OnePlus launched a new approach last year. It disclosed that it was integrating its operations with Oppo and that Oxygen OS, its operating system, will combine with the Colour OS source. This also meant that there will be no "T" model of its phone in 2021.
However, this did not signify the end of the "T" series of phones. In 2021, it also released three flagship-grade phones instead of two, the third of which being the OnePlus 9R. Now, the 9R is receiving the "T" treatment, but it also comes at a time when OnePlus has introduced the daring new OnePlus 10 Pro for the Chinese market.
Everything about this launch is weird, but considering the price and the upgrades, it makes for a fascinating phone, especially because its competitors — Samsung and Xiaomi — are following a similar strategy.
Xiaomi has the 11T Pro, while Samsung offers the Galaxy S21 FE. On paper, the OnePlus 9RT appears to be a OnePlus 9 upgrade without the Hasselblad logo.
OnePlus 9RT: Specs
- OxygenOS based on Android 11
- 6.62in (FHD+) AMOLED, 397 PPI, 20:9, 120Hz
- Corning Gorilla Glass 5, Hyper Touch 2.0
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, 5G
- Adreno 660
- 8GB/12GB LPDDR5
- 128GB/256GB UFS 3.1 2-LANE
- Main Camera, 50Mp Sony IMX766, f/1.8
- Ultra-Wide Camera: 16Mp, f/2.2
- Macro Lens: 2Mp
- Front camera sensor: 16Mp Sony IMX471, f/2.4
- Video up to 4K/60fps
- Dual-band Wi-Fi 6
- Bluetooth 5.2
- In-display Fingerprint Sensor
- Warp Charge 65T (65W)
- Dual Stereo Speakers
- Dual nano-SIM slot
- Alert Slider
- 162 x 75 x 8mm
It's not as dull as the Galaxy S21 FE, but it's also not as thrilling as Xiaomi's 11T Pro. However, it adheres to the tried and true OnePlus recipe, which might make it a wonderful phone for aficionados and those searching for a dependable device.
OnePlus 9RT Review: Design & Build
OnePlus has not deviated from its typical design aesthetic. The OnePlus 9RT expands on the OnePlus 9R, which was mostly based on the OnePlus 8 series.
Sure, the camera module has changed, and with the triple camera system, it feels a little more cutting edge in my view. It also looks great in the stealthy Hacker Black variant that I received.
The matte finish makes everything appear incredibly appealing yet in a subtle way, however, this is a really standard-issue design language. Given the huge screen, it is ergonomic for a phone of its size, but it adds nothing new to the table.
It is, however, still reasonably thin for its sector at 8.3mm and light at 198.5g for a phone with a 6.62in the display. However, this phone lacks any form of water or dust resistance, which is surprising given that many handsets in the market have begun to provide that feature.
Given the glass back, some may have expected wireless charging, but that has been omitted, but it does come with OnePlus's effervescent Warp Charge 65W charger, as usual. More on it in a moment.
OnePlus 9RT Review: Screen & Speakers
A properly tuned and bright display is something you can always count on from a OnePlus phone. Another example is the 9RT, which has an AMOLED display with a Full HD+ resolution inside a 6.62in diagonal.
To say the least, the screen is brilliant and vibrant. It has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front, which is fantastic, but it lacks the newest Victus cover glass seen on the Galaxy S21 FE.
Because of its 120Hz refresh rate, which can be manually scaled down to 60Hz, this phone maintains the quick and smooth slogan that OnePlus has been touting for over a decade.
It also has an exceptionally fast 380Hz touch sampling rate, which we first saw in the OnePlus 9 Pro last year, but it also has a 600Hz touch sampling rate for gamers, which is active in select games.
While testing the phone, I couldn't see the change with my eyes, but the scrolling is still very fluid.
When it comes to watching content on the gadget, it is adequate. This panel supports HDR10+ video, which shines through. I watched a lot of stuff, including the Netflix hit Ozark, some sports with the Australian Open going on, and even Marvel's Eternals, and the experience was fantastic - aided by the inclusion of pretty powerful stereo speakers.
The optical fingerprint reader is similarly housed on the display, and it proved mainly dependable and lightning-fast when it came to unlocking the phone. The phone also has a basic face unlock feature that works with a single front-facing camera.
You also get a lovely haptic motor, which makes typing a pleasure. So much so that a big portion of my evaluation was written in Google Docs on the 9RT.
OnePlus 9RT Review: Specs & Performance
The OnePlus 9RT is fundamentally the same as the OnePlus 9 Pro. It has Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 CPU, 12GB RAM, and 256GB UFS 3.1 storage.
This is a killer performance package on its own, but OnePlus improved it with a redesigned vapour chamber to better control heat dissipation and sustained performance.
And, oh, do the indicators point in that direction. In all simulated benchmarks, the OnePlus performed better than certain other Snapdragon 888 processors, including the recently introduced Xiaomi 11T Pro.
It performed better on Geekbench, PCMark work performance, and GFX bench - both after a fresh boot and under prolonged strain.
OnePlus 9RT Benchmarks
High-fidelity games like Call of Duty Mobile and Asphalt 8 were a joy to play for extended periods of time on the phone. During my tests, the phone never overheated, and it never became too lengthy during extended gaming sessions.
It fits with OnePlus' pitch of positioning it as an inexpensive flagship that also functions as a gaming phone.
As one might expect, day-to-day performance was silky smooth – the phone was just quick in normal usage and switching applications, even if there were more than 30 open. This phone is quite speedy.
OnePlus 9RT Review: Cameras
The OnePlus 9RT has a triple camera array, with the 50Mp Sony IMX 766 from the Pro variant serving as the primary shooter.
