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Home / Reviews / Smartphones / OnePlus 12R review: plenty of value and pizazz

OnePlus 12R review: plenty of value and pizazz

If you're looking for a value-packed m mid-ranger, you won't go far wrong with the OnePlus 12R

OnePlus 12R review

Stuff Verdict

For the price, it’s hard to be disappointed with the vibrant and powerful OnePlus 12R. It’s a fine sibling for the OnePlus 12 – with the only downer being the so-so camera system.

Pros

  • Super performance for the price
  • Beautiful display is up there with the best
  • Main camera takes some decent shotss
  • Water and dust proofing a boon

Cons

  • Other cameras disappoint
  • No wireless charging (if we’re picky)

Introduction

Let’s talk about OnePlus’ flagship phone and mid-range smartphone lineup.

As you may have seen recently, we were big fans of the OnePlus 12 flagship phone. As a key Samsung Galaxy S24 and Google Pixel 8 competitor, the OnePlus 12 can’t easily be beaten. But like the others we mentioned in the last sentence, it can’t be described as mid-range because of its $799/£849 price. If you’ve followed OnePlus long term, you’ll know that the whole raison d’être of the brand was to give users flagship specs at mid-range prices.

So while the OnePlus 12 delivers, it doesn’t necessarily deliver on what OnePlus is famed for (though the company is more flagship-focused than it’s ever been). Thankfully, there’s another option in the form of this second new 2024 phone from OnePlus – the $600/£649 OnePlus 12R. There have been ‘R’ models of OnePlus phones before in the form of the OnePlus 9R, 10R and 11R. But OnePlus is taking this one global, so it’s an important handset for the brand.

There are a handful of compromises versus the OnePlus 12 and while it isn’t the same as last year’s OnePlus 11 inside, it’s pretty similar. As such, it’s pretty much last year’s flagship for mid-range money. And considering we really rather liked the OnePlus 11 as well…

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Design and display: super light, super bright

It’s available in two hues, iron gray and cool blue (we’ve got the latter here!). Weight is similar to the OnePlus 11 at 207g and while not as light as something like the Nothing Phone 2, it’s in the same bracket. If you put it against recent OnePlus handsets, the design language is undoubtedly similar with the offset circular camera bump, but otherwise this phone isn’t distinctively OnePlus, but such is the way of many smartphones in 2024.

One thing that is distinctively OnePlus aside from the camera housing is the alert slider, which again makes an appearance enabling you to easily silence the phone and has changed location from the right to the left of the phone, so changing the position of an antenna inside for better performance when the phone is in landscape mode – so when you might be streaming video or playing games.

The display is one area where there isn’t a whole lot of change from the OnePlus 12. The fourth-gen LPTO AMOLED ProXDR display is very slightly smaller than the OnePlus 12’s at 6.78in and it does have a lower pixel count even though it’s still high at 450ppi and capable of 120Hz refresh rates when required. But the display is definitely a 2024 variant, matching the peak brightness of 4500nits of the OnePlus 12 and covered by the super stong Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2. The display also has some built-in tech to detect when it’s wet from rain or splashes and compensate for it. Like OnePlus 12, the 12R is rated IP65, so is waterproof and dustproof.

Specs and performance: last year’s top model

The OnePlus 12R is available in two versions, 8GB RAM (the speedy LPDDRversion) and 128GB of storage and 16GB RAM and 256GB of storage. Want more and you’ll have to go for a different OnePlus option, though you can pick up last year’s OnePlus 11 for a similar price if you need a bigger size.

What’s missing here versus the OePlus 12? Wireless charging (you do get 100W wired charging), the latest-gen camera hardware plus the Hasselblad camera enhancements. And you’ve got the previous-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon hardware in the form of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 rather than the Gen 3. Of course there is a performance impact, but it is inconsequential for most regular use. As with the OnePlus 12 there’s a new cooling system this time around called Cryo-Velocity. It helps coolant to circulate more easily and boasting a much bigger cooling area than on predecessor handsets.

