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OnePlus 9R vs iPhone 12 series: Which one justifies the premium you pay?

By Nadeem Sarwar April 10, 2021, 6:00 pm
oneplus 9R vs iPhone 12

OnePlus pulled a surprise (sort of) last month when it added a third phone to the OnePlus 9 series – christened the OnePlus 9R. The phone is essentially a reborn OnePlus 8T, but with the new Snapdragon 870 SoC, which in itself is a reincarnated Snapdragon 865. Phew… too many revivals in the tech industry these days. The OnePlus 9R is oddly limited to the Indian market, where the device has been priced roughly at $550, playing in the budget segment battlefield OnePlus is known to be a champion of. While the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro have entered the bonafide flagship territory, the OnePlus 9R will be an option for buyers who are torn between Samsung and Apple’s vanilla flagships that don’t necessarily cost a bomb.


Specifically, the OnePlus will be on the list of potential buyers who are eyeing the iPhone 12 Mini or the vanilla iPhone 12. Let’s get straight into our OnePlus 9R vs iPhone 12 series comparison and find out which one would be the right pick for you:

OnePlus 9R vs iPhone 12: Build and aesthetics

OnePlus 9R vs Galaxy S20 FE
OnePlus 9R

Both the OnePlus 9R and iPhone 12 go with a glass-and-metal sandwich design. However, the biggest difference between the two phones is ingress protection. The iPhone 12 Mini and its Mini sibling come with an IP68-certified build and are rated to survive immersion in up to 6 meters of water for 30 minutes. If IP-rating is something that is at the top of your priority list, then the Apple offerings are where you should put your money. 

READ MORE: OnePlus is evolving, but it’s in a tricky place right now

OnePlus relies on Corning Gorilla Glass for protecting that smooth 120Hz display, while the Apple devices rely on Ceramic Shield that is touted to be 4x stronger at brushing off accidental drops. OnePlus 9R has a curvier profile and is a tad heavier than the Apple phones, especially when compared to the compact iPhone 12 Mini. But if you like flat sides that invoke some classic iPhone 4 vibes (and a huge notch), the iPhone 12 duo should suit your tastes well.

iphone 12 mini
iPhone 12 Mini (Image only for representation)

Now, let’s talk color options. The iPhone 12 pair is up for grabs in a choice of five colors – black, white, red, green, and blue. The OnePlus 9R, on the other hand, will be available in only two colors – Lake Blue and Carbon Black.


Now, this is one area where the OnePlus 9R leaves the iPhone 12 pair far behind, thanks to one trait in particular – a 120Hz panel. It comes armed with a 6.55-inch FHD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels) display that offers a pixel density of 402 PPI and a circular hole-punch cutout in the top-left corner. However, it’s the 120Hz refresh rate that truly sets it apart, offering a smooth visual experience for all kinds of tasks, ranging from doom-scrolling your Twitter feed to playing Fortnite. 

The iPhone 12 Mini offers a 5.4-inch (2340 x 1080 pixels, 476PPI pixel density) Super Retina XDR OLED display, while the standard iPhone 12 goes with a 6.1-inch (2532 x 1170 pixels, 460 PPI) display with a peak brightness of 1200 nits. The screen quality is top-notch, but the 60Hz refresh rate is somewhat of a limiting factor. Actually, it is disappointing, especially when phones that cost almost a third offer a 90Hz panel.


The OnePlus 9R draws power from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870, which is essentially the Snapdragon 865 revived under a different marketing name. But that doesn’t mean it is slow, as the latter was Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line processor for the year 2020, and can handle anything you throw at it without a hitch. The phone is available in two configurations  – 8GB + 128GB and 12GB + 256GB.

oneplus 9R rear panel

Coming to the iPhone 12 Pro duo, you’ll find the blazing-fast A14 Bionic chip ticking at its heart. Apple, as usual, has not revealed the amount of RAM, but you get to choose between three storage configurations – 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. 

OnePlus 9RApple iPhone 12
Display6.55 inches
2400 x 1080 pixel resolution
120Hz refresh rate
402 PPI pixel density
Aspect Ratio: 20:9
6.1‑inch OLED display
2532 x 1170-pixel resolution
60Hz refresh rate
460 PPI
1200 nits peak brightness
Ceramic Shield
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 870Apple A14 Bionic
Storage128GB / 256GB64GB / 128GB / 256GB
48MP primary (f/1.7, OIS)
16MP ultra-wide (f/2.2, 123°)
5MP macro lens
2MP monochrome camera Front:
16 MP
12MP primary (f/1.6, OIS)
12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4, 120°)
2x optical zoom out
Digital zoom up to 3xFront:
4K at 30/60 FPS
FHD at 30/60 FPS
Slo-mo HD at 480 FPS
Slo-mo FHD at 240 FPS
4K at 24/25/30/60 FPS
HD at 25/30/60 FPS
Slo-mo 1080p at 120/240 FPS
65W wired fast charging
No wireless charging
20W wired fast charging
15W MagSafe wireless
IP RatingIP68
Weight171 grams162 grams
Dimensions151.7×71.2×7.9 mm146.7×71.5×7.4 mm

Now, let’s talk battery longevity. OnePlus has armed its latest ‘budget flagship’ with a 4,500 mAh battery. Again, Apple has not revealed its battery capacity but says that the iPhone 12 and its Mini sibling can last up to 17 hours and 15 hours of video playback on a single charge respectively. However, real-life tests have proven that the iPhone 12 Mini struggles to go past a day of usage. 

Additionally, it is charging speeds where the OnePlus 9R leaves the iPhone 12 duo far behind. The OnePlus 9R offers support for 65W fast charging, which is claimed to fill the tank from 0-100% in just 39 minutes. However, it misses out on support for wireless charging. The iPhone 12 pair maxes out at 20W wired fast charging (up to 50% juice with 30 minutes of charging), while the MagSafe system delivers 15W of wireless charging wattage. 


iPhone 12 in blue

Before we get into the megapixel count comparisons, I’ll spell it out clearly early on – OnePlus 9R takes the cake when it comes to versatility, while the iPhone 12 handily wins in terms of features and capabilities. The quad rear camera setup of the OnePlus 9R includes a 48MP main sensor, a 16MP wide-angle snapper, a 5MP macro shooter, and a 2MP depth-sensing camera. There is a 16MP camera on the front for selfies and video calls. 

On the iPhone 12 and its Mini version, you get a 12MP wide and a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera. Selfies are taken care of by a 12MP front snapper. However, the iPhone 12 pair brings support for Dolby Vision HDR video capture at 30FPS with the front as well as the rear camera. Apple has extended the Deep Fusion and Smart HDR3 tech to all three cameras, while the front snapper also gets support for Night Mode. You can find more about the iPhone 12’s camera performance in the video below:

Pricing and availability

The iPhone 12 Mini starts at $699, while the base 64GB model of the iPhone 12 will set you back by $799. As for the OnePlus 9R, it is priced at Rs.39,999 (roughly $550, as per current conversion rates), but the tricky part is that the device likely won’t make it outside the Indian market. 

View iPhone 12 at Best Buy

View iPhone 12 Mini at Best Buy

View iPhone 12 Mini at Verizon



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