Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus is rumoured to be working on a tweaked version of its most recent flagship device, the OnePlus 9.
The upcoming OnePlus 9T – or 9RT, as some believe it will be called – is tipped for a 120Hz display with variable refresh rate, ultra-fast wireless charging and a 50MP Hasselblad camera.
But how will the rumoured OnePlus 9T compare with high-end Android phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S21? Will it really deliver flagship performance at a mid-range price? Here's everything we know so far about the mysterious OnePlus 9T...
OnePlus 9T at a glance
- New 'affordable' flagship
- Launching Sept/Oct 2021
- Samsung 120Hz display with VRR
- 50MP Hasselblad camera
- In-screen fingerprint reader
- Price TBC
OnePlus 9T: release date
OnePlus loves to launch multiple versions of its phones. We already have the standard OnePlus 9, the high-end OnePlus 9 Pro and the budget 9R (currently restricted to India and China).
Now, it's thought that the Chinese outfit is plotting the launch of the OnePlus 9T, a slightly upgraded version of the OnePlus 9, with a bigger focus on bang for buck. None of this should be a surprise – OnePlus typically unveils its flagship Android phones in April or May, followed by the tweaked 'T' version four or five months later.
The OnePlus 3T, 4T, 5T, 6T, 7T and 8T were all announced between September and early November, so if we had to guess, it won't be long before 9T rocks up.
That's if there is a 9T at all. Back in late July, prolific leaker Max Jambor tweeted that the 9T was no more...
No 9TJuly 27, 2021
OnePlus declined to comment on the tweet but two weeks later, it posted a photo of the OnePlus 9 handset nestled on a bed of tea leaves (pictured above). The image was captioned, "The #OnePlus9 in tea. Don't read too much into it".
Could it be that OnePlus was seeking to reassure customers that reports of the 9T's demise had been greatly exaggerated?
To add to the confusion, a device called the OnePlus 9RT was leaked by Twitter user @TechnoAnkit1. The handset seems to be an upgraded version of the budget 9R, with a claimed 6.55-inch 120Hz display, Dolby sound and glass back. Could the 9RT and the 9T be one and the same?
It's very likely. Our guess is that the device will be called the 9RT in India and China, and the 9T in the rest of the world. Fingers crossed for a few more leaks in the near future.
OnePlus 9T: price
There are no 9T price leaks to speak of, but there's every chance that OnePlus will base the price of its next big handset on the current OnePlus 9. Here's a quick look at how the existing range stack up:
OnePlus 9 (2021) – 6.5-inch AMOLED display, £599 ($699, AU$1099)
OnePlus 9 Pro (2021) – 6.7inch AMOLED display, £699 ($799, AU$1299)
OnePlus 9R (2021) – 6.5-inch LCD display, £499 ($599, AU$999)
Although OnePlus offered the 7T at less than the cost of the OnePlus 7, the company's T series models typically cost around $50/£50 more than the initial handset.
For reference, the current model T, the One Plus 8T 128GB, was introduced at £549 (AU$1000) on 14th October 2020. US customers were limited to the 256GB storage variant, which costs $749.
We'll keep you updated as soon we get a steer on the OnePlus 9T price.
OnePlus 9T: design
We've yet to see any leaked images of the OnePlus 9T or 9RT but the mysterious mobile is believed to feature Dolby stereo speakers, IP68 water resistance and a glass back.
In the past OnePlus, crafted its flagship devices – including the 8T – from metal. But since the company switched to fibreglass polymer this year, we'd expect the 9T to match the 9 and 9R. By all accounts OnePlus has decided to reserve aluminium for its range-topping Pro models.
The OnePlus 9 is 160mm long, 74mm wide and 8.7mm thick – just about small enough to carry out most of your operations one-handed without fear of dropping it. The Chinese outfit is pretty consistent when it comes to sizing, so we would expect the 9T to sport the same factor, wrapped around a familiar 20:9 display.
