OnePlus is bringing its ‘R’ series of phones to more regions for the first time with the OnePlus 12R, offering many flagship features at a lower price. There are some sacrifices though, and in many ways the OnePlus 12R is a bit of a rebadged OnePlus 11.
- High-end displayLTPO 4.0 tech more intelligently alters the refresh rate
- 2023 chipsetQualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 powers the phone
OnePlus is bringing its ‘R’ series of phones to more regions for the first time with the OnePlus 12R.
OnePlus wants everyone to think of the OnePlus 12R as just as much of a flagship as the OnePlus 12, maybe even as a device that’s a better buy for those who spend much of their time on a smartphone gaming.
And yes, in some ways this does feel like a flagship – there are even a couple of benefits to plumping for the OnePlus 12R over the OnePlus 12. Still, on the whole, it’s hard to see this as anything but a more affordable and slightly less tempting version of the brand’s true flagship device.
While I am not yet ready to give my final verdict, here are my thoughts after spending a few days with the OnePlus 12R.
- Two colours with different finishes
- Very similar to the OnePlus 11 with larger camera housing
- IP65 water resistance rating
The OnePlus 12R looks, and feels, a lot like the OnePlus 11. It’s a fairly standard Android slab, with a curved display – something that feels strangely outdated in 2024 – and a matching curved back.
There’s a huge camera module on the back that seamlessly blends into the aluminium rim and, of course, the Alert Slider which now sits on the opposite side to aid antenna performance. OnePlus loves this little ringer switch, touting it as one of the biggest device features and sure, it’s nice to easily be able to switch your phone to silent (or back to ringer) without fishing it from your pocket.
After using the much more customisable Action Button on the iPhone 15 Pro the Alert Slider feels slightly antiquated. As someone who hasn’t set their phone to anything but vibrate since 2007, it always feels like a wasted key and I’d love to be able to customise it into doing other tasks.
There are two colours of the OnePlus 12R available, Cool Blue and Iron Gray. The blue one would be my pick if it wasn’t for the very glossy, very slippy finish that comes with it. This is the kind of phone that will somehow manage to fall off any surface I put it on, even if it’s flat. The Iron Gray variant might look a little duller, but it ditches the slippery finish for a matte one. I still much prefer the lovely green hue the OnePlus 12 comes in, though.
The OnePlus 12R has an IP65 rating and an interesting feature that allows the screen to work more accurately when it’s wet. OnePlus says the 12R uses its CPU to detect when the screen is wet and alter how responsive it is, reducing the number of mistouches and delayed reactions. This will certainly be something I put to the test during the rest of the review process.
- Bright 6.7-inch panel
- Support for HDR formats
OnePlus isn’t skimping elsewhere with the screen, either and it looks great. This is a 6.7-inch LTPO 4 OLED panel that can intelligently move between 1Hz and 120Hz quicker than before.
OnePlus says this panel can change from 72Hz to 120Hz depending on how quickly you flick your finger. The 1080p resolution isn’t quite top drawer (the panel is sharper on the OnePlus 12) but it’s very bright (up to a reported 4500 nits), packs Dolby Vision support and is covered in Gorilla Glass Victus 2.
My biggest qualm with the screen is the curvature. For a phone focused on gaming, the curved edges are a drawback and make the whole thing harder to hold. A flat screen would have made more sense and separated it more from the OnePlus 12.
Performance and Specs
- 2023 flagship chipset from Qualcomm
- Plenty of RAM and storage
OnePlus is really pushing the OnePlus 12R as a ‘performance flagship’ – which is odd considering it lacks the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, instead using the older Gen 2. If you want the very best performing OnePlus phone, that will remain the OnePlus 12.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 isn’t to be sniffed at though, and OnePlus has paired it with up to 16GB of fast LPDDR5X RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage.
There’s been a big focus on cooling too, with the snappily-named Cryo-Velocity cooling system boasting two vapour chambers to rapidly cool the phone down. Finally, there are a bunch of software features hoping to increase performance. One such feature is ROM-Vita, which uses algorithms to constantly check for duplicate files, making sure nothing is bogging the system down.
Keeping the OnePlus 12R chugging along is a 5500mAh battery, 100mAh larger than the cell inside the OnePlus 12, and 100w charging. There’s a charger in the box that can juice the phone from 0-100% in 25 minutes. It’s annoying that the provided charger is USB-A to USB-C, meaning it can’t be used to charge items like a Nintendo Switch or laptop.
Wireless charging has been ditched – clearly, gamers don’t need useful features – but the sheer speed at which this phone can be fully charged does make up for that somewhat.
Packed inside the oversized camera housing are three cameras and a flash that deceptively looks like a fourth sensor. The main camera sensor is the Sony IMX890 50MP, complete with OIS and an f/1.8 lens. Next to this is a 112 degree ultra-wide and the never-welcome dedicated macro sensor. There’s also a 16 megapixel selfie camera.
I’ll have in-depth thoughts on the camera in the full review but first impressions are good. It’s been a while since OnePlus was known for having lousy cameras and while I think the OnePlus 12 will have a more capable array with a smarter choice of lenses.
The OnePlus 12R is a bit of a confusing device. As a more affordable option in the OnePlus 12 family it ticks a lot of boxes, offering a 2023 flagship chipset, huge battery and very fast charging for a price that puts in directly between the Nothing Phone 2 and Pixel 8.
I’d still say it feels more like a rebadged OnePlus 11 than the true flagship OnePlus is implying. The OnePlus 12 is notably more interesting, not least because it has a far more modern design, the latest Qualcomm silicon, a better overall screen and wireless charging.