Leaked OnePlus 9 Pro prototype reveals exciting camera upgrades

The OnePlus 9 series is expected to be unveiled in about a month’s time, but there’s surprisingly a lot that is not known about them. A massive new leak reveals a partnership with the legendary camera manufacturer Hasselblad.

In his latest video, YouTuber Dave2D shared images of a purported OnePlus 9 Pro supplied from a fan. It seems to have a different camera layout but the overall design language is similar to the previous leaks, leading him to believe that this might be our first look at the 9 Pro.

The live images reveal a quad-camera setup with two larger sensors – likely to be the primary and ultra-wide lenses – followed by two smaller ones whose function is currently known, along with a laser module for autofocus. What’s particularly interesting is Hasselblad branding on the module, suggesting a partnership of some capacity.

For the uninitiated, Hasselblad is a camera company from Sweden which make premium medium format shooters. One of its cheapest offerings is the X1D II, which starts at a whopping $5,750 (~Rs 4.2 lacs). The only time it partnered with a smartphone maker was for the True Zoom Moto Mod in 2017. Chinese drone giant DJI now owns a majority stake in Hasselblad.

Historically, OnePlus flagships have been great overall smartphones but couldn’t keep up with the cameras of the competition. In a recent Weibo post (via Android Authority), CEO Pete Lau said that the company will invest heavily in cameras. A partnership with a camera company could help OnePlus close the gap, but without any specifics, we wouldn’t get too excited. These can range from something as minor as offering a new shooting mode to something substantial like co-developing the hardware and software for better results.

Other images of the camera app show a new 3.3x optical zoom option, up from the 3x on the OnePlus 8 Pro, and a new tilt-shift photography mode — a shooting technique which uses special lenses to create an unusually shallow depth-of-field. Its utility on a phone is questionable, but OnePlus is no stranger to camera gimmicks.  

Max Jambor, a leakster with a great track record for OnePlus information, also confirmed the partnership on Twitter.

Further in the video, a physical overview of the OnePlus 9 Pro shows a curved display and a sleeker frame that houses the buttons and the alert slider. The phone seemingly has a glossy silver finish, but the final units could opt for a classier finish. Other listed specifications included 11GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, but the display size and processor could not be confirmed. 

It remains to be seen how the association pans out, and if it will prove to be the solution that OnePlus had been waiting for. The OnePlus 9 Series is expected to be unveiled in mid-March, alongside its first smartwatch and a new mid-range smartphone.

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