We’re used to OnePlus phones ending in T or Pro, but now there’s one that ends in R. Although the suffix is new, there isn’t anything new about this phone. In a nutshell, the OnePlus 9R is the same as the OnePlus 8T (Review), but with a speedier SoC and a fresh coat of paint. So, where does the OnePlus 9R fall into this picture? Was it truly necessary? Is it worthwhile to purchase? In this comprehensive study,
we address all of these concerns and more. Design of the OnePlus 9R: Aside from a new colour, nothing has changed.
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From edge to edge, the OnePlus 9R is identical to the OnePlus 8T in terms of form and size. The 9R, however, seems a touch large and thick, but the metal frame ensures a good build quality. The chin is one of the smallest in this category. The Lake Blue model we received for evaluation is more sleek and eye-catching than the Aquamarine Green colour of the 8T. Smudges and fingerprints are barely visible on its glass back, but not on its screen. Corning Gorilla Glass protects the phone’s display and back from scratches.
On the rear, a 2 × 3 rectangle array with four cameras and twin flashes is located on the top left. The main difference between this and the 8T is that the Lake Blue colour continues to the camera module, whereas the 8T has a black finish. There are no complaints about that. You get an in-display fingerprint scanner, which, as on the OnePlus 8T, is set somewhat higher than normal to make it simpler to reach. The scanner is really sensitive and works well. The punch-hole selfie camera remains in the upper left corner of the screen.
The SIM slot is located along the phone’s bottom edge and can hold up to two nano-SIM cards. The OnePlus 9R is 5G-ready, but you can only use two 4G SIM cards until 5G is available in India. A USB-C port and the phone speaker are located next to the SIM tray. The volume rocker is positioned on the left edge, while the power button, as well as the popular alert slider, is located on the right edge. The power button is easier to reach, however pressing the volume up button can be difficult; the volume rocker would have been better placed a millimetre lower.
Key features of the OnePlus 9R
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 870: 1 Kryo 585 core at 3.2 GHz + 3 Kryo 585 cores at 2.42 GHz + 4 Kryo 585 cores at 1.8 GHz
GPU Adreno 650
RAM capacities of 8 GB or 12 GB are available.
Internal storage of 128 GB or 256 GB UFS 3.1
6.55-inch Full HD+ (2400 x 1080) Fluid AMOLED display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz and Corning Gorilla Glass protection.
Cameras: 48 MP (main) with PDAF and OIS + 16 MP (ultra-wide) + 5 MP (macro) + 2 MP (Monochrome); (wide) camera for taking selfies
4,500 mAh battery with 65 W fast charger included
5G-compliant Android 11 with OxygenOS 11; Bluetooth 5.1; Dual band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac/ax
OnePlus 9R Display
The OnePlus 9R has the same 6.55-inch Fluid AMOLED display with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels and a refresh rate of 120 Hz as the OnePlus 8T and OnePlus 9. (Review). The display was one of the 8T’s most notable characteristics, and there was no reason to replace it just yet. When navigating through compatible applications, it is colourful and incredibly smooth. To save battery, you may change the refresh rate from 120 Hz to 60 Hz, but just keep it at 120 Hz because it shifts to 60 Hz automatically in apps that don’t support it. The screen is HDR10+ compatible, thus compatible HDR material from major OTT platforms appears vibrant on it.
The dark levels and contrast, as well as the colour reproduction, are superb. They feel a little overly enhanced in Vivid mode, as they always do; some people enjoy it that way. For the remainder, it’s best to use Natural mode, where the colours may appear a little duller but are far more true. If you’re interested, the phone also has some manual calibration settings. When you tap the screen or lift the phone, the ambient display function appears and displays basic information such as the time, date, battery status, and notifications.
OnePlus 9R Performance
The Snapdragon 870 SoC in the OnePlus 9R is little more than a Snapdragon 865 with one quicker core. Unlike previous phones in the OnePlus 9 series, the business has not chosen a Snapdragon 888 processor for this model. Despite this, it is highly powerful for virtually any task that can be performed on a phone. Our test equipment came with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of UFS 3.1 internal storage. This smartphone delivers excellent performance. There was no latency in day-to-day activities in any of the standard apps, or while moving between them.
