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OnePlus 12 smartphone review – Another great phone from OnePlus


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REVIEW – When I switched back to Android late last year, the phone that helped me make that transition was the OnePlus 11, and then the OnePlus Open sealed the deal (at least until I went back to the iPhone, but that’s another story…). The first new phone of 2024 that I’ve had the opportunity to test is the OnePlus 12. Let’s see if it will make me switch back to Android again from the iPhone.

What is the OnePlus 12?

The OnePlus 12 is the latest flagship Android smartphone from OnePlus that has all the features and specs that you’d want without the sticker shock you’ve come to expect from other brands.

What’s in the box?

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      • OnePlus 12 smartphone
      • 80W SUPERVOOC Power adapter
      • Type-A to Type-C charging cable
      • Quick Start Guide
      • Welcome Letter
      • Safety Information and Warranty Card
      • OnePlus Stickers
      • Screen Protector (pre-applied)
      • SIM Tray Ejector
      • USB Dongle (Type-A to Type-C )

Product specs

Click to expand the Specs

Operating System: OxygenOS 14.0 based on Android™ 14
Platform: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 8 Gen 3
CPU: Qualcomm® Kryo™ CPU
GPU: Adreno 750
RAM: 12GB/16GB LPDDR5X
Storage: 256GB/512GB UFS 4.0
Display Size: 6.82 inches (Measured diagonally from corner to corner.)
Display Resolution: 3168*1440 (QHD+), 510 ppi
Display Aspect Ratio: 19.8:9
Display Type: 120Hz ProXDR Display with LTPO, Support 100% Display P3, 10-bit Color Depth
Display Cover Glass: Corning® Gorilla® Glass Victus
Battery: 5,400 mAh (Dual-cell 2,700 mAh, non-removable)
eSIM
*Feature availability may vary due to compatibility with local carriers.
DSDA

*Feature availability may vary due to compatibility with local carriers.
LTE/LTE-A

4×4 MIMO, Supports up to DL Cat 20/UL Cat 18 (2000Mbps /200Mbps), depending on carrier support
Band

LTE TDD:Bands 38/39/40/41/48
LTE FDD: Bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/18/19/20/25/26/28A/28B/30/32/66/71
WCDMA: Bands 1/2/4/5/6/8/19
GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
Wi-Fi

2×2 MIMO, Support 2.4G/5G/5.8G, Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 7, Support WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ac wave 2/ax/be, 8 Spatial-stream sounding MU-MIMO
Bluetooth

Bluetooth 5.4
Codex supported: aptX HD, aptX, LDAC, LHDC, AAC, SBC
NFC

NFC enabled
Positioning

GPS (L1+L5 Dual Band), GLONASS, Galileo (E1+E5a Dual Band), Beidou, A-GPS, QZSS, NavIC
Main Camera Sensor: Sony LYT-808
Sensor Size: 1/1.4″
Megapixels: 50
Pixel Size: 1.12µm
Focal Length: 23mm equivalent
Aperture: ƒ/1.6
Field of View: 85°
Periscope Telephoto Camera Sensor: OmniVision OV64B with 3X optical zoom, 6X in-sensor zoom
Sensor Size: 1/2″
Megapixels: 64
Pixel Size: 0.7 µm
Lens Quantity: 4P
ALC lens coating
Optical Image Stabilization: Yes
Electronic Image Stabilization: Yes
Focal Length: 70 mm equivalent (3X), 145 mm equivalent (6X)
Aperture: ƒ/2.6
Field of View: 33°
Autofocus: Yes
Ultra Res (digital) Zoom: Up to 120X
Ultra-wide Angle
Macro: 3.5 cm
Autofocus: Yes
Field of View: 114°
Aperture: ƒ/2.2
Electronic Image Stabilization: Yes
Lens Quantity: 6P
Pixel Size: 0.8 µm
Megapixels: 48
Sensor Size: 1/2″
Sensor: Sony IMX581
Dimensions: 75.8 mm x 164.3 mm x 9.15 mm
Weight: 220g

Design and features

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The OnePlus 12 is available in Silky Black and Flowy Emerald. They sent me the Flowy Emerald version which reminds me of sea glass with the wavy pattern.  The texture of the back glass (yes, it is made of Gorilla Glass 5 glass, even though it feels like plastic) is matte. It looks cool, but boy, oh boy, is it slippery. I ended up buying a snap on back cover to add a bit of grip.

