OnePlus 9RT vs Apple iPhone 12: Which smartphone should you buy?

OnePlus 9RT vs Apple iPhone 12: Which smartphone should you buy?

The dilemmas associated with choosing a smartphone to buy only get more complicated with every new release. With companies revealing new phones all year round, customers have plenty of brands, models, and qualities to choose from. Depending on your budget, you will find yourself facing several devices with varying features for the same price tag. OnePlus 9RT is a recent yet affordable phone that starts at ~$512. For a similar amount of cash, you can buy a used iPhone 12 or pay around $200 extra for a new one. So which phone is right for you? We can help by breaking down the specifications and laying out the details of each for you to judge and decide accordingly. This is The OnePlus 9RT versus Apple’s iPhone 12 — the battle between two very different phones.

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OnePlus 9RT vs Apple iPhone 12: Specifications

OnePlus 9RT Apple iPhone 12
CPU
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
    • 1x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex X1-based) Prime core @ 2.84GHz
    • 3x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex A78-based) Performance cores @ 2.4GHz
    • 4x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex A55-based) Efficiency cores @ 1.8GHz
  • Apple A14 Bionic
Body
  • 163.2 x 73.2 x 8.7mm
  • 197g
  • 146.7 × 71.5 × 7.4mm
  • 164g
Display
  • 6.62-inch FHD+ Samsung E4 AMOLED
  • 2400 x 1080p
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • 600Hz touch sampling rate
  • 1300nits peak brightness
  • HDR10+
  • 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display
  • 2532 x 1170p
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • HDR10
  • Dolby Vision
  • Ceramic Shield
Cameras
  • Primary: 50MP, f/1.8
  • Ultra-wide: 16MP, f/2.2
  • Macro: 2MP, f/2.4
  • Front-facing: 16MP, f/2.4
  • Primary: 12MP, f/1.6
  • Ultra-wide: 12MP, f/2.4, 120° FoV
  • Front-facing: 12MP, f/2.2
Memory
  • 8GB/12GB RAM
  • 128GB/256GB Storage
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB/128GB/256GB Storage
Battery
  • 4,500mAh
  • 65W fast charging
  • 2,815mAh
  • 20W wired fast charging
  • 7.5W Qi wireless charging
  • 15W MagSafe charging
Connectivity
  • 5G
  • 4G LTE
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • Sub6/mmWave 5G
  • 4G LTE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Ultra-Wide Band (UWB)
Water Resistance IP68 IP68
Security In-display fingerprint scanner Face ID
OS ColorOS 12 based on Android 11 iOS 15
Colors
  • Silver
  • Black
  • Black
  • White
  • (PRODUCT)RED
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Purple
Material
  • Glass
  • Plastic
  • Glass back
  • Aluminum frame
Price Starts at $512 Starts at $699

Build and Design

The OnePlus 9RT and Apple’s iPhone 12 are very different when it comes to their builds and designs. For starters, the OnePlus phone has a plastic build, while the iPhone 12 has an aluminum one. Both phones have glass backs, though, so you have to be careful about accidental drops. The iPhone earns extra points here because its build is aluminum, while that of The OnePlus phone is plastic,

OnePlus 9RT design

The back of the OnePlus 9RT has a matte look to it, while that of the iPhone 12 is shiny. This gives the OnePlus phone extra points, as fingerprints and scratches won’t be as visible. It’s worth mentioning, though, that the iPhone has a more premium look to it, thanks to the neat and bright slab of glass. It reminds us of the iPhone 4 era and has a high-end appearance and hold.

iPhone 12 laying flat.

When it comes to design, both phones have a vertical arrangement of rear cameras with a visible bump. If we look at the front, the OnePlus 9RT’s front has a hole-punch camera while Apple’s has a long notch. They both feature thin bezels, but the OnePlus phone has a bottom chin. When it comes to the hole-punch/notch argument, the matter is purely subjective. Some people prefer the former while others adapt faster to the latter. Ultimately, the devices look completely different — which one appeals to you is based on your personal taste. It’s worth noting, though, that the iPhone is available in six colors, compared to the OnePlus 9RT’s two.

Display

As we’ve mentioned above, the two affordable phones come with obvious front differences. The OnePlus 9RT includes a hole-punch camera, while the iPhone 12 features the same notch from previous Face ID iPhone models. Both devices have a full-screen, edge-to-edge display that makes watching content or gaming as immersive as it gets. Some people find the notch intrusive, while others find it cleaner than the hole-punch design. It’s really up to you to decide which display looks more natural to you and matches your usage patterns.

iPhone 12's 6.1-inch OLED screen.

When it comes to quality, the iPhone 12 objectively beats the OnePlus 9RT. The former has a higher resolution of 2532-by-1170p compared to the latter’s 2400-by-1080, but you are unlikely to notice the extra pixels on your daily use. However, there are some other aspects where the OnePlus phone shines over the iPhone 12.

Display brightness

The OnePlus 9RT comes with a bigger 6.62-inch display that beats Apple’s 6.1. Additionally, it comes with a 120Hz refresh rate — double iPhone’s 60Hz rate. This makes scrolling through lists and some animations smoother. Some people might consider the bigger display a con, though. So it really depends on your priorities and what you’re looking for in a mobile screen to decide which phone’s display works better for you.

