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.
OnePlus 9 vs. OnePlus 8: head-to-head comparison
|model||OnePlus 9||OnePlus 8|
|processor||Qualcomm 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
|screen||6.55-inch fluid AMOLED / FHD + display (2,400 x 1,080 pixels) with up to 120 Hertz||6.55-inch fluid AMOLED / FHD + display (2,400 x 1,080 pixels) with up to 90 Hertz|
|size||160 x 74.2 x 8.7 mm||160.2 x 72.9 x 8 mm|
|Weight||192 grams||180 grams|
|Connectivity||5G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6, USB-C, NFC, GPS, Bluetooth 5.2||5G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6, USB-C, NFC, GPS, Bluetooth 5.1|
|Main camera||48 megapixels, with 1 / 1.43 “at 1: 1.8 sensor||48 megapixels, 1/2 “at 1: 1.75|
|Ultra wide angle||50 megapixels, with 1 / 1.56 “at 1: 2.2||16 megapixels at f / 2.2|
|Third camera||Depth: 2 megapixels||Macro: 2 megapixels|
|Front camera||16 megapixels, with 1 / 3.06 “sensor at f / 2.4|
|Video||8K at 30 FPS|
4K at 60 FPS
|4K at 60 FPS|
|Battery capacity||4,500 mAh||4,300 mAh|
|Charging technologies||65 watts wired|
15 watts wireless
|30 watts wired|
|Authentication||Fingerprint reader under the display|
|materials||Gorilla glass 5|
|operating system||Android 11 with OxygenOS|
|Charger included?||Yes, Warp Charge (65 W)||Yes, Warp Charge (30 W)|
|Start||March 2021||April 2020|
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 …