OnePlus 9 series: Here’s everything we know about the next flagship series from OnePlus!

OnePlus 9 series: Here’s everything we know about the next flagship series from OnePlus!

2020 was a monumental year for OnePlus. The company started it off with the launch of its first “true” flagship smartphone, the OnePlus 8 Pro, which was followed by the company’s first mid-ranger in five years — the OnePlus Nord. OnePlus then further expanded its portfolio to include a couple of budget-friendly devices in the Nord lineup, and the company even dipped its toes in the TWS earbuds space. This year, we’re expecting the company to dial things up a notch and bring some much-needed refinements to its wide range of products, starting with its flagship lineup for 2021 — the OnePlus 9 series.

OnePlus is expected to unveil the OnePlus 9 series sometime next month, and the series is rumored to feature three devices this time. Over the last few months, we’ve seen plenty of leaks about these devices, and here’s everything we know about them so far!

OnePlus 9 series: Release Date

Shortly after the launch of the OnePlus 8T last year, we saw the first leak about the OnePlus 9 series. The leak revealed that OnePlus was planning on launching its next-gen flagship devices four weeks ahead of schedule. If that is, in fact, the case, the OnePlus 9 series could be unveiled sometime next month. While OnePlus has neither confirmed nor denied this rumor, Samsung’s move to launch the Galaxy S21 series much earlier than usual gives OnePlus plenty of reason to prepone its timeline as well.

OnePlus 9 series — Regular, Pro, and Lite variants

Unlike previous years, OnePlus is expected to launch three new devices as part of the OnePlus 9 series — the regular OnePlus 9, the flagship OnePlus 9 Pro, and a more-affordable OnePlus 9 Lite/9E/9R. While we’ve already seen plenty of leaks confirming the existence of the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro, details about the OnePlus 9 Lite have been scarce so far. Rumors suggest that the affordable flagship will either be called the OnePlus 9 Lite or the OnePlus 9E and that it will feature similar hardware to the OnePlus 8T. Latest leaks reveal that the affordable flagship may be called the OnePlus 9R.

It’s also worth noting that the OnePlus 9 series is, most likely, codenamed “lemonade,” according to evidence spotted in the Settings APK from Open Beta 3 for the OnePlus 8 series late last year. The lineup will include five variants, including lemonade, lemonadev, lemonadev, lemonadep, and lemonadept. Based on our understanding of OnePlus codenames, we believe that these devices would be:

  • lemonade — OnePlus 9
  • lemonadet — T-Mobile OnePlus 9
  • lemonadev — Verizon OnePlus 9
  • lemonadep — OnePlus 9 Pro
  • lemonadept — T-Mobile OnePlus 9 Pro

The existence of five variants has also been confirmed by a separate leak, which lists the model numbers of the devices. According to the leak, the OnePlus 9 will go by the model numbers LE2110, LE2117, and LE2110, and the OnePlus 9 Pro will go by the model numbers LE2120 and LE2127. As of now, we haven’t been able to confirm the codename or model number of the OnePlus 9R.

It’s worth mentioning that when information first started popping up about the OnePlus 8 series last year, we saw plenty of leaks and rumors about a third, more affordable, device in the lineup. While this device did exist, it wasn’t launched alongside the OnePlus 8 series and it debuted as the OnePlus Nord later in the year. Therefore, it’s possible that the alleged OnePlus 9R is nothing but a OnePlus Nord successor that may not launch alongside the OnePlus 9 series next month.

Along with the three devices, OnePlus will also launch its first smartwatch at the upcoming event. The OnePlus Watch has leaked extensively over the last few months, and you can read more about it by following this link.

Design

Over the last few months, we’ve seen several leaked live images and renders of the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro that have given us a good look at their updated design. Here’s a brief overview of everything we’ve learned from the leaked images so far:

OnePlus 9

We got our first look at the OnePlus 9 in November last year when leaked renders of the device first popped up online. The renders revealed that the OnePlus 9 would feature a new back panel design, more in line with other phones that we’ve seen in the last couple of months. As you can see in the attached image, the device features a new rectangular camera island in the top-right corner with 3 sensors and an LED flash.

Leaked CAD renders of the OnePlus 9 on black background

Over on the front, the OnePlus 9 features a flat display with a hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera in the top left corner. The leak also revealed that the OnePlus 9 would feature a 6.55-inch display that will offer a peak refresh rate of 120Hz. It’s worth noting that while a prominent OnePlus leaker had expressed his doubts about these leaked renders, the design was confirmed shortly thereafter when we first saw leaked live images of the device.

The live images shed more light on the design, showcasing the glossy back panel finish, Ultrashot branding on the camera module, and an unusual logo instead of OnePlus branding. The live images also revealed that the device would feature a secondary noise-canceling mic on the top edge, a USB Type-C port at the bottom sandwiched between the speaker grille and SIM card slot, and the usual button layout on the left and right edges.

