Xiaomi’s latest addition to the affordable Redmi series, the Redmi 12 5G, offers impressive features and performance, setting it apart from its sibling, the Redmi 12. Despite their similar names, these two phones exhibit some notable differences. While both boast a generous 6.79-inch 90Hz display, the Redmi 12 5G stands out with its additional capabilities.
Both the Redmi 12 phones share common features, including an expansive 6.79-inch 90Hz display, an updated glass back design, a robust 5000mAh battery, and a 50MP primary camera. However, the key distinction lies in their processors: the Redmi 12 5G employs the Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 chip, enabling 5G connectivity, while the Redmi 12 4G relies on the MediaTek Helio G88. Interestingly, the standard Redmi 12 incorporates an ultrawide camera, a feature missing from the more expensive Redmi 12 5G.
Xiaomi Redmi 12 5G Specs at a Glance:
- Dimensions: 168.6 x 76.3 x 8.2mm, Weight: 199g
- Build: Glass front (Gorilla Glass), plastic frame, glass back (Gorilla Glass); IP53-rated for dust and splash resistance
- Display: 6.79″ IPS LCD, 90Hz refresh rate, 550 nits peak brightness, 1080x2460px resolution, 20.5:9 aspect ratio, 396ppi pixel density
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 (4 nm) – Octa-core CPU (2×2.2 GHz Cortex-A78 & 6x Cortex-A55); Adreno 613 GPU
- Memory: 128GB storage with 4GB RAM, 128GB storage with 6GB RAM, 256GB storage with 8GB RAM; UFS 2.2; microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot)
- Operating System: Android 13 with MIUI 14
- Rear Camera: 50 MP wide (main) with f/1.8 aperture and PDAF; 2 MP depth sensor with f/2.4 aperture
- Front Camera: 8 MP wide with f/2.0 aperture and 1.12µm pixel size
- Video Capture: Rear camera: 1080p@30fps; Front camera: 1080p@30fps
- Battery: 5000mAh capacity; 18W wired charging, PD (Power Delivery)
- Connectivity: 5G, Hybrid Dual SIM, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.3, Infrared port, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Miscellaneous: Side-mounted fingerprint reader, Virtual proximity sensing
Both the Redmi 12 and Redmi 12 5G maintain Xiaomi’s tradition of offering budget-friendly smartphones. The Redmi 12 starts at $120, while the Redmi 12 5G begins at $145. In this review, we’ll focus on the more feature-rich Redmi 12 5G to assess its performance and capabilities.
The Redmi 12 5G comes with essential accessories, including a 22.5W charger and a charging cable with a USB-A connector. Additionally, the packaging includes a clear soft silicone case to protect your new device.
The Redmi 12 5G boasts an elegant and refined design that defies its budget-friendly pricing. Its front is dominated by a spacious 6.79-inch display, the largest ever seen on a mainline Redmi series device. Although there are noticeable bezels around the display, they are not overly distracting. However, you might feel the raised edge lining around the screen while swiping from the edges.
The phone’s frame is constructed from plastic but features a matte finish that closely resembles aluminum. On the right side, you’ll find the power button and volume rocker. Notably, the power button incorporates a fingerprint sensor, effectively utilizing the limited available space.
At the bottom of the phone, a single loudspeaker and microphone are positioned next to a USB-C connector. Meanwhile, the top of the phone houses an IR blaster and a headphone jack, catering to users who prefer wired audio. On the left side, you’ll find the SIM tray.
Turning to the back of the phone, it features a glass cover, imparting a premium feel and a pristine reflective surface that lacks the warping commonly seen in plastic finishes. This glass back is also more scratch-resistant compared to glossy plastic surfaces, which are susceptible to damage.
The Redmi 12 5G comes in three striking colors: glossy black, iridescent silver, and pastel blue, each contributing to its aesthetic appeal.
The camera lenses are arranged at the top of the back panel in a familiar pattern, and the absence of a border surrounding them gives the phone a clean and modern look. The lenses are further adorned with metallic rings, adding a touch of sophistication.
The Redmi 12 5G boasts a sturdy build and feels durable in hand. The inclusion of Corning Gorilla Glass on both the front and back enhances its premium quality, while the IP53 splash resistance rating offers additional peace of mind. However, due to its size, the phone can feel somewhat heavy and unwieldy at times.
The Redmi 12 5G is equipped with a 6.79-inch IPS LCD panel featuring a resolution of 2460 x 1080 pixels. This display supports 8-bit color and can achieve a refresh rate of up to 90Hz.
While the display doesn’t offer an exceptionally wide color gamut, even in its default Vivid mode or the optional Saturated mode, the colors don’t appear significantly more vibrant than in Standard or sRGB mode. Notably, the Standard mode exhibits better-calibrated white point, as the Vivid and Standard modes tend to appear too cool and blue.
In terms of contrast and black-level performance, the IPS panel delivers respectable results. However, viewing angles are not particularly wide, and the panel noticeably dims when viewed off-axis, even though color shifting remains minimal.
