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OnePlus 9RT Review: A well rounded OnePlus that packs the best of everything except the Hasselblad cameras

OnePlus 9RT Review

Is this the perfect flagship killer from the OnePlus 9 series in 2021?

OnePlus smartphones have been always known for their performance and clean software experience that came in the form of OxygenOS. Last year the OnePlus 9 series had a good start but did not quite get the success as we had seen with some previous OnePlus smartphones. And now we also saw the OxyegnOS being merged with ColorOS which means you end up losing the Stock Android look

The OnePlus 9 Pro (Review) was a well-built smartphone with all the top features like a Snapdragon 888 chipset, an LTPO AMOLED display, wireless charging, Hasselblad tuned cameras, etc. On the other hand, there was also the OnePlus 9 (Review) which carried some of the features of the OnePlus 9 Pro at a slightly cheaper price tag. But the common issue was overheating on both due to the Snapdragon 888 chipset.

OnePlus also launched their cheapest smartphone in the 9 series with the OnePlus 9R that proved to be a good all-rounder and came with some very good specifications like a Snapdragon 870 chipset, a 120Hz AMOLED display, 65W fast charging with 4500mAh battery, and much more. But now since the OnePlus 9RT has arrived it does seem to be a good upgrade over the OnePlus 9R and the OnePlus 9 by a slight margin.

It brings the similar Snapdragon 888 chipset as on the OnePlus 9 and the 9 Pro but now has a vapor cooling chamber, the cameras are better compared to the OnePlus 9R (Review) and there are also multiple bands of 5G support compared to the previous OnePlus 9 series. So is the OnePlus 9RT worth buying and how good of an upgrade is it over the OnePlus 9R and the OnePlus 9? Let's find out in the full review.

OnePlus 9RT Design:

OnePlus 9RT Review

The OnePlus 9RT sports almost a similar design philosophy to the OnePlus 9 series as the back has a rectangular camera module that consists of a triple camera setup with a LED flashlight. There is no Hasselblad logo which means the primary camera does not have any Hasselblad color tuning. However, around the cameras, you do get chrome rings that look premium and the camera module does not protrude much.

The back has a matte finish with a sandstone-like texture which is glittery when light strikes at different angles if you consider the Hacker Black color variant. The OnePlus 9RT is available in two colors - Hacker Black and Nano Silver. The Nano Silver color variant has a smooth matte finish. OnePlus have always nailed when it comes to design since the OnePlus One came with a sandstone finish.

OnePlus 9RT Review

Both the front and the back have a glass sandwich design with Gorilla Glass 5 for protection. The OnePlus 9RT weighs around 198grams which does feel slightly heavier but still, the weight distribution is good. Around the sides, there is an aluminum frame that houses the power button, and the signature alert slider on the right to control volume profiles and on the left are the volume buttons.

This aluminum frame does feel premium when compared to the plastic frame present on the OnePlus 9.
The bottom of the smartphone has a loudspeaker grille, a primary microphone, a dual SIM card slot, and a USB Type-C port. There is no slot for a microSD card for storage expansion and even there is no 3.5mm headphone jack. 

OnePlus 9RT Review

On the top, there is a secondary noise-canceling microphone only. The back does not have an IP rating but you do have P2i coating at the back. Overall, the build and design feel premium on the OnePlus 9RT.

OnePlus 9RT Display:

OnePlus 9RT Review

The OnePlus 9RT sports a slightly larger 6.62-inches Full HD+(1080x2400pixels) E4 AMOLED display when compared to the 6.55-inches display on the OnePlus 9 and the 9R. This display also has a 120Hz refresh rate which is a standard one where the display can switch between 60Hz or 120Hz only unlike the OnePlus 9 Pro which has an LTPO panel that can switch from 1Hz to 120Hz depending on the content in the display.

OnePlus 9RT Review

Combined with the 120Hz refresh rate, there is a 360Hz touch sampling rate which means you get faster touch responses during gaming, multitasking between applications, etc. This touch sampling rate can be increased to 600Hz during gameplay which feels really good. As the panel is AMOLED, you get deep blues and blacks with good contrast and viewing angles.

OnePlus 9RT Review

The display also has support for Widevine L1 which means you can stream HDR content from OTT platforms like Prime, Netflix, etc., and also there is support for HDR on Youtube. This makes it great for content consumption. In terms of display brightness, since the OnePlus 9RT uses an E4 AMOLED panel, it can achieve a peak brightness of 1300nits while watching content in HDR.