At 5500mAh, it also has a bigger battery than either the OnePlus 12 (5400mAh) or OnePlus 11 (5000mAh) – the biggest battery that’s ever been inside a OnePlus device. So with everyday use, it’ll comfortably last into the next day if you need to be frugal with the juice, even if you’re not being particularly careful. As we mentioned there’s 100W wired charging. This isn’t as quick as with some past handsets such as the OnePlus 10T, but you’ll still fully juice the phone in under half an hour. Various charging and battery health technologies are provided by a dedicated management chip dubbed Supervooc S (OnePlus suggests the phone should be optimised for 1600 charges or four years).

Camera: fine in the main, but not a stellar combo

The camera system isn’t up to the standard of OnePlus flagship handsets, but it’s perfectly decent. However, compromises have been made in the form of the 8MP ultrawide which doesn’t bring a massive amount to the party and the 2MP macro lens which brings even less. The defaults in the camera app are 0.6x, 1x, 3x and 5x. 5x shots aren’t great, and you can zoom into 20x where results are really noisy.

If you’re a regular reader of this website you’ll know that we don’t really rate macro lenses that have been added to make up the numbers. The front camera is a better story and is 16MP, matching last year’s OnePlus 11 (though with seemingly slightly different specs).

The main wide 50MP Sony IMX890 sensor is great, though there’s no optical zoom as with other phones in this class (the Pixel 8 has a 2x ‘optical quality’ zoom which we said was ‘convincing for the most part’ in our review). It’s been in stacks of phones over the last year and the 24mm ƒ/1.8 lens has OIS, EIS and produces some really decent everyday shots.

Low light performance is fine providing you hold steady. It’s not enough to match the best mid-range night shots though (hi Pixel) and you can easily end up with a blurry result. ‘Not enough to match the best’ actually sums the camera setup quite nicely really – it’ll do what you need, but there’s better out there.

Software: long-term updates – but not that long term

Things are bang up-to-date in the software department, with the latest OnePlus OxygenOS software running on top of Android 14. Oxygen has a respectful design and doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, even if there are a bunch of apps that duplicate what Google already offers – such is life. With this generation of devices, there’s some additional software tweaks that optimise the OnePlus 12R’s processor, memory and more for continued good performance over time – a rough timeframe of 48 months is suggested.

Of course, it’s impossible to test this over a short-term period, but it’s always good to hear of technologies that can help us keep our non-inexpensive devices going longer. One example of this, says OnePlus is its ROM-Vita tech that keeps an eye out for cached files to remove and ways to more efficiently use space. There are some other optimisation technologies around in-game performance, particularly in relation to screen brightness/HDR.

Four years’ worth of updates are guaranteed by OnePlus, though this doesn’t even approach the seven years now being offered by Google on the Pixel 8 series or Samsung with the Galaxy S24 series. Realistically, these companies know you’re unlikely to have a device for more than a few years. But what it should do is keep resale prices higher, making the devices more desirable in the first place. It’ll be interesting to see if other manufacturers like OnePlus follow.

OnePlus 12R verdict

OK, so the camera system is disappointing aside from the main snapper, but it’s difficult to be disappointed with the OnePlus 12R as a whole. It represents terrific value and while it’s temping to say it’s a retread of last year’s OnePlus 11, that’s quite far from the truth considering the broad upgrades on offer here. It’s a bit like a OnePlus 12 Minus and when you’re talking about a saving of $200/£200 over the more expensive model, it’s rather compelling. After all, this offers more than most people will ever need.

Stuff Says…

Score: 5/5

For the price, it’s hard to be disappointed with the vibrant and powerful OnePlus 12R. It’s a fine sibling for the OnePlus 12 – with the only downer being the so-so camera system.

Pros

Super performance for the price

Beautiful display is up there with the best

Main camera takes some decent shotss

Water and dust proofing a boon

Cons

Other cameras disappoint

No wireless charging (if we’re picky)

OnePlus 12R tech specs

Screen6.78in, 1264×2780 LPTO4 AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Memory8GB/16GB
Storage128GB/256GB
CamerasRear: 50MP, 24mm f/1.8 main wide, 8MP 16mm f/2.2 ultrawide, 2MP f/2.4 macro
Front: 16MP, f/2.4
Operating systemAndroid 14 w/ OxygenOS 14
Battery5500mAh
Dimensions163x75x8.8mm, 207g
Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief

About

Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

Areas of expertise

Computing, mobile, audio, smart home