OnePlus 9 Pro 5G Review: 8K video shooting and top Qualcomm SoC

This spring, OnePlus has updated its line of smartphones: the basic version is called OnePlus 9, the budget version is OnePlus 9R, and the flagship is OnePlus 9 Pro 5G. It is easy to guess that from the point of view of technology, it is the last option that is most interesting. In addition, the manufacturer emphasizes that the camera in the pro version is made in partnership with the famous Hasselblad brand. The price for the version with 12 GB of RAM is close to $ 1200. The 8GB modification is cheaper, but still this is the level of current iPhone models – say, an iPhone 12 with a comparable amount of memory and the cost will be comparable. So what can the new OnePlus smartphone have to oppose the market leaders and its immediate predecessor, which is much cheaper?

The smartphone is released in three color versions. They are poetically called Morning Mist, Forest Green, and Stellar Black. Also, the versions may differ in the amount of RAM (8 or 12 GB) and storage (128 or 256 GB). We tested the Forest Green variant with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of flash memory.


Contents:


OnePlus 9 Pro 5G Specifications (Model LE2120)

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G
  • 5G Capable
  • Quad Camera System co-developed with Hasselblad
  • 50MP Ultra Wide Camera
  • 8MP Telelens w/3x Optical Zoom
  • 2MP Monolens
  • 8K Video Shooting
  • Hasselblad Pro Mode w/ 12-bit RAW Support
  • Smart 120 Hz Refresh Rate with LTPO
  • HyperTouch technology for gaming
  • 65W Fast Charging
  • 50W Wireless Charging
  • Dolby Atmos® Cinematic Dual Speakers
  • Premium Glass Back Finish

Additional specs

  1. Battery Description 4500mAh
  2. Ports USB Type-C
  3. Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, UMTS,HSDPA,HSPA+,LTE,4×4 MIMO,5G, Bluetooth 5.2
  4. Processor Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 888
  5. Operating System OxygenOS
  6. Ram 12 GB Maximum Expandable Memory 0 GB
  7. Wireless Network Technology Generations 4G LTE, 5G
  8. Supported Email Platforms Apple Mail, POP3, IMAP4, SMTP, Microsoft® Exchange, AIM, Yahoo!® Mail, GMail, AOL®
  9. Hearing Aid Compatibility M3, T3
  10. WEA Capable true
  11. Mobile Hotspot Capable true
  12. Frequency GSM: 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 1900 MHz; LTE: 2, 4, 5, 12, 41, 46, 48, 66, 71; LTE Roaming: 1, 3, 7, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 34, 38, 39, 40; UMTS: Band I (2100), Band II (1900), Band IV (1700/2100), Band V (850), VIII (900); 5G: n2, n5, n25, n41, n66, n71, n260, n261; CDMA: BC0, BC1, BC10
  13. Weight 6.95 Ounces
  14. Length 0.34
  15. Height 6.42
  16. Width 2.9

Packaging

Package

The OnePlus 9 Pro packaging literally screams that something serious and expensive is in front of us. A massive bright red “brick” with a slightly velvety cardboard surface makes an impression. The packaging of the OnePlus 8 Pro was in the same style.

However, the size of the box should not be misleading: most of the space inside is used irrationally. The package bundle, in general, is not much richer than that of any budget model, with one exception: there is a silicone case in a very suitable gray-green color.

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

It’s not that very pleasant to the touch – branded iPhone cases have a more velvety surface. But, on the other hand, Apple cases have a constant problem: the top layer gets scratched, peels off, and very soon the case loses its attractive appearance. Here, there is reason to believe that the cover will last much longer. But what is embarrassing is the large inscription Never Settle (in the photo below it is not striking, but when used it is immediately visible). Still, it’s one thing – a compact logo in the center, another – all sorts of mottos and slogans.

On the positive side, the case does not make the smartphone much more bulky. But the side edges, slightly wrapped around the screen, hide its spectacular rounding. So the main design element becomes less visible.

65W Fast Charger

Let’s also pay attention to the very massive charging. It is larger than all previously encountered smartphone chargers, but this is not surprising: the maximum current strength here is 3 A, the power is 45 W. This compares to the PSU of small laptops like the MacBook Air. We can only welcome such a decision, especially in an era when some other manufacturers (let’s not point fingers) completely deprive buyers of smartphones, even flagship ones, of charging.

