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OnePlus 12 Review: A Modern Classic!

Exploring the Fusion of Tradition and Innovation

Observing a novel gadget that harks back to a period not even ten years prior may seem strange. However, technology advances rapidly, and the OnePlus 12 gives the impression of a device designed for the era before artificial intelligence. Rather than relying on magical editing tools and extensive machine learning, the latest flagship from OnePlus is remarkably straightforward. It boasts an appealing display, robust construction, dependable cameras, excellent performance, and superior battery longevity. Although it won’t assist in summarizing a meeting or enhancing a photograph, the OP12 proficiently handles all the fundamental tasks. With an initial cost of $800, which is $200 less than a comparably outfitted S24+, it also represents excellent value for money.

OnePlus 12
OnePlus 12 (Image credit: OnePlus)

OnePlus 12 Review: Design

The OnePlus 12’s design appears to draw inspiration from older models such as the Galaxy S10+, with its tapered sides and rounded corners. This design makes the device quite comfortable to grip, although there is some distortion around the screen due to its curvature. However, the 6.8-inch 3,168 x 1440 panel of OnePlus is so impressive that you might overlook this. It has a standard peak brightness of 1,600 nits, which can escalate to 4,500 nits under certain conditions (like direct sunlight), ensuring the display never appears dull or faded. The screen also supports a 120Hz variable refresh rate and a new 2,610Hz PWM (pulse width modulation) method to prevent flickering when the brightness is set very low (below 70 nits).

Camera

On the rear, there’s a large and somewhat awkward camera module encased in a sheet of Gorilla Glass Victus 2 with an attractive matte finish. It’s more textured than the usual frosted glass but not as abrasive as the company’s traditional sandstone backs, and it feels so pleasant that I would hesitate to cover it with a case. The OP12 also boasts an IP65 rating for dust and water resistance, which, while not as high as competitors like Samsung and Google, is the highest ever for a OnePlus device and is more than sufficient to withstand elements like rain and splashes. In a departure from most modern smartphones, OnePlus has included an IR blaster, allowing you to easily adjust your TV or soundbar settings without the need for a separate remote.

OnePlus 12 Review: Performance

Although the OP12 may possess a design that evokes a sense of nostalgia, its performance is top-tier among Android devices. It is equipped with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, complemented by either 12GB or 16GB of RAM and a storage capacity of up to 512GB. Despite some disappointing benchmark results (a phenomenon also noted by other reviewers), the device operates with remarkable fluidity. Transitioning between applications is exceptionally smooth, and games load and run without any perceptible lag. To ensure that frequently used applications are always readily accessible, OnePlus has incorporated a memory optimization feature. This allows up to six applications to remain suspended in the background for as long as 72 hours, eliminating the need for unnecessary reloading of your favorite game.

OnePlus 12
OnePlus 12 (Image credit: OnePlus)

OnePlus 12 Review: Camera Performance

The OP12’s three-lens configuration competes favorably with the Galaxy S24 series, boasting a 50-MP primary camera, a 48-MP ultra-wide lens, and a 64-MP telephoto lens. In daylight conditions, the photographs were vibrant and dynamic, and I valued OnePlus’ more balanced white balance in contrast to Samsung’s warmer hues. In low light, although the images were slightly softer and darker than those I captured with the S24 Ultra, they were not significantly inferior. Lastly, I was able to take an exceptionally clear image of a squirrel using the 3x telephoto lens, despite its attempts to scamper away. Just remember to deactivate the option to append a Hasselblad watermark to your photos when you first open the camera application.

OnePlus 12 Review: Battery and Charging

One of the standout features of the OnePlus 12 is its impressive battery longevity and rapid charging capabilities. In our local video rundown examination, the device’s 5,400 mAh battery endured for 26 hours and 40 minutes, marking the longest duration we’ve recorded for any smartphone. This is over two hours more than the S24 Ultra (24:29) and an improvement of more than six hours compared to the previous year’s OP11 (19:45). The proprietary charging technology of OnePlus also provides exceptional speeds for both wired and wireless charging. Utilizing the included power adapter and cable, the phone’s battery level rose from 10 to 55 percent in a mere 10 minutes. Alternatively, when positioned on the company’s wireless charging pad (sold separately for $50), the OP12’s battery level increased from 10 to 37 percent in the same duration. For comparison, when I conducted the identical test with the S24U, it only managed to increase from 10 to 30 percent battery in 10 minutes using a Samsung charger and a compatible cable. Regrettably, these high-speed charging rates are only achievable with OnePlus accessories, so charging speeds will be slower if you use standard USB-PD or Qi chargers.

Conclusion: A Simple Yet Compelling Option

In contrast to other high-profile smartphones that are incorporating AI to enhance their functionalities, the OnePlus 12 is a straightforward device that merges quality hardware with a robust construction. It boasts a large, vibrant display, excellent performance, and unmatched battery longevity. Although OnePlus intends to introduce AI features in forthcoming software updates, the 12 doesn’t require them to present an attractive proposition. With an initial price of $800, it’s $200 less expensive than a comparable Galaxy S24+, and that’s before taking into account OnePlus’ offer that deducts an additional $100 with the trade-in of any phone, irrespective of its age or condition. In an era where smartphones are growing increasingly intricate, the OnePlus 12 offers a simple alternative that effortlessly manages all the essential tasks.

SUMMARY

The OnePlus 12 delivers performance on par with the Galaxy S24+, but with superior battery longevity, reliable cameras, and an excellent display, all for a cost that’s $200 less.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Design
8.5
Display
9
Performance
8.5
Battery Life
9
Audio
9
Camera
7
Connectivity
8.5
Portability
9
Value
7
Features
9

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The OnePlus 12 delivers performance on par with the Galaxy S24+, but with superior battery longevity, reliable cameras, and an excellent display, all for a cost that’s $200 less.OnePlus 12 Review: A Modern Classic!