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OnePlus has had a bit of a…storied history. For most of the past 10 years, they've really embraced and leaned into the scrappy startup, rebellious teenager kind of vibe for all of their products. They kept trying to deliver the best specs around for a compelling price and used a ton of hype and some questionable marketing tactics in order to build their brand. Their goal was to always deliver a "flagship killer".

And for the most part, it worked. Every new phone they released seemed to have something really compelling or interesting about it that drew people in (they were the first to bring under display fingerprint sensors to the border market, for example), and their fast, clean build of Android became well known among the tech community.

So here we are, ten years later, with the brand new OnePlus 12 in our hands. A phone that attempts to improve upon the already pretty great OnePlus 11. Have they finally found a solid formula that can deliver a true flagship killer? Maybe. Just maybe.

Oneplus-12-With-Box
Source: CrackBerry

Specs

Alright, let's get the good stuff out of the way. Once again, OnePlus has packed its flagship phone with all the specs you could ever want - at least for anything that's not a gaming phone.

Category OnePlus 12
Operating System OxygenOS 14 atop Android 14
Display 6.82 inches, 19.8:9 aspect ratio, 3168x1440 (510 ppi) resolution, LTPO AMOLED
Processor Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
Memory 12/16 GB
Storage 256/512 GB
Rear Camera 50 MP primary, Sony LYT-808
64 MP telephoto w/ 3x optical zoom
48 MP 114 degree ultra-wide
4th Gen Hasselblad tuning
Front Camera 32MP
Connectivity Wi-Fi 7, 5G, Bluetooth 5.4
Audio Dual Speakers w/ Dolby Atmos support
Battery 5400mAh, 80W charging, 50W wireless (with proprietary charger)
Water Resistance IP65
Dimensions Height 164.3mm x Width 75.8mm x Thickness 9.15mm
Weight 220g
Colors Flowy Emerald, Silky Black

The latest SoC from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, builds off the already amazingly powerful 8 Gen 2 from last year that powered the OnePlus 11 and all the other Android flagships. This year, Qualcomm is claiming a 25% power boost with 20% greater power efficiency compared to the Gen 2. Honestly, I haven't noticed it too much. I've been using the OnePlus 12R - which uses the 8 Gen 2 - alongside the OnePlus 12, and while the 12 is faster, it's certainly not a massive difference.

And the best part? This thing starts at $799. Not bad at all.

Oneplus-12-Back-Hero
Source: CrackBerry

Design

One thing I always appreciated about OnePlus was that each yeah you could always count on the design of the phone being different than before. Instead of simply endlessly iterating on a tired design for several years (like a certain fruit company we all know of), they would actually change it up and offer something different. They'd change the camera placement or the screen curvature or offer a different color that would keep things interesting year after year. It would be hard to say their designs were boring.

Ever since the OnePlus 10, however, they seem to be settling into their own design theme. The camera bump has changed a bit, but the similarities are still obvious. They've even adopted a beautiful green colorway across their flagship products that is actually pretty nice - even for someone who's not a fan of green.

The OnePlus 12 leans into this design language with, once again, a slightly altered camera bump, but this year the green color has a marbled look to it that I am completely here for. Unfortunately, that is not the color I received but all my friends and colleagues who did get that color are enamored with it.

Oneplus-12-Camera-Bump
Source: CrackBerry

And speaking of the camera bump, it also seems to be a love-hate situation. Personally, I'm here for it. It sets the OnePlus phones apart so you can definitely tell it's not an iPhone or Samsung and I think it's more interesting than just some boring lenses on the back (lookin at you Sammy). And this year they color matched it with the phone which looks even better in my opinion (they also claim this camera bump design was inspiration for the new OnePlus Watch 2 design. Ok.)

The back glass is thankfully frosted again which means no sticky fingerprint magnet, although it does make it a bit slippier in the hand.

Oneplus-12-curved-edges
Source: CrackBerry

Around front they've carried on with the curved display which apparently has become a bit controversial. Some of the bigger tech reviewers (and TechTubers) have repeatedly voiced their dislike of curved screens. I get that, as it can make it a bit slippier to hold for some people, but for my tiny hands, it actually makes big phones easier to hold.

And the OnePlus 12 is certainly big. I didn't even realize this until I was working on this review, but the OnePlus 12 is actually taller than the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. Albeit, only by .02 inches, but still. The S24 Ultra is still a tad wider and thus slightly bigger in the hand, but the curved screen on the OnePlus 12 actually makes it easier to navigate around, in my opinion.

