OnePlus hasn’t forgotten its original fan base after all. The company which started off as the ultimate flagship killer back then while rivaling other big brands such as Samsung and Huawei in its prime excelled by releasing great smartphones at an affordable price point.
While all that seems to have changed up a little bit as the company seems to be focusing mostly on its premium-tier flagships even to the point where merging with its parent company OPPO angered some die-hard fans, OnePlus slowly but surely brought back those affordable smartphones to compete with the likes of realme and Redmi.
While the OnePlus 9RT is not necessarily an affordable premium flagship, one would expect the tech company to announce a 9T smartphone during the second half of the year but we apparently got a 9RT.
More than six months ago, OnePlus announced the 9R and it’s definitely time to announce an upgrade to the device which is where the “T” comes in.
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The smartphone continues with OnePlus 2021 design trend which includes the over-exaggerated camera rings which are now very common on popular devices such as Samsung and iPhones.
While the company had earlier announced the OnePlus Nord 2 5G which is a pretty interesting smartphone in its own regard, one might question the essence of flooding the market with so many affordable smartphones.’
From my point of view, I think this device is worth it especially being a budget smartphone within the US$499 price range with some high-end premium features such as an AMOLED display with a blazing-fast 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10+, the 6.62-inch display of this device is up to something.
If you wonder why I’m already siding with the OnePlus 9RT, then you might want to continue below to learn more about why I think this device isn’t as bad as you might think.
OnePlus 9RT Review: Design
First, let’s talk about the design of the OnePlus 9RT which as mentioned earlier takes on the current design aesthetics of OnePlus smartphones in 2021.
The Chinese company continues to maintain its brand appearance this year while creating similar-looking smartphones that can be hard to tell apart due to the design especially when you flip the device over to the back.
First, is the obvious which is the camera setup. This is made up of triple lenses but without Hasselblad. If you want Hasselblad’s signature camera module, then you’d need to increase your budget and grab the higher-end OnePlus 9 Pro that was released earlier this year.
The similarities between the newly announced OnePlus 9RT and the previous OnePlus 9 are very glaring in terms of the camera placement, the camera module design, the company’s logo placement, the bright silver color, and all that.
Elsewhere, you get a USB-C port beneath the device and its speaker grille by the right while the SIM tray is located by the left – just like all standard OnePlus smartphones released this year.
By the left side, you get the volume rocker and the power button falls to the right side.
There is an obvious chin on the device which elongates the device’s display. There is also a hole-punch camera cut out by the top-left corner of the display.
And if you’re concerned about fingerprint smudges, this device doesn’t attract it so easily but you can still make use of a protective case to keep things safe.
The device comes in three color options – Black, Silver, and Blue. The silver color might be my favorite due to its uniqueness.
When held, the OnePlus 9RT feels very premium and the display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass even though OnePlus didn’t specify. My guess is that they make use of Gorilla Glass 5 which is often prevalent on mid-range smartphones.
In terms of dimension, the OnePlus 9RT is about 162.2 x 74.6 x 8.3 mm (6.39 x 2.94 x 0.33 in) and weighs about 198 grams (7.02 oz) and there is support for Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by).
The device doesn’t look extraordinary but it doesn’t look bad either. Other features include NFC and dual stereo speakers.
- 6.62-Inch Always-on display
- 1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~397 ppi density)
- AMOLED, 120Hz, HDR10+
Another cool and interesting feature of the OnePlus 9RT is the display which is a slight upgrade from the previous model. This time around, the display size is about 6.62-inch and uses AMOLED technology.
This is something I love about OnePlus because of the powerful display. It’s very bright and can reach about 1200 nits at its peak. It’s also pretty fluid thanks to its 120Hz refresh rate.
When compared to other affordable smartphones on the market, I think OnePlus has some value especially the brand name still carries some weight which explains why some may never mind the price point even though it’s slightly well over what some might call mid-range in some regions.
