OnePlus 9RT Review

One among the crowd

from ₹ 42,999

It may be a tad harsh to say that the OnePlus 9 series is on its last breath, especially with the 10 series now official. But like a second wind before the ultimate end came the launch of the OnePlus 9RT
It looks like the OnePlus 9, has quite a few upgrades over the OnePlus 9R, and doesn’t cost a bomb. So is it worth your hard earned money? Read on.

Design: Déjà vu

You get a sense of déjà vu when looking at the OnePlus 9RT, but not to worry, there isn’t anything wrong in the Matrix. This is very much a new phone with a design that sticks to the 9-series script, and reminds you of the OnePlus 9 Pro. 
There are two colour options to choose from, and the Hacker Black which we have for review, clearly looks the better of the two. OnePlus has opted for a matte finish, and a shimmering texture that looks quite classy under the lights. It is just the right mix of bling and subtlety. 
The candybar form factor and the slightly large-ish dimensions means this isn’t the most comfortable of devices to hold. The aluminium frame and the curved edges also don’t help with the grip. We recommend using a case for added grip (and protection). Overall quality is top-notch, which is what we have come to expect from OnePlus devices.

Display: Eye-popping

At 6.62 inches, the display on the device stretches your palm muscles, but is still a treat for the eyes. It offers plenty of brightness whether you’re indoors or outdoors and colours are quite accurate. Whether you’re playing games or watching your favourite web series, everything looks bright and sharp. Support for 120Hz refresh rate makes everything seem like they are sliding on a slab of ice. 
The in-screen fingerprint scanner has been moved a few centimeters down, closer to the bottom bezel. It might be a small hindrance for existing OnePlus users till they get used to the new placement, but for the rest, it is still an extremely fast and accurate way of unlocking the phone. 

Performance: On par with the big boys

The OnePlus 9RT has had a heart transplant in a manner of speaking. In place of the Snapdragon 870 powering the OnePlus 9R, this new variant gets the more powerful Snapdragon 888, bringing it on par with the big boys. 
With a flagship chip under the hood, you expect flagship-grade performance, and the OnePlus 9RT doesn’t disappoint. Whether you’re using the phone like a normal person, a heavy multitasker or a pro gamer, the chip handles just about everything with relative ease.
Bear in mind that to really eke out every drop of performance from the chip, one needs to enable the performance mode from within the settings menu. Once enabled, games like Call of Duty Mobile or Asphalt 9: Legends run like a charm even with their settings maxed out. What’s also impressive is how the thermals are kept in check when the internals are being pushed to their limits, and at no point did the phone get uncomfortably hot. 
This high performing mode is disabled by default to boost the battery life. Speaking of which, the 4,500mAh battery is good enough to last a day with around 5-6 hours of screen-on time. Someone saner who doesn’t spend half their life staring at the screen won’t have to hunt for a charger until the next day. When they do need to juice up, the bundled 65W power adapter (praise the lord!) can charge the battery in about half an hour.

One of the disappointing aspects is that the phone runs Android 11 out-of-the-box, and an Android 12 update is nowhere in sights. It comes as little surprise since the Oppo-like Oxygen OS 12 has more bugs than an insectarium. OnePlus has promised three years worth of software updates, and one can only hope that Android 12 will soon roll out for buyers.

Cameras: Ace of spades

There’s a triple-camera setup onboard with a primary 50MP Sony IMX 766 snapper, which is an ace of spades. In ideal lighting conditions, the camera is able to shoot photos with plenty of details, and great dynamic range. Even without the Hasselblad tuning, the colours in these photos are quite accurate.
After the sun goes down, the camera still retains most of its fantastic photographic capabilities. The sensor is so good on its own that you don’t need to use the Night mode, which tends to make the photo look a bit artificial.

The accompanying 16MP ultra-wide sensor does the job in getting a lot of elements into a frame, but in doing so tends to lose out on details and colour accuracy. There’s also visible distortion around the edges. As for the 2MP macro lens, the less said the better.

The 16MP selfie camera peeping out of the punch-hole up front, does a decent job with clicking selfies. We did however notice a bit of boosted red tones in our skin. Unless we are dying of something that hasn’t been discovered yet, these red tones make us look like we are auditioning for All of Us Are Dead.

Verdict: Should you buy?

As we all have come to expect, here’s another capable smartphone from OnePlus’ stables. From the subtle design, display, primary camera to performance, there are a lot of things that are just right. But there’s nothing pathbreaking about the OnePlus 9RT, and it just feels like a stop-gap option till the flagship 10 series sails into our shores. 
There’s also the case of some important bits missing that are offered by its rivals, and finally that price tag. For just a few grand more, you can have the OnePlus 9, which is more capable, and makes for a better purchase in our opinion.

Stuff Says

All the essentials you need from a premium phone, but the OnePlus 9RT doesn’t stand out.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Classy design

  1. Sharp and vibrant display

  1. Smooth overall performance

  1. Okay-ish selfie camera

  1. Still no IP rating or wireless charging

  1. No Android 12 out-of-the-box

Display: 6.62in FHD+ Fluid AMOLED, 20:9, 120Hz
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Battery: 4,500mAh Warp Charge 65T
Cameras: 50MP+16MP+2MP (rear) / 16MP (front)
OS: Android 11
Dimensions: 162.2 x 74.6 x 8.29 mm
Weight: 198.5g