Whatever else you want to say about the OnePlus 12 series of phones — and we've had lots of praise, as you can see in our OnePlus 12 review — you'd have to concede that OnePlus absolutely delivered on battery life with its latest phones.
Take the aforementioned OnePlus 12. That $799 phone features a 5,400 mAh battery and a power-efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, and it took advantage of both to turn in a time of 17 hours and 41 minutes on our battery test. That's almost an hour longer than the Galaxy S24 Ultra, a phone that costs $500 more than OnePlus' latest handset.
But as impressive as the OnePlus 12's time may be, it's not even the longest-lasting device in the phone maker's arsenal. The true best phone battery life champ among OnePlus devices is the OnePlus 12R, which scales back some of the features of the OnePlus 12 in exchange for a lower price tag. But it's pretty clear from our testing that battery life isn't something you wind up sacrificing for a lower-cost phone.
Here's a closer look at how the OnePlus 12R performed on our battery test, and why the result is so significant.
OnePlus 12R battery test results
First, some background on the test itself. Every phone we review gets put through the same battery test, where we have the phones surf the web over cellular until they run out of power. We set the brightness of each phone's display to 150 nits for the sake of consistency. (And a good thing, too, since the OnePlus 12R has a display that can get up to 4,100 nits of brightness under the right conditions, according to OnePlus.)
The average smartphone lasts around 10 hours on our test. A result longer than 12 hours indicates that a phone will last a very long time on a charge, especially for tasks that are less demanding than web surfing for hours on end.
So how did the OnePlus 12R do? Pretty well, to put it mildly — the phone averaged 18 hours and 42 minutes on our test, which makes it the runner-up for the title of longest-lasting phone we've ever tested.
Finishing ahead of the OnePlus 12R — just 6 minutes ahead, to be exact — is the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro. Last year's ROG Phone is just behind the OnePlus 12R on our best phone battery life list.
|Battery Life (Hrs:Mins)
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
|Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
|Snadragon 8 Gen 3
|Samsung Galaxy S24
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
|Google Pixel 7a
That's a pretty significant result, as both ROG Phones are gaming phones designed specifically to last as long as possible on a charge so as not to interrupt marathon sessions involving graphically intense games. Like those phones, the OnePlus 12R can keep going and going, too — but it's also designed with general usage, so features like the cameras perform better than they typically do on gaming-centric handsets.
OnePlus 12R — why it lasts so long
I mentioned that the OnePlus 12R dials back on some of the OnePlus 12's features, so that it doesn't cost as much as OnePlus' flagship. (Pricing on the 12R starts at $499 in the U.S., where a 128GB version is available; other regions only get a 256GB option, which costs a little more.) But one of those scaled-back features turns out to be not much of a sacrifice at all.
As a flagship phone, the OnePlus 12 features the best system-on-chip available from Qualcomm — the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. That helps the OnePlus 12 turn in the kind of performance to even challenge the latest iPhones. (On several tests, the OnePlus 12 actually posts better numbers than the iPhone 15 with which it shares a starting price.) The OnePlus 12R turns to older silicon — though not that old. It's using a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 came out last year and powered many of 2023's best Android flagships. So while it may not be the newest chip on the block, it's still recent enough to turn in some stellar performance numbers. For instance, the OnePlus 12R — which costs $300 less than the iPhone 15 — manages to beat that phone on the 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited graphics benchmark.
Just as important for performance is how well the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 manages power efficiency. As we learned last year, phones running on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 tended to squeeze out more battery life than devices running on Qualcomm's previous silicon. Those power management skills clearly haven't ebbed in the year since the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2's arrival, given how well the 12R fared on our battery test. The OnePlus 12R's 5,500 mAh battery doubtlessly helps in this area, as well.
OnePlus 12R outlook
So with the OnePlus 12R, you're getting a phone that can outlast nearly every other device out there while costing hundreds of dollars less than the leading flagships. That's a very strong value, even if your phone doesn't have the latest and greatest silicon under the hood.
There are some sacrifices with the OnePlus 12R that bite a bit more sharply. The 12R doesn't benefit from the Hasselblad partnership that's helped OnePlus flagship cameras improve, so its pictures fall short of what the best camera phones can produce. You also lose out on an extra year of software updates that comes with the OnePlus 12. If those two things matter to you, you may want to search elsewhere for a new phone.
But if battery life is what you're looking for, the OnePlus 12R delivers in a big way without putting a big dent in your wallet.
More from Tom's Guide
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.