Did OnePlus over-hype its OnePlus 9 Hasselblad cameras? Our photo tests are underwhelming

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OnePlus 9 Pro thumb
  • OnePlus created a big hype campaign around its partnership with famous camera company Hasselblad.
  • The focus was to bring Hasselblad’s “natural color calibration” to the new OnePlus 9 series’ cameras.
  • Unfortunately, the OnePlus 9 Pro takes less appealing photos than our reference phone, the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

9 Pro (small)

The hype surrounding the new OnePlus 9 lineup has been focused on the company’s partnership with famed camera manufacturer Hasselblad. Using Hasselblad’s expertise, the phones’ new camera systems are meant to improve upon previous OnePlus models.

Specifically for the OnePlus 9, Hasselblad’s involvement centers around “natural color calibration.” Otherwise, everything else, including hardware and software, is either OnePlus or from a third-party, like Sony for the camera sensors.

Since there was so much hype surrounding this partnership and the revamped cameras, we’ll be focusing on showing you how photos from the OnePlus 9 Pro look. As a reference tool, we’ve opted to compare it with the iPhone 12 Pro Max – a phone that takes reliably good and “safe” photos that don’t reach into extremes for color, contrast, HDR, and exposure, and that many feel confident with for capturing memories and sharing with friends, family, and social media.

When analyzing the photos taken by the OnePlus 9 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, we’re putting ourselves in the shoes of the most average type of camera user – someone who wants to point, shoot, and share without much editing, if at all.

How do the OnePlus 9 Pro’s photos look?

We found the OnePlus 9 Pro‘s photos to appear pale in color with a heavy lean towards a cooler white balance, at least compared to the iPhone’s photos. One might argue that the paler colors are less processed and more natural, and that the iPhone’s photos have saturated and unnatural colors. While that may be true, we’d argue that the OnePlus 9 Pro’s camera doesn’t produce colors that are as pleasing for the point-and-shoot crowd.

We aren’t saying that the OnePlus 9 Pro, or any phones, should take photos that look exactly like the iPhone’s. But the iPhone’s camera is usually a good point of reference, as it takes photos that are reliably well processed for point-and-shoot users.

It’s also worth mentioning that most people don’t have several high-end phones available for direct side-by-side comparisons. With that in mind, the photos taken by the OnePlus 9 Pro would likely look totally fine on their own. However, the OnePlus 9 Pro underwhelms when its photos are compared to the iPhone’s.

At the end of the day, what really matters is whether you like the photos that the phone’s camera produces – whether you’re happy with the way your memories are captured, and whether you’d feel confident with sharing those photos.

With that in mind, have a look at some of the photos we took with the OnePlus 9 Pro compared with the iPhone 12 Pro Max:

OnePlus 9 Pro

OnePlus has partnered with Hasselblad for the cameras in the new OnePlus 9 phones. Here’s a photo taken with the new OnePlus 9 Pro.

Here’s an example that exemplifies the paler look on photos taken with the OnePlus 9 Pro compared to our reference phone, the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The paleness is especially noticeable on the sunlit barn and grass. The photo also has a cooler tone.

iPhone 12 Pro Max

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The photo from the iPhone 12 Pro Max features colors that are more saturated, which many will find is a more pleasing look for basic point-and-shoot photo taking, and to keep and share without editing.

OnePlus 9 Pro ultrawide

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The OnePlus 9 Pro‘s ultrawide lens takes photos with a warmer tone than the regular lens, which results in beautifully natural colors, presumably as OnePlus intended with Hasselblad’s natural color calibration. It would be great if OnePlus could apply the ultrawide lens’ calibration to the regular lens.

Additionally, the OnePlus 9 Pro‘s photo is clearer than the iPhone’s. However, that’s only noticeable if you zoom into the photo, or view it in “full size.”

With that said, the OnePlus 9 Pro‘s HDR struggled with revealing the dark side of the barn while keeping the brightness (exposure) down on the sunlit side. The result is overexposure on the sunlit side of the barn, which leads to parts that appear white and void of detail compared to the iPhone’s photo.

iPhone 12 Pro Max ultrawide

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The iPhone‘s photo is very similar to the OnePlus 9’s overall, except colors are slightly more saturated. The iPhone also handled exposure better than the OnePlus 9 Pro by keeping the dark side of the barn dark, and maintaining brightness and detail on the sunlit side. As a result, the iPhone’s photo can be more desirable, but it’s a nitpick.

OnePlus 9 Pro zoom

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The OnePlus 9 Pro‘s zoom lens carries over the pale colors and blue overtones form the regular lens. The dark side of the barn, especially, is positively blue due to poor white balance compared to the warm wooden black color on the comparative iPhone photo. The sunlit side of the barn and the stone foundation are also robbed of color and are overexposed.

iPhone 12 Pro Max

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The iPhone‘s zoom lens took a photo with more saturated color and a more appropriate, warmer white balance.

OnePlus 9 Pro

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Even if you’re not comparing phone cameras, the OnePlus 9 Pro‘s photo of these fruits would appear somewhat pale. The fruits don’t look particularly appetizing here, which wasn’t a thought I had when I was looking at them at the time of taking the photo.

iPhone 12 Pro Max

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The iPhone makes these fruits look a lot healthier and appealing, even if the colors are somewhat oversaturated.

OnePlus 9 Pro detail

op9p super zoomed in

The OnePlus 9 Pro gives you the option to take 48-megapixel photos, which doesn’t make much of a difference when viewing a photo normally. However, it’s a huge advantage if you ever want to zoom into a photo and maintain clarity and detail. 

