- The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G is the most expensive Redmi Note device to have ever launched in the Indian market.
- The highlight of the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ is its 200-megapixel camera, driven by a sensor that is being seen for the first time in the Indian market.
- The phone also brings features like 120W charging and a Pro AMOLED display to the Note table. But will that be enough to persuade Redmi Note fans to opt for the device over competitive offerings from OnePlus, iQOO, Google, and even Xiaomi itself?
The past few years have seen Xiaomi’s legendary Redmi Note series steadily moving up the price ladder. The series, which was once noted (pun unintended) for being under Rs 10,000, breached the Rs 20,000 price barrier with its top model last year, and this year, it is the turn of the Rs 30,000 mark to feel the heat.
The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G goes into what can be called the premium mid-segment zone and tussles with some formidable players, such as the higher end of the Samsung Galaxy M series, the OnePlus Nord series, the iQOO Neo series, and its own Redmi K series and Poco F series siblings. Does it do enough to rattle the competitors’ cages?
Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Review: Hello, 2021 design
The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ was not made for a 2023 beauty competition. It looks smart rather than spectacular, and while it follows the trend of straight sides, it takes a step into 2021 by retaining a slightly curved back and a blue shade that seems right out of that year.
Our Iceberg Blue variant had a shiny glass back with a smooth textured camera unit that protrudes a little from the back and a front dominated by the display (with Gorilla Glass 5) with a punch-hole notch in the center. On the right is a display/power button which also doubles up as a fingerprint scanner and a volume rocker. The base has the SIM tray, the USB Type C port, and a speaker, while the top houses a second speaker, a 3.5 mm audio jack (yes!), and the IR blaster that is almost now a Redmi Note trademark.
It is a little on the tall side, although shorter than the Redmi Note 11 Pro+. At 8.9 mm and 208 grams, it is not super slim or super light, but it has a substantial and reassuring feel to it and comes with an IP53 rating to save it from splashes of water. All in all, it looks smart but does not have the dazzling flashy brilliance of the Mirage Blue of its predecessor. It is right out of 2021 in terms of design, to be honest.
Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G: Hello, 2023 hardware (and 2021 software)
The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G brings some big-ish hardware to the spec table beneath that familiar exterior. The 6.67 full HD+ display is a Pro AMOLED one, which Xiaomi claims is better than Super AMOLED. It comes with a 120 Hz adaptive refresh rate, letting it switch between 30 Hz/ 60 Hz/ 90 /Hz / 120 Hz for smoother performance and better battery utilization. The battery is 4980 mAh and gets 120W HyperCharge support with a 120W charger in the box for good measure. The display supports Dolby Vision and has a brightness of 900 nits, and the stereo speakers support Dolby sound.
Then there is the star of the show, the 200-megapixel main camera, which marks the debut of the Samsung HPX Sensor. The phone comes with support for 10 5G bands on both SIM slots (and the 5G worked just fine on our Airtel SIM in Delhi). In terms of storage and RAM, the base variant that features a massive 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage, and there’s a 12 GB/ 256 GB variant as well. Neither has expandable memory, but with so much storage, we do not think too many will mind. Round that off with assured Android software updates for two years and security updates for four years, and you have a very well-stacked device.
There are a few thorns in this hardware garden, though. The phone runs on a MediaTek Helio 1080 processor. The 6 nm chip is a new one and has a maximum clock speed of 2.6 GHz, but it is not really the most powerful in its price segment. Similarly, while that 200-megapixel main sensor will make eyes pop, it is accompanied by a modest 8-megapixel ultrawide and a rather nominal 2-megapixel macro sensor. The 16-megapixel front camera also seems a little bit of a letdown in comparison. And while the Android update commitment is praiseworthy, the phone runs on Android 12 out of the box, topped off by MIUI 13, again giving us those 2021 feels.
Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G: Yes, the 200-megapixel camera rocks and makes the other cameras look silly
The hype around the Redmi Note 12 series has revolved around that 200-megapixel main sensor. During the launch of the device, Xiaomi claimed it would better the likes of not just the latest iPhone and the Pixel 6a but also some mirrorless cameras.
Is it THAT good? We think that comparisons of phone cameras with mirrorless cameras or DSLRs are frankly ridiculous. But there is no doubt that the huge main sensor does make a massive difference in terms of photography – though it takes pictures by default at 12.5 megapixels rather than 200 (you can change this in the settings). This is especially evident in low light photography, where we got surprising amounts of details and colors and very stable shots.
Often the performance of the main camera at night was close to the flagship level, although we would recommend not using the night mode, which artificially brightens snaps. One of the interesting aspects of its low light performance was the fact that one did not get glares from light sources, resulting in cleaner pictures. Xiaomi says that this is because of an ultra-low reflection coating called Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD). Whatever it is, it sure works.
In normal light conditions, the performance of the main sensor was again very good. The colors seemed a bit on the saturated side, but that is hardly a deal breaker. The level of detail might not strike some as being too special in the default shooting mode, but switch to shooting in 50-megapixel or 200-megapixel mode, and you will see textures and details spring out like magic. You can even heavily crop images and still end up with very usable shots.
