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OnePlus 12R Review

With the OnePlus flagship number series getting a T and R variant, it now becomes clear what these letter-variants all mean. The T-variant is an improvement of the number series within the same year and is normally released around 6 months after the flagship.

The R-variant is a version with a reduced hardware of the current flagship number series and normally uses an older generation chipset.

Why OnePlus used the letters R and T in the variants has something to do with competitors (ehem, Apple) using the S variant in their phones, e.g. iPhone 5s, iPhone 6s. In the alphabet, T is next to S so, if we add “S + 1 (OnePlus)” = T. In the same manner, when the R-variant was later introduced, R comes before S and then followed by T in the alphabet. It’s all a clever play with the letters.

The first R-variant in the number series was announced last year on the OnePlus 11R. That model was not released in the Philippines in favor of the true flagship model, the OnePlus 11.

This year, the OnePlus 12R seems to be the favored model to be released in the Philippines. As to the reason behind this, we don’t have a definitive answer but, if we are to speculate, it might have to do with the suggested retail price 13 that is quite in contrast from the $499 during the global announcement. We are told that the OnePlus 12 will still be released alongside the 12R but on a limited basis only.

Design and Construction

Compared to its predecessor, very little has been changed in the OnePlus 12R in terms of design. However, they’ve upgraded the mid-frame to aluminum from plastic with the same glass on glass panel at the front and back.

It did not cost the 12R a lot, with a very minimal weight increase of just 3 grams (now at 207 grams). It’s also a teeny bit thicker at 8.8mm (0.1mm increase) which could be due to the bigger battery capacity. We’ll get to that later.

Aside from that, it’s hard to spot any difference between the two from casual inspection. The Alert Slider is still there but is now moved to the left side; volume rocker and power buttons on the right side; Type-C charging port at the bottom along with the stereo speaker grill, primary microphone and SIM card slot; the second speaker grill up top, noise canceling mic and an IR blaster to boot.

Along the aluminum frame, you see will antenna bands peppered around the edges. The 12R also gained an IP64 Rating which indicates full dust resistance and some occasional water splash or rain tolerance. That means, don’t dunk it in your pet’s aquarium or bring with you to the pool for a swim.

At the back, we get that smooth finished with a sand-polished texture to it (at least for the Iron Gray color) so you would not think its actually made of glass. Yet it is! It feels cold to the hands but solid and elegant, nonetheless. The curved glass display and the rounded edge at the back allows for better handling and grip, giving that perception that the device is thinner than it actually is. Then, there’s the worry about it being a fingerprint magnet and much to our surprise and delight, there’s practically zero chance of that.

The camera bump, same as the previous generation, is flushed to the left with the LED flash sits outside the circular module. I actually liked this placement because it is perfect for horizontal orientation when shooting and is not a big of a bother when holding the phone while playing mobile games.

Display, Multimedia and Biometrics

Sporting a 6.78-inch LTPO4 AMOLED display, the 12R is just a hair bigger than the 11R with the same 1264 x 2780 pixel screen resolution (450 ppi pixel density). You have the option to scale this down to 2,376 x 1,080 pixels to help conserve battery life.

This is complemented by 120Hz adaptive refresh rate with Dolby Vision certification. There are two modes that you can set the refresh rate — Standard, where the refresh rates maxes out at 60Hz; and High, where the refresh rate adjusts from 1Hz to 120Hz and you can even set a custom refresh rate only a “per app” basis.

What’s greatly improved here, and this is very noticeable for the users, the screen brightness that peaks at 4,500nits with an HBM of 1,600 nits (High Brightness Mode). Once you place the 12R beside the OnePlus 11, you will clearly see the difference.

Both at 50% brightness, the OnePlus 12R on the left outshines the OnePlus 11 on the right.

The device comes with a dual or stereo speakers placed on both ends. They produce very loud sound, clear and crisp with a little bit of bass, though nothing too notable. Just be careful when holding the phone in the horizontal position, often when playing games, as you might unintentionaly block the speakers with the palm of your hands.

For better enjoyment, connect it to a headphone or pair with earbuds to get surround sound experience, thanks to Dolby Atmos. This is also when you can enjoy the special Holo Audio and Spatial audio effects of the device.

