OnePlus 12R Review: The Real Fan Edition


In a bold move, OnePlus has released the OnePlus 12R worldwide. Previously exclusive to China and India, the smartphone offers solid performance in the $500 price range. In the US, it competes directly with the Google Pixel 7a, the Samsung Galaxy A54, and the newcomer, Nothing Phone (2). But how good is the OnePlus 12R? Keep reading this review to get to the bottom of it.

Good

  • Sleek Design
  • Alert Slider Onboard
  • Bright and Vivid Screen
  • Dependable Performance Stability
  • Flexible Photography Options
  • Two Days Battery Life
  • 100W Fast Wire Charging

Bad

  • Bulky Charger Adapter
  • Only IP64 rating


OnePlus 12R: All deals

In a nutshell

First, I’d like to mention that this is my first time reviewing a OnePlus R Series device. However, I recently reviewed the OnePlus 12, and last year, I had the opportunity to test the OnePlus Open. Despite the differences in form factors, such as the foldable OnePlus, and the varying price tags of each model, there’s one attribute that unifies these phones: consistency.

The OnePlus 12R is tailored for those who prioritize hardware performance but are unable to afford premium devices—even in the age of carrier contracts. Equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, the 12R delivers last year’s flagship performance at half the cost. Indeed, I’ll go ahead and say it: this device is a flagship killer.

In the US, pricing for the OnePlus 12R starts at $499.99 for the 8GB/128GB variant and goes up to $599.99 for the 16GB/256GB variant. The device is available for purchase now at the OnePlus Store, Amazon, and Best Buy.

Design and display


When we look at the OnePlus 12R, it becomes evident that OnePlus has successfully imported flagship aesthetics into the more affordable R Series. Sporting a 6.78-inch curved display, the 12R manages to be slightly more compact. However, in terms of screen quality, we’re essentially witnessing the same bright and vivid display characteristic of the OnePlus flagship models
.


Pros:

  • Sleek design.
  • Optimal build quality.
  • Offers a curved screen option.
  • Includes an Alert Slider.
  • Colorful and vibrant display with a peak brightness of up to 4,500 nits.
  • Variable refresh rate ranging from 1 to 120 Hz.

Cons:

  • Limited size options: Only available in a larger size.

OnePlus 12R back cover in detail
Our review unit features a matte finish, which looks nice with the integration of the camera module into the aluminum alloy frame. / © nextpit

The OnePlus R12 is a sizable smartphone packed into a remarkably compact body. Holding it feels right, although the volume buttons and the alert slider key are placed a bit too high for comfortable one-handed access. Thankfully, OnePlus has improved the in-screen fingerprint sensor experience, making it easily accessible with just a thumb.

OnePlus 12R volume button and camera module in a close detail
In my opinion, the volume and power buttons are positioned a bit too high. / © nextpit

OnePlus has shared that this is the first R Series model to feature over 20% aluminum, extending from the aluminum alloy frame to the magnesium-aluminum alloy internals. It also boasts an IP64 rating, which is commendable, though it falls short of the durability standard I’d anticipate for a 2024 smartphone. For the purposes of this comparison, both the Google Pixel 7a and the Samsung Galaxy A54 offer IP67 water and dust resistance.

Nevertheless, the company points out that the CPU is adept at detecting moisture on the screen or fingers, ensuring swift and accurate responses without hiccups or delays. My hands-on testing during a rainy day in Berlin confirmed the device’s responsiveness under wet conditions. However, I must say that it’s only a subjective impression.

OnePlus 12R front camera highlighted
The front camera is delicately positioned in the center of the top screen, along with other elements in the status bar. / © nextpit

As for the display, it uses the same technology found in the OnePlus 12 this year. It boasts a 120Hz display with an LTPO 4.0 dynamic refresh rate, capable of moving between 1-120 Hz. The resolution stands at 2,780 x 1,264 pixels, offering a typical brightness of 1,600 nits and peaking at 4,500 nits. Overall, this screen adeptly responds to quick scrolling motions demanded by apps while conserving battery life during periods of lower refresh rate requirements.

Finally, the device is available in hues like “cool blue” and “iron gray”. I tested the latter and was particularly fond of its matte finish. Like the flagship OnePlus 12, the camera module on the R12 integrates with the aluminum alloy frame, but it doesn’t include the Hasselblad partnership—mainly because it’s a cheaper device.

OnePlus 12R display in detail
The display of the OnePlus 12R is an impressive piece of technology: it is bright and colorful. / © nextpit

Performance and Software


Under the hood, the OnePlus 12R is powered by a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, optimized by the proprietary ‘Trinity Engine’ platform, which is designed to provide enhanced performance. It comes with options for 8/16 GB of RAM and 128/256 GB of ROM. In comparison, Samsung also offers this type of customization for Qualcomm’s CPUs in its premium devices, called ‘for Galaxy’
.