But, however, in another, OnePlus followed a bad example: it got rid of the wired headset. Thus, the user will have to either buy Bluetooth headphones or look for options with a USB-C connector / adapter, since the smartphone does not have a 3.5 mm minijack.

We add that the bundled cable with USB-C connectors is made in the corporate red color, has a length of 1 m and is secured with two plastic clips – a trifle, but nice. For storage, this is a convenient solution.

What’s in the box

  • OnePlus 9 Pro 5G
  • Warp Charge 50 Power Adapter
  • Warp Type-C Cable
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Safety Information
  • SIM Tray Ejector

Design

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

But what about the design? The appearance of the device, of course, is very close to a number of recent Android flagships – from Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G to Vivo X60 Pro. In all cases, we see an almost bezel-less elongated (20: 9) screen with rounded right and left, a narrow aluminum frame expanding towards the bottom and top edges, and matte Gorilla Glass on the back.

Even the camera block for the listed devices is located in the same way – at the top left, and is a massive rectangular protrusion. By the way, the immediate predecessor – OnePlus 8 Pro – had cameras in the center, with a narrow strip. Fortunately, the manufacturer did not persist and adjusted to the newest trend – perhaps after hearing our (and other reviewers) complaints.


But the location of the buttons and connectors has not changed. In particular, the hardware mute switch, which is quite rare in Android smartphones, has not gone anywhere. And this can only be welcomed.

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

The front-facing camera is still in the upper left corner – and again we claim that this is a good solution. But the lack of a minijack makes us sad. Probably, not everything should be followed by fashion.

Fromt camera OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

The fingerprint scanner is installed under the glass of the screen, at the bottom. There is also a face unlock. You can install any of them to choose from.

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

On the top there is nothing but an auxiliary microphone. At the bottom there is a speaker, microphone, USB-C connector and a slot for two SIM-cards. Of course, from the flagship device I would like stereo sound or at least two speakers at the bottom, but apparently the manufacturer does not consider this so important.

Sim card slot

The case is protected from water and dust according to the IP68 standard (withstands immersion for 30 minutes to a depth of 1.5 m). There are also no changes here compared to its predecessor.

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

On the whole, the design makes an excellent impression, the device is pleasant to hold in the hands, there is a feeling that this is a really expensive and solid product. But we cannot say that its appearance is much superior to the OnePlus 8 Pro, although the latter is significantly cheaper. And when comparing with competitors, one cannot fail to notice how unoriginal the OnePlus 9 Pro looks. From the newest flagship, you always want more originality and less “ape”, but this is the logic of a European. And according to Chinese logic, any successful design solution should be safely copied (albeit with minor variations) and replicated until it goes out of fashion. Well, such a strategy also has a right to exist.


Display

The smartphone is equipped with an AMOLED display with a diagonal of 6.7 ″ and a resolution of 1440 × 3216. The edges of the screen on the right and left are curved, the protective glass follows its shape. The aspect ratio of the display is 9:20, the dot density is 525 ppi, very high. The 120 Hz refresh rate is supported, there is also an automatic frequency switching mode depending on the usage scenario. The width of the bezel around the screen is minimal and almost identical on all sides.

The front surface of the screen is made in the form of a glass plate with a mirror-smooth surface that is resistant to scratches. Judging by the reflection of objects, the anti-glare properties of the screen are better than that of the Google Nexus 7 (2013) (below just Nexus 7). For clarity, here is a photo in which a white surface is reflected in the turned off screens (on the left – Nexus 7, on the right – OnePlus 9 Pro 5G, then they can be distinguished by their size):

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

The screen of the OnePlus 9 Pro 5G is noticeably darker (brightness in photos is 93 versus 106 for the Nexus 7). The doubling of reflected objects in the OnePlus 9 Pro 5G screen is very weak, which indicates that there is no air gap between the layers of the screen (OGS type screen – One Glass Solution). Due to the smaller number of boundaries (such as glass / air) with very different refractive indices, such screens look better in conditions of intense ambient light, but their repair in case of cracked outer glass is much more expensive, since the entire screen has to be changed. On the outer surface of the screen there is a special oleophobic (grease-repellent) coating (very effective, much better than that of the Nexus 7), so fingerprints are much easier to remove, and appear at a slower rate than in the case of ordinary glass.

