You’ll have a major choice to make when the OnePlus 9 arrives this month: do I need the 9 Pro or would the basic OnePlus 9 suffice?
There aren’t any official specs yet, so this is a tricky choice to make right now. But with the help of some leaks and rumors, plus the knowledge of what OnePlus offered last year, we can get a good idea of how the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro will turn out.
We’re going to break down the different major parts of these upcoming phones and see what differences we can figure out. With these features laid out before you, we hope we can help you figure out which of these two phones is the one to pick.
|OnePlus 9||OnePlus 9 Pro|
|Expected starting price||$699||$999|
|Display||6.5-inch, FHD||6.7-inch, QHD|
|Rear cameras||48MP main, 48MP ultrawide, 5MP macro||48MP main, 48MP ultrawide, 8MP telephoto|
|Chipset||Snapdragon 870 or 888||Snapdragon 870 or 888|
|Battery||4,500 mAh||4,500 mAh|
|Charging||65W wired||65W wired, 30W wireless|
OnePlus 9 vs OnePlus 9 Pro price
We can figure out a rough price based on last year’s models. The OnePlus 8 had a starting price of $699, while the OnePlus 8 Pro started at $999. The OnePlus 8T, a slightly modified version of the 8, sells for $749.
If the rumored OnePlus 9R exists, the vanilla OnePlus 9 may increase in price to avoid overlapping with this new entry-level model. However with rival phones like the iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S21 dropping in price compared to their 2020 counterparts, it’s also feasible that OnePlus will drop the price of the whole OnePlus 9 range to keep its status as a cheaper premium flagship.
OnePlus 9 vs OnePlus 9 Pro display
The overall design of the OnePlus 9 series handsets is likely to be the same. However the specs of their displays will most likely differ.
First off, the total sizes. We’d expect the OnePlus 9 to be a 6.5-inch phone, while the OnePlus 9 Pro will likely be 6.7 inches instead.
OnePlus last year gave the OnePlus 8 Pro a curved display, but used flat displays on the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8T. It seems that it’ll be the same story again this year, based on renders provided by OnLeaks.
Last year, OnePlus gave the OnePlus 8 a 90Hz FHD display, while the OnePlus 8 Pro got a 120Hz QHD display. The OnePlus 8T later in the year blended both together to get a 120Hz FHD screen.
We’d expect both the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro models to have 120Hz displays when they launch. Now that OnePlus sells cheaper phones like the OnePlus Nord N10 with 90Hz displays, it makes sense for it to offer the smoothest possible display on its flagship models.
OnePlus 9 vs OnePlus 9 Pro cameras
Both OnePlus 9 handsets will have their rear cameras contained within a rectangular bump in the top left corner of the phone’s back. The sensors themselves will likely be a little different.
For context, the OnePlus 8 came with a 48MP main camera, a 16MP ultrawide camera and a 2MP macro camera. The 8 Pro got 48MP main sensor, a second 48MP sensor for ultrawide shots, an 8MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, and a 5MP “color filter” camera dedicated to taking unique-looking “photochrom” images.
The OnePlus 8T was slightly different again. It used a 48MP main camera, a 16MP ultrawide camera, a 5MP macro camera and a 2MP depth sensor for improved portrait mode effects.
All three of these phones used an identical 16MP selfie camera, located in a punch-hole notch in the top left corner of the display.
This year, the basic OnePlus 9 will get the same pair of 48MP sensors for main/ultrawide shots that the 8 Pro had before. The third camera on the 9 is unknown, but it may be another macro sensor like the 5MP one found on the OnePlus 8T. What we do know is that these cameras will have access to new tilt-shift and focus-peaking modes in the camera app, thanks to discoveries within the most recent version of OxygenOS.
The OnePlus 9 Pro will get the benefit of Hasselblad-tuned cameras, according to recent leaks. We don’t yet know exactly what this will entail, but given Hasselblad was famously the company that provided cameras to the Apollo 11 moon landing crew, and OnePlus’ Pete Lau has teased that astrophotography may be a priority for the OnePlus 9 series, we can perhaps expect a focus on high-resolution sensors with excellent low-light performance and powerful zoom magnification.
OnePlus 9 vs OnePlus 9 Pro processor and performance
This could be an area where both versions of the phone are identical. The OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro last year used a Snapdragon 865 chipset, and either 8GB or 12GB of RAM depending on the version you selected. This might be what OnePlus does again this year.
Which chip OnePlus will use is up for debate. The direct successor to the Snapdragon 865 is the Snapdragon 888, which seems like the obvious choice. However Qualcomm is also offering a Snapdragon 870 chipset this year, which offers a smaller performance boost than the 888 chip but at a lower price. And OnePlus has already said it will use the 870 in a phone this year.
We can’t be sure OnePlus is talking about the 9 series when it says it has plans for the Snapdragon 870, or even which phones within the three-handset lineup that would refer to.
OnePlus 9 vs OnePlus 9 Pro battery and charging
Battery size often correlates with overall phone size. We can see this with the OnePlus 8 series, where the basic 8 got a 4,300 mAh battery and the Pro version got a 4,510 mAh battery. The OnePlus 8T upgraded the original 8’s capacity to 4,500 mAh.
The only battery size currently rumored for the OnePlus 9 is 4,500 mAh. It’s possible therefore that both phones have identical capacities. That’s not such good news for the 9 Pro though, as its larger, more detailed display will mean that the battery will drain faster in comparison to the smaller, plainer screen on its sibling.
We should get identical wired charging for both phones. If we’re lucky, this will be the 65W charging found on the OnePlus 8T, one of the zippiest fast-charging standards you can get right now. Otherwise, the next most likely option is the same 30W charging used on the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro.
As for wireless charging, there’s probably going to be a difference. Only the OnePlus 8 Pro offered wireless charging, up to a fairly quick 30W. There was no option for this on the OnePlus 8 or OnePlus 8T. Potentially it’ll be the same case again this year where OnePlus saves its wireless charging only for the Pro model.
Based on OnePlus’ track record, both the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro will be excellent phones on their own. However because of what we assume will be a notable price difference of at least $200 or more, you should consider what features you prioritize.
The main differentiator will be if you want the larger display or the higher resolution that the OnePlus 9 Pro will likely offer. Secondary to that are the cameras, since the OnePlus 9 may not get a telephoto lens like the Pro model, and will likely have at least one sensor with a lower megapixel count.
Luckily, picking a chipset shouldn’t be an issue, since there’s a good chance all OnePlus 9 handsets will have the same silicon running the show. It’s the same for the design too, unless you have a strong preference for flat or curved displays.