I reviewed OnePlus’ $500 Android phone, and it’s spectacular

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A achromatic OnePlus 12R laying look down connected a table.

“The OnePlus 12R is nan champion $500 smartphone I've ever used. If it's not connected your shopping database yet, it really needs to be.”

Pros

  • Sleek, polished design
  • Top-notch display
  • Fast performance; runs cool
  • Excellent artillery life
  • 80W charging!
  • Unbeatable price

Cons

  • Poor ultrawide and macro cameras
  • No wireless charging

The OnePlus 12R is simply a typical phone. It doesn’t person nan latest processor aliases nan champion camera strategy I’ve ever seen, and it’s missing immoderate features for illustration wireless charging. The creation is besides a beautiful modular affair. But it’s still special.

Why? For each intents and purposes, nan OnePlus 12R has nan makings of an costly flagship Android telephone from 2023 — and you tin bargain it caller for conscionable $500. It’s 1 of nan champion smartphone values I’ve seen successful years, and moreover aft a mates of weeks of utilizing nan OnePlus 12R, I still can’t judge really bully it is.

OnePlus 12R: design

Someone holding nan OnePlus 12R, showing nan backmost of nan phone.Joe Maring / Digital Trends

If you ever utilized aliases saw nan OnePlus 11, you’ll beryllium correct astatine location pinch nan OnePlus 12R’s design. It has nan aforesaid curved display, level aluminum framework connected nan apical and bottom, and information camera lodging connected nan back. It’s a acquainted and comfortable design, and 1 I really like.

There are immoderate subtle differences betwixt nan OnePlus 12R and nan OnePlus 11. The 12R is somewhat thicker and a mates of grams heavier. The alert slider is besides now connected nan near broadside of nan phone, while nan measurement buttons are higher up connected nan correct side. It’s a beautiful mini alteration and 1 I sewage utilized to very quickly.

There are immoderate different bully creation touches connected nan 12R that we didn’t get past year. The camera circle connected nan backmost now has a notched creation on nan edge, on pinch a subtle shape underneath nan glass. There’s besides an charismatic IP64 dust- and water-resistance rating, and OnePlus moreover included an IR sensor for controlling TVs, projectors, cablegram boxes, etc. It’s thing we seldom spot successful smartphones these days, and I’m happy it’s here.

The OnePlus 12R comes successful 2 colors, including nan Iron Gray colour seen passim this review, positive a really striking Cool Blue variant. While Cool Blue looks awesome successful photos, I really for illustration nan matte decorativeness of nan Iron Gray connected my reappraisal unit. It’s a small slippery, but fingerprints and smudges are nonexistent connected it.

OnePlus isn’t breaking immoderate caller crushed pinch nan OnePlus 12R’s design, but I deliberation that’s perfectly fine. This is simply a well-crafted and well-designed smartphone, moreover if it looks a spot familiar. It’s comfortable to hold, feels sturdy, and has a fewer other goodies successful nan alert slider and IR sensor. Especially erstwhile you see nan price, OnePlus killed it here.

OnePlus 12R: surface and performance

The OnePlus 12R lying connected a book pinch its surface turned on.Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Speaking of sidesplitting it, let’s talk astir nan 12R’s screen. The telephone has a 6.78-inch AMOLED sheet pinch a 2780 x 1264 solution — giving you 450 pixels per inch. The adaptable refresh complaint scales up to 120Hz and down to 1Hz, it has a ridiculous highest brightness of 4,500 nits, Dolby Vision and HDR10+ are supported, and nan full point is covered pinch Gorilla Glass Victus 2.

This is simply a surface I’d expect connected a $1,000 telephone — not 1 that costs half nan price.

Those are a batch of awesome numbers, and successful practice, nan OnePlus 12R’s surface is simply a point of beauty. Colors are agleam and vivid, everything is razor sharp, and nan refresh complaint makes scrolling and different animations buttery smooth. This is simply a surface I’d expect connected a $1,000 telephone — not 1 that costs half nan price.

If I person to kick astir something, it’d beryllium nan curved edges of nan screen. They’re very reminiscent of nan curved edges connected nan Motorola Edge Plus (2023), and conscionable for illustration connected that phone, they tin occasionally origin unwanted actions connected nan touchscreen. There person only been a fistful of instances wherever this happened, though, truthful it’s acold from a woody breaker.

 Mobile moving connected a OnePlus 12R.Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Similarly, capacity connected nan OnePlus 12R is top-notch. It’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 spot — nan aforesaid 1 recovered wrong past year’s biggest flagship phones, from nan Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra to nan OnePlus 11. No, it’s not nan latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, but that’s a complete nonissue.