The display offers multiple refresh rate options, including 30Hz, 48Hz, 60Hz, and 90Hz. Additionally, there’s a Default mode that dynamically adjusts the refresh rate based on on-screen content. Even if you manually set the screen to 90Hz, it may still drop down based on the scenario. However, there’s typically no discernible difference between choosing this mode and leaving the screen in the Default mode for most applications.
The display primarily refreshes at 90Hz, dropping to 48Hz when not in use. When playing video, the refresh rate drops to 30Hz for content below 30fps and 60Hz for content above that threshold. Notably, the display does not refresh at 48Hz for 24fps or 48fps content.
In terms of motion performance, the LCD panel offers decent performance, minimizing long trailing effects behind moving objects on the screen.
The only notable drawback of the Redmi 12 5G’s display is its peak brightness, which, at the advertised 550 nits, may not suffice for outdoor visibility under direct sunlight, making it somewhat challenging to view at times. Nevertheless, considering its price range, the display remains serviceable and generally good.
The Redmi 12 5G packs a robust 5000mAh battery and supports 18W charging. It comes with a 22.5W charger included in the box.
Charging speeds on the Redmi 12 5G, while not particularly swift compared to some contemporary devices, are in line with its price class. Using the provided charger, the phone reaches a 50% charge after one hour, while a full 100% charge requires approximately 2 hours and 24 minutes. Therefore, charging overnight is advisable for full replenishment.
The Redmi 12 5G features a single down-firing loudspeaker. While its sound quality is understandably less than optimal when watching content in landscape mode, it is acceptable for the growing number of portrait-oriented videos.
However, the speaker’s quality is somewhat subpar. At lower volumes, the sound may appear muffled and congested, with increased volume often causing it to become overwhelmed. At maximum volume, the various sounds tend to blend together, creating a less-than-ideal listening experience. Additionally, the speaker does not achieve particularly high volume levels. Consequently, it is advisable to use headphones whenever possible.
On a positive note, the Redmi 12 5G retains a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, a feature becoming increasingly rare. Furthermore, Xiaomi has included an FM radio, which adds an extra layer of convenience. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that Xiaomi applies its audio processing through the Sound effects option by default, with no apparent way to disable it; users can only select from preset options.
The Redmi 12 5G comes equipped with MIUI 14, based on Android 13. However, it’s important to note that our Indian review unit runs the Indian version of MIUI, which differs from the global version and lacks certain features. Additionally, the Redmi 12 5G disables some visual features, such as transparency effects, in an effort to potentially enhance performance.
The software experience on the Redmi 12 5G is somewhat underwhelming. MIUI has remained relatively unchanged over the past few years, and this lack of evolution is starting to become noticeable. Its iOS-inspired design, while once fresh and exciting, now feels outdated and creates an awkward juxtaposition whenever a native Android prompt appears on the screen.
Out of the box, the phone includes a fair amount of pre-installed bloatware, although most of it can be removed. However, Xiaomi tends to include its own versions of apps alongside Google’s, resulting in duplications. This redundancy extends to having two dialers, two SMS apps, two media gallery apps, two file managers, and more. There are even two app stores, adding further to the clutter.
Ads and promoted content remain a part of the Redmi experience, although most can be disabled after initial encounters. Some pre-installed Xiaomi apps may send numerous notifications throughout the day, potentially leading users to disable them permanently.
The lack of attention to detail is also evident in the UI, with many text bubbles and icons appearing cramped, as if they were not designed to accommodate the text they contain. Localization efforts appear subpar, with text frequently struggling to fit within designated spaces. For example, the Calendar icon barely accommodates the word ‘Wednesday,’ highlighting the need for better optimization. Additionally, changing display scaling remains a cumbersome process, requiring access to developer settings.
The Redmi 12 5G is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 (SM4450) chipset, featuring 2x 2.2GHz Cortex-A78-derived Kryo Gold cores and 6x 2.0GHz Cortex-A55-derived Kryo Silver cores, along with the Adreno 613 GPU clocked at 955MHz.
The device offers memory options of 4GB, 6GB, and 8GB, with the ability to expand memory up to 8GB using a memory extension feature. It’s important to note that this extension relies on a pagefile located on the storage and doesn’t offer the full speed of LPDDR4X memory. Storage options include 128GB or 256GB in UFS 2.2 format, with the option to expand storage further using microSD cards, though this requires sacrificing the second SIM slot.
Unsurprisingly, the Redmi 12 5G is a modestly powerful smartphone. For everyday smartphone activities like calling, messaging, web browsing, music playback, and video streaming, the device performs reasonably well. However, when multitasking or engaging in more demanding tasks, such as gaming, the phone may experience some slowdowns.
In terms of gaming, simpler games run smoothly, but more complex 3D titles may challenge the GPU’s capabilities at this resolution, potentially resulting in less playable frame rates.
It’s important to note that most users are not power users or hardcore gamers, and the Redmi 12 5G offers sufficient processing power for typical smartphone tasks. However, over time, the device’s performance may decline, particularly with the 4GB and 6GB memory variants, potentially limiting the device’s usable lifespan. The 8GB variant is recommended for users concerned about future OS and app updates, which tend to increase in size.