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Nothing Phone (2a) vs OnePlus 12R: What’s the difference?

Positioned as the brand’s entry-level phone, the Nothing Phone (2a) builds from its flagship Phone (2) and promises an optimal user experience.

How does the Nothing Phone (2a) compare to the mid-range option from OnePlus, the OnePlus 12R? Which one would better suit your needs? We’ve spent plenty of time with the OnePlus 12R, and while we’ve not yet published our full Nothing Phone (2a) review, we have gone hands-on. This gives us a good idea of how the two compare.

With that in mind, here’s how the two mid-range smartphones compare.

OnePlus 12R runs on Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor

Although not Qualcomm’s most up-to-date offering, the OnePlus 12R runs on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, which still boasts impressively fast performance. In fact we found the OnePlus 12R scored equally or sometimes even higher in our benchmark tests than the OnePlus 12, which runs on the newer Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.

In comparison, the Nothing Phone (2a) is powered by MediaTek’s Dimensity 7200 Pro processor. Co-engineered with Nothing, the Dimensity 7200 Pro promises to deliver the best performance with optimal power efficiency. Although we haven’t yet benchmarked the Phone (2a), Nothing claims that performance is 13% more powerful and 16% more efficient than Phone (1). 

OnePlus 12R back
OnePlus 12R

OnePlus 12R has faster charging

The OnePlus 12R supports an impressive 100W fast charging which we concluded could easily recharge the handset from 1-100% in just 28 minutes.

Although we haven’t yet tested the Phone (2a), Nothing says it supports 45W fast charging and can recharge up to 50% of power in 20 minutes, which although isn’t quite as speedy as the OnePlus 12R, is still similar to higher-end smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.

It’s worth noting that both the Nothing Phone (2a) and OnePlus 12R boast impressively large battery cells, as the 2a is a 5,000mAh unit and the 12R is an even bigger 5,500mAh unit.

The Nothing Phone (2a) has a high-res dual camera setup

The Nothing Phone (2a) has a dual 50MP rear camera setup, comprised of a main lens and ultrawide lens, powered by Nothing’s TrueLens Engine. Nothing claims that the TrueLens Engine ensures every shot taken on Phone (2a) is “as close to real life as possible,” by capturing eight frames at different exposure levels in RAW format and adjusting each pixel’s brightness to display the most true-to-life result. 

Although we are yet to conclusively test the Phone (2a) camera, our first impressions are good with Trusted Reviews Editor Max Parker noting “colours are nicely reproduced and even low light performance is strong for a phone of this price.”

The OnePlus 12R has three rear-facing cameras, including a 50MP main lens, an 8MP ultrawide and a macro lens, with the latter not really adding anything to the camera setup. We found that images generally had a good balance to colours and offered plentiful detail, however we did note that the ultrawide lens lacked detail and struggled in slightly dark conditions. 

Nothing Phone 2a front on table with plant
Nothing Phone (2a)

The Nothing Phone (2a) is cheaper

Available in a choice of three colours, the Phone (2a) currently starts at £319, whereas the OnePlus 12R starts at £649 / $599 / €699.

The Phone (2a) is also currently only available in the UK and ROI but there is a Developer Program option in the US, where users can request to purchase the Phone (2a) and, if accepted, will be encouraged to provide feedback. 

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