Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Review: What can 200MP on a budget get you?

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Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Review: What can 200MP on a budget get you?
The Note 12 Pro Plus — what a mouthful of a name — is the latest flagship from Xiaomi’s sub-brand Redmi. It managed to impress with performance, which comes at just £449, but that price tag also translated into a slew of software bugs. If you’d like to find out if you can live with them, check out the details below.

Pros

  • Comfortable formfactor
  • Brilliant, fluid 120Hz display
  • Awesome software features
  • A truly impressive manual camera mode
  • Can handle pretty much anything you can throw at it
  • A solid software support lifecycle
  • Insanely fast 120W charging

Cons

  • Ads in various system apps and settings
  • Prompts to use said apps via notifications that can’t be turned off
  • Not tons, but still some bloatware
  • Random bugs that are hard to figure out
  • Aggressive RAM flushing without any reason
  • Wonky camera features, trying to compete with Google Pixel phones

This phone is part of the Redmi Note 12 series, which consists of:

  • Redmi Note 12 - 50MP main cam, is powered by the Snapdragon 685CPU and pretty much the same features as the Pro+
  • Redmi Note 12S - 108MP main sensor, the MediaTek Helio G96CPU and a screen that goes up to 90Hz
  • Redmi Note 12 Pro - same 108MP camera as above, runs on the Snapdragon® 732GCPU and has an almost identical form factor to the Pro+
  • Redmi Note 12 Pro+ which you are about to get acquainted with in detail

All of which have 5G counterparts too. As you can see, the 12 Pro+ is on the high end of this Redmi spectrum. And out of the box, it pretty much behaves as such, even if you have to bear with the setup process first.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Unboxing



The Redmi 12 Pro+ comes in a pretty standard box, but you are sure to notice its weight, which teases something premium inside. Speaking of which, there you’ll find:

  • A charging cable with a snazzy orange tint
  • A 120W charging brick so massive, that it can be used as a weapon
  • A SIM-ejector tool
  • A silicon case, which is too tight to fit the phone right
  • The typical paper inserts
  • Oh, and the Note 12 Pro+ phone from Redmi

In a world where big tech companies such as Google still use the term “fast charging” when referring to a measly 18W charging speeds, it’s difficult to comment on a brick that proudly states 120W. It’s massive!

While I am typically a fan of pre-packaged cases, this time around I’m displeased as can be. The included silicone case is too small for the phone. The buttons don’t match their respective bumps and cut-outs and after trying to give the phone a better fit, I gave up.

The case doesn’t offer good protection either. It lifts up the screen in order to protect it, sure, but the same can’t be said for the camera bumps, which are the first things to touch any surface if you place the phone on its back. And that is precisely what most people do, as this allows them to see the screen.

The phone was in my backpack, my pocket and when at home — sat exclusively on my soft desk mat, but even at that the cameras somehow got noticeable scratches in less than a week.

I look after my own daily drivers the same way and none of them have ever gotten their cameras scratched. Don’t trust the case, folks! If you are planning on getting a Note 12 Pro+, get another case or camera protectors ASAP!

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Specs



I know what you are thinking: that Dimensity 1080 chip inside the Redmi has nothing on the latest Snapdragon chips! And in terms of raw power: that is true. But even though some games won’t allow you to select the higher “Ultra” settings, the Note 12 Pro does not behave like a sub-par device at all.

With its 8GB of RAM and a fast UFS2.2 256GB of storage, the phone feels snappy, responsive and fun to work with. Even if MiUI gets in the way of that enjoyment just as much as it tries to enhance it.

But beyond the most notable factors, the Redmi 12 Pro+ is built and optimized in a way, which truly brings that flagship-grade vibe. Especially when you turn on that 120Hz refresh rate and performance mode: you are unlikely to tell the difference between this beast and one of a more prestigious pedigree.