Speaking of displays, the OnePlus 9RT comes with an optical in-display fingerprint sensor. This allows you to unlock your phone by placing your registered fingertip on the actual screen. On the other hand, Face ID is what secures Apple’s iPhone 12. Considering we’re in the middle of a pandemic that requires us to wear masks, a lot of people are going to prefer the fingerprint reader over facial recognition. However, if you’re deep in the Apple ecosystem, you can unlock your Face ID iPhone with an Apple Watch when you’re masked.

Performance

When it comes to performance, there are a lot of aspects that we must take into consideration. While the iPhone 12 is over one year old, you shouldn’t undermine the power of Apple’s A14 Bionic chip. Additionally, while the OnePlus phone has been released recently, its processor is also over a year old. We’ve taken a look at benchmarks to compare the A14 Bionic with the Snapdragon 888 to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each of the processors. If we look at the overall chip score, the A14 Bionic wins. However, the Snapdragon 888 does have some pros over Apple’s.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

The A14 Bionic beats the Snapdragon 888 in single and multi-core CPU performance tests. Additionally, it is more efficient when it comes to battery consumption and has a 9% higher CPU clock speed. However, Snapdragon 888 beats the A14 Bionic in gaming performance. It scores higher when it comes to GPU performance in games and OpenCL/Vulcan. Additionally, it has two more cores, supports 20% higher memory bandwidth, and shows up to 10% better AnTuTu scores (while draining more battery).

apple a14 bionic chipset

If you plan on actively using your new phone for gaming, then you might want to consider the OnePlus 9RT. That’s not to say the iPhone 12 isn’t a great gaming phone, though. The A14 Bionic chip still has a higher overall score and will be gentler on your precious battery juice. Ultimately, they’re both flagship processors that were released in late 2020 — so they’re not the latest, but they’re still mighty and capable.

Cameras

Cameras can be the main selling point for a certain category of users. I’ve personally met people who just ask “Does it take good photos?” right before purchasing a device (if they receive a positive answer from the seller). On the surface level, we have a clear winner here — the OnePlus 9RT. To break down both devices’ cameras, let’s start with the front. Both phones have a single front-facing camera. OnePlus 9RT’s 16MP beats Apple’s 12MP, but Apple’s has an aperture of f/2.2, which beats the f/2.4 on the OnePlus phone.

iPhone 12 camera

When it comes to rear cameras, the OnePlus phone has three, while the iPhone has only two. They both have primary and ultra-wide lenses, but the OnePlus 9RT has a macro lens as a bonus. The common lenses are rated as 12MP on the iPhone 12, while OnePlus bumps them up to 50MP and 16MP respectively. The iPhone 12’s primary camera has a better aperture, though.

OnePlus 9RT Cameras

The OnePlus 9RT comes with a 2MP macro lens. Additionally, it can take great selfies, thanks to the significantly better front-facing camera. So if taking better photos is what you’re looking for, you might want to consider buying the OnePlus phone, as it has more and — in some cases — better cameras.

Battery Life and Charging

The OnePlus 9RT has a bigger battery and supports a higher wattage when it comes to wired charging than the iPhone 12. However, the former lacks wireless charging, which might be a deal-breaker to many people. Apart from Qi wireless charging, the iPhone 12 also has MagSafe support — for both wireless charging and accessories.

OnePlus 9RT case

Apple states that the iPhone 12 can play up to 65 hours of audio and 17 hours of offline video on a single charge. Obviously, these numbers differ based on your settings, environment, and use. OnePlus hasn’t shared similar statistics, but it’s safe to assume that you won’t need to charge either of the devices more than once per day. Ultimately, neither of them has bad battery life. Taking iPhone’s wireless charging capabilities and the OnePlus 9RT’s faster wired charging into consideration, this round is a tie — as some users will prefer the faster wired charging over the presence of Qi support and vice versa.

OnePlus 9RT vs iPhone 12: Which one should you buy?

We’ve broken down the main features and specifications of each device. Which one should you buy completely depends on your preferences and priorities. If you want a phone that takes better photos, you can consider getting the OnePlus. If you want a faster phone that just works and will remain supported through software updates for a longer time, then the iPhone 12 is for you. Some people have operating system preferences. So if you’re in the Apple ecosystem and would only buy an iPhone, then the iPhone 12 is the right choice, obviously. Similarly, if you can’t stand the Cupertino giant and its walled garden and ecosystem, then the OnePlus 9RT is what you should look into. The iPhone start at $699, though, which is more expensive than OnePlus 9RT’s $512 price tag. So you might want to consider that if you’re on a limited budget.

    The OnePlus 9RT is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 chip and runs ColorOS 12 (based on Android 11). It has three rear cameras and a stunning front-facing one.
    The iPhone 12 is powered by the A14 Bionic chip and runs the latest iOS 15. It's faster, more compact, and has a clearer display.

Considering that the OnePlus 9RT is limited to only a few markets, you may also have no choice but to go for the iPhone 12 in those regions.

Which of the two affordable phones will you be buying, and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

About author

Mahmoud Itani
Mahmoud Itani

Mahmoud is an Istanbul-based Beiruti who has always sought freedom through writing. His hobbies include keeping up with tech news, writing articles about Apple devices & services, crocheting, meditating, and composing poetry. You’ll likely find him jogging at a park, swimming in open water, brainstorming at a coffeehouse, or merely lost in nature. He can be reached on Twitter @Mahmoudzitani or via [email protected]

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