This, is the OnePlus 12.

OnePlus 12 Back
Source: CrackBerry

OnePlus officially announced the OnePlus 12 at their "OnePlus Smooth Beyond Belief" event on Jan 23 - yes, that was really what they called it - so finally after weeks of information about their latest phone trickling out, we at last know what we're getting.

We have a full review coming later, but we wanted to give you our first impressions of their latest flagship.

Design

The design is pretty reminiscent of the OnePlus 11, which was reminiscent of the OnePlus 10 Pro before it. While most other manufacturers keep to a similar design pattern year-over-year, for at least a few generations, this is actually something fairly new for OnePlus. Up until the OnePlus 11, the company never shied away from introducing a new design with their flagship phones.

OnePlus 12
Source: CrackBerry

And while the world of design and product management would say this is the sign of the company finally growing up and maturing a bit, I personally wish they would still try something new. However, I also know keeping the same design language helps build brand awareness and recognition as well, so I get why they did it.

Anyway, that means we still have the curved screen up front with a slightly larger display and the wonderful alert slider stuck around as well, although they moved it to the left side this year and it's pretty high up on the device so those of us with tiny hands have to do some hand gymnastics to reach it every time. Oh well, I'm just glad it's still here.

OnePlus 12
Source: CrackBerry

And love it or hate it, the camera-lense-esque (some might say a watch face) camera bump is back again as well. It doesn't have the same grooves around the edge as it does on the OnePlus Open, but I kinda like it. It stands out a bit from all the other slabs out there and doesn't look just thrown together like the cameras on the iPhone, in my opinion. It makes a statement without being too in your face.

They're also offering a green color again like they have the past few years, and it's nice to see them keep some consistency across their product lineup. And I like the color too (I, sadly, received the black one to review).

Specs

As always, OnePlus has packed the OnePlus 12 to the gills with specs. It's powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor with up to 16 GB of high-speed RAM and up to 1 TB of storage which puts it right up there with the other flagships in terms of speed and performance. I've owned a lot of OnePlus phones, and they've all been incredibly speedy and responsive so I wouldn't expect anything less this year.

The display has gotten a little bigger this year, from 6.7 inches to 6.82 inches and it's still the wonderfully smooth 120Hz refresh rate. It's powered by a 5,400 mAh battery with the crazy fast 80W charging we've seen before (100W outside of North America), and they're bringing back the 50W wireless charging that randomly vanished after the OnePlus 8 Pro.

The cameras are where we're expecting (and hoping) to see a pretty decent upgrade this year. It's the 4th year of their partnership with Hasselblad, so ideally they've been able to fine-tune the color science where it needs to be, and the camera hardware is good enough, at least on paper, to be a serious contender. We're getting a 50MP main camera, a 48MP ultrawide sensor, and in a first for OnePlus, a 64MP physical telephoto 3x zoom lens. It's the first time they've done a periscope-style lens so I'm excited to see the results.

It's shaping up to be a great phone

Many people, both long-time OnePlus fans as well as many in the tech community at large (myself included), felt the OnePlus 11 was sort of a return to form for the company. And so far, my time with the OnePlus 12 is getting me excited that this could be a solid step up for them. The specs are all there, the camera looks to be a strong performer, and at $799, the price is comfortably below other flagships with similar offerings.

Of course, only the full review will tell for sure, but there's a chance OnePlus could finally top the podium as the best smartphone for 2024. Stay tuned.

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