Xiaomi’s pricing gamble may reap rewards, if Redmi Note 12 Pro+ is any evidence

In trying to strike a balance between risk and gambling, trust often plays an important role. We’re barely into 2023, and Xiaomi seems to be making up for lost time with hopes of regaining the market dominance it had at one point, at least to an extent. No surprise as this most robust tool has been upgraded. The Redmi Note series, which has become quite popular over time, has now entered its latest generation.

But, don’t make the mistake of considering the latest set of Redmi Note 12 series as just another bunch of mid-range Android phones, with occasional moments of brilliance as it finds tension in the higher echelons of the price band. The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ is all grown up, sitting at the top of the ladder. Even on the price tag. Let us describe a not-so-subtle variation of the situation.

predecessor for most intents and purposes (it may still be on sale for a while), the Redmi Note 11 series is priced from approx. 12,499. This time, the Redmi Note 12 range starts at a much higher price point – 17,999.

If we compare the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ specifically, the phone we are reviewing here with its predecessor, the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ – the new model is priced at 29,999 onwards, while the previous generation ‘Pro Plus’ phones sported higher price tags 20,999 onwards.

That’s always been the strategy, and it’s not changing now. Xiaomi has again overwhelmed the spec sheet (in a positive way, mind you) with the hope that these few forward steps will justify you spending the extra money. A Super AMOLED screen that supports up to 120Hz refresh rate. There is an expected annual power growth in processors. Base storage space is 256GB instead of the earlier 128GB. But here’s the biggie – the camera troika is now headed by a 200-megapixel sensor instead of the 108-megapixel sensor.

For the time being we will stick to this topic. The cameras are a mix of the familiar with a new element. The 8-megapixel ultrawide and 2-megapixel macro cameras have been carried forward as before. It all looks unbalanced, at least in terms of outright numbers to pair with the 200-megapixel sensor. Cost plays a role, it is understandable. For most intents, you won’t need to bother with these two seemingly low-power sensors individually.

At default settings, in which pixel binning technology combines data collected from multiple pixels together, the photography results are impressive. Well-separated colors and good sharpness, although some photos have noticeable instances of softness around the frame. Low-light photos with Night Mode turned on are better than any Redmi Note phone. This is generational reform at its best.

I must recommend setting the camera app to the dedicated 200-megapixel shooting mode in order to get the most out of the first sensor of its spec in a smartphone. You’ll need to select the ‘Ultra HD’ mode and then, as a second step, activate ‘200MP’ in the interface (if you don’t, there’s also some pixel binning that will result in 50-megapixel images). The 2X zoom and optical image stabilization are worth their weight in gold.

The 200-megapixel mode is what you should ideally always use for landscape shots (get some Google One cloud storage space to store all those wide photos, too). Detail is close to pristine, and distant objects have more detail than standard photos. I quite like how the colors come out as well, but the off-focus areas are very clearly in need of a bit of aggressive noise reduction work.

This high-resolution mode has a definite usefulness, thanks to the zoom and stabilization, in other scenarios as well. How skilled or interested you are in editing a few crops in post will decide whether or not even close-ups should come through using the sensor’s full 200-megapixel capabilities. The fact that there’s so much data that the sensor dumps into every picture means there’s a lot more to work with for your editing.

It is impossible to expect a generational smartphone upgrade without an increase in processing power, Xiaomi is not going to take such a risk either. The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ has the MediaTek Dimensity 1080 under the hood, and depending on the variant you choose, it will be paired with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM. To be fair, either spec would suffice for slick multitasking performance.

The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ isn’t bogged down in the slightest, with some pretty solid multi-tasking. This 6-nanometer process chip will also handle gaming, something I can attest to with a fairly detailed F1 mobile racing stint. What’s more important is not its performance, but how cool the phone remains even after extensive gaming, camera usage and navigation. In turn, this has a positive effect on battery life.

The 4,980-mAh battery is bigger than the predecessor’s charge tank, and in most daily phone usage scenarios we saw it through, it lasted a day and a half. Even though on days when the camera usage was a bit higher than normal (200-megapixel photos can be quite addictive, you must know), the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ still lasted the day with over 28% charge remaining. Most days there is very little ‘charge worry’ when you enter at the business end.

Charging isn’t tough with the 120-watt fast charging (Xiaomi has branded it as HyperCharge) feature.

Read also:Redmi’s latest smartphone has 200MP camera; Fully charged in just 9 minutes

As far as the software is concerned, you will get Android 12 out-of-the-box, and there is no Android 13 update on the horizon, at least for now. especially for a phone that comes close to 30,000 price point, these kinds of things get scaled up. Since Xiaomi has promised two major Android updates for this series, this means a delayed Android 13 and then most likely, Android 14 at some point. That’s all.

Will the software be a deal-breaker for you?

Visually, the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ is again sporting a wholesale change. something its predecessor had also done in its time. The flat sides now have a curve on the back panel. The camera module on the rear now has a lower edge to it’s personality, at least in my book. Nevertheless, there is no doubting the very useful design and ergonomics. It must be remembered, the fingerprint sensor is embedded in the power key, and not under the display.

Sure means that with the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ and the really big Redmi Note 12 series, Xiaomi wants to play the ‘premium’ card. It’s a big bet, especially for phones that have done pretty well for the smartphone maker, especially in India, by sticking to the affordability factor. That’s a significant price hike, successor to successor, and it could be a huge jump for a sizable chunk of the Redmi buyer demographic.

Still, it’s quite understandable that Xiaomi would want to make the phone attractive to a wider group of potential buyers. For him, that’s enough to keep his interest. The 200-megapixel camera is a definite highlight. Even the subtle details have been taken care of. This is the first Redmi Note series phone with optical image stabilization. And the fact that a 120W fast charger is bundled with the phone adds real value.

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