2021 04 06 OnePlus 9 versus 8
2021 04 06 OnePlus 9 versus 8

After the introduction of a new smartphone, the question arises again and again: is it worth spending money on upgrading your device from the previous generation? With the OnePlus 9, the manufacturer has promised significant improvements to the camera due to the image quality. But is that in itself an important reason for an upgrade? Let’s explore!

I’m sure this isn’t the first time someone has asked a similar question. In fact, Ben recently addressed the same situation in a comparative article about the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S21 models. With the OnePlus 9 series, most of the new features came to the Pro model. Actually, what I want to say here is that the OnePlus 9 Pro is the one in case you’re looking for a bigger upgrade.

OnePlus follows a semi-annual release pattern and in the case of the OnePlus 9, the OnePlu 8T is its legitimate predecessor. Given that it’s only been around for six months, the chances are slim anyone is already looking to upgrade from the 8T. The OnePlus 8, on the other hand, is now a year old and there are some people who follow an annual cycle when purchasing phones. For the same reason, we will focus on the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 9 in this article.

Conversation topics:

OnePlus 9 vs. OnePlus 8: head-to-head comparison

Here is a summary of the hardware specifications for the two models in question.

modelOnePlus 9OnePlus 8
processorQualcomm Snapdragon 888
64-bit octa-core with 5 nm
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
64-bit octa-core with 7 nm
Memory (RAM / internal)8 GB / 128 GB
12 GB / 256 GB
Expandable storageNone
Dual SIMYes
screen6.55-inch fluid AMOLED / FHD + display (2,400 x 1,080 pixels) with up to 120 Hertz6.55-inch fluid AMOLED / FHD + display (2,400 x 1,080 pixels) with up to 90 Hertz
size160 x 74.2 x 8.7 mm160.2 x 72.9 x 8 mm
Weight192 grams180 grams
Connectivity5G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6, USB-C, NFC, GPS, Bluetooth 5.25G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6, USB-C, NFC, GPS, Bluetooth 5.1
Main camera48 megapixels, with 1 / 1.43 “at 1: 1.8 sensor48 megapixels, 1/2 “at 1: 1.75
Ultra wide angle50 megapixels, with 1 / 1.56 “at 1: 2.216 megapixels at f / 2.2
Third cameraDepth: 2 megapixelsMacro: 2 megapixels
Front camera16 megapixels, with 1 / 3.06 “sensor at f / 2.4
Video8K at 30 FPS
4K at 60 FPS
4K at 60 FPS
Battery capacity4,500 mAh4,300 mAh
Charging technologies65 watts wired
15 watts wireless
30 watts wired
AuthenticationFingerprint reader under the display
AudioStereo speakers
materialsGorilla glass 5
operating systemAndroid 11 with OxygenOS
Charger included?Yes, Warp Charge (65 W)Yes, Warp Charge (30 W)
Debut price

€ 699

€ 649

StartMarch 2021April 2020

The positives

An improved camera

As Antoine points out in his review, the OnePlus 9 offers a noticeable improvement in the photography department, even if it’s premature to assess the impact of OnePlus’ partnership with Hasselblad. Even with the more advanced technologies reserved for the OnePlus 9 Pro – like the Sony IMX789 sensor and telephoto lens – the OnePlus 9 still does better than the OnePlus 8 and 8T in terms of camera.

There is also the possibility that further improvements will be made through future algorithmic changes to camera app updates. However, this is not a guarantee and should not influence a purchase decision.

NextPit OnePlus 9 camera

OnePlus is another Asian brand that features the logo of a European photo specialist / © NextPit

The OnePlus 9 gets newer (and larger) sensors for both. the main and ultra-wide cameras. In addition, the main sensor offers the ability to record files in 12-bit RAW format.

A flat, non-curved display

While this might be a downgrade for fans of curved displays, the fact is that the OnePlus 9 now offers a flat display as opposed to the curved panels on the OnePlus 8. Moving to a flat panel could have been a cost cut – but it also made the OnePlus 9 easier to repair (and use).

AndroidPIT oneplus 8 ports cs2

The curved display of the OnePlus 8 is no longer an option on the OnePlus 9 / © NextPit

120 Hertz refresh rate

There is no doubt that the display used in the OnePlus 9 is superior to that of the OnePlus 8. Despite a similar size of 6.55 inches and a Full HD + resolution (1080 x 2400 pixels), the refresh rate of the OnePlus 9 is a definite upgrade over the OnePlus 8.

While the OnePlus 8 inherited the 90 Hz Fluid AMOLED display from the OnePlus 7T, the OnePlus 9 gets a much faster 120 Hz panel. The result? Smoother and more fluid on-screen animations, not only in your normal OxygenOS user interface, but also in games.

NextPit OnePlus 9 front camera

The refresh rate adapts to the screen content / © NextPit

For those concerned about the higher power consumption due to a faster refresh rate, the display will automatically adjust the frame rate based on the data being viewed. OnePlus announced that the refresh rate varies from 1 Hz (one frame per second) and above, but in Antoine’s report it dropped to a maximum of 30 Hz.

Wireless charging capability

With the support of wireless charging on the OnePlus 9, OnePlus has met a long-standing demand from hardcore fans. The wireless charging option used to be exclusive to the Pro models, but the OnePlus 9 (finally) ended this longstanding tradition. However, this feature is still missing in the Indian variant of the OnePlus 9. So if you’re in India, well, meh. While wireless charging on the OnePlus 9 isn’t that fast on the OnePlus 9 Pro (50W), most users will be glad that the option is available.

NextPit OnePlus 9 usb

In addition to wireless charging, OnePlus 9 is compatible with 65 W Warp Charge / © NextPit

In addition, the OnePlus 9 is compatible with the Warp Charge 65T charger as it delivers 65 watts of power when connected. This is very quick and the charger itself is included in the scope of delivery. That’s more than twice as fast as the OP8’s 30 W charger and can charge the 4,500 mAh battery in around half an hour.


Overheating problems

The Snapdragon 888 chipset’s performance has an undesirable side effect that Antoine’s review highlighted: thermal throttling. This protection will reduce the speed of the processor if the device detects an excessive rise in temperature or a level that could actually harm the phone or the user themselves.

This problem usually occurs with prolonged use of processor-intensive apps such as theoretical benchmarks. However, it is possible that heat could affect performance during gaming sessions, with FPS dropping below normal rates after just a few minutes.

oneplus 9 pro review performance benchmark1

The frame rate in 3DMark fell after a few minutes from an average of 34 FPS at the beginning (in the yellow graphic) to around 20 FPS / © NextPit

Conclusion: The OnePlus 9 is a good upgrade over the OnePlus 8

Despite the title above, switching from one model to another essentially depends on which features are interesting enough for you. If I were in a situation like this, I would consider switching smartphones for the simple reason that they support wireless charging, aside from the 120Hz refresh rate and improved camera performance.

If these features aren’t important to you, all that’s left is the superior performance of the Snapdragon 888 chipset, which in my case would only be noticeable in more advanced games, not to mention an increased risk of thermal throttling.

For those who change their smartphone every year, the OnePlus 9 is an interesting option for OnePlus 8 owners. While for those who are still using the OnePlus 8T or would prefer to pick up a new device every two years, it may be to your advantage to wait a little longer. Who knows? Perhaps the whispered OnePlus 9T offers an even more unique value for money thanks to OnePlus’ partnership with Hasselblad …


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