With this year’s smartphones, OnePlus has taken its handsets to a new price point — hitting a Rs 70,000 mark for its most powerful device of 2021.
Except that the
OnePlus 9R — an India-only device — still promises to live up to OnePlus’ billing of making affordable flagships that can stand tall alongside the premium ones. But does the OnePlus 9R offer that? We find out in our review:
OnePlus has always been good when it comes to the design of its smartphones. In a world full of bizarre-looking phones with weird combinations of gradient back designs, OnePlus has always managed to offer subtle yet premium looking handsets and Oneplus 9R is no different.
The OnePus 9R can be purchased in two ‘sophisticated’ colour options of Lake Blue and Carbon Black. If you are someone who likes their smartphones to look funky then these may disappoint you. However, if you like your devices to appear subtle then you will like them just fine.
We got our hands on the Lake Blue colour option of the OnePlus 9R and were quite pleased with how it looked. It sports a glossy back that is curved on both sides with only the OnePlus logo placed in the centre. It is a glass back but doesn’t attract too many fingerprints making you clean every hour. The camera sensors are placed on the top left corner.
OnePlus 9R comes in an aluminium frame that houses the power button and alert slider on the left edge, volume rocker keys on the right and speaker grille, dual SIM slot and USB-C port on the bottom. No issues with the placement or the functionalities of these buttons and ports.
Overall, the OnePlus 9R is a quintessential device you expect from the brand. We found it to be slightly slippery so our advice would be to use a cover to avoid damages. It weighs 189g and is 8.4mm thick which shouldn’t be a problem if you are used to big devices.
The OnePlus 9R comes with a screen that is exactly the same as the
OnePlus 8T as well as the
OnePlus 9. You get a flat 6.55-inch Fluid AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support.
Thanks to the refresh rate, you get a snappy and responsive display experience. The overall colour reproduction is good and you also get appropriate contrast levels too.
Under the display settings, you get a dedicated ‘Vibrant Colour Effect’ that is said to optimise video colours and contrast to make it look more vivid. Further, you can also adjust the colour temperature of the display as well as the refresh rate.
The OnePlus 9R also offers an in-display fingerprint sensor, which is placed at a comfortable spot. You get a punch-hole camera for the selfie sensor.
The OnePlus 9R comes powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC, which as per the chipmaker is more powerful than the last year’s flagship processor Snapdragon 865+ and is placed right below this year’s most powerful processor — the Snapdragon 888. In simple terms, you do get an extremely powerful chipset at your disposal that should take care of heavy-duty stuff.
In terms of storage, the OnePlus 9R comes in 8GB RAM and 128GB ROM model and 12GB RAM and 256GB ROM model. Both models are UFS 3.1 storage further satisfying the quench for speed. You do not get microSD card support, however, these internal storage options should be enough for regular needs.
We had no complaints in the day-to-day functioning of the handset and faced no issues of lagging or frame freezing with the OnePlus 9R. The handset acts on your commands snappily, whether it is opening apps, switching between them, browsing the internet for hours with various apps running in the background. The stereo speakers deliver a respectable audio experience that is not only loud enough but also crisp.
The OnePlus 9R runs on the Android 11 operating system with OxygenOS 11.2 UI custom layer. The OxygenOS is one of the likeable custom OS that you can find as it comes with no bloatware or spam notifications.
You get to customise the theme, text colour, icon shapes and font on the device. You also get Digital Wellbeing and something called ‘Work-Life Balance’ that lets you prioritise notifications for different time periods of the day. For instance, you can select your work hours and days during which you will get notifications only from specific apps during that time period.
For gaming enthusiasts, the OnePlus 9R boasts of 40 Hz touch sampling rate allows users to simultaneously use up to five fingers and an X-axis linear motor, which can be tuned to produce dynamic vibration that can simulate different styles of in-game vibrations.
OnePlus also claims that the handset comes with multi-layer cooling system and has 14 temperature sensors that are constantly monitoring the temperature of the device.
It also comes with a dedicated Pro Gaming Mode that is said to restricts background apps, block calls and notifications to make the gameplay smooth.
OnePlus 9 Review
OnePlus 9R is slightly less competent than its other OnePlus 9 siblings and in fact, offers the same camera specs as the OnePlus 8T model from last year.
Starting with the selfie camera first, you get a 16MP sensor that manages to capture detailed but soft images, despite turning off the beauty mode.
On the back, there is a quad-camera setup that includes a 48MP Sony IMX586 primary camera with 6P lens glass, OIS, EIS and f/1.7 aperture. This comes with a 16MP ultrawide camera with f/2.2 aperture and 123-degree field of view, a 5MP macro lens and a 2MP monochrome lens.
The camera app on the OnePlus 9R lets you easily switch between a wide-angle (0.6x) lens, the primary lens (1x), and the optical zoom (2x) lens by a toggle that is right on the main screen. In order to click the images in the 48MP mode, you have to tap on the three-dot icon on the top right corner and then select 48MP. If this is not done, images in default are clicked in 12MP mode.
As far as the image quality is concerned, you do not get the Hasselblad-infused dedicated features, but an overall well-balanced output.
(outdoor shot — bokeh mode)
Starting with the daylight shots, almost all shots that are clicked turn out to be vivid and bright — with just the right amount of colour reproduction. You witness slight distortion with the ultrawide angle sensor but nothing glaring. The zoomed-in shots are also well detailed.
Objects captured in an indoor lighting setup were not exceptionally impressive as we found them to be slightly dull.
(indoor lighting)Moving on to the low-light shots, the primary lens will do its job well enough for you to not complain about the overall dynamic range. The Nightscape mode obviously plays a role in that. However, the ultrawide angle camera is certainly not at par with the primary camera even with the Nightscape mode.
(Nightscape mode — ultrawide angle camera)
The monochrome sensor that captures black and white images can be enabled through a filter, which does the job. Lastly, the macro sensor is a bit tricky as it may take a couple of shots and a bit of patience to capture what you are aiming for.
OnePlus 9R houses a 4500mAh battery that is complemented with a 65W fast charger. However, you get an old design of the charger with a Type-A port rather than the Type-C one that you get with other OnePlus 9 models.
Depending on the usage that varies from moderate to heavy, you should be able to get a full day’s usage or longer without running for the charger every few hours. Fast charge support also covers quick charging needs.
OnePlus Watch Review
Unless you want the top-of-the-line specs and features and want a OnePlus phone only then this isn’t a phone for you. But if you want a good-looking phone that checks all the essential boxes and there’s a lot to like about it. A snappy display that complements the design and performance that won’t let you down. Add in a camera that is more than competent enough along with a powerful battery — it’s almost a complete package at this price.
Why almost? Because you do miss out on features that are now the “premium” in the OnePlus space — such as IP rating or wireless charging — found in the OnePlus 9 and
OnePlus 9 Pro.
The device is more or less the same as the OnePlus 8T in terms of specs, which is Rs 1,000 less expensive than the OnePlus 9R right now. You should consider the OnePlus 9R if you are looking for a well-balanced device within this price segment. Competition won’t make OnePlus’ life easy though as the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro (Rs 37,999 onwards) and the recently launched Vivo X60 (Rs 37,990 onwards) are formidable offerings. Having said that, the OnePlus 9R remains true to OnePlus’ ‘original’ promise and that’s something the brand always stood firm on.