5G has been around in India for a while but support for it has been largely limited to mid-segment and premium segment devices, which actually make up a very small portion of the entire market. Xiaomi is looking to change that with the Redmi 12 5G, a phone that claims to deliver a good 5G experience without any major compromises at a price of Rs 11,999. That is quite a claim. But is it the mainstream smartphone ambassador that 5G in India needs?

redmi 12 review

Redmi 12 5G design and looks: Glassy and classy

The Redmi 12 5G does not look like a phone that’s priced at Rs 11,999. It looks far more premium than that with its tall display with punch hole notch, straight sides, and above all, its glass back. This is the first Redmi ‘number’ device to come with a glass back, and while we have nothing against carbonate, Xiaomi’s crystal glass design does give it a very classy finish. The phone comes in three color options – Jade Black, Pastel Blue, and Moonstone Silver.

We got the Pastel Blue variant, and it certainly cut a very smart figure with its light blue back and frame. The back is flat and has three circles with metal finishes for the dual cameras and a single flash in the top left corner. These circles protrude slightly from the back and are not part of a ‘camera unit’ or enclosure. The display is a tall one with bezels that are a little big (especially the ‘chin’), but the presence of a punch hole notch rather than a drop notch at this price is a pleasant surprise. The right side of the frame houses the volume rocker and a power/display button, which also doubles up as a fingerprint scanner; the base has a Type C port as well as a single speaker, and the top has a 3.5 mm jack and infrared port, while the left side has the SIM card tray.

redmi 12 review

At 168.6 mm, the Redmi 12 is a tall phone. Although it is impressively slim at 8.17 mm and at 199 grams, it is not too heavy for its size. The front comes with Gorilla Glass 3, and the phone has IP53 splash resistance. It has been a while since a budget phone turned heads, but the Redmi 12 5G does just that. It is glassy, classy, and comfortably one of the best-looking phones below Rs 15,000.

Redmi 12 5G spec sheet: Punching above its price weight

The Redmi 12 5G does not look like a Rs 11,999 phone. And its spec sheet does not read like that of a Rs 11,999 phone either. The phone comes with what Redmi claims is the biggest display seen on a Redmi phone – a 6.79-inch FHD+ display with a 90 Hz refresh rate and a maximum brightness of 550 nits. Some might be disappointed at the fact that it’s an LCD rather than an AMOLED one, but its resolution and refresh rates are impressive at this price.

redmi 12 5g review

Even more impressive is the chip powering the phone. The Redmi 12 5G is the first phone in the world to run on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 chip, which is believed to be one of the best chips for devices in the sub-Rs 20,000 zone. The phone comes with three RAM and storage variants – 4 GB/ 128 GB, 6 GB/ 128 GB, and 8 GB/ 256 GB. You can expand the memory up to 1 TB if you are ready to sacrifice one of the two SIM card slots in the device. This, of course, brings us to the USP of the device at this price – dual 5G SIM support. You also get Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on the connectivity front.

In the camera department, the Redmi 12 5G has a 50-megapixel main sensor and a 2-megapixel secondary, while the selfie duties are handled by an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. Keeping all this running is a 5000 mAh battery with support for 18W charging. There is also a 22.5 W charger in the box. The phone runs on Android 13 with MIUI 14. All said and done, this is an impressive spec sheet at this price.

Redmi 12 5G performance, camera, and gaming: Steady and smooth operator

redmi 12 camera review

In terms of performance, the Redmi 12 5G is a remarkably smooth operator. It sails through everyday tasks like web browsing, mail, messaging, and social networking without too much effort. It is no gaming beast, but it can handle most casual games easily and can even let you play some serious ones with tweaked settings – just do not get your expectations too high or the settings. The display is very good for viewing content and reasonably bright, while the single speaker delivers impressive volumes. The side-mounted fingerprint scanner works very smoothly too.

When it comes to photography, the Redmi 12 5G is a decent daylight performer. You will get a fair amount of detail, although the colors might seem a little faded. Interestingly, the colors were richer in portrait mode. The camera tries a little too hard to brighten up low-light scenarios, but then that is expected at this price point. The selfie camera is good for video calls and takes reasonable selfies. The video quality is also decent enough for the price point. Stick to good light conditions, and the Redmi 12 5G will deliver reasonable enough shots for you.

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The battery life of the phone is exceptional. We easily got through a day and a half of normal usage and two days with more careful usage. The 22.5W charger in the box charges the phone from 0 to 100 in close to two hours but gets it to 50 percent in under half an hour, which should suffice.

Most importantly, the Redmi 12 5G had no problems detecting our Airtel 5G sim and handled calls and data very well indeed. The combination of a big display, big battery, and good processor meant that we could experience 5G without any major compromises on the device, something which is unheard of at this price point.

Redmi 12 5G price: Quite a price

The Redmi 12 5G comes in three RAM and storage variants at the following prices:

  • 4 GB/ 128 GB: Rs 11,999
  • 6 GB/ 128 GB: Rs 13,499
  • 8 GB/ 128 GB: Rs 15,499

redmi 12 price

The pricing makes the Redmi 12 5G hands down the best value-for-money 5G phone in the market for those on a tight budget. You do get the Samsung Galaxy M13 5G at a similar starting price but with an HD display, 64 GB storage, and a less powerful Dimensity 700 chip. A more realistic competitor is the Samsung Galaxy F14 5G, released earlier this year. It is more expensive at Rs 12,999 but also features a full HD display, comes with a 4 GB / 128 GB base RAM and storage variant, a larger 6000 mAh battery, and a 50-megapixel main rear camera as well as a 13-megapixel selfie camera.

It, however, has a slightly smaller display, and its Exynos 1330 chip is not on par with the Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 powering the Redmi 12 5G. As this goes into writing, Xiaomi has also released the Poco M6 Pro, which seems VERY similar to the Redmi 12 5G in terms of specs, although it looks very different. It starts at a slightly lower price of Rs 10,999, but its base variant has lower storage (64 GB).

Redmi 12 Review Verdict: Should you buy it?

redmi 12 review verdict

The Redmi 12 5G is in a 5G zone of its own when it comes to budget 5G smartphones, at the time of writing, rivaled only by its very similar specced sibling, the Poco M6 Pro. That apart, there are a few other players with devices at similar price points, but none which can match what the Redmi 12 5G brings to the table.

If you are on a very tight budget and looking for a phone that not only connects you to a 5G network but also lets you experience it at its best, then the Redmi 12 5G is a no-brainer. You not only get 5G connectivity but also a good display, a powerful processor for its price, plenty of storage, and decent battery life with a charger in the box for good measure. There’s nothing quite like it at the time of writing, which is why we think this could be the phone ambassador 5G in India needs.

Buy Redmi 12 5G

  • Sleek design with glass back
  • First phone with the Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 chip!
  • Good display
  • Very good battery life
  • Smooth performance
  • Killer price
  • Some might expect an AMOLED display
  • Cameras are mediocre
Review Overview
Looks & Appearance

It has a sleek design, good specs for its price, and 5G support. The Redmi 12 5G has what it takes to be the phone ambassador that 5G needs in India. But does it deliver in performance terms?

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