Pros:

  • Dependable and steady operation.
  • 4 years of Android updates and 5 years of security patches.
  • Minimal unnecessary applications or bloatware.

Cons:

  • Lacks significant innovation.

OnePlus 12R USB-C and SIM card tray in detail
On the bottom of the device, there are the USB-C port, the SIM card tray, and one of the speakers. / © nextpit

For the purpose of this review, I am comparing the OnePlus 12R benchmarks with those of the Google Pixel 7a (review), the Samsung Galaxy A54 (review), and the Nothing Phone (2) (review) because they fall within the same price range. However, these devices span a range of chipsets.

As we can see in the comparison table, the OnePlus 12R is a powerhouse with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. In the 3D Mark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test, it shows off the best loop score of 3,660 and the worst loop score of 2,462, indicating not only peak performance but also how well it can maintain that performance under stress, with a 67.3% stability.

On the Geekbench 6 benchmark, it scores of 1,561 (single-core) and 5,142 (multicore) further confirm its leading position, offering a blend of speed and multitasking prowess that’s difficult to beat.

  OnePlus 12R
(Snapdragon 8 Gen 2)
Google Pixel 7a
(Tensor G2)
Samsung Galaxy A54
(Exynos 1380)
Nothing Phone (2)
(Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1)
3D Mark Wild Life
Extreme Stress Test
Best loop: 3,660
Worst loop: 2,462
Best loop: 1,875
Worst loop: 1,381
Best loop: 812
Worst loop: 807
Best loop: 2,793
Worst loop: 1,687
Geekbench 6 Single: 1,561
Multi: 5,142
Single: 1,417
Multi: 3,549
Single: 1,022
Multi: 2,889
Single: 1,712
Multi: 4,521

The OnePlus 12R leads the pack in speed, perfect for gaming, video editing, and multitasking. The Nothing Phone (2) is also strong, and is good for most demanding users. The Pixel 7a offers good, balanced performance for everyday tasks, enhanced by Google’s software. The Samsung Galaxy A54, however, falls behind its rivals. Overall, at $500, the OnePlus 12R shines as the best choice for those who want the fastest performance, thanks to its powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip.

OnePlus 12R benchmark screenshots
The OnePlus 12R offers one of the best performances in the under-$500 price range. / © nextpit

When it comes to software, the OnePlus 12R offers a very similar experience as the 12 variant. It runs on OxygenOS 14.0, based on Android 14, and is current with the latest January 5 security patch. It follows the company’s enhanced update policy, promising four years of major Android updates and five years of security patches.

The device boasts new features like the customizable lock screen options, and improved privacy and personalization settings for a more tailored user experience. OxygenOS stands out for its clean interface, minimal bloatware, and customization options, though OnePlus tends to rely on Google for AI features. However, recent rumors suggest that OnePlus might be working on a new AI approach for the OnePlus 12 Series.

OnePlus 12R alert slider highlighted
The iconic OnePlus Alert Slider makes a welcome return on this device. / © nextpit

OnePlus 12R camera


When it comes to the OnePlus 12R camera experience, it boasts a powerful main camera and a versatile camera set. The camera module is led by the Sony IMX890 sensor, featuring 50 megapixels, a 24 mm focal length, and an aperture of f/1.8. The ultra-wide lens offers 8 MP and a 112º field of view. Additionally, there is also a macro lens with 2 MP capable of shooting from a distance of 4 cm. Lastly, there is a 16 MP front camera
.


Pros:

  • Reliable primary camera.
  • Produces photos with lifelike accuracy.
  • The 5x digital zoom performs well in daylight conditions.

Cons:

  • No telephoto camera.
  • I didn’t use the Macro camera.

OnePlus 12R camera module in detail
The camera module is missing the Hasselblad logo, yet its performance is quite impressive in the end. / © nextpit

The OnePlus 12R produces sharp, detailed images with excellent dynamic range in well-lit conditions using its main camera. However, the image quality may drop in low light and largely depends on the image processing technology—which does a good job.

Its ultra-wide 8 MP camera, with an f/2.2 aperture, has a lower resolution, noticeable especially in night photos. Yet, it adds versatility by capturing a wider field of view. That said, the phone also does a good job at capturing natural-looking skin tones, thanks to its effective white balance and color processing. This holds true across various lighting situations.

Daylight

The main camera with 50 MP resolution and an aperture of f/1.8 can capture high-resolution images with good detail. The wide aperture allows for more light to enter, which is beneficial for creating sharp images with a shallow depth of field, enhancing subject focus while softly blurring the background. In daylight, the camera performs well, providing bright images with vibrant colors.

Night shots

The nighttime shots rely heavily on the sensor size and software processing like noise reduction and stabilization. While the f/1.8 aperture allows for more light, the performance also depends on the night mode or long exposure settings. Here, you will benefit from the main camera, since the ultra-wide lens decreases in quality noticeably in low-light conditions.

