OnePlus has proven its mettle time and again. 2021 was a good year for the brand, 2022 is going to be better going by the early response it has gathered for the OnePlus 10 Pro, which was launched recently in China. Fans in India are eager for the new flagship, but before the big launch, OnePlus decided to keep its launch cycle busy with the OnePlus 9RT.
Expanding the 2021-flagship line, OnePlus 9RT is the successor to the OnePlus 9R and marks a modest upgrade. The 9RT is priced at Rs 42,999 for the 8GB RAM and 128GB storage model. If that's not enough, there's 12GB+256GB configuration for Rs 46,999. At this price point, OnePlus 9RT is treading in a competitive territory.
Let's see if the 9RT has got what it takes to impress buyers.
Design and display
OnePlus 9RT brings back a nostalgia factor, giving the impression of a sandstone finish. But in reality, the back panel is actually glass - Corning Gorilla Glass 5 to be precise. But the way it has been designed is pleasing to the eye. The Hacker Black is particularly good looking. What appears to be deep black, glitters like a starry night when light falls on it at certain angles. The OnePlus logo is also in black, so is everything else, making it a true black-edition phone.
The triple camera module with LED flash takes its regular position on the top right corner. The power and volume controls too are on either side of the phone, well within the fingers' reach. The signature Alert Slider is on the right side of the phone, the dual speaker setup at the bottom alongside the USB Type-C port.
While everything seems in its regular place, OnePlus 9RT is on the tad bulky side, which can be attributed to the tall frame of the phone and 198.5 grams weight. The back panel curving into the chassis gives a slight advantage of the phone appearing sleeker. But the glass unibody design makes it slippery, but there's a free rubber case that doesn't take away the OnePlus factor away from the phone while adding grip.
OnePlus 9RT features a large 6.62-inch display with Full HD+ resolution. With a peak brightness of 1,300 nits, 120Hz refresh rate and 600Hz touch sampling rate, the 9RT is ideal for gaming and multimedia consumption. The panel offers punchy output, vivid colours and deep blacks. The smooth animations make transitions and engaging with content a seamless experience and so easy on the eyes.
The panel is responsive. OnePlus has retained its gaming expertise to the 9RT. Overall handling the phone while playing games on the bright display is only making your experience better.
OnePlus 9RT rocks a 50MP IMX766 primary sensor, which is paired with a 16MP ultra-wide lens and a 2MP macro sensor. On the front is a modest 16MP sensor. With this setup, the 9RT is over-reaching but excels in certain areas. There's no Hasselblad magic, which is quite evident, but you won't miss it if you are not demanding too much.
OnePlus 9RT's primary camera sensor is capable of delivering good on your expectations. The sensor is capable of natural colour reproduction, capturing good details and resolution. Under good light, the noise is well controlled. Low-light images are well reproduced with the help of night mode. OnePlus has certainly come a long way in this department.
The ultra-wide camera also delivers decent output, especially around the edges. In low-light, the results are not as great, but overall the results are acceptable. Finally, the macro mode is not the best out there, but the results are acceptable for a 2MP sensor. There weren't any high expectations anyway. Macro mode is a nice addition to have, but you won't be using it much anyway for it to qualify as a USP.
The selfies are pretty average, to be honest. The colour tones were not up to the mark, but you will still be able to capture moments for your social media feeds.
Check out some camera samples below:
Performance and software
OnePlus 9RT is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 chipset, which in our opinion is the biggest USP of the phone. Even the storage and RAM are snappy at UFS 3.1 and LPDDR5, respectively. The handset can handle all your day-to-day tasks without breaking a sweat. Even while playing some high graphics games, the phone didn't heat and exhibit strain. The sheer lack of 120fps games is still a bummer, but you have plenty of games at 60fps to keep your free time occupied. But so much potential is just wasted here.
We did not face any issues with regard to connectivity as well. Even while streaming content on 4G or Wi-Fi, or playing games online, the 9RT maintained steady connections with Reliance Jio and ACT Fibernet.
The apps, both system and installed ones launch in an instant without delay. On the software side of things, those who had reservations about the ColorOS-effect will be relieved. The interface is kept clean and free of bloatware. The Oppo's influence is garnished here and there, like the camera app and launcher. The gestures work accurately, we didn't notice any lags or bugs during the time we were using the phone. Having all the personalisations in one place did make things a lot simpler. Overall, we didn't find any major red flags with the OxygenOS onboard, except for the fact that it still runs Android 11.
The fingerprint scanner under the display works efficiently. The face unlock works as intended, but we'd rather rely on the biometric sensor for better security. It would be nice if companies enlarged the area of fingerprint scanning on the display, but the muscle memory rarely faults the effort in the 9RT. Until comes a time otherwise, we are happy with it.
OnePlus 9RT is powered by a 4,500mAh battery, which was sufficient for a full day's worth of use. Of course, the battery is OnePlus' strong suit and the 65W Warp Charger in the box reinforces that commitment. It takes 40 minutes to fully charge the phone, which Apple and Samsung users will find refreshing.
It is nice to see some battery saving options like Always-on-display timeout. The handset consistently delivered 5.5+ hours of screen-on-time. Without heavy gaming or continuous consumption of media, the smartphone can easily last a whole day and still have some juice left. It's not clear just how much effect the power saving options have on the overall battery, but choosing a 60Hz refresh rate can definitely add some hours. In our view, it's not worth the trade.
OnePlus 9RT is a solid phone, more so if OnePlus hadn't launched the 9R or the 9. It might be confusing for some buyers to pick this one. But if you narrowed it down to this model, this is why you should consider it. OnePlus 9RT has a familiar design, which is a good thing, solid build quality, incredible performance and reliable battery.
The cameras could have been better, macro and selfies in particular. But OnePlus is not threatened by its own siblings as much as it is from the competition you'll find in the market. You'll find the software still working in OnePlus' favour, which is where it might have an edge over its rivals. But it's a thin line and OnePlus better up its game in its flagship spin-off series.