OnePlus has become the not so quiet giant killer of the mobile industry. Their phones have gone from enthusiast, moddable phones through to the “flagship killer” devices we see today. It’s been an interesting journey to watch and, with a OnePlus 9 Pro in hand, see the fruits of. Today we’re taking a quick, first look at the OnePlus 9 Pro which on the first impression, is a stellar device.

Over the last few years, OnePlus has grown beyond the “value for money” realm and into a more viable contender as a high end phone manufacturer and the OnePlus 9 Pro is another step in this journey. The phone will set you back US$1,069.00 (about AU$1,400.00 direct conversion, with shipping etc you’re looking at around $1,500+) so it’s not a cheap device and roughly in the realm of the OPPO Find X2 Pro, ROG Phone 3 and Galaxy S21/S21+.

Look and feel

The look of the phone is top-notch, it really is just a slick piece of kit with gorgeous curves and a lovely feel in the hand. This is where I pose the case or no case quandary because the phone looks really nice without a case, but in reality, won’t’ stay that nice if you don’t put one on the device.

The 6.7-inch screen hits — what I believe to be — an almost perfect size where most users will be able to operate the phone single handed. The 20:9 aspect ratio also assists this feeling with the phone is a more “tall and slim” feeling to achieve the same screen real estate. The screen is very easy on your eyes too due to the high resolution and PPI design.

It also lands comfortably in the middle ground for weight at 197 grams. Its design lends itself to be pretty sturdy, often that leads to heft but not this time. While the majority of specs were explored in the release of the device, one other area of note that deserves mention is the seemingly excellent battery life. In the first couple of days, I’ve tried to kill the battery: leaving the screen on for long periods, streaming video and using social media with the brightness maxed out. Even when I managed it, the warp charge is just ridiculously fast and I’m honestly thrilled to finally see wireless charging included, particularly as it too is so fast.

Performance and software

OnePlus have a company slogan of “Never Settle” and based on the current market standards, they’ve only settled for the best here. The OnePlus 9 Pro is the epitome of great looks and performance sporting specs at the pointy end of everything.

The partnership that OnePlus recently entered into with Hasselblad shines through quickly with the camera. While previous generations of OnePlus devices had pretty solid cameras, but you could see the step up to the likes of Huawei and Samsung. On a first look, that gap has significantly decreased and the general improvements to the camera software make it so easy to capture memories in a flash.

The software is an area that I believe OnePlus has continually delivered on. In this instance, you’re looking at the latest version of Android under the surface of Oxygen OS. Again, while there’s a little bit of presentation specific to OnePlus the behaviours and general feeling are very “stock” which is wonderful because it stays true to the Google vision of Android.

Given there are OnePlus devices 3 years old, getting both OS and security patches regularly there is no reason to expect that the OnePlus 9 Pro would be any different. As a manufacturer, OnePlus actually put themselves in a good position with their devices. Put simply, this is because there’s only a few each year which minimises effort to update devices.

Right now if you’re chasing one, you’ll have to go down the path of importing one for yourself. Typically, the likes of Expansys, Ali Express and Kogan will offer import options for OnePlus devices.

It’s fair to say that when you’re talking first impressions, the OnePlus 9 Pro makes a really good one. The look, feel, performance and user interface all tick the right boxes. We’ll be getting ready to publish our review in a few weeks time where we’ll break down the features and experience in a lot more detail. If you’ve got any questions about the OnePlus 9 Pro you’d like to see explored in the review, hit us up in the comments or via Twitter with your questions.

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Two OS updates and 3 years of security updates just doesn’t cut it anymore, for a flagship mobile device.