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OnePlus 9R vs OnePlus 9: How do they compare?

OnePlus has officially launched its latest flagship range. The 2021 smartphone line up consists of the OnePlus 9, the OnePlus 9 Pro and – in some locations – the OnePlus 9R.

The OnePlus 9R is the most affordable of the three phones, but as an India and China-exclusive it hasn’t seen the same attention here that the 9 and the 9 Pro have.

Here’s everything you need to know about the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9R, including how much they cost, and how much they compare when it comes to the display, camera and performance.

If you’re in the market for a new phone, make sure to check out our roundups of the best phones, best Android phones and the best mid-range phones (which the OnePlus 9 has already topped).

Price and availability – How much do they cost?

The OnePlus 9 has been positioned above the OnePlus 9R and below the OnePlus 9 Pro in the new lineup. The phone is available in two configurations – £629/$729 for 8GB RAM/128GB storage or £729/$829 for 12GB RAM/256GB storage – and can be ordered today.

The OnePlus 9R is the cheapest member of the OnePlus 9 family, costing just ₹40,000 (∼£400/$550) in India where it’ll launch in April. The phone boasts up to 12GB RAM/256GB storage and will also be available in China from mid-April. However, we don’t expect the 9R to arrive in the UK or US anytime soon, so the OnePlus 9 might be easier to get your hands on if you’re ready to upgrade.

Design and display – Similar screens

  • Both these phones have similar displays with 120Hz refresh
  • Different colour options and weight

The OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9R pack similar screens. Both phones include a 6.55-inch OLED display with a 1080p resolution, HDR10+ support and 120Hz refresh rates. Both phones feature a fingerprint sensor under the display, too.

There’s a small difference in weight, with the OnePlus 9 tipping the scales at 192g and the 9R at 189g. However, the most obvious way the designs differ is in colour.

The OnePlus 9 is available in three colours – Winter Mist, Arctic Sky and Astral Black – while the 9R is available in just two, Lake Blue and Carbon Black.

OnePlus 9R

Camera – A new Hasselblad partnership

  • Various camera differences between the two
  • The OnePlus 9R keeps the 8T’s macro camera

This time around, OnePlus has teamed up with Hasselblad to “co-engineer” the OnePlus 9’s rear camera. There is no Hasselblad branding on the OnePlus 9R.

The OnePlus 9’s triple-camera setup includes:

  • A 48MP (f/1.8) wide angle sensor with EIS
  • A 50MP ultra-wide angle sensor
  • A 2MP monochrome sensor

The OnePlus 9R’s quad-camera setup includes:

  • A 48MP (f/1.7) main sensor
  • A 16MP ultra-wide sensor
  • A 5MP macro sensor
  • A 2MP monochrome sensor

The 9R’s setup is the same as that found on last year’s flagship OnePlus 8T. We found the 8T’s camera to be good, but it fell short when compared with rivals. The shots were over-processed and the colours at times looked unnatural. We also noted that the macro sensor felt a bit gimmicky.

The OnePlus 9 does away with the macro lens and, while the shots are still sometimes over-processed, we were generally impressed with the Hasselblad camera. The Auto mode offers fast shutter and autofocus speeds for moving subjects and the ultra-wide sensor is great for capturing detailed landscapes.

Both phones feature 16MP selfie cameras and support 4K video recording at 60fps.

Performance – Improved performance all round, but no wireless charging for the 9R

  • Both should be very capable devices
  • OnePlus is targeting the 9R at gamers
  • Both feature 8-series Qualcomm chipsets

The OnePlus 9 is powered by Qualcomm’s 2021 Snapdragon 888 5G chipset, while the 9R features the Snapdragon 870 5G. Both processors are an improvement on the 8T’s Snapdragon 865.

Of course, it’s difficult to compare the performance of the two phone’s when we haven’t gotten our hands on the 9R just yet. However, we found the OnePlus 9 to stand on par with the more expensive 9 Pro, performance-wise. The phone can handle demanding games at highest settings with no issues, has a robust cooling system and could handle editing large RAW files with ease.

You can read more about our experience with the OnePlus 9 – and take a look at the benchmark scores – in our full OnePlus 9 review.

As far as battery is concerned, the OnePlus 9 is kitted with a 4500mAh battery and supports Qi wireless charging and OnePlus’ own Warp Charge 65T fast-charging technology.

While the OnePlus 9R features the same 4500mAh battery and support for fast-charge as its pricier siblings, it lacks support for wireless charging. If you’re not a fan of cables, you might prefer the convenience of the standard OnePlus 9.

OnePlus 9R vs OnePlus 9 – Early verdict

It’s difficult to draw a verdict on these two OnePlus 9 phones, as the 9R’s limited availability makes it significantly harder to get your hands on.

However with £230-£330 between the models, it’s definitely worth comparing them. If you’re wanting to save some cash and don’t mind missing out on Qualcomm’s latest flagship chipset, a 50MP ultra-wide camera and wireless charging, you should look into the OnePlus 9R. The phone has a similar display to the OnePlus 9 and is a step above the 8T in terms of performance.

On the other hand, if you’re happy to spend a bit more on the latest specs, the OnePlus 9 is better equipped and easier to order in the UK, all still without breaking the bank like many of its flagship rivals.

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