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OnePlus 9R Review: Minor Refresh with a New Coat Of Paint

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OnePlus 9R: The 9R has almost identical specifications to the OnePlus 8T. Will it be a success in India for OnePlus?

OnePlus’ brand image was built around “flagship killers”, promising almost all the capabilities and features of flagship-class smartphones at a fraction of the cost. 

OnePlus flagships are now regularly launched at prices exceeding Rs. 1,00,000. OnePlus has maintained this pace. 

New OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9 were launched with prices starting at Rs. 49,999 and Rs. 49,999 and Rs. 64,999 respectively, which puts them in the premium tier. 

Unfortunately, many people have not seen their purchasing power increase as much. The buyer thought they were getting a great deal when the OnePlus 5 was launched at Rs. 

OnePlus 9R
OnePlus 9R

The buyer felt they were getting a great deal when the OnePlus 5 was launched at Rs. 32,999 in mid-2017 is unlikely to feel the exact same about the new generation when it comes time to upgrade.

The company that promised we would “never settle” now asks its loyal fans to do just that. 

The OnePlus 9R is a response and attempt to cater to people who want something new and don’t mind a few compromises, relative to the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro. 

The OnePlus 9R looks very similar to its siblings but is strikingly different from the OnePlus 8T .

The OnePlus 9R is a great phone for Rs. 39,999. Are there too many compromises or is the OnePlus 9R worth 39,999? What does this mean for the more costly OnePlus 9? Let’s see.

OnePlus 9R design

The OnePlus 9R is very similar to its siblings, the OnePlus 9 Pro, and the OnePlus 9R. This generation’s distinctive design touch is the layout and shape of the camera module.

It is something that is shared across all three models. The only thing missing is the Hasselblad logo. The 9R does not benefit from this high-profile association. The 9R features four cameras just like the 9 Pro. The OnePlus 9 only has three.

The OnePlus 9R’s body is made from metal rather than polycarbonate, which gives it an edge over its more expensive sibling. 

This makes the 9R feel premium and shows how reusing the design from the OnePlus 8T can be a good thing and a bad thing. 

Both the front and back of my unit are made from Corning Gorilla Glass. An adhesive screen protector was pre-applied to my unit.

There are two colors available: Lake Blue which has a glossy, smooth finish, and Carbon Black which has a more frosted, matte texture. 

Although the Lake Blue unit I reviewed was not slippery, it was difficult to keep the rear panel clean. Unfortunately, the plastic box you receive has a large logo of “Never Settle” across it.

The glass panel on the rear is curved to the sides so that the module of the camera doesn’t stick out too far. The screen is large and has narrow borders.

The front camera is located in the upper left corner. Even with one hand, the 9R is easy to use. It is 8.4mm thick and weighs in at 189g.

You’ll find a small, but prominently placed power button as well as the OnePlus Alert Slider. This allows you to quickly silence your phone or disable vibration. 

On the left are volume buttons. The top is unadorned, while the bottom features one speaker, a USB Type C port, and the dual-NanoSIM tray.

The OnePlus 9R has almost identical features to the OnePlus 8T. It is even more similar to the OnePlus 8T in terms of the arrangement of the four lenses on its camera module. 

The dimensions are identical, but it is 1 gram heavier. It doesn’t have an IP rating. Overall, it is a sleek, modern phone that potential buyers will love.

OnePlus 9R specifications

The OnePlus 9R has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC, while the 8T has the Snapdragon 865+. This is the biggest difference. 

The 870 is a minor upgrade that not only runs slightly faster but also drops Wi-Fi 6E compatibility. 

This SoC is located right below the Snapdragon 888 flagship and will most likely be found in other “value flagships” phones. OnePlus claims it has developed a complex cooling system that includes multiple temperature sensors in order to provide comfort for users.

The OnePlus 8T and OnePlus 9 panels have the same specifications, a 6.5-inch full HD+ Fluid AMOLED screen.

It has a 120Hz maximum refresh speed and HDR10+. It is embedded with a fingerprint sensor and made of Gorilla Glass. 