Note 12 Pro+ Design & Colors



The Note 12 Pro+ is a looker for sure! It is available in good ol’ Black and White, but the Blue variant is the one we’ve got. The shades of the color sway in ways that are always fun to look at, while the matte finish on the phone’s glass back is certain to attract the eyes of those around you. Bummer that its frame is made of plastic though!

That being said, the form is rather large. For people with smaller hands, this may be an issue, but for a large-handed individual such as myself, the fit was just right. It feels good too: cool to the touch, heavy when you pick it up, but comfortable nonetheless.

Its display is covered by a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and its protection rating sits at IP53. That means that splashes and rain would be fine, but dunking or dropping it in the sand is a no-go, which is a bummer for clumsy peeps like me.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Display



On a smartphone like this, with a 6.67" OLED panel, that 120Hz hits like a truck, filled with bliss.

Even if the resolution is FHD+, I didn’t notice any issues. In fact, even when pixel-peeping while playing around with the camera, I was pretty much under the impression that this was a 4K screen.

Display Measurements



Auto-brightness managed to miss the mark more times than it hit it, but even at that, I never felt like the display wasn’t capable of being as bright, dark or saturated as I needed it to be.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Camera



The Note 12 Pro+ has a 200MP primary sensor, accompanied by an 8MP ultra–wide and a 2MP macro camera. But it is what these cameras are capable of that makes or breaks the setup. In this case, it's a mixed bag so odd that it kind of balances itself out.

For some reason, this phone’s camera app — and I assume this is valid for the entire line up of the series — really wants to be a Pixel camera app. It has an AI mode that tries to correct things in real time, while the Gallery app has a slew of features that are obviously “inspired” by those found on Pixels, such as subject erasure and sky enhancement.



At the same time, it has its own goodies too, like an Ultra HD mode, enabled through the 200MP sensor. But when you try to use it, you can see how the phone is failing at trying to figure out what you want it to do, as its focus shifts from subject to subject.

The AI-powered features were spotty at best too. The automatic color correction, which the camera app tries to apply in real time, always got in my way instead of helping me out. And, in all honesty, if you’ve tried to erase subjects on a Pixel phone, you’ll be able to tell instantly that Redmi’s variant is nowhere near as good.



Then you’ve got a Portrait mode too, but the jagged cutout it creates around subjects makes its attempt at a proper bokeh feel like a bad Photoshop job from a Junior designer. As such, I tried it twice and then banished it forever from my quick access bar.

Now, I may have done things wrong, but as soon as those 200MP snaps got off the phone and on a PC, that promised Ultra-HD oomph got lost. I also noticed that the file size became way lower, so I just ditched the idea of using the phone how it wanted me to.


And then, I found out that the camera array itself is very solid. Beyond the AI-powered stuff, it is still feature-packed, but the trade-off is that you’ll have to rely on yourself to get the most out of the experience.

So long as you turn off AI and enable HDR, you can still reliably use the Redmi Note Pro+ as a point-and-shoot. In fact, even in low-light conditions, the results are admirable. Zoom didn’t work as well though and the resulting images, even with the 200MP mode, were blurry and jagged.



But hidden in the camera app’s hamburger menu are extra features that I got tons of mileage out of. One of those is the built-in cinema crop, which I loved. I use this type of framing very often and not having the need to manually apply it every time lifted a huge weight off my shoulders.

Then there’s macro mode, which is extremely good. It adds a realistic bokeh, produces beautiful tones, and the details you’ll get out of it are just incredible. I loved it!



Then you have the icing on the cake: the Pro Mode, which features an astounding slew of manual controls.

A bit of context here: I don’t typically use Pro Mode on most flagships, because they come from prolific manufacturers. As such, I know that I can trust the camera to do its thing and as most of you know — oftentimes, that works just fine.

But I’ll tell you that the results I got out of the Redmi Note 12 Pro+’s Pro Mode were incredibly impressive. They felt moody, realistic and were a pure joy to use. In fact, I had just as much fun as using a DSLR, save for lens swapping.