With manual brightness control and with a full-screen white field, the maximum brightness value was approximately 480 cd / m². This is not very high brightness, but in the mode with automatic adjustment, the screen brightness in bright light is much higher (see below), so in this mode, given the excellent anti-glare properties, readability in the daytime in the sun should be at a good level. The minimum brightness value is 2.4 cd / m², that is, the reduced brightness level allows you to use the device without any problems even in complete darkness. There is an automatic brightness control according to the light sensor (it is located on the front panel close to the upper edge to the right of the front speaker grill). In automatic mode, when the ambient light conditions change, the screen brightness both increases and decreases. The operation of this function depends on the position of the brightness adjustment slider: with it, the user can try to set the desired brightness level in the current conditions. If you leave everything by default, then in complete darkness the auto-brightness function reduces the brightness to 8 cd / m2 (a bit dark), in an office illuminated with artificial light (about 550 lux) it sets to 130 cd / m2 (normal), and conventionally in direct sunlight boosts up to 780 cd / m² (excellent). The result did not quite suit us, so in complete darkness we slightly increased the brightness, resulting in the following values ​​for the three conditions indicated above: 13, 170 and 780 cd / m² (an ideal combination). It turns out that the automatic brightness control function works adequately and allows the user to customize his work for individual requirements.

At any brightness level, there is significant modulation at approximately 360 Hz. The figure below shows the dependence of brightness (vertical axis) on time (horizontal axis) for several brightness values. First, for 60Hz refresh rate mode:

Display test

It can be seen that at the maximum (as “100% ++” we designated the mode with additional illumination of the illumination sensor with a bright light) and medium brightness, the modulation amplitude is large, but the duty cycle is low, so there is no visible flicker. However, with a strong decrease in brightness, modulation with a high duty cycle appears. Therefore, at very low brightness, the presence of modulation can already be seen in the test for the presence of a stroboscopic effect or simply with fast eye movement. Depending on individual sensitivity, such flickering can cause increased fatigue. However, the frequency is relatively high and the modulation phase differs across the screen area, so the negative effect of flickering is reduced.

In the screen settings, you can enable the mode with an increased refresh rate up to 120 Hz. In 120Hz mode, the smoothness of scrolling is noticeably improved. Let’s see if this changes the nature of the modulation:

Display test

It can be seen that the nature of the modulation has not changed.

For some reason, in this smartphone, we did not find a function such as DC Dimming, which eliminates visible flicker.

This screen uses an AMOLED matrix, an active matrix organic light-emitting diode (OLED). A full-color image is created using subpixels of three colors – red (R), green (G) and blue (B), but there are half the red and blue subpixels, which can be referred to as RGBG. This is confirmed by a fragment of a micrograph:

Display test

For comparison, you can see the gallery of photomicrographs of screens used in mobile technology.

In the fragment above, you can count 4 green subpixels, 2 red (4 halves) and 2 blue (1 whole and 4 quarters), while repeating these fragments, you can lay out the entire screen without gaps and overlaps. For such matrices, Samsung has introduced the name PenTile RGBG. The manufacturer calculates the screen resolution for green subpixels, for the other two it will be two times lower. Of course, there are some uneven contrast borders and other artifacts. However, due to the very high resolution, they only have a minimal effect on image quality. The declared resolution is 3120 by 1440 pixels, and physically it is like that (in terms of green pixels). Output in this resolution is possible at least in hardware video decoding mode. On test worlds, when displaying 1: 1 pixel by pixel, the PenTile features are manifested: the vertical world through the pixel looks like a grid. However, these artifacts are not visible in real images.

The screen has excellent viewing angles. The shade of white changes slightly when you deviate from the perpendicular to the screen – it turns a little blue – and black remains black at all angles. It is so black that the contrast parameter is simply not applicable in this case. For comparison, here are the photos in which the screens of OnePlus 9 Pro 5G and the second participant are displayed the same images, while the brightness of the screens was initially set to about 200 cd / m², and the color balance on the camera was forcibly switched to 6500 K.

White field perpendicular to screens:

Display test

Note the good uniformity of brightness and color tone of the white field (except for the clearly visible darkening and a change in hue towards the curved edges).

And a test picture (profile Natural):

Display test

According to visual assessment, the colors of the tested screen are more or less natural, and the color balance of the screens is slightly different. Recall that a photograph cannot serve as a reliable source of information about the quality of color rendition and is provided only for a conditional visual illustration. In particular, the pronounced reddish tint of white and gray fields, present in the photographs of the tested screen, is visually absent when viewed from a perpendicular view, which is confirmed by hardware tests using a spectrophotometer. The reason is that the spectral sensitivity of the camera matrix does not exactly match this characteristic of human vision. Note that in this case the picture takes up the entire area available for displaying the image in height (in landscape orientation of the screen) and enters the curved edges of the screen, which leads to darkening and color distortion. Also, in the light, these areas almost always glare, which further interferes when viewing images displayed in full screen. And even the picture of films with an aspect ratio of 16: 9 goes over the folds, which interferes with watching a movie. The photo above was taken after selecting the Natural profile in the screen settings, there are three of them.

