OnePlus 12R: A Review of the Top $500 Smartphone I’ve Ever Tried

A black OnePlus 12R laying face down on a table.

“The OnePlus 12R is the best $500 smartphone I’ve ever used. If it’s not on your shopping list yet, it really needs to be.”

Advantages

  • Sleek, refined design
  • High-quality display
  • Rapid performance; operates cool
  • Superb battery life
  • 80W charging!
  • Unbeatable price

Disadvantages

  • Inferior ultrawide and macro cameras
  • No wireless charging

The OnePlus 12R is an exceptional phone, lacking the latest processor or top camera system seen in phones of its caliber. It has a fairly standard design, but is still quite exceptional.

What makes it special is that it has all the makings of a pricier flagship Android phone from 2023, but is a brand-new device available for only $500. This is one of the best values in a smartphone in years, and even after using the OnePlus 12R for a couple of weeks, I am still amazed by its excellence.

OnePlus 12R: design

Someone holding the OnePlus 12R, showing the back of the phone.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

If you ever used or saw the OnePlus 11, you’ll be right at home with the OnePlus 12R’s design. It has the same curved display, flat aluminum frame on the top and bottom, and circular camera housing on the back. It’s a familiar and comfortable design, and one I really like.

There are some subtle differences between the OnePlus 12R and the OnePlus 11. The 12R is slightly thicker and a couple of grams heavier. The alert slider is also now on the left side of the phone, while the volume buttons are higher up on the right side. The change is pretty small and one I adapted to very quickly.

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