Very few brands have a hold on the budget smartphone segment in India as Redmi does. Xiaomi’s subsidiary has been putting out affordable 5G smartphones for a while now. Last year, we reviewed Redmi 11 Prime 5G which was one of the cheapest 5G smartphones in the market at the time. This year, Redmi has set the bar higher (by pushing the cost lower), launching Redmi 12 5G at a starting price of Rs 11,999. Despite its cheap price tag, the smartphone promises some serious chops on paper, sporting the Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 processor. We got our hands on the smartphone last week and have been using it as our daily driver since then. Here is our in-depth Redmi 12 5G review.
Table of Contents
Redmi 12 5G review: Design and Display
Inside the retail box, you’ll find the Redmi 12 5G smartphone, a frosted plastic cover (a nice change from the clear plastic covers that have become the norm), a SIM ejector tool, a 22.5W power adapter, a USB Type-A to Type-C charging cable, and some reading material. The unboxing experience is pretty standard, but Redmi gets extra points for including a charger in the box.
The minimal back panel design is something we really like on the Redmi 12 5G. The two camera sensors are arranged vertically while the LED flash is positioned next to them, giving the entire array a triangular look. The glass panel lends a premium in-hand feel to the smartphone. The Redmi branding is embossed towards the bottom left side of this panel. All things considered, Redmi 12 5G easily clears other smartphones in this price range when it comes to the look and feel.
The plastic frame houses the volume rocker keys and the lock button on the right edge and the hybrid SIM tray on the left. At the bottom you get the primary microphone, the USB Type-C port, and the speaker grille. The 3.5mm headphone jack and the IR blaster have been placed up top. A lot of budget smartphones seem to be ditching the IR blaster these days, so it is nice to see Redmi bring it back.
Moving on, the Redmi 12 5G gets a solid 6.79-inch IPS LCD display with a refresh rate of 550Hz. This display can hit a peak brightness of 550 nits, which is great for indoor use but we struggled quite a bit while using the smartphone under direct sunlight. There are sizeable bezels around the display that get thicker around the chin. This is something that is expected of every budget smartphone. However, the punch hole cutout for the selfie camera scores several brownie points from us.
The IPS LCD display has a 1080 x 2460p resolution. It’s not something that blows every other smartphone in this category out of the water but does a good job of producing good-quality images with optimum colour contrast and a decent amount of detail. We watched a lot of content across different OTT platforms and found the viewing experience to be quite enjoyable. The Redmi 12 5G has a single bottom-firing speaker but it can get loud enough to drown out the surrounding noise. The sound output is a little boxy with the low end needing a bit of a boost. Thankfully, there is a 3.5mm headphone jack on board.
The power key on the side also doubles as a fingerprint scanner. It is fast and ultra-responsive, putting some under-display sensors to shame. The smartphone is IP53 rated for dust and splash resistance, which is incredible to see in this price range. Being in the thick of the monsoon season, we took the smartphone out with us, and it was unfazed by the odd splashes.
Redmi 12 5G review: Performance and Cameras
While the design may have won us over, budget smartphones are usually underwhelming when it comes to performance. Our expectations were tempered while using Redmi 12 5G, but it managed to surprise us. The smartphone packs the Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 SoC under its hood. It is available in the RAM + Storage variants: 4GB + 128GB, 6GB + 128GB, and 8GB + 128GB. We used the 8GB RAM variant for this review.
The smartphone is snappy and incredibly receptive. Switching between different apps and multitasking is a very smooth process. Routine tasks like sending emails, playing content, and IMing are handled expertly. Other smartphones at this price point tend to be slugging and a step behind every touch, but Redmi 12 5G delivers a very pleasing experience. There are 7 5G bands on this device. We used Airtel 5G and found the experience on par with other 5G smartphones on the market.
We tried a bit of gaming as well, playing Call of Duty Mobile on Redmi 12 5G. We did not experience any pesky lags or stuttering when playing the game on average graphic settings. However, switching to the highest possible graphics resulted in the odd frame drop during gameplay. Still a solid performance for this segment.
On Geekbench 6, Redmi 12 5G achieved a single-core score of 791 points and a multi-core score of 1,803 points.
You get the standard MIUI experience on Redmi 12 5G. There are a lot of customisation options on the device (courtesy of Android 13), but it runs a stripped-down version of MIUI 14. This means some of the advanced MIUI features are missing on this device. The native photo editor lacks the option of a magic eraser. The security and privacy options have some missing features too. Excessive bloatware still remains a major issue for MIUI. Removing all the unwanted apps from the device can take some time. On the bright side, Xiaomi has promised 2 major software upgrades on this smartphone.
Redmi 12 5G packs a 5,000 mAh battery, which can easily last an entire day. Upon more conservative usage, this smartphone can be pushed to last for almost 2 days. With a screen on time between 5-6 hours and we were left with around 15% charge at the end of the day. The 22.5W charger that comes in the box can fully charge the battery in just under 2 hours.
The rear camera array packs a 50MP primary shooter and a 2MP depth sensor. The 50MP camera takes decent shots in daylight conditions. The images are sharp and pack a lot of detail. We feel the colour richness could have been a bit better. The images lack the ‘pop’, and in some cases, the colours look a bit washed. In limited lighting, the main sensor produces decent results when the Night Mode is turned on. There is visible noise in the images, but that is to be expected from a smartphone at this price point.
The 8MP selfie camera produces amazing results. Even in artificial lighting, the smartphone was able to capture vivid selfies that displayed good clarity. The process tends to smoothen out the skin texture a bit, but not to the extent that it is a deal breaker. The Portrait Mode works well for the front and rear cameras, doing a good job of subject separation and background blurring.
With prices starting at Rs 11,999, Redmi 12 5G offers incredible value for money. If you’re looking for an affordable 5G smartphone, Redmi 12 should be a no-brainer purchase. The minimal design of the glass back panel elevates the premium factor of the device. If that isn’t enough, the Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 SoC delivers a rock-solid performance. While the camera performance may have some room for improvement, it still holds its own among the competition in this price segment.
Redmi 12 5G: Pros
- Great design
- Glass back panel elevates the in-hand feel
- Good display
- Great performance
Redmi 12 5G: Cons
- Good amount of bloatware
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