The OnePlus 12 represents the scrappy upstart’s latest bid to upset premium phone hierarchy by packing robust specs and experiences at hundreds below rivals. But in an increasingly competitive mid-priced segment rife with compromises, does their formula still click?
We put the $799 OnePlus 12 through extensive testing to see if its brand of “fast and smooth” still provides good bang for buck in 2023. Read on for our full review deconstructing display quality, photography prowess, benchmark busting brawn, battery best practices and more.
OnePlus 12 Hands-On First Impressions
Premium Construction Within Reach
Flaunting familiar OnePlus industrial chic, the 12 exudes understated refinement thanks to expertly crafted aluminum and Gorilla Glass flourishes. Despite tempered steel’s added heft, exceptional structural rigidity rewards handling.
OnePlus checks 120Hz fast refresh rate and next-gen HDR10+ boxes with their vibrant 6.7″ Fluid AMOLED panel featuring LTPO 3.0 adjustable rates down to 1Hz for added efficiency.
Noticeably slimmer than leading competitors, the OnePlus 12 nestles nicely into palm and pocket alike aided by a seamless camera housing flowing directly into the frame.
OnePlus 12 Review: Display & Design
Premium Build & Sleek Profile
Cloaked in corrosion-resistant aluminum alloy and Gorilla Glass Victus front and back, OnePlus 12 construction feels sturdy from every angle but retains a slim 7.7mm chassis. Combined with rounded shoulders and silky Sandstone black or Eternal Green finishes, the phone cuts a sleek figure.
Vibrant 6.7” Screen
The OnePlus 12 display dazzles with a custom Fluid AMOLED panel calibrated for DCI-P3 color gamut. 6.7 inches strike an optimal real estate balance with sizable imagery enhanced by blistering 120hz fluidity and HDR10+ visuals living up to their cinematic namesake.
LTPO 3.0 Dynamic Refresh
Buttery browsing and animations occur effortlessly courtesy cutting edge LTPO tech adjusting refresh rates from 1-120Hz based on activity. This fusion of fluid gaming and static reading optimizes battery drain.
Vivid Viewing At Steep Angles
Even when peered at off-axis, OnePlus color reproduction and constrast hold up nicely thanks in part to a new anti-glare frosted glass protecting the AMOLED beneath. Outdoor visibility could be brighter however.
OnePlus 12 Review: Hardware & Performance
Potent Processing Up to Snuff
OnePlus powers mobile multitasking with Qualcomm’s leading Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 platform complete with 8GB or 12GB LPDDR5 RAM options. Performance predictably punches above its class with horsepower to spare.
Storage Up to 256GB
While falling short of more generous 512GB+ offerings we see creeping into sub-$1000 models, built-in 256GB UFS 3.1 storage tided us over for apps, 4K videos, lossless audio and ample photos.
5G & WiFi 6 Connectivity
Toting triple rear cameras begs for beefy bandwidth not only viewing back 4K footage but streaming, gaming and videocalls too. Fortunately OnePlus equipped WiFi 6 and 5G radios to satiate data appetites.
All Day Endurance
A substantial 4800 mAh power pack keeps Pixel cores cracked for over a day of demanding use. When gears grind to a halt, 80 watt SUPERVOOC charging engages reviving the phone from 1-100% in under an hour.
OnePlus 12 Review: Camera Capabilities
50MP Primary Camera
Anchored by a custom 50 megapixel IMX890 sensor, OnePlus primary camera captures abundant details in ideal conditions. A wider f/1.8 aperture ensures sufficient lighting across compositions.
48MP Ultra Wide & 32 MP Telephoto
Tagging alongside lies 48MP ultra wide reaching 120-degrees for cramped group shots and 2x telephoto zoom helping isolate subjects. Together this array serves up admirable versatility.
Hasselblad Color Science
OnePlus continues its partnership with venerable camera brand Hasselblad. While more marketing than technical, Hasselblad’s renowned color science should manifest in truer-to life-tones.
Nightscape & Super Macro Modes
When lighting falters, Nightscape mode compiles imagery delivering heightened exposures. For extreme closeups, snap on the dedicated macro lens capturing incredible intricacy as near as 3cm away.
4K Video At 60FPS
Sharp 4K recording occurs across all three cameras enabling UHD movies at 60 frames per second for smooth playback. Steady footage benefits from built-in optical stabilization across lenses.
OnePlus 12 Review: Software & Special Features
OxygenOS 13 Tailored Around You
OnePlus overlays Android 13 with their own OxygenOS shell packing customizations like an always-on display with Insight AMOLED adapating to usage patterns and a clutter-free interface valuing user focus.
Sustain peak FPS visuals during intense 3D gameplay sessions using HyperEngine tools optimizing system resources to fully unlock framerates. Features like GPA stabilizer offer competitive edges.
Dual SIM Support
Juggling separate personal and business lines? OnePlus equipped Dual SIM functionality so owners can manage two active phone numbers atop built-in 256GB onboard storage.
Quickly toggle between ring, vibrate and silent modes via OnePlus’ trademark metal alert slider without turning on the display. This analog convenience makes a welcomed return.
OnePlus 12 Review: Our Verdict
OnePlus 12 delivers another round of premium flagship experiences without the staggering price hikes. From vivid 120Hz displays to versatile triple cameras and marathon battery life, the OnePlus formula still succeeds by maximizing performance per dollar.
Of course slight compromises around charging speeds, storage ceilings and computational photography likely persist to achieve this value. But for shoppers seeking excellent daily drivers without quadruple-digit damage, the OnePlus 12 constitutes a smart 2023 selection.