[The Lab] OnePlus 9RT 5G After One Month: The Underdog

  1. GGauraang_Arora
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9RT 5G Jan 24, 2022

    GGauraang_Arora , Jan 24, 2022 :

    Hey Everyone! So I have not really posted much here, or interacted with many people. So, I am Gauraang, and I love making videos about tech. And since my expertise is more in a visual showcase, rather than words, I have tried my best to optimise my video's script for something that everyone here would enjoy reading. So the review is supposed to be in two phases, as very well articulated to me by @Daniel D.
    • Phase 1 is going to be all about the unboxing experience along with some initial first impressions and thoughts about this phone
    • Phase 2 is going to be a more in-depth detailed review based on my experience with the phone over a month.
    This is going to be Phase 1. And as I said, I make videos, so you will also find a YouTube link to my video, where you will see the unboxing, and I will also talk about the first impressions I have had of this phone. So either way, sit back, relax, get your snacks before we get into it.


    Unboxing 1.jpg

    3 months later than expected, the OnePlus 9RT finally arrived. Yes, we have seen it before. Yes, we have known of its existence for months. Yes, we know of the early China release. And yet, we are here, taking a look at the 4th and final phone in the OnePlus 9 Series. And based on the first impressions I have had with this phone, one thing I have felt the most is despite the odd release date, it seems to be the only other phone apart from the OnePlus 9 Pro that knows the price range it is in and what it’s supposed to do.


    Unboxing 3.jpg

    As has been the tradition since the OnePlus 7T, this phone also comes in a red box, with ‘9RT’ written in bold black right on top of the box. Hold it up and the box slides open slowly, to reveal- the envelope with the documentation and stickers. Right underneath that is the phone itself, in all its nano silver glory and plastic wrapping. And further underneath it is a case the 67W Warp Charge adapter, the one with a USB A Port on it, along with the famous Red Cable.

    Unboxing 2.jpg


    OnePlus 9RT Unboxing and First Impressions.jpg

    Now let us get to the thing we are all here for, the phone. What is it like? It looks and feels great. It is premium in the ways we know. Silver metal rails on the side, which is always better than plastic. Glossy silver back made out of glass. With a matte finish silver camera bump. The design language is very much along the lines of the other OnePlus 9 series phones. The glossy back is surprisingly resistant to fingerprints and is a big step above the super reflective mess on the 9 Pro’s back. The glass as it warps into the metal rails does seem to be more reflective, but not enough to be noticeable. From the front, the phone is almost identical to the 9R and Nord 2. I do wish the chin on the front was smaller, as much as the 8T, where the forehead and chin are almost identical. And, while I would have much preferred the glass melting into the sides of the phone rather than the border that lies between the display and the rails, I do appreciate the smaller details OnePlus focussed on.

    Unboxing 4.jpg

    Unboxing 6.jpg

    Despite having a display bigger than the 9R, the chassis is narrow and remains just as easy to hold. Despite the materials, the phone remains light and ergonomic enough to be held with one hand comfortably. And even though the top edge of the phone being flat does not serve much of a purpose, it looks pretty darn good and I appreciate it. And the haptic motor inside is almost perfect. It is subtle while typing and dense with notifications and calls.

    Unboxing 5.jpg

    Upfront, the display so far has been great. It is smooth with the 120Hz refresh rate, sharp with the Full HD+ Resolution, and extremely responsive with the 600Hz touch sampling rate. And that was something I noticed pretty soon. The touch responsiveness felt like a definite step above. The optical fingerprint scanner underneath the display is fast and impressive, enough for me to ignore its lower placement.

    As for what shows up on the display, it is Oxygen OS 11 based on Android 11, with the ColorOS code infused into it. I have always loved the Oxygen OS of yore, and I am going to take my good time to be alright with this uninvited ColorOS-ness. Many of the things I liked about Oxygen OS are still here, although I am not sure for how long. The performance has been stellar with the week I have had with the phone. With the Snapdragon 888, and the 12GB RAM on the variant I received, it has been as snappy as it can get. I have been able to zip through the tasks easily. The new vapour chamber cooling system inside definitely seems to be doing its job as the phone has been dealing with 888 heat a lot better than my experience on the 9 Pro.

    As for the little I have used the camera, I can only say that the shots have been better than I expected. The camera goes for a more saturated approach with its colour reproduction, along with a high priority on sharpness. Samples are all here for you to see.