Selfies

The OnePlus 12R front camera produces clear, color-accurate daylight selfies, thanks to its 16 MP sensor and natural skin tones, with a 26 mm lens offering a wide, undistorted view. At night, despite the challenges of artificial lighting, it manages to capture relatively clear photos with controlled noise levels, showcasing effective software processing.

Overall, the OnePlus 12R front camera seems to perform well across different lighting conditions. The details are preserved, and the camera’s software effectively manages the exposure and noise levels. The portrait in the daylight has a natural look with vivid colors, while the night shot shows the camera’s capability to handle low-light conditions adequately.

OnePlus 12R battery


The OnePlus 12R boasts a substantial 5,500 mAh battery that, when paired with Qualcomm’s CPU, offers an impressive two days of battery life. Moreover, when it’s time to recharge, the 100W wired charging capability ensures that the OnePlus 12R is fully charged in just 26 minutes—an incredibly swift process. However, what fails to impress is the absence of wireless charging functionality
.


Pros:

  • Two days battery life.
  • Full charge in less than 30 minutes.

Cons:

  • No Wireless charging capabilities.

Indeed, the OnePlus 12R won’t leave you high and dry. As usual, we conducted a battery benchmark to compare the OnePlus 12R’s battery life against all the devices we’ve tested in recent years. We employed the PC Mark battery test, which simulates a series of activities on the phone and runs until the battery dips to 20% of its full capacity.

Beforehand, I fully charged the OnePlus 12R and adjusted the display brightness to approximately 237 nits. The initial test lasted for 19 hours and 12 minutes but encountered an error before completion. On the second attempt, the benchmark proceeded smoothly, yielding one of the most impressive results in our database: 22 hours and 24 minutes. The device was only outperformed by the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, which reached 22 hours and 31 minutes in our review.

OnePlus 12R benchmark screenshots
The OnePlus 12R battery benchmark reached an impressive 22h24min of battery life. / © nextpit

In my day-to-day experience, the device maintained its charge throughout an entire day of use, indeed providing a two-day battery life. However, there are a couple of drawbacks to note.

The OnePlus 12R does not support wireless charging, lagging behind some of its competitors like the Pixel 7a and Nothing Phone (2). While the included charger adapter does offer quick charging speeds, its bulkiness is a downside.

As I’ve noted in previous OnePlus reviews, the charger’s size makes it less convenient to carry around, especially in a fanny pack. In a backpack, it’s a different story. Therefore, if you need to recharge the 5,500 mAh battery without the bulky adapter, expect longer charging times.

OnePlus 12R charger adapter
Fast but Bulky: The OnePlus 12R charger adapter may not fit in all bags. / © nextpit

OnePlus 12R technical specifications

  OnePlus 12 Series
Product
Image OnePlus 12R Product Image
Display
  • 6.78-inch | 120HZ ProXDR display with LTPO
    2,780 x 1,264 pixels
    1-120 Hz refresh rate
    1,600 nits (Typical); 4,500 nits (Peak)
SoC
RAM
Memory
OS
  • OxygenOS based on Android 14
Camera
  • Main: 50 MP | f/1.8 | 24 mm
    Ultra-Wide: 8 MP | f/2.2 | 16 mm
    Macro: 2 MP | f/2.4
Front-camera
  • 16 MP
    f/2.4 aperture
    26 mm equivalent focal length
Battery
  • 5,500 mAh
    100W wired charging (SuperVOOC)
Connectivity
  • Dual nano-SIM slot, eSIM support
    LTE, 5G, Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC
Dimensions and weight
  • 163.3 x 75.3 x 8.8 mm, 207 g

Final verdict

I finish this review on a positive note. Overall, the OnePlus 12R emerges as an excellent choice for those in pursuit of dependable performance, stellar display quality, and a camera that captures moments with lifelike clarity. This phone offers a two-day battery life, and above all, an unbeatable value for money at $500.

Indeed, it lacks a telephoto camera and wireless charging capabilities, but it compensates with very good camera and battery performance.

Earlier, I mentioned that the OnePlus 12R directly competes with the Google Pixel 7a, the Samsung Galaxy A54, and the newcomer, the Nothing Phone (2). I’m prepared to assert that in many categories, it surpasses these devices. Last year, I awarded the Google Pixel 7a a maximum rating of 5 stars here at nextpit. So, how does the OnePlus 12R position itself?

Undoubtedly, it stands out as a flagship killer, offering remarkable performance at half the cost. However, I maintain that the Pixel 7a, currently priced at $350 on Amazon.com, remains a more affordable option and retains its 5-star rating for that reason.

In summary, the OnePlus 12R is a superior device, albeit at a higher price point.

Now, I’m eager to hear your thoughts on the OnePlus 12R: do you consider it the best OnePlus device in 2024?



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