OnePlus bills this as a gaming phone, and it lives up to that label in terms of raw power. Although there aren’t any notable additions, like with Asus ROG phones, the general gaming experience was stutter-free and pleasurable at the highest settings. Even after 30 minutes of gaming, the phone did not overheat. The two stereo speakers (earpiece and bottom speakers) generate unexpectedly nice audio with a good stereo impression. On headphones that support those codecs, the phone supports AptX, AptX HD, and LDAC for improved throughput via Bluetooth 5.1. There are no concerns with call quality.
It scored exceptionally well in performance benchmarks. In fact, it maxed out in several benchmarks, like as 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme – Vulkan, and we had to use an updated set of tests to put the phone’s hardware to the test. While I will put those results here, they cannot be directly compared to prior devices for obvious reasons. Geekbench 5 results, on the other hand, may be compared. The 9R scored 974 on the single-core test, compared to 893 on the 8T; this was an expected increase given the quicker primary core on the Snapdragon 870. The Multi-core score was 3,101, which was 2% lower than the 8T’s score of 3,169. However, the difference will be imperceptible in real-world application.
We upgraded from PC Mark Work 2.0 to version 3.0, and it scored 11,266. We can’t compare it to the version 2.0 results, but it’ll be a solid starting point for future smartphone reviews. Similarly, the 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme – Vulkan benchmark was replaced with the Wild Life and Wild Life Extreme benchmarks. In the two tests, the Adreno 650 GPU scored 4,245 and 1,223 with average FPS of 25.4 and 7.3. While the Wild Life Extreme test does bring it to its knees, keep in mind that it is a synthetic benchmark. In real-world gaming with current popular games, I saw no performance reduction, therefore there’s nothing to worry about.
OnePlus 9R battery performance
The battery capacity and longevity of the 9R are almost the same as those of the 8T, as is the case with most things. The 4,500 mAh battery can run the phone for more than 30 hours of regular use, which includes browsing through messaging and social media applications, making a few calls, taking a few photographs, viewing movies for an hour, and gaming for half an hour. These statistics are totally fine.
Charging times are significantly faster when the battery life is good. The firm includes a 65 W Warp charger capable of 10V/6.5A, although it differs from the one included with the 8T. It charges the phone from 0 to 100% in around 45 minutes, which is somewhat longer than the 39 minutes required by the 8T.
OnePlus 9R camera performance
The camera setup is identical to that of the 8T. What we have here is a 48 MP primary camera with PDAF and optical image stabilisation based on a Sony IMX586 sensor – something that the more costly OnePlus 9 lacks. It is joined by a 16 MP ultra-wide camera with a Sony IMX481 sensor and a 123-degree field of view, a 2 MP monochrome camera, and a 5 MP macro camera. You can quickly switch between ordinary, ultra-wide, and zoom modes in the camera app.
In bright to average illumination, the main camera gets some clean photos with strong dynamic range. The colours are intense, as they are on most OnePlus phones, but they are marginally better than those recorded with the 8T. After a number of revisions since launch, it’s likely that it’s similar on the 8T as well. Despite being a 9 series phone, it lacks the colour calibration of Hasselblad’s more costly brothers. In comparison, the colours in taken photographs on the OnePlus 9 were a lot more realistic.
Having said that, the images here are clear and detailed, and few would complain about the increased colour vibrancy. The ultrawide camera is more than adequate, although it is not on par with the OnePlus 9’s. In well-lit settings, the output is rather acceptable, although the photographs are a touch softer than those obtained with the primary camera; nonetheless, the images have a comparable dynamic range. You also get a number of new filters to dabble with in the camera app.
