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If you read our review of the OnePlus 12, you know we gave it high praise for its impressive specs, gorgeous display, and competitive price. I personally think it's one of the best phones you can get right now in early 2024.

The crazy part is, OnePlus might have beaten themselves at their own game. The OnePlus 12R, which launched alongside the 12, is an arguably even more impressive phone, especially considering it's almost half the price.

And honestly, since there's so much that the 12R shares with its bigger, flashier brother, this "review" will wind up being mostly a comparison of the few things that are different.

What is the 12R?

You'd be forgiven for being confused about seeing an 'R' branded phone from OnePlus. This is, in fact, the first one of the R lineup that's launched outside of India. To make things even more confusing, OnePlus also has a completely separate lineup of budget phones called the Nord series. It launched a few years ago targeted squarely at the budget market and following mostly the same OnePlus formula of decent hardware – albeit with typical lackluster cameras - with smooth software, all for just a few hundred dollars.

OnePlus launched the first R series phone a few years ago, and until now it was exclusive to India. It seems like the goal was to fill a gap in the mid-range segment, targeting prices around the four-to-five-hundred-dollar mark, while again keeping the same design formula. Clearly the R series has been enough of a success for them to make it more globally available.

So that brings us to the OnePlus 12R.

OnePlus 12R Specs

OnePlus certainly did not skimp on specs for the 12R, even when many other phones in the price range are. It's packing last year's still well performing Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, with up to 16GB of RAM with plenty of battery life.

Processor Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Display 6.78 120Hz ProXDR
2780 x 1264
450 ppi
Storage 128/256GB UFS 3.1
Battery 5500mAh
Charging 80W wired
Camera 50 MP main camera (Sony IMX890)
8 MP 112° Ultra-wide
2 MP macro lens
Video 4K up to 60fps
Audio Dual speaker with Dolby Atmos
Water resistance IP64
Colors Iron Gray, Cool Blue

I have to give the company a lot of credit here for packing so many impressive things into a phone that starts at $399.

OnePlus 12R Design

The design of the 12R is nearly identical to the flagship 12. It uses the same curved display, keeps the buttons in the same place, and copies the same camera bump placement and layout around the back.

Source: CrackBerry

What's different is the overall dimensions and the materials used. The display on the 12R is .04 inches smaller than the 12 – that's four one-hundredths of an inch smaller. Why? Elliphino (sound it out kids). It literally makes no sense to me to have a display that's that little of a difference. I would think they would save on costs to use the same display size as the 12 and not have to retool the assembly line, but what do I know?

Source: CrackBerry

On the side, you get a matte aluminum frame instead of stainless steel, but the back is still glass. One of our complaints about the OnePlus 12 was the lack of full IP68 water and dust resistance, and sadly, the 12R fares even worse. The 12 is rated at IP65 while the 12R only goes up to IP64. Oddly, they included their new Aqua Touch feature which guarantees the phone will still work like normal even in the rain, even though it's even less water resistant. Oh well.

Source: CrackBerry

Instead of the head-turning Flowy Emerald green color on the 12, you get a gorgeous Cool Blue color which I am very disappointed I did not receive (if you end up buying one, call me. Let's trade).

Source: CrackBerry

OnePlus 12R Display

Thankfully, OnePlus kept most of the best parts of the 12 for the 12R, including the display. Again, while it's not the exact same display, it's still quite impressive. It's a bit lower resolution, topping out at 450ppi instead of 510, but it's still AMOLED and it's bright and colorful with full support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+ (when watching compatible content).

The same LTPO 120Hz refresh rate is here which means it's incredibly smooth and responsive no matter what you're doing on it. And the insane 4500-nit max brightness is here too. All this is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus 2 so it should hold up pretty well against drops and dings.

The only nitpick I can make about the display, is that for some reason, you can't adjust the dimensions as granularly on the 12 as you can on the 12R. I personally like to make my screens smaller than the default setting, and while the 12 gives you more options for adjusting the size, the 12R only gives you the default and 'larger' or 'smaller'. Nothing else. Weird.

OnePlus 12R Performance

The 12R is powered by the same beastly chip in the OnePlus 11 from last year, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. The Gen 2 was well reviewed last year as a powerhouse chip that had fixed many of the issues from the Gen 1 and it still performs beautifully even at a year old. It's really impressive to see in a phone at this price because many other companies are releasing more expensive phones with a lower quality chipset, so I give OnePlus a lot of props here.

I've been using the 12R right alongside the 12 for the past few weeks, and honest-to-God I've not seen any noticeable difference in performance, even when gaming. Now, I'll be the first to say I'm not a framerate gaming nerd, but I could not discern any difference between the phones while under heavy workload.

Granted, both models I have are the top-specced versions with 16GB of RAM, but I'm still willing to bet you won't be disappointed with the 12R's performance.

OnePlus 12R Camera

Ok, we all know by now that to get to this price point, you've got to make some compromises. And with all that power and high-end specs, something had to give. Well, sad to say, it's the camera. Now it's not bad I'd say, but it's not good either. It's serviceable, but that's about it.