When choosing the first one, Vivid, which is set by default, the colors are oversaturated and unnatural:

Display test

These profiles are characterized by a good approximation to DCI coverage (see below). When the Advanced profile is selected, you can adjust the hue (colder — warmer plus green — magenta) and select the color gamut.

Now at an angle of approximately 45 degrees to the plane and to the side of the screen (leave the Vivid profile).

Display test

It can be seen that the colors have not changed much on both screens and the brightness of the OnePlus 9 Pro 5G at an angle is noticeably higher. And a white field:

Display test

The brightness at the angle of both screens has noticeably decreased (to avoid strong darkening, the shutter speed is increased in comparison with photos taken perpendicular to the screen), but in the case of the OnePlus 9 Pro 5G, the brightness drop is much less pronounced. As a result, with formally the same brightness, the screen of the OnePlus 9 Pro 5G visually looks much brighter (in comparison with LCD screens), since the screen of a mobile device often has to be viewed at least from a small angle.

Switching the state of the matrix elements is almost instantaneous, but there may be a step with a width of about 17 ms or 8 ms (which corresponds to the refresh rate of the screen) on the on (and less often — off) front. For example, this is how the brightness depends on the time when switching from black to white (refresh rate 120 Hz):

Display test

In some conditions, the presence of such a step leads to plumes trailing behind moving objects, but with normal use, it is difficult to see these artifacts. Rather, on the contrary, dynamic scenes in movies on OLED screens are characterized by high clarity and even some “jerky” movements.

Based on 32 points with equal intervals based on the numerical value of the grayscale, the gamma curve showed no blockage in either shadows or lights. The exponent of the approximating power function is 2.20, which is very close to the standard value of 2.2, while the real gamma curve almost coincides with the power dependence:

Display test

Recall that in the case of OLED screens, the brightness of image fragments dynamically changes in accordance with the nature of the output image — it decreases for generally light images. As a result, the resulting dependence of brightness on hue (gamma curve), most likely, slightly does not correspond to the gamma curve of a static image, since the measurements were carried out with the sequential output of grayscale almost to the entire screen.

The color gamut in the case of the Extended profile and the Extended version of the AMOLED color gamut is very wide:

Display test

When you select the Natural or Extended profile and the sRGB option, the coverage is compressed to the sRGB boundaries:

Display test

The coverage in the case of the Bright or Extended profile and the Display P3 variant is close to the DCI space:

Display test

Without correction (option Extended AMOLED color Gamut), the component spectra (i.e., the spectra of pure red, green, and blue) are very well separated:

Display test

In the case of the Natural Color profile the color components are mixed together to a large extent:

Display test

Even in the absence of correction, the balance of shades on the gray scale is acceptable, since the color temperature is not much higher than the standard 6500 K, and the deviation from the blackbody spectrum (ΔE) is below 10 units, which is considered an acceptable indicator for a consumer device.

However, we turned on the Advanced profile, selected the sRGB option, and used the sliders on the white field to try to bring the color temperature even closer to the standard 6500 K and reduce the ΔE.

The result is shown in the graphs below. It can be seen that the color temperature has become very close to 6500 K, while the color temperature and ΔE do not change much from shade to shade — this has a positive effect on the visual assessment of the color balance. (The darkest areas of the gray scale in most cases can be ignored, since there the color balance does not matter much, and the error in measuring color characteristics at low brightness is large.)

There is some benefit from the correction, but from a consumer point of view, it is enough to choose a profile of Natural colors, and it is not necessary to do the correction.

There is a Comfortable Tone function, which, if enabled, adjusts the color balance to the environmental conditions.

For example, we activated it and placed the smartphone under LED lights with cold white light (6800 K), resulting in values of 1.8 for ΔE and 7300 K for color temperature (by default-0.6 and 7100 K). Under a halogen incandescent lamp (warm light-2800 K) – 1.4 and 5700 K, respectively. That is, the color temperature in the first case slightly increased, and in the second it became lower. The function works as expected. Note that the current standard is to calibrate the display devices to a white point of 6500 K, but in principle, the correction to the color temperature of the external light can be useful if you want to achieve a better match of the image on the screen to what is visible on paper (or on any medium on which colors are formed due to the reflection of incident light) in the current conditions.

