OnePlus 9RT: Three reasons to pick OnePlus's new phone, five reasons to skip it

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OnePlus 9RT: Three reasons to pick OnePlus’s new phone, five reasons to skip it
© Provided by The Financial Express OnePlus 9RT price in India starts at Rs 42,999.

OnePlus 9RT is finally official in India, nearly three months after launching in China. This is a very familiar OnePlus phone building on the India-exclusive OnePlus 9R to give you a slightly bigger screen, more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip, and a tweaked rear camera array with a new 50MP primary sensor. The 9RT costs slightly more than what the 9R did at launch, that’s probably why the 9R continues to be on sale at the time of writing.

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There’s no denying that the 9RT will have some tough competition to deal with. From a bunch of brands. Almost every brand we know, ranging from Xiaomi to Samsung to Vivo, has at least one good option, worthy of being a potential 9RT-killer. iPhones, also, are currently selling at an all-time low, giving prospective buyers another viable option to choose from.

Also Read | Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G review: Is the sequel as good as the original?

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Basis of everything the OnePlus 9RT packs inside (and everything that it doesn’t), here are three reasons to pick OnePlus’s new premium midrange phone and five reasons to skip it.

Reasons to pick it

Premium if a little familiar design: The 9RT has top-notch fit and finish. This is a premium phone from every perceivable angle with a glass back, metal frame, and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front.

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Good hardware: The 9RT is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip paired with up to 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and up to 256GB UFS3.1 storage. Once again, OnePlus is pitching this as a gaming phone. The phone comes with VC liquid cooling for ensuring sustained speedy performance.  

65W fast charging: The 9RT has a 4,500mAh “dual-cell” battery with 65W fast charging. OnePlus claims you’ll be able to charge this phone from zero-100 percent in under 30 minutes. A compliant fast charger is shipped in the box.

Reasons to skip it

No ingress protection: An official IP rating isn’t reserved for top-of-the-line devices anymore. Samsung’s Galaxy S21 FE 5G gets you IP68, Xiaomi’s 11T Pro has IP53, so on and so forth. The 9RT has no ingress protection whatsoever which is a bummer.

Not the most feature-packed display: The 9RT definitely gets a lot of things right when it comes to display. It has a 6.62-inch 1080p AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support. It can get very bright and has fast touch response. But dig a bit deeper and you’d find rivals get you more feature-packed displays. The 11T Pro has a 10bit panel with support for Dolby Vision. (As a sidenote, the 11T Pro also packs potentially more powerful Harmon/Kardon stereo speakers, heightening the phone’s all-round multimedia experience). This phone also gets you Corning Gorilla Glass Victus protection. The S21 FE’s display meanwhile gets you the most value from size, resolution, refresh rate, brightness, down to screen protection. That is not to say that the 9RT has a bad display, just that it’s not the most bang for your buck.

Also Read | Xiaomi 11i Hypercharge 5G review: Should you be hyped?

Android 11 with only two years of OS updates: This is perhaps the most talked about aspect of the 9RT. While the phone launched in China with Android 12 (based ColorOS), in India, it is launching with Android 11 (based OxygenOS). While it’s good that OnePlus is taking its time to iron out any potential issues with OxygenOS 12 (going by what happened with the recent OnePlus 9/9 Pro update rollout, this could be a blessing in disguise), this also means that the 9RT will only be updated to Android 13, at max, since this phone is supposed to get two major OS updates only. The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G runs Android 12 based One UI 4.0 right out of the gate. It is eligible for three major OS updates. The 11T Pro, also, will receive three major OS updates.

Cameras: The 9RT may have a new and hopefully improved primary camera, but it’s the phone’s secondary (16MP ultrawide) and tertiary (2MP macro) cameras that could spoil its party. Phones like the S21 FE, again, offer more value with the addition of a dedicated telephoto (alongside wide and ultrawide) with all-round pleasing results. The 11T Pro will let you, also, record 8K video, if you’re into that sort of thing.

No wireless charging: The 9RT uses the same battery and fast charging stats as the 9R which means there is no wireless charging in this phone. On the one end, the S21 FE gets you wireless charging (and no charger in the box, sadly), the 11T Pro will get you chart-topping 120W fast charging.

Also Read | Sony WF-1000XM4 review: The new gold standard in wireless audio

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