For those unfamiliar, OnePlus was born from OPPO. Started by a couple of OPPO employees they split off to create a company, under the same owner BBK Electronics, dedicated to creating smartphones (and accessories) for enthusiasts at affordable prices. Since then they have gone from strength to strength and are now one of the best smartphone manufacturers in the world.
As a general rule their smartphones share a lot of similarities to OPPO and their flagships thanks to some shared research and development between the two companies with the main difference being the software in the end. Their UI, ie. the skin on top of Android, differ greatly with OnePlus creating what is known by enthusiasts to more of a custom feel but still look and behave similar to Android the way Google intended.
Overnight OnePlus have announced their latest flagship series of smartphones, the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro, alongside a new product for them, a smartwatch — the OnePlus Watch. OnePlus smartphones in the past have suffered from a lack of a top notch camera — the software just hasn’t been up to par — but this time OnePlus are promising to turn all of that around thanks to a new partnership with professional camera manufacturer Hasselblad and a US$150 million investment in smartphone photography over the next three years.
The camera promises to be great
Both OnePlus 9 phones provide “OnePlus’ biggest leap forward in camera quality”. Through their partnership with Hasselblad, they have produced their new standard for smartphone colour performance — “Natural Color Calibration with Hasselblad” thanks to Hasselblad’s iconic colour performance.
The new colour calibration software is combined with top of the line camera hardware which includes a 48MP main camera with a custom Sony IMX789 sensor to provide 2×2 on-chip lens (OCL), 12-bit RAW, dual native ISO, and DOL-HDR along with faster focus speed and four times more colour information. The secondary camera is a 50MP ultra-wide Sony IMX766 sensor to enhance image quality and lower the noise in an image but allowing more incoming light. It also takes great macro shots with the ability to focus at just 4cm from the subject.
The two other lenses include an 8MP telephoto camera for 3.3x zoom with OIS and 30x digital zoom and a dedicated monochrome camera to enhance any black and white photos you may be taking.
“The OnePlus 9 Series represents a key milestone for OnePlus flagship smartphones. Co-developed with Hasselblad, the new Hasselblad Camera for Mobile will give users the ability to capture their own iconic moments with more accurate colors and premium image quality,” said Pete Lau, Founder, CEO and Chief Product Officer of OnePlus.
OnePlus 9 Pro
The OnePlus 9 pro, the premium flagship, comes packed to the brim with high end specs including a QHD+ OLED display with 1,300 nits of peak brightness, HDR10+ support, MEMC, front and back ambient light sensing and an accurate colour representation of JNCD less than 1.0 (“visually indistinguishable from perfect”).
The refresh rate of the display is driven by its LTPO technology which enables it to alter the refresh from 120Hz all the way down to 1Hz to match the current user scenario (ie. what you are using it for) to help save on battery life. If you haven’t used a smartphone display at 120Hz you just haven’t experienced smartphone displays as they can and should be.
Other notable specifications include the Snapdragon 888 chipset with fully integrated X60 5G Modem-RF System (make sure you get the one with support for Aussie 5G bands), LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage. The battery is a custom 4,500 mAh with support for wireless charging at 50W (Warp Charge 50) — dual cells charging at 25W each — and wired charging at 65W (a day’s worth of charge in just 15 minutes — Warp Charge 65T). The wired charger is included in the box by the way.
With an IP68 rating it is available in Morning Mist, Pine Green and Stellar Black — for Australians you will have to either import one yourself or find a reputable grey market importer to get your hands on one. Kogan has always sold OnePlus smartphones at affordable prices and some local warranty.
The OnePlus 9 arrives with a 6.55-inch 120Hz OLED display capable of 1,100 nits brightness, the Snapdragon 888 chipset with 5G support, WarpCharge 65T as well as the Hasselblad Camera for Mobile to bring a very attractive smartphone package at a more affordable price.
The OnePlus 9 offers the same two main cameras as the Pro version as well as the dedicated monochrome camera but nixes the 8MP telephoto lens. You should still be able to produce amazing shots as long as you don’t want that massive zoom that is available on the Pro.
The 4,500mAh battery also utilises dual cell design charging to charge the battery in just 29 minutes at 65W (WarpCharge 65T) along with 15W wireless charging (the limit for smartphones from Samsung and Apple) in the US and European versions.
The OnePlus 9 is available in Astral Black and Winter Mist — expect Kogan to stock both of these colours.
A big surprise was not the existence of the OnePlus Watch, as they have admitted one has been in development for a while now, but the fact that it does not operate on Google’s smartwatch platform Wear OS.
The OnePlus Watch uses a round design to emulate the look of a more traditional watch in a 46mm case crafted from stainless steel. It includes 2.5D curved glass on the face and includes 4GB of onboard storage to store songs to be played back via a Bluetooth connection to earbuds and a 402mAh battery designed to provide up to a week of power “for the most active users”.
It is waterproof to 5ATM and includes an IP68 rating and over 110 workout types including automatic exercise detection. It also includes built in GPS, a heart rate monitor and can also measure blood oxygen saturation and stress detection.
The price you will pay for these phones and watch depends on how you get your hands on one. The easiest way, through Kogan.com.au, will probably set you back a bit more but can offer you some peace of mind with your purchases. Other options include other grey market importers or using a mail forwarding service and buying directly from the OnePlus website.
The OnePlus 9 Pro starts at US$969 for the 8GB/128GB version and is US$1,069 for the 12GB/256GB version on April 2. Expect Australian pricing from Kogan to start at around AU$1,400.
The OnePlus 9 pricing starts at US$729 so expect Kogan pricing to sit around the AU$1200 mark and also goes on sale on April 2.
The OnePlus Watch is available from April 14 for US$159 — it is unlikely Kogan will sell this if you are interested so you will need to find other ways to get your hands on one.