The OnePlus 9 leaks are starting to kick into high gear, as OnePlus is expected to release its new flagship phone fairly early in 2021. The OnePlus 8T turned out to be disappointing, so we're hoping for better things this time around.
Based on the OnePlus 9 rumors we've heard thus far, the OnePlus 9 will feature a 6.5-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate, Qualcomm's powerful new Snapdragon 888 chip and a new Ultrashot camera.
The Android competition will be fierce this spring, as the OnePlus 9 will face off against the Samsung Galaxy S21 lineup. But we have reason to think the OnePlus 9 will fare will against Samsung's best-selling flagship. Here's everything we know so far about the OnePlus 9's release date, price, specs and more.
OnePlus 9 news (Updated March 2)
- A new leak has teased a pre-order date of March 23 for the incoming OnePlus 9 phones. as well as the colors they will come with and free gifts for those who order the handsets quickly.
- The release date for the OnePlus 9, 9 Pro and 9R has been teased for next month, with March 8 looking like the most likely date.
- The OnePlus 9 full specs have leaked, and they're not very exciting.
OnePlus 9 release date
Why? It’s speculated that this would give the OnePlus 9 more time to sell before the launch of the OnePlus 9T. OnePlus has also been pushing into the mid-range market with the OnePlus Nord series, and it’s possible it just wants to make sure its phone launches are more evenly spread throughout the year.
OnePlus 9 price
There’s no word on how much the OnePlus 9 might cost, but knowing OnePlus it's going to be fairly affordable. Prices for the OnePlus 8 started at $699, though the starting price for the OnePlus 8T rose to $749. Obviously, higher storage options cost more.
The OnePlus 8 Pro had a starting price of $899 for 128GB and $999 for 256GB. Right now we expect the OnePlus 9 to cost at least $749 for the lower storage option, but we'll be on the lookout for leaks.
OnePlus 9 design
We've seen a couple of sets of renders for the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro, but let's start with the the first live images of the OnePlus 9. This set of photos was given to PhoneArena, and while it appears to be an early build, the phone design looks pretty far along.
The OnePlus 9 features a fairly large 6.55-inch display with a hole punch in the upper left corner of the screen. There's also a fairly prominent camera bump on the rear that houses three lenses and a flash; the name Ultrashot appears in this camera bump.
On the bottom of the OnePlus 9 you'll see USB-C port, speaker and SIM-card tray. The tray appears to have a rubber seal, which should help with water resistance.
The first set of OnePlus 9 renders came courtesy of 91mobiles. It got a hold of CAD renders of the upcoming OnePlus 9. And it appears to include a flat display, corner camera bump and hole-punch selfie camera in the top left-hand corner of the screen.
The OnePlus 9 Pro renders were revealed by OnLeaks, and it too has a hole-punch camera in the top left-hand corner, but it appears to sport a curved display. The OnePlus 9 Pro will copy the 8T by moving the camera module to the top left of the back.
According to a recent leak, the OnePlus 9 Pro could also have a flatter display, which should make it feel less slippery in a user's hands.
Steve Hemmerstoffer (OnLeaks) says that the current prototype “includes up to four camera lenses” and adds that two of them are enclosed in “huge mental rings which protrude slightly from the main camera bump.”
The OnePlus 9 Pro is a 6.7-inch device with a glass back, with speakers on the bottom edge. The Alert Slider and power button are on the right side, with a volume rocker on the left.
OnePlus 9 cameras
Because it's still early in the rumor cycle, we’re not sure what sort of camera system to expect on the OnePlus 9. However, it looks like OnePlus will use Ultrashot branding for the phone, which signals that the company is taking smartphone photography more seriously this time around.
We know that the OnePlus 9 will have three camera lenses as well as a flash. You can expect a 48MP main camera, a 48MP ultra-wide camera, and an unknown third camera.
Most companies would include a telephoto lens at the very least, though OnePlus has forgone that obvious choice in favor of more eccentric examples – like a macro lens, the 8T’s monochrome camera, or the 8 Pro’s problematic ‘color filter’ lens. The OnePlus 8 Pro included a 3x telephoto lens, and we'd like to see an optical zoom on the OnePlus 9 as well.
