Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus Review - Powerful mid-ranger with a solid camera
- Redmi today launched the Note 12 series in India.
- Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus is powered by MediaTek Dimensity 1080 5G SOC.
- The highlight of the smartphone is its 200MP high resolution camera with OIS.
AdvertisementRedmi today introduced three new Note smartphones in the market. The Note 12, Note 12 Pro, and the Note 12 Pro Plus. Offered at different price segments, each device brings the standard Redmi Note experience with some important upgrades. The Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus is the Halo device in this line-up, with a 200MP Ultra Hi-Res camera. It’s the Note 12 Pro Plus that goes against the likes of the OnePlus Nord CE 2 and the new Realme 10 Pro Plus. So, is this device indeed a super note, and can you choose it over the competition? I answered that in my detailed review.
Price & Availability
Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus is available in 2 variants. There is a variant with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage priced at ₹29,999. And finally, there is a variant with 12GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage priced at ₹32,999. The smartphone is available on Flipkart, Redmi’s D2C website, and Mi’s offline stores.
The Redmi Note series design has evolved every year. We started with smartphones with curves on the edges, which then morphed into taller devices, finally leading us to flat edges. One thing that remained constant was the big form factor. Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus is just that and more. The smartphone is on the larger side with a massive 6.6-inch screen; it is chunky as one would expect since it packs in a 4980mAh battery. Yet, it is very easy to hold, thanks to the correct weight distribution across the device.
The flat edges also make it easy to grip the device without hassles. That said, if you have small hands, this can be a problem for you. The big size combined with the considerable weight might get tiring to use. Realme 10 Po+, with a similar battery at 5000mAh, felt lighter than the Note 12 Pro Plus.
The Note 12 Pro Plus wins some additional brownie points for coming with an IP53 water and dust-resistant rating. The phone is built like a tank and can take some punishment. The display here is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which provides a fair amount of protection against scratches. Better, yet, I suggest getting a screen protector for an added protection against scratches.
On the back, there is a considerably big camera module. It’s slightly protruding, but nothing that the bundled TPU case cannot take care of. Having a big camera module only makes sense, since it houses the 200MP Samsung HPX sensor. We will talk more about it in the camera section.
The device with me is in an iceberg blue color with a metallic finish, which looks very attractive. The device is slippery, so I suggest putting it on a case. Surprisingly though, it doesn’t register any fingerprints. My favorite color is obsidian black since you can't go wrong with it. It looks subtle and appeals to me more. An arctic white color is also available for those who love white over black.
Now the Redmi Note devices have specific characteristics which define the product line-up. Fortunately, Redmi has kept them intact here.
Starting with the headphone jack. The 3.5mm port is mounted on the top, not my favorite placement, but it’s there, and we should appreciate it. There is still a section of buyers, including myself, who carry both Bluetooth and wired earphones.
AdvertisementNext is the IR blaster. Yes, a hardware choice that’s practically extinct from new-gen devices. You may never use the IR blaster, but it comes in handy in emergencies. Case in point, the batteries in your TV remote run out, or you want to use multiple devices with one remote. This is a very underrated add-on for 2023, but I wish Redmi would keep it intact for the future as well.
Another familiar characteristic is the side-mounted fingerprint sensor. Quick to unlock the device, it is snappy and registers the fingerprint really fast. While I don’t mind the fingerprint placement on the side, I feel Redmi could have added it under the display. But it’s a matter of preference and not a deal breaker.
Moving on to the fit and finish, the quality of buttons like volume rockers is also top-notch. You will find a SIM card tray at the bottom, which can house two nano SIMs.
Overall, the Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus is a natural evolution in terms of design over the previous generation.
Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus features a 6.6-inch AMOLED display with a screen resolution of 1080 x 2400 Pixels. Like the previous iteration, this is a punch-hole screen with very thin bezels except for a slightly thicker chin. Nothing that would bother your experience, though.
AdvertisementNow, this is a big panel that doesn’t hold back when it comes to brightness as well. Its peak brightness of 900 Nits is well-lit and illuminates from every corner evenly. It is very convenient to look at the screen outdoors as well, and I can easily read text off it. That said, I won’t recommend keeping the auto brightness turned on. While it managed to set up appropriate brightness indoors, I had to re-jig the brightness manually whenever I was out.