Furthermore, the report revealed that the device would feature a 6.5-inch hole-punch display with a peak refresh rate of 120Hz and FHD+ resolution (2400 x 1080p). It’s also worth mentioning that a prototype of the OnePlus 9 5G was sold on eBay for a whopping $6,000 late last year. The listing included a couple of live images of the device, which appear to be the same as those attached above.

OxygenUpdater recently unearthed information about all OnePlus 9 series color variants that will be available at the time of launch. According to them, the vanilla OnePlus 9 will be available in three colorways — Astral Black, Arctic Sky, and Winter Mist. The T-Mobile version of the device, on the other hand, will be available in two colorways — Astral Black and Winter Mist — and the Verizon version will be available in Gloss Black and Gloss gradient purple variants.

OnePlus 9 Pro

Renowned leaker OnLeaks first shared renders of the OnePlus 9 Pro back in November last year. The renders revealed that the device would feature a design similar to the OnePlus 9, albeit with a larger camera island containing an additional sensor and a rectangular LED flash. We also learned that it would feature a larger 6.7-inch curved display with a left-aligned hole-punch cutout.

Recently, YouTuber Dave2D gave us our first look at live images of a OnePlus 9 Pro prototype with Hasselblad branding on the camera module. The video confirmed that OnePlus’ flagship model would feature a curved display with a left-aligned hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera, a quad-camera setup on the back with two large and two small sensors, a circular LED flash (unlike the rectangular one seen in the previous renders), a laser AF sensor, and a rear-facing microphone in the camera island.

The live images also confirmed that the device would feature a QHD+ 120Hz display, a slimmer metal frame, and the same glossy gray finish like the one we saw in the leaked OnePlus 9 live images.

The leaked information shared by OxygenUpdater suggests that the OnePlus 9 Pro will launch in three colorways — Stellar Black, Forest Green, and Morning Mist. However, the T-Mobile variant of the device will only be available in the Morning Mist colorway.

OnePlus 9R

We currently haven’t seen any leaked renders or live images of the OnePlus 9R. We’ll update this post as soon as they surface online. The only bit of information we have about the OnePlus 9R’s design is that it may feature a plastic back panel and a “more mainstream design” to differentiate itself from the OnePlus 8T.


OnePlus 9 series: Leaked Specifications

SpecificationsOnePlus 9OnePlus 9 ProOnePlus 9R
BuildPlastic back
Dimensions & Weight
Display
  • 6.55″ FHD+ AMOLED
  • Left-aligned hole-punch
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • Flat panel
  • 6.7″ QHD+ LTPO AMOLED
  • Left-aligned hole-punch
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • Curved panel
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 888Qualcomm Snapdragon 888Qualcomm Snapdragon 870
RAM & Storage
  • 8GB LPDDR5 + 128GB UFS 3.1
  • 12GB LPDDR5 + 128GB UFS 3.1
Battery & Charging
  • 4,500mAh
  • 65W wired fast charging
  • 30W wireless charging
  • Reverse wireless charging
  • 65W charger included in the box
  • 4,500mAh
  • 65W wired fast charging
  • 45W wireless charging
  • Reverse wireless charging
  • 65W charger included in the box
SecurityIn-Display Fingerprint ScannerIn-Display Fingerprint Scanner
Rear Camera(s)
  • Primary: 48MP
  • Secondary: 48MP ultra-wide
  • Tertiary: 
Front Camera(s)
Port(s)USB Type-CUSB Type-C
Audio
Connectivity
SoftwareOxygenOS 11 based on Android 11OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11
Other Features
ColorsAstral Black, Arctic Sky, Winter Mist, Gloss Black (Verizon), Gloss gradient purple (Verizon)Stellar Black, Forest Green, Morning Most

OnePlus 9

As mentioned earlier, the OnePlus 9 allegedly features a 6.55-inch HD+ display with a peak refresh rate of 120Hz. The device will, most likely, feature Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 888 chip, which will be paired with at least 8GB of RAM and 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage. A recent leak from reliable OnePlus leaker Max J. suggests that it will pack a 4,500mAh battery, with a leak from late last year revealing that it will support 65W wired fast charging, 30W wireless charging, and even reverse wireless charging. The leaker also claimed that the device will ship with a 65W charger in the box.

While information about the camera setup on the OnePlus 9 has been scarce so far, a report from 91mobiles claims that it will include a 48MP primary camera with a focal length of 6mm, a 48MP ultra-wide camera, and an unspecified third sensor. We suspect that the third camera could either be a monochrome sensor or a macro sensor. Currently, we haven’t seen any details about the selfie camera.

An APK teardown of the OnePlus Camera app has also revealed that the company may introduce several new camera features with the OnePlus 9 series. These include a Tilt-shift mode, Focus peaking, a Moon mode, and more. You can read more about these features by following this link.

