OnePlus 9R release date, price, leaks and why you probably won't be able to buy it

The OnePlus 9 series will be unveiled on March 23 along with the company’s first smartwatch called the OnePlus Watch.

Originally, we expected just to hear about the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro smartphones but a new development confirms that there will be a third smartphone to share the stage that will be cheaper than the other two – the OnePlus 9R.

In a recent interview, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau confirmed the existence of the OnePlus 9R and talked about how it will be an India-exclusive device for now, aiming to touch one more price point with the series. Interestingly, this first official mention of the affordable flagship came only recently, and the company hasn’t revealed much else either. 

On March 23, OnePlus is hosting a global launch event its next series of devices. This is almost a month earlier than the company’s usual timeline and will compete with other flagships such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 and the Xiaomi Mi 11.

Since OnePlus already has a series of budget smartphones in the Nord family, we expect the upcoming OnePlus 9R to sit between the Nord and the OnePlus 9 series — in terms of specifications as well as the price. Here’s everything we know and what we want to see on the OnePlus 9R. 

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? A new affordable flagship from OnePlus
  • When it is out? Possibly March 23, but in India
  • How much will it cost? Unclear right now

OnePlus 9R release date and price

The OnePlus 9R is confirmed to share the stage with the other products on March 23. For now, it looks like it will be an India-exclusive device as there’s no mention of global availability just yet. 

The only real bit of information we have is that it will be cheaper than the rest of the OnePlus 9 series. 

Considering that OnePlus’ main line of flagships start at over Rs 40,000 (about $550, £400, AU$700), and there’s already the Nord under Rs 30,000, we expect the OnePlus 9R’s price to be in the middle, around the Rs 35,000 mark. The company has not had a lot of offerings in this space in recent years as it has shifted focus to the more premium offerings.

The OnePlus 9R is unlikely to make its way to other markets, but that isn't a gurantee and it may be we see the company bring its cheaper smartphone to places like the US, UK and Australia in the future.

OnePlus 9R specs and features

In the interview, it was confirmed that the OnePlus 9R will be a 5G device. Knowing that it is a flagship, that narrows down the choice of chipset to either the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, the Snapdragon 870 or last year’s Snapdragon 865. 

To keep the costs low without skimping on the performance, we expect the OnePlus 9R 5G to be powered by the Snapdragon 870 chipset — a new platform that the company had confirmed it will be adopting in the near future. 

For those unaware, it is a new chipset that was announced earlier this year as an upgrade to the Snapdragon 865, but with a higher clock speed of 3.2GHz.

A teaser on Amazon.in shows the OnePlus 9R with physical shoulder triggers, which not only reaffirms that it could be a gaming phone, but also suggests that the company will launch dedicated accessories at some point.

We presume the OnePlus 9R will retain the 120Hz AMOLED display, catering to gamers. A big battery and fast charging are also expected to make the cut. It remains to be seen if it gets a Hasselblad camera upgrade like its siblings or not.

Little is truly known about the OnePlus 9R, and we expect to hear much more about the upcoming handset at the company's March 23 launch.

What we want to see

OnePlus 8T

The OnePlus 8T (Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

A larger battery

The OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro are confirmed to pack in a 4,500mAh battery. Since the OnePlus 9R will be a gaming phone where ergonomics can take a backseat, we hope to see a larger battery inside

65W fast charging

Recent OnePlus devices are amongst the faster-charging smartphones available, taking just about 30 minutes for a full charge. We would like to see 65W charging make it to the OnePlus 9R as well. 

Capable cameras

With the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro, the OnePlus is teaming up with Hasselblad to improve the camera experience. With the 9R being a gaming device of sorts, our expectations are not too high. However, it would be nice if it would at least offer the same photography hardware as the OnePlus 8 Pro, and not go lower.

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