A deep-dive into the code for OxygenOS Open Beta on the OnePlus 7T and 7 phones, has revealed references to a suite of new camera modes, such as "Tilt-shift," "Focus Peaking" and moon-based photography filters. Given these new camera features don’t work on the aforementioned OnePlus phones, they could be in OxygenOS awaiting the OnePlus 9’s arrival. This gives us the impression that a lot of the OnePlus 9's camera upgrades will be software-based rather than see the smartphone come with a lot of new camera hardware.
YouTuber Dave2D surfaced an image of what appears to be the OnePlus 9 Pro with a camera module with "Hasselblad" etched into it. Now Hasselblad is a Swedish photography firm, meaning OnePlus might have teamed up with the company to bring a boosted camera system to the OnePlus 9 Pro.
Another new detail is the OnePlus 9 might be focussing on astrophotography. Pete Lau's tweet teasing the release date featured a shot of the Moon, while the URL letting users sign up for news updates also featured "moonshot". So whatever hardware or software OnePlus is showing off, it's likely going to do so with shots of the night sky.
OnePlus 9: Processor and performance
You'd expect the OnePlus 9 to feature a top-of-the-line Qualcomm mobile processing platform since that's what's inside other recent OnePlus flagship releases. Normally, that would mean Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 888, a 5mm chip that promises better performance and efficiency than the Snapdragon 865. However, a recent announcement by Qualcomm suggests there could be a different system-on-chip inside the OnePlus 9.
In January, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 870 5G. This is essentially a faster version of the Snapdragon 865 Plus that came out last year. Many of the different components of the new chipset, from its image signal processor to its AI engine, are the same as what you'd find on the Snapdragon 865. The ideal is that the Snapdragon 870 could still deliver strong performance and 5G connectivity without costing as much as the Snapdragon 888. A phone maker like OnePlus might view the new chipset as a way to keep costs down on its next flagship.
Adding to the Snapdragon 870 5G intrigue is the fact that OnePlus is listed among the phone makers that plan to put out devices powered by the new chipset. That's not a confirmation necessarily that the OnePlus 9 will be that phone, but it will fuel speculation about the phone maker's plans.
As for other OnePlus 9 specs, early leaks point to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage to start, but we anticipate that a configuration with 12GB of RAM and 256GB will also be made available.
OnePlus 9 battery
A OnePlus 9 specs leak points to the phone offering a 4,500 mAh battery, which would be larger than the 4,300 mAh battery in the OnePlus 8; a subsequent report on the OnePlus 9's battery also pointed to a 4,500 mAh power pack.
The OnePlus 8T managed 9 hours and 58 minutes over 5G, when the handsets on our best phone battery life list last 11 hours or more. But the OnePlus 9 should last longer if it winds up packing a more efficient Snapdragon 888 chip. The Snapdragon 870 5G could also help with battery life.
There's more to battery performance than just how long the phone will last. How quickly a phone charges up is also important, and on that front, OnePlus has few peers, thanks to its 65W wired charging. Expect another advance with the OnePlus 9, which is rumored to be getting 30W wireless charging — a feature previously reserved for OnePlus Pro models. The OnePlus 9 could also adopt the OnePlus 8 Pro's availability to offer reverse charging, powering up devices that are compatible with the Qi wireless charging standard.
OnePlus 9: What we want to see
Competitive pricing: The price of a OnePlus flagship may have creeped up over the years. Even with upgraded hardware and extra features coming along, OnePlus’s strength is making sure its devices are not overpriced. If there has to be a price increase, at least make sure it’s a small one.
Better cameras: The OnePlus 8T was not a bad phone, but it was let down by the camera – which has been a recurring problem on OnePlus devices for years. We want to be able to snap more true-to-life pictures, so we'd like to see a camera system that performs closer to the iPhone 12 and Pixel 5.
Wireless charging: OnePlus had been stubbornly refusing to include wireless charging on its phones for years, using the excuse that the technology still wasn’t ready to meet the standard it holds itself to. Then the company relented and included very fast 30W wireless charging on the OnePlus 8 Pro.
But wireless charging was nowhere to be found on the OnePlus 8T, and there was no Pro model to pick up the slack. So the OnePlus 9 is our next best hope, and it would be great if the rumors prove to be true, and the new phone gains the ability to charge wirelessly.
Longer battery life: The OnePlus 8T lasted 9 hours and 40 minutes in our testing, which isn’t terrible but not great. The phones on our best phone battery life list last 11 hours or more on a charge. The screen’s high refresh rate does affect battery life, but there has to be more OnePlus can do to keep their phones going for longer.