Of course, there is a fashionable setting (Comfort for the eyes), which allows you to reduce the intensity of the blue component, as well as a special reading mode:

In principle, bright light can lead to a violation of the daily (circadian) rhythm (see the article about the iPad Pro with a 9.7-inch display), but everything is solved by reducing the brightness to a comfortable level, and it makes absolutely no sense to distort the color balance, reducing the contribution of blue.

Let’s sum up the results. The screen has a very high maximum brightness (up to 780 cd / m2) and has excellent anti-glare properties, so the device can be used outdoors without any problems, even on a sunny summer day. In complete darkness, the brightness can be lowered to a comfortable value (up to 2.4 cd / m2). It is acceptable, and in bright light, you even need to use the mode with automatic brightness adjustment, which works adequately. The advantages of the screen include a very effective oleophobic coating, high refresh rate, good color balance and sRGB coverage after selecting the desired profile. At the same time, we recall the general advantages of OLED screens: true black color (if nothing is reflected in the screen), good uniformity of the white field, noticeably less than that of the LCD, the drop in image brightness when viewed at an angle. The disadvantages include flickering of the screen, detected at low brightness. Separately, we note that from the point of view of image quality, curved edges are only harmful, since this distorts the color tone and reduces the brightness at the edges of the image, and in ambient light conditions leads to the inevitable glare along at least one long side of the screen. However, the overall quality of the screen is very high.


Camera

On the back side of the smartphone, there are four cameras: a regular (wide-angle), an ultra-wide-angle, a telephoto that implements a triple optical zoom, and an additional camera for monochrome shooting.

  • 48 MP, 1/1. 43″, 1.12 microns, f/1.8. 23 mm, PDAF (main)
  • 50 MP, 1/1. 56″, 1 µm, f/2.4. 14 mm (ultra-wide)
  • 8 MP, f / 2.4, 1 μm, PDAF, OIS, optical zoom 3.3 × (telephoto)
  • 2 MP, f / 2.4 (monochrome)

The proud Hasselblad inscription on the back of the device reminds that the Swedish manufacturer of elite cameras participated in the refinement of the smartphone cameras. It is reported that this applies primarily to color reproduction.

From other interesting details: by default, shooting on the main camera is carried out in a resolution of 12 MP, and on the wide-angle-in 12.5 MP. A TV camera with an approximation of 3.3× gives a picture of 8 Mp. However, for the first two cameras, you can activate high resolution in the settings, which will give the claimed 48 and 50 MP, respectively. The problem is that any mode change and any other switching resets the shooting mode on these cameras back to 12 MP.

There is also a professional mode that lets you adjust ISO, white balance, aperture, exposure, and focus. Shooting in RAW is available (examples – follow the link: one, two). It’s not very convenient that you can’t adjust the ISO in normal shooting mode – make the picture a little lighter or darker just by sliding your finger across the screen.

There is also a night mode and a macro mode. With the latter, the problem is that it is very difficult to achieve a clear picture – everything seems to be sharp on the screen, and then you look and see that most of the frames are blurred. But, in fairness, we note that the macro on the OnePlus 9 Pro turns out to be much larger than in the case of the iPhone 12 Pro Max. It was with him – perhaps the most famous of the current flagships – that we decided to compare the photo capabilities of OnePlus.

We have already come to terms with the battery of cameras on flagship smartphones, the need for which is highly questionable, and we look forward to when the reverse process begins. In the meantime, engineers continue not only to increase the number, but also to improve the quality of some modules.

The main module is clearly a success, it can be seen even with the naked eye. Of course, there are some problems with sharping and noise reduction in the pictures, but they do not spoil the image and do not eat up the details. In general, the image quality from the main camera is even better than that of the iPhone 12 Pro. Apple either has not yet managed to reach the required level, because it did not feel the competition, or simply decided to slow down the pace of software improvements for the sake of artistic images. Either way, the OnePlus shots look better.

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G:

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, main camera:

The main module has the ability to shoot in high resolution – 48 megapixels. This technology with the combination of four images, offset from each other by 1 pixel, has been known for a long time. However, Hasselblad engineers managed to squeeze the maximum out of it. Of course, this mode does not add new details to the pictures, but it improves the existing ones very well.

