When does the OnePlus 9 launch?
Sources have told Android Central that the company plans to bring the OnePlus 9, codenamed “Lemonade”, to market in March 2021, approximately a month earlier than this year’s OnePlus 8 series – that was announced on 14 April and on sale from 29 April 2020.
The reasoning behind this is thought to be in order to give the phone(s) more time to compete against rival devices like Samsung’s forthcoming Galaxy S21/S30 line (also rumoured to be launching earlier than this year’s S20 line) before the typical T-series mid-cycle refresh manifests.
There’s also the matter of the OnePlus Nord line, which was introduced in 2020. Previously, OnePlus only had two discreet releases every 12-month span and adding in Nord devices at around the mid-point gives the company flexibility to move its other big launches around so that they’re releasing hardware at a consistent pace.
As for where you’ll be able to pick the phone(s) up, while we’re expecting the OnePlus 9 series to launch in the company’s most prominent markets across the UK, Europe and the US, it looks like we already have a little more detail on its Stateside release.
It seems that XDA Developers member Some_Random_Username unearthed code within the company’s OxygenOS user experience that points to some carrier-specific SKUs of both the OnePlus 9 and the 9 Pro.
Along with a standard version, there will be two carrier-bound variants of the OnePlus 9, destined for T-Mobile and Verizon respectively (with the Verizon model assumed to support mmWave 5G). A T-Mobile flavour of OnePlus 9 Pro also makes an appearance, while the Verizon-centric 9 Pro appears to be absent as of right now.
How much will the OnePlus 9 cost?
We’re yet to hear anything official around the OnePlus 9’s price. That said, we can look at the company’s existing strategy to see where pricing next year may fall.
OnePlus’s phones are becoming increasingly more competitive with each generation, but as a byproduct of that, they also slowly became more expensive, with the OnePlus 8 Pro being the company’s priciest handset to date.
That changed a little with the OnePlus 8T, which dropped slightly in price relative to the prior OnePlus 8. We’d be surprised to see OnePlus bring prices back up again so soon after that, so with that in mind we’d expect the OnePlus 9 to start at £549/$649 and the OnePlus 9 Pro to arrive at £749/$849.
There’s one other spanner in the works. Tipster Max Jambor has claimed that there will be a third phone, a more affordable OnePlus 9E. He doesn’t predict a price, or any specs, but that means there may be a OnePlus 9 model below £500/$500.
What features will the OnePlus 9 have?
Leaks from TechDroider on Twitter point to our first morsels of possible OnePlus hardware, starting with their model numbers.
Similarly to their predecessors, 2021’s model names start with the first letters of their codename – ‘LE’ for ‘Lemonade’ – followed by various numbers that denote model and region. LE2110, LE2117 and LE2119 apparently relate to the OnePlus 9, while LE2120 and LE2127 are thought to reference the OnePlus 9 Pro.
There has been some confusion around whether these model numbers could be allocated differently, with LE2127 actually relating to a third, unknown OnePlus 9 variant, however, there’s little in the structure of this naming convention to suggest this theory holds water.
In addition, TechDroider states that the OnePlus 9 will employ a 144Hz high refresh rate display with a centrally positioned front camera (though renders so far disagree, all showing a corner-mounter selfie shooter), sport IP68 dust and water resistance, NFC, dual stereo speakers, 65W fast charging and 40W fast wireless charging.
Leakers so far agree that the OnePlus 9 will stick with a flat screen, while the 9 Pro will instead use a curved panel. Renders of the 9 Pro from OnLeaks show this 6.7in panel, and are otherwise fairly consistent with the 91mobiles render of the standard model.
It’s assumed that the next OnePlus flagships would utilise Qualcomm’s latest and greatest chipset – the Snapdragon 888 – and Geekbench scores for a device called the ‘LuBan LE2117’ (thought to be the OnePlus 9 Pro) suggest that to be the case.
The LE2117, which is listed as running on 8GB of RAM and with a base CPU frequency of 1.8GHz, achieved a single-core score of 1122 and a multi-core score of 2733
That matches the specs of the Snapdragon 888 processor, and unsurprisingly OnePlus is listed as one of the OEMs confirmed to be working on a phone using the chip – almost certainly the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro.
OnePlus 9 wish list
With 120Hz, 65W ‘Warp Charge’ fast charging and 5G already in the mix, the 8T is an impressively-solid foundation on which the company can build its next major release on top of, but there are a few things that we’d like to bring in from this year’s 8 Pro, as well as a few expected upgrades.
Under-display selfie camera – It’s thought that Samsung has shifted from including an under-display camera on its next Galaxy S phones to instead debut such a feature on the rumoured Samsung Z Galaxy Fold 3, due to low yield.
With OnePlus dealing in significantly smaller unit numbers than Samsung, such a feature may not be out of the question, although it would have a notable effect on cost.
Better cameras – The OnePlus 8T relies on an ageing 48Mp (Sony IMX586) primary camera, which OnePlus has used since the OnePlus 7 series and it feels like it’s time for an upgrade. There are newer and brighter sensors out there, including its direct successor – the 64Mp IMX686 – worth considering.
We also want OnePlus to ditch the gimmicky macro and mono sensors on the 8T, and instead, concentrate on giving the OnePlus 9 a capable set of ultrawide and telephoto snappers that complement the main sensor with regards to dynamic range and colour science.