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OnePlus 9RT first impressions: a beautiful powerhouse

OnePlus has had a pretty busy start to 2022. The company has just launched its latest flagship in China, the OnePlus 10 Pro smartphone. It will eventually launch in India, probably alongside other versions like the OnePlus 10 and 10R. However, for now, tech enthusiasts in India will have to settle for the latest cheer from the 9 series, namely the OnePlus 9 RT.

This phone was released in China in October 2021 and has just made it to India. So what is 9RT and should you care about it? If you’re familiar with the OnePlus “T” updates, that’s exactly it – it’s the OnePlus 9R (Review) with a new design and finish, a faster SoC, and a better main camera. This is a moderate update, which is to be expected, since more serious changes will only come in the next generation. What’s surprising is that the premium OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro haven’t received any updates. Anyway, we’ve been playing with 9RT for a few days now and here’s what we think of it at the moment.

The OnePlus 9RT comes in a plain red box with the usual array of accessories such as a case and charger. It’s good to see that the company isn’t blindly following unpopular smartphone trends and ditching the charger. OnePlus claims to have spent a lot of time perfecting the look of the 9RT, and it shows. The curved metal frame is very comfortable to hold, and the smooth glass back of the Hacker Black variant I own feels very luxurious. It has a soft sheen when exposed to light, and it doesn’t seem to leave fingerprints at all. The OnePlus 9RT is also available in Nano Silver.

The camera module has been redesigned in this phone, one less sensor compared to the 9R, but all the functionality remains, so this is not a big loss. We will return to these details a little later. The OnePlus 9RT’s display is slightly larger than the 9R’s at 6.62 inches, but it’s still a Full-HD+ AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 5.

The OnePlus 9RT comes with all the accessories you need, unlike other recent flagships.

The display is bright and the colors are vibrant. There is an in-display fingerprint sensor that authenticates very quickly. You get the usual array of OnePlus 9RT buttons and ports, including the alert slider on the right. At the bottom, you’ll find a dual Nano-SIM tray, but again, there’s no microSD card slot.

Aside from the new back design, the OnePlus 9RT gets the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC, which is an upgrade over the Snapdragon 870 SoC found in the 9R. This puts the 9RT on par with the more expensive OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro in terms of processing power. The 9RT also supports many more 5G bands in India (eight in total) than any other 9 Series model, which is a good thing. There will be two variants of the phone on sale, one with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and the other with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. OnePlus uses LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage.

oneplus 9rt first impressions screen ss

The OnePlus 9RT’s display is bright and responsive to touch.

Other features on the OnePlus 9RT are similar to what we’ve seen on the 9R, most notably its stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, NFC, Wi-Fi 6, and a 4,500mAh battery with support for 65W fast charging. The 9RT doesn’t have an IP rating, wireless charging, or even Hasselblad processing for its cameras.

Speaking of which, the main rear camera on the OnePlus 9RT has been upgraded to a Sony IMX766 sensor. This is the same 50MP sensor used for the ultra-wide camera on the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro, but here it is used for the main camera. This camera has a different lens arrangement, optical stabilization and a wider f/1.8 aperture. The 9RT ultra-wide camera uses the same Sony IMX481 sensor as the 9R and has a resolution of 16 megapixels and f/2.2 aperture. The third camera is a 2-megapixel macro camera. The selfie camera hasn’t changed, and OnePlus still makes do with the 16-megapixel Sony IMX471 sensor.

oneplus 9rt first impressions ww body

The Hacker Black finish of the OnePlus 9RT looks and feels luxurious.

The OnePlus 9RT comes with OxygenOS 11, but it should be one of the first OnePlus devices to receive the stable Android 12 update whenever it’s released. The OnePlus 9RT also boasts Hyper Touch 2.0 technology, which is said to boost touchscreen response rates from 300Hz to 600Hz when playing certain games. Another playable feature is the addition of a third Wi-Fi antenna. OnePlus calls it the “Tri-eSport” antenna system and claims it provides a more stable internet connection while gaming. We will, of course, test all of these claims during our full review.

OnePlus 9RT starts at Rs. 42,999 for the 8GB variant and the price goes up to Rs. 46,999 for the 12GB variant. These are acceptable bumps compared to the OnePlus 9R given what the 9RT has to offer. The OnePlus 9R will be on sale until stocks run out, but 9RT pretty much makes the OnePlus 9 obsolete. You also have to keep in mind that the launch of the OnePlus 10 Series in India shouldn’t be too far away, judging by recent leaks. However, from the looks of things, OnePlus could be hit with a 10 series launch this year, with a Pro model coming first, followed by a vanilla OnePlus 10 or even 10R later, which also explains why 9RT is launching now.

Get the latest from the Consumer Electronics Show at Gadgets 360 at our CES 2022 hub.

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