OnePlus 9 vs. OnePlus 9 ProSource: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

If you were anywhere on social media earlier this week, you couldn't have missed the barrage of marketing hype around the official unveiling of the new OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro smartphones. The two devices are OnePlus's best ever, with significant upgrades to their screens, processors, and cameras. And as is typical of OnePlus phones, they look stunning — at least in my humble opinion.

OnePlus is releasing three colorways for each of the two new devices. They both sport a version of silver, black, and a third color unique to each model. Three colors per model isn't bad, but I'm a little salty that the best OnePlus 9 colors aren't coming to North America for this release.

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The available OnePlus 9 colors make me blue

OnePlus 9 Arctic SkySource: OnePlus UK

This year's value flagship OnePlus 9 is being made available in three colors. The review unit I received was a nice-looking (if somewhat boring) Astral Black, which promptly picked up fingerprint smudges from every touch, so naturally, I hid it away in a case immediately. The other version that is available in North America is Winter Mist, which has a stylish purple-y/silver-ish finish that, true to previous OnePlus phones, has a gradient to it that somewhat changes color depending on how the light hits it. If I were to purchase my own, that would be the best option available to me, but it's not the best option that OnePlus is offering.

To my eyes, the best-looking OnePlus 9 color variant has to be the Arctic Sky color. OnePlus knocked it out of the park again with its blue option, delivering a soft blue hue with a nice matte finish. Unfortunately, I don't live in a market that will ever see this colorway, so I'll have to pine at it from afar.

Speaking of pine and matte, that brings me to the OnePlus 9 Pro...

I'm matte as hell that I can't get this one either

OnePlus 9 Pro Stellar BlackSource: OnePlus UK

My colleague Alex Dobie commented on the latest AC Podcast that he thought the Morning Mist version of the 9 Pro was quite lovely with its gradient silver finish. While I'm inclined to agree, I'm not so keen on the Pine Green version that is also available here in the U.S. I mean, it's fine, but to me, it looks a little too much like that Midnight Green iPhone 11 Pro that all of my iMore colleagues went gaga over last year, but I thought it was just meh.

To quote MKBHD — "matte black everything"

No, in my opinion, the best OnePlus 9 Pro version to get has to be the stunning Stellar Black. OnePlus says that the frosted matte finish on this phone evokes images of its classic sandstone cases — which, sure, okay — but I just think the matte finish, in general, makes it look so much cooler than the glossy Astral Black that I have. It is almost as cool as the Phantom Black color on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

OnePlus has a vivid color history

OnePlus ultimate heroSource: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

Matte-backed phones, be they glass or plastic-like on the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, may not be as flashy or shiny as a glossy finish, but they sure do a better job at hiding fingerprints, tiny scratches, or other imperfections. And OnePlus is no stranger to matte finishes or flashy colors — just briefly consider its recent history.

One of the most beautiful OnePlus phones ever was the gorgeous Silk White treatment on the OnePlus 6. There was just something about that almond-colored matte finish with gold accents that was chef's kiss.

OnePlus, let's have more gorgeous purple and deep blue phones!

The Thunder Purple OnePlus 6T was not only one the best names ever for a color, but it was also the best-looking color of that generation of smartphones. And the similar deep blues on the OnePlus 7 Pro and 7T were equally eye-catching and enchanting in their own way.

Matte finishes aside, I also think the 9 series played it a bit safe in the color department. I'd love to see more vibrant colors like in the 8T or Nord series, or even something outlandish like the (albeit trademarked) orange from those sexy McLaren Edition phones. I guess, for now, I'll just have to grab one of the best OnePlus 9 cases to give my boring black phone a little more personality.


What about you? Do you have a favorite color in the OnePlus 9 series? If so, which color are you going to buy? How much of a factor will the color options be in deciding between the OnePlus 9 vs. the OnePlus 9 Pro?

Let us know what you think!