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G, 48MP main camera:

Below you can compare the pictures and study the inscriptions on our stand in different resolutions. Of course, even in normal resolution, many words are guessed from the context by the outlines, but individual letters really become more readable.

The telephoto module is surprisingly good. In terms of quality, it is practically not inferior to that of the iPhone 12 Pro, and Apple went to this result for a long time. Except that chromatic aberration and sharping are noticeable in places, which modern iPhones have practically gotten rid of, but all this can be defeated programmatically.

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G Telephoto Lens:

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, telephoto lens:

But the wide-angle module turned out by the Swedish-Chinese tandem is much better than that of the flagship of all the flagships of the iPhone 12 Pro Max. There is good sharpness throughout the entire field of the frame, even in the corners, and high detail, and color rendition does not suffer. It’s not a shame to shoot on such.

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G Wide Angle Camera:

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, wide-angle camera:

It’s just not clear why the macro-shooting function is implemented by the wide-angle module. Better close focusing distance? But with such a module it is extremely difficult to catch the focus. However, in matters of macro photography, the iPhone has not yet demonstrated good results. But at least his boke is beautiful.

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G Macro:

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, macro photography:

In the end, I must admit that OnePlus has got very decent cameras that can be fully used for their intended purpose.

A smartphone can shoot video in a maximum resolution of 8K at 30 fps, a half-minute video will weigh about 500 MB (example). At the same time, it is completely incomprehensible on what to reproduce this (there are somehow very few 8K TVs), because even on the top-end iMac the video is pretty slow. In addition, there is no enhanced stabilization in this mode – it appears only when shooting in 4K at 30 fps and in modes with lower resolutions.

But the fact that such stabilization really works very well, we were able to make sure by running twice with a smartphone – first without stabilization, then with it. And it’s the same with the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Obviously, no compact device can make a perfectly smooth video sequence with the shaking that happens during a run. But, firstly, fairly even pieces are visible here, which is already great, and secondly, in general, the result is at least not entirely awful, and if necessary, the stabilization can be further strengthened by software.

It is interesting to compare the result with the iPhone 12 Pro Max. As we remember, hardware video stabilization first appeared in the largest iPhone models, and it is logical to assume that it can be optimally implemented in this model. However, a comparison with the OnePlus smartphone shows that the Chinese have more success here – if, of course, the lack of camera wobbles from left to right is considered a success. Another thing is that the picture on the iPhone seems a little clearer and more natural. There really is someone that. In reality, of course, you are unlikely to need to shoot video with your smartphone while running. But, for example, taking pictures on the go is already a very common task. And here is just more hope for the OnePlus 9 Pro.

Also note that we were very pleased with the usual shooting in 4K mode at 60 fps. In the video below, pay attention to the perfectly readable numbers of the parked cars. For comparison – a similar video on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Note: On the iPhone 12 Pro Max, when shooting against the light, a very unpleasant flare almost always appears. Apparently, this is due to the lens design. The OnePlus 9 Pro 5G also has a glare, but not nearly as noticeable. As for the difference in formats and sizes, this is due to the codec: H.265 (HEVC) is more economical than H.264, but less compatible. On the iPhone, by default, shooting is carried out in H.265, on the OnePlus 9 Pro 5G – in H.264, but in both cases this can be changed in the settings. We shot in the default modes.

It is also worth mentioning the night mode. In the case of a photo, it gives about the same result as in a similar mode on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. However, you can only adjust the exposure on the OnePlus in Pro mode, and then the frame is better. And on the iPhone, this is also available in night mode. In the pictures below, notice the color of the sky. In fact, it is, of course, not burgundy.



The device’s selfies are fine, but also nothing outstanding. Front camera resolution is 16 megapixels.


Communications

The built-in Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 modem supports the maximum number of LTE Cat.24 frequencies (2500/316 Mbps), including all the most popular frequencies in Russia: B1 / 2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17 / 18/19/20/26/28/32, B38 / 39/40/41. There is also support for 5G (n1 / n3 / n7 / n28 / n40 / n41 / n78), which is not yet relevant in Russia. In practice, within the city limits of the Moscow region, the device demonstrates reliable operation in wireless networks.

The smartphone also supports Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n / ac / ax (Wi-Fi 6) networks. There are Bluetooth 5.1 and NFC controllers. The navigation module works with GPS (with A-GPS), with the domestic Glonass, with the Chinese Beidou and with the European Galileo.

