Redmi Note 12 was among the most anticipated phone of 2023, and it is finally here in Nepal. Xiaomi has launched the 4G version here, which seems fair since 5G is yet to be implemented here. Last year’s Note 11 was a decent budget phone in itself, and its successor tries to build on it. The pricing is also quite aggressive since it starts at Rs. 23,000 for the 4/128GB variant — even cheaper than last year. In this review, I will share my experience of using the Redmi Note 12 4G for a month, along with the pros and cons. Before we begin, let’s quickly glance at what the phone offers regarding specifications.
Redmi Note 12 4G Specifications:
- Body: 165.66 x 75.96 x 7.85mm, 183.5gm, IP53 dust/water resistant
- Display: 6.67 AMOLED DotDisplay panel, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 1200 nits (peak), 120Hz refresh rate
- Resolution: FHD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels), 395 PPI
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 685 4G (6nm Mobile Platform)
- CPU: Octa-core (2×2.8 GHz Kryo 265 Gold & 6×1.9 GHz Kryo 265 Silver)
- GPU: Adreno 610
- Memory: 4/6/8GB LPDDR4X RAM, 64/128GB UFS 2.2 storage (expandable)
- Software & UI: MIUI 14 on top of Android 13
- Rear Camera: Triple-camera;
– 50MP Samsung ISOCELL JN1, f/1.8 primary lens
– 8MP, f/2.2 ultrawide lens
– 2MP, f/2.4 macro sensor
– LED flash
- Front Camera: 13MP, f/2.45 lens (punch-hole)
- Security: Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
- Battery: 5000mAh with 33W charging (33W charger inside the box)
- Color options: Ice Blue, Onyx Grey, Mint Green
- Price in Nepal: NPR 22,999 (4/128GB) | NPR 24,999 (6/128GB) | NPR 26,999 (8/128GB)
Redmi Note 12 4G Review:
Design and Display
- Glass Front, Plastic Back
- 6.67-inches FHD+ AMOLED
- Gorilla Glass 3 protection
Let’s start with the design of the phone. Xiaomi has made some noticeable changes here. Firstly, with a bigger screen, the size has increased. Redmi Note 12 feels quite large and much bigger than its predecessor from last year. Plus, the rear panel is completely flat, which gives it a sleek look and feel.
The sides and back of the phone are made of plastic, while the front has Gorilla Glass 3. Redmi has given the back a frosted finish, except for the camera module, which is glossy. The phone does catch smudges easily, so it’s best to use the clear case that comes with it. The sides have a matte finish, and you’ll find the fingerprint scanner there, which is quite snappy for its price. And with a peak brightness of 1200 nits, you won’t have any trouble using the Redmi Note 12 4G even in broad daylight.
Smooth 120Hz refresh it, or is it?
Still, the main selling point of this display is the 120Hz refresh rate. As for now, it is the only phone under Rs. 30000 to offer a 120Hz OLED display in Nepal. You can definitely feel the smoothness brought by the high refresh rate while navigating through MIUI and settings. That said, the experience is not completely stutter-free. Redmi Note 12 4G fails to maintain the same level of fluidity while switching between apps as well as in some third-party apps.
I feel this is because of the limitation the Snapdragon 685 chip possesses. It is not as powerful as one might expect from a budget processor in 2023. It can still handle YouTube videos up to 1080p. If you watch a lot of series and movies on Netflix and similar platforms, you will be happy to know that there is Widevinew L1 certification for HD streaming.
No stereo speakers this year
The only thing missing is the stereo audio of a dual-speaker setup. If you recall, it was in the Redmi Note 11 but fails to make an appearance here. I don’t like this change as Xiaomi has improved the performance drastically, and with the stereo speakers, Redmi Note 12 would have been a complete multimedia phone.
- Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 685 4G SoC (6nm)
- 4/6/8GB LPDDR4X RAM, 64/128GB UFS 2.2 storage
- Android 13 with Xiaomi’s MIUI 14 on top
Now turn our focus on the performance. Redmi Note 12 is the first phone to come powered by Snapdragon 685. It is the latest budget smartphone processor to come out of Qualcomm, but it’s not entirely a new chip. The Snapdragon 685 is basically the Snapdragon 680 with a higher clock speed of 2.8GHz. Having used numerous Snapdragon 680-powered last year, I can say that it’s not made for gaming, and unfortunately, the higher clock speed does little to change it.
Even with the graphics set to Smooth, Redmi Note 12 4G can’t run PUBG: Mobile beyond 30 fps. You can play COD: Mobile at 40 fps at low graphics, but there will be frame drops here and there. Less demanding games like Mobile Legends Bang Bang and Mecharena do support 60 fps, but the phone heats up if you play for longer sessions. So I would not recommend this phone for gaming.
You won’t have any significant problems during normal usage, though. There is a noticeable delay when launching the app for the first time and switching apps, but this RAM management issue exists in all phones in this segment. I also didn’t find any major bugs in the software department. Here, you get Android 13 out of the box with MIUI 14 on top. There aren’t many pre-installed apps except for a few.
- Triple-camera setup at the back
- 50MP main, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro
- 13MP selfie camera
Let’s talk about the camera now. Redmi Note 12 4G sports a triple camera setup at the back, consisting of a 50MP primary, 8MP ultrawide, and 2MP macro lens. I compared its images with Samsung’s Galaxy A14 5G as both feature a 50MP primary camera and compete in the same price segment.
As you can see in these pictures, the photos from Galaxy A14 5G have poppy colors, and they look more vibrant compared to Redmi Note 12’s pictures, which are comparatively dull. Overall, you will get livelier photos with better dynamic range and exposure control with the Galaxy A14 5G. It’s not that the camera on Redmi Note 12 4G is not, but it’s not as consistent as the Galaxy A14’s photos.
While taking photos of human subjects with Note 12, the skin color looks unnatural because of all the smoothening going on. Edge detection in portraits is also not perfect. The same can be said for the selfie camera.
Nighttime photos are soft and noisy. The night mode tries to maintain the exposure by increasing brightness but doesn’t give impressive results. Here too, A14’s photos look better, although the detail retention isn’t that good.
The videos aren’t praiseworthy, either. It can only be recorded up to 1080p 30 fps, and the output is shaky.
One good aspect of the phone is that Redmi has included an ultrawide camera, which other companies have omitted from their phones in this price range. Although ultrawide shots lack details, you can use them to take photos of buildings and landscapes when you need them.
- 5000mAh Battery
- 33W Fast charging
Lastly, Redmi Note 12 4G packs a 5,000mAh battery that easily lasts for a day. But, it falls short when compared to the likes of Galaxy A14 and Redmi Note 11. The main reason for this is the 120Hz display and overclocked CPU. The charging is quick. It gets fully charged in 1 hour and 15 minutes with the 33W charger included in the box.
Redmi Note 12 4G Review: Conclusion
Despite its few shortcomings in the performance and camera department, I still believe Redmi Note 12 4G is currently the best budget phone you can get under Rs. 25,000 in Nepal.
The competitor for this phone is the new Galaxy A14 5G, which brings a better camera but compromises in almost all other aspects. It doesn’t even feature a charger in the phone.
If you are a gamer, you can also consider Poco M5, which equips a more capable CPU. But it misses out on an OLED screen, an ultrawide camera, and a hardware-based gyroscope and charges slower at 18W.
- Watch our video review of the Redmi Note 12 4G.
Redmi Note 12 4G Review: Pros and Cons
- Sleek and stylish design
- 120Hz OLED screen
- Andoird 13 out of the box
- Good battery life
- Performance is not the greatest
- No stereo speakers
- Cameras could have been better