OnePlus Logo OnePlus 7T Pro

It feels like we just got done with the launch of the OnePlus 8T. Rumors are already swirling, though, that the launch of the OnePlus 9 is coming much earlier than usual in 2021.

With the new rumors, we started thinking about what we’d like to see with the first 2021 flagship from OnePlus. The OnePlus 8 series faced a few setbacks that we hope get corrected. We also hope OnePlus will continue to push forward by offering innovative new features and design elements.

See also: Everything you need to know about OnePlus

In the interest of disclosure, what you find in this article is in no way based on leaks or inside intel. This is purely a wishlist. That being said, I tried to keep the wishlist feasible. In other words, I’m not going to ask for microSD card support (never happening), the best camera of the year (definitely nope), or a return to the Oxygen OS of old (those days are over). This is a realistic list of things OnePlus could potentially do with the OnePlus 9 series.

Finally, I’m not going to wish for things we are relatively certain we are going to get. It’s almost assured that the next OnePlus flagships will have the Snapdragon 875 processor, for example, so wishing for that isn’t worthwhile.

Without further ado, here’s what we want to see from the OnePlus 9!

1. A smaller form factor

OnePlus Nord OnePlus logo branding

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

This is something OnePlus fans have wanted for a long, long time. With the launch of the iPhone 12 Mini, there’s a big opportunity: it’s time for a smaller OnePlus phone.

Related: The iPhone 12 Mini is proof there should have been a Galaxy S20e

With the differences between the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro being kind of blurry to the general consumer, this would be an easy way to differentiate the OnePlus 9 from the Pro variant. The Pro could stay the same size as we’ve seen from previous Pro-level OnePlus devices, while the vanilla model could be much more compact.

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Samsung dropped the ball by not launching a Samsung Galaxy S20e, so a “mini” OnePlus phone would capture an untapped market in the Android world.

2. Wireless charging and IP rating for all

OnePlus 8 Pro on wireless charger 2

The two big differentiators between the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro were the latter’s IP rating and wireless charging capabilities. In a way, that makes sense, as it makes the price difference between the two acceptable.

However, it will be 2021 when these phones launch. A flagship phone that costs more than $700 needs an IP rating and wireless charging. OnePlus can’t get away with passing over these features anymore, not when it has a budget line for phones without those features and when the $699 Galaxy S20 FE has both.

Granted, it will still need to make sure the OnePlus 9 Pro is better than the regular model. While it can’t wiggle with the IP rating, it could offer ultra-fast wireless charging with the Pro model while just putting regular wireless charging in the vanilla variant. I think buyers would be totally fine with that.

3. Warp Charge 65 for all

OnePlus Nord charging logo warp charge

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

While OnePlus could keep Warp Charge 30 Wireless off the OnePlus 9 and reserve it only for the Pro, it can’t do that with Warp Charge 65. Both the regular and Pro variants need to have Warp Charge 65. It wouldn’t make any sense for the OnePlus 8T to have it and then only the Pro flagships to have it after that.

Related: How fast charging really works

This is probably the wishlist feature that is most likely to come true. However, OnePlus will be looking for ways to make the OnePlus 9 Pro seem more premium than the regular model, and eliminating Warp Charge 65 on the lesser variant could do the trick. Don’t do it, OnePlus, it would be a bad move.

4. The end of gimmicky cameras

OnePlus 8 cameras macro 2

In 2020, OnePlus suffered severely from a “more is more” mentality when it comes to cameras. In an effort to get as many lenses as possible into its phones, it started throwing silly gimmicks in. I’m talking about the color filter lens on the OnePlus 8 Pro, the monochrome lens on the OnePlus 8T, or even the macro lenses on multiple phones from the company. We don’t want these lenses, OnePlus. We don’t care about them.

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The OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro should have three lenses: a main, an ultra-wide, and a telephoto. That’s it. Maybe the Pro could get periscope zoom or maybe the vanilla model could have a weaker sensor in comparison. Whatever OnePlus wants to do there we’ll be fine with, as long as those three lenses are there. No more, no less.

