Redmi 12 5G Review | An ideal pick for the budget conscious

The Redmi 12 5G packs a decent screen and a usable camera, offering good performance at a pocket-friendly price of ₹10,990

August 04, 2023 03:40 pm | Updated August 07, 2023 12:07 pm IST

Redmi 12 5G Review | An ideal pick for the budget conscious

Redmi 12 5G Review | An ideal pick for the budget conscious | Photo Credit: Varun Krishan

Just a few years ago, smartphone makers were launching impressive budget handsets offering a pleasant user experience while potentially challenging the viability of premium devices. These days, there are not many noteworthy options.

Xiaomi has now launched its Redmi 12 5G phone in India. Available at a starting price of ₹10,990, the device packs the all-new Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 chipset, offers 5G support and has an FHD+ screen. We have been testing the device for a week now.

Design

The Redmi 12 5G packs a plastic frame with a glass back. The back of the device is smooth and appears to resemble some premium phones of the past. However, the materials used in the device are not.

The Redmi 12 5G has a plastic frame with a glass back

The Redmi 12 5G has a plastic frame with a glass back | Photo Credit: Varun Krishan

We noticed that the Redmi 12 5G is relatively thin at 8.17 mm thickness. However, the device is large and a bit slippery. We recommend using a case. And thankfully, the company does ship the phone with one.

Back in 2018, phones like Redmi Note 5 came with a metal body and were priced around ₹10,000, so the use of plastic in newer Xiaomi budget phones is a sore point.

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However, you do get some pretty neat features. For starters, the side-mounted fingerprint scanner that is embedded within the power button is fast and works pretty well. The device comes with an IP53 rating, which is a welcome addition at this price point. Surprisingly, you also get a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The Redmi 12 5G comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack

The Redmi 12 5G comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack | Photo Credit: Varun Krishan

Display and speakers

The Redmi 12 5G comes with a 6.79-inch FHD+(2460x1080) screen. The technology here is LCD as expected. You do get support for a 90Hz screen refresh rate, which is nice. There is an AdaptiveSync refresh rate feature which can automatically switch between refresh rates, depending on what you are doing.

Also read: How to pick the right budget smartphone?

You can also manually choose between 60Hz and 90Hz refresh rates. For the purpose of this testing, we set the refresh rate to 90Hz. Browsing the web and social media was a smooth experience, thanks to the fast refresh rate support. Budget phone users who are coming from an old device would certainly appreciate the same.

The speaker grille of the Redmi 12 5G smartphone, featured above

The speaker grille of the Redmi 12 5G smartphone, featured above | Photo Credit: Varun Krishan

The screen is crisp but do not go expecting vivid colours and next-gen contrast. The phone is sufficiently bright for indoor usage, but sunlight visibility could be a challenge as the device caps at 550 nits of peak brightness.

The phone comes with Widvine L1 certification and supports Full HD playback on Netflix. You do not get HDR support though. Watching content on Netflix and YouTube was a decent experience. However, we would recommend you use earphones while consuming content as the single speaker located on the bottom of the device is sub-par. It lacks loudness and crackles at higher volumes. The phone does support a touch sampling rate of 240Hz.

Performance and software

The Redmi 12 5G comes with the all-new Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 chipset. The chipset is built on a 4nm architecture, for improved efficiency. While the hardware is impressive on paper and sweeps the competition away in terms of raw benchmarks, the device is held back by software. The phone is fully capable of running most everyday tasks but the software experience is not as smooth.

The Redmi 12 5G comes with the all-new Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 chipset

The Redmi 12 5G comes with the all-new Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 chipset | Photo Credit: Varun Krishan

It is important to note this is in no way a shot at the device’s capabilities. The experience you get is better or at least as good as its competitors. However, going by the specifications of the chipset, Xiaomi seems to have missed the mark by actually making the most of the hardware and setting new standards for a budget phone.

Using basic social media apps and everyday apps was a pleasant experience. We were delightfully surprised by the performance of the chipset as the phone could play Call Of Duty: Mobile at the highest settings. However, we would recommend you play games at medium settings for the best experience as the phone does lag and has frame drops at the highest settings.

Coming to the software, the Redmi 12 5G runs on Android 13 and comes pre-installed with MIUI 14. The UI has a ton of customisation options. Users can either choose to use the app drawer in true Android style or have access to all the apps on their home screen. You get access to classic MIUI features such as changing the theme, wallpaper, font and more.

The phone comes with 5G support, which is a welcome addition. However, true 5G speeds are still not a thing in India as a wide range of operators are investing in non-standalone towers. Additionally, 5G service is not available in every nook and corner of the country. However, the inclusion of 5G does make the phone a future-proof proposition, at least in terms of connectivity, for the budget conscious.

Battery

The Redmi 12 5G boasts a 5,000mAh battery which easily lasts an entire working day on medium usage. It was nice to see that the company ships the device with a 22.5W charger with 18W fast charging support. The phone takes upwards of two hours to charge from 0-100%.

Cameras

The Redmi 12 5G packs a dual rear camera setup headlined by a 50MP primary shooter along with a 2MP depth sensor. The rear camera outputs 12.5MP images by default. The device is capable of shooting clean images with decent sharpness when there is adequate light.

The Redmi 12 5G packs a dual rear camera setup

The Redmi 12 5G packs a dual rear camera setup | Photo Credit: Varun Krishan

As this is a budget phone, do not expect competent HDR performance. If you shoot a lot of images when it is dark, there is a night mode feature which steps up the performance during such conditions. We did notice a lens flare issue when shooting in front of artificial light sources. However, considering the price, the cameras work well.

There is also a portrait mode feature that works decently by introducing artificial background blurring when there is enough light. The feature will surely appeal to a lot of buyers as it is pretty usable.

The phone also offers a dedicated mode for shooting images in its full 50MP resolution. You do get a slight improvement in the sharpness but it introduces a subtle graininess in the images and changes the colour profile.

The Redmi 12 5G comes with a Night Mode feature

The Redmi 12 5G comes with a Night Mode feature | Photo Credit: Varun Krishan

For selfies and video calls, the handset has an 8MP front-facing camera which works decently. However, selfies are not accurate with some inconsistencies with skin tones, and smoothening.

Both the front and selfie cameras can shoot up to 1080P video at 30FPS.

Verdict

The Redmi 12 5G offers a decent screen and a usable camera, as well as good performance and competent battery life.

While the design may not be as solid as some of its predecessors, it still looks chic compared to other budget phones.

The software experience does hold back the device from achieving greatness, especially when considering the hardware.

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