OnePlus 12 Review: A Budget-Friendly Flagship with No Frills

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OnePlus 12 Review: A Budget-Friendly Flagship with No Frills

In a tech landscape where flagship smartphones are increasingly laden with bells and whistles, the OnePlus 12 offers a refreshing departure. Priced at $800, which is $200 less than its counterpart, the Galaxy S24+, this device may evoke a sense of nostalgia for a simpler era, reminiscent of a time just a decade ago. However, amidst the rapid advancements in technology, the OnePlus 12 stands out for its straightforward approach, devoid of extravagant editing tools and artificial intelligence features. Boasting a beautiful display, robust construction, reliable cameras, top-tier hardware, and exceptional battery life, this phone focuses on delivering the essentials exceptionally well.

Visual Presentation

The OnePlus 12 sports a 6.8-inch screen with a stunning 3,168 x 1440 display resolution. Utilizing a revolutionary 2,610Hz pulse width modulation (PWM) method, the panel incorporates a 120Hz variable refresh rate, ensuring a flicker-free experience even at low brightness levels (below 70 nits). Encased in Gorilla Glass Victus 2 with an attractive matte finish, the rear features a sizable yet somewhat cumbersome camera module. Its texture feels notably premium, making it a challenge to consider covering it with a case. Despite not quite matching the standards set by industry giants like Samsung and Google, the OnePlus 12 offers dust and water resistance with an IP65 rating, marking it as the brand’s best-rated device for such protection yet, adequately equipped to handle spills and splashes.

Performance

Despite its retro-inspired aesthetic, the OnePlus 12 delivers top-tier performance typical of Android flagship devices. Available with either 12GB or 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage, it runs on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor. The phone exhibits remarkable fluidity in operation, despite some benchmark scores falling short of expectations, as noted by other publications. Whether loading apps or playing games, the experience remains seamless, with smooth transitions between tasks. Thanks to OnePlus’ memory optimization feature, which keeps up to six apps suspended in the background for up to 72 hours, users can enjoy uninterrupted access to their favorite applications without the need for frequent refreshes.

Camera

Equipped with a triple-lens setup comprising a 50-MP primary camera, a 48-MP ultra-wide lens, and a 64-MP telephoto lens, the OnePlus 12’s camera system competes favorably with those found in the Galaxy S24 series. Daytime shots exhibit vibrant colors and impressive detail, with OnePlus’ white balance producing more neutral tones compared to the warmer hues of Samsung devices. While nighttime photography may yield slightly softer and darker results than those captured by the S24 Ultra, the difference remains marginal. Notably, the 3x telephoto lens captures sharp images, even of subjects in motion. Users should be mindful to disable the Hasselblad watermark feature within the camera app upon first use for a pristine shooting experience.

Charging and Battery Life

OnePlus 12 Review: A Budget-Friendly Flagship with No Frills
Image credit: Sam Rutherford

The OnePlus 12 sets a new standard for battery longevity, with its 5,400 mAh cell enduring an impressive 26 hours and 40 minutes in local video playback tests. This represents an improvement of over six hours compared to its predecessor, the OP11, and over two hours compared to the Galaxy S24 Ultra. Utilizing the included power brick and cable, the phone’s battery charges from 10% to 55% in approximately 10 minutes. Alternatively, when placed on OnePlus’ wireless charging pad (sold separately for $50), the device can achieve a 10% to 37% charge in the same timeframe. While these charging speeds are impressive, they are exclusive to OnePlus’ official accessories; using standard USB-PD or Qi chargers may result in slower charging rates.

Final Thoughts

In a market inundated with smartphones boasting AI-driven features, the OnePlus 12 shines as a beacon of simplicity without sacrificing performance or essential functionality. With its expansive, vibrant display, robust hardware, and unparalleled battery life, the OnePlus 12 presents an enticing package even without the promised artificial intelligence enhancements slated for future software updates. Priced at $800, it stands as a compelling alternative to its counterparts, such as the Galaxy S24+, offering comparable specifications at a more affordable price point. Furthermore, OnePlus’ trade-in offer, which discounts an additional $100 regardless of the age or condition of the traded-in device, enhances the OnePlus 12’s value proposition. In a landscape increasingly dominated by complexity, the OnePlus 12 stands tall as a testament to simplicity done right, effortlessly catering to the needs of discerning users seeking a device that excels in the essentials.

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