oneplus 12r review

I was invited to the OnePlus 12 series launch, and while the pricier flagship model stole the show, my mind was buzzing about the OnePlus 12R. This year’s model has got a slick new aluminium frame and a seriously impressive display upgrade. For the first time ever, the gap between OnePlus’ main and ‘R’ lines is razor-thin, making it tough to justify splurging on the top-tier 12. In this review, I will break down why the OnePlus 12R packs such a punch for its price point.

One of the biggest things separating OnePlus’ flagships from the R models has always been those sweet metal frames – until now. While the 12R’s metal trim only covers a tiny slice of the phone’s surface, believe me when I say you’ll feel the difference. This handset feels sturdy as heck and potentially a bit more durable against those inevitable bumps and bruises.

oneplus 12r review An aluminium frame for a sturdier feel. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

OnePlus loaned me the Cool Blue variant for testing, and although I’m usually not a fan of bolder hues, the unique metallic sheen struck me as surprisingly premium from every angle. The only blemish? That glittery camera island with its tacky printed specs.

oneplus 12r review I don’t dig the text detailing the camera specs – it looks tacky. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

Up front, the bezels are slim as can be. That said, the 12R isn’t exactly compact. At 8.8mm thick and 207 grams, it should feel way chunkier than it does, especially with that massive 6.78-inch display (larger than last year’s already gigantic 6.74 inches). But those curves allow it to glide into your palm smoother than you’d expect from the dimensions. Sure, curved screens are falling out of fashion lately, but they make gripping these monster phones so much comfier that they’re absolutely worth it.

Still, I wish the 12R was a smidge smaller since that whopping 6.78-inch panel could make things awkward for folks with smaller mitts.

Festive offer

Flagship-level display delivers

I’ll admit, I was a bit disappointed by the display at first glance. OnePlus hyped up that 4,500 nit peak brightness like it’d sear your eyeballs, but cranking it to max didn’t exactly match the hype. For comparison, last year’s 11R topped out at 1,450 nits, so in theory, this panel should be around 3 times brighter. Sadly, it seems that the 4,500 nit rating only applies to super specific use cases, because even after testing the phone for over a week, I never saw any part of the screen light up that insanely bright.

oneplus 12r review The bottom bezel is just a smidge wider than the one on the top. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

Don’t get me wrong, the brightness is still top-notch. It’s one of the punchiest displays I’ve used, and under indoor lighting at max brightness in light mode, you’ll be squinting for sure. OnePlus just may have oversold this panel a bit with that 4,500 nit claim. But put the peak brightness aside, and you’ve got a true flagship-caliber screen here complete with fancy features like LTPO4, Dolby Vision, and a 2K resolution. In fact, the 12R’s display specs are nearly identical to the pricer OnePlus 12, further closing that flagship gap.

Top-tier performance

And the power under the hood matches that premium panel. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip is one of the beefiest in the business, with that signature Qualcomm optimisation shining through for gaming. Plus, the massive 5,500 mAh battery can last well over a full day if you don’t go too ham.

Lately, I’ve been relying on the hotspot all day since I ditched my home Wi-Fi (the 5G speeds have grown wild of late, so why not save?), and this beast still powers through the day. And when it finally runs out, that 100W charging brick will completely juice it up in under 30 minutes. Sure, powerhouses like the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Galaxy S24 Ultra can probably match the 12R’s endurance. But slap that blazing-fast charging speed on top, and you’ve got a huge advantage over the competition.

oneplus 12r review

All hail the alert slider (excuse the specks of lint). (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

What else makes the grade? There’s a decent stereo speaker setup, super snappy haptics, and even an IR blaster up top. I also can’t sing enough praises about that alert slider on the top left and its glorious convenience.

Cameras still fall shy of true flagship status

To be clear, I’m not dogging the camera system here – the 50MP IMX890 primary sensor is still one of the best in the upper mid-range arena, delivering reliable performance no matter the conditions. It’s just not quite on par with the wave of 1-inch sensors flooding the market lately – close, but no cigar.

oneplus 12r review On the OnePlus Photos app, the sun shines significantly brighter than the rest of the image. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)
oneplus 12r review Details are abundant, even upon cropping in. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)
oneplus 12r review True-to-life colours. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)
oneplus 12r review Doggo says hi. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)
oneplus 12r review Indoor camera sample. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

The 12R also supports ‘ProXDR,’ which embeds an HDR gain map into photos to make bright spots like the sun pop. Unfortunately, these enhancements are only viewable on the OnePlus Photos app – no Google Photos support.

Meanwhile, the 16MP front camera is simply stellar with excellent details, dynamic range, and colour accuracy.

oneplus 12r review This is a flagship-level selfie camera by all means. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

What gives away the non-flagship camera status is everything else. The 8MP ultra-wide lens is just passable, and that 2MP macro shooter feels like an afterthought with sub-par detail.

oneplus 12r review Ultra-wide shots lose detail upon zooming in but are Instagram-worthy nontheless. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)
oneplus 12r review Macro shots are passable at best. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

But my main gripe is the lack of a telephoto lens, preventing it from achieving that all-important flagship versatility. I rely on telephoto way more than ultra-wide for those creamy, DSLR-style bokeh shots, and I definitely missed having that option. Although 2x digital zoom does an okay job filling the gap in bright lighting at least.

No wireless charging support: I’ve become a big wireless charging fan lately. I’d take the convenience of sharing a Qi charging pad with my other gadgets over pure speed any day, especially since I do most of my heavy charging overnight anyway. Not to mention, even cheaper cars are starting to come with wireless pads built in. More people are going to feel the sting of this omission now than ever before.

oneplus 12r review A high-quality rubberised case in the box adds to the flair. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

Lacks IP67/IP68 certification

The OnePlus 12R sports an IP65 rating, meaning it’ll shrug off dust ingress and stand up to the occasional splash or spray of water. That’s certainly better than nothing. But missing out on that IP67/IP68 classification is another knock against its flagship-killer status.


oneplus 12r review The cameras are probably the biggest advantage the OnePlus 12 has over the 12R. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

The OnePlus 12R brings nearly everything to the table at a reasonably low price point. Unless you absolutely need the latest and greatest camera tech or waterproof peace of mind, this phone delivers a discount flagship experience without emptying your wallet. Call it the people’s OnePlus.

By 111 Tech

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