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HomeTechOnePlus 12R review: Near-flagship performance at affordable price

OnePlus 12R review: Near-flagship performance at affordable price


The OnePlus 12R comes with a number of noticeable improvements under the hood, including the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, a larger 5,500mAh battery and a better display. I used the OnePlus 12R as my daily driver for around 20 days to get a real-life experience of how the smartphone performed.


Look and feel 

The first thing you notice about the OnePlus 12R is that while the design of the smartphone remains the same as previous OnePlus devices, it still manages to feel premium in the hand with its rounded camera design, glass back and tactile buttons on the side. The OnePlus 12R comes with the tried and tested glass sandwich design, but this time with enhanced Gorilla Glass Victus 2 protection on the front.

Despite the larger 6.78-inch display, the OnePlus 12R is easy to hold and feels solid in the hand thanks to the curved edges on the back. However, the glass back of this phone feels slippery in the hand and is prone to smudges, so it would be prudent to use the phone with the cover provided inside the box.

In terms of other nifty changes, the OnePlus 12R now features an IR blaster on the top, and the position of the fan-favourite Alert slider has been moved to the left side of the smartphone.

Performance

The biggest change with the OnePlus 12R is the inclusion of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, which powered most of the flagship smartphones of 2023, including the Samsung Galaxy S23 and the OnePlus 11. While it’s no longer the fastest processor on the market, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 on the OnePlus 12R is still capable of giving users a premium experience without having to shell out the extra money for a flagship smartphone.

Coupled with the 16GB of RAM, this phone feels super smooth to use and can handle anything you throw at it, from everyday activities like browsing the web and streaming your favourite TV series to intense gaming sessions. Speaking of gaming, I played Call of Duty and BGMI on the highest possible settings and the gameplay was super smooth with no issues to report. I also didn’t notice any overheating or frame drops during long gaming sessions.

I was particularly impressed with the OnePlus 12R’s RAM management, with the phone managing to keep apps in the background for hours on end without any problems.

The phone performed well on all benchmarks, including Antutu and Geekbench. It had a single-core score of 1,531 and a multi-core score of 4,990 on Geekbench and an overall score of 12,56,532 on Antutu.

On a side note, OnePlus has now clarified that the 256 version of the OnePlus 12R comes with UFS 3.1 storage, and not UFS 4.0 storage as the brand had previously claimed at the time of launch.

Battery 

Another big upgrade with this year’s OnePlus 12R is in the battery department. The OnePlus 12R now comes with a 5,500mAh battery, which is the biggest battery ever on a OnePlus phone. The bigger battery along with a more efficient chipset underneath means that the OnePlus 12R delivers great battery life, consistently delivering 8-9 hours of screen on time (SOT) during my usage.

Thankfully, OnePlus isn’t going the way of other flagship phones just yet, and the OnePlus 12R still comes with a 100W fast charger in the box, which is claimed to charge the device from 0-100 in around 25 minutes, and I found this figure to be more or less accurate in my testing.

Camera

The camera is one of the main areas in which the OnePlus 12R suffers a major downgrade compared to the OnePlus 12. The OnePlus 12R comes with the same 50MP Sony IMX890 primary sensor as its predecessor, but it seems to perform better, probably thanks to the improved performance of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. The OnePlus 12, on the other hand, comes with a 50MP LYTIA 808 sensor with Hasselblad branding.

The primary sensor delivers true-to-life images with plenty of detail and natural-looking colours in good lighting conditions. In low light, the OnePlus 12R holds its own for the most part, but it still leaves something to be desired with noticeable glare in some images. Raw images are available below to help readers make up their minds.

The lack of a telephoto camera is immediately noticeable, and although OnePlus offers the option of 2x and 5x digital zoom shots, these aren’t as good as a dedicated telephoto lens. That said, the 2x zoom shots deliver decent results and are usable for the most part, but the 5x zoom shots aren’t going to be of much use other than for reading some distant text.

I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens, which in good lighting conditions produced detailed images with minimal colour shift compared to the primary sensor. In low light, however, the colour shift and loss of detail are much more noticeable.

Unfortunately, OnePlus has decided to stick with the gimmicky 2MP macro camera, which doesn’t do much other than adding to the number of cameras.

The 32-megapixel selfie camera, on the other hand, performs well in both good and low light, capturing images with plenty of detail and closer to natural skin tones.

Google Drive link for checking out the raw pictures

Software

The OnePlus 12R comes with the tried and tested OxygenOS based on the latest Android 14. However, OnePlus is only promising three years of OS updates and four years of security patches with this phone, as opposed to the four years of OS upgrades promised with the OnePlus 12, meaning that the OnePlus 12R will only receive OS updates up to Android 17.

Other than that, the software experience on the OnePlus 12R is similar to any other OnePlus phone, it’s similar to stock Android, but with some nifty features such as the ability to force an individual app to run at a higher refresh rate. There weren’t many pre-installed apps on board, with the exception of Netflix and OnePlus’s own apps, both of which can be either uninstalled or disabled by going to Settings.

Display

The OnePlus 12R comes with a slightly larger 6.78-inch LTPO OLED compared to its predecessor, while also offering support for HDR 10+ and Dolby Vision. The OnePlus 12R’s display is also much brighter, with 1600 nits of auto brightness and 4500 nits of peak brightness.

The changes to the OnePlus 12R’s display mean that you won’t have any problems using the smartphone, whether you’re streaming content on YouTube or going outdoors during peak hours.

While most flagship smartphones now come with flat bezels, OnePlus has kept the curved display on not only the OnePlus 12R, but also the more expensive OnePlus 12. That said, this 6.78-inch curved display has no problem handling anything you throw at it, and I didn’t notice any accidental touches during my time with the phone.

Other features

The OnePlus 12R now comes with IP64 water and dust protection, meaning the new OnePlus phone can handle splashes and rainy weather, but can’t be completely submerged. The OnePlus 12R also comes with Aqua Touch, which is touted as providing a ‘fast and smooth’ experience even with water droplets on the screen, but this feature is a hit-and-miss at the moment.

The OnePlus 12R comes with an impressive stereo speaker setup that is not only loud, but also retains sound clarity even at maximum volume. I also had no problems with 5G connectivity or making calls on the OnePlus 12R.

The in-display fingerprint sensor underneath the OnePlus 12R is fast and responsive, and I had no problems unlocking the phone during my testing. Oddly enough, I found the fingerprint sensor on the OnePlus 12R to be faster and more accurate than on the OnePlus 12. OnePlus has also done a good job with the Face Unlock on this phone, and the OnePlus 12R was able to unlock with just my face, even in low-light conditions.

Verdict

The OnePlus 12R is a smartphone that ticks most of the boxes, with a fast and powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset and a capable 50MP primary sensor on board. The company has also made many healthy improvements, including the addition of a larger 5,500mAh battery, a bigger and brighter display and IP64 protection.

However, the OnePlus 12R is still lacking in some areas, including the absence of a dedicated telephoto lens while opting for a gimmicky 2MP macro sensor and less software support compared to the OnePlus. The 6,000 price difference between the 128GB and 256GB versions of the OnePlus 12R also makes little sense given that the higher-end model doesn’t come with UFS 4.0 storage either.

In the end, the OnePlus 12R seems to be a great value-for-money proposition, especially the 128GB storage variant. The phone is also a strong contender for the title of best smartphone under 40,000, although that could change soon enough with the launch of the iQOO Neo 9 Pro later this month.

 

 

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Published: 14 Feb 2024, 10:51 PM IST



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