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Reviews

OnePlus 12R Review: A new mid-range challenger appears

A mid-range contender with more than a few compromises

The Pros

  • Exceptional battery life
  • Quick charging
  • Competitively priced

The Cons

  • Short software support
  • No wireless charging
  • Bad macro camera

The OnePlus ‘R’ series’ greatness is finally here, giving Canadians a new mid-range option apart from the likes of Samsung’s ‘FE’ and Apple’s iPhone ‘SE’ line.

The mid-range smartphone offers a sleek and premium design with several premium features reminiscent of its higher-end sibling, the OnePlus 12, mixed with top-of-the-line features from last year’s OnePlus 11. It starts at $669.99, making it an attractive, pocket-friendly option for Canadian OnePlus fans.

But does the smartphone stand up to the giants already capturing the mid-range market? Well, kind of.

I won’t compare the OnePlus 12R to the OnePlus 11R unless absolutely necessary — since the predecessor never came to Canada, there’s no point in pitting it against this year’s model.

The OnePlus 12R is a thin smartphone with a stylish design and a body that feels premium and durable. The 6.78-inch display, albeit curved, which I’m not a huge fan of, has a 2,780 x 1,264 pixel resolution, with a 1-120Hz dynamic refresh rate and a peak brightness of 4,500 nits.

I haven’t experienced accidental touches with the curved display yet, and the display is bright enough that you can walk under direct sunlight and have your phone still legible.

The device essentially shares the same design as the higher-end OnePlus 12, although in different colours.

OnePlus 12R

Display

6.78 inches, 1,264 x 2,780 120Hz LTPO4 AMOLED display

Processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

RAM

8GB/16GB

Storage

128GB/256GB

Dimensions (in.)

163.3 x 75.3 x 8.8 mm

Weight

207g

Rear Facing Camera

50-megapixel f/1.8(wide), 8-megapixel f/2.2 (ultrawide), 2-megapixel f/2.4 (macro)

Front Facing Camera

16-megapixel f/2.4

OS

OxygenOS 14 on Android 14

Battery

5,500mAh

Network Connectivity

GSM, LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, 5G NR

Sensors

Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, colour spectrum

SIM Type

Dual nano-SIM slot

Launch Date

January 23, 2024

Misc

Colours: 'Cool Blue,' 'Iron Gray'

Display

OnePlus 12R

6.78 inches, 1,264 x 2,780 120Hz LTPO4 AMOLED display

Processor

OnePlus 12R

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

RAM

OnePlus 12R

8GB/16GB

Storage

OnePlus 12R

128GB/256GB

Dimensions (in.)

OnePlus 12R

163.3 x 75.3 x 8.8 mm

Weight

OnePlus 12R

207g

Rear Facing Camera

OnePlus 12R

50-megapixel f/1.8(wide), 8-megapixel f/2.2 (ultrawide), 2-megapixel f/2.4 (macro)

Front Facing Camera

OnePlus 12R

16-megapixel f/2.4

OS

OnePlus 12R

OxygenOS 14 on Android 14

Battery

OnePlus 12R

5,500mAh

Network Connectivity

OnePlus 12R

GSM, LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, 5G NR

Sensors

OnePlus 12R

Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, colour spectrum

SIM Type

OnePlus 12R

Dual nano-SIM slot

Launch Date

OnePlus 12R

January 23, 2024

Misc

OnePlus 12R

Colours: 'Cool Blue,' 'Iron Gray'

On the rear, the device I’m using features a calming blue tone with a glossy finish. Even though the rear is a fingerprint and smudge magnet, I prefer it over the OnePlus 12’s chaotic ‘Flowy Emerald’ colourway. The OnePlus 12R’s ‘Cool Blue’ colourway’s dual-tone finish with the circular camera bar looks pleasing. The device is also available in a matte finish ‘Iron Gray’ colourway.

Apart from the colour differences, the OnePlus 12R also features a less powerful chip when compared to the OnePlus 12, but it hasn’t affected the device’s daily use. The OnePlus 12 sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, while the OnePlus 12R runs on the last-generation Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, which is still a capable processor.

Even with the older chipset, the phone offers impressive performance. Apps load up instantaneously, and touches are registered without delay. Games feel smooth on the device and read and write speeds are impressive via cloud gaming apps. It can handle most other daily tasks with ease.

It never dies

The OnePlus 12R’s battery life seems never-ending — I’m not even exaggerating. The device features a 5,500mAh cell, which is slightly bigger than the top-of-the-line OnePlus 12’s 5,400mAh battery.

I could squeeze two to two-and-a-half days out of a single charge with just regular use, which included texting, browsing, watching YouTube videos, listening to music and snapping a few photos.

On occasions with heavier usage, where I’d use the device for directions, gaming, binge-streaming or binge-scrolling, and other intensive tasks, the phone would last roughly one to one-and-a-half days.