Now, the display does support a max refresh rate of 120Hz with added options to go for either 60Hz or auto-refresh. I am generally doubtful about auto refresh rates in devices since they are not convenient when you switch between a web page to a game. There is a visible lag. However, the Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus surprised me in this aspect. The auto switch was smoother than I expected, and jumping from web pages to games or other apps was easy on the eyes.
Still, I preferred to keep the device at the maxed-out setting of 120Hz for my testing.
The experience is smooth. Whether reading articles on the web or playing games, the display delivers in every aspect.
Some buyers might complain about the flat panel on the Note 12 Pro Plus when compared to both the Realme 10 Pro Plus and the Vivo V25 Pro. These are the devices with curved displays. I have reviewed all three devices, and I can safely say, while both of these smartphones have gorgeous displays, there is a persistent issue of mistouches. Nothing would annoy a general consumer, but I must point it out. Thanks to the flat display on the Note 12 Pro Plus, I didn’t encounter this issue at all.
AdvertisementI have spent close to two weeks with the Note 12 Pro Plus, including a holiday week. So, it was my go-to device for bingeing content. Firstly, the device does support HD formats across all the OTT applications, and it does show up. I have a tradition of watching Home Alone every Christmas. This is a remastered HD movie from the early ’90s, yet the Note 12 Pro Plus brought it to life. The colors were slightly on the colder side, but nothing that would hamper the experience.
The output was sharp, and I could easily register all the traps set by Kevin played by Maccoy Culkin in the movie. I was also impressed by the HDR performance of the display, since the blacks on the screen were generally Z blacks.
The display also supports Dolby Vision, which kicks in with supported content. I experienced it firsthand with Brahmastra on Hotstar, where I could notice a bump in both the visual and audio output. The colors were more accurate, and the audio output retained more detail.
The display is paired with a fairly loud dual-speaker set-up. The sound, while not being of the best quality, was definitely room-filling. With the considerably big screen, you can ditch a Bluetooth speaker here if you are watching content with someone else.
Redmi Note 12 Pro series ships with Android 12 out of the box paired with MiUi 13. If we compare it with the competition, Realme 10 Pro Plus is shipped with Android 13. As of today, this will not impact a general user. But, adjusted to the update cycle, we might see one less Android update on the Note 12 series.
That said, what you will see on the Note 12 series is considerably less bloatware. There was a time when Redmi was criticized for insurmountable amounts of bloatware and ads. They have it under control now. On interacting with the device, you see a rather neat MiUi layout which is easy to understand and navigate.
Now the MiUi 13 is more or less like the skin we are used to on Redmi devices. The animations are familiar and colorful. I have always maintained that a UI is successful when everyone across the user base can interact. This is the case here; it is clean and straightforward.
The customization options here are plenty, with a buffet of wallpapers and themes. I prefer the stock skin since it looks the best to me. One gripe I have with third-party skins, in general, is how they skip on Google skin layouts where they can.
For example, the drop-down menu. I like the Google skin layout there. The big chunky tiles are easier to interact with and look better as well. I am not pointing out Redmi here, I am making a general observation. So far, I have seen a successful amalgamation of these skins only on the ROG Phone 6.
Some more add-ons are developed to increase a specific experience. Most prominently, the Game Turbo. The game hub for this smartphone shows you the smartphone's temperature and lets you set up custom profiles while playing games. There is also a shortcut to record the screen while you are at it. Most users might ignore this, but if you are a serious gamer, you need to check it out.
So far, the UI has been stable, and I have not encountered any bugs that have troubled my experience. We should also note this is a brand-new device running a stable UI and an established OS. It will be interesting to see how it behaves after the Android 13 update.
Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus is powered by Mediatek Dimensity 1080 SOC. Yes, a familiar processor in this price bracket now, I recently encountered it in the Realme 10 Pro Plus as well. And spoiler alert, the performance here in real-time is the same. It is a bit different in terms of numbers.
The Geekbench score for Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus was 751 and 2204 for single-core and multi-core performance, respectively. While the Realme 10 Pro Plus scored 740 and 2141 on the same test.
This might help explain why the gaming performance on the Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus is slightly better. My go-to game for testing a device is COD: Mobile. The smartphone could run the game in high-quality graphic settings and very high frame rates. The experience was mostly fluid and a strong internet connection combined with the flat display made me immortal in the game.
AdvertisementSimilarly, Asphalt 9 worked perfectly well without any noticeable heating. Yes, if you are gaming with a lower battery, particularly anything under 20%, you will feel a warm back, especially if you have maxed out the settings with a 120Hz refresh rate. In this case, even the vapor chamber cooling cannot hold the heat back.
