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OnePlus 12R review: Bridging the gap between affordable and flagship?

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OnePlus 12R review: Bridging the gap between affordable and flagship?

OnePlus 12R It was launched at the Smooth Beyond Belief event in January along with its bigger brother OnePlus 12. While the phone is smooth, it’s certainly not beyond belief. What is beyond belief is the cost. The phone is now available for purchase in India at a starting price of Rs. 39,999 and at that price, you get a lot of phones. However, there are still some areas that need some improvement.

So, does the OnePlus 12R bridge the gap between affordability and flagship performance? Let’s find out.

OnePlus 12R Price in India

The OnePlus 12R is available in two variants in India. The base variant is priced at Rs. 39,999 and gets 8GB RAM with 128GB storage. You also have a 16GB RAM and 256GB storage option, priced at Rs. 45,999. I think OnePlus should have offered at least 256GB of storage on the base variant, which would have made it easier to recommend.

As for the color options, the OnePlus 12R is available in Iron Gray and Cool Blue. The former has a matte finish back glass, while the latter can be used as a mirror as it is very reflective.

OnePlus provides a case, some stickers, a 100W fast charger, a USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable, a SIM ejector tool, Red Member Club membership, and the usual set of paperwork. The charge is huge, bigger than my laptop charger.

OnePlus 12R Review: Design

The OnePlus 12R is similar to the more powerful and more expensive OnePlus 12. However, it has a regular glass back instead of a marble glass back. It has a nice design and sets the phone apart from other brands thanks to its camera module. The design is similar to last year’s OnePlus 11.

You get the familiar large circular camera module placed on the top left side of the rear panel. We’re reviewing the Cool Blue variant of the phone, which has a smooth, glossy back panel. The sides and display are curved, making the phone slippery as well as comfortable to hold. However, the matte finish panel on the Iron Gray variant offers more grip. The weight of the phone is also excellent, as the frame is metal and both the front and back panels are glass. The phone weighs 207 grams and feels premium.Oneplus 12R Review Design Oneplus-12R-Review-Design

With the OnePlus 12R, the company has changed the location of the alert slider. It is now placed on the left spine of the phone. This was the original placement of the iconic alert slider when OnePlus first introduced it on the OnePlus 2. The right spine of the phone houses the volume and power buttons. A speaker, USB Type-C port, microphone, and a SIM tray tool are available at the bottom, while the top has a second mic, speaker, and an IR blaster.

The OnePlus 12R has a curved display on the front, with relatively thin bezels all around. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus 2, and while OnePlus has included a screen guard on the phone, it’s of poor quality, and I’d recommend getting a tempered glass guard instead. The phone gets an IP64 rating for dust and water resistance, which is offered even in cheap phones these days.

OnePlus 12R Review: Specifications and Software

Okay, let’s get to the internals. The OnePlus 12R is almost like a flagship, and that’s because it has the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC from last year. OnePlus offers up to 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM and up to 256GB of UFS 4.0 onboard storage on the phone. However, the base variant offers 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage, which is slower.

Oneplus 12R Review Software Oneplus-12R-Review-Software

OnePlus 12R will get three years of Android OS updates.

For connectivity, the OnePlus 12R gets the usual set of dual-band Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, and GPS satellite support. It also gets dual-nano SIM support with dual-5G standby, but there’s no eSIM. The phone has an in-display fingerprint scanner at the bottom of the screen. It worked well throughout the review period.

The OnePlus 12R packs the biggest battery ever in a OnePlus phone. It has a 5,500mAh cell that supports 100W fast charging using the 100W brick included in the box.

Moving on to the software, the phone runs Android 14 based OxygenOS 14 out of the box. During the review, OnePlus released an update for the phone that brought some performance and camera improvements. The company promises three years of software and four years of security updates for the OnePlus 12R.

In terms of software features, well, there are plenty of them. You get plenty of OxygenOS features, or should I say ColorOS, that help you customize the OnePlus 12R to your liking. OxygenOS 14 also has many new features, such as File Dock, Fluid Cloud, Smart Cutout, Smart Touch, and Multi-Screen Connect 2.0. While FileDock makes it easy to share content across apps and devices, Fluid Cloud shows you customized information on the status bar. There’s also something called Smart Suggestions, which gives you real-time updates from apps like Zomato, Swiggy and others. You’ll be able to see these updates in the lock screen, status bar, or notification drawer. It also works with AOD (Always On Display) feature. The OnePlus 12R, and even the OnePlus 12, lack AI features, which are strangely available on phones sold in China. OnePlus is expected to bring some AI features to the phones through a software update.

OnePlus 12R Review: Performance

One of the strongest reasons to buy the OnePlus 12R is performance, especially when you consider the price-to-performance ratio. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC streamlines everything on the phone. While the benchmark results may not be the highest in the price segment, you’ll never feel like it’s not enough. On AnTuTu, the phone scored 15,11,642 points in performance mode. With the mode disabled, the phone scored 12,82,842 points.

Oneplus 12R Review Performance Oneplus-12R-Review-Performance

You can play any game on OnePlus 12R.