Pro Mode shots with Redmi Note 12 Pro+




As someone who has previously trusted Sony’s latest Xperia I line, I can tell you this: Sony has tons to learn from Redmi.

My only other gripe with the camera app is the way the UI is handled. Some settings are hidden in the Hamburger menu and can’t be brought up to the fast access bar — among them, the macro mode and cinema crop — while others are hidden on the far right. This made navigation confusing, as I’d much rather be able to set things up as I see fit.

Video Quality


Video Thumbnail


Shooting video on the Note 12 Pro+, on the other hand, is as straightforward as it can get: you select your preferred resolution, which can go up to 4K, click record and have at it! And the nifty 21:9 crop is available here too, which is extra-sweet!

Stabilization works like a charm and so long as you don’t make any sudden movements, your shots pretty much come with a very cinematic camera shake. Sound quality is solid, but the phone’s microphone picks up quite a lot of noise, regardless of what is going on around you.

The only real problem is that the autofocus isn’t always smart enough to recognise the subject you are tracking, so you have to keep an eye out for that. Tapping the screen usually corrects this, but the phone also uses that command for automatic lighting, so stay vigilant.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Performance & Benchmarks



I tried to get this phone to spazz out or at least warm up, even with performance mode on and all battery optimizations off, I couldn’t get it to budge. The phone’s nasty habit of aggressively flushing its 8GB of RAM — which wasn’t ever really required, mind you — probably had something to do with that.

The Note 12 Pro+ handled anything that I threw at it brilliantly, but also didn’t let me push game settings to the absolute limit. And you know what? For this price, I find that to be a fair trade-off.

Geekbench 6 SingleHigher is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro+959
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G994
Google Pixel 7a1437
Google Pixel 6a1428
Geekbench 6 MultiHigher is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro+2394
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G2765
Google Pixel 7a3461
Google Pixel 6a3313
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro+633
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G809
Google Pixel 7a1631
Google Pixel 6a1620
3DMark Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro+628
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G805
Google Pixel 7a1095
Google Pixel 6a1011


It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows though, especially if you are an advanced user like me and you know just what you can get out of hardware like this. For some reason, this phone acts like one with 6GB of slower RAM, without any valid reason.

In my quest to fix that, I found a setting that made me chuckle: Memory Extension. This has been a part of MIUI for a while and it basically allows the phone to create a pagefile for itself.

Think of that as a sort of virtual memory, which takes up Storage space instead of RAM. While this doesn’t affect performance, it increases the amount of apps you can keep active in the background. And to my surprise: it worked, even though this shouldn’t have been required to begin with.

Is there any trade off? In theory, this will wear down your storage faster, but your mileage will certainly vary. In the worst-case scenario, after years of use, your storage will get a bit slower. Personally, I can live with that, so I amped Memory Extension to the max.

I also found a Performance Mode that could help me push things even more. The phone warned me that turning the mode on could lead to heating, but nothing of the sort ever happened. Even heavier games like Call of Duty or Diablo: Immortal performed way better with this setting on and without any sign of warmth.

Hence, I just left this one on from that point on. That, in turn, didn’t lead to any additional battery drain for me. The only downside was a constant notification, continuously reminding me to turn Performance Mode off, without any valid reason for me to do so.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Android



I’ve never had such a love-hate relationship with an Android ROM as with MIUI. On one hand, it is customizable, sleek and has introduced me to some features that I literally do not know how to live without anymore.

On the other hand, it is clunky, buggy and behaves in ways that left me completely dumbfounded so many times, that I had to reach out to Android developers several times in order to figure out what was going on. And we couldn’t figure it out, which was kind of fun and refreshing.

