The Redmi Note 12 is the company’s most affordable Note-series smartphone this year yet. The handset was unveiled alongside the Redmi Note 12 Pro and Note 12 Pro+ in India. The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ has already been reviewed by us, and now, it’s time to put the vanilla Redmi Note 12 5G through its paces to see if it’s worth the money. The handset is among the first to come with the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 SoC in the country. The phone also rocks a 120Hz refresh rate screen, a beefy 5,000mAh battery, 48MP triple rear cameras, and more. Here’s my review of the Redmi Note 12 5G after using it for a while.
The Redmi Note 12 5G has a bunch of things going for it. The handset has an attractive design to start with, followed by a fine performance, excellent battery life, crisp display, and fantastic daylight photography. The software is also good, but I wish it wasn’t dated.
- The Redmi Note 12 5G follows the same design language as its elder sibling, the Redmi Note 12 Pro+. The handset sports a curved back, with frosty polycarbonate glass on top that offers a good in-hand feel. The glass is not smudge- and fingerprint-resistant, but it does a good job of hiding them. Moving on, the Redmi smartphone comes in Matte Black, Mystique Blue, and Frosted Green colour options. I was sent the frosted green unit for review, which instantly had my heart. The colour is subtle and appealing. Furthermore, the glossy camera island that sits atop the matte rear panel adds a good contrasty look to the phone.
- The Redmi Note 12 5G tips the scales at 188 grams. This, along with slim edges, makes the phone comfortable to wield and hold for a long movie or gaming session. The handset has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, which sits just below the volume buttons on the right fascia. As for the I/O, the USB Type-C port is housed at the bottom edge alongside the speaker grille, while the phone’s top edge is home to the IR blaster and 3.5mm headphone jack. The SIM-ejector tray, which has a hybrid slot for a microSD card, can be found on the right spine. Furthermore, the device is IP53 rated for minor splashes and dust.
- The Redmi Note 12 5G ships with a 6.7-inch AMOLED display that bears FHD+ (1080p) resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and 1200 nits brightness. It is a good screen to look at and consume content or play games indoors and outdoors. The colour science is spot-on, and the viewing angles are impressive. The phone also allows users to change display colours to their liking. Since there is no HDR, the sunlight legibility of the handset is not that impressive, but the content is still readable. The display is Widevine L1 certified and can stream content in full HD resolution from Netflix, Hotstar, and other streaming platforms. As for the screen refresh rate, it is locked at 60Hz by default but can be scaled up to 120Hz for smooth scrolling and animation. The phone does not have an auto-mode that can smartly switch the refresh rate between 60Hz and 120Hz based on the content played on the screen. This would have saved some battery life.
- Speaking of battery, the Redmi Note 12 houses a 5,000mAh pack, which can last up to a day on a single charge. The handset returned an impressive score of 16 hours and 21 minutes on the PC Mark battery test. The battery life is likely to take a hit if the 120Hz refresh rate and 5G are used together. That said, the Redmi smartphone comes with a 33W fast charging solution, which takes a little more than an hour to juice up the device from 0-100 percent. Moving on, the handset runs Android 12-based MIUI 13 out of the box. It is disappointing not to see the latest Android 13 on the smartphone. I also found the Redmi device on November’s security patch at the time of writing this article. But, be that as it may, the performance is fluid, while the bloatware is uninstallable. The software also has the option to remove some system apps and replace them with Google’s. While it is a good custom Android skin, I wish the MIUI 13 also had blur effects and more app launch animations.
- The Redmi Note 12 5G is powered by the mid-range Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 SoC paired with 4GB / 6GB of RAM and 128GB user-expandable storage. The chipset performance throttles to 92 percent of its maximum performance on 20 threads for half an hour, per the CPU Throttling test app. On Geekbench and AnTuTu, the handset puts up a score of 1,991 multi-core points and 3,66,146 points respectively. While these synthetic scores look good for a mid-range smartphone, the PUBG New State crashed on the handset a couple of times. I had to switch the graphics to medium to run the game on the device. Having said that, the handset pulled off almost everything effortlessly. It had no trouble multitasking with a bunch of apps running in the background. The phone’s side-mounted fingerprint scanner also worked out just fine. It was accurate and unlocked the device in a jiffy.
- The Redmi Note 12 5G packs triple rear cameras, which consist of a 48MP primary sensor, an 8MP ultrawide sensor, and a 2MP macro sensor. The 48MP sensor saves images in 12MP resolution by default, but the camera app has the option of 48MP high-res mode as well. The daylight shots from the sensor are acceptable. The images have reasonable details, while the colours look mostly accurate. That said, for some reason, the camera would show a red rose in a pink shade. I tried turning the HDR on/off, but the results remained the same. As for the 8MP ultrawide sensor, it clicks decent images when the sun is out with plenty of details around the centre of the frame. However, the corner detailing from the ultra-wide-angle sensor could have been much better. The 2MP macro sensor is average at best. I didn’t find much use for the sensor as it would require extremely stable hands to get a good close-up shot of the subject.
- For selfies and video calling, the Redmi Note 12 5G relies on a 13MP snapper in the punch-hole setup. The camera comes with options like beauty modes, filters, and HDR. The selfies have accurate skin tones and good facial detailing. Both front and rear cameras can click some excellent portrait images with clear contours of the subject in focus and natural depth of field effect between foreground and background. Be that as it may, the low light and indoor photography of the Redmi Note 12 5G are not that impressive but the results are usable. The camera, especially the 48MP primary sensor, didn’t take much time to focus and process images. Additionally, the colours were close to reality. Night Mode is available on this camera too, and it helps in reducing the graininess or noise in the images clicked in low light to an extent.
- The Redmi Note 12 5G comes with a mono-bottom-firing speaker, which is quite good. The handset supports both SA and NSA bands, including N1, N3, N5, N8, N41, N77, and N78, in India and offers dual 5G SIM standby. This means the Redmi Note 12 5G can run both Airtel 5G and Jio 5G SIMs simultaneously.
The Redmi Note 12 5G doesn’t come cheap. The base 4GB RAM + 128GB storage variant of the handset is selling in India at Rs 17,999, which is 25 percent higher than its predecessor Redmi Note 11. This puts the phone up against other contemporary smartphones such as OPPO A78 (review) and Realme 10 Pro 5G (review), which are priced at Rs 18,999 and run the latest OS Android 13 out of the box. Moreover, the Realme 10 Pro 5G has a better chipset and primary camera than the Redmi smartphone.
All said and done, the Redmi Note 12 5G is as good a smartphone as it can get for the price. Barring a few shortcomings in low-light photography and software, there is little to complain about here. The handset delivers on almost every front, be it design, display, performance, or battery life. To further sweeten the deal, Redmi is offering Rs 1,500 cashback with an ICICI bank card and an extra Rs 1,000 off as an exchange bonus on old Redmi and Mi smartphones. If you club these offers, it will effectively bring the price of the Redmi Note 12 5G smartphone down to Rs 15,499.
Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5
- Lovely screen
- Good performance and battery life
- Excellent design and build quality
- Good daylight photography
- Comes with Android 12 and dated security patch
- Lowlight photography could have been better