Still on the display of the OnePlus 9RT, better resolution thanks to the HDR10+ and always-on display all of which give the device the premium look and feel.
There are no curves on the edges of the device and I think that’s ok especially when typing or even consuming media files.
My issue with curved displays is that some OEMs don’t often get it right and the curved displays often come off as a gimmick rather than being an actual feature that will make their devices interesting.
While using the device under bright light, there isn’t much influence on the display’s capability one thing though is the fact that I do get the rainbow effects when I move the device to one side as light shines through.
Compared to better AMOLED display technologies used in the premium-tier OnePlus 9 series, you can obviously see the difference which points to the fact that some AMOLED displays are well equipped than others.
Performance, Benchmark, & Gaming
- Snapdragon 888 chipset
- 12GB of RAM
- 600Hz touch sampling
Still, the reason why OnePlus announced the 9RT, it’s also because it ports a premium-tier Snapdragon 888 chipset which is used by other expensive smartphones on the market such as Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.
The OnePlus 9RT is also equipped with 5G network capabilities. The device’s CPU is an Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4×1.80 GHz Kryo 680) with an Adreno 660 GPU.
Storage options range between 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, 8GB of RAM with 256GB storage, or 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage.
With that said, there is no support for an external SD card slot so if you need a bigger space, you’d have to opt for the more expensive 256GB variant.
Speaking of speed and performance of the OnePlus 9RT, it has a Benchmark score of 793506 on AnTuTu, 3DMARK score of 5869, Geekbench 5 single-core of 1124, and a multi-core score of 3330.
If you’re trying to get this device for gaming, you can expect a pretty smooth experience as its touch sampling can reach about 600Hz which is really insane for a moderate smartphone that isn’t specifically built for gaming with all those gimmicky RGB LEDs and extra buttons.
Playing popular mobile games such as PUBG and my favorite Gangster Vegas on the device is pretty fluid and smooth in every way possible.
Often you get about 90FPS depending on the games and sometimes, the frame rate drops to as low as 40FPS.
Since there is no ventilator built within the device, you can expect some heating when playing graphics-heavy games while charging but trust me, the Snapdragon 888 chipset is able to handle the majority of tasks so heating isn’t a prominent experience.
Still, on the experience, the OnePlus 9RT comes with a special feature called “Ultra-steady frame mode” which is built to enhance the device’s performance especially when gaming.
It’s meant to smooth out the display performance and stabilize the frame rate depending on the type of game you’re playing.
OnePlus 9RT Review: Cameras
- Triple camera setup
- Features Dual-LED flash, HDR, panorama
- Can record up to 4K@30/60fps
The camera department is another very important part of the device because who doesn’t like good cameras on their smartphone.
The primary sensor is a big 50 MP wide-angle lens with features such as f/1.8 PDAF, and OIS. Then there is a secondary 16 MP ultrawide angle sensor with an f/2.2 aperture, and the last is a smaller 2MP macro sensor with an f/2.4 aperture.
The primary sensor makes use of Sony IMX766 which when compared to the previous OnePlus 9R is a big upgrade from its IMX586.
Speaking of my camera experience with the OnePlus 9RT, I’d give it a big B-. Everyone knows that most smartphone cameras do well in broad daylight, yeah the camera did very well in this regard producing high-quality output.
At night, there is a little bit of a struggle when shooting even though there are often enough bright lights to help the device out.
It also has a really decent dynamic range. The OIS on the 50MP primary lens gets the job done in most cases especially when shooting a steady picture in low light.
The post-processing sometimes goes overboard with too much sharpening but I often wonder why smartphone makers can’t just make use of good camera software like those they use in their premium devices.
One thing I’ve come to realize is that the hardware has a lot of roles to play especially with the camera composition.
Features such as Hi-Res Mode can help you take high-resolution pictures that can reach about 100MP with AI interpolation.
That doesn’t mean it’s going to be a better picture. It can however be used for post-production on professional software such as Photoshop in order to touch up the photograph.