Everything connected nan OnePlus 12R is fast. Apps unfastened instantly, there’s zero stutter erstwhile navigating nan phone, and multitasking is handled pinch ease. I should statement that I’m utilizing nan OnePlus 12R pinch 16GB of RAM, but nan guidelines exemplary pinch 8GB of RAM should besides beryllium capable to clasp its ain conscionable fine.

I’ve besides been impressed pinch nan gaming acquisition connected nan OnePlus 12R. Not only does Call of Duty: Mobile play smoothly astatine 120 frames per 2nd (fps) astatine Medium graphics, but it does truthful without ever emotion warm. This is acknowledgment to a much larger vapor enclosure creation wrong nan 12R. It’s not nan flashiest point to talk about, but successful my testing, it useful ridiculously well.

OnePlus 12R: cameras

A close-up look astatine nan rear cameras connected nan OnePlus 12R.Joe Maring / Digital Trends

OK — let’s talk cameras. The OnePlus 12R’s main camera is simply a 50-megapixel Sony IMX890 sensor pinch optical image stabilization and an f/1.8 aperture. It’s joined by an 8MP ultrawide camera pinch a 112-degree section of view, positive a 2MP macro camera. On nan beforehand is simply a 16MP selfie camera. Unlike immoderate different OnePlus phones, location is no image processing aliases tuning done successful business pinch Hasselblad.

So, really do nan photos look?  In nan correct conditions, nan 50MP main camera tin do a really bully occupation of capturing a batch of item pinch pleasing colors. There are immoderate photos I’ve been thoroughly impressed with.

On nan flip side, I’ve besides taken a fewer stinkers during my testing. When trying to return pictures of fidgety cats, nan OnePlus 12R occasionally gave maine blurry images. I’ve besides had immoderate shots wherever nan colors don’t ever look 100% correct — whether it’s my cat’s achromatic fur being overexposed aliases my canine looking much saturated than he should. It’s surely not a cleanable camera, but it besides could person been a lot worse.

What astir nan different cameras? The ultrawide camera is useful to person for situations wherever you request a wider shot, but nan debased 8MP solution is readily evident if you zoom successful intimately astatine all.

The macro camera is hidden distant successful nan successful the More tab of nan camera app, and your champion to support it hidden. It’s very bad. Surprisingly, nan 16MP selfie camera is really rather good!

This isn’t an astonishing camera system, but considering everything other nan OnePlus 12R brings to nan table, I deliberation it’s perfectly adequate. The secondary camera sensors are peculiarly disappointing (and could person been ditched successful favour of thing for illustration wireless charging), but for a $500 Android telephone pinch a batch of different high-end specs, it’s a beautiful decent setup.

OnePlus 12R: artillery life and charging

The artillery settings page connected a OnePlus 12R.Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Battery life was a large item of nan OnePlus 11 past year, and nan OnePlus 12R ensures that inclination continues. Inside nan 12R is simply a 5,500mAh artillery — nan largest artillery OnePlus has ever put successful 1 of its smartphones. Combined pinch nan fantabulous ratio of nan Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, that translates to awesome artillery life.

Even pinch mean to dense use, nan OnePlus 12R easy gets done a afloat time pinch plentifulness of artillery to spare. I started 1 time astatine 9:30 a.m. pinch 100% artillery and racked up four-and-a-half hours of surface time. After utilizing nan 12R for streaming YouTube TV, playing Call of Duty, and tons of Twitter and Telegram use, I still had 43% artillery astatine 11:25 p.m. that evening.

The OnePlus 12R has awesome artillery life.

On a time pinch lighter use, starting nan time astatine 9:35 a.m. and accumulating two-and-a-half hours of surface time, I still had 61% artillery remaining astatine 11:55 p.m. That’s outstanding performance.

The bottommost of nan OnePlus 12R, showing nan phone's USB-C port.Joe Maring / Digital Trends

When nan OnePlus 12R does yet tally barren (which will return a while), you won’t beryllium waiting astir agelong for nan artillery to get backmost up to 100%. That’s because nan OnePlus 12R has 80-watt wired charging speeds successful nan U.S. (100W successful different markets), and it’s lightning quick. Plug nan telephone successful pinch 3% artillery remaining, and you’re backmost up to 40% aft conscionable 10 minutes. After 20 minutes of charging, you’re each nan measurement up to 70% — and you person a afloat artillery aft a small much than 30 minutes connected nan charger. You request to usage OnePlus’ ain charging ceramic to get these speeds, but thankfully, it’s included successful nan box.

