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OnePlus 12 review: stylish, powerful

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OnePlus 12, Credit: TheConsumR.com

In the saturated landscape of high-end smartphones, the OnePlus 12 emerges as a stylish, powerful, and competitive contender. While standout features such as rapid charging, high-speed processors, and Hasselblad cameras command attention, there’s a depth to this phone beyond its headline-grabbing attributes. Discover the reasons behind the OnePlus 12 clinching our prestigious first Smartphone 2024 Editor’s Choice Award and why we believe it’s positioned to significantly impact the smartphone category.

OnePlus 12 Performance

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This handset features the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 mobile processor and LPDDR5X RAM. This processor is capable of up to 3.3 GHz with a single-core Cortex-X4, 3.2 GHz with a penta-core Cortex-A720 & 2.3 GHz with its dual-core Cortex-A520 and Adreno 750.

Collectively, these attributes contribute to the OnePlus 12 achieving some of the most impressive performance metrics observed in any mobile device we’ve tested. Employing three distinct benchmarking systems, we subjected the device to a battery of real-world and synthetic tests, pushing it to its limits. Whether handling day-to-day tasks or engaging in mobile gaming, the phone consistently positioned itself among the top three performing devices, rivalled only by the Vivo iQOO 12 and Meizu 21.

OnePlus 12 Battery life and charging

The battery life and remarkable charging capabilities live up to expectations, unlike the previous OnePlus 11. It’s evident that the company has attentively heeded its customers’ feedback and reintroduced features such as wireless charging to the flagship.

The battery is a whopping 5400mAh. This high capacity places the OnePlus 12 ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, Vivo IQ00 12, Meizu 12, Pixel 8 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max in raw capacity. This battery is still non-removable, similar to all current comparables.

On the charging front, in North America, the phone supports 80W wired USB-C power delivery quick charge (100% in 30 mins), 50W wireless charging (55 min), and 10W reverse wireless charging. In the international version of the handsets, 100W wired charging and other supported charging methods are available.

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Credit: TheConsumR.com

OnePlus 12 Display and durability

While smartphones can achieve notable brightness levels, this particular phone takes the concept of brightness to an unprecedented degree. Boasting a peak brightness of 4500 nits, this feature stands out as a landmark specification of the phone. The device is furnished with a 6.82-inch LTPO AMOLED display, supporting an extensive colour range of 1 billion colours, along with features like 120Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+. With an aspect ratio of 19.8:9 (2.2:1) and a pixel density of 510 ppi, the OnePlus 12 delivers an exceptionally smooth and vibrant visual experience.

We extensively immersed ourselves in HDR and Dolby Vision content, dedicating hours to seamlessly switch between HDR and non-HDR content. Throughout this testing phase, we found the display’s performance to be satisfactory, although it’s worth mentioning that we generally didn’t reach the theoretical maximum brightness.

The OnePlus 12 is IP-65 rated, meaning that it is dust-tight (complete protection from dust) and water-resistant against water jets. We were disappointed that IP 67/68 ratings were not achieved, but during normal use, this won’t impact most users.

Protected by Corning® Gorilla® Glass Victus 2, the screen is able to withstand according to Corning drops of 1m on concrete and 2 metres on ash fault. While we would have preferred the newer, Corning® Gorilla® Armor, (featured on the Samsung Galaxy S24), this glass is plenty strong.

A final point worth mentioning about the display underscores OnePlus’ distinctive approach: similar to its predecessors, the OnePlus 12 comes equipped with a preinstalled screen protector right out of the box. The included protector continues to be a TPU (plastic) variant, offering scratch resistance without additional protection against drops.

OnePlus 12 Camera

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In 2024, cameras remain a top priority for consumers, and OnePlus appears to acknowledge this trend. Aligning with contemporary flagship standards, the OnePlus 12 is equipped with a comprehensive camera setup, featuring a 50 MP, f/1.6, 23mm (wide) lens with 1/1.43″ sensor, 1.12µm pixel size, multi-directional PDAF, and OIS; a 64 MP, f/2.6, 70mm (periscope telephoto) lens with 1/2.0″ sensor, 0.7µm pixel size, PDAF, and OIS, supporting 3x optical zoom; and a 48 MP, f/2.2, 14mm, 114˚ (ultrawide) lens with 1/2.0″ sensor, 0.8µm pixel size, and PDAF. Additionally, there is a front-facing selfie camera boasting 32 MP, f/2.4, 21mm (wide) lens with 1/2.74″ sensor and 0.8µm pixel size. In photo mode, the cameras support Hasselblad Colour Calibration, complemented by dual-LED flash and HDR capabilities.

