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I used the OnePlus 12 and OnePlus 12R. Here’s which one you should buy

OnePlus 12R and OnePlus 12 back.
OnePlus 12R (left) and OnePlus 12 Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

Last year’s OnePlus 11R was the “value phone you’ve been waiting for.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t available in the U.S. However, things have changed with the OnePlus 12 series. Both the OnePlus 12 and 12R are available here at different price points. The OnePlus 12R being cheaper but offering flagship specifications raises the question if you should spend extra on the OnePlus 12.

So, should you? Here’s what you need to know about both devices before making your decision.

OnePlus 12 vs. OnePlus 12R: specs

OnePlus 12 OnePlus 12R
Size 164.3 x 75.8 x 9.2 mm (6.47 x 2.98 x 0.36 inches) 163.3 x 75.3 x 8.8mm (6.43 x 2.96 x 0.34 inches)
Weight 220 grams (7.76 ounces) 207 grams (7.30 ounces)
Screen size 6.82-inch LTPO AMOLED (Dynamic 1-120Hz) 6.78-inch LTPO AMOLED (Dynamic 1-120Hz)
Screen resolution 3168 x 1440 resolution at 510 pixels per inch 2780 × 1264 resolution at 450 pixels per inch
Operating system Android 14 with OxygenOS 14 Android 14 with OxygenOS 14
Storage 256GB, 512GB UFS 4.0 128GB, 256GB UFS 3.1
MicroSD card slot No No
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay Google Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
RAM 12GB, 16GB LPDDR5X 8GB, 12GB LPDDR5X
Cameras Rear: 50MP primary, 48MP ultrawide, and 64MP periscope telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom

Front: 32MP

Rear: 50MP primary, 8MP ultrawide, and 2MP macro

Front: 16MP

Video Rear: Up to 8K at 24 frames per second (fps), 4K at up to 60 fps, and FHD at up to 480 fps

Front: Up to 4K at 30 fps

Rear: 4K at up to 60 fps, and FHD at up to 480 fps

Front: Up to 1080p at 30 fps

Bluetooth Yes, Bluetooth 5.3 Yes, Bluetooth 5.3
Ports USB-C USB-C
Biometrics Optical in-display fingerprint sensor Optical in-display fingerprint sensor
Water resistance IP65 IP54
Battery 5,400mAh

Fast charging 100W (80W in the U.S.)

Fast wireless charging (50W)

Reverse wireless charging (10W)

5,500mAh

Fast charging 100W (80W in the U.S.)

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support 5G 5G
Colors Flowy Emerald, Silky Black Cool Blue, Iron Gray
Price From $800 From $500
Available from OnePlus, Amazon, Best Buy OnePlus, Amazon, Best Buy

OnePlus 12 vs. OnePlus 12R: design

Both the OnePlus 12 and OnePlus 12R follow design language similar to last year’s OnePlus 11. It gives them a distinct look, the primary difference being the back panel design.

The Flowy Emerald OnePlus 12 is absolutely gorgeous. It seems to take inspiration from the Marble Odyssey Edition of the OnePlus 11 to give a textured matte look on the back. It also comes in Silky Black, which looks similar to last year’s flagship but lacks the “Hasselblad” font on the camera module for just the logo. By contrast, the OnePlus 12R has a glossy finish on the back for the Cool Blue color, but a matte finish if you get the phone in Iron Gray.

OnePlus has also redesigned the button placement on its new phones. The OnePlus 12 series now sports the power button and volume rockers on the right side, while the Alert Slider has been relocated to the left edge. If you are coming from any of the old OnePlus phones, this might be a learning curve, but you’ll get adjusted to it within a day or two.

This change has pros and cons. Having volume buttons on the other side allowed me to take screenshots with a single hand, but now I have to use both hands. And I take a lot of screenshots because I like sharing memes with my friends. That being said, I like the placement because it has become easier to adjust the volume when I’m watching movies now.

OnePlus 12 vs. OnePlus 12R: display

The OnePlus 12 features a 6.8-inch LTPO AMOLED display with a 1440 x 3168-pixel resolution at 510 ppi (pixels per inch) and support for a 120Hz refresh rate, both Dolby Vision and HDR10+, which can go up to 4,500 nits.

On the other hand, the OnePlus 12R comes equipped with a 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a 2780 x 1264 resolution (at 450 ppi). Interestingly, it supports the same peak brightness for Dolby Vision and HDR10+ content and dynamic refresh rate.

Both these displays are sharp and vivid, especially on the OnePlus 12R. It was best put in words by Digital Trends’ Mobile Editor Joe Maring, “This is a screen I’d expect on a $1000 phone – not one that costs half a price.” Both these phones feature curved displays, which give them a premium look, in my opinion.

These are both “ProXDR displays,” which means they can display HDR content (like photos) within the app – similar to iPhones. They also have a feature called “Aqua Touch” that allows the phone to detect droplets on the screen, so it can distinguish a finger touch and mistouch from droplets. It works well most of the time.

OnePlus 12 vs. OnePlus 12R: performance

OnePlus 12R and OnePlus 12 back.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

One of the key differences between the two phones is the chipset. While the OnePlus 12 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, the OnePlus 12R relies on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the same chip found on the OnePlus 11. It may be over a year old at this point in time, but it’s still an excellent performer — especially for the OnePlus 12R’s price.