I’ll list out the straightforward stuff first:

  • Yes there are pre-installed bloatware-esque apps. They can’t be uninstalled and they spam you with notifications that you can’t turn off.
  • Unfortunately, ads are found in said apps and within the Settings and Menus of MIUI itself. Sometimes you see them, other times not.
  • Tons of themes are available for free, 90% of the ones I tried had little to do with the advertised screenshots and I couldn’t figure out what I was missing.
  • The phone comes with some interesting tools such as a Compass, a built-in Antivirus app and a Cleaner app that doesn’t do anything meaningful.
  • Tons of features, some of which you’ll never find because they are tucked away under layers of menu options.
  • MIUI’s dropdown just adds more user input requests, which is the exact opposite of what a good UI should be doing. Looks great though!
  • Face Unlock and Fingerprint unlock still wanted me to swipe on the display in order for me to reach the home screen, which was just plain odd. I managed to fix that for Face Unlock, but it didn’t work for Fingerprint Unlock.
  • Sometimes the phone flushes out its cache so fast that Multitasking takes longer to set up than usual.
  • It comes with Android 12 out of the box, but with 13 available as an update and three years of OS upgrades.
  • You get four years of security updates with this phone and that is truly awesome!

Now, I’ll go a bit more in-depth with a feature I loved and a bug I hated.

I fell in love with MIUI’s Reading Mode. It doesn’t do much: it adds a paper-esque texture to the phone’s screen and tweaks the color profile a bit. But for me, the impact of that was huge. Eye strain was lessened to an extent I did not know existed.

Google, if you are reading this: steal this idea and include it in Android! It’s a life-saver!

On the other hand, the Redmi 12 Pro+ blocked my location settings for no reason. Initially, it asked me to set up location access settings just as usual. I agreed. And after that, it immediately prompted me to do the same thing again… and I did.

And then, the location was obliterated from my phone.. Upon a device reboot, the issue disappeared for a bit, but always came back. This drove me completely nuts, as I couldn’t figure out why it was happening for days on end.

It wasn’t until I started browsing the background processes that I had my breakthrough: the game booster was the culprit. For some reason, it was trying to optimize random apps in real time, without any indication. Once I turned it off, the issue disappeared.

I’ve got more examples, but all of them share the same trait: they show up out of the blue and the fix to the issue is always something incredibly niche. But even at that, I couldn’t stay mad at the phone, because it was so much fun to use in so many other aspects.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Battery



Battery performed about as well as I expected with the following settings enabled:

  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • Location services
  • Bluetooth enabled 24/7
  • WiFi/Mobile services enabled 24/7
  • Performance mode stayed on forever after I found it

Of course, when I was playing a more demanding game on higher settings, the battery did drain faster, but still — about as fast as on any other phone in a similar scenario.

Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro+9h 40 min
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G7h 44 min
Google Pixel 7a9h 7 min
Google Pixel 6a8h 51 min
Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro+12h 59 min
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G16h 11 min
Google Pixel 7a15h 27 min
Google Pixel 6a13h 51 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro+8h 37 min
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G5h 46 min
Google Pixel 7a4h 20 min
Google Pixel 6a6h 48 min
Charging time(hours)Lower is better
Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro+0h 24 min
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G1h 21 min
Google Pixel 7a1h 59 min
Google Pixel 6a1h 53 min


Eventually, the time to charge the phone came and I was surprised that the 120W charger didn’t juice up the phone as quickly as expected. But that was only because Super-fast charging isn’t enabled by default for some reason.

After a quick stop by the Settings app, everything went according to plan.

That being said, if you have any sort of misbehaving apps, the Battery section in Settings is where you should go. The phone likes to “optimize” your apps in order to save battery and the results were never good. When you turn that off, everything goes back to normal.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Audio Quality & Haptics



Given how well the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ performed, especially in-game, I expected its audio quality to be impressive too. And sure: the speakers on the phone are sufficiently loud and boast an admirable dynamic range.

That being said, the sound they produce sometimes feels as if it is clashing unto itself, which produces unpleasant noise. Mid-tones specifically often result in noticeable “sss” and “shh” sounds that are certainly not part of the original mix.