OnePlus 9RT Review

Under direct sunlight, the visibility of the display is good and slightly better than the OnePlus 9 and the 9R. The color temperature of the display can be set between four modes -Vivid, Cinematic, Brilliant, and Gentle where when you set to Vivid you get more realistic colors and Gentle mode does provide more saturated colors and since this is an AMOLED display, there is an optical in-display fingerprint scanner that is accurate and fast.

OnePlus 9RT Performance:

OnePlus 9RT Review
   (Credits: OnePlus)

The OnePlus 9RT sports a Snapdragon 888 chipset which seems to be a good upgrade over the Snapdragon 870 found on the OnePlus 9R. However, we have seen many smartphones that sport a Snapdragon 888 chipset do overheat especially the OnePlus 9 and the 9 Pro. However, the OnePlus 9RT is one of those very few smartphones that does perform much better with the Snapdragon 888 chipset.

OnePlus 9RT Review

All heavy tasks like multitasking between applications, rendering videos, playing games, etc, were handled with ease. Heavy games like BGMI, Call Of Duty Mobile, etc. ran with ease and in BGMI, the game could easily play at a Smooth or Extreme frame rate with Ultra graphics. After long hours of gaming, there are some constant frame drops noticed like in BGMI, the gameplay hovers around 60 or 40fps.

OnePlus 9RT Review

The OnePlus 9RT does not heat up much after long hours of gaming especially due to the larger vapor cooling system chamber which dissipates heat much faster. The OnePlus 9RT performs much better in CPU throttling tests when compared to other Snapdragon 888 powered smartphones as the CPU throttled to just 90 percent which shows good sustained performance.

OnePlus 9RT Review

In terms of benchmarks, the OnePlus 9RT scores well. It is available in two variants - 8/12GB LPDDR5 RAM with 128/256GB storage with UFS 3.1 speeds. In terms of network connectivity, there are around 8 bands of 5G and you also get good carrier aggregation. Overall, the gaming and performance continue to be the best.

OnePlus 9RT Software:

OnePlus 9RT Review

The OnePlus 9RT, like the OnePlus Nord 2 runs on the OxygenOS 11.3 which is based on ColorOS. But still, it is running on Android 11 out of the box though we have multiple smartphones that run Android 12 out of the box.  Since the codebase is merged of both ColorOS and OxygenOS, the look and feel of everything resembles that of ColorOS, and on top of it, there is OxygenOS present. 

The settings page, fingerprint animation, charging animation, and the camera application are straightaway taken from ColorOS. There are a lot of customizations present and you can tweak the icon shape and size, color accent, Always-On Display, and much more. And still, the beauty of OxygenOS continues to remain ever since the launch with no bloatware or ads.

OnePlus 9RT Review

Even there are no third-party applications pre-installed except for Netflix and Spotify applications. Compared to previous OxygenOS versions, this does feel slightly better optimized as like the ColorOS, there is a High Performance Mode which when turned on provides good performance and you also get extended RAM support using which you convert extra 5GB memory to RAM for better multitasking.  

In terms of software updates, you are assured to get three major Android OS updates and four years of security patches and this has been achieved after the recent merger of OnePlus with Oppo last year. So the overall software experience feels best.

OnePlus 9RT Cameras:

OnePlus 9RT Review

The OnePlus 9RT sports a triple camera setup which consists of the 50MP f/1.8 Sony IMX766 sensor for the main camera which is similar to the one found on the OnePlus Nord 2, a 16MP f/2.2 ultrawide camera, and a 2MP f/2.4 macro camera. The front has a 16MP f/2.2 camera. The camera application look is complete of ColorOS as we had previously seen with the OnePlus Nord 2.

The images from the main camera come out with good dynamic range, excellent contrast and have natural colors in the background. There is very less noise in the background but details do look slightly softer still the images are slightly better than those of the OnePlus 9R which has a very old 48MP f/1.7 Sony IMX586 sensor for the main camera. But when it comes to skin tones, there is some oversaturation present.

During the night, the main camera does a much better job in terms of dynamic range and the details in images look sharper. The noise is slightly on the higher side and the colors do look slightly oversaturated. With the dedicated night mode, things do improve to a larger extent as dynamic range improves, noise is reduced and black crushes in shadows are removed. 