As for the glass back, recent specification leaks point to OnePlus using frosted Corning Gorilla Glass.
Neither the OnePlus 9 nor the 9R has a 3.5mm audio jack, so there's no reason to think that the 9T will turn back the clock. Don't expect to see the expandable storage slot make a return, either.
OnePlus has a habit of releasing phones in striking colours – the OnePlus 9 is available in blue, black, or violet – so prepare for one or two "vibrant" finishes.
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OnePlus 9T: display
In our review, we said the OnePlus 9's screen produced a "bright and engaging image" but noted that there was "room for improvement".
Well, good news: the OnePlus 9T is tipped to one-up the OnePlus 9's HDR10+-supporting, 120Hz AMOLED screen.
According to a Weibo tipster who goes by the moniker 'Arsenal' (via @techdroider), OnePlus has already selected "Samsung's 120Hz LTPO E4 Flexible Screen in the OnePlus 9T. 1080P Resolution + Variable RR."
If that is true, it means the 9T will join the 9 Pro in supporting variable refresh rate (VRR). That should improve both battery life across and performance the board. Of course, the 9T will still make do with a Full HD+ panel, as opposed to the 9 Pro's Quad HD+. Neither the OnePlus 9 nor the budget 9R supports VRR.
The Weibo tip lines up with the "alleged" OnePlus 9RT specs leaked on 22nd August by @TechnoKit1. Again, it appears to confirm that the 9T and 9RT are near identical devices, going by two region-specific names.
OnePlus 9: camera and specification
Arguably the biggest selling point of the OnePlus 9 is its Hasselblad camera –Hasselblad being the Swedish company best known for making the camera that NASA used to photograph the Moon landings.
Unless that relationship has turned horribly sour behind the scenes, we'd bet the house on the 9T featuring a tweaked version of the three-lens set-up found on the OnePlus 9.
If AndroidCentral is correct, the OnePlus 9T will use the 50MP Sony IMX766 sensor, used to power the standard model's ultrawide camera, to drive its main camera. There is also a rumour that OnePlus will equip the 9T with a 108MP Hasselblad Quad camera, but that seems unlikely and isn't backed by any credible sources.
The new handset is due to draw its power from Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888, the same chip found in the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro. It's also possible that the 9T could get the slightly newer 888+ chip, which has been clocked at 2.995GHz instead of the Snapdragon 888's 2.84GHz.
Separately, NotebookCheck claims the 9RT could be saddled with the slower Snapdragon 870 chip found in the current 9R. Could that be the key difference between the two devices?
Other specs include the same 4500 mAh battery and 65W ultra-fast charging facility as the OnePlus 9. The Warp 65T charger, included with the current device, takes just under 30 minutes to refill the phone.
We'd also expect the 9T to feature the same Dolby Atmos sound processing as its siblings. We described the audio performance of the OnePlus 9 as "average" so fingers crossed the 9T gets an upgrade of some sort.
Finally, most leakers claim that the OnePlus 9T will come with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, rising to 256GB if you're willing to splash out.
Will there be a OnePlus 9T Pro?
The Weibo leak of August 2021 is said to have contained the phrase "no 9T Pro" so it looks as though that device is off the menu. Hardly surprising, given that there was no One Plus 8T Pro in 2020.
Still, it's too early to say with any certainty. Watch this space.
OnePlus 9T: initial verdict
The OnePlus 9T remains something of an enigma, but if the specification leaks are to be believed, it's an upgraded version of the OnePlus 9 with a slightly better camera and a better screen that should deliver a boost to the 9's battery life.
To put it in sporting parlance, OnePlus is taking the "marginal gains" approach – i.e. searching for tiny improvements here and there – to transform an already very good phone into one that is slightly better. What could go wrong?
Stay tuned and we will bring you all the latest OnePlus 9T rumours, leaks and news ahead of the (presumed) launch.
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