128 vs 256GB: which OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro storage variant to buy?

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128 vs 256GB: which OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro storage variant to buy?
The OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro are the newest phones from the company. They have powerful processors, beautiful displays, and capable cameras, while their fast-charging batteries easily put iPhones and Galaxies to shame, as our OnePlus 9 battery test showed.

What the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro don't offer is expandable storage, and choosing the right storage option is critical when buying a new phone, especially if you don't change phones often. At the end of the day, having the best cameras or the fastest processor can be meaningless if your phone doesn’t have the storage to take a photo or install the latest game.

So, is 128GB enough for OnePlus 9? Is a 256GB OnePlus 9 Pro worth it? The answers follow below.

OnePlus 9 Pro

- 12GB + 256GB storage
Buy at OnePlus

OnePlus 9

$499 99
$599 99
Buy at OnePlus

128 vs 256GB OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro: what are the differences?

Buy OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro:

Whether you choose the OnePlus 9 or the OnePlus 9 Pro, you’ll be paying a $100 extra if you choose the 256GB variant instead of the base 128GB model. The days of affordable flagship killer smartphones from OnePlus seem to be over, as the company’s lineup is now similar in pricing to its competitors. Also, it is strange to see a 2021 flagship with a maximum storage capacity of only 256GB, but it is what it is.

It is important to note that with more storage you also get more RAM, meaning that your 256GB OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro will be both faster and more future-proof.

Availability is an issue worth mentioning. Right now, not all OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro variants are available for preorder. This is likely to change in the coming days or weeks.

Is 128GB enough for the OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro?

The short answer to this question is that it really depends on the type of user you are. Do you play a lot of heavy games? Do you shoot a lot of video or download tons of Netflix shows? If that’s the case, you’ll be better off with a 256GB OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro.

Do you mostly use your phone for social media and web browsing? Do you take photos and videos only occasionally? Are you a light gamer? Then go for a 128GB OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro and you’ll be just fine.

And if you want to dig deeper, let’s look at the numbers and see what you can actually store in a 128 or 256GB OnePlus 9 phone.

The Android OS with OnePlus’ Oxygen OS UI takes up about 18GB of storage, so you are left with 110GB of usable space.

Every year, apps get bigger and bigger in size. The most popular apps don’t take up too much space compared to games. For apps and games, you can set aside around 20 to 30GB of space, depending on how big of a gamer you are.

With games, sizes change dramatically compared to apps. Popular games like PUBG: Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile can take around 2GB of storage each, and the numbers quickly add up. Of course, there are other less chunky games like Among Us and Clash of Clans, which are around 150MB in size, but you should keep in mind that many popular titles can be over 1GB in size.

Rounding up these numbers, around 80GB are left to use. The rest of your storage will mostly be taken up by your photos and videos, so let’s look into that.

OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro photo and video size

Video sizes vary depending on the resolution or codec you are using for recording. Here are the rough video recording sizes when shooting with the OnePlus 9 series:

  • 1080p@30fps ~ 27MB/minute (H.264)
  • 1080p@60fps ~ 90MB/minute (H.264)
  • 4K@30fps ~ 350MB/minute (HEVC)
  • 4K@60fps ~ 720MB/minute (HEVC)
  • 8K@30fps ~ 1.04GB/minute (H.264)

If we assume you’ll dedicate about half of the remaining 80GB towards videos, here’s how much footage you’ll be able to store in 40GB:

  • 1080p@30fps ~ 24h 30min (H.264)
  • 1080p@60fps ~ 7h 24min (H.264)
  • 4K@30fps ~ 1h 50min (HEVC)
  • 4K@60fps ~ 50min (HEVC)
  • 8K@30fps ~ 37min (H.264)

From these numbers we can deduct that if you are shooting 4K and 8K video often, you will run out of storage in no time. The OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro make an excellent job of compressing 1080p videos, so if this resolution is enough for you, 128GB will be all you need.

I’ve also decided to include the average sizes of the photos we took with the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro.

OnePlus 9:

  • Daylight photo ~ 5.5MB (Main camera)
  • Night photo ~ 4MB (Main camera)
  • Portrait photo ~ 2.5MB (Main camera)

OnePlus 9 Pro:

  • Daylight photo ~ 5.8MB (Main camera)
  • Night photo ~ 4.2MB (Main camera)
  • Portrait photo ~ 2.7MB (Main camera)
  • Macro photo ~ 2.9MB (Macro and main camera)

If the 40GB of storage left is going to be used for photos, you’ll be able to store around 8000 pictures, depending on the shooting mode you prefer. That equals to taking 20 pictures per day for a year.

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