The ultrawide camera provides a much better dynamic range and the colors also look natural without any oversharpening as such. There is some noise present but there is no distortion around the edges at all and the same goes for images taken during the night which do have much better dynamic range and details look good but there is some noise present.

There is a 2MP macro camera which seems to be a downgrade over the 5MP macro camera present on the OnePlus 9R but there is no significant change as you do get a lot of noise, the colors look washed out and since this is a fixed focus camera, the camera cannot lock focus properly on the subject. In terms of portraits, the edge detection is good and the background blur is mapped properly with less noise.

In terms of videos, though you do have a Snapdragon 888 chipset, the back main camera, and the ultrawide camera can record 4K videos at 60fps only as there is an 8K video option present. The main camera takes some videos with good dynamic range, the colors look natural and since there is OIS, the videos come out stabilized with very less noise present.

The videos taken during the night do have good dynamic range but the focus does not work properly and needs to be fixed since there is OIS present, the noise is very low and the camera captures more light as a result, the details look sharper. The videos from the ultrawide camera come out with good details, but there is some amount of noise present and videos come out slightly shaky.

Turning on the Ultra Stable Mode on the ultrawide camera do result in stabilized videos with slightly sharper-looking details. On the front, the videos can be taken at 1080p at 30fps which is a big disappointment as most of the smartphones with the Snapdragon 888 chipset have at least 4K videos at 30/60fps. Overall, you do miss out on the Hasselblad camera system but definitely, it is better than that of the OnePlus 9R.

OnePlus 9RT Battery Life:

OnePlus 9RT Review

The OnePlus 9RT sports a 4500mAh battery which is similar to that of the OnePlus 9 and the 9R. With heavy usage with the display set to 120Hz, the smartphone can easily last a single day but with normal usage and the display is set to standard 60Hz, it could easily last for two days with some charge left. Though with the Snapdragon 888 chipset under the hood, you get slightly better battery life.

After the merger of OxyegnOS with ColorOS, the battery life has been slightly better optimized and you do also get better screen-on time compared to other Snapdragon 888 powered smartphones that provide 5-6 hours, on the other hand, the standard screen-on time of OnePlus 9RT was around 6-7 hours which is really good.  

OnePlus 9RT Review

To charge the smartphone, there is a 65W fast charger bundled inside the box that can charge the smartphone from 0 to 100 percent in 35-40 minutes. However, you do miss out on the USB Type-C to Type-C data cable which is present with the OnePlus 9 which can charge other equipment like laptops, smartphones, etc. There is a USB Type-A to Type-C cable here similar to that of the OnePlus 9R.

OnePlus 9RT Audio Quality:

OnePlus 9RT Review

The OnePlus 9RT has a dual stereo speaker setup that sounds adequately loud and clear. The top earpiece is very audible which is good for calls and you also get good haptic feedback. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack but you do get Dolby Atmos for enhanced sound output.


OnePlus 9RT Review

The OnePlus 9RT seems to be a good all-rounder with all the flagship specifications needed and fixes most of the flaws of the OnePlus 9 and the 9R. The build and design are excellent, the display feels great for media consumption especially due to the 120Hz refresh rate and 600Hz touch sampling rate during gaming, the cameras are not the best but still better than that of the OnePlus 9R.

The performance and gaming experience are really good with sustained performance and also the back does not heat like the previous OnePlus 9 and the 9 Pro did especially due to the larger vapor cooling chamber. The OxygenOS continues to deliver an ad and bloatware-free software experience and the software updates policy is also good. 

Other than this battery life is good though having a Snapdragon and you get 65W fast charging which is a good addition and in terms of 5G bands definitely, it gets 8 5G bands as compared to one or two 5G bands on the OnePlus 9 and the 9R. However, there are some areas where the OnePlus 9R does fall short as you do miss out on a telephoto camera which would have been a good upgrade over the OnePlus 9R instead of the macro camera.

Though being launched in 2022, there is still Android 11 running out of the box and OxyegnOS resembles ColorOS which does take away the look of Stock Android. Other than these we also have other options like the Xiaomi 11T Pro which is priced almost similar to the OnePlus 9R also. But if you want a smartphone with the best performance and software experience then the OnePlus 9RT is a solid buy.



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  1. Bro this review is by far accurate but the OnePlus 10 Pro will be launched in March and that is far better but I still want the OnePlus 9 as that is running Android 12 and this being anew one does not have cameras by Hasselblad or Android 12 update.

  2. this is best from OnePlus till date but still no Android 12 and no telephoto camera.


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