5. Higher storage options, at least for OnePlus 9 Pro

OnePlus logo 2

To be clear, I have made one of these wishlist-style articles for upcoming OnePlus phones multiple times at Android Authority. This one is on every list. Every. Time. I’m throwing it on here again, though, because I love disappointing myself!

Related: OnePlus phones: A history of the company’s entire lineup so far

There hasn’t been a OnePlus phone — ever — with more than 256GB of internal storage. There’s also never been a OnePlus phone with expandable storage.

It is time for there to be an option for a 512GB variant of a OnePlus phone. The OnePlus 9 Pro would be the perfect candidate for this. It could help justify its inevitably higher price when compared to the vanilla model. It would make fans happy and also entice people who pass over OnePlus phones because they need more storage space.

6. In-display selfie camera

OnePlus 8 hole punch selfie camera

We have heard reliable rumors that Samsung is probably not going to deliver an in-display selfie camera on the upcoming Galaxy S30 series. That makes the OnePlus 9 series the perfect candidate for the first global release of the technology.

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OnePlus beat Samsung to the punch with in-display fingerprint sensors with the OnePlus 6T. Now, it has the opportunity to do it again with an in-display selfie camera. It’s perfect.

Of course, this would likely only be reserved for the OnePlus 9 Pro. It also would likely produce weaker results when compared to “normal” selfie cameras. However, being first-to-market has its advantages, even if the quality isn’t there. It’s a worthwhile risk, OnePlus!

7. Flat displays, please (or at least less curve)

OnePlus 8T front hero shot

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The OnePlus 7 series introduced curved displays to the OnePlus portfolio. While people like the idea of curved displays, they do have some distinct disadvantages, such as accidental touches and sunlight glare. Thankfully, the OnePlus 8T dropped the curve entirely and went for a totally flat display.

It’s unclear if OnePlus would continue that with the OnePlus 9 series. It’s possible that the vanilla model could stick with a flat display while the Pro model could see some curves. If that’s the case, that will be fine, as long as the curves are subtle. We don’t need ski slopes on the sides of our phones. Reign it in and keep it classy and it will work. Or, conversely, just go all-flat across the board. That would be cool, too.

8. Better haptics

OnePlus 7 Pro optical fingerprint reader

One of the biggest complaints about the OnePlus 7 Pro was it’s decidedly not-Pro-level haptics. When OnePlus launched the OnePlus 8 Pro, it revealed “Haptic Vibration 2.0,” which is supposedly better. If it is, it’s not by much.

Strong haptics is one of the easiest ways to feel the difference between a premium phone and a not-premium phone. OnePlus needs to up its game here for the OnePlus 9 series, at the very least on the OnePlus 9 Pro. If the vanilla model has the same haptics as the OnePlus 8 Pro, that will be OK, as long as the Pro model gets a serious upgrade.

9. Pricing stays the same

OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro in front of box

The prices of OnePlus phones have been a point of contention going all the way back to the launch of the OnePlus 2. That was the first time OnePlus raised pricing, and it has barely stopped doing so since. When the OnePlus 9 series lands, the COVID-19 pandemic will still be happening. Budgets will still be tight, many will still be out of work, and the last thing people are going to want to do is to spend too much on a smartphone.

Related: How the price of OnePlus phones has changed over the years

The $699 price of the OnePlus 8 is a good range to stick with for the OnePlus 9. The OnePlus 9 Pro has more leeway — if OnePlus checked off every single one of these wishlist features, I would gladly pay over $1,000 for it. However, with affordable rivals like the Galaxy S20 FE and Pixel 5 around, this upcoming launch is probably the one in which keeping the pricing low is of the utmost importance.


What do you want to see most from the OnePlus 9 series? Let us know by filling out the polls in this article and dropping your comments below!