Also take note of the presence of an infra red blaster that you can use to control other multimedia devices or appliances in the house, like your TV, HiFi audio speakers, or even your aircon. This has certainly saved on many occassions where we could not locate remote controls of hotel or resorts and managed to get things going using the phone’s IR blaster.

For biometrics, you still have the option to enrol your fingerprints (up to 10) or use face unlock. The under-display sensor is fast and accurate but can be cumbersome to reach when holding the device with one hand.

Protecting the display of the OnePlus 12R is Gorilla Glass Victus 2 and with an IP68 Rating for dust and water resistance (depth of up to 1.5 meters and for as long as 30 minutes), you’ll be confident you can bring and use this device in a wide variety of locations or conditions.

Camera

It’s got a 50MP Sony IMX890 main camera with OIS and EIS, an 8MP ultrawide and 2MP macro. This is the exact set of cameras that came with the OnePlus 11 5G.

There’s one obvious difference here though — it is the absence of the Hasselblad branding for the rear cameras. This will definitely mark the distinction between the 12 and the 12R (we will look into this in a separate article).

For the most part, the shots taken by the main camera are great with crisp and clear images, vibrant and vivid colors but not too saturated. Low-light or evening shots are also good and managed to capture as much detail.

The wide-angle shots are pretty decent although low-light scenarios will suffer a little bit with capturing details and sharpness. The 2MP macro takes really good shots at a close distance and manages to get the focus right even when the subject is moving, thanks in part to the built-in image stabilization.

We’re also impressed with video recording as shown in the 4K @ 60fps samples clips we have below.

For the front camera, we still have the same 16MP f/2.2 sensor that now comes with gyro-EIS and 1080p@30fps video recording.

For the most part, the quality of photos and videos we’ve been taking is almost identical to the ones we had when we used the OnePlus 11. We wanted to take a much closer look between this two so we’ll do a photo comparison in our next article.

OS, Apps and UI

Right out of the box, the OnePlus 12R runs on OxygenOS 14 which is based on Android 14. For the most part, not much has changed here. The skin is very polished, and clean; fluid but stable, nothing fancy and only the essentials are present, which is what we like.

The only other third-party apps that were pre-installed are Netflix and Tiktok. OxygenOS comes with a few native apps of its own — O Relax, Zen Space, a native browser aside from Chrome, the Community app and the dedicated OnePlus Store. Well, there’s also a Remote app because of the IR blaster feature. So, yay for no bloatwares!

OnePlus promises up to four (4) major Android updates and five years of security patches for its flagships and has done so for practical reasons. More likely than not, after 4 years, your device will be barely usable due to many factors, among them is battery life. As such, the user experience will no longer be optimal by then that any software or security patches cannot remedy.

OxygenOS 14 still has that same familiar look with tons of customization you can tinker with. You can choose between Standard mode UI or Drawer mode, select between Notification Drawer or Shelf when you swipe down from the Home Screen, Raise to Wake, Double Tap to Wake or Sleep, or you can enable Wake Google Assistant with the Home button. O-Haptics adds feedback for touches, swipes, and more. Other special features include Split View, Floating Window, Quick launch, and Smart sidebar.

Performance and Benchmarks

Powering the OnePlus 12R is last year’s flagship chipset, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. That’s the same one they used for the OnePlus 11. As such, we’re expecting the same performance as the OnePlus 11 that we’ve been using for the last 13 months.

The benchmarks, though, showed a bit of improvement.

Antutu Benchmark v10: 1,343,195
Antutu Storage: 1,714MB/s (Read), 1,641MB/s (Write), 499MBs/s & 434MB/s (Random Read/Write)
PCMark Work 3.0: 12,336
GeekBench 6 CPU: 1,561 (Single core), 4,525 (Multi-core)
GeekBench 6 GPU: 8,424 (OpenCL), 9,174 (Vulkan)

One of the more controversial moves by OnePlus was initially announcing the use of UFS 4.0 storage, and then changed it to UFS 3.1. This refers to the read and write speeds of the internal storage. The benchmark scores are almost half the speed on the OnePlus 11. However, with casual usage, users will never or rarely feel this difference (copying large files to and from the phone to your computer is one case we can think of).