Of course, there is a catch – a 200-megapixel snap will gobble up about 40-45 MB of storage, and a 50-megapixel one close to 18-20 MB. Get too liberal in using those modes, and even that 256 GB of storage might start looking insufficient. You also get only 10x of digital zoom in default mode and 2x in 50-megapixel and 200-megapixel modes, which is a little disappointing. One can always take a 200-megapixel shot and then crop it, but that is tedious in comparison.
Videos are of good quality, with support for 4K at 30 fps, but take it from us – shooting stills is where the fun really lies with that massive sensor. There are plenty of shooting and editing options on the Camera and Gallery app, so you can do lots with your images and videos. The MediaTek Dimesnity 1080 chip, allied with all that RAM, handles processing and editing tasks very briskly, and you do not get the sort of lags at high-resolution mode like you do in many other mid-segment devices.
The 200-megapixel main snapper, however, is an albatross for the three other cameras on the phone. The 8-megapixel ultrawide camera does give you a wider perspective, but the level of colors and detail pale in front of what one gets from the main sensor, and the macro camera is just about handy at best (our tip: use the main sensor and crop for better results). The 16-megapixel selfie camera does a decent job with selfies, although with some skin smoothing effect even with beauty mode turned off, it too does not stand any comparison with the main sensor. That main camera is like a bull in the camera shop of other sensors on the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G. So much so that we firmly believe that this would have been a formidable device even with that one massive camera sensor on the back!
Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G: A multimedia monster that charges at crazy speeds…with a mortal processor
The mega megapixel camera might make it special, but the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ is a very steady performer in other regards as well – very Note-like, we would say. The display is bright and colorful and great for viewing content, and the addition of those stereo speakers with Dolby Sound make this the perfect companion for multimedia consumption, be it TV shows, films, or just YouTube binge-watching sessions. The 4980 mAh battery easily gets you through a day and more of normal use (even with 5G), and if the phone is running low in the battery department, the 120W HyperCharge charger gets it from zero to a hundred percent in about 20-25 minutes, depending on how much you use the phone while charging.
The fingerprint scanner on the side works well, and the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G handles routine tasks like Web browsing, social networking, and messaging very smoothly. It also is very comfortable in the multi-tasking department. Xiaomi’s MIUI 13 might be running on top of an older version of Android, but it works very smoothly, and we love the additional tools and features that accompany it, especially as the ads that plagued the UI are now history.
The one department where the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ wobbles a bit is high-end gaming. The Dimensity 1080 chip handles casual games with ease and even high-end games well, provided you keep an eye on the settings. Try to max out settings on the likes of Genshin Impact and Call of Duty, and you will see the phone lagging a little – it runs Call of Duty on medium graphics by default.
While the Redmi Note series was never focused on gaming, this would be one of the rare times when its high-end model has come to the market with a chip that is not among the leaders in its segment. It is unlikely to be a dealbreaker for those who want a typical Redmi Note experience as it is actually better than the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ (which was powered by the slower Qualcomm Snapdragon 695G). However, those who are looking for high benchmark scores and high-end gaming performance in the sub-Rs 30,000 will get tempted by other devices, especially those running older but more powerful chips like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G, the Dimensity 8100 and even the Dimensity 1200.
Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Review Verdict: Is the most expensive Note ever worth it? (hint: do you like the camera?)
So should you be shelling out the highest starting price (Rs 29,999 for 8 GB/ 256 GB, with Rs 32,999 for the 12 GB/ 256 GB variant) ever to come on a Redmi Note series device? The answer depends on just how much you value that main sensor. If you want a device for shooting, editing, and watching high-quality content, the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G is a no-brainer in its segment. That combination of camera, display, sound, and fast charging battery make it superb, while the steady Note-like performance in other departments make it a rock-steady proposition. Take away that camera, however, and things get a little unsteady. Devices like the Redmi K50i 5G, the Poco F4 5G and the iQOO Neo 6 5G that come with slightly lower price tags will appeal to those who want faster processors. They might not have a 200-megapixel snapper in their ranks, but their cameras are very capable ones, nevertheless.
Even those users who want a great camera would be tempted by the Google Pixel 6a, which has received a price cut and is available for Rs 32,999. Another phone with a slashed price in Note waters is the rather unique Nothing Phone (1) (our Phone of 2022), which is available for Rs 27,999 and remains in a zone of its own, thanks to its design and interface. A point to be noted, however, is that neither the Pixel nor the Phone (1) comes with chargers in the box, leave alone with support for 120W charging. A challenger in that department is the OnePlus Nord 2T 5G, which is available for Rs 28,999 now and has an 80W charger in the box, competent cameras, a clean interface, and a Dimensity 1300 chip running the show.
We think that buying the Redmi Note Pro+ 5G is really going to boil down to how much you value that 200-megapixel sensor. That is one department where any other device cannot match the phone as of now in the premium mid-segment. Love those megapixels, mega details, and mega-resolution images? The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G is very much worth its mega price (by Note standards).
- Smooth performer
- Good battery life and fast charging
- Very good display and sound
- 200 MP camera has a lot of potential
- Android 12 (hello, it is 2023)
- Not as powerful as some competing devices
- Secondary cameras are..meh
|Design & Appearance||
Redmi Note 12 Pro+ comes with a 200-megapixel camera, 120W Fast charging, and a Pro AMOLED display. But will that be enough to persuade Redmi Note fans to opt for the device over competitive offerings from OnePlus, iQOO, Google, and even Xiaomi itself?