The new flagship
The OnePlus 12 is the new flagship in the company’s line, and boy, does it deliver. From an ultra-fast processor to rapid charging, a stunning screen, amazing cameras, and next-level gaming performance, it’s a premium phone to beat in the Android space. You’ll pay more for it, of course, but the advanced features make it worth the extra bucks.
- Bright, beautiful screen
- More powerful processor
- Much better cameras
- More expensive
- Not IP68 water resistant
A step-down to consider
The OnePlus 12R is the step-down version of the OnePlus 12 that will save you a few bucks. But there are some notable concessions. This includes a less powerful processor, less RAM and storage, and cameras that leave much to be desired. If you can live with this, the OnePlus 12R is still a decent phone for an affordable price.
- Has some of the same features
- Still has a decently bright screen
- Battery life is comparable
- Much cheaper
- Step-down processor
- The cameras aren't as good
- Not IP68 water resistant
- Less storage and RAM
- Lower screen resolution
OnePlus recently released its two latest phones. When looking at the OnePlus 12 vs. OnePlus 12R, your first question is likely the most logical one: what’s the difference? We’re here to not only answer that but help you decide between the two. We’ll look at what’s both the same and different about these two phones in the look, operation, specs, and cameras to help you make a choice you’ll be happy with.
OnePlus 12 vs OnePlus 12R: How they look
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On the outside, the OnePlus 12 and OnePlus 12R look very similar to one another, but there are a few differences.
The OnePlus 12 has a slightly larger screen at 6.82 inches in size. It’s also a higher resolution QHD+ screen with 3,168 x 1,440 resolution at 510 ppi. You’ll get an impressive 4,500 nits of peak brightness. The 2K 120Hz ProXDR display is an advanced LTPO display with AquaTouch technology that affords a smoother touch experience when there might be moisture from rain or sweaty gaming hands, for example.
Available in Silky Black or the stunning Flowy Emerald finishes, OnePlus says the design of the OnePlus 12 was inspired by nature. It looks similar to the OnePlus 11 in design, with the same camera island that blends into the mid-frame, with rounded edges and smooth curves. In his review, Android Central’s Harrish Jonnalagadda says the camera design on the back “looks striking,” especially with the Flowy Emerald finish.
There’s a rear glass cover while the screen is made of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2. Measuring 164.3 x 75.8 x 9.15mm it’s not surprisingly, a bit larger and a tad thicker overall than the OnePlus 12r. It’s also a bit heavier at 220 grams. You’ll get all the usuals including 5G, eSIM and dual SIM slot, and Bluetooth 5.4 along with USB 3.2; the phone is also Wi-Fi 7 ready.
It has a 5,400 mAh battery and supports 80W SUPERVOOC charging along with 50W AIRVOOC wireless charging: you can get up to an additional two days of use after just a quick 30-minute charge and it wirelessly charges to full in about an hour. Get it with 256GB or 512GB of storage. It has an IP65 water resistant rating as well, which means it can’t be submerged but you should be okay if you get caught in the rain.
With the OnePlus 12R, you get a slightly smaller and lighter-weight phone measuring 163.3 x 75.3 x 8.8mm (207 grams) with a 6.78-inch screen that’s 2,780 x 1,264 at 450ppi. That’s still a pretty fabulous screen. It’s also just as bright, boasting the same up to 4,500 nits peak brightness, even though it isn’t as high resolution.
This phone uses LTPO 4 technology, which offers dynamic refresh rates and rapid scrolling up to 120Hz as well. This means it will be both smooth and battery-efficient. Indeed, it has a 5,500mAh battery and supports 80W SUPERVOOC charging, so it’s no slouch in that department. However, this phone does not support wireless charging.
Available in Iron Gray or Cool Blue, the OnePlus 12R comes with 128GB or 256GB of storage, so you don’t get the option for as much storage as you do with the OnePlus 12. Since storage isn’t expandable in either phone, this will be an important consideration. You get the same eSIM and dual SIM slots along with Wi-Fi, 5G, and Bluetooth, though this phone has Bluetooth 5.3 versus 5.4, so it isn’t the latest spec. The improvements with Bluetooth 5.4 mainly pertain to encryption and security.
The screen of the OnePlus 12R is also made of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, so it’s just as durable, though it has a slightly less IP64 water-resistant rating. Considering neither is IP68 like most other premium phones in their class, this is something to consider if you want to take the phone to the beach or use it by the pool without having a waterproof case.
You’ll save quite a bit with the OnePlus 12R over the OnePlus 12 since it’s much cheaper. But there’s reason for that, which we’ll get into in the next sections.
OnePlus 12 vs. OnePlus 12R: Head-to-head spec comparison
Before diving deeper into these two phones, let’s look at how they compare head-to-head when it comes to specifications.
|Header Cell - Column 0
|OxygenOS 14 (based on Android 14)
|OxygenOS 14 (based on Android 14)
|Silky Black, Flowy Emerald
|Iron Gray, Cool Blue
|3,168 x 1,440
|2,780 x 1,264
|2K ProXDR QHD+
|ProXDR AMOLED LTPO 4
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
|256GB, 512GB (not expandable)
|128GB, 256GB (not expandable)
|50MP wide, 64MP periscope, 48MP ultra-wide, 32MP front
|50MP, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro, 16MP front
|Stereo Speakers, Spatial Audio support
|80W SUPERVOOC, 50W AIRVOOC
|164.3 x 75.8 x 9.15mm
|163.3 x 75.3 x 8.8 mm
Examining these specs, you can really see where the differences lie and why the OnePlus 12 is much more expensive than the OnePlus 12R. But let’s look further.