It was interesting for us to test the speed of the Internet connection when connected via Wi-Fi and LTE. When connected to a Wi-Fi 6 router, the smartphone easily scored under 300 Mbps for both downloading and uploading, having exhausted the bandwidth of the provider’s channel.

The smartphone showed itself not so impressively when working in LTE networks. We compared it to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, with OnePlus’s download speed of 42 Mbps and the iPhone’s 86.7 Mbps.

When tested again, the results were about the same. In all cases, the same Beeline SIM-card was used.

We also note a very curious OnePlus Roaming mode. It allows you to connect a virtual international operator to eSIM. In the corresponding menu in the “Settings” section, you can select the country, in it – the tariff. And then – pay and connect it.

Note that the tariffs are generally not bad and comparable to what you can get by arriving, for example, in a European country and buying a SIM card. In addition, there are a number of trial plans – where you can download 30 MB for free. To do this, you don’t even need to enter the data of a plastic card. Everything is done literally in two clicks. A physical SIM card is also not needed.

This can be very useful when a short-term Internet connection is urgently needed while traveling, and there is no Wi-Fi nearby.


Software

As a software platform, the current version of the Android 11 OS is used, coupled with the proprietary OxygenOS 11.1 shell. Visually, the interface does not differ much from the original Android, which will appeal to those who do not like strong interference with the external appearance of the OS.

By the way, at the presentation, the manufacturer advertised the presence of an AlwaysOn screensaver with a clock on which there is a second hand. And this option really exists and works. We also found an interesting mode in which your selfie is processed by a neural network and based on it draws a white outline on a black background – also an interesting option for an AlwaysOn screen.

But there are many other screensavers. You can also change the appearance of icons and a number of other parameters to suit your taste – in this regard, OxygenOS is very flexible.


Performance

The smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC with 8 processor cores: 1 × Kryo 680 Prime (Cortex-X1) @ 2.84 GHz + 3 × Kryo 680 Gold (Cortex-A78) @ 2.42 GHz + 4 × Kryo 680 Silver (Cortex-A55) @ 1.80 GHz. The GPU Adreno 660 plays the role of the graphics processor. The SoC is manufactured using a 5-nanometer process technology.

The RAM in the model we tested is 8 GB (there is also a version with 12 GB of RAM), we had 256 GB of UFS 3.1 storage. You cannot install a memory card into a smartphone, but it supports connecting external devices to the USB Type-C port in USB OTG mode.


Thus, the smartphone received the most top-end Qualcomm SoC. True, the Snapdragon 888+ will be released very soon, but it will only be used in the next generation of mobile devices. One way or another, the owner of the OnePlus 9 Pro will not feel the lack of performance in real life. The device easily copes with any task and with the most demanding games: Call of Duty Mobile, Injustice 2 at high graphics settings run smoothly.

However, it was interesting for us to compare the model not only with its predecessor and Android competitors, but also with the iPhone 12 Pro Max, since we are talking about flagships. In addition, I wanted to understand what the top-end Snapdragon looks like against the top-end Apple platform.

Something incomprehensible happened in GFXBenchmark: the Snapdragon 888 GPU was significantly inferior even to the previous generation of Qualcomm SoCs. In 3DMark, testing makes sense on the newest Wild Life scene, and here we decided to compare the model with the iPhone 12 Pro Max – as we can see, it is clearly ahead.

In general, it must be admitted that performance testing has left more questions than answers. The Snapdragon 888 was supposed to simply “break” the competitors, at least from the Android camp, but this did not happen. Perhaps the tests should only be partially trusted.

Note that users of the first firmware version complained about severe throttling. But after the update, the problem was resolved. We did not find any criminal performance drop.


Heating

Below is a thermal image of the back surface taken after 15 minutes of fighting a gorilla in Injustice 2.

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G Heating

Heating is more in the upper right part of the device, which apparently corresponds to the location of the SoC chip. According to the heat chamber, the maximum heating was 40 degrees (at an ambient temperature of 24 degrees), this is the average heating in this test for modern smartphones.