OnePlus specifies that it supports sRGB as well as DCI-P3 colors gamuts, but does not claim 100% coverage. The display can be turned off at will, but it won’t stay on for long unless you enable it. This will cause some power consumption.

OnePlus uses the same RAM and storage combination across all its models. There are two options: 8GB RAM with 128GB storage or 12GB RAM with 256GB storage.

This storage standard is UFS 3.1 fast, and it’s also used in higher-end models. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 are included with aptX HD codec and LDAC codec support.

NFC is also available. NavIC is not listed. Except for a barometer, you get all the sensors you would expect.

The 4500mAh battery is standard for this price segment. Although the OnePlus 9R supports 65W fast charging (but not the Type-C version), the charger you receive in the box is an older-style brick with a Type-A port. Wireless charging is not available.

Stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos tuning, and a tactile vibration motor are just a few of the other little touches.

Software OnePlus 9R

We have previously praised OnePlus’s OxygenOS program. It is still feature-rich but has a very low-key appearance. It is version 11.1 and runs on Android 11.

However, I was surprised to not see any security updates beyond February 2021 at the time of review. 

Samsung’s OneUI clearly inspired some design elements, such as the placement of elements that make it easier to use one-handed on large screens.

There are many customizations underneath the surface, but nothing overly garish. It’s great that there is no advertising on the lock screen and no spammy notifications ads. 

Netflix is the only third-party app preloaded and cannot be uninstalled. 

My Games has an integrated launcher for “instant gaming” that doesn’t need installation, but they are not of high quality and contain a lot of clickbait-y gaming-related content. 

You may also be prompted to use various OnePlus features, such as the cloud service or customer loyalty program.

There are two options: standard buttons on the screen or gestures that allow you to navigate UI. Although the gestures may be non-standard and require some practice, they are very easy to use one-handed. 

They might not work with all apps’ gestures. A panel in iOS-style with cards for different apps and tools can be accessed by swiping down from the home screen. You can disable or enable the app drawer and customize the appearance of your UI.

Hidden Space allows you to password-protect specific apps. You can set different notifications based on time, GPS location, and/or Wi-Fi access points nearby. 3

You can run multiple instances of an app, launch apps directly from the lock screen using the swipe on the fingerprint sensor, customize the always-on display, and many other things.

OnePlus 9R performance

The OnePlus 9R feels snappy and responsive in everyday use, so it shouldn’t surprise you. 

Combining high-end SoC with a 120Hz refresh rate creates a fluid and responsive user experience. The OnePlus 9R feels like a high-end smartphone. Apps load quickly and transitions are smooth.

The screen is bright and sharp. Although the camera hole is slightly larger than I would like, it isn’t too distracting due to its location and design. 

The videos look great with strong contrast and deep blacks. You can select from a variety of screen calibration profiles in the settings.

These options allow you to choose between vivid, saturated colors or a more neutral and accurate reproduction. 

The sound from the bottom speaker or earpiece may not be perfectly balanced, but it still provides a good stereo experience.

OnePlus 9R
OnePlus 9R

Benchmark tests prove that the OnePlus 9R’s performance is in the flagship category. It scored 6,72,556 points on AnTuTu 9.

Geekbench’s single and multicore tests also gave it 965 and 307 respectively. 3,198 points were scored by 3DMark’s Wild Life test, while Sling Shot Extreme was at its maximum. 

GFXBench’s Manhattan and T-Rex scenes were capped at 60 frames per second, while the Car Chase scene was at 49 frames per second.

Asphalt 9: Legends, Call of Duty Mobile, and Asphalt 9: Legends run well and I experienced no graphics or performance issues. 

These games ran at 60 frames per second, even though the screen was not running at its full 120Hz refresh rate. 

After about 10 minutes, I felt the top of my metal frame and the rear panel getting warm. Although the phone was not uncomfortable, it was definitely noticeable.

In our HD video loop test, the OnePlus 9R ran for a total of 15 hours and 49 minutes. The OnePlus 9R lasted for a full day with the refresh rate set at 120Hz. It often falls to 60Hz when it is idle to save energy. 

