OnePlus dished out an interesting surprise this time with the announcement of the OnePlus 9R. I say interesting because it has some missing features from the OnePlus 9 and yet is priced a good Rs 10,000 lower. Having said that, its resemblance to the OnePlus 8T is not lost on us. In fact, I can loosely sum up the OnePlus 9R as an OnePlus 8T with a slightly faster processor. What is this new phone all about, and how does it compare to the 9 and the 8T? Time to take a quick look.
OnePlus 9 vs OnePlus 9R vs OnePlus 8T: Design
All three phones are identical at the front, with a minimal chin and a punch-hole at the top left of the screen for the selfie camera. Even the 16 MP selfie camera sensor is the same, but I am getting ahead of myself. The OnePlus 9’s back looks slightly different thanks to the color gradient and the different alignment and number of rear cameras. However, the 9R and 8T look similar from the back as well, including the positioning and the number of rear cameras. The only notable difference being the 8T uses a black background for the camera module, while the 9R’s module has the same color as its back (for the Lake Blue variant).
The edges on the OnePlus 9 are narrower, making the phone feel slimmer than the other two. However, the company has done away with the metal frame present on most OnePlus phones and replaced it with plastic. Interestingly, the more affordable OnePlus 9R has a metal frame, just like the 8T. Quite baffling, but not something I would complain about. The weight of all three phones stays under 190 grams, which is a good thing. The Lake Blue variant of the OnePlus 9R is quite easy on the eyes.
OnePlus 9 vs OnePlus 9R vs OnePlus 8T: Display
I cannot think of anything that has changed here, and frankly, there was no need for a change. Just like the 8T, both the OnePlus 9 and 9R have a 6.55-inch, fluid AMOLED display with a Full HD+ resolution of 2,400 x 1,080 pixels and the same 120 Hz refresh rate for a smooth, flicker-free experience. The screen looks sharp and vibrant, and there is no cause for complaint. The OnePlus 9 display can get as high as 1100 nits bright in theory and is HDR10+ compliant. It is protected by a layer of 3D Corning Gorilla Glass. While the company hasn’t specified the peak brightness of the 9R’s screen, it is also HDR10+ compliant and protected by Gorilla Glass, just like on the 8T.
OnePlus 9 vs. OnePlus 9R vs. OnePlus 8T: Processing hardware
Things get interesting here. As expected, the company opted for the fastest Qualcomm SoC around in the OnePlus 9, the Snapdragon 888. The OnePlus 9R gets the Snapdragon 870, a slightly faster version of the Snapdragon 865 found in the 8T, and sits right between the two phones in terms of performance. Again, I used the word interesting because the OnePlus 9R is technically faster yet cheaper than the 8T. All phones come with either 8 GB or 12 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of UFS3.1 storage. While the OnePlus 9 scores higher in synthetic benchmarks, the other phones aren’t too far behind. In day-to-day operations, you won’t even notice the difference in performance.
OnePlus 9 vs OnePlus 9R vs OnePlus 8T: Camera
While the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro were all about Hasselblad-branded cameras, the legendary camera brand has nothing to do with the 9R. It is being marketed as a gaming phone; however, it gets the same set of cameras as the OnePlus 8T, which were more than decent. You get a 48 MP primary camera with optical image stabilization (OIS), a 16 MP ultra-wide shooter, a 5 MP macro camera, and a 2 MP monochrome camera. Yes, OIS – which is missing from the OnePlus 9 – is available here. OnePlus logic – don’t ask!
What’s missing from the OnePlus 9 camera setup, other than Hasselblad’s color tuning, is that wonderful 50 MP ultra-wide camera with the Sony IMX766 sensor, arguably the best ultra-wide camera in phones under Rs 50,000. That camera could also click some perfect macro shots from as close as 4 cm. However, the OnePlus has gone back to the dedicated 5MP macro camera on the 9R, just like on the 8T. I will discuss the camera performance in detail in the OnePlus 9R review.
OnePlus 9 vs OnePlus 9R vs OnePlus 8T: Battery
Each of the phones has a 4,500 mAh battery, accompanied by a 65 W Warp charge power adapter that charges the phones insanely quickly. While the OnePlus 9R and 8T take about 40 minutes to charge fully, the OnePlus 9 takes 5 minutes less. The battery life of each of the phones is close to 30 hours of moderate use. I will share the exact numbers for the 9R in the review.
OnePlus 9 vs. OnePlus 9R vs. OnePlus 8T: Pricing
The OnePlus 9R starts at Rs 39,999 for the 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage variant and costs Rs 43,999 for the 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage variant. The OnePlus 8T sells for Rs 42,999 and Rs 45,999, respectively, for similar RAM and storage variants, and the OnePlus 9 demands a whopping Rs 49,999 and Rs 54,999, respectively. Clearly, the OnePlus 9R pricing is a lot more sensible, and I won’t be surprised to see it do better than the OnePlus 9 and render the 8T obsolete.