While we’re still looking at the image above, you can see that the bottom edge of the phone has a USB-C charging port, speaker, microphone, and a SIM card tray.

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Continuing around the phone, the right edge has a one button volume rocker, and power button.

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On the other side is the mute/vibrate switch. I’m glad that OnePlus continues to add this feature to their phones.

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The top edge of the OnePlus 12 has a speaker, microphone, and oddly enough, an IR blaster so you can use the phone to control your TV or other devices.

In hand, the OnePlus 12 is a solid phone. It doesn’t creak or crack when I give it the patented Gadgeteer Squeeze test™. But, there is a rattle if I shake it. If I hold all the buttons and shake, I still hear a rattle, so I think it’s something to do with the camera. Is this a problem? No, not really… But you can’t say I’m not thorough!

Display

The OnePlus 12’s display uses Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 and like many of the phone from OnePlus, it comes with a pre-installed screen protector.

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To my eyes, the display on the OnePlus 12 looks very similar in brightness, vividness, and clarity compared to the previous models. But unlike the OnePlus Open which has a flat display, the OnePlus 12 has slightly curved sides like the the OnePlus 11. I prefer a flat screen because my palm sometimes causes accidental screen presses that inadvertently activate onscreen icons or controls.

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OnePlus Open (left), OnePlus 12 (right)

In the image above, the picture was taken outdoors on a bright sunny afternoon with both phones set to max brightness. Could the display be even brighter for outdoor use? Sure. However, I didn’t have any problems reading text or interacting with the OnePlus 12 while outdoors on bright sunny days.

Like with previous versions of OnePlus phones, you have the option of enabling the always-on display to show the date, time, battery level, and notification icons when the phone is locked.

Camera

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The OnePlus 12 continues to work with Hasselblad for its camera module which some might think looks too large and gaudy, but I don’t mind it. And no, those little specs in the image above are not dust particles. They are little sparkles in the glass surrounding the lenses. Let’s check out some photo examples.

OnePlus 12 photo samples

Click the images below to see the full-sized images (these are straight out of the phone).

Zoom

Selfie

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Hmmm, I guess I should have checked for cat fluff on my jacket before taking this pic! 😉

User interface and apps

The operating system that OnePlus uses for their phones is called OxygenOS. It’s Android with an extra layer of features on top similar to Samsung’s One UI. This time, it’s powered by Android 14/OxygenOS, which has me a bit miffed because my OnePlus Open is still at OxygenOS v13.

When it comes to bloatware, OnePlus doesn’t fill the phone with a bunch of unnecessary apps like some other phone makers do.

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The OnePlus 12 still has the Shelf screen which is accessed by pulling down from the center of the home screen. This screen can be customized with a selection of widgets and like before, I kept activating it inadvertently which can be annoying. If you hate it like I do, you can change the gesture to either go to a global search or the notification/settings display.

Other gestures allow you to do a split screen to run up to three apps simultaneously, one above the other, with a smaller resizable floating window. You can see some examples above where I have the Day One journal app, Facebook, and Everand eBook reader app in a smaller floating window.

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There’s also a Smart Sidebar, which is a small slide-out launcher window that you can customize with your most used apps. I really wish the iPhone had these multi-window features.

