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Nokia C12 review: What does this affordable smartphone from Nokia have to offer?

We used the newly launched Nokia C12 for a week, here is our in-depth review of the entry-level smartphone.

Nokia C12 review: What does this affordable smartphone from Nokia have to offer?

Back in March, Nokia put out its newest entry-level smartphone on the market at a special introductory price of Rs 5,999. A month later, Nokia C12 is priced at Rs 6,499. For those wanting to upgrade from a feature phone, this smartphone offers decent specs on paper. But how does the device fare on day-to-day usage? We used Nokia C12 for a week and may have some answers for you. Here is our Nokia C12 review.

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Nokia C12 review: Design and Display

Upon unboxing the retail package, you will find the Nokia C12 handset, a 10W power adapter, a micro USB charging cable, a product and safety info booklet, and a quick start guide. The smartphone weighs 177g and has dimensions of 160.6mm x 74.3mm x 8.8m.

Nokia has kept the design of the C12 quite simple and in line with the C-Series. This means that the C12 gets a textured plastic back and a two-step camera island. Housed in this camera island is an 8MP camera and an LED flash. The speaker has been placed at the bottom left corner of the back panel, similar to other C-Series smartphones.

Nokia C12 gets an IPS LCD HD display up front. This display is surrounded by sizeable bezels that get thicker around the chin. The 5MP selfie camera has been placed in a dewdrop notch at the centre of the display. On the left edge of the plastic frame, you will find the volume rocker keys and the power button. The 3.5mm headphone jack has been placed up top and the microphone and the micro USB charging slot have been positioned at the bottom of the phone. Still no Type-C USB charging for Nokia C-Series smartphones.

If you’re trying to locate the SIM tray and the memory card slot, there is one little surprise for you. Nokia C12 has a removable plastic back, similar to the smartphones of the yesteryears. Removing the back will give you access to the SIM and memory card slots. The 2,950mAh battery unit is also removable and can be replaced if it ever malfunctions. This is a pretty decent option to have on an entry-level smartphone as it gives the user an option to simply purchase a new battery unit instead of splurging money on repair costs.

The 6.3-inch IPS LCD display is one of the brighter highlights of the smartphone. If you’re stepping up from a feature phone primarily to watch content on a bigger screen, this display will suit you well. We streamed HD content on YouTube and the image quality produced by the display was decent. The colours were rich and offered a good level of contrast. The speaker focuses more on the higher frequencies and the bass tends to get lost in the background. We would suggest using a pair of headphones while watching content on Nokia C12.


The touch response offered by the display is below average. Gesture navigation did not work smoothly for us, so we had to revert to three-button navigation on this device. Sometimes, the touches failed to register while typing. The haptic triggers feel a bit too blunt and need to be dialled down.

What we like is that even though it is an entry-level smartphone, Nokia has equipped this smartphone with a scratch-resistant glass panel. The company also claims that the phone is splash resistant, which means it can survive light rainfall and minor spills.

Nokia C12 review: Performance and Cameras

Nokia C12 comes in a single storage variant of 2GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. The smartphone is powered by the Unisoc SC9863A1 chipset and comes with stock Android 12 Go Edition. The ‘Go Edition’ for Android is a lightweight version of the OS that is designed keeping entry-level devices in mind.

When it comes to daily tasks like texting, calling, checking emails, and streaming videos and music, Nokia C12 performs decently. However, multitasking can take a hit on the average speed. With music playing in the background, the navigation speed slows down a little. Running multiple apps has the same effect and can even warm up the smartphone slightly. In the AnTuTu benchmark test, Nokia C12 scored 97059 points.

We didn’t expect much from Nokia C12 when it came to gaming, but the smartphone handled basic games like Subway Surfers and Candy Crush pretty well. It struggled with games like Garena Free Fire Max which are graphically demanding. The touch response also could not keep up with the gameplay.

The OS experience on Nokia C12 is neat but even the lightweight Go Edition isn’t spared of bloatware. While Netflix comes preinstalled on the device, the software installs more apps while the phone is being set up. Bloatware aside, the stock Android experience is pretty decent. There are a handful of customisation options available for wallpaper and app drawer. You can manage camera and microphone permissions for all apps in the privacy settings. Digital Wellbeing and parental controls are also integrated into Android 12 Go Edition.

The 2,950 mAh battery unit on Nokia C12 offers an all-day power backup. If you use the smartphone conservatively, you can even push the power back up to 2 days. On moderate to heavy usage that included watching HD video content, playing music, and light gaming, the phone lasted an entire day with 20-30% battery still in the bank. The lack of a USB Type-C charging port is a letdown on otherwise decent battery performance.

Moving on, you get a sole 8MP primary camera at the back and a 5MP selfie camera up front. The camera app has a Night Mode for low-light photography, a Portrait Mode for close-up shots, and a Timelapse feature to record videos at a slower speed.

The camera performance is nothing to write home about. Let’s start with the good aspects. The colours produced in the images are quite decent and make the photographs look lively. If you’re going to be using the camera a lot, make sure there’s ample light falling on the subject. The C12 does a good job of processing the colours on the images. The contrast level and white balance were satisfactory.

However, when it comes to the details captured by the sensor, there is a lot that is left to be desired. Of course, you wouldn’t expect the sharpest images from an entry-level smartphone, but the images we took seemed blurry and had very little detail to them. Even in bright daylight, the camera struggled to produce sharp images.

There is a Night Mode on the camera app, which does surprisingly well to light up the images, but the result is very grainy and blurred. The Portrait Mode performs well and is able to produce images with rich colours and some degree of focus on the subject.

Night Mode
Portrait Mode

For an entry-level smartphone, Nokia C12 has a pretty good selfie camera. With optimum lighting, the camera is able to produce decent selfies with a good level of colour optimisation. The smartphone doesn’t mess with the skin tones while processing the images, which is a good thing to see. 

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At a price of Rs 6,499, Nokia C12 offers a very decent performance with an average camera. If you are primarily concerned with watching HD content on a big screen, you should go for this smartphone. If having a good camera is a non-negotiable parameter for you, then we’d suggest going for higher-placed entry-level C-Series smartphones like C31 (review) and C21 Plus (review). Overall, Nokia C12 is more suited for people who are upgrading from a feature phone and want to enjoy a big display phone with good battery life.

Nokia C12: Pros

  • Big display that can play HD content
  • Good battery life
  • Affordable price

Nokia C12: Cons

  • Average Cameras
  • No USB Type-C port

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