Following weeks of hype, OnePlus finally debuted its OnePlus 9 series last month. If you’re not looking to splurge almost a grand on the OnePlus 9 Pro (probably a good call), you might have your sights set on its cheaper sibling, the OnePlus 9. Surprisingly, it’s priced lower than its predecessor at launch (at least in the US) and it arguably comes without any significant sacrifices. However, the OnePlus 8T has received a timely price cut and is now available for just $599 on the OnePlus store — $130 lower than the OnePlus 9.
This raises the important question of whether it’s really worth spending more money on the newer flagship. Read on to know why you might be content with the OnePlus 8T.
|OnePlus 9 5G||OnePlus 8T 5G|
|Chipset||Snapdragon 888||Snapdragon 865|
|RAM||8/12GB (LPDDR5)||8/12GB (LPDDR4X)|
|Storage||128/256GB (UFS3.1)||128/256GB (UFS3.1)|
|Display||6.55-inch OLED 2400×1080 (20:9), 120Hz||6.55-inch OLED 2400×1080 (20:9), 120Hz|
|Battery & Charging||4,500mAh, 65W Warp Charge, 15W Qi wireless||4,500mAh, 65W Warp Charge|
|Rear cameras||48MP primary, 50MP ultrawide, 2MP monochrome||48MP primary, 16MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, 2MP depth sensor|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, 5G sub-6GHz (dual SIM internationally)||Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, dual SIM|
|Colors||Astral Black, Artic Sky, Winter Mist||Aquamarine Green, Lunar Silver|
|Dimensions||160 x 74.2 x 8.7mm||160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4mm|
|Software||OxygenOS 11 / Android 11||Oxygen OS 11 / Android 11|
|Price||8/128GB: $729, £629, ₹49,999
12/256GB: £729, ₹54,999
|8/128GB: £549, ₹42,999
12/256GB: $599, £649, ₹45,999
There are more similarities than differences between the OnePlus 9 and the 8T. Both phones have glass backs, 6.55-inch 120Hz displays, the same selfie camera, 65W wired charging, and dual stereo speakers. They also have similar dimensions and weights, as well as a lack of IP certification.
The camera module design and colorways (smartly, none are repeated) do a good job of distinguishing the phones. Instead of the green and silver that we get on the 8T, the 9 comes in lilac, black, and light blue (in certain markets like India). Oh, and the 9 switches the aluminum frame of its predecessor for a plastic one (composited with fiberglass). As Ryan notes in his review of the phone, there’s no worry of the phone snapping in half, but it might show age quicker than the 8T.
Being the latest flagship, the OnePlus 9 brings the Snapdragon 888 to the table, and as you’d expect, it’s as snappy as can be. This doesn’t take away from the fact that the OnePlus 8T, with its Snapdragon 865, is no slouch either. In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any practical differences in performance for most use cases. What might be worth paying attention to is the new X60 modem and the fact that the 9 supports sub-6GHz frequencies, even the C-band — both of which aren’t supported by the 8T.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (in which case, I envy you), you probably already know about OnePlus’s partnership with Hasselblad for its latest phones. The OnePlus 9 has a triple-camera setup, consisting of a 48MP IMX689 wide, a 50MP IMX766 ultrawide, and a 2MP monochrome. The output from the camera doesn’t quite compete with the Galaxy S21 or the Pixel 5, but it’s still a step up from previous OnePlus phones.
The OnePlus 8T doesn’t have a half-bad camera setup — a 48MP wide (with OIS), a 16MP ultrawide, a 5MP macro, and a 2MP monochrome. If you’re not big on cameras, the 8T’s camera performance should suffice. But with the new realistic color profile, excellent ultrawide camera, and ability to shoot [email protected], there’s no question that the OnePlus 9 wins this department.
Another notable upgrade with the OnePlus 9 is support for 15W wireless charging. Unfortunately, this feature is market-dependent and may not be available in your region (India, for instance).
No matter which phone you boot up, you’ll be greeted with OxygenOS 11 out of the box (based on Android 11). This version marked a new design direction for OnePlus, which may seem to be a bit derivative of Samsung’s One UI. This doesn’t change the fact that the interface is extremely responsive and offers one of the smoothest experiences out there.
For the time being, the OnePlus 8T may offer a slightly better experience as the OnePlus 9 is suffering from the usual launch bugs — occasionally janky animations, dropped calls, and delayed notifications among them. But these should be fixed pretty soon.
Since both phones launched with Android 11, you can expect both to be updated to Android 12 and 13. It’s safe to say that the OnePlus 9 will get updates a bit earlier than its predecessor, though, and support security patches will be slightly extended.
What could present a problem for both devices is how quickly and often OnePlus will release updates. The company is not as nimble as it used to be, and Google and Samsung are doing much better in this respect.
Depending on where you’re in the world, you’ll have to pay about $110 to $137 more for the OnePlus 9 (according to prices taken at the time of writing). Both phones offer flagship performance, good battery life, fast charging, Android 11 out of the box, and good 120Hz AMOLED displays.
The OnePlus 9 edges ahead with a better camera setup, the Snapdragon 888, 15W wireless charging, superior 5G support, and priority in software updates. Whether these factors are worth paying more for is a call you’ll have to make depending on what matters to you. If you don’t see value in what extra the OnePlus 9 has to offer, you could even opt to get the newly-launched OnePlus Watch for $139 ($20 off) with the money you save after buying the 8T.