Mar 23rd, 2021

When it comes to new OnePlus devices, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Pro models get much of the screen time. But that doesn’t mean we should instantly discount or forget about the base model devices. This year could be even more evidence of that, as the OnePlus 9 packs quite a punch, just like last year’s OnePlus 8 did. So if you opted for the OP8 instead of the 8 Pro, should you spring for the new OnePlus 9? Let’s find out.

Displays

Unlike the comparison between the OnePlus 8 Pro and OnePlus 9 Pro, there are no changes when it comes to the size of the display. Both the OnePlus 8 and 9 feature a 6.55-inch AMOLED display, with the same 2400 x 1080 resolution and a 402 pixel density.

OnePlus 9 Pro vs OnePlus 8 Pro

Those who are tired of curved displays will want to look at the OnePlus 9, as the company has left the curved edges for its Pro models, even with the latest devices. Both the OP8 and OP9 feature flat displays, which aim to provide better usability and better overall grip.

While both of these devices sport AMOLED panels, the OnePlus 9 gets a bit of a leg up. OnePlus included its 120Hz Fluid Display with the 9, compared to the more-pedestrian 90Hz refresh rate found on the OnePlus 8. And while you’ll notice the differences more in gaming and scrolling, having a faster refresh rate with both devices is a nice addition.

Performance

Storage and RAM configurations are the same across all of the OnePlus devices, with both an 8GB/128GB model, and a 12GB/256GB variant available. This extends to the newest OnePlus 9 so you won’t find any differences here.

Instead, the difference lies in the processor thanks to the inclusion of the Snapdragon 888 chipset in the OnePlus 9 compared to last year’s Snapdragon 865 in the OnePlus 8. Both of these processors are more than capable of handling just about anything that you throw at them. However, the Snapdragon 888 features an onboard 5G antenna and is more power efficient than its predecessor.

Cameras

In the streamed announcement event, OnePlus stated that customers have been continuing to ask for better cameras in its devices. The OnePlus 8 Pro bucked the trend of subpar or plainly mediocre camera systems for the company, and the OnePlus 9 is here to benefit.

Both the OnePlus 8 and 9 make use of a 48MP primary camera, although the OnePlus 9 actually makes use of the OnePlus 8 Pro’s Sony IMX689 lens from last year. Considering the popularity and performance of this sensor, it makes perfect sense for OnePlus to come with a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to help keep costs down.

While the OnePlus 8 sports a 16MP f/2.2 ultra wide camera, it pales in comparison to the new 50MP free-form lens of the OnePlus 9. This is where we get our first glimpse of the new Hasselblad partnership, as this is the same free-from ultra wide camera that is also found in the larger OnePlus 9 Pro.

Hasselblad and OnePlus worked together in an effort to provide better color accuracy, along with a new Hasselblad Pro Mode for the camera software. And it seems that OnePlus got the memo about including a practically-useless macro lens, as it’s been replaced in the OnePlus 9 with a 2MP monochrome sensor.

Battery Life

One of the biggest differences between the OP8 and OP9, outside of the Hasselblad partnership for the cameras, is the battery. OnePlus packed a larger 4,500mAh cell into the new OnePlus 9, compared to the 4,300mAh battery in last year’s model.

In addition to the larger battery with hopes of having a phone last you through the day and then some, OnePlus upped the ante in the charging game with the OnePlus 9. After seeing the popularity of wireless charging in the OnePlus 8 Pro, the company has finally brought wireless charging to all of its latest devices. While you won’t be able to take advantage of Warp Charge Wireless 50 like the 9 Pro, you’ll still be able to use your 15W Qi charger of choice.

Wired charging has also been improved with Warp Charge, as we now have 65W charging speeds with the OnePlus 9. This is more than double that of the OnePlus 8 line’s Warp Charge 30 which was introduced last year.

Between the Snapdragon 888 and its improved power efficiency, along with a larger cell, the OnePlus 9 could end up being one of the best phones for long-lasting battery life.

Should you upgrade?

Since the OnePlus 8 is still available for purchase, it’s important to compare the price for these two devices. The OnePlus 8 can be had for as low as $499 right now, for the 8GB/128GB model or $599 for the 12GB/256GB version. Meanwhile, pricing for the OnePlus 9 starts at $729 and goes up to $829 for all of the RAM and storage.

Truth be told, there’s a lot more to like about the OnePlus 9 compared to the OnePlus 8, even if you recently upgraded. Performance won’t be an issue with either device, but the OP9 pulls ahead thanks to the larger battery, charging speeds, and wireless charging capability. Plus, the new camera system combines the best of the 8 Pro and 9 Pro and puts them in a new device.

OnePlus 9 OnePlus 8
Price $729/$829 $699/$799
Screen size 6.55-inches 6.55-inches
Resolution 2400 x 1080 1080 x 2400
Density 402 ppi 402
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
RAM 8/12 GB 8 / 12 GB
Storage 128/256 GB 128 / 256 GB
Battery 4500 mAh 4300 mAh
OS Android 11 Android 10
Rear camera Triple cameras:
48MP, EIS, f/1.8, 1.12 μm (main)
50MP, f/2.2, freeform lens (ultra-wide)
2MP (monochrome)
Triple-cameras:
48MP, f/1.7 (standard),
2MP, f/2.4 (macro),
16MP, f2.2, 116 degrees (ultrawide)
Front camera 16MP, Fixed focus, f/2.4, 1.0 μm 16MP, f/2.2
Bluetooth v5.2 v5.1
NFC Yes Yes
Dimensions 160 x 74.2 x 8.7mm 160.2 x 72.9 x 8.0 mm
Weight 192g 180 g
Water Resistance N/A N/A
Wireless Charging Yes No
Special features 65W fast charging, 15W Qi wireless charging, in-display fingerprint sensor, WiFi 6, sub-6 and mid-band 5G, in-display fingerprint sensor,

30W fast charging,
In-display fingprint sensor,
90 Hz display

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