Xiaomi’s notably new smartphone Redmi Note 12 5G is the midrange phone available in the Nepali market generally known as an improvement over its previous 4G version. However, However, it had some drawbacks like an average camera and the Snapdragon 685 chipset, which didn’t deliver top-notch gaming performance and lacked 5G support.
With the Note 12 5G, Xiaomi has improved the camera, and performance, and added 5G support, all with only a slight price increase. It comes in two variants: 6+128GB at around 30,000 Nepali Rupees and 8+256GB at 32,000 Nepali Rupees, making the latter a smart choice for an additional 2,000 Nepali Rupees. Here we will be looking at the full Redmi Note 12 5G full review, its pros and cons, and many more.
Design and Build
- 165.9 x 76.2 x 8 mm dimension
- 188g weight
The most noticeable difference in the Redmi Note 12 5G is its design, where Xiaomi has opted for a plastic back instead of the glass construction found on the pricier 12 Pro and Pro+ models. While this shift isn’t entirely unexpected in a phone within this price range, it does represent a departure from the premium design that was a selling point for the higher-end Redmi Note 12 phones.
Although the plastic build doesn’t make the Note 12 5G a dealbreaker, it does give the phone a more budget-oriented feel in hand. As soon as you pick it up, you’ll sense that it falls into the budget category. However, Xiaomi has managed to make the device look more upscale than its price tag suggests. The matte coating on the plastic back not only resists dirt and fingerprint smudges but also offers an attractive shimmer when it catches the light.
The phone’s finish is visible through the clear glass camera module, which sits slightly raised on the back. This design choice contributes to the phone’s comfortable grip and eliminates the immediate need for a protective case. However, using the included transparent silicone case can interfere with the fingerprint sensor integrated into the power button, causing more frequent misreads and accidental presses. Without the case, the fingerprint sensor performs relatively quickly and accurately. While foregoing glass in favor of plastic may impact the design, it ultimately enhances the phone’s durability, making it more resilient to accidental drops. The device feels sturdy and robust, minimizing concerns about fragility.
Nevertheless, the Note 12 5G isn’t suitable for submersion in water, as it carries an IP53 rating, providing protection against dust and splashes but not prolonged immersion.
Despite being slightly heavier than the all-glass Note 12 Pro at 189g, the Note 12 5G is still considered lightweight compared to contemporary smartphones. Additionally, the inclusion of a 3.5mm audio jack provides a wired audio option, which can be a welcome feature for users who prefer it despite the prevalence of Bluetooth audio devices.
- 6.67 inches AMOLED Display
- 1080 x 2400 pixels resolution
- 120Hz refresh rate, 1200 nits (peak) brightness
When it comes to the Redmi Note 12 5G’s display, there are hardly any compromises unless you specifically desire a curved screen. This 6.67-inch OLED panel boasts a 1080×2400 resolution, identical to its pricier counterparts in the Redmi Note 12 series. While some premium smartphones offer 1440p screens, it’s not a necessity for a device of this size. The display impresses with its clarity and sharpness, thanks to OLED technology delivering deep blacks and exceptional contrast. Colors appear vivid and vibrant, making it exceptionally well-suited for activities like web browsing, video streaming, or social media scrolling. The icing on the cake is the 120Hz refresh rate, elevating the user experience by providing smooth and responsive navigation. This feature is particularly noteworthy as it’s often seen in flagship devices, making its presence on an affordable phone like the Note 12 5G all the more remarkable.
One notable absence is dynamic refresh rate adjustment, which relies on LTPO technology not present in this display. Users must choose between a fixed 60Hz or 120Hz refresh rate. Unless you have a compelling reason to conserve battery life, opting for the higher setting is advisable. While advanced features like HDR10+ and Dolby Vision are missing, they are hardly noticeable due to the display’s overall excellence, making it one of the standout features of this budget-friendly phone.
In terms of outdoor visibility, the Note 12 5G excels with its impressively bright screen. Additionally, it incorporates a dedicated ‘sunlight mode,’ which further boosts screen brightness when sunlight is detected by a sensor. The display is framed by slim bezels, with approximately 86% of the front panel dedicated to screen real estate. However, there is a somewhat conspicuous and functionally redundant large chin at the bottom of the display, which remains a minor quirk in an otherwise outstanding display package.
Performance and Storage
- Chipset: Qualcomm SM4375 Snapdragon 4 Gen 1
- Storage: 6GB/ 8GB RAM + 128GB/ 256GB storage
Unlike many other Redmi phones that utilize MediaTek chips, Xiaomi has made the choice to incorporate Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 chipset in the Redmi Note 12 5G. This particular chipset, introduced in 2022, is tailored for mid-range smartphones and aligns seamlessly with the phone’s name, given its built-in 5G capabilities.
While the device handles routine tasks with ease, it may struggle when faced with resource-intensive applications like video editing software and demanding games. During my extended usage as my primary device over a few weeks, I found that web browsing, messaging apps, YouTube streaming, and photography were all manageable tasks, albeit with occasional sluggishness. Navigating between apps often resulted in hesitation and stuttering, issues that could potentially be alleviated with more RAM.
It’s worth noting that over time, this performance gap might become more pronounced, necessitating patience from users. Nevertheless, it’s essential to emphasize that the Note 12 5G’s performance is far from terrible; it aligns well with expectations for a smartphone in its price range, although it may not quite match up to the top mid-range contenders.
The Redmi Note 12 5G offers significant performance improvements over its predecessor In benchmark tests, it achieved over 1954 points in the Geekbench 6 multi-core test. However, during a CPU Throttle test with a demanding workload of 50 threads for 30 minutes, some performance throttling was observed, indicating potential limitations under prolonged heavy usage.
