UPDATE 2021-03-09 09:00 IST:
Corrected an error where we stated said the review (that you need to write as part of your application) would be of ~250 words. The review word limit is 10000 words, and we've amended the relevant text in the article.
"The Lab" is a unique concept OnePlus first introduced in May 2016 with the OnePlus 3. The OnePlus 6, 6T, 7-series, and 8T-series were part of the program. This unique concept contains writing a relatively thorough review of ~10000 words (previous "The Lab" editions had a word limit of ~250), as well as answering some questions regarding the required skills of reviewing a product. OnePlus decides which applications they approve. Winners get a device sent and they have to review it, meeting some criteria. They can keep the device if they met the criteria.
The 7T-series' had it slightly different - participants had to buy the device first, and winners could choose between a full reimbursement of their purchase, or a custom device with their name engraved. This year's iteration (for the 9-series) is similar to previous ones - just now there are two chances to win a 9-series device, which will be going in two phases. OnePlus says they have 25 devices prepared in total. 15 devices for Phase 1 (the traditional lab), and 10 devices for Phase 2.
Image credit: OnePlus
In the first phase, you're able to participate and send in your application until the 16th of March. This first phase, based on the traditional lab way (write a short review and answer some questions) is the phase where OnePlus will make 15 devices available for reviewers. Meanwhile: the people who applied for the second phase will have to focus on the camera quality, as OnePlus is "focusing a lot on the camera experience this time around". Your photography skills will be tested by OnePlus in detail, which means they're looking for highly skilled and talented photographers. There's room for 10 people who will be able to apply for the second phase. Reviewers who completed all tasks may keep the device.
In total, only 25 reviewers will be selected, so make sure you make your application stand out. Try adding links to your existing work, if you have any - photography, news articles, blog posts, YouTube videos, etc). You can also check out this thread, where OnePlus explains the story behind The Lab. A user on the OnePlus forums, which was also a Lab Reviewer for the 7T, gave some tips when writing an application.
Who can apply?
Both OnePlus and non-OnePlus users can apply, as well as community and non-community members. Eligible locations include Europe, India and North America. OnePlus will reserve 50% out of the 25 devices for forum users who registered before this edition of The Lab, so that already-registered users have a guaranteed chance.
How can you apply?
Head to this website and follow the instructions: https://www.oneplus.com/lab. If you rather want to sign up directly, you can go to this page instead: https://www.oneplus.com/lab/oneplus9series/apply.
Until when can you apply?
- Phase 1: Mar 8 till Mar 16, 5 PM HKT
- Phase 2: Mar 16, 5 PM till Mar 23, 5 PM HKT
OnePlus posted the following FAQ:
- Q: Can I apply for both phases of the Lab?
A: Yes, you can. But for each phase, you can only apply once. Once your email has been applied, you can't use it and enter again.
- Q: How do you select the reviewers?
A: We’ll consider your writing and photography skills through your application to judge whether you’re a qualified reviewer. Community staff and moderators will join the selection process.
- Q: How do I know if I’m selected?
A: The reviewers will be announced in the community and contacted via email within 3 days after the application is closed.
- Q: How long does it take for the reviewers to get the device?
A: It depends on logistics. Generally we’ll ship the device to the reviewer right after we collected the reviewer information. If everything goes well, Phase 1 reviewers should be able to receive it around launch time, and Phase 2 reviewers should receive it around sales time.
If you're looking for some inspiration, check out previous reviews by The Lab reviewers:
Keep in mind, however, reviewers will have to sign an NDA before they receive the phones. Check out the official post on OnePlus forums, which contains more information, and a sign-up link as well (which we also linked to above).
Best of luck! If you'd like to know more about the upcoming phone, you can do a quick Google search for "OnePlus 9-series rumours", otherwise we may write a round-up article soon about the 9-series.
Source: OnePlus Forums