Redmi Note 12 Explorer Review
Xiaomi has their smartphones in every price segment, ranging from budget to premium flagships. The company has just launched their latest Redmi Note 12 Explorer to cater the users looking for a fully packed all-rounder phone in the mid-range segment.
It packs the latest MediaTek Dimensity 1080 chipset, 200MP main camera, 120Hz OLED display, 210W fast charging support and more. All of this under 30K (china price) looks like and an amazing deal.
However, Xiaomi has left some area which leaves me wanting more, like there is no wireless charging, the battery backup is just average and the phone feels a bit bulky. So, how does in perform in real life usage? Let’s find out in this Redmi Note 12 Explorer review.
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Redmi Note 12 Explorer Price in India and Variants
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Explorer has launched globally at a price of CNY 2,399 ( approx. Rs. 27,200). It is available in one storage variant of 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage.
You can choose from three colour options: Black, Blue, and Silver. The price and availability in India are yet to be revealed.
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Redmi Note 12 Explorer Box Contents
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Explorer packs the following items inside the box:
- Type-C to Type-C cable
- Soft case
- 210W fast charger
- Sim ejector tool
Redmi Note 12 Explorer Specs at a glance
Before we talk in detail about the Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Explorer, let’s see what the on-paper specs look like:
- Display: 6.67 inches OLED
- Chipset: MediaTek Dimensity 1080
- RAM & ROM: 8GB RAM 256GB Storage
- Software: Android v12
- Rear camera: 200MP + 8MP + 2MP
- Selfie camera: 16 MP
- Battery: 4300 mAh
- Weight: 207.5 grams
- Dimensions: 162.9 x 76 x 9 mm
Redmi Note 12 Explorer Design and Build
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Explorer looks and feels premium at first glance. The moment I held it in my hands, I could tell that I was holding a premium phone. It comes in three colour options: Black, Blue and Silver. I have the back colour options for the review with me.
The phone has a glass finish on the back and a matte finish aluminium frame which gives the phone a sturdy feel in the hands. This black variant of the phone was super glossy and super reflective. Moreover, the glossy back glass is a huge fingerprint magnet. It attracts fingerprints and smudges like anything.
The moment you hold it in your hands, the back will be covered with your fingerprints and it doesn’t look nice. I strongly recommend you to use a back case with it. Talking about the back, the rectangular camera module looks very similar to the recent Realme phones and protrudes as well. Of course, it wobbles when placed on a flat surface.
Apart from having a good in-hand feel, the phone feels a bit hefty in the hands. It’s neither slim nor lightweight, having a 9mm thickness and weighing about 207 grams. I don’t know why Xiaomi couldn’t make it more compact, considering the small battery size.
Talking about buttons and ports, the right side has the volume rockers and power button, which doubles as the fingerprint scanner. The top side has the 3.5mm audio jack, secondary mic and secondary speaker along with an IR blaster. Lastly, the bottom side houses a Type-C port, SIM card slot, primary mic and primary speakers.
There is no Gorilla glass protection on the back or the front but it comes with an IP53 rating which will protect it from water splashes.
Redmi Note 12 Explorer Camera
Let’s talk about the first highlight of the phone – its 200MP primary camera. The Redmi Note 12 Explorer features a triple camera setup on the back. The other two lenses include an 8MP ultra-wide lens and a 2MP macro sensor. There’s a 16MP camera on the front for taking selfies.
The main camera takes great photos in daylight. The images I took were detailed and crisp, with good dynamic range. The benefit of such a big megapixel sensor is when you take photos and zoom them, you still get details and the pixels don’t tear up. Moreover, the colour accuracy was good and the shots looked vivid.
The portrait shots were good as well. The subject was well separated front the background.
The 8MP ultra-wide lens was just okay. The photos had decent details but were lacking in sharpness. Also, the colours were more saturated and the dynamic range was not as good as the main camera.
Coming over to the macro lens. I don’t know why companies are still putting such low-resolution lenses on their phones. It neither takes good macro shots nor complements the overall camera setup. It was a gimmick and still is.
The 16MP front camera took really nice selfies in the daylight. The photos were bright and detailed with good sharpness. The skin tones looked close to natural. Portrait selfies were good as well.
The main camera can record 4K videos at 30fps while the front camera can only record 1080p videos at 60fps. The video quality from the main camera was very good. The video was clear and detailed but the dynamic range was narrow. Thank to OIS support, the footage was pretty stable.
Redmi Note 12 Explorer Battery and Charging
The Redmi Note 12 Explorer packs a decent 4300 mAh battery, which is a bit less than what other phones in this price range normally offers. Redmi could have gone for a 5000mAh battery considering the thickness of the phone but nonetheless, the battery backup of the phone is pretty decent.
It can easily last a whole day of casual use. I got about five hours of screen on time which is okay for the battery capacity of this phone. My usage involved some social media scrolling, making calls, taking pictures and playing games. However, if you are a heavy user, you would need to plug in the charger by the evening.
