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OnePlus 9R Review: A great value for money

OnePlus 9R offers a Snapdragon 870 processor, quad-camera setup at the back, the latest version of Android and more. But is that enough? Let's find out in this review.

Devesh Arora Devesh Arora @aroradevesh
New Delhi Updated on: July 09, 2021 18:26 IST
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OnePlus 9R features a glass back design.

OnePlus launched three smartphones under its OnePlus 9 series this year. While the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro aim to offer the latest and greatest, the OnePlus 9R cuts a few corners to become more accessible to a wider range of audiences. 

With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor and a few other cuts around the corner, the OnePlus 9R makes for a great value for money smartphone. However, are the compromises made in the name of cost-cutting enough for you to live by? Let’s find out.

OnePlus 9R Review: Specifications

OnePlus 9R sports a 6.55-inch FullHD+ Fluid AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 20:9 and a refresh rate of 120Hz. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor paired with up to 12GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage. The storage is non-expandable. It runs on Android 11 based Oxygen OS 11 out of the box. All of this is backed by a 4,500mAh battery.

On the optics front, the 9R features a quad rear camera setup including a 48-megapixel primary camera, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens and a 5-megapixel macro sensor and a 2-megapixel monochrome sensor. Upfront, there is a 16-megapixel selfie snapper.

OnePlus 9R Review: Design and Display

OnePlus 9R brings a generational design to the table. The design of the OnePlus 9R feels in line with the OnePlus 9 series of smartphones. The glossy glass back, along with a metal camera housing and the metal frame of the device, makes the device feel premium in hand. On the front, the 9R sports a 6.55-inch panel with a display cutout for a selfie snapper on the left. It has thin bezels offering a great viewing experience. 

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Image Source : INDIATV / DEVESH ARORAIt sports a 6.55-inch AMOLED display up front.

As for the placements, the 9R sports a USB Type-C port on the bottom edge surrounded by the dual sim card tray, speaker grille and the primary microphone. The right edge houses the power button and the company's signature alert slider. On the left edge, there is a volume rocker. The top edge of the phone is mostly left clean with the exception of the secondary microphone.

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Image Source : INDIATV / DEVESH ARORA

It also comes with the signature alert slider.

Coming back to the display, it is a 6.55-inch Fluid AMOLED panel with a resolution of 2400x1080 pixels and a refresh rate of 120Hz and HDR 10+ support. This display makes a great option for your on the go binge watching. The addition of a 120Hz refresh rate means the display feels super smooth, may it be gaming or scrolling Instagram. Overall, the display is good for the segment. 

OnePlus 9R Review: Performance, Software and UI

OnePlus 9R is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor paired with 8/12GB of RAM. Our Review unit came with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. With the phone starting at around Rs 40,000, the older Snapdragon 870 feels like an adequate choice. However, we have seen phones much cheaper run on the Snapdragon 870. In the real world, the phone offers fluid performance, combined with that 120Hz display. The added 5G capability is a plus when 5G starts to roll out completely. During the review period, the combination of gaming, internet browsing and music playback didn’t cause the phone to sweat even a bit.

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Image Source : INDIATV / DEVESH ARORA

There is a hole-punch selfie camera just like the other OnePlus 9 series smartphones.

The 9R runs on Android 11 based OxygenOS 11 out of the box. The user interface feels super smooth. It does bring in a host of features including a system-wide dark mode, an always-on display, accent color customization and much more. Just like every other OnePlus phone that I have used, the software is really good. The beta Canvas feature for the always-on display is really good. 

OnePlus 9R Review: Cameras

OnePlus 9R sports a quad-camera setup at the back. The setup comprises a 48-megapixel primary camera, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera and a 5-megapixel macro sensor and a 2-megapixel monochrome sensor. The 2-megapixel monochrome sensor feels like quite a waste on otherwise good specced camera modules.

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Image Source : INDIATV / DEVESH ARORA

It sports a quad rear camera setup.

The camera app is straightforward and offers a good amount of features. The smartphone does not auto switch to macro mode when you come in real close, but manually switch to the macro sensor, the 5-megapixel macro sensor provides images that are actually usable if taken in good lighting.

During our tests, the 9R managed to click some decent shots. Under good lighting conditions, the phone managed to lock focus quickly offering nice saturation with good contrast and colours. The details are great. Although, the plane of focus is really near, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. The wide-angle lens is also good. The lack of megapixels on that, when compared to the main sensor, can be noticed. During low light conditions, the usage of a wide-angle lens is not advisable. With a normal sensor in low light using the nightscape mode, the photos turn out to be great, although a little movement of the hand will blur the images.

The selfie camera is great. This is one thing companies usually skimp on. The contrast is great. The ultrawide option really helps in taking those group shots. The skin tones look natural. If you wanna brighten them, there is always the option for using the baked-in selfie mode.

OnePlus 9R Review: Battery

The battery of 4500mAh is not really that impressive nowadays. However, what’s impressive is the 65W charging capability. During my time with the device, light to medium usage got me around a day and a half of usage. I am sure the battery life will take a hit when 5G becomes available in India and we start using it.

Also Read: OnePlus 9 Review: Almost Everything you could ask for

With companies skimping on fast charging and removing chargers from the box, I am happy to see that the OnePlus 9R comes with a charger in the box. However, with the OnePlus 9 and the 9 Pro, you get a 65W charger with USB C on the wall adapter and a USB C to USB C cable. However, on the 9R, they decided to include their own charger style, with a USB A port on the wall adapter and a USB A to USB C cable. Moving on from this weird behaviour, the OnePlus 9R takes around 45-50 minutes to charge from zero to a hundred which is pretty good. A mere 15 minutes can get you around 50% of the charge.

OnePlus 9R Review: Verdict

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Image Source : INDIATV / DEVESH ARORA

The company includes a TPU case with the 'Never Settle' branding.

OnePlus 9R starts at Rs 39,999 for the 8GB RAM 128GB storage variant. With that price and spec sheet, it feels like a refreshed OnePlus 8T. However, being said that, the right amount of compromises were made to make the smartphone as cheap as it is. The no-IP rating, no wireless charging, the older Snapdragon 870 processor are things that one can live with, definitely when compared to the price one pays.

Overall, the smartphone provides good display, performance, cameras and great battery life or battery charging. The OnePlus 9R is a great value for money, and you will definitely not go wrong with it.

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