You might have heard us gushing about the OnePlus 12 series already but we haven’t been able to fully get into a OnePlus 12R review until now. The mid-range OnePlus 12R, priced at a nice and reassuring $499, is one of the most useful smartphone launches in recent times, especially for those who want something close to a flagship phone but who cannot begin to fathom paying for what competitors like Google and Apple are putting out right now. Heavy on the specs but somewhat lacking on the camera, the OnePlus 12R is a reliable purchase for everyone who’s looking for a phone to last them a while, even if it’s not boasting trendy elements like 100x zoom and AI. The Oneplus 12R battery is one of its crowning features but that comes with an unfortunate lack of wireless charging. Weighing the pros and cons all falls back on what you, in particular, are looking for in a smartphone. 

The 12R has been embroiled in some amount of controversy since launch due to a miscommunication regarding the storage, and buyers of the OnePlus 12R 256GB variant are now eligible for a full refund as a result. Customers were misled to believe that the device came with faster UFS 4.0 storage whereas, in reality, the device was actually built on the UFS 3.1 type storage. OnePlus president and COO Kinder Liu tried to reassure buyers that the device would still guarantee a smooth performance, but regardless of how well it performs, no one likes to be lied to. 

OnePlus 12R Review: The Mid-Range Category Just Found a New Contender

Image: OnePlus 12R available in two colors

Take a Deep Dive into a Oneplus 12R Review

The OnePlus “R” series has often been a limited-release line that was previously exclusively available for India. With the OnePlus 12R this time, the company decided to open up the option to the US and European markets, testing the waters to see how open these regions could be to a more affordable but much simpler smartphone. The Oneplus 12R specs are nothing to dismiss—it is a good phone and quite capable of supporting all your daily needs. Yet it isn’t a device that claims to over-excel at any particular thing or revolutionize the industry but instead provides you with a reliable device on the go. The OnePlus 12 is obviously better than the 12R by a pretty large margin and if it sits comfortably within your budget, it should be the obvious choice for you. If not, the OnePlus 12R performance should be worthwhile as well. 

Oneplus 12R Specs

Keeping up with the trends, the OnePlus 12R specs are powered by the Snapdragon 8 processor but the Gen 2 version instead of the latest Gen 3 chipset. Even if it isn’t the trendiest processor on the market, it does well enough for itself in terms of performance, making the most of the tech that was at the top of its game last year and still remains relevant enough right now. The OnePlus 12 display specs include a 6.78-inch LTPO4 AMOLED 1264x2780px resolution screen with 4500 nits peak brightness and 450 ppi. 

Breaking down these OnePlus 12R performance elements, the 4500 nits peak brightness is way more than anything you might need on your device, but it does at least guarantee you can operate your phone under outdoor conditions with greater ease. Similarly, the LTPO4 panels, which are low-temperature polycrystalline oxide screens, are not something that too many mid-range phones feature. It promises a more variable refresh rate that can optimize the battery usage to a better degree, making it a neat detail on the device.

The Oneplus 12R specs also include an IP64 rating which is a letdown for those who want to know their devices will remain safe despite a spill. Higher-end models like the Google Pixel 8 and iPhone 15 Pro come with an IP68 rating which gives buyers the comfort of knowing that dropping the phone in some water by mistake—something that seems to happen more often than we’d care to admit—won’t permanently ruin the device. More mid-range models like the Pixel 7a come with an IP67 rating and are still water-resistant but can only withstand a quick dip, which is still useful. We’re disappointed to have to mention this at all in the OnePlus 12R review, but the IP64 means the OnePlus 12R is protected from water splashes at best, but anything further could seriously damage the phone. While it isn’t among the top OnePlus 12R specs to consider before purchase, it is somewhat of a letdown. 

Oneplus 12R Camera—Not for Those Photographically Inclined

Oneplus 12R Camera—Not for Those Photographically Inclined

The Oneplus 12R specs may be decent, but it is true that the camera is somewhat subpar. The Oneplus 12R camera setup includes a triple camera system with a 50 MP Sony IMX890 main camera, an 8 MP ultra-wide Sony camera, and a 2 MP macro lens for shooting at distances less than 4 cm. The front camera has a 16 MP lens which is better than what some, more expensive, phones provide at 12 MP. The triple camera trend has us all looking for “more” in terms of number, but this seems to come at the price of quality. The OnePlus 12R camera would have been better served by a dual camera setup with the 8 MP ultrawide camera receiving better specs, but it’s too late in the process to change this particular detail.

Overall, the OnePlus 12R main camera does perform alright but it doesn’t guarantee consistently good photos. Some turn slightly blurry, and some are inherently overexposed, but if you don’t mess around with the zoom too much, the basic photos are quite decent. As far as our OnePlus 12R review is concerned, the images taken by the device do not feature enhanced colors or improved image quality in any sense but they do provide clear, realistic images that you could choose to enhance afterwards through edits if stylizing your images are more your preference.

Oneplus 12R Battery and Storage—Skipping Out on the Wireless Trend

The OnePlus 12R battery is both a hit and a miss depending on what you prioritize in your smartphone. The device comes with a 5500mAh battery, which is reportedly the biggest ever on a OnePlus phone—even better than the 5400mAh battery on the higher-end OnePlus 12. Equipped with 100W SUPERVOOC capabilities, the phone can go from 0 to 100 percent charge in about 26 minutes. This means that you should be able to go for long periods between charging the device, and even when you do set it down for charging, you should have your phone off the wire in half an hour. This almost makes up for the lack of wireless charging on the device and seems like a fair tradeoff for most OnePlus 12R reviewers.

In terms of storage, there are two variants available: 8GB RAM with 128GB storage and 16GB RAM with 256 GB storage. The more expensive variant with the larger 256GB storage has come under fire for being advertised as UFS 4.0 when it was actually UFS 3.1. The company has offered a full refund for anyone who wants to return the phones, valid until 16 March 2024. While everyone may not realize any actual difference in performance between the two types, it is still unacceptable to invest in a device that runs below its advertised capabilities. This news wasn’t a good look for OnePlus but it is good that the company has moved to rectify and apologize for the situation quickly. This hasn’t fully tanked the OnePlus 12R reviews just yet, but it is not a good look for the company.

Oneplus 12R Battery and Storage—Skipping Out on the Wireless Trend

If you’re among those comparing the Oneplus 12R vs Pixel 7a, then the Pixel phone does win in terms of wireless charging capabilities and camera quality. Despite being an older model, the Pixel 7a has established itself quite firmly as a leader in the mid-range category and does everything you could need your smartphone to do. The device is also guaranteed software upgrades until 2028 so there are a couple of years left on the device’s lifeline. This does not, however, detract away from the Oneplus 12R’s performance. 

While the yearly top-tier launches are exciting, there are rarely enough upgrades to warrant investing in them every few months. The additional features are often engaging over the first few days after which you most likely return to using the basic features of a smartphone. It is precisely that habit that makes investing in the OnePlus 12R’s specs a much smarter alternative compared to the more expensive market options. The takeaway from our OnePlus 12R review? If you’re looking for a good phone to handle all the basic smartphone functions without breaking the bank, then consider trying out the OnePlus 12R to see if you find everything you need through its simplicity.