Redmi 12 5G Review: Bringing 5G To Everyone

Redmi 12 5G Review: Bringing 5G To Everyone

Despite the focus on flagships like the Xiaomi 13 Ultra and foldable devices like the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2, the bottom line is that Xiaomi still relies heavily on the Redmi series. This affordable entry-level phone contributes more to Xiaomi's overall sales than the 13 Ultra, and is one of the most important devices the brand launches each year.

Most importantly, the Redmi series epitomizes the democratization of technology; This has allowed hundreds of millions of people to switch to smartphones over the years. The Redmi Note 3 was a game changer for range – it wasn't the brand's first 4G-enabled phone, but it was the first to introduce compelling hardware at an amazing price, making it the de facto choice for those looking to make the switch. to 4G.

Seven years later, the Redmi 12 5G wants to achieve the same thing, but with 5G. Xiaomi has not had it easy these days as the brand lost its position as the leading mobile maker in India and lost to its Chinese competitors in the global market. The manufacturer is now trying to get back on track with the Redmi 12 5G, initially focusing on what makes it great: value.

This focus on value is what led Xiaomi to sell 300,000 units of the Redmi 12 5G on launch day. Let's see what this phone has to offer and if it revives the spirit of Xiaomi's success in recent years.

Redmi 12 5G: price and availability

Xiaomi launched the Redmi 12 in New Delhi on August 1, and the phone is now available on major online and offline stores across the country. Xiaomi sells the device in 4G and 5G variants, with both models having the same design and dimensions, with some hardware differences. The standard 4G-only Redmi 12 model is powered by the MediaTek Helio G88 and has an 8MP wide-angle camera, which you won't find on the Redmi 12 5G.

The Redmi 12 starts at ₹9,999 ($120) for the 4GB/128GB version and goes up to ₹11,499 ($138) for the 6GB/128GB model. The Redmi 12 5G is powered by Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 and is available in the country for ₹11,499 ($138) for the later version. 4GB/128GB, ₹13,499 ($163) for the 6GB/128GB model and available for ₹9. ($187) for the 8GB / 256GB version. Given that you have more RAM and double the storage capacity, I'd go with the 8GB / 256GB variant — this is the one Xiaomi sent us for review.

Redmi 12 5G: design

The Redmi 12 5G doesn't look like an entry-level phone and that's because of the design on the back. The phone has a glass back and minimalistic aesthetic that looks great, with dual cameras and an LED flash module in a chrome ring instead of a dedicated camera island. Xiaomi deserves credit for its design – I prefer the overall aesthetic here to that of the Redmi Note 12 Pro+.

Xiaomi also does a good basic job; The Redmi 12 5G has a 3.5mm jack and a MicroSD slot, and important components like the IR blaster are intact. There's no stereo sound, but the bottom speakers get really loud and I had no trouble in that area.

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Adding to this luxurious look is the matte finish on the sides which matches the color of the phone, something only found in mid-range and flagship phones. Its matte texture makes the phone comfortable to hold and use. While I'm not a fan of flat edges, it's not a big deal here.

The biggest problem is the height; Xiaomi offers a large 6.79-inch display on the Redmi 12 5G, and while it's impressive, it has large bezels on the sides, making it larger than almost any other phone I've used. In comparison, the Redmi 12 5G is 5.2mm longer than the Galaxy S23 Ultra, making it nearly impossible to use the phone with one hand.

Weight distribution is also an issue and the phone can feel unbearably heavy at times. However, the build quality itself is impeccable and the set isn't bulky. Xiaomi has gone with the side fingerprint reader and it works great – I haven't noticed any issues with the sensor in daily use.

Redmi 12 5G: Screen

As for the display, the Redmi 12 5G features a 6.79-inch FHD+ (2460 x 1080) IPS LCD display with a 90Hz refresh rate and 550 nits peak brightness. The display isn't going to win any awards, but considering the price of the phone it's pretty decent and you get the usual customization options, though there's no always-on mode here.

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Like all Xiaomi phones, the Redmi 12 5G is factory-set to a 60Hz refresh rate, and you have to go into the settings to change it to 90Hz. Video or Game streaming issues. According to Xiaomi, the screen is covered with a layer of Gorilla Glass, which is said to give the device an extra layer of drop protection.

The only problem I have with this device is that the ambient light sensor is a bit sensitive; Brightness doesn't increase (or decrease) automatically when entering or leaving a room, and I have to adjust the slider manually.

Redmi 12 5G: performance and autonomy

The Redmi 12 5G is the first phone I've used with Snapdragon 4 Gen 2. It's a 4nm chipset that uses Cortex-X78 and A55 cores along with Adreno 613. The main difference is that it uses the X61 5G modem with global 5G connectivity.

Like most Xiaomi phones, the brand doesn't use the full range of bands available in the X61, instead offering only seven for the Indian market: 1, 3, 5, 8, 28, 40, 78. These bands should be. more than enough to provide 5G coverage with all local mobile carriers and I didn't experience any issues using the phone on Airtel's 5G network in Hyderabad.

As for the hardware itself, it's fine for everyday use, and while I did occasionally notice lag or stuttering, it didn't detract from the overall experience. Even the Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 isn't specifically designed for gaming, and while it can run demanding titles at low settings, they're unplayable.

The Redmi 12 5G performs fairly well in CPU-intensive workloads and isn't too far off from the more expensive Redmi Note 12 Pro+ which uses the Dimension 1080 with a similar base configuration.

