• The OnePlus 9 series will be unveiled on March 8th during a special media event where OnePlus will announce a new strategic partnership.
  • A new leak says the OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9 will be bundled with free earphones during preorders.
  • That’s a sign the high-end handsets will continue to be more expensive than fans would want them to be.

Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus is no longer just a startup. Gone are the days when the newest OnePlus flagship would be a lot cheaper than its rivals. And gone are the days when OnePlus would make certain compromises to keep the costs down. The OnePlus phones have received many key upgrades in the past few years that put them on par with their rivals. The OnePlus 8 Pro is the best example of that: a phone with top 2020 specs, 5G support, wireless charging, and IP68 water and dust resistance certification. But the OnePlus 8 Pro also cost almost as much as the iPhone 11 Pro and Galaxy S20 last year. To sweeten the deal, OnePlus threw in various free accessories during preorders that made the OnePlus 8 Pro look more affordable.

A year later, OnePlus is readying the OnePlus 9 launch, and we already have the first leak that hints the Pro version isn’t likely to be more affordable than its predecessor.

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OnePlus has scheduled a virtual press event for March 8th, where it’s expected to unveil what appears to be a camera-related partnership for the company. Recent rumors did say that some of the OnePlus 9 phones would feature Hasselblad cameras, so that’s probably the big reveal at the event. But OnePlus is also expected to unveil the OnePlus 9 series at the show and its first OnePlus Watch wearable.

Mobile phone leaker Evan Blass posted several details on the OnePlus 9 phones in recent weeks. His newest report on Voice details the preorder deals coming to OnePlus 9 buyers.

According to Blass, preorders will start on March 23rd, and early buyers are in for more free gifts. OnePlus 9 Pro will get the Steve Harrington Edition of the OnePlus Buds Z wireless headphones ($59.99), while OnePlus 9 buyers will get only the regular Buds Z model ($49.99). The cheapest OnePlus 9R model and the OnePlus Watch will not be bundled with free earphones.

Offering free accessories with preorders has been a long-time Samsung strategy for its Galaxy S and Note preorders. OnePlus ran a similar free accessories promo last year, bundling the $69.95 Wireless Charger and the $49.95 Bullets Wireless Z with the $899 OnePlus 8 Pro. The $120 in free accessories effectively cut the price of the phone down to $779. OnePlus 8 buyers only got free earphones, which cut the phone’s price by $50, down to $649.

At the time, the Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11 Pro sold for $999 each. The more popular iPhone 11 started at $699. This year, the cheapest Galaxy S21 starts at $799, while the Galaxy S21+ costs $999. The iPhone 12 pricing structure is almost identical, although the iPhone 12 mini starts at $729. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro cost $829 and $999. On top of that, Apple also stocks the iPhone 11 ($599), iPhone XR ($499) and iPhone SE ($399).

That’s to say the competition is quite fierce in the mobile business, and it’s all happening in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prices will continue to impact smartphone sales as sectors of the economy continue to suffer.

The OnePlus 9 preorder deals leak indicates that the new OnePlus devices might be slightly cheaper than the 2020 phones. That’s because the free gifts are of a lesser value than last year. But the phones will still be more expensive than fans might want them to be. That’s why OnePlus is throwing free gifs to buyers in the first place.

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Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.