OnePlus 12 vs OnePlus 12R: Power and performance
It’s in the performance where these two phones differ, though it’s where they share some similarities as well.
The OnePlus 12 comes with the more powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, which makes it an ultra-fast and efficient phone. It also has a new dual vapor chamber designed to improve heat dissipation, a feature that games, in particular, will appreciate. Combined with the Trinity engine that affords no lag, smooth videos, and fast and smooth gaming, and this phone is ideal for content creators, gamers, and multitaskers.
Jonnalagadda did say he was only able to play games at 60fps, even with frame booster enabled, so this is something to consider. He does mention that this might change with an OTA update, so that could be resolved by the time you read this.
You’ll be able to launch apps quickly, run multiple apps and once, and play the most intense mobile games. Thanks to the omnidirectional antennas and support for Wi-Fi 7, you’ll get a stable connection, too.
With the Spatial Audio support when listening through compatible headphones, offering 3D, immersive sound and the ultra-bright and high-resolution screen, you get a really compelling experience with both video and audio.
This is complemented with the up to 16GB RAM. If you’re a gamer, you’ll want to opt for the highest-end spec available with both 16GB RAM and 512GB storage so the phone will meet all your needs.
By comparison, the OnePlus 12R uses the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 which is still a wonderful processor, but it’s a step down in this department. You’ll also only get up to 12GB RAM. If you’re going to go with this model, you might be better off getting the 12GB RAM option of the OnePlus 12 so you get the newer, faster, more efficient processor to go with it.
The dynamic refresh of the LTPO 4 screen, which can go from 60Hz to 72Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz depending on what you’re doing is a neat addition. The screen might not be as high resolution but it’s still pleasant to look at. You also get the dual cryo-velocity VC cooling system, so this phone will suit gamers as well.
Both phones run on OxygenOS, which is based on Android 14 while the OnePlus 12 has an Adreno 750 GPU and the OnePlus 12R an Adreno 740 GPU. Across the board, the OnePlus 12R is a slight step down in features, which explains the difference in price. If you’re not a gamer, heavy content creator, or multitasker, you might be OK with just the OnePlus 12r in this respect. But there’s another thing to consider: the cameras.
OnePlus 12 vs OnePlus 12R: Taking photos and videos
The cameras are where these two phones really separate, and this could be the dealbreaker.
The OnePlus 12 has a 50MP wide camera, 64MP 3x periscope telephoto camera, 48MP ultra-wide camera, and 32MP front camera. You can take photos using a variety of different modes, including Master Mode, natural, high dynamic, and portraits. There’s even an option to add a watermark as well as a pro mode for shooting in RAW.
The phone employs a 4th generation Hasselblad camera system with a Sony main sensor. The ultra-wide camera can capture shots at up to 114°. It’s a compelling experience for photographers and wannabe photo enthusiasts: you’ll be really pleased with the photos you get from this phone.
Jonnalagadda says the phone “takes outstanding photos in any lighting condition, including low light.” He saw plenty of detail, dynamic range, and accurate color reproduction in all the photos he shot throughout his review, easily saying the phone is on par with others in its category, including the new Samsung Galaxy S24 and the Google Pixel 8 Pro.
The cameras are where the OnePlus 12R really falls short. It has a 50MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro, and 16MP front camera. This brings it into entry- or mid-level phone camera territory. It’s almost as if the camera was secondary to the phone. It still has tons of useful specs for gamers and for productivity. But if you love taking photos, this might not be the phone for you.
Instead, you could find a phone from another brand for about the same price that boasts much better camera specs. So, if taking photos is one of the main things you do with your phone, consider saving up for the OnePlus 12 instead, or check out another one of the best Android phones with better cameras.
OnePlus 12 vs OnePlus 12R: Which should you buy?
The decision between the OnePlus 12 vs. OnePlus 12R really comes down to price. The only reason to consider the OnePlus 12R is if you are on a very tight budget. But if this is the case, I would suggest you consider another Android phone that is in the same price range and offers similar specs along with better cameras. The Google Pixel 8 or even Google Pixel 7a are worth considering, for example, given the photo editing features they include, like Magic Eraser.
Between these two phones, the extra money is a tough pill to swallow, but you’ll appreciate all the extras you get with the OnePlus 12. From the higher-resolution screen to the sleek look, the faster processor, extra storage and RAM, and much better cameras, it’s worth paying more.
Bottom line: if you want OnePlus, go for the OnePlus 12, or even consider the OnePlus 11 if you can find one for a steal. The OnePlus 12 is the much better phone of the two, and your photos will thank you.
With that said, if photos aren’t really that big a deal to you, you’ll still get decent ones for sharing on social media from the OnePlus 12R. It has tons of impressive features beyond the cameras, from the cooling system to the long-lasting battery, 4,500 nits brightness, and 120Hz refresh rate. But if you have a bit more to spend, it’s worth it to trade up.
The clear winner
Oftentimes, if something costs more money, there’s good reason. Such is the case with the OnePlus 12, which is more expensive than the OnePlus 12r, but for good reason. If the reasons outlined make sense to you, start saving up and get this phone instead. You’ll appreciate it much more.
Save some bucks
Yes, you’ll save some bucks with the OnePlus 12R. But in its price range, there are many other Android phones to consider that might not have similar specs with better cameras. If that feature is important to you, consider either looking elsewhere or saving up for the OnePlus 12 instead.
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Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.