Source: CrackBerry

The main camera is the same 50MP camera from the OnePlus 11, which wasn't terrible, but it's not really any better here than it was last year. It will be fine for most things, especially in good lighting, but it still falls short in all the ways it did last year. Low light pictures are grainy with hit-or-miss focusing. Colors are overexposed about half the time, and portraits will struggle in anything other than perfect lighting. Even in perfect lighting, they can still have trouble with accurate depth-of-field.

And sometimes it just can't make up it's mind on the color processing. Like why are the colors in these two pictures so differe?

All that to say that, again, it's not that it's bad, it's just meh. For sharing on social media or with friends or family – which is where 99.99% of our photos end up anyway – it's' perfectly fine.

Source: CrackBerry

There is an 8 MP ultra-wide camera with a 112 degree field of view. Again, it works for what you'd want it to do, but it's not going to blow you away anytime soon.

I am literally only going to acknowledge the 2MP macro camera simply to say it exists. It shouldn't, it's garbage, and the fact that it's still on a phone launching in 2024 is just mind boggling and disgusting. But hey, the marketing team can technically say there are three cameras, which is the only reason this camera still exists in 2024. Do better OnePlus.

'Nuff said. Here's some pictures.

OnePlus 12R Battery and Charging

While wireless charging is quite convenient, I'm still on the fence on whether it's a deal breaker for me or not. Some swear by it, I'm less inclined. Anyway, all that to say: there's no wireless charging on the OnePlus 12R, but I also don't think I care that much.

Especially since the crazy fast 80W wired charging is here. As I said in my OnePlus 12 review, I'm still boggled by the fact that OnePlus is the only OEM putting these kinds of charging speeds on their phones. It really is a game changer and the fact that no one else is doing it is just strange.

Source: CrackBerry

The downsides of this are still here too: you only get those speeds with a OnePlus charger (but one is included in the box thankfully), and that charger does not fast charge non-OnePlus devices.

The best part is that the battery in the 12R is actually bigger than the one in the OnePlus 12. It's packing a 5500 mAh battery, and much like its big brother, I really did not have to worry about battery life at all while using this phone. I could safely make it a full day heavier use, a day and a half with normal use, and two days with lighter use. No joke. If battery life is a concern for you, it won't be on the 12R.

OnePlus 12R Software

The 12R is running the same OxygenOS 14, based on Android 14, that's on the OnePlus 12. And yes, it's still essentially OPPO's ColorOS in all but name, but I've gotten used to it.

Source: CrackBerry

It's still really fast, really fluid, and blessedly free for bloatware. Navigating through the phone is a breeze and nothing I did seemed to slow it down or even cause a hiccup.

There are still a few quirks like how swiping up while in the notification try half the time closes the thing instead of scrolling my notifications. The over-zealous "this app is using your battery" notification still pops up way too often with no way to turn it off. And the aggressive battery optimization features still need some tweaking. But honestly, no software is without its frustrations these days, and I'd take these over many others – most notably Samsung's – any day.

Source: CrackBerry

OnePlus has promised to support the 12R with three years of Android platform updates and four years of security updates. In my review of the OnePlus 12, I mentioned how the company has gotten some flack for the seeming lack of long-term software support for its phones (the 12 is promised to get four years of platform updates and 5 of security updates). This mainly stems from Samsung and Google promising seven years of updates for their phones, so it's left OnePlus looking like it's behind the curve, so to speak.

But I also talked about how I don't agree. It costs a lot of money to provide software updates to millions of phones, so the more updates you have to release, the more it costs. And software is only part of the equation when looking at a phone's performance. I sincerely doubt the user experience will be the same on a phone seven years from now, when the processor and other hardware in the phone has been used continually for seven years, especially with how beefy and power-hungry Android is, and it's only going to get more so as more features are added.

Samsung and Google may have promised seven years of updates, but can they truly guarantee the same experience seven years down the road? I doubt it. Three or four years is a much different story.

No OEM can guarantee the same fluid software experience seven years down the road

And honestly, people don't even keep their phones for that long. I personally don't know anyone in my life who's still using even a five-year-old phone, either iPhone or Android, so to me it just sounds like more marketing fluff.

So if only offering three-to-five years of updates means you can offer me a near flagship experience at a fraction of the price, I'll take that deal any day.

OnePlus 12R Final thoughts

OnePlus truly has one-upped (sorry) themselves with the 12R. We called the OnePlus 12 'the best phone you can buy right now', but that might not be the case anymore. The OnePlus 12R makes a very compelling case for the 'Best' title which leaves us in a bit of a conundrum. Granted, a lot of this depends on how you define 'best', but this is my review, and this is CrackBerry, so I can say what I want.

Here's why: you get a still-extremely-powerful processor, more RAM than phones that cost three times more (come on Samsung, still offering 12GB of RAM max in a $1,800 phone? Come on), a stunning, blazingly fast display, and a fluid software experience, all starting at $400. Plus, it's future-proofed for at least three years. And OnePlus is even offering an extra $100 for any trade in, in any condition.

When you take all of that into consideration and look at other available phones you can buy right now at that price point, it's hard to argue that the 12R might even be a better choice than the 12. I mean, honestly, the 12R is 75-80% of the same phone as the OnePlus 12, but it's less than half the price. Your call.

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