OnePlus 9R – A Slightly Better Phone

Most mobile phone companies these days create various branches for their product lineup and launch different products under one main category. OnePlus follow the same pattern and launched OnePlus 9R which is a value for money offering from them.

Earlier they launched the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 pro and both belong to the high-end premium segment. After the success of both the phones maybe they thought about some less expensive product with the same flavor like Oneplus 9. So they created a kind of mid-range flagship phone, the new OnePlus 9R.

Here I mention the kind because apart from some changes the OnePlus 9R is more or less similar to the OnePlus 8T. So clearly one plus tried to diversify its portfolio of products and address different price points.

Oneplus 9R is the third phone in the company’s OnePlus 9 series. This new model is exclusively built for the Indian market but now it’s available in other countries as well.

So in terms of specs, there are two major changes in 9R compared to 8T, one is the new snapdragon 870 processor and another is the new more flagship-like design.

The price of the phone is 39999 INR or $538 (if we convert) so should it justify its price because Galaxy S20 FE 5G and the Vivo X60 hover around the same price point.

In this post, we tried to find the answer to this question…

The Specifications:

Display size, resolution, refresh rate 6.55-inch AMOLED, FHD+ (2,400×1,080 pixels), 120Hz, HDR10+
Pixel density 402ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.34×2.92×0.33 in.
Dimensions (Millimeters) 161×74.1×8.4 mm
Weight (Grams) 6.67 oz; 189g
Software Android 11, OxygenOS
Camera 48MP (main), 16MP (wide-angle), 5MP (macro), 2MP (monochrome)
Front camera 16-megapixel
Video 4K@30/60fps, Auto HDR, gyro- EIS
Processor Qualcomm SM8250-AC Snapdragon 870 5G (7 nm)
Storage 128/256GB
Fingerprint reader No Under Display Optical reader
Battery Li-Po 4,500 mAh
Charging Fast charging 65W, 1-100% in 39 min (advertised)
Connector USB-C
Headphone Jack No
Special features 5G-enabled, 120Hz, dual stereo speaker, face unlock
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, Dual-band A-GPS
Price (USD) Approximately $540 (converted from Indian price)
Price (INDIA) ₹39,999

Build, Design and Display:

Front view OnePlus 9R

Apart from the camera and the Hasselblad logo the phone looks similar to the OnePlus 9 pro. The whole body is made of good quality aluminum and when you hold the phone it gives you the same sturdy and premium feel as its predecessor.

In terms of dimensions and weight distribution, the 9R has done a good job and because of the slightly matte finish, 9R is less slippery and catches fewer fingerprints compared to other glass body design phones.

The lake blue and carbon black colors look good and the camera cutout design at the back is similar to onePlus 9 and 9pro. Only the onePlus text is missing at the back and it’s not a big deal for me.

It does employ the same 3D Corning Gorilla Glass which curves smoothly into the polished metal frame. The antenna lines along with the signature alert slider, the power button at the right, and volume rocker buttons are positioned at the left.

Apart from that, there’s the In-display fingerprint scanner on the front which is fast and accurate, the stereo speakers are loud and clear, and the sim card tray and USB type -C port at the bottom. The sim tray supports two nano sims and no micro-USB card support.

Regarding the display, it has a 6.55-inch Fluid Amoled full HD + display which is vibrant and produced natural-looking colors. The refresh rate is supported by 120 Hz means you always love the swift response from the screen.

The screen-to-body ratio is also higher 86.8% and the 2400X1080 resolution is supported with 402 PPI pixel density.

So it has all that deeper blacks high refresh rate fast response but there’s one thing on this AMOLED display that you don’t find in other phones this is HDR 10 display and it is Netflix certified so if you have a Netflix top tier account you can watch HDR content on one plus 9r.

Other top brands like Samsung S20 FE 5G and IQOO7 5G none of them support HDR10 on Netflix so this is a big plus.