It should be possible to stream movies or play games for several hours per day without worrying about the battery.

OnePlus claims you can charge your phone up to 58 percent in just 15 minutes, and the battery will be fully charged in 39 minutes. This was not the case in my experience.

It took me 30 minutes to reach 64 percent and 50 minutes to reach 100 percent using the included charger. It’s still quite impressive, but it is not as good as what was promised.

OnePlus 9R cameras

Unlike the OnePlus 9 Pro and 9 Pro, the OnePlus 8T doesn’t have Hasselblad branding. This means you won’t see the hyped color science enhancements. 

Despite this, I was able to take decent photos and videos with the OnePlus 8T. The 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor is the primary camera. It has an f/1.7 aperture with optical stabilization. 

A 16-megapixel wide-angle sensor, 5-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel monochrome filters camera are also included. These cameras are limited in use. Having four cameras doesn’t make the OnePlus 9 any better than three.

It is simple to use the OxygenOS camera application and most controls can be reached easily. Although there are no other modes than Nightscape, Panorama, and Pro, the app offers two Cyberpunk 2077-branded filters as a continuation to OnePlus’ association.

This phone is excellent for photos, especially considering its price. Daytime photos were sharp and detailed with excellent exposure metering. 

Although the colors are not as vibrant and natural-looking as they could be, this is still better than unnatural or oversaturated reproductions. 

You can achieve dramatic background blurring when you are close up. The phone also locks focus quickly. However, objects at a distance tend to have less detail. 

Although the wide-angle camera has a large field of view, there is severe perspective distortion. This should not be used lightly.

Portrait mode produces very good results. On-screen prompts can help with distance and framing. Macro cameras are also very useful for producing high-quality images.

A lot of what happens at night depends on the amount of light around you. You can achieve some excellent results with a little artificial lighting. Nightscape mode can also make a big difference. 

Even though the Nightscape mode can be used, the wide-angle camera won’t make much difference in dark conditions. 

Although the primary camera can take good photos and noise is under control you might lose quality if they are magnified too much and you may sometimes get motion blur if you’re not standing still.

Daytime selfies were acceptable with good skin tones reproduction. The background blur was not natural-looking, but portraits had decent edge detection. Night shots and noise were a problem for the 16-megapixel front camera.

The daytime video performance was also excellent. It is possible to shoot at 4K 60fps and 4K wide-angle video. You can switch between wide-angle and primary cameras during recordings. 

The 4K resolution gave the footage a warmer tone and colors. The stabilization is good at 1080p. However, you can expect some jerky movements with the wide-angle camera. Overall, the colors and detail are good. 

Nighttime stabilization can cause a judder effect both in 1080p and 4K video. Although the wide-angle camera may not be as useful, it can still work in ambient light.

Verdict

The OnePlus 9R is a slightly reworked OnePlus 8T. A larger price drop would have made it more appealing. It’s sleek and modern and easy to use. 

It performs well, whether you are gaming or simply doing your daily tasks. OxygenOS is still running smoothly, and the overall user experience is excellent. 

Cameras are as good as you would expect at this price, the battery life is excellent, and charging is fast.

Unfortunately, buyers are not getting anything interesting or new. OnePlus should be pushing the boundaries and delivering better products at every price point, but what you get for your money remains the same as it was before. 

The IP rating and wireless charging are still not available. Additionally, the extra cameras don’t add much value. Honestly, many people would prefer a price below Rs. OnePlus Nord is a 30,000-phone phone that’s just as good as the OnePlus Nord.

This launch shows that OnePlus is aware that the 9 Pro and 9 Pro are too costly for many Indians. However, it raises the question of whether the OnePlus 9 should be purchased.

The OnePlus 9 doesn’t offer a lot more in terms either of functionality or user experience. Samsung just launched the Galaxy S20 FE 5G. Vivo’s X60 series seems competitive. Xiaomi’s Mi 11 series will also be available.

The 9R is a good option for OnePlus fans who want an upgrade at this price point. It might be worth waiting to see how it compares against the competition.

Also Read: Best Oneplus 9 Review

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