Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G Review: A Strong Overall Package, if You Can Stomach the Price


Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G is Xiaomi’s latest mid-range smartphone offering in India. The top-of-the-line phone in the Note 12 series is a direct successor to the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G (Review), which didn’t quite pan out to be a segment leader as many would have hoped for, in our opinion. Xiaomi is now trying to fill the void with the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G, with some segment-first hardware.

The headlining feature of the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G is its 200-megapixel primary camera. The phone is also the fastest charging Redmi Note, ever. However, the combination of premium and segment-first hardware has also attracted a higher price tag. Not only is it a lot more expensive than the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G, it sits almost next to the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge (Review).

Despite the higher price tag, should you consider buying the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G? Here is our full review to help you decide.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G price in India

The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G comes in two storage options. The phone’s base model packs 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage and is priced at Rs. 29,999. The variant that Xiaomi sent us has 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. It is priced at Rs. 32,999.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G design

The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G continues to offer a premium in-hand feel thanks to its glass body. The rear panel curves towards to the flat plastic frame, ensuring it feels comfortable to hold even for long durations, despite the phone weighing about 208g. Because the weight is well distributed, the phone does not feel as heavy in the hand. The device also has an IP53 rating for basic protection against water splashes.

Xiaomi sent us the Arctic White colour of the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G, which, according to me, is the best looking of the lot. The shiny texture makes the phone look striking and premium. Despite the glossy paint job, the white colour helps hide fingerprints and smudges a lot better compared to the Obsidian Black and Iceberg Blue colours. What I did not like as much was that the phone wobbles a bit too much when using it on a flat surface, due to the protruding camera module.

Redmi Note 12 Pro 5G NWM 1 Redmi Note 12 Pro  5G

The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G features a flat plastic frame

The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G continues to feature a 3.5mm audio jack at the top, next to which is a dummy cutout for the secondary speaker, a microphone cutout and an IR emitter. The phone does have a dual-speaker setup, with the earpiece doubling up as a secondary outlet. The combined audio output is loud, but at full volume, you can hear mild distortion. I preferred using the speakers at about 70 percent volume level for a good balance of volume and quality. 

To offer a well-rounded multimedia experience, the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G has a 6.67-inch AMOLED display, which gets quite bright for both indoor and outdoor use. The screen offers a full-HD+ resolution and has support for displaying over a billion colours. You get deep blacks and vivid colours while consuming content. There is support for Dolby Vision HDR, WideVine L1 and HDR10 content on popular apps such as Netflix.

Redmi Note 12 Pro 5G NWM 6 Redmi Note 12 Pro  5G

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G continues to feature a 120Hz AMOLED display.

That being said, the Realme 10 Pro+ 5G (Review) has a slight edge over the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G when it comes to multimedia experience, in my opinion. The curved-edge display with minimal bezels helps offer a more immersive viewing experience. It is just a matter of preference and if you are someone who prefers a flat display, the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G will not disappoint. The Redmi’s screen also refreshes dynamically between 30Hz, 60Hz, 90Hz and 120Hz, depending on the on-screen content.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G specifications and software

The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G features a 6nm MediaTek Dimensity 1080 SoC, with an integrated Mali G68 GPU. The phone packs a 4980mAh battery and supports 120W fast charging. It also has support for 10 5G bands in India along with Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, etc. The phone has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner and AI face recognition support.

In terms of software, the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G runs on the Android 12-based MIUI 13 custom skin out-of-the-box, although I would have liked to see the latest MIUI 14 skin which is based on Android 13 instead. Xiaomi has not revealed the exact details about the release timeline but has confirmed that the phone will get Android 13 and Android 14, along with four years of security support.

MIUI 13 continues to be feature-rich and offers a bunch of customisation options. There is the highly-popular Floating Windows feature, along with a customisable Always-on Display (AoD). MIUI 13 is also primarily about system-level enhancements, such as an optimised file storage system, processor priority optimisation, and more. You also get Android 12’s Privacy Dashboard, permission manager, support for new widgets, etc.

Redmi Note 12 Pro 5G NWM 8 Redmi Note 12 Pro  5G

The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G does not come with Android 13 out-of-the-box

The MIUI 13 update also promised to provide better RAM management when it launched last year, and has stuck to that promise for the most part. Most background apps remained in memory on the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G, with the exception of some heavy ones which did reload at times. There are a few bloatware apps but you can uninstall the unnecessary ones.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G performance and battery life

The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G gets an upgraded SoC over its predecessor’s Snapdragon 695 SoC. However, going by the pricing and specs, you can also consider it to be a successor to the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge, even though it might seem like a fairly incremental upgrade. However, this does not mean that the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G’s performance unit is a slouch as it is more than capable for routine tasks.

Be it multitasking, app loading times, or simply using the phone for playing games, the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G does it all smoothly. I played Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9 Legends and the experience was quite smooth. The former game supports the ‘Max’ framerate with ‘Low’ graphics but if you don’t mind compromising and playing with ‘Very High’ frame rate, you can play the game with the ‘Very High’ graphics settings for a more visually pleasing, yet smooth, experience.

