OnePlus launched the OnePlus 9RT smartphone in India last month, months after the smartphone was launched in China. It is a minor upgrade from last year’s OnePlus 9R since this packs a powerful Snapdragon 88 SoC and has a 50MP main camera with Sony IMX766 sensor. Specifications look great on paper, but is this worth the price since there is a heavy competition? Let us dive into the review to find out.
- OnePlus 9RT12GB + 256GB in Hacker Black colour
- 2-pin 65W Warp Charger 65 (10V/6.5A)
- USB Type-C cable
- Clear protective case
- SIM ejector tool
- Quick Start Guide and other documents
Display, Hardware and Design
The OnePlus 9RT sports a 6.62-inch (1080 x 2400 pixels) Full HD+ 20:9 aspect ratio Fluid E4 AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate and 397 PPI, better than the predecessor. The display is bright since it has up to 1300 nits peak brightness, offers good colour output since it has sRGB and DCI-P3 Colour Gamut and the sunlight legibility is good as well. There is no DC dimming or MEMC, which the Xiaomi 11T Pro has, but I didn’t notice any flickering issue in low brightness.
The 120Hz refresh rate offers a buttery smooth user experience, and the 300Hz response rate IC hardware on the OnePlus 9RT 5G, doubles it 600Hz and reduces the touch delay of 36ms to 29ms, especially when playing games. It can only automatically switch between 60Hz and 120Hz depending on the content, thus saving the battery life. It also has HDR 10 support, which works for YouTube and Netflix. The screen has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection.
Another important features in the phone are AI colour boost and AI resolution boost to boost the color and gradience of images and the AI Resolution Boost upscales content from apps like YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram, so you can view the content in HD resolution.
The phone doesn’t have a notification LED, but this has always-on-display, which is called ambient display that shows contextual info and notifications all day or as per schedule, and there is also horizon light that glows when you receive notifications. It doesn’t consume a lot of power since this is an AMOLED screen, but the company says that it increases the power consumption.
The phone has a tiny punch-hole on the left that houses a 16-megapixel camera with Sony IMX471 sensor, which doesn’t disturb when watching videos since it just occupies a small space. Above the display, there is an earpiece on the top edge that doubles up as a secondary speaker.
It has an in-display fingerprint scanner which is quick to unlock the phone immediately when you place your finger. You can also notice a small bezel below the screen. Thanks to its large precision x-axis linear motor, it supports 150 unique haptic feedback types for an immersive gaming experience.r
Coming to button placements, it has an alert slider on the right side along with the power button below it. The volume rockers are present on the left. The secondary microphone is on the top. The dual SIM slots, primary microphone, USB Type-C port and the speaker grill are present on the bottom. You can also see the antenna bands since it has a metal frame.
Since this has a larger 6.62-inch screen compared to 9R, it measures 162.2×74.6×8.29mm, making it slightly taller and thicker, but the width is almost the same.
The Hacker Black color variant that we have matte frosted glass is smooth to touch and is more resistant to sweat and fingerprints. The phone also comes in Nano Silver color that uses third-gen diffuse reflection processing technology for a chrome-like metallic gradient that also reduces fingerprint build up, says the company. Even though this has the same, 4500mAh battery as the predecessor, it is slightly heavier at 198.5 grams. Overall, the design and build quality is better than the 9R. Wish the phone had some kind of IP ratings for water resistance.
- 50MP primary camera with 1/1.56″ Sony IMX 766 sensor with OIS, 1.0µm pixels, PDAF + CAF
- 16MP Ultra-wide camera with Sony IMX481 sensor, f/2.25 aperture
- 2MP macro camera, f/2.4 aperture
- 16MP front camera with Sony IMX471 sensor, f/2.4 aperture, EIS
Since the base is Color OS, the camera UI is also same as the one from ColorOS and also brings those features like dual video, but it lacks AI color portrait and bokeh flare portrait video for images present in the Nord 2. There is also AI video enhancement. The rear camera offers 12.5MP output after pixel binning, and the front camera images are 16MP in size.
The phone can dramatically reduce over and under-exposed videos with its dedicated DOL-HDR technology— AI Highlight Video Mode, which captures all-natural colors even under uneven lighting conditions, says the company.
Daylight shots came out well, but when you turn on HDR the dynamic range get better, but some might not like it since it the normal image already has booster colours. On top of that, there is a feature called AI Photo Enhancement, which recognizes up to 22 different photo scenes and automatically adjusts camera settings to make boost the colours. 2X is decent, but once you zoom after that the quality degrades since it is digital zoom. The portrait mode has decent edge detection, but the 2MP mono camera is useless. The AI colour portrait and Bokeh flare portrait are also good.
Low light shots are good with a lot of details and less noise, and the OIS helps as well to stabilize the images. The night mode automatically enables ultra dark mode if there is very less light, and that makes it better, but it takes a few seconds to process. There is also a tripod mode that takes multiple photos in long exposure time of up to 25 seconds, combines them to offer better and brighter photos. The front camera is also good in daylight, and there is also HDR mode. The bokeh shots were decent, but the edge detection is not the best.
Check out the camera samples.
It can record videos in up to 4K 60 fps in both main and ultra-wide, slow motion at 1080p at 240 fps and 720p at 240fps. There is also AI mode and portrait video shooting, but these are limited to 1080p 30fps. Videos are stable, thanks to OIS, and the colours are vibrant and sharp. AI mode boosts the colours.