The OnePlus 12R also supports what OnePlus calls ‘SUPERVOOC’ 80-watt fast charging, which allows the phone to charge from 0 percent to 50 percent in roughly 15 minutes. That is blazingly fast and very convenient for quick top-ups, especially considering that OnePlus includes the charging brick with the phone.

However, it wouldn’t be a mid-ranger without some sacrifices. The phone doesn’t feature wireless charging, while the beefier OnePlus 12 does, so you won’t be able to set the phone to slow charge overnight.

No Hasselblad tuning on the mid-ranger

The camera setup on the OnePlus 12R, while not benefiting from Hasselblad tuning like the OnePlus 12, delivers satisfactory results. The device’s cameras aren’t entirely bad, but they’re also not flagship-killers by any means.

The main camera takes decent images during the daytime, with accurate colours and sharp details, and with the night mode on, paired with optical image stabilization, poorly-lit scenes pop too. The main camera uses a Sony IMX 890 sensor, which was also used on last year’s OnePlus 11. However, the macro lens on the OnePlus 12R produces low-quality images with poor, noticeable field curvature aberrations where the edges of images look janky and blurry in all lighting conditions.

The front 16-megapixel selfie camera can take nice selfies in good lighting, with natural skin tones and facial details, though the lingering beauty filter icon prompt makes me not want to use the front camera. OnePlus likely offers an option to remove the icon from the selfie screen, but I couldn’t locate it.

On the video side, the OnePlus 12R can record 4K video at 60/30 fps and 1080p video at 60/30 fps. It lacks the 8K/24 fps recording available on the OnePlus 12.

Runs on OxygenOS, but still suffocates underwater

The display is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus 2, which is the same protective glass used on the Samsung Galaxy S23 series, while the aluminum alloy frame has more than 20 percent aluminum for added durability. However, the device isn’t IP68-rated. Instead, it has an IP64 rating, which means it can handle water droplets and rain, though it shouldn’t be submerged. That is a big downside for a device that costs $669.99. However, the phone does stay responsive to user touch inputs even when it’s wet.

Elsewhere, the device runs on OnePlus’ OxygenOS 14, based on the familiar Android 14, offering a smooth UI and customizable UI. Admittedly, I haven’t faced many of the bugs my colleague Brad Bennett encountered with the OnePlus 12, though I had my own problems.

With apps like Stellarium, which is essentially an astronomy app that offers an accurate night-sky simulation, the OnePlus 12R failed to provide the app with accurate compass data, while my daily driver iPhone 15 Pro, and RedMagic’s 8S were able to point North, East, West and South accurately.

On a different occasion, I could not grant location permission to a different app. After multiple tries, the 12R budged and granted permission, only for the location to be wrong. A quick reboot did fix the issue, but it was surprising to witness such strange bugs that I’ve never encountered with other phones.

On the other hand, some aspects of the device work flawlessly. The under-display fingerprint scanner works instantaneously, even with the lightest touch, while face unlock doesn’t fail even in completely dark rooms.

Most of the device’s cons are easy to ignore; some can be fixed with future software updates. OnePlus will only offer three years of OS and four years of security upgrades to the OnePlus 12R. This is one year less support for both OS and security patches when compared to the OnePlus 12.

This hits the OnePlus 12 line’s favourability especially hard, considering that Samsung and Google offer seven years of OS and security updates for their respective current-gen flagships.  This means that the OnePlus isn’t thinking about longevity with the mid-range OnePlus 12R, while other mid-range devices, like the Galaxy S23 FE, will get four years of OS upgrades and five years of security patches. Similarly, the upcoming Pixel 8a is rumoured to get seven years of both security and OS updates.

Overall, the OnePlus 12R, with its sleek design, feels like a stylish phone. With its 6.78-inch curved display, the device delivers a pleasant viewing experience with great brightness and an efficient adaptive refresh rate. And despite featuring a slightly less powerful chip than the OnePlus 12, the OnePlus 12R still ensures smooth performance, quick app loading, and efficient handling of daily tasks.

A mid-range contender

Overall, the OnePlus 12R, with its sleek design, feels like a stylish phone. With its 6.78-inch curved display, the device delivers a pleasant viewing experience with great brightness and an efficient adaptive refresh rate. And despite featuring a slightly less powerful chip than the OnePlus 12, the OnePlus 12R still ensures smooth performance, quick app loading, and efficient handling of daily tasks.

If OnePlus can iron out some of the launch-day bugs and hopefully extend support for the device, the OnePlus would be a great mid-range device that can take on even the S23FE. Right now, though, the OnePlus 12R is just a good mid-range device, not a great mid-ranger.

The OnePlus 12R starts at $669.99.

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