However, the biggest difference is when you try to play the game on your device. The Adreno 613 won't arrive in 2023, and the Redmi 12 5G has the slowest 3DMark score of any phone I've tested to date. It also holds up in real-world use, even if the Redmi 12 5G doesn't offer stable frame rates.

Other than that, there isn't much to say on the hardware side of things. The vibrating motor is in line with what you'll find in other budget phones, the fact you have 8GB of RAM means multitasking won't be a problem, and while I didn't use a MicroSD card you can expand storage by up to 1TB.

Moving on to connectivity, the Redmi 12 5G features AC Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.3. It's a shame that Xiaomi doesn't offer at least Wi-Fi 6 here. There's also no NFC, and you don't get a high-res audio codec—if you're using one of the best wireless earbuds, you're limited to SBC.

On the front, the phone has a massive 5000mAh battery that should last more than a day without any issues. While it's a definite win – Xiaomi's budget phones always offer ridiculously long battery life – the Redmi 12 5G charges at just 18W, and that seems like an oversight. Xiaomi comes with 22W chargers and the brand's budget phones are usually 33W these days.

The Redmi 12 5G's 18W limitation means it takes just over two hours to fully charge the device, making it a boot-free device if you need a quick charge during the day.

Redmi 12 5G: the camera

Not much to say on the camera side; This is definitely not Xiaomi's priority, as the brand doesn't want to put a wide-angle lens on the back. Instead, you get a 50-megapixel f/1.8 main camera and a 2-megapixel vertical lens, and you're basically getting a decent camera on the device. There's no OIS, video capture is limited to 1080p, and there's a noticeable shutter lag when taking photos.

The user interface itself is similar to other Xiaomi phones. You get all the modes in one ribbon at the bottom, with a drop-down gesture revealing more options. There are switches for HDR effects, flash, and aesthetics, and the 50MP main camera can be zoomed in up to 10x via digital zoom (though you shouldn't use it).

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The Redmi 12 5G did quite well in daylight, producing shots with good dynamic range and detail. Images tend to be a bit oversaturated, which works to their advantage at times. Given the quality of the hardware, it's understandable that the phone struggles in low light; Photos taken in auto mode lack detail and have too much noise. This can be fixed by using night mode, but that is also limited - you get decent shots and that's it.

Versatility is also lacking, as you don't get a wide-angle or zoom lens. The 2MP portrait lens is only available for marketing purposes, as it doesn't segment well when shooting portraits. Overall, the Redmi 12 5G's camera is really average, and if you're looking to take a lot of photos and record videos, you'll have to look at other devices.

Redmi 12 5G: software

Xiaomi has been criticized in the past for going overboard with bloatware and ads on its phones, and the brand deserves credit for doing a great job addressing these issues. I haven't had this problem on any of the Xiaomi phones I've tested in the last 18 months so far. The Redmi 12 5G comes with a lot of factory-installed bloatware, and while most of it can be removed, it shouldn't be there in the first place.

Thankfully, I haven't received any ads from Xiaomi's services in the week I've used the device, and other than the bloatware, the user interface is similar to other Xiaomi phones running MIUI 14 based on Android 13. The only change is that Xiaomi bundles the MIUI Switch as standard instead. Google Phone Switch; With the phone positioned as an upgrade for those already using Xiaomi phones, the brand likely felt MIUI Switch would be more familiar, ditching Google Switch.

Surprisingly, Xiaomi doesn't offer its own SMS client, instead using Android Messages as the default client. Everything else works as usual: MIUI 14 has lots of customization options and doesn't take up too many resources. The user interface, although in need of an overhaul, is optimized for the hardware.

Xiaomi hasn't done a very good job with software updates, and the Redmi 12 5G is guaranteed to receive two platform updates. It's unclear when the phone will be updated to Android 14 - Xiaomi has made great progress in this area in the past and it's something that needs to be fixed.

Redmi 12 5G: the competition

If you want a phone under ₹20,000, check out the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G. It also has an IPS LCD panel but goes up to 120Hz, I like the design a bit better than the Redmi 12 5G and the phone is way more powerful thanks to the Snapdragon 695. There is also 67W charging power and cleaning software. Pay more for the device: Starts at ₹19,999 ($241), but you get a better feature phone.

iQOO's Z7 is also a strong contender, as it is equipped with MediaTek's Dimensity 920 and a 90Hz AMOLED panel. There's a 64MP camera on the back that takes better photos, and while the battery is smaller at 4500mAh, it charges 44W.

Redmi 12 5G: should you buy it?

You should buy it if:

  • You need a cheap 5G phone

  • You want a big screen and decent hardware

  • You need a phone that can last all day, even with heavy use

  • You will need a 3.5mm jack and a MicroSD slot

You should not buy it if:

  • You want trouble free software

  • You need a wide angle lens

  • They look for software updates on a regular basis

In the end, the Redmi 12 5G is a great choice overall if you're looking for a 5G capable phone on a budget. This device comes with a few caveats: the camera is really average, it lacks Wi-Fi 6 and faster charging options, and you have to deal with the bloatware right away.

That said, let's get to the heart of the basics. You get a great design, a large screen with good color balance, a battery that lasts more than a day, and reliable hardware for every day. I still don't see the potential for 5G, but if you're on an older device and considering switching, the Redmi 12 5G has a lot going for it and is currently the best Xiaomi phone in this category.

Redmi 12 5G

With the Redmi 12 5G, Xiaomi offers all the features you'd expect from a budget phone at a lower price than its closest competitor. If you're looking for an entry-level 5G phone, this is it.

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