“One small step for man, one giant leap for humankind” – Neil Armstrong’s reaction as he became the first human to set foot on the Moon. The first images of the moon landing as part of the Apollo 11 mission were captured on a Hasselblad camera. OnePlus has partnered with this iconic Swedish company (with a 180-year history) to develop the rear cameras of its latest flagship. Over the last couple of years OnePlus has aimed to take the leap into flagship territory and the Hasselblad partnership is one the brand’s steps in that direction. Premium flagships from Apple and Samsung have remained the smartphone cameras to beat in India over the last couple of years. Does the OnePlus 9 Pro – the premium sibling in the trio of the OnePlus 9 devices, challenge that hegemony?
We’ll get to the rear cam later, it’s the form factor that might create your first wow moment. OnePlus manages to keep the heft just under 200 gm despite a gorgeous 6.7-inch display. This is a device that feels every inch premium. We checked out the Morning Mist colour variant with its reflective finish, it’s the pick of the colour options that also includes a stunning Pine Green. The glossy finish has the usual downside; it’s a fingerprint magnet. You can house the device in one of the cool OnePlus original cases but that might mean hiding a good looking device that is bound to elicit those second looks.
The display on the OnePlus 8 Pro was one of our favourites from 2020, the 9 Pro takes it further. This 6.7-inch Fluid AMOLED display (3216 x 1440 pixels / 525 PPI) stretches the screen: body ratio beyond 90%. This display also features a smart 120Hz feature thanks to LTPO technology. It optimises power consumption by up to 50% by tweaking the refresh rate based on your usage scenarios. Whether you’re ‘Netflixing’ or gaming, this display is one of the best out there; buttery smooth.
Speed demon. That’s never an exaggeration when we’re talking about OnePlus flagships. The 9 Pro doesn’t disappoint on that front. At its heart is the cutting edge Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor that gets a further boost with generous RAM. There are two hardware options – 8GB/128GB or 12GB/256GB (that we tested). The device rocked an impressive AnTuTu benchmark score of 2796 (multi-core) in our tests. It’s easily one of the fastest smartphones you can buy. No surprises here.
As always speed doesn’t end with processing power for OnePlus. OnePlus’ proprietary 65W warp charger is in the box and powers the 4500 mAh battery in under 30 minutes. You can also buy OnePlus’ Warp Charge 50 Wireless charger wirelessly powers your device in under 45 minutes. Battery life was decent in our tests where we pushed the display to its maximum brightness with the 120Hz refresh rate and used the cam for over an hour. You can improve battery life by opting for a 60Hz refresh rate
The talking point for the OnePlus 9 Pro is the rear camera. OnePlus has worked closely with Hasselblad to improve the colour science of the 9 Pro and the OnePlus 9. The rear cam integrates a 48MP Sony IMX789 primary sensor (with OIS and EIS support) that features an f/1.8 lens, a 50MP Sony IMX766 lens with an ultra-wide angle lens, a 2MP monochrome sensor and an 8MP telephoto lens. We were impressed with the lowlight images. This is an area where the 9 Pro really trumps its predecessors. Videos are sharper too (you can also shoot in 8K mode). It’s easily the best rear cam we’ve seen on a OnePlus ever. However both its rivals – Samsung and Apple, have gone further with their flagships. Zoom photography on the Samsung Galaxy S21Ultra is a case in point. But both these devices are priced above Rs 1 lakh.
There’s little doubt that the 9 Pro is the best device OnePlus has ever made. It’s insanely fast, looks terrific and offers a well-rounded rear cam that shines in almost all scenarios. The OnePlus 9 Pro is probably the best Android device you can buy under Rs 70,000.
The OnePlus 9 Pro costs Rs 64,999 (8GB/128GB) / Rs 69,999 (8GB/256GB) and comes in Pine Green, Stellar Green and Morning Mist.