Along with HDR 10 certification, there are 8192 levels of automatic brightness adjustments, 240Hz touch sampling rate, excellent viewing angles, and extensive display tuning capabilities to give you a top-notch experience.

So in terms of display and design, its overall performance is mostly the same as the one plus 9 and I like that one plus has at least made sure to differentiate the 9r and kind of make it look like a newer phone.

The Quadruple Rear Camera:

Quad camera Module

With the OnePlus 9 and 9pro, they partnered with Hasselblad and also introduced an excellent quality triple-lens setup for their premium flagship. For the new 9R, they go with the same camera module used in one plus 8T.

In the Back, there are four Sensors integrated with the flash a 26 mm primary 48 Megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor, a 14mm ultrawide16 MP sensor, a 5MP macro, and a 2 MP monochrome sensor.

Here OnePlus uses an older Sony IMX 586 sensor supported by a 16MP Sony IMX481 ultra-wide sensor with a 123-degree field of view. The other two cameras are just for increasing the count and don’t expect anything special here.

Needless to say that the 9R’s image capturing is quite good, at least for its price. Details, dynamic range, and colors, for the most part, are on point when there is enough light in the background.

In normal circumstances, the camera performs OK, but when there is a lot of light or on a cloudy day, the limitations are exposed. The rear quad camera is unable to adjust the dynamic range and most of the time images are over or less exposed.

Although OnePlus claims great night photos the same thing happens with the low light images the camera fails to capture all details in low light and sometimes photos came up bright but the details are very few.

If you compare the 9R camera with the Samsung S20 FE 5G or IQOO 7 5G you could clearly see the differences. Take a look at some camera samples …

The shutter speed is fast for capturing the moving objects and the focus does remain a bit soft around the center but it is very evenly spread out across the frame. The macro and monochrome shooter is actually not that great and I’ve mostly avoided using it.

In the front, we have a punch hole 16 MP single Sony IMX 471 camera and I would say the front-facing camera performance is actually pretty good and even in the portrait mode it does a pretty good job with most of the images are looks natural. But in low light, the camera struggles quite a bit.

On the video front, there are optical Image stabilization and Auto HDR support so in general the videos are quite steady and colors are natural and lenses’ do not crop the image. It can capture 4K videos up to 60 FPS.

Overall the Oneplus 9R captures some good images in general but nothing compares to the Oneplus 9 or 9 pros. If you compare it with other mid-range phones then it’s OK but doesn’t expect anything flagship level.

Performance and Software:

Snapdragon 870, 865+, and 865

The Oneplus 9R comes with the new Qualcomm SM8250-AC Snapdragon 870 5G (7 nm) chipset with 8 or 12 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of inbuilt storage. The storage is UFS 3.1 the fastest in the industry.

The Snapdragon 870 is basically the overclocked version of the Snapdragon 865 that we have seen inside the One Plus 8t.

So does that make a difference in performance well, the 870 does better than the 865 in benchmark scores I mean here the answer to scores of both the phones and the higher clock speed seems to be making difference because the CPU scores of the 870 are slightly higher here are the Geekbench scores now and again the 870 scores better.

Antutu & Geekbench score Left OnePlus 9R right 8T

It’s clearly not a big difference because both these chipsets are very similar but yeah the 870 scores marginally higher and the battery drain test also 9R performs better than 8T.

Unlike other phones in the OnePlus 9 series, the company hasn’t opted for a Snapdragon 888 here. Despite that, it is extremely powerful for absolutely anything one would look to do on a phone.

The Gaming experience is good with this phone because one plus does their tweaks in the software and gives users an immersive gaming experience. The 240 Hz touch sampling rate is good but if you compare it with IQOO 7 then you probably see some differences.

OnePlus does have a few tricks up its sleeves with the 14 temperature sensors that regulate the heating of the back panel during intensive gaming. This, combined with a graphite and copper-lined vapor chamber is supposed to keep the OnePlus 9R running cool under sustained load and heavy GPU usage.