Software, UI and Apps
This is uses ColorOS codebase, which the company said will pave the way for faster updates. It runs Android 11 with OxygenOS 11.3 on top, which is based on ColorOS 11.3 that you find in most OPPO phones. It has Android security patch for December 2021. The company already confirmed three Android updates and four years of security updates for the phone. It is expected to get the Android 12 update in March or April.
Apart from the usual set of OnePlus apps and Google apps, it comes with Spotify and Netflix apps preloaded, but these can be uninstalled. Out of 12GB LPDDR5 RAM, you get 10.99GB of usable RAM, and about 6GB of RAM is free when default apps are running in the background. Out of 256GB, you get about 224.5GB of free storage. It UFS 3.1 storage, and we got sequential read speeds of about 1865.91MB/s.
It has an in-display fingerprint sensor that unlocks the phone quickly, but it is not as fast as a physical fingerprint sensor. You can add up to 5 fingerprints. You can also use the fingerprint for app local and payments in apps. Furthermore, you can change the fingerprint animation. The phone also has face unlock, but it is not as secure as fingerprint, and also doesn’t work if you use sunglasses or hats.
Music Player and Multimedia
YouTube Music is the default Music Player that has equalizer and Dolby Atmos, but it only works when you connect a wired or a wireless headset. It doesn’t have FM Radio support. Audio through the stereo speakers is quite loud and clear without distortion even in high volume. Audio through earphones using a converter is good as well. This has Widevine L1 so that you can play HD content on Netflix and other streaming apps. It also supports HDR content on YouTube and Netflix. Dual SIM and Connectivity
Dual SIM and Connectivity
The 9RT comes has support for 5G (N1/N3/N5/N8/28A/N40/N41/N78) 5G Network Bands in India. It has 4G Wi-Fi and VoLTE with support for Carrier Aggregation on 4G, so you can see 4G+ symbol when it’s enabled automatically. Other connectivity options include Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 802.11 ax (2.4GHz + 5GHz) 2X2 MIMO, VoWiFi / Wi-Fi calling support, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou and also has NFC support. It features Tri-eSport Wi-Fi Antenna System that switches to maximize reception when during games and calls, as well as improving Wi-Fi connection speeds and network stability. Moving on, the call quality is good, and we did not face any call drops and the earpiece volume was loud.
The OnePlus 9RT’s body SAR is 0.596W/Kg and head SAR is at 1.193/Kg which is slightly high, but it well under the limit in India which is 1.6 W/kg (over 1 g).
Performance and Benchmarks
Coming to the performance, it is one of the few phones in the price range to be powered by Snapdragon 888 5nm Mobile Platform that uses Qualcomm Kryo 680 CPUs. It has 1 x Kryo 680 Prime CPU (Arm Cortex-X1-based) at up to 2.84GHz, 3 x Kryo 680 Performance CPUs (A78-based) at up to 2.42GHz, 4x Kryo 680 Efficiency CPUs (A55-based) at up to 1.80GHz.
The Adreno 660 GPU offers a smooth gaming performance even in graphic intensive games. The phone uses five different heat dissipation materials to cool every heat-generating entity inside it with, 19067.44 mm² thermal dissipation area to keep temperature low when gaming. The vapor chamber is 59% larger than the one used in OnePlus 9 Pro, promising a 20% more efficient heat dissipation mechanism compared to the OnePlus 9 series.
Compared to the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro and the Xiaomi 11T that use the same Snapdragon 888 SoC, the OnePlus 9RT doesn’t get too hot. We did not face any issues or frame drops in the graphic-intensive games like COD, BGMI and Genshin Impact. It reached maximum 43º in our testing indoors in Wi-Fi, but this might vary outdoors in 4G. That said, check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.
As you can see from the benchmarks, it is on par with Snapdragon 888 in the AnTuTu benchmark, but the Geekbench benchmarks were low in single-core benchmarks for some reason.
Coming to the battery life, the phone packs a 4500mAh (typical) built-in battery, same as the 9R. It lasts for a whole day with Wi-Fi, but with 4G and dual SIMs, and heavy multimedia use, it lasts less than a day since this has a powerful processor. I got about 4.5 hours of screen on time with a day of use on Wi-Fi and in 120Hz. Since the phone has support for Warp Charge 65, it can charge from 0 to 100% about 31 minutes with the bundled 65W charger, but it is not a PD charger like the one that comes with OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro phones.
At a starting price of Rs. 42,999, the OnePlus 9RT is a decent upgrade to the 9R since this offers a better camera performance in both daylight and low-light and even for videos, thanks to OIS. The 120Hz AMOLED screen offers a good multimedia performance as well, and the phone offers smooth performance and a lag-free experience. It also doesn’t get heated a lot compared to the competion. The glass body offers premium look and feel, but the battery life could have been better. Even with the long wait, the company doesn’t offer Android 12 out of the box.
The Xiaomi 11T Pro ooffers a bigger battery, Dolby Vision and 120W fast charging at a cheaper rate, but lacks OIS. The iQOO 7 Legend is also a good option.
Pricing and availability
The OnePlus 9RT is priced at Rs. 42,999 for the 8GB RAM with 128GB storage version and the 12GB RAM with 256GB storage version costs Rs. 46,999. It is available from Amazon.in, OnePlus.in, OnePlus Store App, OnePlus Experience Stores, Reliance Digital, My Jio, Croma, and all partner outlets.
- 120Hz HDR display is good
- Good camera performance with OIS
- Smooth performance
- No IP ratings
- Priced slightly on the higher side
- Battery life could have been better