The variant with me packs in 12GB of RAM and has an option for a RAM boost that can add another 3GB to the mix. I have generally needed help understanding this feature since 12GB is more than enough to handle everything on board.
So far, in my two weeks of usage, the phone has maintained lightning-fast boot-up speeds. This is for both heavy apps and lightweights like calculator, weather, and similar.
The variant with me comes with 256GB of internal storage, which should be ample for most users. However, if you prefer keeping data on cloud storage solutions, then 128GB is also enough for you.
Battery performance on the Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus is its strongest suit. On heavy days with camera usage, constant social media, and all-day round content consumption, the smartphone averaged out at a screen on time of 5 hours. On lighter days, the screen time could increase up to 6 hours, with just emails and WhatsApp in place.
AdvertisementThe 120W fast charging is also effective, with the smartphone going 0-100% in about 25 minutes with mobile data turned on.
Dubbed as ‘supernote,’ Redmi promotes the Note 12 Pro Plus with the camera as its major USP. And after spending two weeks with the device, I can back up their claim.
The Note 12 Pro Plus comes with a triple camera setup. There is the primary 200MP sensor with OIS, which is paired with an 8MP ultra-wide sensor & a 2MP macro camera. Yes, the macro camera and wide-angle is a safe bet since we often see this pair. But the 200MP sensor is a new addition, and that’s where I want to start first.
On its default settings, the primary camera clicks pictures in a 50MP resolution, delivering impressive results. Outdoors under natural lighting conditions, the images maintained natural color tones closer to the source. I have not noticed any oversaturation in the images so far as well. The shadow detail and HDR were also spot on.
AdvertisementThe camera faltered a bit with the blacks adding a gray tint to the subject, but that was taken care of with a focus shift. While the 50MP resolution can deliver some solid images, the 200MP takes it up a notch.
Firstly, you must set the camera to 200MP resolution in camera settings. Once done, you might not notice any immediate difference, but the increased resolution does help to capture more details. I could crop the images, and yet, they maintained respectable quality.
The heavily promoted OIS on the smartphone also works well. As you can observe, images taken from the moving car, the shots are pristine.
The camera does take a dip under artificial lighting conditions, with a visible amount of noise and a nose dive in detail.
This does improve with the night mode. I could click some stunning shots with the night mode turned on. The colors were accurate, and the details were captured precisely. That being said, it did require me to make proper frames and use the focus bar more diligently. This just shows the potential of the camera.
In terms of portrait shots, it can deliver some promising results. The edge detection here is close to what we see on flagship phone cameras, which is better than any Redmi Note I have used.
The ultrawide sensor does open the frame, but there is a noticeable shift in the color tone, with the frames looking undersaturated.
The macro sensor, while being a basic 2MP sensor, is tuned well, with the images looking really sharp. The colors were also accurate.
With the image results surprising me thoroughly, I was also expecting something fresh from the video department. However, the performance here was decent, but nothing to hoot about. While the shooting experience is mostly stable, the focus shift takes more time than desired, making you miss the action. The camera can record 4K videos up to 30fps; if you are shooting with a tripod, you have a winner in your hands. Audio from the in-built microphone is impressive, and it can capture sound while eliminating background noise.
The selfie camera here is a 16MP shooter, which is decent for images but even better for videos. The focus shift is quick, and I could also use it to shoot vlogs. The irony is there is a dedicated vlog mode in the camera app, which is overly complicated at times and allows you to make a compilation of short videos. Something that can be done in any video editing app.
The Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus camera app also integrates one of my favorite features - document mode. Having a native document scanner on the smartphone is always helpful. So full marks there.
AdvertisementRedmi Note 12 Pro Plus 5G has the potential to be the next monumental device in the Note portfolio. It has the specs that deliver performance and a camera that is the best we have seen in any Redmi Note device. Compared to Realme 10 Pro Plus or Vivo V25 Pro, this is a more conventional smartphone with experiments being done in mainstream components like the camera.
When we put it up against its siblings, here is the clear distinction between the three. The regular Redmi Note 12 will provide you a standard Note experience which involves big form factor and decent overall performance.
The Note 12 Pro gets a bump up in the processor and a spike in performance, which is closer to the Pro Plus. So, if you can skip on the camera and require top of the line performance while saving some bucks, then you can opt for the Note 12 Pro.
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