    IMG20220121091820.jpg IMG20220120084108.jpg IMG20220119093359.jpg IMG20220120015733.jpg IMG20220122144423.jpg IMG20220121091828.jpg

    Based on the first impression I have had of this phone and considering the price that it has launched for, which is ₹42,999 (₹38,999 after discounts) it is clear that the aim here for OnePlus was to stamp authority in this price range. Something they missed with both the OnePlus 9 and 9R. They wanted to deliver a great experience with the premium design, smarter choices, great display at a price that is competitive. Now whether the experience will hold up well in the next few weeks of my use with the battery, camera, performance, and software, is time’s tale to tell. All I can say is I have good feelings about it, much better than what I had when this phone was revealed.

  2. GGauraang_Arora
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9RT 5G Feb 19, 2022

    Stickied Post
    GGauraang_Arora , Feb 19, 2022 :
    Hey Everyone. So continuing along with the 2nd Phase of The Lab Review of the OnePlus 9RT 5G. This review is after a complete month of using this phone as my daily driver. And similar to the previous post, this is the script of my video optimised as an article. Here's a link to the video itself.

    So we like an underdog, don’t we? Someone ends up winning a competition they were not expected to win. That’s the sort of a story for the OnePlus 9RT in a few ways. People were not expecting much from it, I did not expect it either. But it is actually doing much better. And in this post, I will answer the following
    • How is it winning?
    • What makes it better?
    • Who should buy this phone?
    • Is it the best phone to get in this little less than premium segment?

    And believe me, the answer is not as simple as you think.

    Alright, the thing about underdogs is, they are not perfect. They have weaknesses, big ones, but they win by playing in a way that highlights their strength. Now let’s see how OnePlus does that.


    OnePlus 9RT Review.png

    Look at this phone. It is the same old cornered camera bump. The same old cornered punch hole camera on the front. The bezels are not uniform, the chin is bigger than less expensive phones. The display does not melt into the sides but instead has a layer of plastic going between the display and the rails. I mean, the OnePlus 8T was cheaper, yet it looked much better. And it lacks an IP rating.

    8T vs 9RT.png

    Design Shot 3.png

    But at the same time, the design is premium, even if the display does not seem so. It’s all glass and metal. It feels solid. It retains the beloved alert slider. The camera bump is not creative, but it certainly looks better than what the OnePlus 9 Pro had. The display up front is bigger than the 8T and 9R, but at the same time, the phone remains just as easy to hold as before. And the two colours it comes in are also good. Hacker black is definitely better, but the Nano Silver is glossy and yet resistant to fingerprints. Hence, safe to say that OnePlus played to their strength. They designed a phone that feels better and more solid than other phones, by using the materials and finish they have perfected over the years.

    Design 4.png


    Display 1.png

    What about the display? It does fulfil the common standards expected at such a price. 120Hz with a Full HD+ Resolution. And yes, it is marketed as a display with a 600Hz touch sampling rate, but it does not work consistently at that. It only works with games. It is slower and at times slower than other phones. I had a little test for it. I used the Touch Screen Test App, which you can easily find on the Play Store, to find out the touches recognised by the screen when I swipe over it, indicating how responsive the display is. You will see the results of the test when I did it on the OnePlus 9RT and the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE down below. The 9RT is clearly less responsive.

    Display Test.png

    But at the same time, the quality of the panel is amazing. It is sharp. The colours are never oversaturated or muted, they are just right. Using the phone outside is never a trouble. And yes the test I did deems it less responsive, but that is never a disadvantage in practical use. In general usage, it feels responsive, even at times more responsive when you are coming from an older phone. And where the latency does matter, which is gaming, it is outstanding and works as advertised. Watching content on it is a treat. It is HDR10+ certified, with support for HDR on Netflix. I still do hate the chin, and the plastic lip, but it is a quality panel that I appreciate. Once again, OnePlus playing to their strengths.

    Display 2.png


    Let’s have a look at the three cameras at the back. Well, you are mostly going to use two. The 2MP Macro Camera is a needless addition nobody wants to care about. The shots from it go through a thick layer of processing to look acceptable. You need a lot of light while clicking a good shot, and even then you have to be forgiving for it to be acceptable.

    IMG20220205200747.jpg IMG20220205200807.jpg IMG20220205200731.jpg IMG20220205200911.jpg

    The tiny front camera has more details under it, even though it has long been the same set-up we have been getting. I don’t understand why of all the things, OnePlus is choosing not to significantly upgrade the front camera. It does not do well with details. It does not do well with colours or skin tones. All the post-processing does is fix the dynamic range and that is about it. The video recording resolution is still capped at 1080p.