On paper, though, this is a worse combination – as with the Pro, the 766 was utilized for the ultrawide lens, which now has a far more humdrum 16Mp sensor. It also lacks Hasselblad tuning and lacks telephoto performance because the third sensor is a 2Mp macro lens.
On paper, this may appear to be a simple setup, but it is a highly adaptable camera system that will perform well in most settings and may even be magnificent at times. The camera UI has been mostly lifted from Oppo, which is understandable given the company's merger with Oppo. It lacks the Hasselblad camera app, which wasn't great for vibrations in the first place.
The photographs taken with the primary camera have nearly a Pixel-like contrast heavy appearance with a blue tint and loads of dynamic range. In general, when given adequate lighting, the 9RT produces pleasing images.
It is not a slouch even in low light. It shoots bright images even when not in night mode, and while in night mode, it recovers blur-free photos amazingly effectively.
It also has a great portrait mode, which is really useful given that it has very consistent edge detection. The degree of bokeh on the camera may also be adjusted, which aids in more realistic portrait photographs.
The ultrawide lens performs admirably, given that this phone has a lower-quality sensor than the 9 Pro. It captures stunning scenery images, which are enhanced even more if you utilize the "high resolution" option in the daytime.
The macro camera is a bit of a letdown, especially given that it only has a 2Mp resolution. This camera is quite superfluous, as OnePlus could have enabled the capability through the ultra-wide lens. Instead, a telephoto lens would have been appreciated, and its absence is a significant shortcoming of this camera system when compared to main competitors.
In bright lighting, the video on this phone is also pretty nice. It has video bokeh mode, super steady mode, and AI-enabled visual embellishments. When provided with adequate lighting, it may produce highly useable footage that can also be utilized as a b-roll for YouTube videos; but, in low light, the functionality of this camera system suffers.
It can shoot in 4K at 60fps at best, but it is best utilized in 4K at 30fps, which gives a great balance of quality, brightness, and frame rate. The video is mostly stable, making it extremely useable and completing out the camera system's capabilities.
OnePlus has also upgraded the microphones, so if you shoot a video with strong sounds, the capture will be pretty useable. When compared to the iPhone, Android phones have improved in this area across the board.
As with many OnePlus devices, this phone performs admirably with the Google Camera hack, resulting in overall better images. This is subject to obtaining a stable build of the app. Most users will not need this because the native camera app is fantastic on its own.
Another flaw is the selfie camera, which produces washed-out selfies and can only be improved with the Google camera app.
OnePlus 9RT Review: Battery Life & Charging
The OnePlus 9RT has a 4500mAh battery that can be charged using the warp charge 65T charger, which can completely charge this phone in just over 30 minutes. This has always been a feature of OnePlus smartphones, but by 2022, it is just about above average.
The reason for this is because Xiaomi has released their deadly 120W hypercharge technology, which can completely be charging a Xiaomi 11T Pro with a bigger 5000mAh battery in 17 minutes. However, many people, particularly those switching from a phone that is more than two years old or an iPhone, will find this a significant upgrade.
The charging brick provided by OnePlus is not the brick that can also function as a 45W fast-charging brick as shown on the OnePlus 9 Pro. This phone also does not support wireless charging.
However, all of this may be unnecessary because the OnePlus 9RT has one of the greatest battery lives we've seen on a OnePlus smartphone in recent memory. The PCMark battery test lasted over 12 hours, outlasting even the Xiaomi 11T Pro.
It routinely lasted longer than a single workday with moreover 6 hours of screen on time in daily use. This phone may even survive a day and a half for most people, which is astounding.
OnePlus 9RT Review: Software & Apps
This is one of the first phones released by OnePlus following its merger with Oppo. It includes the most recent version of Oxygen OS, which shares a codebase with Oppo's ColorOS. All of this, however, is built on the out-of-date Android 11 - but wait a minute, this is a wonderful thing.
Google has been experiencing a lot of troubles with Android 12 stability, even on its Pixel 6 handsets, and most OEMs who have deployed upgrades, including OnePlus, have suffered.
While many have criticized the idea to combine Oxygen OS with Colour OS, I believe it is more or less the same. Sure, there are hints of Colour OS here and there, most notably in the camera app, which has been heavily influenced by the camera software on Oppo phones.
There is also a slew of customization choices inside the launcher, but it mostly sticks to the bloat-free, no-nonsense experience that stock Android enthusiasts have come to expect.
For iPhone users moving to Android, this remains the most user-friendly Android skin since it lacks the cruft that plagues other Android phones, which come bundled with a slew of unnecessary applications.
OnePlus also provided a software update to resolve several flaws, as is customary for the company, which releases software upgrades at breakneck speed. But this is the type of shift that is reflected not just in the older version of Android, but also in the fact that the 9RT is pretty polished out of the box, negating the need for a number of upgrades.
OnePlus 9RT Review: Price & Availability
The OnePlus 9RT comes in two sizes: 8/128GB and 12/256GB, as well as two colours: Nano Silver and Hacker Black. The two start at about £430 and approximately £470, respectively, and are available via OnePlus and Amazon.
The OnePlus 9RT is now only available in India and will not be available in the United Kingdom or the United States. In China, a variant of the phone was also released.
There is no doubt that the OnePlus 9RT is a fantastic phone for anybody looking to purchase a new Android phone for less than $50,000. It is quick, well-made, and comes with clean software and superb cameras. What's not to appreciate about that?
The fact that there is competition with comparable or slightly greater specifications for a little bit less. Is it the fact that this is just a watered-down OnePlus 9 Pro?
It is, at the end of the day, tedious. It's dull in a good manner, so if that's your thing, go for it.