Redmi Note 12 5G comes with 6 and 8GB or RAM options with 128 and 256GB of memory combined respectively. Though the memory can be expanded up to 1TB. This expandable storage option presents a solution for those who require additional space for apps, media, and files, and the cost of microSD cards is relatively budget-friendly.
OS and UI
- OS: Android 12
- UI: MIUI 14
The Redmi Note 12 5G comes preloaded with Xiaomi’s MIUI 14 skin, but a notable frustration is that it’s based on Android 12, leaving it potentially two years behind in terms of Android updates. As of now, there is no official word on when or if it will receive the Android 13 update. This means that while the hardware may remain capable, the software could lag behind, missing out on new features and security enhancements. Furthermore, the MIUI experience itself diverges significantly from the stock version of Android, offering a distinct look and feel that may require some adjustment.
Some of these pre-installed applications cannot be removed, contributing to what many consider bloatware, a notable downside of MIUI. Additionally, within the ‘More apps’ folder, you’ll encounter a somewhat arbitrary assortment of apps that Xiaomi has deemed you might find useful. Coupled with a separate ‘Games’ folder housing basic games, many of which may be unfamiliar, MIUI can feel somewhat cluttered and potentially overwhelming.
Customizing the software to your preferences is possible to a certain extent, but certain design elements are fixed. For instance, the split notifications and quick settings interface depend on whether you swipe from the top of the screen or swipe down from the right side. Furthermore, MIUI’s redesigned Settings app, as well as its brightly colored app icons and widgets, may require some adaptation. In essence, the Redmi Note 12 5G is not a phone where you can perform a basic setup and immediately feel at ease with its software environment; it demands some adjustment and exploration.
- Rear Camera: 48 MP, (wide), 0.8µm, PDAF
8MP, f/2.2, Ultra wide
2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
- Front Camera: 13 MP, f/2.5, (wide)
The Redmi Note 12 5G features a trio of rear cameras, a common configuration in contemporary smartphones. However, in most scenarios, the 48MP, f/1.8 primary lens is the go-to choice, offering markedly superior quality compared to the 8MP ultrawide and 2MP macro counterparts.
This primary lens is capable of delivering genuinely impressive results, particularly excelling in architectural photography. It adeptly maintains focus on subjects while avoiding overexposing the background, making it a standout performer for capturing moody shots, even under cloudy conditions. In these instances, the colors remain true to life, creating atmospheric scenes. However, a noteworthy shift occurs when shooting in bright sunlight, where aggressive processing introduces excessive contrast and saturation, resulting in visually pleasing yet highly unrealistic images. While the primary lens performs admirably for landscape shots, it does exhibit limitations in dynamic range, especially when zooming in.
Portrait mode relies on software rather than a dedicated depth sensor, and while it holds promise, edge detection issues require some trial and error to achieve desirable results. In sum, the rear camera experience with the Redmi Note 12 5G has the potential for remarkable shots, but it demands patience and experimentation with framing and angles.
On the front, the 13MP selfie camera delivers unexpectedly excellent results, producing vibrant and detailed self-portraits without the common issue of overexposing the sky in the background. The inclusion of portrait mode further enhances its performance, arguably outperforming the primary rear lens in this aspect.
However, when it comes to video recording, the Redmi Note 12 5G is limited to 1080p at 30fps. While this resolution suffices for most users, the absence of optical image stabilization (OIS) results in shaky footage, making it less suitable for scenarios involving significant movement.
Battery and Charging
- Li-Po 5000 mAh battery
- 33W Fast charging
The Redmi Note 12 5G comes equipped with a robust 5000mAh battery, a capacity that aligns with many contemporary smartphones. However, the actual battery performance surpasses expectations, offering an above-average lifespan. Even when pushing the device with a 120Hz display setting, high brightness, and location services enabled, I consistently found myself concluding the day with a substantial charge remaining.
This phone instills confidence in users, ensuring they can rely on it throughout the day without fretting over the availability of a nearby power source. On lighter usage days within the comfort of my home, I was even able to extend the gap between charges to over 48 hours—an achievement that truly stands out.
When it comes time to recharge, Xiaomi includes a 33W adapter in the package. Although it’s notably slower compared to the charging capabilities of the Note 12 Pro (67W) and 12 Pro+ (120W), it still delivers a reasonably fast charging experience. Furthermore, the absence of wireless charging can be easily forgiven, given the price point at which the Redmi Note 12 5G is positioned.
Pros and Cons
|Smooth 120Hz AMOLED Panel||Edge detection in portrait mode needs improvement.|
|Trendy design and new camera module||Cameras Suffer a lot under Low Light|
|The primary camera of the phone offers some delightful shots in daylight||Video comes out Unstable|
|Impressive Battery life||No in-display Fingerprint Sensor|
The Redmi Note 12 5G often gets overshadowed in the Redmi Note 12 Series lineup, but it’s a smartphone that shouldn’t be overlooked. Notably, it retains the impressive 120Hz OLED display, even at a more budget-friendly price point. This display is a standout feature, delivering smooth visuals and vibrant colors, making it a notable asset for daily use. When combined with the phone’s commendable battery life and a capable selfie camera, it offers a compelling package for users looking for a dependable device without breaking the bank.
In terms of performance, the Note 12 5G may not be at the top of the charts, but it proves itself by handling everyday tasks and common apps with ease. Multitasking is manageable, ensuring you can navigate through your daily digital activities without significant hiccups. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that the rear camera system doesn’t deliver the best results, and the plastic build can give the phone a somewhat less premium feel.
Ultimately, your decision to purchase this phone may hinge on your tolerance for Xiaomi’s Android skin. For some, it might not be a deal-breaker, but for others, it could be a compelling reason to explore alternative options in the smartphone market. It’s a choice that depends on your personal preferences and priorities when it comes to device features and software experience.