Why I’d consider this $400 OnePlus phone before paying for Google and Samsung

4 minutes, 54 seconds Read


Matthew Miller/ZDNet

ZDNET’s key takeaways

  • OnePlus 12R is now available Starting at $499.99And OnePlus will give you $100 off when you trade in any phone in any condition.
  • The affordable price, excellent build quality and materials, long battery life, gorgeous display, and super-fast charging make this phone a must-buy for many.
  • Notable commissions include wireless charging, the latest Qualcomm processor and a dedicated telephoto camera

For years, smartphone manufacturers have conditioned us to accept that flagship phones should cost us $1,000 or more. But one company has remained consistent with its value-driven pricing model: OnePlus. Its first phone, the OnePlus One, was even described as a “flagship killer”.

With the launch OnePlus 12R In North America, the company is finally bringing its most successful smartphone from India to the US, and it’s shaping up to be one of the most promising mid-range phones of the year.

Also: 3 reasons to be sold on the OnePlus 12 (and 1 reason for buyer’s remorse)

To release a phone that looks like its $800 sibling but costs $300 less, OnePlus had to make some compromises. After using the OnePlus 12R for a month, I’m sure the right trade-off was made while keeping the essentials in place.

Check out OnePlus

Let’s first take a look at what has been carried over from the OnePlus 12 to the OnePlus 12R. Most of us spend hours every day looking at our smartphone, so its quality is one of the most essential parts. As with the OnePlus 12R, the model features the same ProXDR, LTPO 4.0 display capable of a refresh rate of 1Hz to 120Hz. It has a peak brightness of 4,500 nits and a global peak brightness of 1,600 nits, making it brighter than the most expensive Samsung Galaxy S24 phone right now.

Also: OnePlus’ $99 earbuds look and sound great, but there’s a big catch

The display also supports OnePlus’ Rain Touch technology, so it can be used whether the display or your fingers are wet, which is important for people like me who live in an area where it’s often cloudy and foggy. Rain constantly activates the false screen on my iPhone, so it’s a joy to use the OnePlus 12R and count on the phone to respond only to intentional taps and swipes.


Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Speed ​​is also important in a smartphone, and the same top-level LPDDR5X RAM and UFS 4.0 internal storage standard is found in the flagship OnePlus 12 in the OnePlus 12R. These are crucial for fast and efficient multitasking capabilities.

Fast charging is another OnePlus staple, and unlike others, OnePlus includes a fast charging adapter in the box. 80W SuperVOOC charging is supported on both phones, the fastest I’ve seen on any US handset. The OnePlus 12R has a slightly larger 5,500mAh battery than the 12, though you won’t see much of a difference in battery life due to the different processors and efficiency levels. That means both the phones offer excellent endurance for all-day use.

So, what about compromise? These include an older generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile platform, slightly less RAM in the base model, no support for wireless charging, and a less capable camera without a telephoto lens. Most of these will probably have little impact on most consumers, but if you need the best camera experience OnePlus has to offer with Hasselblad optimization, then OnePlus 12 May be a good fit for you.

Also: The $399 OnePlus 12R might be the best cheap phone you can buy in 2024

In comparing photos taken with the OnePlus 12R, OnePlus Open, iPhone 15 Pro Max, and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, I noticed very little difference in most lighting conditions. Then again, I’m often taking photos for social media and sharing with family and friends, so my definition of the best image may differ from yours. In some cases, I actually liked some of the photos taken by the OnePlus 12R, such as portrait shots, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with a $500 camera system (or a $400 trade-in – even better).


Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Previously, budget phones in the sub-$450 range usually compromised significantly on cameras, but not the case with the OnePlus 12R. When you add up all the flagship-level specifications and resulting performance, it’s hard not to consider the OnePlus 12R as your daily driver for hundreds less than competing flagships.

Also: 3 Reasons Why I Ditched My Samsung Galaxy Foldable for the OnePlus Open

The OnePlus 12R primarily competes with phones like this Google Pixel 7a And Samsung Galaxy A54 5G. Google’s Tensor leaves something to be desired in terms of reliability and cellular reception, while Samsung’s software can be overwhelming for anything extra. OnePlus offers a fairly stock Android experience with rock-solid, proven cellular 5G performance from my experience.

ZDNET’s buying advice

Lastly, when cool blue OnePlus 12R The model I’m testing is nice, the back glass is very slick, so you should be careful when handling it or setting it on a table behind it. I have used the review device for a month and can easily see myself using it every day as it performs flawlessly, has an IP64 dust/water resistant rating and wet display technology so I can use it in rainy Washington, has enough storage and RAM, I Ideal for capturing photos and videos, and has an exceptionally bright display. I’m not the biggest fan of curved glass edges, but there’s a lot to like here, and the starting price of $400 with a $100 trade-in is hard to beat.

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