OnePlus 9 Pro: strong Hasselblad camera, solid premium Android contender
Updated: Mar 24, 2021
Just about every premium smartphone introduced over these past many years has come with a manufacturer’s boast about what great a camera the device has. In many instances the claims have merit, though there’s always room to quibble, and it can be hard to detect major differences in picture quality from year to year and model to model. Do I even have to point out that it’s all so darn subjective anyway?
That’s the perspective I took with me as I snapped pictures using the quad camera system on the OnePlus 9 Pro 5G handset that the Chinese company unveiled today (along with the OnePlus 9 model, and a new OnePlus Watch), the focus of this mini-review. Spoiler alert, I was generally really happy with the quality of my pics, though there were for sure some mixed results.
The new Android flagship goes on sale April 2, with preorders starting this Friday. At $1,069 for the 12GB Ram/256GB “morning mist” model I’ve been testing, it doesn’t come cheap, though the price still undercuts rivals Apple and Samsung. You can go cheaper too; the OnePlus 9 series with a smaller screen, no telephoto camera, and more limited 5G coverage (no mmWave), starts at a more modest $729 (8GB/128GB).
What OnePlus is boasting about this time around is its partnership with Hasselblad, a name familiar to photography buffs. Indeed, you are reminded in the OnePlus press release that Hasselblad cameras immortalized the first steps on the moon. On these latest devices, Hasselblad lends its particular prowess in determining color calibration.
You can judge for yourself whether the color saturation in the few pictures I've posted here meets your own lofty standards. The shot immediately below was taken with the OnePlus 9 Pro; for comparison purposes, the similar pic posted just below it was snapped with an iPhone 12 Pro Max.
I mostly snapped away with the basic settings for Photo, Portrait, Nightscape, and so on, figuring that's what most consumers do. But you can certainly plunge deeper into Pro-type settings to manually change the ISO, shutter speed, white balance, focus and more.
Apart from taking pictures, I'll point out that OnePlus 9 Pro is a snappy device with Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processing smarts, a lovely 6.7-inch OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, and super-fast wireless charging. OnePlus will happily sell you the optional $69.99 Warp Charge 50 supplied with my evaluation units.
Bottom line, if you are an Android fan, the OnePlus 9 Pro is a strong contender well worth considering.
In the meanwhile, here are a few more pictures taken with the OnePlus 9 Pro.
Photo at the top courtesy of OnePlus.