OnePlus has quietly introduced a more budget-friendly alternative to its impressive OnePlus 12 flagship, the OnePlus 12R, priced at $500 (£649, roughly AU$1,250). While the OnePlus 12 has garnered attention for its powerful performance and exceptional battery life, the 12R aims to offer a compelling option at a more accessible price point.
Visually, the OnePlus 12R shares some design cues with its pricier sibling, but it comes with key trade-offs to justify its lower cost. The phone is equipped with a slightly older Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, as opposed to the OnePlus 12’s latest 8 Gen 3 chip. Despite this, the 12R still delivers a robust performance, showcasing its capability with demanding games like Genshin Impact, PUBG, and Asphalt 9: Legends.
One notable difference lies in the camera setup, with the OnePlus 12R featuring a pared-back configuration. It includes a 50-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultrawide camera, and a 2-megapixel camera with a macro lens. While the camera performs decently in mixed conditions, those seeking a more comprehensive photography experience may lean towards the flagship OnePlus 12.
However, the OnePlus 12R disappoints in terms of software support periods. OnePlus offers only three years of software updates and four years of security updates for the 12R, which is a year less than what the standard OnePlus 12 provides. This shorter support duration may raise concerns about the phone’s longevity and environmental impact. The decision to offer reduced support on the more budget-focused model suggests a questionable stance on sustainability, making it seem like an exclusive feature for those willing to invest in the top-tier model.
On a positive note, the OnePlus 12R packs an impressive 5,500-mAh battery, even larger than the one found in the OnePlus 12. While its battery performance might not match its pricier counterpart due to differences in power efficiency between the processors, it still offers above-average battery life. The inclusion of super-fast 80-watt wireless charging, or even 100-watt fast charging in the UK, ensures quick replenishment of the battery, taking it from empty to full in just over 30 minutes.
In terms of design, the 12R features a frosted glass back, providing a premium and sturdy feel. The 6.78-inch display offers vibrant visuals and supports wet-touch technology, ensuring responsiveness even when the screen is wet. With an IP64 water resistance rating, the phone remains usable even in heavy rain.
The OnePlus 12R’s main 50-megapixel camera delivers good-looking shots with rich colors, detailed imagery, and solid exposure in various conditions. However, for users seeking a more advanced camera system, the OnePlus 12 may be a more suitable choice.
While the OnePlus 12R makes compromises to achieve its lower price point, it raises concerns with its shorter software support periods. As the smartphone industry continues to embrace sustainability, OnePlus may need to reconsider its approach to provide more equitable support across its lineup. Despite these trade-offs, the OnePlus 12R presents a compelling option for users seeking a balance between performance and affordability in a flagship smartphone.