Redmi kicked off the proceedings early this year, releasing its Note series in the first week of January. While the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ gathered all the headlines for its exquisite 200MP primary camera, Redmi has also launched a Pro and non-Pro version of the Note alongside it. The Note 12 Pro has the specs to match the performance of its Pro+ counterpart and comes at a slightly more affordable price. We got our hands on the smartphone before the release and have been using it as our primary driver for more than a week. So, without further ado, here is our Redmi Note 12 Pro review.
Redmi Note 12 Pro review: Design and Display
Inside the box, you get the Note 12 Pro handset, a clear plastic case, a SIM ejector tool, a quick start guide, USB Type C charging cable, and a 67W power adapter. The Note 12 Pro+ comes with a 120W charging brick. There are three colour options available for the Note 12 Pro – Stardust Purple, Glacier Blue, and Onyx Black. We used the Glacier Blue version for this review.
In terms of design, Redmi has kept things quite simple. The shiny glass back has a smooth texture to it but can be a bit of a fingerprint magnet. You may want to keep a microfiber cloth handy for this one.
The back panel and the edges are completely flat, unlike the slightly curved back design of the Pro+. The camera island is made out of the same material as the rest of the back panel. The materials used here give the smartphone a premium feel, something that will surely set it apart from its midrange peers.
At the top of the frame, you will find the 3.5mm headphone jack, secondary speaker and microphone, and an IR blaster. The bottom of the smartphone houses the SIM card tray, the USB port, and the speaker grill. The right side of the frame holds the volume rocker keys and the power key that also doubles as the fingerprint sensor. There are no additions on the left side of the frame.
Moving on, the 6.67-inch OLED display has a screen-to-body ratio of 86.7%, 395ppi pixel density, and a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. The bezels are slim but noticeable, without turning to be too much of a distraction. The selfie camera is housed in a punch-hole cutout at the centre of the screen. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 which is quite adequate, but you will need a case for added protection for the back. The phone is rated IP53, which is an additional benefit for smartphones in this range.
The 120Hz refresh rate produces a stellar touch response rate. The smartphone is set to adaptive refresh rate settings out of the box, but it can later be switched to 120Hz from the settings. There is no option for a 90Hz refresh rate, so if you want to save battery you will have to switch back to 60Hz. Brightness has been capped at 900 nits, which is optimum for using the smartphone outdoors in direct sunlight as well as indoors. The OLED display does a good job of presenting well-balanced images and colours while streaming HD content. The audio output is helped by the stereo speakers and Dolby Atmos surround.
One thing we found pretty helpful was the video toolbox which can be accessed by swiping right from the edge of the screen. This toolbox gives you quick access to the screen recording, screenshot, and screencasting options. You can also choose to turn the screen off while the video plays in the background, something that will come in quite handy while listening to music on YouTube. You can also apply different video filters and toggle the Dolby Atmos surround from this toolbox.
Redmi Note 12 Pro review: Performance and Cameras
The Redmi Note 12 Pro is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 1080 SoC with Mali -G86 MC4 handling the graphics. The phone comes in three storage and RAM options – 128GB + 6GB, 128GB + 8GB, and 256GB + 8GB which we used for this review. Unlike its predecessor, there is no expandable memory option on the Redmi Note 12 Pro. OS duties are handled by Android 12 with MIUI 13 on top. The smartphone will be receiving the Android 13 update soon. Like all Redmi phones, there is a significant amount of bloatware on the Note 12 Pro. We’d suggest clearing all the bloatware apps before using the phone or the unnecessary notifications may hamper your experience with this device.
Bloatware aside, we were quite pleased with the performance delivered by the Note 12 Pro. The apps took minimal time to load, even with multiple tasks running in the background. While Xiaomi loyalists may be used to the software, new users may take some time to adapt to the notification slider and the quick toolbar. Xiaomi has promised two years of software updates along with four years of security patches for the Redmi Note 12 Pro.
We played Call of Duty and Garena Free Fire Max at the highest graphics and did not have any complaints about the smartphone’s performance. There were no frame drops or stutters and while the processor was firing on all cylinders, the phone did not overheat after 30-40 mins of gaming. The ‘Game Turbo’ toolbar offers helpful features like voice changer, timer, screen recorder, screencast and more while gaming. You can also view the performance metrics with just one quick swipe.
On the Geekbench 5 test, the Redmi Note 12 Pro achieved a single-core score of 757 and a multi-core score of 2258 points. These scores place it with the likes of Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, Xiaomi Poco F3, and Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
The Redmi Note 12 Pro received a 5,000mAh battery which is more than enough to last an entire day. With moderate to heavy daily usage which included browsing social media, watching multiple hours of content, and about an hour of gaming, the smartphone got us through the day with about 25-30% charge to spare. The 67W charger replenishes the battery from 10-50% in under 20 minutes, with a full charge taking up to 50 minutes.
Moving on to the camera, the Redmi Note 12 Pro (as mentioned earlier) may not boast a 200MP primary sensor like its Pro+ counterpart, but it definitely doesn’t deserve to be completely written off. In daylight conditions, the 50MP primary sensor delivered a great performance. The image stabilisation was on point with OIS and the smartphone processed the images nicely to produce well-balanced, vivid images. The colours were close to real life, without any unnecessary overprocessing.
As you can see in the images below, the colour tones when it comes to the day sky are very close to real. The processor also makes sound choices in treating the objects depending on the amount of natural light hitting them. The objects in shadowy areas are balanced out pretty well. The overall contrast is pleasing to the eye and you won’t have to work too much to find the ideal shot. We were also pleased by the minimal drop-off in colour when taking pictures with the ultrawide lens.
Edge detection in portrait mode was satisfactory, but what we found really impressive was the range of details captured. The colours truly ‘popped’ in this mode and the resulting images were processed to near perfection. The night mode also produced decent results with optimum illumination and noise reduction. The only minor complaint we have is with the 16MP selfie camera which continues the Xiaomi tradition of brightening the skin tone of the subject. We also feel it could have performed better results in limited lighting conditions.
The Redmi Note 12 Pro goes on sale tomorrow with a price tag of Rs 24,999. While it may miss out on the 200MP primary sensor of the Pro+ variant, it still is a brilliant camera smartphone with a processor that can easily handle any task you throw at it. While the Note 12 Pro+ is priced at Rs 29,999, the Note 12 Pro would make a great value-for-money option in this lineup.
Brilliant camera unit
Back design looks a bit too simple
Can attract a lot of fingerprints
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