The term “flagship phone” means many things to many people. For some, a flagship is basically defined by its processors. Some others make it a blend of display and processor, and yet others give greater importance to cameras. But the fact is that a true flagship would have all of these components, and would cut no corners whatsoever, be it in terms of design and performance. What’s more, it would remain contemporary and relevant even months after its launch (and a month is a long time in technology).
Launched alongside the more expensive OnePlus 9 Pro and the more gaming-oriented OnePlus 9R, the OnePlus 9 represented and still represents the best of OnePlus. Even today, it is a flagship with no compromises. The “Burdenless” design, a sleek combination of glass on front and back (and tough Gorilla Glass as well), a mere 8.1 mm thin, with shades (Winter Mist, Astral Black and ArcticSky), remains a joy to hold and still turns heads.
If the design screams “flagship”to this day, the spec sheet of the OnePlus 9 remains top notch flagship material. The 6.55 inch fluid AMOLED display with a 2400 x 1080 resolution and a 120 Hz refresh rate, has a color accuracy that exceeds that of professional monitors, and also houses a speedy and secure fingerprint scanner. Combined with stereo speakers that come with support for Dolby Atmos (a rarity even now), the OnePlus 9 remains a show and video binger’s dream. And things will get even better when 5G becomes available, for the OnePlus 9, like all OnePlus devices, was released with support for that super fast network and will let you download and upload data at breathtaking speeds.
The OnePlus 9 also continues to be a gaming and multi-tasking powerhouse, powered as it is (in best OnePlus tradition) by one of the fastest mobile processors in the world, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. This combined with RAM and storage combinations of 8 GB/ 128 GB and 12 GB/ 256 GB, ensure that the OnePlus 9 remains be capable of handling just about anything you throw at it, ranging from editing video to playing high end games like Call of Duty. And with all that RAM and processing power, moving between tasks big and small is super smooth and easy. A five-layer gaming-grade Cool Play cooling system ensures that the phone stays cool even during intense gaming, while a larger vapor chamber and layers of graphite and copper, ensures that the OnePlus 9 literally remains a cool customer. Yes, there had been some minor issues with heating and the odd performance bug, but OnePlus has not only fixed them with timely updates, but even actually enhanced the overall user experience. The OnePlus 9 actually works better today than it did at launch!
Then there are the cameras. Just like the OnePlus 9 Pro, the OnePlus 9 too has cameras designed in collaboration with the legendary camera manufacturer, Hasselblad. And that means not only do the pictures snapped by the OnePlus 9 come with the most natural colors and amazing details (thanks to a special color calibration worked out with Hasselblad), but also feature a Hasselblad Pro mode, and an orange shutter button. What’s more, they have got better with image and video quality being improved, and even a special XPan mode being added to them. This mode lets you take panorama snaps just as you could on the iconic 1998 Hasselblad XPan camera.
The phone has a 48 megapixel Sony IMX 689 sensor, a 50 megapixel ultrawide Sony IMX 766 sensor and a special 2 megapixel monochrome sensor to add a special touch to black and white photography. No matter what the light conditions, you are assured better than ever photographs and videos (there’s support for 30 fps recording in 8k!) from the OnePlus 9 today. The front facing 16 megapixel camera is a selfie-taker’s dream with its speed and pleasant colour combinations.
All these work seamlessly in conjunction with each other, thanks to OnePlus’ own Oxygen UI which runs on top of Android 11, and is regularly updated to improve device performance. Oxygen UI is perhaps the best Android interface for those who want a close to classic Android experience, without too much interference. The large 4500 mAh battery now lasts even longer and can easily see off a day of heavy usage, and well, if you feel worried about running out of charge, the 65 W charger in the box with support for Warp Charge 65T will take it from 0 to 100 in about half an hour. There are not too many phones that charge this fast. Yes, even six months after the launch of the OnePlus 9.
Finally, when you get a OnePlus 9, you also get an entry into one of the most versatile eco systems in the tech world. The OnePlus 9 is designed to work seamlessly with other OnePlus products like the OnePlus televisions, OnePlus Buds and the OnePlus Watch and fitness tracker. Yes, those products can work with other devices too, but with OnePlus, they attain a different dimension. Even in the case of products launched well after the release of the OnePls 9 – you actually have a special app built in the UI for the OnePlus Buds Pro, saving you the hassle of downloading one!
No matter which factor you consider – display, design, cameras, processor, battery, OS – the OnePlus 9 comes up tops even today. With the OnePlus 9, you not only have a lot of power, but also the ability to do a lot with it for a lot of time. And its performance has actually improved thanks to some superb software updates. This is a flagship in the truest sense of the word – it does everything well and makes no compromises, and keeps getting better. At its starting price of Rs 49,999, it still offers more value than any other flagship phone in the market right now, real and/ or wannabe.