Oneplus-12-Alert-Slider
Source: CrackBerry

Another feature that I am personally glad to see still around (and is arguably one of the biggest selling points) is the alert slider. For some completely unknown reason, the company removed this iconic slider from the OnePlus 10T, but when the tech community calmly and quietly (ha) let them know this may not have been the smartest decision, they brought it back for the 11. I also don't know why other major OEMs haven't started including this, because it doesn't take up any space and it's so amazingly convenient. I wouldn't be surprised to see the alert slider become even more customizable in the next few years, especially since the action button came to the iPhone 15 Pro.

The biggest missing feature of the design is full IP68 water resistance. The IP65 rating protects against splashes and rain, but no springing for the highest protection is a big no-no for a flagship phone. Android Central reported in their review that the company told them: "The IP65 waterproof rating we have chosen aligns with the requirements of the majority of users in their daily usage. It offers effective protection against light water splashes, rain, and dust particles, safeguarding the internal components from potential damage."

Ok OnePlus. Sure.

I'm much more inclined to believe it's because they didn't want to pay the extra cost for full IP68 resistance. Which, if that means they can charge you and me less for the phone, I suppose that's an acceptable tradeoff.

Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the haptics, only because they're good enough to make me notice how good they are. Just clear all your notifications and enjoy the little buzz as it clears. You'll thank me later.

Display

OnePlus has always had pretty fantastic displays on their phones and the OnePlus 12 is no different. This year, they're calling it the "ProXDR" display and it brings some welcome improvements on top of what was already a great display in the OnePlus 11. The screen is a 2K LTPO display with a 120Hz refresh rate meaning everything is just as fast and seamless as you'd expect on a flagship phone in 2024.

What's cool is that while you can manually set the display at 60Hz, 120Hz, or let the phone change it dynamically, OnePlus also includes the option to set the refresh rate within each app. That's something I don't think I've seen from other OEMs so you can allow apps with a lot of scrolling and video - like social media - to refresh at 120Hz, then other apps where refresh rate isn't as important you can set it to 90 or 60Hz to save battery life.

Oneplus-12-display
Source: CrackBerry

The biggest new feature of the display this year is the fact that it can max out at 4,500 nits of brightness, more than double the previous max brightness claim of 2,400 on the Google Pixel 8 Pro. The 4,500 nits only applies when viewing HDR content - the rest of the time it tops out at a still quite respectable 1,600 nits - which means viewing that HDR content is an absolute pleasure.

That's not to say the rest of the experience is a slouch. I have absolutely no complaints about this display. It's bright, crisp, colorful and just as fast as ever.

There's one other way that OnePlus' new display stands out. They worked closely with the display manufacturer to reduce the flickering on the display which makes it easier on the eyes. This isn't something you'll necessarily notice, as it would be most apparent at lower brightness levels, but it does mean it should cause less eye strain and fatigue than other smartphones.

Camera

The camera on the OnePlus 12, in my opinion, is the biggest improvement from the OnePlus 11, and the best camera setup the company has ever shipped. Not only that, it's the first time the company's camera setup has come close to, if not exceeded, the cameras on other current flagship phones.

The camera chops of the OnePlus 12 are anchored by Sony's new 50MP LYT-808 sensor. It's actually the first phone on the market with this sensor and OnePlus worked with Sony to customize it for improved low-light performance. This is typically where OnePlus cameras have suffered the most in the past, and the results here are quite impressive. See for yourself.

I have to say I was immensely impressed with the quality of low-light pictures I got from the OnePlus 12. Where they are normally grainy, noisy, and barely passable except in the most desperate of times, the ones I got were, dare I say, good. When looking through my photos for ones to use in this review, I downright forgot that some of these were taken with the 12. I totally thought I had shot them with the iPhone 15 Pro.

The second camera is a 48MP ultra-wide camera with a 114° field of view which also enables macro photography and it produced pretty remarkable results as well and the other big upgrade, which is also a first for OnePlus, is a 3x telephoto lens. It's a 64MP sensor with OIS and it technically enables zoom up to 120x. In reality, anything closer than about 10x really becomes unusable. Even if conditions are perfect and you've got a super steady hand or a tripod ready, it's just not worth it. Plus, you're bordering on creep territory there if you ask me. The extra megapixels does help quite a bit for editing so it's nice to see.I thoroughly enjoy having a proper telephoto camera on a OnePlus phone now and the fact that it captures great pictures makes it even better.

