OnePlus 12R: A compelling alternative to flagship Android phones

Smooth software experience, reliable battery life and a top notch display

oneplus 12r

OnePlus recently announced its new 12 series in India and globally, which expectedly had two devices – 12 and 12R (no model named Pro). While the OnePlus 12 is the company’s high-end device, the 12R is its successor to the much-acclaimed OnePlus 11R from last year, priced at Rs. 39,999 for the base model and Rs. 45,999 for the higher model. Does this model have enough to justify that price tag and be a worthy successor? Let’s try and find out:

Design: The OnePlus 12R has aluminum frames and, as per OnePlus, magnesium aluminum alloy internals. The phone has a 6.78-inch (19.8:9 aspect ratio) display with Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on top of it. The back has Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 that has a slightly glossy finish to it on the Cool Blue model (also comes in Iron Gray), which does catch smudges quite a bit, while the protruding wheel-like triple camera system rests on the left corner and the OnePlus branding in the middle. The aluminum frame is all matte finish – the phone’s right side carries the volume buttons and Power/lock key, the left side has the alert slider (to quickly put the phone on mute, vibrate only, or ring on) near the top. The top locates one outlet for the loudspeakers, infrared port, and the secondary mic; the bottom houses the dual SIM card tray, primary mic, USB type C port, and another outlet for loudspeakers. The top and bottom are quite flat while the corners are curved and so are the sides. This IP64 certified water and dust-resistant phone weighs about 207 grams while measuring under 9mm – it isn’t a very heavy or wide phone to carry around, but it still can’t quite be called a compact phone.

Display: Featuring a 6.78-inch (2780x1264) AMOLED ProXDR display with support for variable refresh rates up to 120Hz, it is clearly one of the best parts about the device. The display has good viewing angles, doesn’t miss out on details when viewing high-resolution images, and doesn’t struggle to keep up when used outdoors under direct sunlight. The only thing that might bug you are accidental touches on the curved sides when watching something in landscape mode. It’s an HDR10+ enabled display that doesn’t struggle with handling dark scenes and contrast in general when playing HDR content on it. You can choose to use the display at the default standard (2376x1080) display or at its highest resolution. I preferred using this display with the cinematic mode, but some might like other modes such as natural or vivid among others.

Performance and software experience: The phone runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset (up to 3.2GHz octa-core processor, Adreno GPU, plus x70 5G modem), 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM along with 256GB UFS3.1 internal storage (also comes in 8GB + 128GB UFS3.1 combination). It runs on OxygenOS 14 based on Android 14 with the December security patch in place.

In terms of performance, this phone doesn’t disappoint at all. You can expect a really responsive app usage experience, switching between apps without any stuttering and playing high-resolution videos without any lags, too, whether in the YouTube app or locally saved videos.

Heavy games such as Genshin Impact can be played at medium to high settings with HDR enabled without the phone becoming too warm during 30 minutes or gameplay, and it was consistently at 60 frames per second. Having said that, whenever I switched to another app and switched back to the game, it would take a few seconds to resume from where it was left.

OnePlus, though, has removed background streaming capability from Smart Sidebar, which allowed you to stream something off YouTube without having the app opened on your screen.

Cameras: Sporting a triple camera system – a 50MP (f/1.8) main camera, an 8MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide camera, and a 2MP (f/2.4) macro camera. The phone can take some vibrant and detailed shots in daylight, though there’s also slightly longer shutter lag here than I can remember on the OnePlus 11. It can struggle a bit with low-light shots plus moving objects. Night mode does help a bit in capturing clearer frames of your subject, but even that can only help so much. The camera app has a lot of settings and filters to choose from and isn’t very complicated to get used to.

The front has a 16MP (f/2.4) camera with screen flash support, and it can take fairly good shots in terms of colors and details for most use cases and doesn’t disappoint for video calls either.

I think it would be fair to say the camera department isn’t quite the device’s strength – while it’s not a bad camera setup, there are some clear downsides compared to the competition.

Battery: OnePlus’ 12R boasts a 5,500mAh battery unit and supports up to 100-watt charging using the SuperVooc charger that comes in the box. The phone charges from 1% to full in about 30-35 minutes, which is really fast and importantly doesn’t heat up any time when it’s put on charge. The phone regularly lasted me a little over a day with moderate to heavy use – display set to high refresh rates and using a single SIM card with WiFi hotspot used for around an hour.

Other bits: The phone’s in-screen fingerprint scanner is placed a little higher on the display that some may prefer, but it does the job quickly and reliably, better than most of the in-screen fingerprint scanners in other phones. The dual stereo speakers are clear and sufficiently loud though not the best I have seen from OnePlus in terms of depth. WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS performance of the phone showed no glitches, while 5G connectivity on the device is on par with some of the best 5G phones today with good reception and speeds wherever available.

Verdict: While OnePlus hasn’t dramatically changed the 12R in terms of design or even camera performance over its predecessor, the phone doesn’t have any major weakness points in the price range, especially for the base model. The phone has great battery life, a quality display panel, and nearly no bloatware and smooth OS in place.

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