The only downside present is that nan OnePlus 12R does not have wireless charging. It’s annoying, particularly arsenic personification who loves wireless charging, but I get it. OnePlus had to trim costs somewhere, and wireless charging is an easy point to put connected nan chopping block.

OnePlus 12R: software

The Android 14 logo connected a OnePlus 12R.Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Software-wise, nan OnePlus 12R runs Android 14 pinch OnePlus’ civilization OxygenOS 14 interface layered connected apical of it. While technically an upgrade complete nan Android 13 and OxygenOS 13 that shipped connected nan OnePlus 11, it looks virtually identical. If you’ve utilized a OnePlus telephone successful nan past twelvemonth and a half, you’ll beryllium correct astatine location connected nan OnePlus 12R.

Screenshots of Android 14 package from nan OnePlus 12R.Digital Trends

While nan past mates of years haven’t been awesome for OxygenOS, OxygenOS 14 has been a amazingly bully acquisition connected my OnePlus 12R. It’s fast, responsive, and feels a batch much polished than erstwhile iterations. There were immoderate weird scrolling and navigation bugs I’d regularly get connected nan OnePlus 11, but I haven’t encountered them erstwhile connected nan OnePlus 12R.

Screenshots of Android 14 package from nan OnePlus 12R.Digital Trends

OxygenOS still has a batch of added package features I’ll ne'er use, but location are others I really appreciate. The theming/customization devices are great, split-screen multitasking is easy to use, and I’ve recovered instances wherever moving apps successful a mini pop-up model tin beryllium genuinely helpful. I could do without OnePlus’ evident Memoji ripoff, and nan always-on show that tells you to trim your c emissions by stepping 10,000 steps each time is conscionable truthful odd. Thankfully, nan weird bits are easy to disregard if you don’t want them.

As OnePlus continues to amended OxygenOS complete nan years, nan OnePlus 12R will support getting better, too. That’s because OnePlus promises that nan 12R will person 3 years of Android OS upgrades and 4 years of information patches. While not connected nan aforesaid level arsenic nan seven years of updates you get connected caller Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy phones, it’s besides not nan worst we’ve ever seen.

OnePlus 12R: value and availability

Someone holding nan OnePlus 12R pinch nan Google Weather app open.Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The OnePlus 12R is disposable for preorder now and will beryllium disposable for contiguous acquisition opening February 13. The guidelines exemplary pinch 8GB RAM and 128GB of retention is disposable for $500, while nan 16GB RAM/256GB retention exemplary costs $600. You tin bargain it from Amazon, Best Buy, and straight from nan OnePlus website.

While Amazon and Best Buy readiness is awesome to see, nan champion measurement to bargain nan OnePlus 12R is done nan OnePlus website. For nan full life rhythm of nan 12R, you tin waste and acquisition successful any phone in any condition to OnePlus and get a minimum $100 discount. That efficaciously makes nan OnePlus 12R a $400 smartphone. And remember: this isn’t a limited-time offer. So agelong arsenic OnePlus is trading nan 12R connected its website, you’ll beryllium capable to return advantage of this trade-in promo.

OnePlus 12R: verdict

A photograph of nan OnePlus 12R lying connected a book.Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The OnePlus 12R feels for illustration a smartphone that shouldn’t exist. It feels excessively bully to beryllium true, a telephone that bargain hunters tin only dream about. But it is very real, and it’s really damn good.

What are your different options beyond nan OnePlus 12R? The flagship OnePlus 12 is besides available, and it’ll springiness you a newer Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, amended cameras, and wireless charging. The Google Pixel 8 has a acold superior camera system, cool AI features, and 7 years of package updates. But those phones costs $300 and $200 much than nan OnePlus 12R, respectively, which is simply a important difference.

The OnePlus 12R is simply a near-perfect $500 smartphone.

The Google Pixel 7a shares nan OnePlus 12R’s $500 value tag. It’s much compact and has wireless charging, but it besides has a worse screen, a overmuch little tin processor, mediocre artillery life, and overmuch slower complaint speeds.

To beryllium clear, location are immoderate nonsubjective downsides to nan OnePlus 12R compared to much costly phones. The IP64 standing is nice, but it’s not arsenic resilient arsenic nan IP68 standing recovered connected astir flagship smartphones. The curved show isn’t a deal-breaker, but I would person overmuch preferred a level 1 — conscionable for illustration what nan Galaxy S24 offers. The ultrawide and macro cameras are disappointing, and dissimilar immoderate different phones from Samsung and Google, you won’t find immoderate fancy AI features connected nan OnePlus 12R.

You tin walk much money and get much tin and feature-rich smartphones, but erstwhile nan OnePlus 12R is this bully and this cheap, you really don’t request to anymore.

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