OnePlus confirms OnePlus 9R is coming — but there’s a catch

 OnePlus 9R is likely to be a lower-specced version of the OnePius 9
(Image credit: WinFuture)

OnePlus has just confirmed that there is a third OnePlus 9 device arriving next week. The OnePlus 9R is designed to be a cheaper version of the new flagship, but it’s only available to purchase in India.

This news was confirmed by OnePlus CEO Pete Lau, in an interview with News18. Like the OnePlus Nord range, the idea is to bring the flagship experience to more people at a more affordable price point.

Lau didn’t confirm much about the phone, though he did reveal that the OnePlus 9R will have 5G and offers “smooth scrolling, immersive gaming controls and a superior viewing experience.”  That would suggest some form of high refresh rate display. 

The OnePlus 9R has been a bit of an enigma ever since the rumors first started popping up online last year. Despite leaks, and OnePlus itself, revealing almost everything we can expect from the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro, the same can’t be said for the OnePlus 9R.

So far it’s believed that the phone will come with a 6.5-inch FHD display, with a 90Hz refresh rate, a 5,000 mAh battery, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 64MP camera. Rumors have also claimed that the phone will run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 chipset, though another report has suggested it may be the mid-range Snapdragon 690 instead.

OnePlus has begun shifting back to more affordable phones recently, especially with the launch of the OnePlus Nord range. But according to Lau, the OnePlus 9R is different because it’s designed to offer “a balanced handset with the latest technology." Meanwhile, Nord phones are built to offer an "uncompromised" user experience at an affordable price.

Lau also said that an affordable flagship device is especially important in the Indian market, with data showing the need for high-spec phones with lower prices. I'd argue that there's a need for that everywhere, especially with the growing number of $1,000 phones. 

But OnePlus is one of the top premium smartphone brands in India. And given the size of the population, it makes sense for the company to focus its attention there.

Based on what Lau has said, it sounds like the OnePlus 9R is built to be almost as good as the pricier OnePlus 9. Using a Snapdragon 865 would be a perfect example of that in action, since it’s the chipset used in last year’s flagship phones and offers plenty of power for most users. 

It’s not as good as the new Snapdragon 888, which is set to be in the other OnePlus 9 phones, but it’s not far off. Crucially, though, the age of the chip means it’s cheaper and those savings can be passed onto the consumer.

The only downside is that this phone appears to be an India exclusive for the foreseeable. So if the OnePlus 9 is too much for you, you’re going to have to opt for one of the many OnePlus Nord devices if you want to stay in the OnePlus family.

The OnePlus 9R will launch on March 23, alongside the OnePlus 9, OnePlus 9 Pro, and OnePlus Watch. Make sure to stay tuned to Tom’s Guide for more news as and when we hear it.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.