scorecardRedmi 12 5G Review - An efficient entry level device but there are compromises
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Redmi 12 5G Review - An efficient entry level device but there are compromises

Redmi 12 5G Review - An efficient entry level device but there are compromises
Tech8 min read
  • Redmi 12 5G starts at a price of ₹10,999
  • The smartphone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 SoC
  • It features a 50MP AI dual camera
Redmi today has launched the Redmi 12 5G along with the Redmi Watch 3 Active. The latest addition to the brand’s number series the Redmi 12 looks promising on paper. It packs in a Qualcomm 4 Gen 2 SoC, along with the bells and whistles of today's 5G device. But does it stand true to the claims? And where does it sit in the market today, considering Redmi also has plenty of options in this price range. I will tell you in my full review.

Price & Availability
Redmi 12 is available in 3 variants available at introductory prices. There is a variant with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage priced at ₹10,999. Then there is a variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage offered at ₹12,499. And finally, there is a variant with 8GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage priced at ₹14,499. The smartphone is available on Flipkart, Redmi’s D2C website, and Mi’s offline stores.

Design

The Redmi 12 presents a fresh design compared to its predecessors in the number series, setting it apart from the Note series as well. This distinction is crucial to prevent confusion among consumers.

The phone adopts a minimalist approach to its design, featuring clean lines and a symmetrical appearance. Despite its sizable 6.7-inch screen and the inclusion of a 5000mAh battery, the device remains easy to handle due to well-balanced weight distribution.

The flat edges provide a comfortable grip, although individuals with smaller hands might find it a bit unwieldy due to its larger size and weight.


Similar to its siblings, the Redmi 12 impresses with its IP53 water and dust resistance rating, ensuring robust durability. The Corning Gorilla Glass protects the display from scratches, but an additional screen protector is recommended for extra security.

On the back, there's a generously sized camera module housing the impressive 50MP AI camera sensor, which we'll delve into more in the camera section.

The moonstone silver color with a metallic finish looks visually appealing, though it might take some time for users to warm up to it, as it may not suit everyone's taste.

While the device has a slippery feel, it surprisingly doesn't accumulate many fingerprints. To address this, using a protective case is recommended.

Redmi has retained some defining characteristics of the Note series, starting with the placement of the headphone jack on the top. Although not everyone's favorite location, it's a valuable feature for those who use both Bluetooth and wired earphones.

Another standout feature is the inclusion of an IR blaster, which is becoming rare in modern devices. Although not frequently utilized, it can prove to be helpful in emergencies, such as when TV remote batteries run out or when multiple devices need to be controlled with a single remote.

The side-mounted fingerprint sensor is quick and efficient, allowing fast unlocking of the device. While some might prefer an under-display fingerprint sensor, its current placement remains a matter of personal preference and not a major issue.

Regarding fit and finish, the buttons, like the volume rockers, boast excellent quality. The SIM card tray, located at the bottom, supports two nano SIMs.

Display
The Redmi 12 boasts a generous 6.7-inch FHD+ display with a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels. It features a punch-hole screen design with noticeable bezels and a thicker chin, comparable to the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite in terms of bezel size.

The panel impresses with its brightness, reaching a peak of 900 nits, ensuring a well-lit and evenly illuminated experience indoors. However, outdoor visibility can be challenging, so it's best to disable auto-brightness and manually adjust it when needed.

The display supports a maximum refresh rate of 90Hz, providing smooth motion for all on-screen content. Reading articles or playing games on the Redmi 12 is a delight, thanks to the smooth and immersive experience it offers.

Throughout my two-week experience with the Redmi 12, including a holiday week, it became my go-to device for content bingeing. It handles HD formats flawlessly on various OTT applications, and I particularly enjoyed watching Marvel's Secret Invasion on Disney+ Hotstar. The colors were slightly on the colder side, but it didn't significantly impact the overall experience. The sharp output allowed me to catch every detail, although the HDR performance could be further improved as black levels occasionally suffered.

Regarding audio, the Redmi 12 has a single bottom-firing speaker setup, which is not its strongest aspect. At times, the audio output felt underwhelming, so I'd recommend using TWS earbuds or wired earphones to fully enjoy your content with improved sound quality.

Software
The Redmi 12 series comes with the advantage of shipping with Android 13 out of the box, along with the latest MiUi 13. This sets it apart from its Note siblings, which originally came with Android 12 upon release.

Redmi 12 continues the brand's efforts to minimize bloatware, although there are some unwanted additions to the skin, such as the Opera browser and a suggested games tab. Thankfully, users have the option to uninstall some of these pre-installed apps. Considering the price point, the controlled bloatware on this device is commendable.

