Despite its general popularity, OnePlus hasn’t really been known for doing well in one particular aspect. Of course, it has tried to play down its flaws through its marketing but even CEO Pete Lau eventually admitted that its cameras really need to step up to the competition. He promised to do so and not without some external help. Given how its cousins Vivo and OPPO have partnered with ZEISS and Leica, respectively, it was expected that OnePlus would do likewise. Few, however, probably expected that it would tie-up with one of the least likely optics experts, at least based on this still shady leak.
Smartphone cameras are just as complicated as their distant full digital camera cousins and now all smartphone manufacturers have the expertise to pull off great feats. Some simply slap on mass-produced components, like sensors from Sony, Samsung, or OV, but others also try to strike up a partnership with some big names in the camera industry. In the past few months, Chinese manufacturers have announced such ventures to improve their chances but that still makes OnePlus’ potential partner a complete surprise.
It was largely expected that OnePlus would partner with Leica, based at least on one leak and on OPPO’s partnership with the optics company. As far as smartphone cameras go, Leica definitely has experience dealing with manufacturers and the peculiarities of adapting camera technologies to mobile. Based on a series of hands-on photos given to YouTuber Dave Lee, however, the OnePlus 9 Pro will be bearing Hasselblad’s mark instead.
Hasselblad is admittedly no stranger to smartphones but, compared to Leica and ZEISS, it rarely lends its name to them. When it does so, it often costs quite a hefty sum which will naturally fall on consumers in the long run. Having a camera expert’s name on the OnePlus 9 Pro’s back also doesn’t immediately make it better so we’ll have to see how the team-up will actually play out in practice, presuming this is the real deal.
The hands-on photos also reveal other details, like the phone’s presumably thinner metal frame that required a unique design to fit the side buttons. There might also be 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage as well as a 120Hz 1440p screen. None of these is exactly new and it will definitely be down to those cameras to make the OnePlus 9 Pro interesting.