Face unlock and fingerprint unlock

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The OnePlus Open and last year’s OnePlus 11 would not unlock using Face ID in a dark room. I’m happy to report that the OnePlus 12 allows you to unlock the phone with your face, even in total darkness. Well, kinda. I say that because it uses the display as a pseudo flashlight to shine some light on your face to unlock. It works great, but it can be blinding if you try to unlock it in the middle of the night to see what time it is.

I’m also happy to report that the fingerprint reader performs perfectly for me. That’s always a surprise given the fact that Samsung phones never allow me even to set up a fingerprint, let alone allow me to unlock the phone with my prints.

Overall performance and battery life

I don’t put a lot of performance graphs in my reviews because I don’t think numbers and bars represent what it feels like to actually use the phone. That said, I have no complaints about the performance of the OnePlus 12 smartphone. All my favorite apps launched quickly, and scrolling through webpages and apps felt smooth and zippy. I’m not a gamer, so I didn’t test this phone with any games. No matter what apps I tried though, I couldn’t find a way to bog down this phone.

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Now let’s talk battery life.  I had zero problems getting through more than a full day using the OnePlus 12 for all of my normal tasks (email, reading ebooks, watching YouTube videos, Marco Polo sessions, texting, a few calls, Instagram scrolling, snapping pictures, short videos, etc. On days when I didn’t do much with the phone, I could easily get through two days on one charge!

When it did come time to charge the battery, I was surprised and happy that OnePlus added fast wireless charging capability. Paired with the snap-on cover that I’m using on the phone, I was able to use the MagSafe charger on my Balolo Setup Cockpit desk shelf! But you can also buy a 50V wireless charger directly from OnePlus for fast wireless charging.

Not a fan of wireless charging? No problem because this phone charges crazy fast using a cable and the included 80W SUPERVOOC charger. It can charge from 1% to 100% in about 30 minutes which is fantastic!

Making and receiving calls with the OnePlus 12

Making and receiving calls is probably the least used function on smartphones for me, but I tested this feature and had no issues with either side of the calls that I placed or answered. Volume levels and clarity on both sides of the call were fine.

OS, security updates, and more

OnePlus promises four years of Android OS updates and five years of security updates for the 12. That’s not as much as the seven years that Google and Samsung are now promising with their phones, but seriously, who keeps the same phone for seven years?

The OnePlus 12 also has no AI features, which the other guys are pushing aggressively. I’ve yet to find a compelling AI feature on Samsung or Google phones unless I count the image editing features, but for me, that’s just something fun to play with and won’t be used all that often. What do you think?

Is the OnePlus 12 Google Play Protect certified?

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Using the steps from Google, we tested this device to see if it is Google Play Protect certified, and the result was: PASS

Why should you care if an Android device is Google Play Protect certified?

  • Devices that aren’t Play Protect certified may not be secure.
  • Devices that aren’t Play Protect certified may not get Android system updates or app updates.

For more info, use the Google link above.

What I like

  • Insanely fast wired charging and wireless charging now too!
  • Excellent battery life
  • It comes with a screen protector already installed
  • The in-display fingerprint sensor works great for me as well as face unlock in total darkness (with caveat)
  • Great price for a flagship phone

What I’d change

  • Camera performance with night shots could be better
  • I don’t like curved displays, so let’s see a flat display next time, please

Final thoughts

If you want an affordable flagship quality Android smartphone that isn’t from Samsung or Google, I think the OnePlus 12 is an excellent choice. It looks great, feels great, has insane battery life, charges crazy fast, has unique software features that are both useful and fun to use and has a nice camera, all for a nice price. In the first paragraph of this review, I asked if this phone could bring me back to Android from my recent switch back to the iPhone. The answer is yes. Yes, it has. I had to convert the eSIM I was using with the iPhone into a physical SIM to review this phone. And now, I don’t feel compelled to switch back. At least not for a while. In other words, the OnePlus 12 is a great phone, and I have no problems recommending it.

Price: $799.99
Where to buy: OnePlus and Amazon
Source: The sample for this review was provided by OnePlus.



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