The MiUi 13 on the Redmi 12 maintains the familiar and colorful animations we are accustomed to on Redmi devices. The user interface is designed to be accessible to a wide range of users, and it achieves this with its clean and straightforward layout.

Customization options abound, offering a variety of wallpapers and themes to choose from. Personally, I prefer the stock skin as it looks the best to me. One common issue with third-party skins is their deviation from Google's layout, especially in areas like the drop-down menu. I find the big, chunky tiles of the Google skin layout easier to interact with and visually appealing. This observation isn't specific to Redmi but applies generally to various skins.The Asus ROG Phone 6 stands out as a successful example of integrating these different skins seamlessly.

The UI has proven to be stable throughout my experience, and I have not encountered any troublesome bugs. It's important to note that this is a brand-new device running on a stable UI and an established operating system.

Performance

The Redmi 12 is equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 SoC, a relatively new processor in its price range, and its performance is surprisingly impressive.

In my testing, the Redmi 12 achieved a Geekbench score of 783 for single-core performance and 1898 for multi-core performance.

Gaming performance on the Redmi 12 is notably good. I tested it with COD: Mobile, running the game smoothly on high-quality graphics and very high frame rates. The flat display and strong internet connection contributed to a fluid gaming experience, making me feel almost invincible in the game. Even Asphalt 9 performed well, with no noticeable heating issues. However, gaming with a lower battery, especially under 25% and with maxed out settings at a 90Hz refresh rate, may lead to some warmth on the device, as the vapor chamber cooling might struggle to keep up.

The variant I have comes with 8GB of RAM and an optional RAM boost of 4GB, which surprisingly made a difference, especially with heavier apps. The smartphone was able to handle them for longer periods without any noticeable slowdowns.

During my two weeks of usage, the Redmi 12 demonstrated lightning-fast boot-up speeds, whether launching heavy apps or lightweight ones like calculator and weather

As for storage, the variant with me offers 256GB of internal storage, which should be more than sufficient for most users. However, if you prefer using cloud storage solutions, the 128GB option should also be enough.

The battery performance of the Redmi 12 Pro stands out as its strongest feature, thanks to its 5000mAh battery. On heavy usage days involving camera usage, constant social media activity, and all-day content consumption, the smartphone provided an average screen on time of 5 hours. On lighter days, where activities were limited to emails and WhatsApp, the screen time increased to about 6 hours.

Camera

Redmi 12 5G features a dual camera set-up. The primary camera is a 50MP sensor which is paired with a dedicated portrait sensor. With the limited capacity of the sensors Redmi 12 manages to deliver a balanced optical performance.

Starting with the strongest point – 50MP primary sensor which will surprise you if you use it meticulously.



I have clicked all my pictures with the 50MP mode, outdoors or indoors, and with patience, the results are stunning. In the image below, I observed that the camera tends to get the skin tones mostly right, and the AI working in real-time is not spoiling the shots.




We also get digital zoom here, less comprehensive than in the competition, like Nord CE3 Lite. Better yet, the camera can hold details respectably across 1X, 6X, and 10X digital zoom.

Portrait shots from the device are decent, with the 2MP depth sensor adding value to the setup. The edge detection is satisfactory, and I also liked the black-and-white portrait shots from the camera.

Low light performance from the camera is decent, but you will compromise on details on most days. The output can be grainy, even with the night mode on, and the prolonged post-processing of the image gets annoying. Some casual shots are not a problem, but expecting quality shots might lead to disappointment.

The video output from the Redmi 12 maxes out at 1080P 30 fps, which is not stellar but not shabby either. Yes, it’s not meant for professionals to shoot videos, but coupled with features like dual video, your experience becomes wholesome.

The front camera is a 8MP shooter, which holds up well. With proper lighting, the color reproduction and the details are on point, but the results dip in low lighting conditions. The AI here as well works smoothly, and the alterations here do not look fake but rather enhance the output. The edge detection in portrait mode is also spot on.

The selfie camera can also record 1080P videos at 30fps, and the results are really good for the price, especially paired with the crisp audio output.

Verdict
Redmi 12 5G proves to be a solid entry level device for buyers looking at budget options. The smartphone gets the basics right with a big display, decent processor and an efficient battery life. However it does lag behind in terms of camera performance.

However, if you can stretch your budget, then you should check out the Redmi Note 12 or the Nord CE 3 Lite. Both the devices deliver a more balanced performance without putting a dent in your pocket.



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