Everything is super fast and fluid on both phones. From app loading speeds to zero stutter in everyday use, they do well, and the OnePlus 12R is more than capable of handling your favorite games at 60fps at least, with Call of Duty: Mobile playing smoothly at 120fps at Medium graphics. Both phones can get warm during extensive gaming sessions but don’t get to a point where they’re uncomfortable to hold.

They come in different storage and RAM configurations, though. The OnePlus 12 gets UFS 4.0 storage, while the OnePlus 12R gets UFS 3.1 storage, but both with LPDDR5X RAM. You won’t notice the difference in most day-to-day tasks. In the long run, the OnePlus 12 base variant might fare better because it carries 12GB of RAM by default instead of 8GB of RAM found inside the OnePlus 12R. However, both phones can be upgraded with an optional 16GB RAM model.

OnePlus 12 vs. OnePlus 12R: battery and charging

The battery settings page on a OnePlus 12R.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The OnePlus 12 packs a 5,400mAh battery with support for 100W fast charging and 50W wireless charging, which was absent on the OnePlus 11 as well as the OnePlus Open. It’s a welcome addition. By contrast, the OnePlus 12R gets a bigger 5,500 mAh battery with the same 100W fast charging support. However, it lacks wireless charging capabilities. Notably, the fast charging is capped at 80W for both phones in the U.S. It’s slightly disappointing, but that’s still much faster than competing phones from Samsung, Apple, and others.

Both phones come with the 100W charger in the box, so you don’t need to spare extra dollars on a supported charging brick. They will last you an entire day with ease, and you shouldn’t have trouble getting through the day with either of the two. And when needed, they charge super quickly.

OnePlus 12 vs. OnePlus 12R: cameras

OnePlus 12R and OnePlus 12 camera modules.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

Another difference comes in the form of cameras – both sensors and Hasselblad support. The OnePlus 12 has a 50MP primary camera (Sony LYT-808 sensor), a 64MP periscope sensor with 3x optical zoom support, and a 48MP ultrawide camera with a 114-degree field of view. On the other hand, the OnePlus 12R sports a 50MP main camera (Sony IMX890 sensor) alongside a weaker 8MP ultrawide camera with a 112-degree field of view and a better-ignored 2MP macro sensor.

The OnePlus 12 captures bright, detailed images with good dynamic range and impressive shots even in low light. I really like the color science. The Portrait mode gets the edge detection right (for the most part), and the bokeh feels natural. You can also click some pretty good-looking macro shots with it.

I like the addition of the 3x periscope telephoto camera on the OnePlus 12, as I use it more than the ultrawide camera. It can also capture a good amount of details in 6x due to the in-sensor zoom and social media-worthy photos up to 15x. I would confidently carry it to concerts. You also get the 3x option in Portrait mode, which is missing on the OnePlus 12R.

As for the OnePlus 12R, the primary camera captures good-looking photos with pleasing color science in plenty of light. However, there were times when the phone gave me washed-out shots, but that was mostly fixed with a recent update. The ultrawide camera is decent but not great, and the 2MP macro sensor isn’t worth talking about. It’s still a good camera setup for the price.

On the front, you get a 32MP selfie shooter on the OnePlus 12 versus a 16MP camera on the OnePlus 12R. The former is better, while the 16MP shoots average stills.

OnePlus 12 vs. OnePlus 12R: software and updates

Screenshots of Android 14 software from the OnePlus 12R.
Digital Trends

The OnePlus 12 series runs OxygenOS 14 based on Android 14. While the more expensive flagship is slated to get four years of major Android OS updates and five years of security patches, the OnePlus 12R is promised to receive three years of OS updates and four years of security patches.

As for the user interface and animations, they’re fast and fluid. OxygenOS is filled to the brim with features but doesn’t feel overwhelming. There’s a lot of variety, whether AOD customizations or multitasking with “Special Features” like Split View and Flexible Windows.

OnePlus 12 vs. OnePlus 12R: price and availability

The OnePlus 12's camera module.
OnePlus 12 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The OnePlus 12 is available in two colors, Silky Black and Flowy Emerald, and starts at $800 for the 12GB RAM/256GB storage version, while the 16GB RAM/512GB storage version costs $900.

The OnePlus 12R is priced at $500 for the base model with 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage and $600 for the 16GB RAM/256GB storage version. Both phones are available from Amazon, Best Buy, and directly from the OnePlus website. Moreover, you can get a minimum $100 discount on the OnePlus 12 series if you trade in any phone in any condition to OnePlus.

OnePlus 12 vs. OnePlus 12R: verdict

OnePlus 12 and OnePlus 12R camera modules.
Prakhar Khanna / Digtial Trends

My experience with both phones has been highly enjoyable. You can still get more capable phones if you spend over $1,000, but the OnePlus 12 is the most value-for-money flagship you can buy right now. Similarly, the OnePlus 12R is an excellent phone for its price.

As for comparing the two devices, if you want better cameras, a faster processor, and wireless charging, you should opt for the OnePlus 12. But if you are OK with having a good primary camera and don’t have much use case for a zoom lens, the OnePlus 12R is an unbelievably good value.

Both devices are comfortable to hold, feature a great display, smooth performance, a lightning-fast charging battery, and last an entire day. You can’t go wrong with either.

Editors' Recommendations

Prakhar Khanna
Prakhar writes news, reviews and features for Digital Trends. He is an independent tech journalist who has been a part of the…
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