With playing games, we found the device able to handle any type of games we can think of. It works well, loads fast and managed to produce high frame rates (60fps and up) on a variety of titles — COD, Diablo Immortal, Genshin Impact, and more.

Connectivity and Battery Life

One of the significant trade-offs of having a thicker chassis and heftier weight is the battery allowance. The OnePlus 12R carries 5,500mAh of battery capacity and has support for 100W SuperVOOC charging.

In our PCMark Work 3.0 battery test, the OnePlus 12R managed to score an impressive 14 hours and 34 minutes at 50% brightness, zero volume and in airplane mode. We did not expect this results since we thought the 50% brightness of the display was too bright and could eat up more battery life than usual.

In our video loop test, the 12R lasted about 26 hours and 50 minutes playing a full HD movie at 50% brightness, 0% volume and in airplane mode.

When playing casual games like Mobile Legends, we managed to get around 8 hours and 20 minutes at 50% brightness, 50% volume and in WiFi mode.

Take note that the OnePlus 12R has a brighter screen so that should account for higher power draw on the battery.

All these battery test results showed that the OnePlus 12R indeed benefited from the bigger battery capacity and the efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip.

As for connectivity options, we got the entire line-up here — WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.3, GPS with aGPS support, NFC and 5G from the dual nano SIM card. No eSIM support here, which is a bummer, since local carriers like Globe and Smart are already offering them on prepaid.

There’s also the IR blaster that we really appreciate, especially with using as a remote control for all the appliances at home.

Conclusion

While we understand that reasons for shaving some hardware of the OnePlus 12R compared to the OnePlus 12 — i.e. previous-gen chipset, UFS 3.1, absence of Hasselblad — the OnePlus 12R managed to hold on its own. However, once you factor in the retail price that almost matched that of last year’s OnePlus 11, we end up at predicament.

By this time, the OnePlus 11 will be sold at a much lower price than its original 45K/49K SRP, maybe even way lower than the current SRP of the OnePlus 12R at Php44K. Then, consider that both the 11 and 12R have the same chipset, better UFS 4.0 storage tech, identical camera sensors but with Hasselblad engineering, and higher screen resolution, there’s very little advantage to get the OnePlus 12R from the OnePlus 11.

Not that the OnePlus 12R does not deserve a Php 43,999 retail price (for the 16GB + 256GB variant), but it’s kind of a hard pill to swallow considering we all know it originally came from the $499 global announcement. Worth it? Yes. Is it a great deal? Not really.

What we liked:
* Long battery life
* Great display quality and brightness
* Great performance
* Better IP Rating than predecessor
* Fast charging

What we did not like:
* Uses a previous-generation flagship chipset
* Expensive compared to global pricing
* No Hasselblad-tuned cameras

OnePlus 12R specs:
6.78” 1.5K LTPO ProXDR AMOLED display
2780 x 1264 pixels, 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate
Up to 1000Hz touch response rate, 4500 nits (peak) brightness
Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen2
8GB, 16GB LPDDR5x RAM
128GB, 256GB UFS 3.1 storage
Triple rear cameras:
– 50MP f/1.8 Sony IMX890 main, OIS, EIS
– 8MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 112° FoV (fixed focus)
– 2MP macro
4K @ 60fps
16MP f/2.4 front-facing selfie shooter, EIS (fixed focus)
Dual nano-SIM
5G, 4G LTE
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax/be
Bluetooth 5.3
GPS, BDS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS
USB Type-C (USB 2.0)
NFC
In-display fingerprint sensor
Dual Cryo-velocity 9140mm² VC
Alert slider
IR blaster
Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision
OxygenOS 14.0 (Android 14)
5,500mAh battery, 100W SuperVOOC wired charging
163.3 x 75.3 x 8.8 mm (dimensions)
207 grams (weight)
Cool Blue, Iron Gray

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Avatar for Abe Olandres

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech with over 20 years of experience in the technology industry. He is one of the pioneers of blogging in the country and considered by many as the Father of Tech Blogging in the Philippines. He is also a technology consultant, a tech columnist with several national publications, resource speaker and mentor/advisor to several start-up companies.

1 Response

  1. Avatar for Magnus Magnus says:

    16/256 retails at $599 in the US

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