What Is the OnePlus R Series Phone, and Is It Really a ‘Flagship Killer’?


Back in 2021, OnePlus extended its smartphone offerings, debuting a new R series of devices titled similarly to its mainline flagships. But these R series devices have never released globally, so for many users, they’ve remained an enigma. Dubbed “flagship killers” by OnePlus itself, the R series devices will see their first global release in 2024. But what exactly are these devices? Are they even worth considering? Here’s what you need to know.

The R series explained

The easiest way to explain the R series of OnePlus devices is to point towards another similar option from a different manufacturer. If you’ve followed Android devices at all, then you’re probably at least somewhat familiar with Google’s Pixel A series smartphones. These devices build off the new tech seen in the tech giant’s flagship devices, but cut out some features and things to help keep the cost more inline with budget-friendly devices.

The OnePlus R series is exactly the same, offering some of the same features that the mainline OnePlus flagships offer, but at a lower price because it uses older hardware, or is missing some of the big named features found in the top-end OnePlus phones. It’s a novel way to close the distance found between flagship and more budget-friendly devices, and both Google and OnePlus seem to have found a lot of success in offering these types of devices.

Looking at past R series releases, we see that the OnePlus 11R, which released in February of 2023, offered a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, whereas the flagship OnePlus 11 sported the newer Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Other specs in the phones were similar, too, with the 11R sporting a 6.74-inch 1240 x 2772 resolution display at 120Hz, while the mainline OnePlus 11 came with a 6.7-inch 2K display at 120Hz, as well as support for HDR10/10+ and Dolby Vision.

That means the 11R was very similar to the 11, but it offered slightly lower/older specs in some places to help cut down on the price and make it even more affordable.

Are they really flagship killers?

This is a good question, and to answer it honestly, you have to look at the R series devices as more than just a budget-friendly or mid-range smartphone lineup. Instead, it’s probably best to think of these as high-end devices from the previous year. That is to say, they build off the design changes made with the newest devices, but often feature a slightly older chipset, which somewhat lowers their performance . So, while they might not be as powerful as a newest top-end flagship device, they come very close, and will offer more than enough power for most people, while saving them money.

Based on that definition, it’s very easy to consider smartphones like the OnePlus R series as flagship killers, as they essentially remove the need to purchase a flagship device. Of course, the smartphone industry is much more complex than that, and no matter how good the device is, there are always going to be users that flock to the latest and greatest from top flagship manufacturers like Samsung.

The first global R Series release

All of that brings us to January 2024, when OnePlus will make the first global R series release with the OnePlus 12R. Not much is known about this upcoming device, but there is a lot of speculation about what it will include. Based on previous device specs from other R series devices, the OnePlus 12R will likely sport the still new, but slightly older Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, and will feature some of the other specs and hardware features found in the new OnePlus 12, while cutting back on others.

I don’t want to dig too much into the speculation here, of course, but the global release of this R series device will make it quite an enticing choice for users that are planning to upgrade their phone next year, as you’ll have another premium option to choose from that won’t require you to pay the higher price of a flagship. In that sense, OnePlus has a really great chance to take the global market by storm with its self-proclaimed “flagship killers,” and honestly, I’m intrigued to see how that goes for the company.

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