That being said, this didn’t dissuade me from listening to media or watching videos, as the beautiful screen certainly made up for it.

So, what about haptics? After I set up the phone initially, haptics were poppy and just a tad rubbery in a very unique way. They felt great! And then, the Gboard nation attacked.

I have no idea how I challenged the phone, but after changing my keyboard’s theme and height (only and specifically), haptics for typing changed forever. Now they are sluggish, awful and I hate them. And yes, it does mean that this is one of the things I didn’t manage to fix.

I’m pretty sure that this bug is something that I personally invoked through my black magic, but still it is an example of how MIUI is buggy in the most unexpected of ways. And yes, by the way, haptics beyond the keyboard remained just as good as before. Weird!

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Price & Rivals



Right out of the gate, you should know that the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ — and the entire Note 12 line for that matter — isn’t officially available in the US. As such, you won’t find it on offer through carriers or big box retailers, but you can find it on sale via smaller online stores.

The phone is officially available in the UK though, where it costs £449 (~$563 with direct conversion). This is the same price that the brand new Pixel 7a released with and it is also slightly cheaper than Samsung’s midrange equivalent: the Galaxy A54 5G, which would cost you £499.

Тhere are several variations of the Note 12 Pro+ that you’ll be able to encounter online:

The standard 256GB of storage combined with 8GB of RAM version
The same config as above, but with 5G support (found most often online)
A slightly pricier option with 256GB of storage and 12GB of RAM instead, and 5G too

So what can we say about the aforementioned other options from a similar price range:


If you decide to go with either of the Pixel phones, you’ll be getting a bit more longevity out of the deal, as they both come with four years of software upgrades and five years of security updates. Oh, and Google may just happen to be generous and increase the OS support period, as it’s sort of flexible.

With the Pixel 6a in particular, you’ll be getting one of the best budget phones and one of the best camera phones of 2022, but with the Pixel 7a you’ll be getting a brand new Tensor G2 chip inside, which is twice as fast and can do loads more tricks all-around.

And with the Galaxy A54, you’ll have the option to get a stress-free and straightforward experience. Samsung has been in the game for years and unlike with MIUI, One UI offers just as many sweet features, without as many hiccups, bugs or eerie situations that remind you of a haunting.

Still though, it is very hard to resist the raw power of the Note 12 Pro+. It has plenty of unique features with which to draw you in and if it is a fluid display with a miraculous manual camera you are looking for, then nobody would blame you if you pick it up.

Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Summary and Final Verdict


For its asking price, the Note 12 Pro+ is a very, very tempting choice, even with all the quirks that it has. This is the best way that I can put it: next time I’m hunting for a smartphone, I’ll certainly check out the latest Note Pro+ phone. And I’m annoyingly picky!

The phone behaves and feels like a flagship, so long as you can forgive MIUI for acting out from time to time. And this recommendation is twice as valid if you are looking for a phone with an elaborate manual camera mode.

That being said, it is exactly the pile of minor issues — some of which have a greater impact — that prevents the Note 12 Pro+ from being a truly amazing smartphone. But, if you can learn to work around them, you won’t be disappointed.

*Disclaimer: You may notice review scores have changed on PhoneArena! Since September 20th, we have started using a new scoring system. Learn more about the new PhoneArena Smartphone Review Rating system here.

Pros

  • Comfortable formfactor
  • Brilliant, fluid 120Hz display
  • Awesome software features
  • A truly impressive manual camera mode
  • Can handle pretty much anything you can throw at it
  • A solid software support lifecycle
  • Insanely fast 120W charging

Cons

  • Ads in various system apps and settings
  • Prompts to use said apps via notifications that can’t be turned off
  • Not tons, but still some bloatware
  • Random bugs that are hard to figure out
  • Aggressive RAM flushing without any reason
  • Wonky camera features, trying to compete with Google Pixel phones

PhoneArena Rating:

4.7

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