The camera has features such as Dual-LED flash, HDR, Auto HDR, gyro-EIS, and panorama. It can also record videos at 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps.
At the front is a 16 MP wide-angle sensor for selfies with an f/2.4 aperture. It can record a 1080p@30fps video and has features such as Auto HDR and gyro-EIS
OnePlus 9RT Review: Battery Life & Charging
- 4,500mAh battery
- 65W super fast charging
- 0% to 100% in 29 min
This is another important feature of the OnePlus 9RT smartphone. It comes with a big 4500mAh battery which can be recharged within half an hour that ks to its powerful 65W.
Even though there is a growing concern about the battery longevity over tie due to the blazing-fast charging but one thing for sure is that you have the confidence of getting 36% of battery from 0% under five minutes of charge with the 65W fast charging.
Also, most Android smartphones nowadays come with a smart charging capacity which ultimately blocks the device from charging when the battery is full. So even when you forget to pull out the charger from the USB port, you can relax because nothing is definitely happening to the battery.
Using a video-heavy site such s TikTok for a period of 1 hour took about 12% of the device’s battery and the same happened with YouTube. Gaming took the majority of the battery after 45 minutes of playing Gangster Vegas.
Experience may vary due to several reasons but the fact that the device uses the Snapdragon 888 should give you some confidence about its capabilities.
OnePlus 9RT vs OnePlus 9R
|Specifications||OnePlus 9RT||OnePlus 9R|
|Dimension||162.2 x 74.6 x 8.3 mm (6.39 x 2.94 x 0.33 in)||161 x 74.1 x 8.4 mm (6.34 x 2.92 x 0.33 in)|
|Display||6.62 inches AMOLED Panel with 120Hz refresh rate||6.55-inch Fluid AMOLED, 120Hz, HDR10+|
|System on Chip (SoC)||Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 5G (5 nm)||Qualcomm SM8250-AC Snapdragon 870 5G (7 nm)|
|Camera setup||50 MP, f/1.8, 24mm (wide), 1/1.56”, 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS
16 MP, f/2.2, 14mm, 123˚ (ultrawide), 1/3.6″, 1.0µm
2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
|48 MP, f/1.7, 26mm (wide), 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS
16 MP, f/2.2, 14mm, 123˚ (ultrawide), 1/3.6″, 1.0µm
5 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
2 MP, f/2.4, (monochrome)
|Colors||Black, Silver, and Blue||Carbon Black, Lake Blue|
|Battery capacity||4,500mAh Li-Po with 65W fast charging (0 – 100% in 29 min)||4,500mAh Li-Po with 65W fast charging (0 – 100% in 39 min)|
|Platform||Android 11 (ColorOS 11)||Android 11, (OxygenOS 18.104.22.168)|
|Protection||Gorilla Glass||Corning Gorilla Glass 5|
|Storage||UFS 3.1 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 12GB RAM||128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 12GB RAM|
Should you buy the OnePlus 9RT?
Compared to the previously announced OnePlus 9R, this is a better device is a pretty decent upgrade with some essential features that make it way better than the previous.
Compared to the previous OnePlus 9R, you get a 6.55-inch Fluid AMOLED display with features such as a 120Hz refresh rate, and also HDR10+.
If you think a 6.55-inch display is too small for you, then the 6.62-inch display on the new OnePlus 9RT might be a better option.
Also, both devices have a high refresh rate and speedy touch sampling but run on a different chipset which is the Snapdragon 870 5G and Octa-core (1×3.2 GHz Kryo 585 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 585 & 4×1.80 GHz Kryo 585) CPU.
The previous OnePlus 9R has a quad rear camera setup, unlike the OnePlus 9RT which comes with a triple setup.
The number of cameras doesn’t necessarily translate to a better output. One thing for sure is that both devices are good just that the OnePlus 9RT is a modified version of the 9R so you can expect a better experience from it.