Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi kicked off 2023 with the launch of three smartphones in its Redmi Note series. Leading the pack is the Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus, a midrange smartphone with 200-megapixel primary camera sensor supported by optical image stabilization, 4980 mAh battery, 120W fast wired charging solution, and AMOLED screen of 120Hz refresh rate with support for HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus 5G is an all-round upgrade, but is it a ‘Super Note’? Let’s find out:
The Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus is a thick-and-heavy smartphone with a design that seems to be an afterthought. Not that it looks bad, but there is no novelty here. The phone has a boxy body with a plastic frame and glass on the front (Gorilla Glass 5) and back. The blue colour variant (review unit) has a matte finish on the back glass that makes it less susceptible to fingerprints and smudges. Adding a premium touch to the back profile is a metallic camera module, which is painted in the same colour for uniform design language. However, it protrudes overly from the body and makes the phone wobble on flat surfaces.
Display and audio
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus sports a 6.67-inch fullHD+ AMOLED screen of 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. The top and sides bezels around the screen are symmetrical in size, but there is a thick one on the chin. Another odd-looking element is the punch-hole cutout on the screen that is twice the size of the front camera it accommodates.
Aesthetic details aside, the screen is bright and offers good sunlight legibility. It has a good contrast with deep blacks and fine whites – something that comes to notice especially while viewing high dynamic range content. The screen is responsive too, and it auto adjusts the refresh rate based on on-screen content requirements. However, the experience is not smooth across the board. Some apps, especially those with vertical content feeds such as Twitter and Google News, do not always scroll up and down as expected from a screen of 120Hz refresh rate.
Complementing the screen is the phone’s audio capability, supported by Dolby Atmos. The speakers are good, and deliver loud and balanced output. The smartphone’s audio prowess extends to wired and wireless audio, thanks to Hi-Res certification. That said, the audio experience is solid and elevates the multimedia and gaming experience of the phone.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus sports a 200MP primary camera sensor with OIS, paired with an 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera sensor, and a 2MP macro lens. On the front, there is a 16MP camera sensor.
Like other midrange phones, it is the primary camera sensor lifting the experience with consistent performance irrespective of lighting conditions. The megapixel rich sensor enables natural shallow depth-of-field, which adds zing to otherwise regular shots. On the down side, the sensor takes time in locking focus and is not particularly quick in terms of shutter speed.
As for the ultra-wide-angle sensor, it is good but not the best. It captures detailed shots but with soft and distorted edges. Its low-light performance is sub-par, especially in terms of detailing, colours, and contrast. Likewise, the macro sensor is good but Xiaomi had phones with better macro sensors in the past. Coming to the front camera, it works fine in daylight conditions but softens the frame in low light. It is good for selfies, video calls, and self-portraits though.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus can record up to 4K resolution videos at 30 frames-per-second from the primary sensor. The ultra-wide-angle sensor goes up to 1080p at 30fps and the macro lens records a 720p resolution video at 30fps. The front camera can record 1080p videos at 60fps. For novelty, there are add-on imaging features such as Vlog and filters.
Powered by MediaTek Dimensity 1080 system-on-chip, the Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus offers a balanced mix of performance and power efficiency. It works well for most day-to-day operations, and handles with ease heavy-duty tasks like gaming and multimedia editing. On extensive usage, especially while recording 4K resolution videos, the phone warms-up a bit but not to a point where it becomes uncomfortable to hold and operate.
On the software side, the phone boots Android 12 operating system-based MIUI 13 interface. The interface has bloatware, but most of it can be deleted from the system. Some system apps such as Cleaner, GetApps, Themes, and Game Center send unsolicited information updates through notifications, but there is a system setting to either snooze or turn off such notifications from settings.
Rounding off the package is the phone’s 4,980 mAh battery, which is good for a day of on-battery time on the 5G network with a display set to 120Hz refresh rate. The phone comes with a 120W fast-charger, which takes about 20 minutes to replenish a completely drained battery to its full capacity.
Priced at Rs 32,999 (review unit: 12GB + 256GB), the Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus is a solid midrange smartphone. Barring the design, the smartphone impresses on all fronts. Yet, calling it a super note is a hyperbole because the phone does not set benchmarks on any parameter. That said, even with its limitations, the Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus makes an all-round smartphone with something in store for everyone.