OnePlus 9 Series. Is it good enough for that price?
OnePlus has been that one brand that actually cared about what PEOPLE WANT. Back in 2014, when Flagship Smartphones were getting pretty expensive, OnePlus came with the term “FLAGSHIP KILLER” with its OnePlus One.
That phone not only had The Best Specs but also costed fraction of the price compared to the Flagship phones of that time. With it’s Tagline “Never Settle”, OnePlus launched MANY phones that were the best performers and provided the best value for the price.
But fast forward to 2021, looks like OnePlus has finally decided to settle.
OnePlus 9 launch
Recently OnePlus launched 3 New smartphones, OnePlus 9, OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9R. These Phones have the best specs available right now. You get Snapdragon 888 in OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro and Snapdragon 870 in OnePlus 9R.
The one thing that actually created a lot of hype for these phones was their partnership with Hasselblad, a Swedish company known for making one of the best medium format cameras which are generally very expensive but their picture quality talks for itself.
OnePlus was so excited about this that at the launch event of these phones, they talked more about Hasselblad and the new camera capabilities than any other feature.
Thing to note here is that the camera sensors OnePlus is using are made by Sony. OnePlus says that Hasselblad has helped them with tuning these sensors with their iconic colour science. As a result, we see a significant jump in camera quality than previous generations.
OnePlus 9 Pro came with 48MP IMX 789 main camera and 50MP IMX 766 wide angle lens with the option to switch to macro mode, 3.3x telephoto 8MP camera and 2MP Monochrome lens.
It has IP68 water resistance, 50W wireless and 65W wired charging which is Very Fast .
At the display front , you get 120hz 1440p curved Super AMOLED LTPO panel with 10 Bit colours and HDR10 Support ( To understand, Think it is one of the best displays you can get in a phone).
You get a metal frame and glass back panel with some gorgeous colours including a Matte Black option which looks really premium.
This Phone actually gives you the best, what OnePlus has to offer right now and it actually manages to compete with the iPhones and the Galaxy Flagships.
For OnePlus 9, we get the same chip, wide angle camera, Hasselblad colour science, 65w fast charging and design. but the noticeable differences include – a smaller and flat 1080p screen with no ITPO technology (you won’t even notice lol), last year’s main camera (48 mp imx 689) with no optical image stabilisation, plastic frame, no water resistance, no wireless charging and a weaker vibration motor.
And lastly, We have OnePlus 9R, which is basically last year’s OnePlus 8T but with a slightly overclocked chip and a newer design.
No doubt the Specs are really good in these phones but the problem starts when we keep the price in notice.
OnePlus 9 Pro starts at ₹65,000, which is ₹10,000 more than last year. This Phone is actually a complete flagship experience, so we can’t argue about the price since there is no competition in the price point.
It is surely expensive but it does feel premium and has all the bells and whistles that you expect from a Flagship. Personally, we felt that OnePlus could have priced it better.
But when we see the OnePlus 9 and 9R, they feel like OnePlus only made them so that OnePlus 9 Pro makes much more sense and justify the price. At ₹50K, OnePlus 9 has a PLASTIC FRAME on their main phone!
The last time OnePlus had a plastic frame was with OnePlus 2. And since there is glass on both front and back, don’t expect it to be structurely solid.
They omitted Wireless Charging, IP rating (waterproof) which are available on the global version but not in India. And no OIS which helps in taking more stabilised videos and better night photographs.
These features were present in OnePlus 8T and that was available at ₹42K. And now that same phone is available as OnePlus 9R!
9R uses the same camera which was used in OnePlus 7, 7T, 7 Pro, 8, 8T and Nord! It doesn’t have Hasselblad colour science and only 2 cameras are usable. This camera setup was good for previous generations but in 2021, it falls really short against the competition.
9R isn’t bad but if we see, it is just the same old phone and the price it is asking isn’t worth it in 2021. If it was launched for ₹33K-₹35K, it would have been an amazing deal but as of now, it feels a little overpriced.
Lastly, they all have the same 16MP front camera which TBH is not that great. It does need alot of work. OnePlus is calling these phones 5G but they only support 2 5G bands in India which we are not really sure if they will be rolling out in India.
If we look at the competition in this price point, Vivo has launched its X60 series, Samsung is bringing S20FE 5G which will have SD865, Mi 11 and Mi 11X series is about to come and we also have Oppo Find X3 Pro on which the OnePlus 9 Pro is actually based!
Even if we Keep the raw specs aside, Vivo X60 series has a shockingly better Camera system. Thanks to their proper partnership with Ziess optics, They actually manage to shoot better looking images than OnePlus 9 series. Vivo X60 is a better deal than OnePlus 9R.
Mi 11 falls right between OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro, Mi 11X Pro will be priced somewhat around ₹40K and will definitely be a more “value for money” smartphone.
Samsung S20 FE 5G will come at ₹55K and it is a good phone.
Inspite of all this, one thing that will definitely attract buyers will be the Oxygen OS. It is easier to use, very smooth and snappy. The competition may be able to provide better hardware or better value but they won’t be able to provide the experience which OnePlus is known for and they know that very well.
OnePlus is now catering to a different set of consumers which are greater in number when compared to the enthusiasts. Selling flagships is a good business for them or else they would not survive as a smartphone company.
OnePlus 9 series isn’t bad or overpriced (a little maybe), they are just expensive and are now charging for the premium tag that is now associated with the brand.
But for people like us who want high-end smartphone at around ₹30-35k, who can compromise on wireless charging, quad HD screens, water resistance rating and want a value for money smartphone with a great user experience, we will have to look elsewhere.
For more about OnePlus 9 Series, read here!