OnePlus launched its Indian exclusive OnePlus 9R without any fanfare in India along with OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro. A few years back, OnePlus disrupted the smartphone market with its ‘flagship killer’ idea, however the company changed its stance with the devices past two generation.
The prices have creeping up slowly with each generation and now for the first time in the OnePlus history, the breached the Rs. 65K mark with its OnePlus 9 Pro. At present, the company caters the mid-range segment with Nord, 50K segment with OnePlus 9 and above 60K with OnePlus 9 Pro.
With the OnePlus 9R, the company aims to bridge this gap between 30K to 50K price segment. Does the OnePlus succeed in this strategy by making OnePlus 9R THE phone in this price segment? Let’s have a look.
Why you should buy OnePlus 9R
Design and display – No compromise as usual
On to the design, the OnePlus 9R looks more similar to its expensive sibling OnePlus 9 Pro than the OnePlus 9 since the latter comes only with a triple camera setup. The OnePlus 9R lacks the Hasselblad branding, but the company compensates it with a metal frame. To give you the context, the OnePlus 9, which retails at Rs. 49,999 comes with a plastic frame. Is that a good move? Well, we will cover that in the OnePlus 9 review.
Back to the OnePlus 9R, the device doesn’t feel as premium as the other flagship in OnePlus, at least in looks. Yes, it has a metal frame, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection on both sides, and it feels solid too, but visually it lacks something that the OnePlus 9 Pro or even 9 has. If this device is supposed to bridge the gap between a mid-ranger like Nord and an expensive OnePlus 9/9 Pro, yeah, it does.
OnePlus 9R measures 8.4mm in thickness and weighs around 189grams. It is easy to carry around, feels sweet to hold, thanks to curved sides on the back. On the front, it looks like any other OnePlus device with a punch hole and flat display. The button works very well all around including, the alert slider.
Like the OnePlus 8T, the OnePlus 9R sports a 6.55-inch Full HD+ Fluid AMOLED display. It supports a 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+, sRGB color gamut, and DCI-P3 color gamut. We have no complaints when it comes to the display. The colors are vibrant, the blacks are deep, have a peak brightness at 1100 nits (so you will be fine under direct sunlight), and the content consumption is excellent, thanks to dual firing speakers.
Not much has changed in the OnePlus 9R since it also comes with the same set of options including, the ability to choose refresh rates (60Hz or 120Hz), Screen calibration, Dark mode, Always-on display, Vision comfort, Reading Mode, Dark Mode, Adaptive brightness and others.
We get a “Vibrant Color Effect,” as well, which punches up the colors upon enabling.
OxygenOS – No complaints
The OnePlus 9R comes with Android 11 with OxygenOS 11 on top. At the time of writing this review, we have OxygenOS 220.127.116.11 with the March security patch. Even though it looks a bit like Samsung’s OneUI, we are all in for the OxygenOS since it maintains the balance between feature and minimal looks successfully. On top of that, we weren’t spammed by push notifications or inappropriate advertisements.
Coming to customisation, there are options to change accent colors, shapes of quick toggles, font styles, and icon packs. Other useful features include double tap to lock, and Launcher layout (where you can select Homescreen with App drawer or just the home screen that accommodates all apps). And there is a ‘Left most screen’ option, where you can choose to have a Google news feed or OnePlus Shelf.
The OnePlus 9R also has an “Optimized charging” feature, where it optimises charging patterns according to your usage habits to reduce battery load and extend battery life. With OnePlus 9R, there is an option to select the function of power keys — Power menu or Voice Assistant. There is a “Work-Life Balance” feature that categorises the notification you’d want to be notified by. This feature can be enabled with apps, Wi-Fi networks, location, and timings too.
All said and done, the OnePlus 9R still has a March security patch.
Performance – No heating, no compromise
Since the launch, the OnePlus 9 Pro has been plagued by overheating issues, including our review unit. However, the company has rolled out a bunch of updates to keep the thermals under check. Well, we didn’t come across any such problems with the OnePlus 9R so far even under intense usage.
The OnePlus 9R is powered by Octa-Core (1 x 3.2GHz + 3 x 2.42GHz + 4 x 1.8GHz Hexa) Snapdragon 870 7nm Mobile Platform with Adreno 650 GPU. The 9R was a breeze to use right from the start. Just like its predecessor, the OnePlus 9R is incredibly fast and continues to do what it is best at. In our experience, we experienced zero lag, zero hitches, and it’s just pure speed and raw power.
