Is this even a choice?


OnePlus’s raison d’être has changed. It’s not committed to making flagship killers anymore — it’s unapologetically shipping $1,000 phones. But the company doesn’t want to put all its eggs in one basket so it’s hedged this change in direction by introducing the Nord series and now, the OnePlus 9R.

The phone is exclusive to the Indian market at the moment and costs 20% less than the OnePlus 9. This puts it directly in competition with another member of its own family, the OnePlus 8T, which costs about the same. So, if you’re setting out to buy a non-flagship OnePlus phone, which one should you go for? Let’s find out.

  OnePlus 9R OnePlus 8T
Chipset Snapdragon 870 Snapdragon 865
RAM 8/12GB (LPDDR4X) 8/12GB (LPDDR4X)
Storage 128/256GB (UFS3.1) 128/256GB (UFS3.1)
Display 6.55-inch OLED 2400×1080 (20:9), 120Hz 6.55-inch OLED 2400×1080 (20:9), 120Hz
Battery & Charging 4,500mAh, 65W Warp Charge, 15W Qi wireless 4,500mAh, 65W Warp Charge
Rear cameras 48MP primary, 50MP ultrawide, 2MP monochrome 48MP primary, 16MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, 2MP depth sensor
Front cameras 16MP 16MP
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, dual SIM Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, dual SIM
Headphone jack No No
Colors Lake Blue, Carbon Black Aquamarine Green, Lunar Silver
Dimensions 160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4mm 160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4mm
Weight 189g 188g
Software OxygenOS 11 / Android 11 Oxygen OS 11 / Android 11
Price 8/128GB: ₹39,999
12/256GB: ₹43,999
8/128GB: £549, ₹42,999
12/256GB: $599, £649, ₹45,999

Hardware

I don’t want to waste your time so I’m laying it down straight away. The OnePlus 9R and 8T are practically the same. From the display to the cameras, from the battery size to the storage type, almost everything is identical. Surprisingly, they even share the same dimensions — the 9R is only a gram heavier.

OnePlus seemingly justifies slapping a new name on an old device by making three changes – a new processor, new colorways, and a redesigned camera module. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 the 9R uses is nothing but a slightly overclocked version of the Snapdragon 865 the 8T uses. It’ll be next to impossible to spot any differences in performance — they even have the same GPU and 5G modem.

OnePlus 8T

The OnePlus 9R is available in Lake Blue and Astral Black, whereas the OnePlus 8T comes in Aquamarine Green and Lunar Grey. While colors surely help differentiate the phones, the camera module is what sets their design apart. This may lead some people to believe that the 9R has more in common with the OnePlus 9/9Pro than the 8T, but the exact opposite is true. This is likely intentional, of course.

Summing it up, if you had to choose between the devices just on the basis of the hardware, only pay attention to the aesthetics. Pick a design and colorway that you like the best.

Software

What little difference the phones have with respect to hardware almost vanishes when it comes to software. Both models run OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11. If you’re coming from older versions of the software, things might seem a bit different due to the new direction OnePlus has taken its skin in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EocM_U4QF5M?feature=oembed

OnePlus has taken the liberty of straying a bit further away from the “stock Android” look and has seemingly drawn inspiration from Samsung’s One UI. It still remains feature-rich and offers fluid animations for a fast and smooth user experience. If OnePlus’s track record is any proof, the OnePlus 9R may have some bugs at launch, so beware.

On the subject of Android updates, the 8T and 9R can both be expected to get updated to Android 13. The 9R may get a few more security updates, though, which is worth bearing in mind.

Price

Since the two phones are so similar, the price is probably the best way to decide between them. The OnePlus 9R costs ₹39,999 or ₹43,999 for the 8/128GB or 12/256GB variants, respectively. The OnePlus 8T, on the other hand, is a little bit more at ₹42,999 and ₹45,999 for the 8/128GB and 12/256GB models, respectively.

If these are the prices you have in front of you when you’re making a decision, there’s no doubt that you should pick up the cheaper OnePlus 9R. It’s has a (slightly) newer processor, a (slightly) newer design, and its software will be supported for (slightly) longer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXkFVHhEN48?feature=oembed

There’s one thing you should note, though. OnePlus is sitting on unsold 8T inventory and these phones will likely be discounted to give consumers an incentive to pick one up over the more aggressively priced 9R. If that happens and you do find a deal that discounts the 8T substantially, you should probably go for that instead. You won’t be missing out on anything important, so go with the best deal at the time of purchase.

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