Xiaomi’s subsidiary brand Redmi has launched its Note 12 series in South Africa. The line-up consists of the Redmi Note 12, Note 12 Pro and the Note 12 Pro+ 5G.
We’ve been testing the top-of-the-line Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G, which doesn’t quite roll of the tongue, so will refer it to as the 12 Pro+. The mid-range device, priced at R11 999, will compete with the Samsung A73 5G at R11 499, and the iPhone SE 2022 at R11 499.
The 12 Pro+ offers some flagship features, such as a 200MP camera with optical image stabilisation, a 120W HyperCharge plug for its 5000mAh battery, and a 6.67-inch display that supports a 120Hz screen refresh rate.
The handset is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 1080 chipset with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The local version is a dual SIM variant that supports 5G connectivity; NFC for contactless payments; an IR blaster; WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2. It supports face unlocking and a fingerprint sensor built into the side power button.
The design is what you’d expect from a mid-range handset, nothing too bold. It weighs 210g and has curved sides that makes it comfortable to hold and the back is characterise by a large rectangle camera bump.
It runs on Android 12 and has the usual Google folder of apps that most are accustomed to. It features MIUI 14, Xiaomi’s software overly on Android, which brings customisations to the device.
But it also comes preloaded with Xiaomi’s own software, otherwise known as bloatware, which annoyingly cannot be uninstalled. These include apps like Mi Browser, Notes, File Manager, Gallery, etc.
Straight out of the box at initial set-up, I removed the non-Google apps from the home screen because it cannot be deleted. I also made use of the clear cover included in the box. The device is large but it’s slim enough to sit comfortably in the hand.
Given my consumption habits, I watched a lot of multimedia content on the device, through YouTube Premium, Netflix, and Spotify, plus the regular mindless scrolling on social media.
The screen is vivid, videos look great on it; and toggling on the Dolby Atmos makes a big difference to the sound – if you’re not using a pair of headphones. It must be noted that the device has a 3.5mm audio jack, though the placement is awkwardly on the top left.
The camera on the 12 Pro+ is like a flagship was put into a mid-range. Realistically, 200MP is good for marketing and it’s a party trick showing off a 200MP lens, but outside of that, I was shooting in regular mode because I wanted to shoot different types of pics. The 200MP is great for landscape type shots.
For shots during the day, between AI and HDR, I couldn’t really tell the difference between them switched off or on – it just works in the background to optimise photos all the time. I found that the macro lens was not consistent, the images were sometimes out of focus. The light painting modes are great if you’re into long exposure shots at night.
You can see the AI doing the work with night mode; photos appear hyper realistic. You’re looking into the darkness, but the images are bright and have colour that the eye cannot see. And this has become the norm, but in a way, reduces the editing you need to do.
The device shoots 4K videos on the rear but its front-facing 16MP camera shoots in 1080p. There’s also a “document” mode to scan and save to the gallery. Overall, it’s a good camera system.
Doing all of this would normally take a hit on the battery, but given its large 5000mAh one, it was good for a full day and night. It also comes with a 120W HyperCharge plug and a USB-C cable.
The phone can be fully charged to 100% in a mere 19 minutes using the supplied plug. This is great news for the current load-shedding crisis. Even if you forget to charge it or can no longer do it overnight because of the power cuts, a quick charge in the morning is all you need.
The 12 Pro+ as a mid-range handset offers excellent features found on premium devices, such as the camera spec, fast charge and 120Hz display. Sometimes it’s a hit and miss with Xiaomi devices whether it has NFC for contactless payments, but this one has it included.
When compared to the Samsung A73 5G, the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G offers fast charging, an audio jack, and 960fps slow-motion recording. The A73 has expandable storage, an IP67 waterproof rating, and 4K videos on the front camera. The iPhone SE for around the same price cannot match the specs on an Android; it is more suited as being the “cheapest iPhone”.
When buying a mid-range smartphone, it has a lot to do with the price and spec but it’s up to you to decide what’s worth more to you.
The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G costs R11 999 on prepaid and on contract starting between R449-R469 on Vodacom and MTN over 36 months.
Recharged is an independent site that focuses on technology, electric vehicles, and the digital life by Nafisa Akabor. Drawing from her 16-year tech journalism career, expect news, reviews, how-tos, comparisons, and practical uses of tech that are easy to digest. email@example.com