OnePlus 9R review: OnePlus now is a brand that clearly wants to offer something across premium price points. With the launch of the OnePlus Nord last year, it expanded this base to the mid-tier too. Now, with the OnePlus 9R, it wants to offer a more affordable premium experience. But will this create confusion among buyers or more opportunity for the OnePlus brand is something we will have to wait to see.
So what is the OnePlus 9R? As the name suggests, this a phone of the OnePlus 9 series and R signifies affordability in a way. This is a concept Apple and Samsung have tried in recent years with varying degrees of success.
OnePlus 9R specifications: 6.55-inch full-HD+ (1080 x 2400 pixels) AMOLED display, 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch | Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 | 8GB or 12GB RAM + 128GB or 256GB storage space | 48MP camera + 16MP ultra-wide camera + 5MP macro camera + 2MP monochrome camera | 4500 mAh battery with 65W fast charging | Dual speakers with Dolby Atmos |
OnePlus 9R: What is good?
The OnePlus 9R is in every sense a premium looking phone. At least in design you don’t see any compromises, though the stunning colour options of the OnePlus 9 Pro are not available here. The review model I got was the Lake Blue colour which is good, but also a bit common in my books. The camera module with its four lenses looks very similar to the OnePlus 9 Pro’s but a closer examination shows they have been spaced differently. Then you notice that the 9R does not have the biggest USP of its costlier cousins — the Hasselblad branding on the cameras.
The phone is also slightly smaller than the OnePlus 9 Pro which I reviewed recently, though it is not that discernible. The rest of the elements are in sync with the OnePlus 9 series. The phone offers a good grip, but I recommend using the cover that comes in the box.
The 6.55-inch Fluid AMOLED display is more than good. It is bright enough to be used outdoors and vibrant enough to make sense to even pro-gamers. The Dolby Atmos audio just adds to the effectiveness of this phone as a consumption device.
The one big differentiator with the other two OnePlus 9 phones is the processor of the OnePlus 9R. This one is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G, instead of the 888. But this does not affect performance for most of the stuff you do with the phone. From high-end camera use to gaming, this phone is more than capable and does not heat up. In fact, with the multi-layer cooling and extra responsive touch, this is one of best gaming phones out there.
Now, while the OnePlus 9R might be made out to look like the cheaper cousin, it has one advantage at least in comparison to the OnePlus 9. Yes, this phone offers four cameras against the three on the OnePlus 9. So there is a 48MP main camera, a 16MP ultrawide, a 5MP macro and a 2MP mono or depth camera. This is a pretty good combo that left me impressed, even sans the assistance from Hasselblad.
The main camera does not shoot 48MP by default. When it does it take a second to save, but then stuns you with the clarity and detail. You can zoom in on elements in the frame and crop them as standalone images. No one will know what you have done.
Check out all the camera samples in detail by clicking on each image below. The first image is taken in full 48MP resolution
The 16MP ultra-wide does its job well, even in low light and the macro is good when it needs to be.
I did miss that extra oomph while using the mono camera, but it is not something that will put of most users who have not real love for colourless images.
The focus of the camera is very precise at both ends of the spectrum and you can lock exactly the area you want to on the screen.
Among the many software tweaks Oxygen OS has subtly release is the ability to just click on the preview mage and share it in a jiffy to a host of connected services. There is no 8K recording on this phone, but you can do 4K at 60fps with optical image stabilisation which takes it to near broadcast quality.
The phone has a 4500mAh battery that will last you about 30 hours with regular usage on 4G. And before your step out again, you can use the Warp Charge 65 to juice up to full in the time it takes you get bath and get ready.
OnePlus 9R: What is not good?
The OnePlus 9R does not have any major disadvantages in my book. The only issue I noticed prominently was a lens flare while using the main camera for stills or video. This is mildly irritating and not really worrisome. Do remember that this phone does not offer wireless charging or water resistance, given the slightly lower price.
OnePlus 9R: Should you buy?
Yes, but this is not an easy question to answer. One thing I can say is that to me it makes more sense than getting the OnePlus 9, if you are willing to sacrifice on not having the best processor out there and the Hasselblad magic on the camera. The OnePlus 9R is quite capable in performance and has a decent camera without this.
Now, the OnePlus 9R is good at everything, but not really above the competition on most of the features. It is at par with what a Samsung or an Oppo will offer at this price range. That said, OnePlus offers you the dependability of a premium brand along with the brownie points of having a phone that is in the top shelf segment. If there is a premium here, it is for that.