Video playback and peripheral connections

The OnePlus 9 Pro 5G supports DisplayPort Alt Mode for USB Type-C – output images and sound to an external device when connected to a smartphone’s USB port (report from usbview.exe). When connected to our monitor, video output is carried out in 1080p mode at 60 Hz frame rate. There is only one operating mode – simple copying of the smartphone screen. In portrait orientation of the smartphone screen, the picture on the Full HD monitor is displayed inscribed in height and with wide black borders on the sides, and in landscape orientation – inscribed in width with narrow black borders at the top and bottom. Of course, there is no pixel-to-pixel output. Note that simultaneously with the output of the image and sound, you can connect a USB flash drive to the smartphone via USB (the smartphone detects them), a mouse and a keyboard, while the smartphone can be charged. It also supports a 1Gbps wired network connection. As a result, on the basis of a smartphone, you can create a kind of workplace with a large screen.

To test the display of video files on the screen of the device itself, we used a set of test files with an arrow and a rectangle moving one division per frame (see “Testing technique for video playback and display devices. Version 1 (for mobile devices)”). Screenshots with a shutter speed of 1 s helped to determine the nature of the frame output of video files with various parameters: the resolution varied (1280 by 720 (720p), 1920 by 1080 (1080p) and 3840 by 2160 (4K) pixels) and the frame rate (24, 25, 30, 50 and 60 fps). In our tests we used the MX Player video player in HW mode.

According to the criterion for outputting frames, the quality of video files playback on the screen of the smartphone itself is very good, since frames (or groups of frames) can (but are not required) to be displayed with uniform intervals of intervals and without frame drops. There is no support for video output with a refresh rate of 120 Hz, despite the fact that such a mode is supposedly enabled by a separate setting, there is no. There is a function for inserting intermediate frames, but its quality is low – in most cases there is simply no positive effect. When playing video files with a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels (1080p) on a smartphone screen, the image of the video file itself is displayed exactly at the height of the screen (in landscape orientation). The brightness range displayed on the screen corresponds to the standard range of 16-235: at maximum brightness, there is a blockage in the shadows by one shade, but all the shades are displayed in the highlights. With a decrease in the brightness in the shadows, the blockage increases slightly. Note that this smartphone has support for hardware decoding of H.265 files with a color depth of 10 bits per color, while displaying gradients on the screen is carried out with better quality than in the case of 8-bit files. However, this is not proof of 10-bit output. Displaying HDR10 (HDR10, H.265) files is also supported.


Battery life

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G received a built-in battery of a good volume, which, coupled with a hardware platform made according to the 5 nm process technology and an economical AMOLED screen, gave an excellent result. 18.5 hours of offline YouTube video playback, over 4 hours of playing 3D games with modern graphics, and finally 27 and a half hours of reading time – an impressive result.

The tests were traditionally carried out at the usual level of power consumption without using the power saving functions, although there are some in the device. Test conditions: the minimum comfortable brightness level is set (approximately 100 cd / m²). Tests: uninterrupted reading with a standard, light theme, uninterrupted viewing of HD-quality video (720p) over a home Wi-Fi network; GFXBenchmark Manhattan battery test simulating intense 3D gaming.

 Battery capacityReading modeVideo mode3D Game Mode
OnePlus 9 Pro 5G4500 mAh27h 30m18h 30m4h 01m

All these are the maximum possible numbers obtained in “ideal” conditions, including without installed SIM-cards. Any changes to the operating scenario are likely to result in poor results.

But what made us even more pleased was the charging speed from the supplied power supply. Full charge time from 0%, when the smartphone is turned off, because it is completely discharged, and up to 100% was only forty minutes. At the same time, in 15 minutes the battery was filled by 45%, in 20 minutes – by 63%, and reached 90% in half an hour.


Conclusions

Well, whatever one may say, before us is really a flagship. The OnePlus 9 Pro 5G has a wonderful screen, a decent design in line with current trends (although not very original), smart Wi-Fi, high-quality cameras and efficient battery life, and in the latter case, it’s not only about the fact that the device is very energy efficient , but also about the speed of replenishing the charge – in half an hour you can charge your smartphone by 90%.

In tests, the top-end hardware platform Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 left a lot of questions.

But the main factor that can negate all of the above advantages is, of course, the price. Perhaps we are not yet accustomed to such a level of prices from brands like OnePlus, and it is psychologically difficult to pay up to 90 thousand rubles for the device of this well-known manufacturer. Two questions are important here. First, are you ready, in principle, to overpay at least one and a half times for a number of features that are not very noticeable in everyday life. And secondly, what will you compare the device with? In comparison with the top Android competitors, the reviewed OnePlus smartphone looks very worthy and is quite consistent with its flagship status.

Official site: www.oneplus.com

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