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The $399 OnePlus 12R may be the best cheap phone you can buy in 2024

OnePlus has a new product strategy in 2024, with a new R-series model that brings flagship-level features to a more accessible price point.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Matthew Miller/ZDNET

OnePlus has primarily been releasing flagship Android phones for years, but in 2024, it's mixing things up in North America, with the OnePlus 12R. One of the most popular series for OnePlus, specifically in India, the R-series of phones is meant to offer the best of the company's flagship phones for a more affordable price. With the OnePlus 12R, it's selling for just $499 (or $399 when you trade in any phone in any condition).

Also: The OnePlus 12 is everything that the Samsung Galaxy S24 isn't, and I prefer it that way

I have another week before I can share all of my thoughts on the new OnePlus 12R -- only pictures of the device turned off are allowed for now -- but interested readers can get a taste of what the phone has to offer in ZDNET's OnePlus 12 review.

While at CES 2024, we met with OnePlus to check out both the OnePlus 12 and the 12R and it is impressive to see what OnePlus was able to pack into the OnePlus 12R when compared to the OnePlus 12. Check out the specs comparison below:


OnePlus 12OnePlus 12R
Processor Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Mobile PlatformSnapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform
Rear cameras 50MP main, 48MP ultra wide, 64MP telephoto50MP main, 8MP ultra wide, 2MP macro
Front-facing camera 32MP16MP
Alert slider YesYes
Display 6.82-inch, 3168x1440 pixels, AMOLED6.78-inch, 2780x1264 pixels, AMOLED
Wired charging 80W80W
Wireless charging 50WNo
Battery 5,400 mAh5,500 mAh
Dimensions 164.3 x 75.8 x 9.15 mm and 220 grams163.3 x 75.3 x 8.8 mm and 207 grams
Colors Flowy Emerald, Silky BlackCool Blue, Iron Gray
Entry price $799$499 (or $399 with trade-in of any phone)

For those wanting a OnePlus phone with the ultimate camera experience, then look to the OnePlus 12 with its 4th generation Hasselblad integration. While the OnePlus 12R is not as spec-heavy in that regard, it is also built with gaming and multi-tasking in mind, with the same, powerful cooling system and massive battery that the more expensive option fields. In fact, the 12R features a slightly larger 5,500mAh battery, which is the largest on just about any mainstream phone today.

Also: 3 reasons why I ditched my Samsung Galaxy foldable for the OnePlus Open

The sub-$500 price point is impressive by itself, but note that OnePlus will also give you $100 off when you trade in any phone in any condition when purchasing the device, making it effectively $399. If you have a phone in good condition, you can get more than $100, too, I'd advise digging through that drawer of forgotten handsets and see how much you get for them.

In the meantime, stay tuned for my review of the OnePlus 12R very soon. If you have any specific questions or aspects of the 12R that you want me to try out and include in that article, please send along your questions!

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