Does the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G overheat while playing games for long hours? No, it does not. This could also be due to the chill weather in the northern part of India at this time of the year, or the phone’s vapour cooling chamber actually doing what it’s supposed to. I played the games for about 45 minutes straight and didn’t notice any drop in performance. It did get warm when running the AnTuTu benchmark test, where the phone scored 4,38,678 points. This score was slightly lower than the Realme 10 Pro+ 5G’s score of 5,04,626 points, with the same SoC.

In Geekbench, the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G scored 749 and 2165 points in the single-core and multi-core tests, respectively. This too was a bit lower than than the Realme 10 Pro+ 5G’s scores. 

Redmi Note 12 Pro 5G NWM 4 Redmi Note 12 Pro  5G

The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G in its Arctic White colour

The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G should last a full day on a single charge for most users with medium to slightly heavy usage. If you play games and record videos on the same day like I did, chances are you will need a charger by the end of the day. Charging is not a problem as the phone takes about 25 minutes to charge from zero to 100 percent, with BoostCharge enabled. The latter setting needs to be enabled in the Battery Settings section.

While the device took slightly longer to charge completely than the claimed time of 19 minutes, I am still happy with a phone that offers an all-day battery life while charging completely in around 30 minutes, even with Boost Charging disabled. In our HD video loop test, the phone’s battery lasted for 15 hours and 23 minutes. In comparison, the Realme 10 Pro+ 5G’s battery died after 19 hours and 43 minutes in our testing.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G cameras

The headlining feature of the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G is its camera setup. The phone has a 200-megapixel Samsung HPX primary camera sensor, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera and a 2-megapixel macro sensor. I did ask Xiaomi why they haven’t been launching many phones with the much-appreciated 5-megapixel tele-macro camera sensor, found in phones such as the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max (Review). The company cited supply chain issues as the main reason for this, which forced them to replace it with a 2-megapixel macro sensor, which it claims is still quite capable. For selfies, the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G has a 16-megapixel front camera sensor.

Redmi Note 12 Pro 5G NWM 3 Redmi Note 12 Pro  5G

The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G’s camera module is made of metal.

The primary camera captures detailed images with good dynamic range and vivid colours. Despite the phone packing a fairly large 1/1.4-inch sensor, the shutter is quite responsive and captures images instantly. There is a hint of chromatic aberration sometimes when the subject has the sun or any harsh light in the background.

At night, the main camera performance is equally impressive as it manages to expose the shadows well without introducing a lot of noise. The images shot in Night mode though appear slightly soft, which could be due to the aggressive noise reduction algorithm. The highlights too are under check and what I was most happy about was that the night sky looked true to the scene and not bluish. I feel Xiaomi needs to work on fixing the Portrait mode blur effect, which felt too aggressive to a point where it looked fake. The overall processing in this mode also felt a bit too sharp.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G primary camera samples (Top to bottom: Photo mode, Night Mode, Portrait Mode)

The ultra-wide shooter has a 120-degree field of view. While it provides a wider perspective, there is distortion around the edges and despite the software fixes, it is noticeable. The colour temperature is slightly different, with the ultra-wide photos looking slightly warmer. I also noticed that almost all ultra-wide photos shot on the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G had a light pink cast.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G ultra-wide camera samples

There is a noticeable delay when you are switching between the main and ultra-wide cameras. The macro sensor captures okay-ish photos but I would recommend using it in well-lit conditions as there is a lot of noise in photos taken in low light. The front camera is a hit or miss when it comes to capturing the right skin tone. While selfies were detailed and there was fairly less smoothening effect of the skin, there were times where my skin looked a bit too red.

Front camera sample shot on the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G

The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G’s rear camera can record 4K videos at 30fps with good details and dynamic range. The front camera’s video resolution is capped at 1080p 60fps. While all cameras expose the subject well, the dynamic range performance is average.

What complements the hardware is a bunch of camera features that the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G offers. There is Vlog Mode, Ultra HD mode for capturing 50-megapixel and 200-megapixel images, Long exposure, Pro mode, etc. There is also this one forgotten feature in MIUI called AI SkyScaping, which offers multiple filters that changes the colour of just the sky, without affecting the overall colour scheme of the photo.

Verdict

The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G has received many upgrades over its predecessor, or should we say predecessors. I leave it to you to decide which phone it actually succeeds. It scores high points for its superior build quality, excellent display, top-notch camera performance, and very fast charging. The phone offers decent battery life as well, while packing a capable performance unit.

The fact that it doesn’t come with Android 13 out-of-the-box, even in 2023, is the most disappointing aspect. Hopefully, the phone is expected to get the Android 13 update very soon.

While the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G was not an easy or obvious recommendation for its segment, the Note 12 Pro+ 5G makes up for it by offering a solid package and a well-rounded experience. Yes, the phone is the most expensive Redmi Note in the series’ history, but if you put aside the name and simply look at what it offers, then this one checks almost all the boxes.


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