Portrait mode works nicely here, with good distinction between foreground and backdrop. The photographs turn out good, whether they are of human beings or of other items. The 5 MP fixed focus macro camera is only adequate. You also need steady hands if you don’t want blur in the photographs, and even so, the result is a little soft, and the colours appear washed out. It is never a bad idea to take the image with the primary camera from a bit distance away and then crop it. More often than not, the results are superior than those obtained with simple, fixed focus macro cameras.
The cropping approach is still being used effectively by the firm. Despite the lack of a telephoto lens, you obtain some sharp 2X zoom photographs that are considerably better than digitally zoomed images. When utilising 2X zoom, the camera app first takes in 48 MP format, then trims and resizes a specific portion of the image, resulting in a superior output. That is nonetheless a clever technique to make up for the absence of a dedicated telephoto camera.
Low-light photography is comparable to that of the OnePlus 8T, but as the light fades, stick to the primary camera. Even when not in Nightscape mode, it tends to gain well and brightens pictures. Noise is kept to a minimum, and acquired images have a high level of detail. If the light is poor, Nightscape mode improves things even more, although it takes a little longer to analyse the photo. The Nightscape images might feel overexposed at times, so experiment with and without it in low light. 2X zoom also works well in low light, but don’t expect miracles. Avoid utilising the ultra-wide camera in low-light situations since the recorded photographs lack detail.
In well-lit circumstances, the 16 MP front camera with the Sony IMX471 sensor performs admirably. Selfies are crisp, and skin tones appear realistic. Portrait photographs are also supported, although they might be hit or miss. When you turn on the front camera, a speck of light orbits the lens and settles into a green dot next to it. This makes it simpler to see the camera within the camera app’s black borders, and users know where to look.
The OnePlus 9R’s rear cameras can capture films in 1080p and 4K quality at 30 and 60 frames per second, respectively, as well as slow motion 1080p and 720p videos at 240 and 480 frames per second. It also allows you to capture timelapse films at 30 frames per second in Full HD or 4K quality. EIS ensures that captured 4K video is sharp and stable (electronic image stabilisation). 1080p films recorded with the primary camera seem crisp and colourful.
OS and user interface
Except for a few evolutionary upgrades and fresh security patches, not much has changed in this department. You receive OxygenOS 11 out of the box, which is based on Android 11. OxygenOS 11 is still the greatest Android UI available. It is clean, stutter-free, ad-free, and has very little bloatware. It offers a few essential upgrades while remaining true to the vanilla Android UI. OnePlus has once again chosen Google’s dialer, contacts, and messaging applications over its own. The Nord started the trend, and I’m guessing it will continue.
One thing I really like about OxygenOS 11 is how it tries to make single-handed operating as easy as possible by employing common sense. From the settings menu to suitable programmes, the information begins in the centre of the screen, where the thumb is much simpler to reach. It uses the remainder of the screen area above once you start scrolling. You don’t have to stretch your thumb all the way to the top of the screen to tap on something; simply pull it down so it’s within reach. Simple and practical!
The OnePlus 9R costs Rs 39,999 in India for the 8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage edition and Rs 43,999 for the 12 GB RAM / 256 GB storage option. Is it worthwhile to purchase? We’ve established that this is just a rebranded OnePlus 8T with a slightly faster SoC. The 9R was priced lower than the 8T at launch, and it is a good Rs 10,000 less than the OnePlus 9. Despite the lack of innovation, it delivers outstanding value for money and is a solid all-around tablet at its selling price.
In the absence of the 8T, such a gadget would have made sense. However, the OnePlus 8T is still available, and to make matters even more complicated, OnePlus has reduced its price to less than that of the 9R, thereby cannibalising it. Unless you adore the Lake Blue colour or require a little additional muscle, buying the OnePlus 9R makes little sense as long as the OnePlus 8T is still available at a lower price. I believe the business will shortly clear 8T inventories, giving the 9R some breathing room.
Nonetheless, I believe OnePlus could have supplemented the 9R with genuine differentiators rather than portraying it as a marketing tactic to utilise up surplus OnePlus 8T hardware with a 9 series stamp.