The OnePlus 12R is also a great gaming phone. I know OnePlus doesn’t really advertise it, but the gaming experience on the phone is excellent. I tried COD, BGMI, and Genshin Impact, and everything ran smoothly at the highest settings and graphics available. The phone offered excellent frame rates and warmed up only slightly after a 40-minute long session of BGMI. Touch sensitivity is also great, and it helped me eat several chicken dinners.

Gaming on the OnePlus 12R was also a joy thanks to the stunning display. The phone has a 6.78-inch LTPO 4.0 AMOLED panel that is compatible with 1.5K resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. The panel has a touch response rate of up to 1000 Hz and other features like 10-bit color and HDR10+ support. The phone also gets a feature called Aquatouch that uses the CPU to detect when the screen is wet and enhances the touch response to avoid glitches. It’s a hit or miss, as when I tried using the phone under the shower, there were still a lot of glitches, but it worked sometimes.

Oneplus 12R Review Display Oneplus-12R-Review-Display

The OnePlus 12R offers 1,600 nits in High Brightness Mode (HBM).

The display on the phone offers a high brightness mode of 1,600 nits, which means everything is passable, even in direct sunlight. It’s a great display that performs very well both indoors and outdoors. Colors are good too, and you get a few modes you can select in the Settings app. I would recommend using Cinematic Color Mode under Pro Mode in Display Settings for the most accurate color reproduction.

OnePlus has also packed in a good pair of speakers on the phone. You get good sound separation, decent bass, Dolby Atmos support, and they get pretty loud too. Streaming content on the OnePlus 12R is a joy.

Battery performance on the OnePlus 12R is pretty good, and it can be even better if you turn down the refresh rate and screen resolution. During the review, I was able to get 7+ hours of screen-on time with an hour of gaming, camera use, watching YouTube and Netflix, and other everyday tasks. The 5,500mAh battery can easily last two days, even with heavy usage. The 100W charger was able to top up the phone from 10 to 100 percent in 30 minutes. That’s a little longer than the advertised 1 to 100 percent in 26 minutes, but 30 minutes is still pretty impressive.

OnePlus 12R review: Cameras

Now, let’s finally get to the part that most of you have been waiting for. The OnePlus 12R has a triple rear camera setup that includes a 50-megapixel Sony IMX890 primary sensor with f/1.8 aperture, PDAF and OIS. It’s the same primary camera as last year’s OnePlus 11. You also get an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor with a 112-degree field of view and a 2-megapixel macro camera. On the front, there is a 16-megapixel selfie camera.

Oneplus 12R Review Cameras Oneplus-12R-Review-Cameras

OnePlus 12R has a 16-megapixel selfie camera.

The camera app is packed with a lot of features but is easy to use. More modes are hidden in the menu, including options like Hi-Res Mode, Macro Mode, Night Mode, Pano, Time Lapse, Long Exposure, and Slow Motion.

Before I talk about the camera performance, I would just like to say that this is the only non-flagship feature on the smartphone. The primary camera can capture good photos with enough detail, sharpness and color accuracy. You get 1x, 2x, and 5x options in standard photo mode. They are all just crops of the central sensor. In good light and outdoors, the 2x isn’t bad, but the 5x crop lacks a lot of detail. When the sun goes down, the main camera can take good photos, but there is a noticeable loss of detail.

Daylight Vs Lowlight Oneplus 12R Review Ndtv 1707306640554

Top: 0.6x using Ultra Wide, 1x and 2x from the main camera Bottom: Low-light samples

Coming to the 8-megapixel ultrawide, I felt a bit odd when taking photos of landscapes. Even in good lighting, there was always some blur in the images. When the subject is close, ultra-wide produces good images without any blurring. However, ultrawide performs poorly in low light. The images have a lot of noise and are not really usable.

Macro Mode 1707306731080

Macro mode uses a 2-megapixel sensor.

OnePlus could have done away with the 2-megapixel macro camera, but if you like taking close-up photos of objects, you can. The macro camera produces pretty good photos. The selfie camera shoots good photos with enough detail for social media. However, it can sometimes struggle in low light. Fortunately, you get a full-screen light feature that helps. Portrait shots have good edge detection, but no 1x or 2x options.

Video performance on the OnePlus 12R is good but not great. You can shoot videos in 4K resolution and up to 60fps. However, Ultra Steady mode is only available in 1080p and 60fps. Video quality is quite good in daylight conditions, and stabilization is also good. In low light, you’ll see some distortion and noise. Color and dynamic range from the primary rear camera are good. Ultrawide performs well during the day, and videos shot with the camera in low-light scenarios are very noisy. The selfie camera can shoot 1080p 30fps videos and performs well during the day.

OnePlus 12R Review: The Verdict

OnePlus 12R is a great smartphone with a decent camera. Some other similarly priced phones in the segment may offer a better camera, but as an overall package, you can’t go wrong with this phone. It has a great display, great performance, good speakers, fast wired charging, and a long-lasting battery. It doesn’t get too hot during gaming and the primary camera performs well in daylight.

So yes, the OnePlus 12R bridges the gap between affordable and flagship. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking for a taste of flagship performance and features but doesn’t want to spend the same amount of money as a flagship. 39,999 at a starting price of Rs. 39,999, it’s a blind buy.

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