A separate leak from TechDroider has shed more light on some of the key specifications of the OnePlus 9. The leak confirms that the device will feature Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 888 chip, coupled with 8GB of RAM, a 6.55-inch FHD+ display that will offer a peak refresh rate of 120Hz.

The leak also reveals some details about the camera hardware, claiming that the device will sport a 12MP rear-facing camera and a 4.1MP front-facing camera. However, based on previous leaks, we suspect that these numbers signify the output resolution of these sensors and not the resolution of the sensors themselves. The OnePlus 9 will likely employ quad pixel binning to deliver the aforementioned 12MP and 4.1MP images, meaning that the device will feature a 48MP rear-facing camera and a 16MP front-facing camera.

OnePlus 9 Pro

The flagship model in the OnePlus 9 lineup will feature a larger 6.7-inch QHD+ curved display with a peak refresh rate of 120Hz. As with the OnePlus 9, the 9 Pro will most likely feature the Snapdragon 888 SoC. However, live images of the device suggest that it will come with up to 12GB of RAM. As far as the storage is concerned, OnePlus will probably include at least 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage on the device, and it may go up to 512GB on the top model.

Surprisingly, the OnePlus 9 Pro is rumored to feature the same battery capacity as the non-pro variant — 4,500mAh. If that’s the case, the device may struggle to last a full day with its QHD+ display running at 120Hz. However, the rumored 65W wired fast charging support will address this to a great extent. As with its predecessor, the OnePlus 9 Pro will also feature wireless charging support. But this time around, it’s rumored to include support for much faster 45W wireless charging.

While we don’t know much about the OnePlus 9 Pro’s camera hardware, we can expect it to be better than what the company will offer with the OnePlus 9. For now, we only know that OnePlus is working with Swedish camera manufacturer Hasselblad to develop the camera system for its upcoming flagship. OnePlus’ CEO Pete Lau has inadvertently confirmed the Hasselblad partnership via a post on the OnePlus Community forums. The post, which has since been deleted, reveals that it was posted via a “OnePlus 9 Pro co-developed with Hasselblad.”

A new leak from prominent OnePlus leaker Max Jambor reveals that the OnePlus 9 Pro may feature an LTPO display, instead of the standard LTPS AMOLED panel used on older models. For the unaware, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and the Galaxy S21 Ultra also feature an LTPO display, which draws less power and supports adaptive refresh rates without requiring additional hardware. Therefore, we can expect to see variable refresh rate support on the OnePlus 9 Pro.

OnePlus 9R

Back in December last year, an Android Central report revealed that the OnePlus 9R will feature similar hardware to the OnePlus 8T. The report claimed that the device will come equipped with a Snapdragon 865 chip, a 90Hz or 120Hz AMOLED panel, and 65W fast charging support. It further added that the device would feature the same camera setup as the OnePlus 8T.

Although we can’t confirm or deny the display and fast charging specifications at the moment, we have reason to believe that the OnePlus 9R will come equipped with the new Snapdragon 870 chip. The new chipset, which is merely a faster version of the Snapdragon 865, was unveiled earlier this year, and during the launch announcement, Qualcomm had revealed that it will make an appearance on a OnePlus device later this year. This, coupled with information shared in the aforementioned report, leads us to believe that the device will pack the newer Snapdragon 870 chip and not the Snapdragon 865.


OnePlus 9 series: Price & Availability

The price of OnePlus phones has crept up steadily over the years, and we expect the same to happen this year. While we haven’t seen concrete leaks about the pricing yet, OnePlus may launch the OnePlus 9 around the same price as the OnePlus 8T. The device will likely go on sale at a starting price of around $750 for the 8GB/128GB variant.

The OnePlus 9 Pro, on the other hand, might be slightly more expensive than the OnePlus 8 Pro. The device could launch around the $950 mark, given the fact that it’s expected to feature a premium camera setup. The OnePlus 9R will be priced around $600, according to a report from Android Central.

Noted leaker Evan Blass has revealed that the OnePlus 9 series will be available for pre-order starting March 23rd and those who pre-book a OnePlus 9 will get a free pair of OnePlus Buds Z with the device. Those who pre-book the OnePlus 9 Pro, on the other hand, will get a free pair of Buds Z Steve Harrington Edition with the device.

Based on the leaks and rumors that we’ve seen so far, the OnePlus 9 series is shaping up to be quite a compelling lineup. While I am looking forward to testing the new camera system on the OnePlus 9 Pro, I’m most excited about the OnePlus 9R. It’s expected to usher in a new breed of affordable flagship killers that OnePlus fans have been clamoring for over the last few years, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

What’s your opinion of OnePlus’ upcoming flagship lineup? Is there any particular feature or improvement that you’d want to see on the devices? Let us know in the comments section below!

About author

Pranob Mehrotra
Pranob Mehrotra

A Literature and Linguistics graduate with a keen interest in everything Android. When not writing about tech, Pranob spends most of his time either playing League of Legends or lurking on Reddit.