With its news Hasselblad partnership, can OnePlus add a top-class camera to its excellent track record for performance and display quality?
What we love — Excellent screen and software, plus super fast charging
While the design is fairly humdrum, when you switch on the device you’ll realise its display is anything but; the 1440p resolution, HDR support and 1300 nits peak brightness are entrancing, but it’s the 120Hz adaptive refresh rate that steals the show. Delivering super smooth feedback when it’s called upon but also saving battery life during less intensive tasks.
The software you’ll be looking at on that screen is delightful too, with OxygenOS being a minimalist take on the Android operating system that keeps the best bits and adds a few handy shortcuts without being too elaborate – and fortunately, software and security updates tend to be adopted very speedily.
Looking under the skin at the muscle, and the Snapdragon 888 delivers probably the best performance of any Android phone on the market at the time of release – yes, even the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. It will handle anything you throw at it and then some. The battery is a 4500mAh cell that will deliver decent usage, and the 65W charging will juice the whole thing back up from scratch in just 30-35 minutes.
So how about the hyped-up Hasselblad camera? It’s certainly a big improvement on previous OnePlus snappers, and the ultrawide lens, in particular, is a gem, but unfortunately there are still a couple of drawbacks that hold it back from being on the level with the iPhone 12.
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What we don’t like — Still a few camera niggles, and it’s not so widely available
One of the key problems with the camera isn’t even the hardware; irritatingly, given its obvious processing power, the camera app takes a few seconds to boot up, enough of a delay that you might miss out on your perfect shot.
When it’s up and running, it’s a good camera even if not one of the best around, though you’ll find colours will continue to be overexaggerated, especially when you’re using the Nightscape feature for low-light photography. The telephoto sensor is a disappointment too, with poor levels of detail.
Another potential issue is that while the OnePlus 9 Pro is available to buy directly from the brand’s website in several Western countries (including the USA, Canada, and the UK), Three is the only British network that offers it on a contract.
The OnePlus 9 Pro is a great phone overall, and you should definitely consider it if you’re eyeing up a new Android flagship. As far as display quality and performance goes, it’s simply one of the very best around. However, the camera isn’t quite at the top of the tree, despite making great strides compared to its predecessors, and you might struggle getting hold of it given its lack of availability from major UK networks.