You’ve all heard of and maybe even purchased one of the best budget 5G phones out there for the holidays, but if you managed to resist that temptation in order to see what the new year will bring to the “flagship-killing” scene, OnePlus has a giant slayer for you to consider at a simply unbeatable-looking price point.

That’s an all-time first for R-branded OnePlus handsets, and looking at the Ace 3’s undeniably premium design, decidedly impressive specifications, and almost unreal Chinese pricing, we can only be delighted by the company’s very wise availability call.

Just how affordable is the Ace 3?

In short, very. In long, extremely. In detail, we’re talking price tags equivalent to around $365 for an entry-level 256GB storage configuration with a respectable 12GB RAM also on deck and roughly $420 as far as a 16GB + 512GB variant is concerned.

Then you have a top-of-the-line model with no less than 1TB of internal storage space paired with 16 gigs of memory at 3,499 yuan, which currently converts to an incredibly reasonable $490 or so.

Of course, China is a very… unique smartphone market, and if you think there’s a chance the OnePlus 12R will set you back as little as 365 or even 400 bucks stateside, then you might be in for a major disappointment. 

What’s crystal clear (and extremely encouraging) is that the OnePlus Ace 3’s US equivalent will cost significantly less than the “regular” OnePlus 12, as well as last year’s OnePlus 11, the latter of which was already priced pretty aggressively compared to direct competitors like Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Plus, Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro, or Google’s Pixel 8 Pro, not to mention the S23 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

How impressive will the OnePlus 12R be?

In short, very. In long… well, you get the idea. Or at least you will get it after you consider the rest of the Ace 3’s mind-blowing specs, which should be mimicked to the letter by the “international” 12R.

The most incredible thing about the OnePlus 12‘s slightly humbler brother is how it actually squeezes a larger 5,500mAh battery into a lighter 207-gram body with a thinner 8.8mm profile. Said body is made from the exact same super-premium combination of glass and metal, and the design on the whole looks virtually unchanged here.

Granted, the OnePlus Ace 3 does come with a smaller and lower-quality 6.78-inch AMOLED display in tow sporting a resolution of 2780 x 1264 pixels, but with 120Hz refresh rate technology and a peak brightness of 4500 nits, that’s definitely no pushover by any measure of the word.

Because OnePlus had to cut some corners to achieve those absolutely insane prices above, the Ace 3 lacks wireless charging support altogether while also downgrading every single camera on the company’s latest flagship. But even these compromises don’t look like total deal breakers, at least on paper, considering that you still get blazing fast 100W wired charging capabilities and a perfectly competent-sounding 50MP primary rear-facing shooter with f/1.8 aperture.

The secondary 8MP and tertiary 2MP cameras on the Ace 3’s back, as well as the single 16MP front-facing snapper, feel decidedly underwhelming, which… does not reduce our excitement for the fast-approaching US launch of the OnePlus 12R one bit. The same goes for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, which does technically represent a downgrade over the Gen 3 inside the OnePlus 12 but out in the real world, you’re unlikely to notice any meaningful performance disparity.

While it’s certainly too early for such verdicts, we can totally see this bad boy smoke the likes of Google’s “vanilla” Pixel 8, Samsung’s Galaxy S23 FE, and Motorola’s Edge (2023) in terms of bang for your buck. 

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