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The OnePlus 12 could be one of 2024’s best Android phones

OnePlus 12 in white color render.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

OnePlus has had a brilliant year thanks to some great devices. The OnePlus 11 emerged as a comeback in terms of value for money, with high-end features for just $699. It offered a big and bright display, good-quality cameras, excellent performance with clean software, and all-day battery life.

But it still had two omissions, which seem to be fixed by the OnePlus 12 that was unveiled in China today. If the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is anything similar to the Gen 2 in terms of efficiency, the OnePlus 12 could be one of 2024’s best Android phones.

A truly impressive camera system

OnePlus 12 camera module in green.
OnePlus

I used the OnePlus 11 as my daily driver for a while, and I was impressed with the overall performance and design. While the OnePlus 12 doesn’t offer a complete overhaul in terms of looks, it’s been upgraded under the hood to offer two key features – one that I dearly missed having, plus one that appeals to the U.S. market, in particular.

Despite the presence of three cameras on the OnePlus 11, I missed having 3x optical zoom. The OnePlus 12 sports a new triple camera setup, which not only adds a better telephoto sensor, but also shares the overall camera DNA with the OnePlus Open. The OnePlus 12’s triple rear camera setup is led by a 50MP Sony LYT-808 primary camera with optical image stabilization (OIS). It is accompanied by a 48MP Sony IMX581 ultrawide angle camera and a 64MP OV64B periscope lens with 3x optical zoom.

It’s the exact configuration of the lenses as the OnePlus Open, which houses the most versatile camera setup on a foldable phone. I’ve been using the OnePlus foldable phone since its launch, and it has only improved the cameras with each update.

The 50MP Sony LYT-808 sensor is impressive on the OnePlus Open. As you can see from the above images, the skin tone is good and there’s ample dynamic range, with no overblown highlights in the cloud — the overall image looks pleasing. The camera wasn’t very well-tuned for lowlight at launch, but OnePlus has fixed that, too, to some extent.

While the 50MP primary camera captures detailed photos, I was more impressed with the 64MP periscope camera. And that’s because it not only takes good 3x shots, but also performs well up to 15x digital zoom, with great 6x zoom images. When compared to the digital zoom on my iPhone 15 Pro, the OnePlus Open performed better on 6x and up to 15x.

The above images show great details and good dynamic range on 3x as well as 6x zoom. Those are some big expectations to have after experiencing the OnePlus Open. But with it having the same camera setup (now tuned with “4th Gen Hasselblad Camera for Mobile”), I’m pretty confident that the OnePlus 12 will be a step up from the OnePlus 11 in terms of camera quality.

OnePlus brought back wireless charging

A photo of someone holding the white/silver OnePlus 12.
OnePlus

Both the OnePlus 11 and OnePlus Open had one glaring omission – no wireless charging. While I didn’t have an issue (because I mostly work remotely in cafes or from sofas), I get the argument of how convenient wireless charging can be for some people. It’s also beneficial when you have several wireless charging pads set up in various places inside your home.

The OnePlus 12 brings 50-watt wireless charging to the table. It’s reminiscent of the OnePlus 10 Pro, which was the fastest wireless charging phone in the U.S. at the time of launch. The OnePlus 12 will soon take that mantle as it’s rumored to launch in the U.S.in January.

The addition of better cameras and wireless charging makes the OnePlus 12 a complete phone. You should expect a price bump, for sure, but I expect it to be one of the phones to look out for in 2024 given the company’s recent track record and my experience with OnePlus Open’s camera system. The OnePlus 11 was already a great phone, and the 2024 flagship seems to take it up a notch.

What else does the OnePlus 12 offer?

OnePlus 12 in Black.
OnePlus

The OnePlus 12 features a 6.82-inch QHD+ 2K OLED LTPO display that supports a 120Hz refresh rate. The screen is rated to reach 4,500 nits of peak brightness, which is one of the highest numbers we’ve ever seen. You’ll normally see the phone reach around 1,600 nits, but it can get a lot brighter when it needs to. The 4,500 nits level is meant for HDR content; some areas of the screen can go up to that number when required in HDR videos. Like the OnePlus Open, the OnePlus 12 display supports Dolby Vision, 10Bit Color Depth, and ProXDR.

The OnePlus 12 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, which I’ve yet to test, but I hope it’s at least as efficient as the Snapdragon Gen 2. The OnePlus 12 now starts at 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM instead of 8GB and comes equipped with the same base 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage. It goes up to 24GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

The 2024 OnePlus flagship packs a 5,400mAh battery that supports 100W wired and 50W wireless fast charging. To prevent it from overheating, it sports Oppo’s SuperVOOC S power management chip, which was first introduced on the OnePlus 11R. The OnePlus 12 is rated IP65 for dust and water resistance, which is a step up from the IP64-rated predecessor.

In terms of design, the OnePlus 12 doesn’t feature an overhaul, but still has some noticeable changes. First, the alert slider is now on the other side of the phone, so you now get the volume rockers and power button on one side and the alert slider on the other. Second, the green color variant features a wavy pattern on the back. It sure looks good in pictures. The OnePlus 12 comes in three color options — white, green, and black.

OnePlus 12 price and availability

OnePlus 12 in green and white.
OnePlus

The OnePlus 12 price starts at 4,299 yuan ($607) in China for the base 12GB/256GB variant, whereas the top-end 24GB/1TB model will sell for 5,799 yuan ($818). It’s a 300 yuan increase from the OnePlus 11, and you should expect a price bump on the OnePlus 12 when it goes global in “early 2024.” As per previously leaked information, the device is expected to be launched in other markets by the end of January.

It’s unclear how much the OnePlus 12 will cost when it eventually comes to the U.S., but if it’s China pricing is anything to go by, it should be quite competitive.

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Prakhar Khanna
Prakhar writes news, reviews and features for Digital Trends. He is an independent tech journalist who has been a part of the…
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