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OnePlus 9 series coming 23 March with a focus on Hasselblad cameras

OnePlus is partnering with Hasselblad to develop its camera systems

OnePlus has officially announced the launch date for its latest flagship series of phones: 23 March, when the OnePlus 9 series will be premiered.

The new handsets will come with technology co-developed by Swedish camera maker Hasselblad, which is trailed heavily in OnePlus’ promotional material for the event.

OnePlus’ mention of a OnePlus 9 ‘series’ implies that there will be more than one handset revealed, with rumours of a Pro and Lite variant in addition to the standard edition. The promo also makes mention of 5G, so it’s expected that the phones will be compatible with the latest network standard, although it would be more surprising if they weren’t.

The partnership with Hasselblad is a coup in terms of credibility, given the reputation of the camera manufacturer, although it isn’t the first time the company has partnered with a phone maker. The modular Moto Z Play, all the way back in 2016, included a Hasselblad True Zoom ‘mod’ – a 10x optical zoom that attached to the back of the phone.

According to a press release, OnePlus and Hasselblad will “co-develop the next generation of smartphone camera systems for future OnePlus flagship devices”. How that actually translates remains to be seen. It’s a three-year partnership, which gives some hope that it’ll be more than a promotional gimmick. The press release goes on to mention software improvements, colour tuning and sensor calibration, with the goal of bringing “more perceptually accurate and natural-looking colours to photos taken with OnePlus flagship cameras.”

We’ll have to wait until the OnePlus 9 is in our hands before we can attest to any of this. OnePlus has been criticised in the past for buggy camera software. Our review for OnePlus 7, for example, found the 48-megapixel sensor led to “hugely over-processed” images, while the OnePlus 7t had “big problems with optical image quality”.

Many of these problems were ironed out by the time the OnePlus 8 came around but the Hasselblad involvement could be interpreted nonetheless as a clear message that OnePlus intends to give some serious attention to one of its weaker areas.

The launch event for the OnePlus 9 series will be streamable from OnePlus’ website, from 2pm GMT on 23 March.

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