Redmi recently unveiled the Redmi Note 12 series in India. The lineup has three models: the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G, the Redmi Note 12 Pro 5G, and the Redmi Note 12 5G. The Xiaomi sub-brand released a lot of phones under the Redmi Note 11 series last year in the country. While it launched the Redmi Note 11 4G, Note 11T 5G, and other models, there was no device named Redmi Note 11 5G in the Indian market. In terms of specs, the Chinese and Indian editions are identical devices. But the Note 12 5G that came out in India is a little different from the one that is available in China. The main difference is that the Chinese variant has a dual-camera setup, whereas the Indian model has a triple camera unit on the back. I have been using the Note 12 5G for nearly 10 days, and here is my review of the device.
Redmi Note 12 5G – What’s in the box?
The Redmi Note 12 5G’s retail package includes these items:
- Redmi Note 12 5G handset
- 33W power adapter
- USB Type-C cable
- Transparent TPU case
- SIM eject tool
- Quick Start Guide
Design and Display
|Size – 165.88 x 76.21 x 7.98mm||6.6.7-inch AMOLED display||4500000:1 contrast ratio|
|Weight – 188 grams||1080 x 2400 pixels (FHD+)||Widevine L1 support|
|IP53 rating||20:9 aspect ratio||Gorilla Glass 3|
|Color variants||Up to 120Hz refresh rate|
|Matte Black||Up to 1200 nits of brightness|
|Frosted Green||100% P3 wide color gamut|
The Frosted Green variant of the Redmi Note 12 5G I received has a matte finish for its polycarbonate back, which I believe may develop scratches later on. Not only the back but also the plastic frame sport the same green color. The camera island has a glossy finish and attracts fingerprint marks. While the design is not bad, it reminds me of Realme phones, and I wish the brand offered a unique design on its next-generation Redmi Note 13 series.
When it comes to durability, the Redmi Note 12 5G offers IP53 dust and water resistance and Gorilla Glass 3 protection for the display. The top edge of the phone has a microphone, an IR blaster, and a 3.5mm audio jack. On the opposite side are another microphone, a USB-C port, and a speaker grille. The left spine houses a SIM slot, whereas its right edge has a volume rocker and a power key, which is integrated with a fingerprint sensor. The handset measures only 8mm in thickness and weighs 188 grams, which I feel is not that bulky.
One of the strengths of the Redmi Note 12 5G is its display. The 6.67-inch AMOLED display has a punch-hole chin and slim bezels on three sides, except for the bottom one, which is a bit thick. Apart from Dark / Light modes, the Note 12 5G display offers 60Hz – 120Hz refresh rate options, Reading Mode, Sunlight Mode, Always-on Display, and colour scheme. The latter offers three options: Vivid, Saturated, and Standard. Each of these has colour temperature options like Default, Warm, Cool, and Custom. There is Widevine L1 support, but no HDR support on YouTube.
The display produces accurate colors and offers a good viewing experience in general as well as under bright sunlight. Except for YouTube and camera apps, where the refresh rate was reduced to 60Hz, most of the native apps ran in 120Hz mode.
Performance and Software
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 1||5,000Ah battery|
|4GB / 6GB of LPDDR4x RAM||33W fast charging|
|128GB of UFS 2.2 storage||Android 12 OS with MIUI 13|
|5GB of virtual RAM||Dual graphite sheet|
The Snapdragon 4 Gen 1, a 6nm chipset that comes with support for 5G connectivity, is present under the hood of the Redmi Note 12 5G. The iQOO Z6 Lite, which has a 120Hz LCD panel, is the only other phone that features the same chip. In terms of specs, the SD4G1 is almost identical to the Snapdragon 695, which offers slightly higher clock speeds of up to 2.2GHz. In comparison, the SD4G1 offers processing speeds of up to 2.0GHz. In the 60-minute CPU throttle test, throttling was observed around the 25-minute mark, but the chip gradually gained its performance, as seen in the screenshot below. I tested games like Free Fire Max and Shadow Fight 4 on the device for around an hour, and it became moderately warm. For enhanced gaming, it offers the Game Turbo feature. The phone is equipped with dual graphite sheets for thermal management.
The review unit that I have has 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. Its 4 GB RAM edition also offers the same storage. The phone packs a 5,000mAh battery that can last for the entire day on a full charge. It took around 70 minutes to charge it completely using the 33W in-box charger. While the device allowed me to run AnTuTu, Geekbench, and CPU Throttle tests, it did not connect to the servers of 3D Mark and GFXBench benchmarking apps.