But not to worry, the phone will get back to 100 per cent before you finish your snack. This brings us to the next and major highlight of the phone – its 210W fast charging support. Yes, you heard it right, Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Explorer comes with 210W of fast charging support which makes it the fastest-charging phone in the world.
Xiaomi claims that it can fully charge the phone in just nine minutes. This sounds crazy, right? I had to test it..and I did. This Redmi Note 12 Explorer review would have been incomplete without testing its charging speed. The 210W fast charger took about 14 minutes to fully charge the phone from 0 to 100 per cent. That’s not exactly what Xiaomi claims but it’s still mind blowing.
A quick charge of just five minutes will juice up the battery to about 40 per cent. Overall, the battery backup is somewhat less but the super fast charging speed makes up for it very well.
Redmi Note 12 Explorer Display
The Redmi Note 12 Explorer features an FHD+ 6.67 inches OLED display with a fresh rate of 120Hz. It comes with a 240Hz of touch sampling rate and a peak brightness of 900 nits. The display gets pretty bright for both indoor and outdoor use. I could easily see the text and icons even under direct sunlight.
The 120Hz refresh rate makes everything seamless and buttery smooth. It was a joy while scrolling through my Instagram feed, navigating the UI and playing games. You can manually set this to 60Hz or 120Hz or let the phone automatically adjust it depending on which app you are using.
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Talking about the display quality, the OLED panel is clear, sharp and crisp. The colours look really punchy and the deep blacks can be seen. On top of this, the viewing angles were great. I watched a couple of HDR videos on YouTube, and damn, it was a fantastic experience.
The bezels are thin on all sides, and the small punch hole cut out doesn’t distract much during content consumption. Moreover, it has Dolby Vision and HDR 10+ support which enhances the overall multimedia experience.
Overall, the Redmi Note 12 Explorer has one of the best displays out there in this price segment and there are no complaints in this department. To be honest, it was as good as it could be.
Redmi Note 12 Explorer Performance
The Redmi Note 12 Explorer is powered by the latest MediaTek Dimensity 1080 chipset, which is paired with up to 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 256GB of UFS 2.2 internal storage. The day to day performance is good and I didn’t experience any lags or shutters.
The app opening and closing times were less. RAM management was also good and the apps stayed in the background for a longer duration without refreshing when I opened them back. Switching between apps was smooth and multitasking was a breeze.
That was all about the normal daily tasks, but now it was time to push the limits of the phone. I tried some games on it, including Call of Duty Mobile, Apex Legends and Asphalt 9. All the games ran smoothly in medium to high settings.
Call of Duty Mobile settings could go up to High graphics and Very High frame rates. The overall gameplay was smooth and I did not experience major lags or frame drops. The chipset is very capable and powerful but don’t mistake it for a gaming chipset. It can play games at medium to high settings but not the max settings. Moreover, the phone got a little warm while playing games for prolonged durations which is normal.
To be honest, I was expecting a better performance like Snapdragon 778G but it’s not bad. All in all, you won’t face any issues in everyday activities but you might want to take a look somewhere else if gaming is your priority.
Redmi Note 12 Explorer Software and UI
The Redmi Note 12 Explorer runs on MIUI 13 which is based on Android 12. I am a bit sad to see that it still runs on Android 12, considering that Android 13 is in the market for quite some time now. But you can expect an Android 13 update soon.
Anyways, moving forward, the MIUI 13 continues to be feature rich and loaded with customisation options. You can change the wallpaper from the Theme app and play around with icon and font sizes as per your liking.
There are a bunch of bloatware apps pre-installed on the phone, as there with any other Xiaomi phone. Thankfully you can uninstall most of them, except the Xiaomi ones.
The company has not promised for how long they will provide software updates but you can expect Android 13 or maybe even Android 14 in the future.
Redmi Note 12 Explorer Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics
The Redmi Note 12 Explorer features a stereo speaker setup, one located at the bottom while the other at the top. The sound quality of the speakers was clear and crisp. The volume could get pretty loud as well without any distortion.
The phone comes with 5G connectivity as expected. Other than that, it has Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, GPS and IR blaster support as other connectivity options.
The biometrics is handled by the side-mounted fingerprint scanner which is fast and reliable. However, an in-display fingerprint sensor would have been more pleasing to see at this price. You can also use the face unlock feature but it’s less secure.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Explorer is undoubtedly a banger when it comes to price-to-performance ratio, as you could tell by reading this review. The 200MP main camera really performs well and takes good photos in daylight. 120Hz OLED display is one of the best displays I have every used, be it in terms of quality or smooth experience.
Moreover, the 210W fast charging is just mind-blowing. A full charge in under 10 minutes! What else do you need? Yes, the battery life could have been a bit better and Xiaomi could have added a better chipset at this point.
Other than that, there’s nothing to complain about this device. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Explorer is a solid buy if you want an ultimate all-rounder at a mid-range price.