On the multimedia front, the OnePlus 9R comes with stereo speakers with the primary loudspeaker facing downwards, and the secondary speaker doubles as the earpiece. The sound ratio is somewhere around 70:30.
It supports Dolby Atmos certification as well. The audio output across all the levels is enjoyable without much distortion at the higher volumes. The sound quality through headphones comes out neat without any complaints.
Battery life — Yay for casual users!
The OnePlus 9R is powered by a bigger 4500mAh battery with Warp Charge 65W technology, similar to OnePlus 8T. On a casual usage, we got around 5:45 to 6 hours of screen on time on 120Hz. But falls considerably on heavy usage. Switching back to 60Hz gives you extra battery life. In general, the Warp Charge 65 charges the device quickly, and that sort of makeup for the fact that it doesn’t have the convenience of wireless charging. The 65W technology charges the device from 0 to 100% in just 39 minutes.
It achieved One Charge Rating of 16 hours and 32 minutes in 120Hz refresh rate, so it should be more in 60Hz.
What could have been better?
Camera — Not so great!
The OnePlus 9R comes with a quad-camera setup
- Primary – 48MP rear camera with Sony IMX586 sensor, 0.8μm pixel size, f/1.75 aperture, OIS + EIS Hybrid stabilisation.
- Secondary – 16MP 116° ultra-wide camera with f/2.2 aperture.
- Third – 5MP macro camera with f/2.4 aperture.
- Fourth – 2MP depth sensor
- Video capability – 4K video at 60 fps, 720p slow motion at 480fps, 1080p slow motion at 240fps
- Front camera – 16MP front-facing camera with Sony IMX471 sensor, f/2.45 aperture, EIS
Well, not much has changed from the OnePlus 8T, be it camera specification or quality of the image. So we didn’t expect much from this device. That said, OnePlus 9R took good pictures, but it is nowhere near the like of Samsung Galaxy S20 FE or the Mi 11x Pro 5G.
Talking about the usage, the primary camera captures good photos with fine details. Most of the time, pictures churned out from the main sensors were sharp, had good colors and a bit under exposure. Since it doesn’t have a dedicated optical zoom sensor, anything beyond 2X produces noise and not recommendable.
The wide-angle camera also performs as expected, however, there are distortions. Portrait mode works well. The 5MP macro, in our experience, wasn’t great after all. It does what it meant to, but the fine details can’t be expected.
Coming to the low-light condition, the OnePlus 9R camera produces images that are brighter than reality even without Nightscape mode. But the half of the details are not retained. Enabling the Nightscape brings details from shadows and offers the right amount of sharpness as well. Overall the difference is very minimal when it comes between a regular photo and with Nightscape.
The front camera produces some decent images in the daylight, portrait works well with right edge detection half of the times, exceptions are there though. Under low-light, the performance of the camera is purely average, and it depends upon the light too.
In terms of videography, the 4K offers a good, stabilised output with good color retention. There are options to switch between the main camera and wide-angel in between video, but it works only up to 4K 30 FPS.
Check out some of the camera samples below:
Limited 5G band support
Lately, OnePlus 9 series devices came under scrutiny by many users when they found out that the Indian OnePlus 9 series devices supports very few 5G bands. There were lots of commotions regarding whether the 5G band can be updated through OTA update on OnePlus’ latest devices. Notably, the company also flagged it as an issue that can be fixed via the software update.
However, OnePlus took their official forum to clarify the fact that the OnePlus 9 series devices in India will not get support for more 5G bands with a software update in the future. While the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro supports 2 5G bands, OnePlus 9R on the other hand supports just 1 band which is N78. Well, if you are buying this device as a future-proof investment, we suggest you not to.
The OnePlus 9R supports connectivity options including 5G SA/NSA, Dual 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 6 802.11 ax 2X2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS (L1+L5 Dual Band) + GLONASS, USB Type-C, NFC. The in-display scanner is snappy and fast, one of the best in the market at present. The call quality over earpiece and headphones is excellent as well.
At this price point, OnePlus 9R directly competes with Samsung Galaxy S20FE, Mi 11X Pro, iQOO 7, and vivo X60.
Pricing and availability
The OnePlus 9R comes in Carbon Black and Lake Blue colours, is priced at Rs. 39,999 for the 8GB RAM with 128GB storage version and the 12GB RAM with 256GB storage version costs Rs. 43,999. It is now available on Amazon.in, OnePlus.in and other stores.