OnePlus 12 Review: OnePlus’ Best Flagship Smartphone In Years

The new OnePlus 12 stands out among flagships, offering stellar performance, amazing battery life and a competitive price tag. Read on to know why it might be your top choice
OnePlus 12
OnePlus 12

It’s only March, and we’ve already seen plenty of flagship killers launched into a crowded smartphone market in India. Whilst some of them are very good, there’s no denying that the extra bells and whistles that you get with a true flagship smartphone are undeniable. Especially when that smartphone is at a discount to certain other smartphones - here’s looking at you Apple and Samsung - out there.

Let me present to you, the one and only, OnePlus 12. It is one of the best flagships OnePlus has put out in years. It may be devoid of all the AI features other smartphone manufacturers are touting, but that’s the only gripe I can find after weeks of testing and using the smartphone.

At a starting price of Rs 64,999, the OnePlus 12 undercuts the Samsung Galaxy S24 Series and the iPhone 15 Series. It is even cheaper than the Pixel 8 Series. That, in itself, is a good place to be for the OnePlus 12. The OnePlus 12 is available in Flowy Emerald and Silky Black colourways.

The OnePlus 12, despite lacking AI features, has a lot going for it. There’s a great screen, reliable cameras, excellent performance, absolutely incredible battery life, and an all-round solid battery life

A familiar design and an excellent display

If you’ve used a OnePlus 11 or a OnePlus 11R device, then you’d feel right at home. Not much has changed regarding the design language. It’s got the same circular module for the camera, along with an ‘H’ for the Hasselblad branding (a change from the whole name being written). The soft matte finish on the back means the smartphone is good to hold and isn’t slippery. Furthermore, it has tapered edges and rounded corners. It’s devious of fingerprints and smudges, which is a welcome relief.

All, in all, it is a premium design with good looks. A lot of people I’ve shown the device to have taken a liking to the design. I’m a little bored by manufacturers recycling the design language year after year, but I can’t deny that it isn’t nice. Inside the box is a silicone case, which is quite handy.

OnePlus has outfitted a 6.8-inch LTPO AMOLED panel (with a 3168x1440 resolution and 120Hz refresh rate). Some companies like Google and Samsung are moving away from curved displays, but OnePlus is sticking with them. The downside is that some content may extend into the curve, hence a visual distortion. Also, the device is more prone to accidental pressing than some of its competitors out there.

Still, with that said, the display is gorgeous and it is protected with Corning Gorillas Glass Victus 2. OnePlus boasts a peak brightness of 4,500 nits (with a nominal brightness of 1,600 nits). Outdoor legibility is no problem for this device. The screen has bright and accurate colours and it's a pleasure to consume content on it. Why do I say this? Because apart from the display, the sound quality is great. The OnePlus 12 features stereo speakers and both provide a good balance of volume and clarity. What I mean is that even at louder volumes, the sound is crisp and clean.

With the OnePlus 12, the volume buttons are now on the same side as the power button. Easier to navigate them with one hand.

There’s an optical fingerprint scanner underneath the display that works as advertised. It’s fast and accurate. One thing OnePlus has retained is the IR blaster. This means the OnePlus 12 can serve as a universal remote for other electronics within your house.

The famous alert slider - for toggling notification sound, vibration, and DND mode - lives on. Hallelujah!

Last, but not least, the phone is IP64-rated. Not what one would expect in a flagship, but not the worst offender out there.

That Snapdragon 8 Gen 3

I don’t need to go into details about Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset. It’s fast and furious, and OnePlus has done well to tweak the performance and improve the efficiency of OxygenOS. The OnePlus 12 is swift, and there are no evident lags or stutters. Whether you’re playing games, browsing the web, watching videos, multitasking, or taking dozens of photos, the phone will not disappoint.

The OnePlus 12 runs on OxygenOS 14 (which is based on Android 14). It’s plenty customisable and will enthral any Android enthusiasts out there.

OnePlus will be providing four years of Android updates and five years of security patches for the OnePlus 12. Less than what some of its rival manufacturers offer, but better than before.

A reliable camera system

The OnePlus 12 comes with three rear cameras that are a step up from the OnePlus 11. There's the 50MP main camera, a 48MP ultra-wide camera and a 64MP telephoto camera (with 3x optical zoom). It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it is a solid and reliable camera set.

The main camera is the best as it provides nice-looking images with good colour sharpness and great detailing. Even when the lighting isn’t the best, the smartphone outputs photos that outshine some of its main rivals. Side-by-side with the Pixel 8 Pro and most couldn’t tell a

difference. In some instances, the OnePlus device won out, and in others, the Pixel won. That is a compliment for OnePlus that it can match up with the might of Google’s hardware and software imaging combo.

The 64MP 3x telephoto camera outdid my expectations. I managed sharp photos of flowers and even of a leaf fluttering away with the wind. The telephoto camera can do an in-sensor zoom and reach 6x magnification (with digital zoom on top). The 6x zoom, in good daylight conditions, is very good. In low light though, it struggles.

The same can be said about the ultra-wide camera. It is very good in the day, with good HDR and lots of details retained. When the lighting situations are tough, the ultra-wide seems to fall off a cliff and struggle a lot.

Overall, the OnePlus outputs more natural photos with the main camera than many other smartphones that I’ve recently tried.

The ultra-wide may struggle a bit with slightly inconsistent colours, but the main and telephoto cameras make up for it.

The selfie camera produces sharp photos and lets in a lot of light. It’s something that I can get on board with.

All-in-all, the camera system is reliable, but I prefer the camera on the OnePlus Open to the OnePlus 12.

Outstanding battery life and ultra-fast charging

Thanks to OnePlus’ software optimisations and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3’s improved efficiency, the 5,400mAh battery (dual 2,700mAh batteries) delivers fantastic battery life. The OnePlus 12 has the best battery life of any OnePlus phone I have tested.

With a medium-to-heavy usage pattern, I was able to get almost one and a half days of juice on a single charge. My screen-on-time (SoT) was constantly over six and a half hours. That’s what I call stellar battery life.

If you ever need to top up the phone’s battery, then the fast charging will do it in a jiffy. OnePlus 12 features SuperVOOC 100W charging. The phone can be juiced from nought to a hundred in just 26-27 minutes. The phone also supports wireless charging (a step up from the OnePlus 11). It supports up to 50-watt speeds and can juice up the smartphone in 55 minutes.

There is even reverse-wireless charging at up to 10 watts. It’s a little difficult, thanks to the circular camera bump, but it does work with a little effort.

Verdict: The best flagship from OnePlus in years?

That’s a resounding yes. OnePlus has upped the game and how. The phone may not have the best-in-class camera, and it may not have an eye-catching design but with a fantastic display, excellent battery life and blazing fast performance, the OnePlus 12 is a winner. It’s good to see a relatively clean and easily customisable OxygenOS.

There is competition from the Samsung Galaxy S24, the iPhone 15, Pixel 8 and some other phones. OnePlus has ensured that, if you don’t need all the bells and whistles, then the OnePlus 12 will remain at top of consumers shopping lists

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