The Redmi Note 12 5G runs on the Android 12 OS with the MIUI 13 skin on top. In my opinion, Redmi should have offered Android 13 OS on the device. The handset is promised to receive two years of OS upgrades and four years of security updates. Apart from native and Google apps, the device comes preloaded with apps like Amazon, Prime Video, Netflix, LinkedIn, Bubble Shooting Relaxing, Zili, and a few more. The good news is that all these additional apps can be uninstalled.
Photography and Other Features
|Rear Camera||Other features|
|48MP OmniVision OV48B2 main camera||Side-facing fingerprint scanner|
|8MP OmniVision OV08D10 ultra-wide less||Face unlock|
|2MP OmniVision OV02B10 depth sensor||7 5G bands: n1, n3, n5, n8, n28, n40, n78|
|LED flash||Hybrid SIM slot|
|Front Camera||Bluetooth 5.1|
|13MP Samsung S5K3L6 front camera||IR blaster|
|3.5mm audio jack|
The Redmi Note 12 5G can capture good shots with natural colors in daylight through its main and ultra-wide cameras. The camera interface offers photography modes, such as Pro, Documents, Video, Photo, Portrait, Night, and More. It took me time to find the macro mode, which is not available in the “More” section or in the Pro mode. The More section has other options like 48MP mode, Short Video, Panorama, Slow Motion, Time-lapse, and AI Watermark. The macro mode is available through the hamburger icon in the Photo mode. It can only capture passable macro shots when there is a lot of light.
The portrait mode adds a decent amount of blur to the background of shots captured via the main camera on the back and the selfie camera. The front camera offers options like beauty modes, filters, and HDR. The performance of the Redmi Note 12 5G suffers in indoor and low-light conditions. The indoor shots are okay if there is enough light.
The Redmi Note 12 5G supports up to 30fps Full HD video recording through the main and ultrawide cameras. It supports HD quality slow-motion videos at 120fps. To sum up, the Note 12’s camera capabilities are good enough for uploading content on social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. Lastly, I think Redmi should modify the camera and clock app icons. While I am not sure about others, I frequently ended up opening the clock app instead of the camera app a couple of times!
The Redmi Note 12 5G has a single bottom-firing speaker. The Note 11 offered a dual speaker system. So, I was expecting the same on the successor model. The audio features available on the device include a 3.5mm audio jack, Smart PA, and High-Res Audio. The biometric recognition features, such as face unlock and a side-facing fingerprint scanner, work fine. It offers other sensors, such as an ambient light sensor, a proximity sensor, an e-compass, an accelerometer, and a gyroscope. When it comes to 5G connectivity, I achieved up to 940 Mbps download speeds on Jio 5G outdoors. Indoors, it peaked at 880 Mbps.
To recall, the Redmi Note 11 4G was available for Rs 13,499 (~$166) at launch. The main things that set the new model apart from its predecessor are its impressive 120Hz AMOLED display, a new chipset, and 5G connectivity. The battery performance of the device is also good. The camera performs fine when there is good light. It would be good if there was some software to enhance the low-light photography.
The 4 GB RAM + 128 GB storage variant of the Redmi Note 12 5G costs Rs 17,999 (~$221), while the 6 GB RAM + 128 GB storage variant costs Rs 19,999 (~$246). However, readers should note that the Redmi Note 12 5G is the only phone in its price segment to offer a 120Hz AMOLED screen and 5G for Rs 17,999. Hence, there are not many competitors for the Note 12 5G, except for the Snapdragon 695-powered POCO X4 Pro 5G, which currently costs Rs 17,999 for the 6GB +128GB storage edition.
All in all, the Redmi Note 12 5G is a good package and a terrific deal if buyers avail it for as low as Rs 15,499 (~$191) with ongoing offers.
It is available for purchase across Mi.com, Amazon.in, Mi Home, Mi Studio, and Mi Preferred partners. Customers can either opt for exchange offers or use an ICICI credit card / credit card EMI / net banking to get an extra discount of Rs 1,500 (~$18). With the offer, both variants of the Note 12 can be bought for Rs 16,499 (~$203) and Rs 18,499 (~$228), respectively. Existing Xiaomi/ Mi and Redmi smartphone users can get the Note 12 for Rs 15,499 (~$191) and Rs 17,499 (~$215) by availing extra Rs 1000 off on exchange.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Redmi Note 12 5G review are solely mine based on my experience, and there has been no editorial input from Xiaomi.