Video support on the phone is a whopping 8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/240/480fps with support for Auto HDR, gyro-EIS, and Dolby Vision.

We placed the phone in various light, environmental and hardware stress conditions during our testing. In some of the tests, the cameras had to contend with challenges to image stabilization, colour accuracy, and depth of field challenges simultaneously. We noticed that the software does a good job of producing properly exposed images and, of course, mostly colour-accurate ones.

Regarding raw hardware specifications, we would have preferred a higher-resolution sensor for the main camera, but the Hasselblad colour calibration was a welcome alternative.

Our singular criticism is that the phone sometimes struggles with image stabilization, and when using third-party (i.e. Google Meet/Duo), this becomes more egregious. In the current state, as the software is still being developed, we expect this to improve over time.

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OnePlus 12 Extra Features

Few smartphones boast unique features that have yet to be emulated or replicated by competitors. However, this device stands out with numerous distinctive features, making it challenging to pick a favourite. Let’s delve into two noteworthy features: the mute switch and the IR blaster.

The mute switch, a feature we yearn to see more frequently in Android devices, adopts the concept from the iPhone’s widely recognized side toggle. Android users, until now, have been deprived of this convenient side mute switch located on the left side of the device. With a simple flick of the switch, users can swiftly transition their device into vibrate-only or silent mode.

Delving deeper into the distinctive features of this smartphone, one cannot overlook the functionality provided by the IR blaster positioned at the top of the device, distinguished by its larger circular black dot. The inclusion of an IR blaster is a noteworthy departure from the norm in modern smartphones and offers users a unique and practical utility.

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IR Blaster on OnePlus 12, Credit: TheConsumR.com

The IR blaster, in essence, transforms the smartphone into a versatile universal remote control. Users can seamlessly command various infrared-enabled devices, extending its reach beyond smart technology to encompass everyday appliances like non-smart TVs and air conditioners. The configurable nature of the IR blaster adds an extra layer of customization, allowing users to tailor it to the specific devices in their environment.

During our extensive testing, the software associated with the IR blaster proved to be remarkably user-friendly and intuitive to set up. The seamless integration with various devices showcased the device’s adaptability and responsiveness. One notable instance involved utilizing the IR blaster to control televisions at the gym, underscoring its practical application in real-world scenarios.

This additional layer of functionality sets the smartphone apart from its counterparts and enhances the user experience by providing a novel and convenient solution to daily tasks. The IR blaster is a testament to the device’s user-centric design, making it a standout choice for those seeking a smartphone that goes beyond the ordinary.

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OnePlus 12 Price and availability

Despite being a flagship phone, the pricing of this device positions the OnePlus 12 as a leader. The phone is available for purchase starting at CA$1,069.99 / US$ 799.99 / £ 849.00 / € 949.00. OnePlus is currently offering various promotions for direct pre-orders, encompassing benefits like eligible trade-in bonuses, double storage, and coupons for their OnePlus Buds 3.

When compared to competitors such as the S24 and the iPhone 15 Pro Max, the OnePlus 12 stands out with its compelling value, boasting the lowest entry price. The Samsung Galaxy S24 is priced at CAD $ 1,797.99 / USD $ 1,299.99 / £ 1,249.00 / € 1,349.00, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max comes in at USD $ 1,129.00 / £ 1,078.16 / € 1,299.00.

Starting on February 6th, the device will be available for purchase in Canada and the US through OnePlus.com, Amazon, and BestBuy (US & Canada). However, information regarding carriers that may offer the device has not been disclosed at this time.

OnePlus 12, an Editors’ Choice

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The influence of this device on the North American market cannot be understated. Its value proposition is a key factor in earning our coveted Editors’ Choice Award. The OnePlus 12 is a premium smartphone, that seamlessly integrates innovative features into a meticulously crafted platform. Boasting uncompromising performance, an advanced camera system, and a host of refinements, it is evident that this phone is poised to shake the market.

Despite being a flagship model, this phone strikes a balance, offering consumers an accessible entry point without compromising high-end features. This combination of innovation, performance, and value positions the device as a standout choice.

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OnePlus 12

9.2

2024 Editors' Choice Award Winner - Out performs most higher priced competitor devices, is priced better than many competitive devices and the value add features are true differentiators.

Pros
  • Outstanding charging speed and battery performance
  • Brilliant display
  • Top tier processor
  • Competitive price and upgrades
  • Dual-SIM support
  • IR Blaster is a compelling feature
Cons
  • Camera software needs minor tweaking
  • Software support curtailed at 4 years
  • Not IP-68/67 rated

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