Following weeeks of teasers, OnePlus finally took the wraps off the OnePlus 9, the OnePlus 9 Pro, and the OnePlus 9R today. The OnePlus 9 Pro is the hero device of the trio, sporting ultra-premium hardware (and an ultra-premium price tag to boot).
Featuring a large 6.7-inch AMOLED display that runs at Quad HD+ resolution and refreshes at up to 120Hz, the OnePlus 9 Pro is as premium as last year’s OnePlus 8 Pro when it comes to the display. Though there are many notable display and charging improvements over last year’s model, the biggest upgrade is to the camera thanks to the partnership with Swedish camera firm Hasselblad.
While the OnePlus 9 is priced at £629, the OnePlus 9 Pro will set you back £829. Also released was the OnePlus watch which will cost around £119. Here’s what the experts have to say about the launch.
Ben Wood, Chief Analyst – CCS Insight:
“The relentless focus on camera technology in the new OnePlus devices underlines our view that this has become the main battleground for high-end smartphone makers. The big challenge for OnePlus is how to differentiate its capabilities from others when the bar is already so high.”
“OnePlus will be hoping the brand association with Hasselblad will boost its camera credentials, but despite Hasselblad’s pedigree with photography enthusiasts, it’s less well-known by the general public, which could be a challenge.”
“The 9 Series smartphones are central to OnePlus re-establishing itself as a contender in the flagship segment and are very important for the broader perception of its brand. They come at a time when competition from rival Chinese manufacturers such as Xiaomi and Oppo has never been fiercer. OnePlus can’t rely on direct sales alone, so getting strong support from leading network operators and retailers will be essential.”
“The 9 Series devices exude the refined quality that OnePlus has typically delivered in the past. It’s a slick design, albeit similar to most other flagship Android phones, and the company’s OxygenOS is popular with users. The big question is whether that will be enough to stand out from the crowd.”
“When it comes to smartphones, the elephant in the room is component supply. It’s a sore point for all phone makers, and success in 2021 might come down to a manufacturer’s ability to get enough components to meet demand. Suppliers are always going to favour their biggest customers, giving giants like Apple and Samsung an advantage over rivals.”
Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at Uswitch.com:
“OnePlus has built on the success of last year’s 8 Pro to demand a place at the top table of smartphone manufacturers with the 9 series.
“Consumers now expect a rear quad-lens snapper from any flagship Android phone, but OnePlus has gone one better with its partnership with leading camera-maker Hasselblad.
“The Hasselblad Camera for Mobile technology takes another step towards the day when a smartphone takes photographs worthy of a digital SLR.
“OnePlus has brought 5G connectivity to both the standard and Pro models of the OnePlus 9 series, and offers powerful performance with the latest Snapdragon 888 processor. The Warp Charge function refills the battery in just 29 minutes.
“Stepping into the wearables market with the OnePlus Watch is a clear sign that the Chinese company is looking to spread its wings and win consumers leaving Huawei’s orbit. It is also a further indication of the brand venturing into tech outside of smartphones, following the release of the OnePlus TV last year too.
“OnePlus, Oppo and Xiaomi are engaged in an arms race to offer top-end tech at affordable prices – and with specs like these, it won’t be long before Samsung and Apple fans take note.”
“It’s no great surprise to see OnePlus launch a smartwatch. Offering wearable devices is now seen as table stakes for smartphone brands, and we’ve already seen Chinese firms including Oppo, Vivo and Realme take the same route.”
“The OnePlus watch offers an impressive set of capabilities at a punchy price, although it has stiff competition from Huami (with its Amazfit-branded devices) and other low-cost smartphone makers. The wearables market is highly competitive and it’s not clear how the OnePlus watch will stand out from the crowd.”
“OnePlus has decided to use a real-time operating system (RTOS) for the watch, snubbing Google’s Wear OS platform. This is probably owing to the superior battery life of RTOS devices, but the decision will be a disappointment to Google, which may be about to refresh its strategy for wearables. Google has largely struggled to convince new entrants to the wearables market to use its platform, and may need to radically overhaul Wear OS to reverse this trend.”
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