While the Google Pixel 6 may be all the rage right now, there’s one other Android flagship that’s absolutely worth your attention this November – the OnePlus 9 and its bigger OnePlus 9 Pro brother.
While more popular devices like the iPhone 13 and Pixel 6 have seen back-orders, lengthy delivery wait times, and empty store shelves, the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro have seemingly snuck under the radar – just in time for this year’s upcoming Black Friday deals no less.
And that’s surprising to us. Not only are both of these devices absolutely stellar flagships for 2021, but they’re now both much, much cheaper thanks to a post-Pixel 6 price cut from leading online retailers. Amazon is currently retailing the standard 9 for $599 and the Pro for $799 – the lowest prices yet and an absolute steal for the Pro model in particular. With OnePlus itself also throwing in a free pair of OnePlus Buds Pro on unlocked devices, it’s looking like these devices are the perfect last-minute buy for those holding out for a Black Friday phone deal.
The back-order blues
One glance at the store pages of popular carriers in the US will tell you one thing – many of the top flagship devices from Apple, Google, and Samsung are in high demand right now. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see delivery wait times stretching all the way back to late December in some cases – take the iPhone 13 Pro Max at Verizon as a rather extreme example.
And, you can’t even buy an unlocked Google Pixel 6 Pro on some color and storage variants right now. If you head on over to the main Google Store US page, you’ll instead see a sign-up link to ‘register your interest.’ It doesn’t take much to put two and two together here – there’s probably not going to be any decent Black Friday phone deals on these models if there’s literally no stock to sell.
The OnePlus 9 – a fantastic Android device
Chip: Snapdragon 888
Display: 6.55-inch FHD (120Hz)
OnePlus 9 Pro
Chip: Snapdragon 888
Display: 6.7-inch QHD (120Hz)
By comparison, both the excellent OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro are in stock at a number of retailers, freshly discounted, and seemingly ready to party this Black Friday.
While it’s too early to definitively say whether this week’s OnePlus 9 discounts are as low as they’ll go over Black Friday, we can definitely recommend both these devices as a worthy alternative to both the Google Pixel 6 and iPhone 13.
Receiving 4.5 stars out of 5 in our review, the headline features of the standard OnePlus 9 are very much its impressive components for the price. For a relatively low sum, it’s featuring an exceptionally powerful Snapdragon 888 processor, a great Hasselblad co-designed camera, and a vibrant AMOLED display capable of 120Hz – all absolutely top-shelf components.
We were just as impressed with the OnePlus 9 Pro here at TechRadar. It’s pricier for sure, but the 6.7-inch QHD screen is an absolute highlight and its metal frame gives it a much more premium feel. It’s got the same Snapdragon 888 chip inside, giving plenty of grunts, but it’s also got an extra helping of RAM – 12GB in this case versus the standard 9’s 8GB.
Versus the Google Pixel 6 and iPhone 13
So, the two OnePlus devices are impressive on paper, but how do they actually stack up against the best from Apple or Google?
Firstly, let’s compare to the Google Pixel 6, the One Plus 9’s main Android rival and the device currently making the most waves.
With the Pixel 6, you’ll get that lavish new design, Google’s own Tensor chip, superb smart assistant integration, and the camera tech that Google devices are known for. The standard device is also very aggressively priced at $599 but only features a 90Hz display. To upgrade the refresh rate, score yourself 12GB of RAM, and get a few camera improvements you’ll have to pony up the extra for that Google 6 Pro – retailing at $899 currently.
The Apple iPhone 13 is a harder comparison to make; the expansive Apple ecosystem, in particular, is a huge selling point and one that Apple users will be at pains to abandon. The stunning Apple A15 Bionic in the iPhone 13 series is also a real highlight too, offering absolutely top-flight performance right now. As expected, the camera is also fantastic and superbly easy to use in the iPhone, although the 90Hz display in the standard 13 again can’t match the 120Hz in the OnePlus 9.
Don’t get us wrong – we also love the Google Pixel 6 and iPhone 13 here at TechRadar. All the devices we’ve covered in this article are absolutely fantastic and more than enough to keep most users happy. However, the question is whether they will actually be available with decent deals over Black Friday and be available for delivery this side of 2022.
It seems unlikely, which makes the OnePlus 9 – formally the red-headed stepchild of the 2021 flagships – suddenly seem like a real competitor. As we’ve already highlighted, both the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro feature an absolutely fantastic lineup of specs and well-thought-out designs that should appeal to most. And, crucially, being the lesser-known brand amongst its competitors means these devices are much better stocked and likely to receive big deals this Black Friday. In short, this could be the perfect time to jump ship to OnePlus – especially if you’re looking to save some cash this November.