In the fiercely competitive budget smartphone arena, Redmi continues to raise the bar. Despite facing challenges throughout the year, the company navigated successfully. Kicking off with the Redmi Note 12 series, which emerged as a bestseller, Redmi wraps up the year with another standout performer—the Redmi 12 5G.
In 2023, the 5G smartphone market has matured, evident in the refined Redmi 12 5G. Compared to its predecessor, it boasts a more polished design, a larger display, an upgraded CPU, and other enhancements. Notably, Redmi has managed to trim down the cost, presenting the phone at a competitive starting price of INR 11,999. Does the Redmi 12 5G justify its price tag? Let’s find out in our review.
Redmi 12 5G Specifications
Before starting with the Redmi 12 5G review, let’s look at the phone’s specifications.
- Display: 6.79-inch FHD+ resolution, 90Hz refresh rate, LCD panel
- CPU: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 Processor
- RAM: 4/6/8GB
- Storage: 128/256GB internal storage
- Software: Android 13 (MIUI 14)
- Main Camera: 50MP (f/1.89) (PDAF) + 2MP depth sensor
- Selfie Camera: 8MP (f/2.4)
- Connectivity: USB Type C, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v5.2, GPS/ A-GPS, FM Radio
- Cellular: Dual SIM
- Fingerprint Scanner: Yes, side-mounted
- Battery: 5,000mAh, Li-ion Polymer, 18W fast charging
Here’s a complete list of items you get inside the box:
- Redmi 12 5G smartphone
- 22.5W fast Charger
- USB Type C Cable
- Sim Ejector Tool
Design & Display
Despite its budget positioning, the Redmi 12 5G boasts an impressive design and build. The device features a glass sandwich design with Gorilla Glass on both the front and back, framed by a plastic middle frame. While the flat frame may pose an issue for users with smaller hands due to its size, the phone exudes a premium look.
The button placement is practical, with the SIM tray on the left accommodating two nano-SIM cards and a microSD card slot. On the right side, the power button doubles as a fingerprint sensor, accompanied by volume keys. The bottom houses a single speaker grille and a USB Type-C connector, while the top holds the 3.5mm headphone jack next to the IR blaster.
The Redmi 12 5G sports a 6.79-inch LCD panel with Full HD+ resolution, offering a smooth scrolling experience and ample brightness for outdoor visibility. The display supports either a 60Hz or 90Hz refresh rate, adjusting dynamically based on the content. With a peak brightness of 400 nits and Widewine L1 certification, the phone ensures an enjoyable Full HD content viewing experience on OTT platforms. While the LCD panel might appear less vibrant compared to AMOLED, this is a limitation of the display technology rather than a flaw in the phone. Overall, considering its price, the Redmi 12 5G competently aligns with competitors in both design and display quality.
Software & Performance
The Redmi 12 5G debuts with Android 13 featuring the MIUI 14 skin, a UI known for its extensive feature set, albeit accompanied by preloaded third-party apps, adding to the bloatware. Despite occasional stutters and aggressive RAM management, performance hitches can be addressed through future OTA updates.
Moving to the performance aspect, the handset comes powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 SoC. Now, this is a 5G chip which is identical to the Snapdragon 695. The appeal of the Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 lies in its capability to provide an overall pleasant user experience along with 5G on a budget.
The Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 impresses with its ability to deliver a pleasing user experience with 5G functionality within a budget. For daily tasks such as social media scrolling and web browsing, the Redmi 12 5G performs admirably. However, for gaming enthusiasts, the phone may fall short, struggling with titles like Asphalt 9 Legends and Call of Duty: Mobile on medium settings. While excelling in overall functionality, gaming performance might be a drawback for users seeking robust gaming capabilities at this price point.
Camera & Battery
In the camera department, the Redmi 12 5G is equipped with a dual-rear camera setup featuring a main 50MP sensor paired with a 2MP depth sensor, complemented by an 8MP front camera for selfies.
The primary camera delivers reasonable shots with a slightly cool tone in daylight. While the images are crisp, there are occasional overexposed highlights. Notably, the absence of an AI color mode, common in other MIUI-powered devices, is notable. However, the camera performs fairly well in low-light conditions. The 2MP auxiliary sensor adds little value, and users might have preferred a wide-angle lens in its place. Selfies in daylight capture ample details, but skin tones and HDR performance are subpar, although portrait mode works effectively.
Powering the device is a substantial 5,000mAh battery, showcasing impressive endurance in real-world tests, easily lasting two days with moderate to heavy usage. Despite the inclusion of a 22.5W charger in the box, the phone supports a maximum current of 18W, taking just under 2 hours for a full battery charge.
The Redmi 12 5G stands as a commendable budget option, covering essential features like a sizable battery, 5G connectivity, a satisfactory display, and a traditional design. Priced at Rs. 11,999, it fulfills its purpose well. For those seeking an entry-level 5G smartphone, this model fits the bill. However, if display quality and camera performance weigh heavily in your priorities, consider buying the Redmi Note 12 5G or the Moto G54 by spending a little more.