    IMG20220207175813.jpg IMG20220208223037.jpg IMG20220210122759.jpg IMG20220119122057.jpg

    Alright, coming back to the two cameras on the back. They tell a sharply different story. The Standard wide 50 Megapixel camera is honestly amazing. The shots it clicks look really good. The sharpness is on point. No matter where the shots are clicked, indoors or outdoors, the details are well maintained in all scenes. At times, like 2% of the images might have something weird going on. If the lighting is weird, the details at times might not be there, or the image taken might end up being over sharpened. But again, that’s just 2% of the time. The dynamic range is as good as it can get in this price range. The colours take the saturated and punchy approach, but only so much that the image still looks natural. The larger sensor also brings in a great natural bokeh for when the subject is up close with the camera.

    IMG20220210132331.jpg IMG20220201204804.jpg IMG20220203204230.jpg IMG20220207111335.jpg IMG20220207180237.jpg IMG20220210213212.jpg IMG20220202223450.jpg IMG20220203204202.jpg IMG20220120084108 (1).jpg IMG20220209121426.jpg IMG20220125224944.jpg IMG20220131202747.jpg IMG20220130134206.jpg IMG20220201113256.jpg IMG20220201121143.jpg IMG20220124170206.jpg

    Now the camera right below that one is the 16MP Ultrawide one. For the lower resolution and the wider angle, it is softer with details, especially around the edges. But still, it does manage to keep the details intact in most scenes, except where the light is not ideal at all. It does the job expected out of it most of the time.

    IMG20220213204925.jpg IMG20220201134110.jpg IMG20220202223515.jpg IMG20220207111338.jpg IMG20220202223428.jpg IMG20220213204027.jpg

    Now for the times, the lighting is really bad, OnePlus’s nightscape is keeping up with the times. It continues to be one of the best night modes. All because of how natural things are kept. The night stays the night, it does not suddenly become the evening or dawn. That is all because the processing brings out the light a lot more and sharpens the details. It does end up in colours being even more saturated but the image still manages to look good.

    IMG20220205225334.jpg IMG20220131202006.jpg IMG20220131201911.jpg IMG20220202222957.jpg

    You know, unexpectedly so, the phone also shoots great videos, from the main sensor mostly. It is well stabilised by default. There is absolutely no aggressive colour shifting. The dynamic range works well, with both the subject and background well exposed. The only weakness I felt was the muted colours and details in low light. But apart from that, if you want to shoot videos with this phone, you are in for a treat. And yes, it does go up to 4K at 60FPS. There is also an ultra stabilised mode, but that reduces sharpness and resolution as 4K is not available in that mode. (Video samples will show up in the video itself)

    Overall, it is an excellent camera from OnePlus on the 9RT. Best you can get for the price. They depend on their processing, plus the great main sensor for doing a lot of the magic.

    Software And Performance

    Software 3.png

    Software and Performance have complications. The current Android version here is Android 11 with Oxygen OS 11 on top of it. The makeshift version of Oxygen OS with ColorOS infused into it. So that means you will see multiple apps and UI aspects that are from Oppo’s ColorOS. There have been bugs like random restarts, recent apps not showing up even after swiping up and holding repeatedly. Once the phone app icon on the dock decided to stay there throughout the UI. The phone restricts its frame rate to half of what it is capable of, in apps like YouTube, Uber, and games too.

    Software 2.png

    Many of the great Oxygen OS features still remain, but for how long I do not know with Android 12 update coming soon. Three Major Software updates are promised along with four years of security updates, which is not as good as it sounds because the phone should have already launched with Android 12. But apart from the bugs and flaws and the weird android situation, the phone’s software has been pretty smooth.

    Software 5.png

    Everything is very well optimised and works great most of the time. The UI is buttery smooth throughout, without any slowdowns or hiccups. Yes, ColorOS is infused but the bloatware is not a lot more than before, and not nearly as intrusive as other phones. And when we talk performance the phone blazes through. It is fast, it is smooth, it makes everything effortless. Apps load up fast, and they stay open for as long as you want. And to top it all I have not noticed it heating up much at all. I would play Call of Duty with maxed out settings for an hour or so and it only got warm to the touch. So even with all of the software bugs, weird update cycles planned out, I do think the phone is great with its performance and okay with its software. Especially since it is playing to its strength of optimisation, lack of bloatware, and prioritising experience over headlining features.

