Keep the focus on the cameras
The OnePlus 9T is likely to be one of the most important smartphones launched in late-2021. That’s partly because it’s an intriguing device, following on from the excellent OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro, and partly because loads of the rivals we were expecting to launch at the same time might not actually arrive.
While OnePlus’ T series used to consist of phones with small tweaks from the standard flagship line, as of the OnePlus 8T, it became a way for the company to offer flagship specs at a slightly lower price. With the OnePlus 9 series costing a lot, the OnePlus 9T would be a popular handset.
So far we don’t really know anything about the OnePlus 9T, but there are a few things that we can predict, including the approximate release date.
You’ll find all that below, then further down we’ve included a list of the things that we most want from the OnePlus 9T (and the OnePlus 9T Pro if such a phone also launches).
OnePlus 9T release date and price
There’s no news on when the OnePlus 9T will launch yet, but we’d expect it in either September or October, since T models are always unveiled in those months in recent years.
The OnePlus 8T was announced on October 14, so it’s possible the OnePlus 9T will launch at a similar time, but OnePlus isn’t usually quite that consistent with its launches, so don’t be surprised if it’s up to a few weeks either side of that.
Whenever it’s announced it will probably go on sale very soon afterwards, as OnePlus doesn’t tend to wait around for that.
One leaker has said the OnePlus 9T won’t happen in 2021. Max Jambor, a strong source for OnePlus leaks, said that he doesn’t expect the handset to happen, so it may be we don’t see a new flagship phone from the company until the OnePlus 10.
As for the price, there’s no news there either, but the OnePlus 9 starts at $729 / £629 (around AU$940), so the OnePlus 9T might have a similar price.
We’re not sure whether there will be a OnePlus 9T Pro (since there wasn’t an 8T Pro but there was a OnePlus 7T Pro), but if there is then that might be similar in price to the OnePlus 9 Pro, which starts at $969 / £829 (roughly AU$1,250).
OnePlus 9T news and rumors
So far we don’t know anything certain about the OnePlus 9T, but it’s sure to be an upgrade on the OnePlus 9, while possibly still not being a match for the OnePlus 9 Pro – though if there’s a OnePlus 9T Pro, that will likely be the best of all these phones.
For now, this hub will cover both the OnePlus 9T and the possible OnePlus 9T Pro, though as noted above we’re not at all sure whether there will be a Pro model.
One leak from Weibo has suggested there won’t be a OnePlus 9T Pro in 2021, and it also gave us a hint at the screen technology we can expect in the coming phone. The leak below suggests it’ll be a 120Hz LTPO panel with a Full HD+ resolution.
If Qualcomm launches a Snapdragon 888 Plus chipset later this year then that will probably be used based on past form, otherwise we’d expect the Snapdragon 888 like the OnePlus 9 range.
Changes to some combination of the camera, screen, and battery are also likely, but exactly what remains to be seen – though in the case of the camera it’s likely to further benefit from OnePlus’s ongoing partnership with Hasselblad.
Finally, OnePlus has announced it will be further merging its business with smartphone manufacturer Oppo. That may mean we see some changes to the OnePlus formula, and it could include a switch to ColorOS software rather than OxygenOS.
This is all speculation for now, but it may be we hear more from OnePlus in the next few months.
1. A longer telephoto range
The OnePlus 9 doesn’t have a telephoto camera at all, and even the OnePlus 9 Pro tops out at 3.3x optical zoom, which isn’t terrible, but is a long way short of the 10x optical zoom offered on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, or even the 5x on the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.
So for the OnePlus 9T range we want any and all models to have a telephoto camera, and we’d love for it to offer at least 5x optical zoom.
2. A great macro camera
While we’re on the subject of cameras, we’d love to see a dedicated macro lens on the OnePlus 9T range.
In fairness, the ultra-wide snapper on the OnePlus 9 range can already do a reasonable job of macro shots, but with the likes of the Xiaomi Mi 11 and Oppo Find X3 Pro we’re starting to see genuinely good, dedicated macro lenses on phones, and we’d like to see OnePlus join that club.
The company’s partnership with Hasselblad suggests it’s serious about upping its camera game, so these wishes aren’t out of the question.
3. Better battery life
One area where spending more doesn’t necessarily lead to improvements is battery life, and that’s definitely true of the OnePlus 9 range. While both phones should last a day, their life is fairly middling, so for the OnePlus 9T range we want to see improvements.
One change that should be easy to make is putting a bigger battery in the phone, since at 4,500mAh the one in the OnePlus 9 range isn’t huge, but one way or another we hope OnePlus works on the 9T’s longevity.
4. A microSD card slot
The OnePlus 9 range includes a decent amount of storage, with a choice of 128GB or 256GB, but with no microSD card slot that’s all you get.
This isn’t a premium feature – in fact as with headphone ports it’s more often premium phones that lack this than cheap ones, so we’d really like to see it make a return for the OnePlus 9T.
Or failing that we’d settle for even more storage being built in, but only if that doesn’t push the price up too much.
5. Water resistance on all models
In recent years OnePlus has started offering an IP68 rating on its Pro handsets, which is a level of waterproofing that’s in line with other high-end phones, like the Samsung Galaxy S21 range, but the standard models still lack this.
So for the OnePlus 9T we want this to be offered across the range, as it’s a reassuring feature to have.