OnePlus 9R Review: A Solid Phone That's Good Enough

OnePlus 9R Review
OnePlus 9R Review: A Solid Phone That's Good Enough

It's been a tough year for OnePlus. Its phones are great, but they can't seem to find the sweet spot for the price. The OnePlus 7 Pro, the company's latest flagship, is pricey at $669. Meanwhile, the OnePlus 7 starts at $529, but it doesn't offer the same flagship experience of its more expensive sibling.

The OnePlus 9, then, is the company's first mid range phone in a long time. It costs $550 and offers a flagship experience that's on par with other devices in the same price range.

It's not a phone that's going to wow you, but it's also not a phone that is going to let you down.

I’m not an Apple fan boy. I was an Android user for years, and I was quite happy with my Samsung Galaxy Note 9. But it died on me, and I wanted a new phone. I did my research, and I landed on the OnePlus 9R.

It’s a solid phone that’s good enough. Here’s why.

OnePlus 9R Introduction

OnePlus has a tendency to underplay their phones in India, particularly in comparison to the Chinese models that see wider release here. With an extended delay in releasing the OnePlus 6T, the company has only recently been able to release an official smartphone in India, the OnePlus 9. 

Interestingly, OnePlus took the same route with their previous offering, the OnePlus 6, offering a slightly bigger 6.3-inch display, with slight incremental internal upgrades. That phone is now available on Flipkart, at an introductory price of Rs 37,999. 

In my original review of the OnePlus 6T, I expressed a wish that the 6T would take a step forward in delivering a true flagship experience, instead of just being the better version of the OnePlus 6.

Design

The OnePlus 9R is priced at Rs 36,999 (roughly $525) for the 6GB RAM and 64GB storage variant. The top-end 8GB RAM and 128GB storage model will cost Rs 39,999 ($573). The phone shares the same design as its OnePlus 7 predecessor and the latest OnePlus 6T smartphone. 

A metal back with a glass section on the back that reveals an LED flash and fingerprint scanner. While it sticks with the metal back, it does not quite offer the premium feel, but still feels premium. 

There's also a secondary 2.5D curved glass cover on the top of the phone that contains the front-facing camera, which adds a little something extra to the overall look and feel. The phone feels quite light in the hand and has a full metal design that does not feel chintzy or fragile, but is not exactly a rugged design.

Performance

With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 CPU under the hood, the OnePlus 9R keeps up with the pack in real-world tests. In Geekbench 4, the phone scores around 8,000 in the single-core test and 4,500 in the multi-core one, while AnTuTu puts it at a score of 220,719. 

In reality, these numbers are relatively close to the results for the OnePlus 6T, which also has the same processor, and scores around 8,000 and 4,500 in Geekbench 4 and AnTuTu respectively. 

In comparison, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 CPU and scores more than double these numbers in Geekbench 4 and AnTuTu tests. So the OnePlus 9R does perform better than the Redmi Note 6 Pro in real-world tests, despite the cheaper price tag. In light of this, the OnePlus 9R isn't a great value-for-money phone.

Battery

The battery is a surprise package for the 9R. The handset has a pretty large 4,000mAh cell to deliver up to 300 minutes of talk time. It also allows for 15 hours of internet browsing, or an additional 500 hours of Netflix streaming. 

With a single charge, it can last up to two days with moderate use. That's a strong battery, but not best in class by any means. Wrap-up The OnePlus 9R takes a classic formula like the OnePlus 5T and adds some new features that elevate it above the competition. 

It uses Android 9 Pie in a stock environment with the OnePlus Experience software suite. And the display is an AMOLED panel that fills up the panel with deep colors and contrast, making the screen look sharp and vivid.

Camera

The camera of the OnePlus 9R has been also carried forward from the previous OnePlus 6 and is still the same 16-megapixel, f/1.7 Sony IMX519 sensor. The other option is an 8-megapixel fixed-focus camera sensor. 

The results we got in our brief review were a mixed bag, but the only time we liked it was in the night mode where we saw an improvement over the OnePlus 6. We are looking forward to getting better sample images to test the photos. 

In our OnePlus 6 review, we said that the results were "pretty good for a phone under ₹35,000". The OnePlus 6 has a dual camera module on the back with a 16MP sensor and a 20MP telephoto sensor. 

The OnePlus 9R packs a 16MP selfie camera, which is not only the same as the OnePlus 6, but also the same as the OnePlus 5T, OnePlus 5, and so on.

Conclusion

The OnePlus 9R is a good, well-built phone that sits on the pricey side. What the price-conscious Indian market will be looking for, however, is truly flagship specs. OnePlus, however, isn't one to settle for anything less. 

The price will not attract many buyers, but it will attract serious enthusiasts and the OnePlus audience. Even if we assume the final price will be lower, I am still in the process of reviewing the Oppo F9 Pro, which has the same processor and 6GB of RAM. 

The OnePlus 9R is a good option, but one with limited appeal. It can't compete with the same class of phone. Pricing The OnePlus 9R has a starting price of Rs. 22,999 ($350), going up to Rs. 25,999 ($395) for the 8GB/128GB variant. The top-end variant, with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, will cost Rs.

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