    Software 6.png

    Battery Life


    Battery life has been a mixed bag. My usage has been moderate. Taking it off at 9 am and I would need to charge it by 11 pm or midnight. Mostly the day consists of WhatsApp messages, calls, emails, social media, listening to music over Bluetooth, typing out scripts sometimes, and about an hour of video calls. With all that, my Screen On Time used to be around 5-5.5 hours with brightness kept at 60-70%. Now if I could, I can heavily use the phone to kill it just within the day. But at the same time, it does come with the comfort of extremely fast charging. The phone can be charged up from 0-100% in under 40 mins. And at the end of the day, for most people who use their phone moderately, the phone will be easy to work with throughout the day. And for those who have heavy use, the fast charging is there to help out.

    The Finer Details


    Now, time for the small details that phones need to get right, to tie the cute little bow on a good experience. Because Good Experience will always be better than headlining features. The speakers, are what you expect. They sound good and loud. The vibration motor is almost perfect. You can easily differentiate between what the function is based on the haptic feedback. A small dash while moving the cursor around, a click when the phone is unlocked, a small little tick when you’re typing. A strong earthquake when the alarm is ringing, or your mom is calling. On a serious note - strong vibration when all of that happens. Even the more expensive S21 FE has a much inferior vibration motor. You get a case in the box and a pre-installed screen guard. The glass on the front is something you might want to protect because it can get scratches. My unit did, within a month.

    The Conclusion

    So, now you know what this phone does. What its strengths are, what its weaknesses are. Yes, it does a few things which are not great. Phones like S21 FE do a lot of the things this phone can do, along with having Android 12 out of the box, along with 4 years of promised software updates. And there are also phones which are cheaper and do some things better.

    But none of those phones has it all. They may do better in certain things, or provide better features, but they will have severe flaws in other departments. And S21 FE may be the better, but it is priced higher. The 9RT gives you a great display. fast performance, amazing camera, good software, reliable battery all for the price of ₹43,999. It plays to strengths despite having the weaknesses it does, and yet it wins. That’s why it is the ******* Underdog.

    Attached Files:

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  3. DileepMuvvala
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jan 24, 2022

    SRD. and GGauraang_Arora like this.
  4. psygarden
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9RT 5G Jan 24, 2022

    U1611235635854, Gor., SRD. and 2 others like this.
  5. SRD.
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9RT 5G Jan 25, 2022

  6. GGauraang_Arora
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9RT 5G Jan 25, 2022

    a_b1 and psygarden like this.
  7. GGauraang_Arora
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9RT 5G Jan 25, 2022

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  8. Princeshh1
    Honeycomb Jan 25, 2022

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  9. Harshit R.
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus Buds Pro Jan 25, 2022

    GGauraang_Arora likes this.

  10. #9
    GGauraang_Arora likes this.
  11. McJader
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9RT 5G Writers' Club Jan 25, 2022

    McJader , Jan 25, 2022 :
    Nice vid man!

  12. RAVITEJA9160
    Cupcake Jan 25, 2022

    RAVITEJA9160 , via OnePlus 7T , Jan 25, 2022 :
    Hi Team.
    One of me Friend recently joined to OnePlus community with his OnePlus 9RT, I am happy.
    But in his redcard he had been showing 306 days why it is showing like this.
    He bought mobile last Sunday.
    Can any one help Me to rectify this one please.

  13. PhotoPicker
    Best Review Of The Year Award 2021 Jan 25, 2022

    SRD. and GGauraang_Arora like this.
  14. McJader
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9RT 5G Writers' Club Jan 25, 2022

    McJader , Jan 25, 2022 :
    He must have a OnePlus account from before.

  15. Tobikage
    General Support Expert Award 2021 Jan 25, 2022

  16. RAVITEJA9160
    Cupcake Jan 25, 2022

  17. McJader
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9RT 5G Writers' Club Jan 25, 2022

    McJader , Jan 25, 2022 :
    I'm not a videographer, that's why they have 5 reviewers:rolleyes:
    Look mate, he could've registered before, Even by mistake.
    If he didn't, does it matter what number of days that red cable thing shows?
    If you don't like it, contact Support, I'm sure they'll give you an answer:confused:

    SRD. and RAVITEJA9160 like this.
  18. RAVITEJA9160
    Cupcake Jan 25, 2022

    RAVITEJA9160 , via OnePlus 7T , Jan 25, 2022 :
    Thank you so much. I will contact them.😊

    McJader likes this.
  19. manojsurya99
    Jelly Bean Jan 25, 2022

  20. #19
  21. hypercode
    Froyo Jan 25, 2022