Budget smartphones obviously come with a number of compromises, which was not the case in pre-pandemic times. But once in a while there comes a phone that keeps most important features intact to offer a good experience. The device is called Redmi 12.
I have been trying the phone only for a few days and will offer you a full review later. There are a few things about the phone that have impressed me. For example, the back panel of the phone; it’s glass and not plastic. And it has Gorilla Glass protection. Xiaomi calls it Crystal Glass Design but what matters is that the overall finish punches above its weight. Once you put on the back cover that comes in the box, chances of accidental damage decrease quite a bit.
Xiaomi has retained most of the important hardware that the company is known for, namely 3.5mm headphone port and IR Blaster (you can control the air condition or fan). On top of this, there is IP53 rating.
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Most budget category phones don’t come with 5G support and this one too doesn’t have it but unlike other brands, fewer corners have been cut. Further, Xiaomi has plenty of phones that offer 5G, so it helps to have an option. 5G coverage will only improve over the coming years and for the time being, some may prefer continuing on 4G. What the company is offering is a hybrid SIM slot and micro SD support of up to 1TB. Plus, the base variant is coming with 128GB storage and not 64GB (which is usually the case).
If you thought compromises will be made to the display, think again. It’s a 6.79-inch FHD+ display and has an adaptive 90Hz refresh rate. Colours are more or less accurate and scrolling appears to be smooth. Depending on the app, the phone will adjust the refresh rate, which also helps save battery. Having a large screen, watching content on YouTube is not a problem. Maybe the only quibble would be the single speaker setup. It gets loud but stereo speakers would have been better.
Coming to performance, the phone is powered by MediaTek Helio G88. It’s an efficient processor for everyday use and I wouldn’t use it too much for gaming. Casual gaming works fine but nothing too complicated for too long. Helping the processor is the 6GB RAM in the review device (there is also a 4GB variant) and virtual memory extension is possible — up to 6GB.
In the camera department, there is a winner — the 8MP ultra-wide camera that keeps the 50MP main snapper company. Also, there is a 2MP macro camera. In budget phones one rarely comes across a good ultra-wide camera. Photos come out fine under sunny conditions and colours maintain their natural tone. Even the selfie camera works well.
Picture sample from Redmi 12
The software on the phone is Android 13 on top of which there is MIUI 14. You get a 5,000mAh battery, which easily lasts a day. And there are two years of software updates and three years of security updates. Looking at the overall package, one can hardly complain. For someone who uses a phone for communication and casual streaming, this would be a great choice. Pricing? You will know about it soon. Overall, Redmi 12 has the potential to become the king of budget phones.