Update: February 4, 2021 (05:45 PM ET): We’ve updated the OnePlus 9 rumor hub with new camera hardware details. Read on for more.
Original article: Time doesn’t stand still for smartphone companies, and OnePlus is no exception. After launching the OnePlus 8 in April, and the OnePlus 8T in October, there’s already buzz about the next OnePlus flagship. Set to be the company’s flag bearer in 2021, the OnePlus 9 has some big shoes to fill.
All signs point to an earlier than expected launch for the flagship. Ahead of the official reveal, we’ve gathered up all the credible rumors and early leaks relating to the OnePlus 9. We’ve also put together a wishlist of what we want to see from the next OnePlus flagship series. Be sure to bookmark this page, as we’ll be updating it regularly as we get closer to the release date.
Name and release date
Internally, OnePlus is continuing its food-related codenames for its phones. The OnePlus 9 is reportedly known as “lemonade” while in development. For reference, the OnePlus 8 was known as “instantnoodle,” while the 8T was dubbed “kebab.” If you now need a snack break, we understand.
Outside of the codename, though, we have no confirmation that the phones this year will be known as the 9 series. However, OnePlus hasn’t changed its naming game since its inception, so we are fairly confident the OnePlus 9 series is what’s on the way.
Regardless of the name, it appears the phones will make an earlier-than-expected appearance. According to a report in October, the OnePlus 9 release date could hit in mid-March. That would be around a month earlier than the OnePlus 8’s April 14 debut. The fact that Samsung launched the Galaxy S21 series much earlier than usual only bolsters this rumor.
OnePlus 9 series: Models and designs
A leaked CAD-based render of the OnePlus 9 emerged on November 14, as seen above. It suggests the phone will sport three cameras at the rear with a punch hole in the top-left of the display for the selfie camera. As with the OnePlus 8T, it seems the vanilla variant of the 9 series could feature a flat display.
Thankfully, it looks like the vanilla model will keep the famous OnePlus alert slider on the top right. This feature didn’t appear in the budget-oriented OnePlus Nord N10 and Nord N100 phones launched at the end of 2020.
We also expect there to be a Pro variant in the 9 series. The renders above — outed by trusted leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer on November 21 — suggest the Pro model may borrow design cues from its older siblings. The renders show it could sport a quad rear camera array on the back, with a 6.7-inch curved display and punch-hole selfie camera.
Interestingly, the renders for both of these phones look very similar to the Oppo Reno 5 series, launched in December. We have already reviewed the Oppo Reno 5 Pro which looks very similar to the OnePlus 9 Pro renders. It’s possible OnePlus won’t deviate too far from its Oppo heritage for this year’s lineup.
Read more: Everything you need to know about OnePlus
Finally, an additional leak by Max Jambor on November 30 suggests that OnePlus might have a third model lined up for the series. Dubbed the OnePlus 9E, the phone would be an additional offering that would likely be the cheapest in the group. Given the company’s constant upward trajectory, this phone could be a smaller and more affordable option. However, not much is known about this device yet, if it even exists.
OnePlus 9: Specs and features
We’ve seen few definitive specs leaks so far, but we can make educated guesses based on OnePlus’ previous flagships.
It’s pretty much a given that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 will power the flagship line. If the OnePlus 9E exists, it might not have the 2021 flagship processor, but the other two will almost certainly have it. You can expect that chipset to be paired with at least 8GB of RAM and 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage in each model.
The OnePlus 8 Pro and OnePlus 8T each carried a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s very likely the 9 Pro will have this feature as well, although it’s less certain the OnePlus 9 or 9E will have it. However, those phones will undoubtedly have 90Hz refresh rates at the minimum.
With the OnePlus 8T, the company made a big fuss about the phone’s 65W wired charging. It is highly likely this will carry over to at least the 9 Pro, if not all the phones in the 9 series.
What about wireless charging? Tipster Max Jambor suggests the Pro variant could feature 45W wireless charging, a boost from the OnePlus 8 Pro’s 30W speeds. While Jambor does mention the OnePlus 9 could also feature wireless charging, the tipster didn’t elaborate on any concrete numbers. The Pro could also feature reverse wireless charging.
Finally, that same tipster also says the OnePlus 9 Pro will be the only model in the range to receive an IP68 rating against water and dust. He suggests the other 9 series phones might not feature that badge.
At the beginning of the year, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau claimed that the company would be heavily investing in its camera development. Lau says his ambition is to be none other than the best smartphone camera company. Those are big words when you consider OnePlus’ history when it comes to cameras.
As far as the OnePlus 9 goes, details of its cameras emerged on November 21. The phone is said to sport a 48MP primary camera that pixel bins down to 12MP. A secondary 48MP is apparently used for ultra-wide shots. A third yet-unknown sensor is also included, but it might be a monochrome or macro shooter. There’s also no word on the selfie shooter, either.
Max Jambor on January 25 revealed that the OnePlus 9 series probably won’t feature a periscope camera. Not much else is known about the cameras on the 9 Pro or 9E models.
Outside of hardware, the camera software could feature some new tricks. An APK teardown of the OnePlus camera app shows some new features that would likely land with the OnePlus 9 series. Those features include a tilt-shift mode, a moon mode, and more. See here for all the details.
According to tipster Rodent950, OnePlus is partnering with German camera company Leica for the cameras on the OnePlus 9 series. The leaker didn’t reveal the nature of the partnership but Leica could bring improvements to image processing as well as contribute to the design of the camera module like it did on Huawei phones.
OnePlus 9: Price and availability
Finally, let’s talk about the OnePlus 9 price. The ace up the OnePlus 8’s sleeve was its sticker. Arriving at $699, it was among the cheapest flagships launched in 2020; a year that saw the likes of Samsung and Apple once again break the $1,000 barrier. Granted, the 128GB OnePlus 8 Pro came in at $899, but we’d argue that’s still a fair price for an excellent flagship. We expect the OnePlus 9 to debut between the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro’s price band.
A swath of Android Authority readers want the firm to drop the price of the upcoming flagship instead of adding new features. It’s unclear if OnePlus would consider doing this with the OnePlus 9.
Should the OnePlus 9 series debut in mid-March, it’ll likely go on sale a few days later in markets like the US. For Indian buyers, the OnePlus 8 was made available more than a month later.
That’s everything we’ve got for the OnePlus 9 series. Keep this page bookmarked as it will be updated frequently!