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The cheaper OnePlus 9 model you’ve been waiting for is finally official

Published Mar 25th, 2021 6:50AM EDT
OnePlus 9R Price
Image: OnePlus

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Just like we warned you before they were launched, the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro are more expensive handsets you’d expect from this particular smartphone maker, given its history in the business. Gone are the days when the Chinese smartphone maker would pitch affordable flagships that would skimp on some features just to deliver the fast barebones smartphone experience some people wanted. As years went by, OnePlus started adding the missing features that people wanted, and the phones got more expensive. The basic OnePlus 9 starts at $729, and the cheapest OnePlus 9 Pro costs $969. These are prices that are on par with what’s available from rivals, although the OnePlus phones are somewhat cheaper — and they do come with chargers in the box. But OnePlus also made a more affordable OnePlus 9 version that plenty of people would appreciate. The OnePlus 9R is finally official and will cost around $550. But you can’t get it yet.

OnePlus came up with the Nord mid-range series last year to make up for its pricing problem. The Nord delivered an incredibly affordable 5G phone experience, but it wasn’t a flagship. The OnePlus 9R fixes that. The phone is only available in India for the time being, one of OnePlus’s most significant markets. But it might trickle down to other countries in the future.

The handset proposes many acceptable compromises that will lead to a better experience than the Nord, one that’s closer to the OnePlus 9 flagships.

OnePlus 9R
A game playing on the OnePlus 9R.

The handset feels like a rejuvenation of the OnePlus 8T launched in the second half of 2020. We’re getting many of the same features in a design closely resembling the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro lines. The processor has been upgraded from the Snapdragon 865 flagship of 2020 to the Snapdragon 870. This is more like a plus version of the Snapdragon 865+ chip that Qualcomm launched last year, but it’s not quite the Snapdragon 888 that powers the 2021 flagships. Weirdly enough, OnePlus stresses the phone’s gaming capabilities in its presentation. The processor will surely deliver a great gaming experience, but the OnePlus 9R isn’t the gaming phone with over-the-top specs that some companies manufacture.

The rest of the OnePlus 9R’s specs list closely resemble the 8T. We get a 6.55-inch flat OLED hole-punch display with 120Hz refresh rate and in-display fingerprint sensor, 8/12GB of RAM and 128/256GB of storage, 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1. and NFC. The 4,500 mAh battery supports 65W fast charging, but there’s no wireless charging on this OnePlus 9 variation.

OnePlus 9R
OnePlus 9R’s main camera system.

The primary camera system’s design looks like the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro, but the 9R doesn’t get the same Hasselblad photography tricks. There’s no logo from the camera maker or Hasselblad color tuning magic. But you get the same camera structure as the OnePlus 8T: 48-megapixel main camera, 16-megapixel wide angle lens, 5-megapixel macro camera, and 2-megapixel monochrome lens. A 16-megapixel camera pierces through the screen on the front. One standout camera feature is optical image stabilization support for the 48-megapixel shooter, something the OnePlus 9 doesn’t have.

OnePlus 9R
OnePlus 9R in Lake Blue and Carbon Black color options. Image source: OnePlus

The OnePlus 9R comes in Lake Blue or Carbon Black, but it’s unclear if we’re looking at a plastic back or glass. The 8GB/128GB version costs 39,999 rupees ($550), and the 12GB/256GB model is slightly more expensive at 43,999 rupees ($605).

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.