Before sharing my reflections on the OnePlus 9 Pro, let me say that I have been using the OnePlus 6 for almost three years. No major complaints so far, but now it is called an upgrade. With battery life reducing and heating issue increasing, with the camera lagging behind 2021 standards and no visible future Android updates, the upgrade was inevitable. I formulated a detailed review of my two years with the OnePlus 6, which you can go over.
An obvious choice would have been the OnePlus 9 Pro (as I was reckoning a flagship). It should be the one to go for. But that didn’t seem to happen; with hyper-aggressive Hasselblad branding, the OnePlus 9 Pro seemed like a promising flagship until it launched. I saw the launch event and felt negligibly off that day itself. Reviews by the YouTubers made me more confused than ever, following Telegram groups of users, reviewers, and beta testers. The feedback I kept amassing from there felt rather not very convincing.
Priced at INR 64999 and INR 69999 (with a 65W charger included in the box), the OnePlus 9 Pro touches a point where you can ask for the best of both worlds. Even if the price is not close to Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra or iPhone 12 Pro Max, it is slightly higher for OnePlus’ standards. At this price point, a person expects a device that’s not just the best one today but also future-ready. And that’s where things started going downhill.
In the world of Samsung and Apple, with the history of average cameras, “Hasselblad” furnished everything OnePlus needed. The collaboration was so overhyped by OnePlus and its CEO, Pete Lau, that it began sensing unduly intimidating. The camera results I viewed were terrific but not so extraordinary that they would compete with before mentioned brands. Sadly, they were not justifying the hype and the price hike OnePlus made on the back of Hasselblad cameras. Future updates may improve cameras, but you don’t buy a phone based on presumptions. Oh yes, 16MP front camera with no 4K video recording, in 2021? That’s not what you call flagship camera experience.
This came as a shocker to me and the biggest deal-breaker as well. Many users report serious heating issues with the OnePlus 9 Pro, and I couldn’t ignore this. The phone that tends to get warm even with little heavy usage or multitasking is not the right choice. Few people even reported overheating warnings after using the camera for a few minutes. This, coupled with 65W charging, may not be a good companion for battery life in the long run. Later on, I uncovered that not only the OnePlus 9 Pro or the OnePlus 9 but many devices running on Snapdragon 888 face heating issues. This was a point when I almost withdrew from buying the OnePlus 9 Pro.
For me, this is a critical factor. A phone that costs like a flagship should promise future updates like a flagship. OnePlus promised two years of Android updates, which is not appeasing at all. Considering Samsung ascertaining three Android updates, it is not unfair to demand the same from OnePlus. Oxygen OS is far closer to stock Android which should make the job easier for OnePlus. Considering the company’s recent history, I am keeping my hopes and prospects extremely low regarding software updates, which leaves with a question of whether should I pay INR 70000 for this?
Shockingly, OnePlus is changing its already praised Oxygen OS to feel more like One UI. It would be very gracious to say that OnePlus takes inspiration from Samsung while we see it is very clearly spoofing many things straight from One UI. So, if I must use One UI, why should I buy the first copy of One UI? I’d instead purchase the original One UI only. Taking it ahead, Oxygen OS has heaved many features straight from Color OS as well. We know that OnePlus will use Color OS in China from now, and I don’t see any reason why they won’t do the same in the global market. Long story short, Oxygen OS is no longer as big a deal maker as it used to be a few years ago.
To conclude, I am not suggesting that the OnePlus 9 Pro is awful or worse. No, the device is undoubtedly flagship level. But the issue is that it has abandoned all the things which would compel a loyal OnePlus user to buy 9 Pro. This phone has made prevailing customers think twice and searches for options in the market. Any company would wish to acquire new customers, but while they do it, they generally forget their existing customers, and that’s what happened with OnePlus. From a stand-out company to one amongst the crowd, OnePlus has let OnePlus fans down.