At the core the 9R running by Oxygen OS 11.2 on top of Android 11 and if you are familiar with Oxygen OS you feel the same clean and fluid experience with maximum usability.

While the UI has lost some of its clean aesthetic over the years, it remains one of the most user-friendly skins. There are some changes in terms of Google feed, gesture control, and Pro gaming mode but don’t worry you are getting used to these things when you use the 9R for your daily driver.

It has all those cool features if you’re in a game and you want to access the notification bar it automatically comes to the left or the right side depending on where you swipe on the really cool screen.

Another thing is if you receive a massage while you’re watching a YouTube video you tap on it and it opens the message in a floating window you can reply to the message and tap and the video resumes again I didn’t even have to move out of YouTube to reply to the message.

So overall A clean UI with no Adware or Bloatware maintains its charm and gives you almost the stock android experience with great RAM management and multitasking ability.

A Fast Charging Battery:

Mobile, Charger, and Data cable

The 4500 mAH Lithium polymer Battery is similar to many OnePlus phones like the 8T and the 65-watt fast charging is also supported out of the box. The battery is not the largest but more than sufficient for day-to-day usage.

Getting a full day of normal use is the bare minimum you expect from a device in this category, and you get that with 9R. But the battery drains pretty quickly in terms of heavy graphics gaming which is quite normal so nothing to complain about.

I got around five to six hours of screen-on time on average. For most of the users it should last about one day and end of the day you have to refill it and due to fast charging, it’s not been an issue.

Although the Oneplus 9R is not supported wireless charging the 65-watt wrap charger inside the box really solves that issue and you can top up the phone in less than an hour.

It’s magical to see how quickly the charging indicator ticks up. I clocked a full charge from zero to 100% at about 40 minutes.

Other Features:

  • The one plus 9R has an In-display fingerprint scanner which is very fast and accurately unlocks your phone every time.
  • Stereo speakers are loud not the top one resides in the microphone but together they produce a very rich sound effect.
  • Dual micro sim cards are supported with a single band (78 SA/NSA) 5G gives you the option to use the future networks.
  • The Phone supports Wi-Fi version 6 and Bluetooth version 5.1 means you have the latest pairing technology and are mostly compatible with all new hardware like audio or video devices.
  • Near Field Communication or NFC is supported so you can easily pair your NFC enabled headphones with just a tap and also use Google pay or other NFC enabled payment systems effortlessly.
  • Oneplus doesn’t skip any sensor here so you have all the sensors like Accelerometer, E-compass, Gyroscope, Ambient light, SAR Sensor, Proximity sensor, and Sensor core.
  • Always on display also gives you a good deal of customization and you can customize your favorite apps, notes, text, and clocks as per your choice.

Should it justify your Money?

It’s the basic question these days because you definitely deserve the best all-around product within the price range after spending money.

OnePlus marks a return to OnePlus roots as an affordable flagship with plenty of raw power, fast 65W charging, and an attractive 120Hz display.

For the specific audience who doesn’t want to spend lots of money to buy a flagship like Oneplus 9 or 9pro but wants that same kind of feeling – At least for them, it’s a Good Choice.

The phone delivers competitive performance, rapid proprietary fast charging, and a clean and fluid software experience, all at a competitive price point. Unfortunately for OnePlus, the competition does it better.

The most value-for-money product is the last year’s Xiaomi Mi 10T. The phone packs a Snapdragon 865 chipset that has practically the same performance, a significantly better 64MP camera, and even a larger 5,000mAh battery. Available for as low as Rs. 32,999 ($443).

The Samsung S20 FE 5G (39990 INR) and Vivo X60 (34990INR) offer the same power, better camera, wider 5G support, and look much more premium at an even lower or similar price giving lots of competition in this segment.

Finally, the OnePlus 9R has a slightly better design, slightly better screen, slightly better performance, and slightly better price. So yeah it’s slightly better than the one plus 8T and feels like old wine in a new bottle.

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