The photo here is significantly zoomed in from the original and it’s much sharper than the iPhone’s photo below.

iPhone 12 Pro Max detail

iphone 12 pro max super zoomed in

There’s no competition here. The iPhone 12 Pro Max‘s 12-megapixel camera simply can’t capture as much detail as the OnePlus 9 Pro’s 48-megapixel camera.

OnePlus 9 Pro skin tone, shade

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Here’s where the OnePlus 9 Pro also excels. I asked a professional photographer who shoots fashion models for a living what he thought of these photos, and he immediately pointed to the OnePlus 9 Pro. It’s important to note that this is the point of view of a professional who often edits his photos. However, I’d still agree with him, as the OnePlus 9 Pro‘s photo is the one I’d pick to keep and share. 

With that said, the t-shirt has some odd artifacts that don’t look natural and result in a grainy look. Notice that details on my head are also very sharp, which is a subjective thing. Personally, I’d rather it didn’t reveal absolutely everything on my face.

iPhone 12 Pro Max skin tone, shade

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The iPhone’s photo gave me a sunburned look. While I have been soaking in the early spring sun, I wouldn’t say I spent that long outside. The iPhone’s photo is also less sharp overall, and it smooths out some of the finer details on my face, which I prefer. My t-shirt also looks more natural than it does in the OnePlus 9 Pro’s photo.

OnePlus 9 Pro skin tone, full sun

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My photographer friend said he would also pick this photo over the iPhone’s for its less processed look. With that said, there’s some inconsistent detail between parts of my nose and my cheek. While the color is more natural, I’d still rather share the iPhone’s photo, if I had to. Plus, the OnePlus 9 Pro made my t-shirt look weird.

iPhone 12 Pro Max skin tone, full sun

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While my skin tone might be overly processed by the iPhone here, I’d still prefer this one to keep or share, as I look healthier and less pale from the winter’s hibernation. Plus, my t-shirt looks far more natural.

OnePlus 9 Pro low light

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The OnePlus 9 Pro took a nice photo of this coastal scenery, and it’s pretty similar to the iPhone’s shot below. Still, there are some odd, very slight artifacts around the plane vapor trails towards the top center right of the photo that aren’t present on the iPhone’s photo. It’s a nitpick, but it does raise some eyebrows regarding the OnePlus 9 Pro‘s camera quality.

iPhone 12 Pro Max low light

iPhone 12 Pro Max photo

The sky’s color is a little richer on the iPhone’s photo, and you don’t get the strange artifacting on those plane vapor trails towards the top right. Still, the iPhone caught a bit of lens glare, which is a subjective preference.

The bottom line

OnePlus 9 Pro thumb

Based on this direct comparison between the OnePlus 9 Pro and our reference phone, we don’t recommend the OnePlus 9 Pro for simple point-and-shoot photos. If you just want to take photos without worrying about editing them afterwards, there are other phones that take more appealing pictures.  

We’re not saying you should get the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro, either. Rather, we’re simply saying that the OnePlus 9 Pro doesn’t offer pleasing photos compared to the competition. We’ve taken several comparative photos with Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra and Pixel 5, and our findings are the same — the OnePlus 9 Pro’s photos simply don’t look as good.

We haven’t fully tested the OnePlus 9 yet, so we’re refraining from making any judgement on that model here. However, we would expect similar issues, like excessively pale colors and cooler white balance.

Read the original article on Business Insider

OnePlus cofounder Carl Pei just launched a new smart device company called ‘Nothing’

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  • Nothing, a brand focused on consumer tech, will be based in London
  • Nothing will launch its first line of products during the first half of this year.
  • OnePlus cofounder Carl Pei launched the brand after raising $7 million in financing in December.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

OnePlus cofounder Carl Pei unveiled on Wednesday the name of his new venture Nothing, a brand focusing on consumer tech that will be based in London.

“Nothing’s mission is to remove barriers between people and technology to create a seamless digital future,” said Pei, the new brand’s CEO, in a press release. “We believe that the best technology is beautiful, yet natural and intuitive to use. When sufficiently advanced, it should fade into the background feel like nothing.”

Nothing will release smart devices within the first half of this year, the press release said. 

Read More: More people lined up at T-Mobile’s flagship store to buy a new $580 Android phone than the iPhone

The new company raised $7 million in financing in December and includes investors such as iPod inventor Tony Fadell, YouTuber Casey Neistat, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, and Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, among others. 

Pei didn’t reveal the line of products that will be launched or who it will compete with. But he told The Verge that Nothing is currently focusing on simpler categories as it builds up its team that aims to connect multiple categories of products.

Nothing plans to profit from selling hardware instead of software subscriptions, according to Pei. However, in the long-run a “healthy business” requires both good hardware and software, he told The Verge. 

To stand out in the market, Nothing will use “custom made” components in its products, Pei said. Nothing might focus on music and include manufacturing headphones, Wired reported in December.

Read More: The OnePlus 8T is a great phone with some minor drawbacks, which the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE addresses for a lower price

Pei left OnePlus in October. He launched the Chinese consumer electronics manufacturing company in 2013. OnePlus first sold phones through an invite-only requirement and later adapted to a newer business model offering affordable and competitive phones. The company also produces other products such as headphones and TVs. 

In 2018, long lines of people were waiting outside T-Mobile’s store in New York City to buy OnePlus 6T smartphone than there were for new iPhones. The smartphone came with a high-end design, specs, and performance for under $600.

Earlier that year, few Android phones have gained as much hype as the OnePlus 6 when it was released. OnePlus reported that over 15,000 people were lining up for the phone in 26 cities across 11 countries.

Read the original article on Business Insider