OnePlus 9 could fix the worst thing about OnePlus phones

OnePlus 9 Pro renders
(Image credit: Lets Go Digital/Concept Creator)

The OnePlus 9 family of smartphones could see a new camera partnership if a tweet from tipster @rodent950 is to be believed.

According to the leaker, it won’t just be Huawei partnering with German camera specialists Leica in 2021. OnePlus will apparently get the expertise and branding, too. The tweet also highlights similar agreements that Zeiss has with Nokia and Vivo.

How much this is about branding rather than real-world performance is yet to be seen, but it is an area where OnePlus handsets could improve. As you'll see in our OnePlus 8T review, OnePlus has fallen off the pace compared with the high photography standards set by flagships from Apple, Google and Samsung.

And whether it is correlation or causation, the long running tie in that Huawei has with Leica has certainly done the company no harm. While hard to recommend in 2020 thanks to the ongoing trade embargo affecting Google services, Huawei handsets have continued to dazzle with camera performance. In fact, DXOMark still lists the Huawei Mate 40 Pro and P40 Pro as the first and third best smartphone cameras in the world right now.

While no device is mentioned in the tweet, it’s hard to imagine that Leica cameras are for anything but the OnePlus 9 family. And to recap, we already know quite a lot about the upcoming OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro. The phones are supposed to be 6.5- and 6.7-inches in size, and will be powered by Qualcomm’s brand new Snapdragon 888 processor. Both will apparently feature screens with a 120Hz refresh rate, meaning smooth scrolling, as well as the potential for 120fps gameplay in compatible titles.

If past OnePlus phones are anything to go by, the differences between vanilla and pro are likely to lie in things like RAM speed, battery capacity and the presence of wireless charging and water resistance. While both handsets are tipped to have a triple camera array, there’s also plenty of scope for OnePlus to up the specs here for the Pro version, especially if the partnership with Leica comes to fruition and the German company has some tricks up its sleeve. 

Both phones could arrive as soon as March 2021, but it’s still a bit early to speculate about price, especially given the state of the world economy. Still, a good starting point would be to look to the OnePlus 8, which started at $699 for the regular version and $899 for the OnePlus 8 Pro.  

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.