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OnePlus 9 leak teases two upcoming phones — here's what we want

OnePlus 8 Pro
(Image credit: OnePlus)

The OnePlus 8T has only just been announced but a tech tipster has already revealed what’s thought to be the codename for the OnePlus 9. 

Max J tweeted an image of an outline of a OnePlus phone - we know this due to the physical alert slider that’s been a feature of OnePlus phones for a while - along with the word “Lemonade,” which is thought to be the development name for the next high-end OnePlus phone. 

OnePlus tends to release new ‘flagship-killer’ phones every six months or so, usually starting with a new phone revealed around spring time and then an upgraded ‘T’ model some six months afterwards before repeating that cycle again the next year. So it’s no surprise that OnePlus could already be working on the OnePlus 9. 

The way the codename is framed in Max J’s retweet would suggest that a pair of OnePlus 9 phones are coming the standard OnePlus 9 and a OnePlus 9 Pro. The OnePlus 8 Pro is still the top OnePlus phone, given it didn’t get a ‘T’ upgrade this year. 

The OnePlus 8 Pro was a true flagship phone from the Chinese company, with impressive camera performance, wireless charging, and a fantastic display. We’d expect OnePlus to build upon the success of the 8 with new chip upgrades and likely the dual battery system of the OnePlus 8T.

Speaking of which, we were a little let down with the OnePlus 8T. It lacked enough compelling features to make it a big upgrade over the OnePlus 7T, and its camera performance left a lot to be desired; we’re hoping a software upgrade will fix the latter.

So a OnePlus 9 could see OnePlus go back to the drawing board and really work on making a truly compelling flagship-challenging phone.

OnePlus 9: What we want to see 

The OnePlus 8T is a rather lovely phone in terms of build quality and design. But it didn’t really offer a major upgrade over the OnePlus 8 or indeed OnePlus phones from 2019. 

So we’d really like to see OnePlus nail the upgrades this time. A more powerful chip is expected, but we’d like to see wireless charging make it into the OnePlus 9, as well as the 9 Pro.

One of the best features of the OnePlus 7 Pro was its pop-up selfie camera, which enables you to have a display that wasn’t disrupted by a camera cutout. The OnePlus 8 Pro makes use of a punch-hole selfie camera, which felt like a step backward. We appreciate that pop-up selfie cameras are a concern for longevity, given their moving parts. But we’d like to see OnePlus innovate again in this area; perhaps it could go for an under-display camera. 

And speaking of cameras, we’d like to see OnePlus really work on camera performance for the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro. The OnePlus 8 delivered middling smartphone photography, and while the 8 Pro impressed us, there’s room for improvement. 

OnePlus needs to work on the software side of its cameras as well, building upon the success of the main lens, but also improving the results delivered by telephoto and ultra wide-angle cameras, as well as the interplay between all the rear cameras. 

Given the powerful performance OnePlus phones have, as well as their clean and unobtrusive take on the latest version of Android, camera performance is really the only hurdle OnePlus has to clear. 

If it can do that with the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro then we could be looking at a pair of phones to challenge the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S21. We’ve got some six months to wait before we see what OnePlus can deliver, but we have high expectations.