it does a good job at approximating from what I’ve noticed. I’ve also noticed that the phone tends to over expose. Auto will have the ISO setting up higher than I feel necessary. I prefer having my photos a bit underexposed with a lower ISO setting so that it’ll have less noise, and you can always bring up the exposure in Lightroom.

    Portrait mode is usually my go to with this phone. I find that sharpness is somehow greater than just basic photo mode, and the bokeh that the software adds just puts the quality of the photos to another level. 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:

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    The best shot I've taken of one of my best men Max. Used portrait mode, edited slightly in Lightroom to bring down the highlights.
    Some more photo examples:
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    My actual best man, Kitro. Took this using the front camera.
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    Panorama I took on that walk. Besides the blown out sky, pretty good. I need to take a trip downtown to shoot the skyline.
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    This photo is where I really tried testing pro mode. Taken at ISO 400, 1/40 sec shutter, and the rest were auto. I mostly wanted to take a darkish photo kinda close up, take the RAW file (always gotta shoot on RAW) and see how easy editting it would be in Lightroom and how sharp the photo would end up being. Not a totally equal comparison to what I'm used to after a concert setting, but I simulated to the best of my abilities my photo. It felt good, and not any different than with my proper DSLR. I really can't wait to be able to test this phone out at an actual concert. I can't wait to be at a concert again in general, but still, just as excited to test this camera out there too. Here's a favorite photo was able to take with my old S8+ for reference.

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    If I can get a shot as good as this with a phone that came out in 2017, I am so excited to find out how good this OnePlus is.

    Gaming
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    I haven’t been one to be a big mobile gamer, but lately I have picked up a few card games, mainly Magic the Gathering Arena, and Legends of Runeterra. Neither of which are particularly taxing games, but for whatever reason MTG Arena quite a bit resource-hungry when played on my laptop. Playing on my OnePlus provides no issues at all and it plays as smooth as one could hope for. I did download the mobile Mario Kart game and played it for a short time and that also played flawlessly. Definitely impressed me and both games looked gorgeous on the screen.

    Battery/Charging
    Not much to say other than this phone charges fast! Like almost unreal fast. I never really got over it with my OnePlus 8 Pro, but the 9 Pro improves upon even that speed. The 9 Pro is advertised as charging from 1-100% in 29 minutes and as the first thing to test out, it was right on the money. I used the phone until it died the first day I had it and timed how long it took to get to full and ended at 28:30. This is one of those things that after a while you don’t realize just how much you grew attached to this feature. If you ever go back to an older phone, you realize how much of a slog it is to take an hour and a half to fully charge, or longer. It’s so nice to be able to plug in and walk away for ten or fifteen minutes and have almost half your battery charged. Forget to charge overnight? Oh well. Have ten minutes in the morning before needing to go to work? You’ll be good to go.

    Overall the OnePlus 9 Pro is an absolutely fantastic piece of hardware. It's a much faster, much smoother phone I've felt in the last week and a half that I've had it in comparison to the 8 Pro, and I thought the 8 Pro was already great. It's a shame that I wont be able to test the phone to its maximum for what looks like another half year or so, but I am so very confident that it can handle the extremes of concert lighting.

    Thanks to everyone for their support, and even more thanks to OnePlus for choosing me to test out this new exciting, amazing phone. I will continue to use it with pride, and if anybody else has any other questions on something I might have missed talking about, feel free to ask!
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 3, 2021

    #4
    superplus, TibiTibi, hennes and 2 others like this.
  3. SRD.
    Lollipop Mar 30, 2021


    #2
  4. MosheG1
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Mar 30, 2021


    #3