Technology

Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 12 series (Review)

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The 12 Pro+ and its 200Mp camera get most of the attention, but it’s important not to ignore the cheaper models. At £339/€399, the regular Note 12 Pro is noticeably more affordable, with camera and charging speed the most obvious compromises.

But from testing the phone, it’s remarkable how quickly those downgrades fade into the background. It makes the 12 Pro a real mid-range contender, with the strength of the competition the main obstacle to buying one. Here’s our full review.

 

Design & build

Glass front and back

IP53 rating

3.5mm headphone jack

The Redmi Note 12 Pro has a near-identical design to the 12 Pro+, the most expensive model in the series. That reflects very well on the former: the 12 Pro looks and feels just like a flagship phone.

Perhaps the only compromise compared to high-end phones is that the glass back isn’t the strengthened Gorilla Glass standard. The Note 12 Pro is more susceptible to damage as a result, but I’d feel confident in it surviving most drops.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro - design

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

You also get impressive ingress protection for the price. An IP53 rating means it can handle dust well, along with splashes of water, though it won’t survive a full dunk in a bathtub.

Opting for plastic rather than aluminium on the sides adds grip to what would otherwise be a slippery phone. It means you can get away without using a case, although it’s much more comfortable to hold with the silicone case included in the box applied.

There are three colour options to choose from, but the ‘Midnight Black’ version you see in photos is the most reflective by far. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the back of the phone could double as a mirror.

Unless you put on a case, you’ll also have to contend with lots of fingerprint smudges and other dirt. The 12 Pro quickly accumulates both, so be prepared to clean the back of the phone just as much as the front.

 

The 12 Pro looks and feels just like a flagship phone

Fortunately, both these concerns can be addressed by opting for a ‘Polar White’ or ‘Sky Blue’ finish instead. These shimmer in the light rather than showing a reflection of your environment. Xiaomi could work on making the CE information and Redmi branding more discreet, but both are easy to ignore.

 

But whichever colour you choose, the camera module is the defining feature here. It’s not particularly attractive, but impressively sits almost flush with the back of the phone. If you do use a case, there’s no wobble at all when using it face up on a table – that’s something I can really appreciate.

 

At 187g, the Note 12 Pro is significantly lighter than most phones with such large displays. It feels slightly less premium as a result, but I certainly don’t miss the extra bulk that comes with it.

But with no in-display fingerprint sensor, you’ll be relying on the physical one built into the power button instead. It’s not quite as convenient, but easy to set up and actually more reliable. This doesn’t feel like a compromise at all.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro - right side

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

As expected, there’s a USB-C port for charging. But it’s a pleasant surprise to see the 3.5mm audio jack retained. If you have great wired headphones that rely on it, not needing an adapter is great.

Elsewhere, the vibration motors on the Note 12 Pro are about as good as you can get on a phone. Their subtle haptic feedback makes locking your phone, multitasking and selecting apps feel that bit more immersive.

Screen & speakers

  • Excellent 6.67in OLED screen
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • Decent stereo speakers

Impressively, the Note 12 Pro has a display that wouldn’t look out of place on almost any high-end handset.

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