This is the fourth generation of OnePlus' partnership with Hasselblad and the famed camera company partnered with OnePlus to improve the color accuracy, tuning, and overall algorithms to improve the processing across the board. OnePlus claims there have been enhancements to Portrait Mode where the 1x, 2x, and 3x modes now switch seamlessly without the weird jumping between lenses that often see on other phones.

The cameras are capable of producing tremendous colors and details, but they still struggle a bit with focusing in Portrait Mode. In fairness, taking portraits that aren't of people are hard for any camera and isn't really what portrait mode is designed for but still. It's not terrible, but I've seen better.

OnePlus has also renamed their Pro Mode to "Master Mode" (cuz…why?) and offers additional controls over your photos allowing you to change things like tint, sharpness, contrast and more all from within the camera app.

Video wise, all three lenses can film up to 4K at 60 fps while 8K is available from the main lens only. You can also shoot in HDR mode with support for Dolby Vision on both main and telephoto lenses and the results were pretty impressive. The iPhone is still king when it comes to shooting video, but these are still really solid.

There are rumors that this is the last phone to come out under the Hasselblad partnership, and I really wish the company had helped develop the physical lenses as well instead of just the software, but either way, I think it's been beneficial in the end. Sure, it was all a marketing ploy, but if it helped to bring us the camera system on the OnePlus 12, it was worth it.

Here's my thing with smartphone cameras though: sure, better lenses, more megapixels, and sharper pictures are all nice, but at the end of the day, find me one picture in your phone that isn't going to either live in your photos forever, get posted to social media, or be texted out to friends and family. Show me one picture that you plan on printing out and framing or trying to sell to a gallery.

Go ahead. I'll wait (not talking to you, photographers).

For the vast majority of us (and I would argue nearly everyone reading this), not a single picture we take on our phone will ever live outside of the digital world. What I mean by that is that in that sense, who the heck cares about the specs and quality of your smartphone camera? As long as it takes a picture that looks good to you, and more importantly helps you capture the memory, why does it really matter? We're all chasing greater and greater camera improvements in an attempt to capture the actual, physical, real-life moment. But hey, spoiler alert, a camera will never be as good as the human eye.

Anyway, rant over. Here's a few more pics.

Performance

As always, OnePlus has packed its latest flagship to the gills with specs. It's running the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor with up to 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM, and up to 512GB of UFS 4.0 storage. For those non-spec-heads, that means it's super fast and will hold up for the next few years no problem.

And boy is this thing fast. It simply flies through everything I put it through and never once did I notice it lag or stutter. OnePlus has spent years tuning its software to make it faster and smoother and they've nailed it. Honestly, my iPhone 15 Pro feels a bit sluggish compared to this guy and I love it.

OnePlus says they prioritize not just making the phone fast and smooth, but keeping it that way for as long as possible. One way they started to do that was by developing a cooling solution for their phones. The first phone to really tout this was the 10T, but they've iterated on it ever since and the 12 has their newest version they're calling the Dual Cryo-velocity system. This helps draw heat away from the processor and motherboard so it can run at higher speeds for longer, while keeping the device cool in your hands. It also helps keep the phone cool if you need to charge it while gaming.

I never once felt the phone heat up, whether while gaming or otherwise, so from my experience, this new cooling system works quite well.

Overall, the performance of the OnePlus 12 is blazingly fast with more than enough power to get through whatever you need it to do.

Battery and charging

Powering this performance powerhouse is a massive 5400 mAh battery. And it's hard to kill this thing. I regularly got at least a day and a half or even two days of light to moderate use and even when I did game for a bit, I could still push it into the next day.

The best part is OnePlus' (really OPPO's) crazy fast SuperVOOC (again with the name people) is back again. This 80W charging - with the INCLUDED charger - will charge the entire phone in about 30 minutes. It's nuts. Even better, you can get half a charge in about 10 minutes. And I tested this, more than once. With two young kiddos running around, it's not uncommon to forget to charge at night or before I need to leave in the morning and all I had to do was drop it on the charger while putting the kids in the car and by the time I was ready, I had more than enough juice.

Friendly reminder though that you only get these crazy fast speeds with the OnePlus charger. And while the company's other 100W charger, sold separately, of course, also supports power delivery (PD) so you can charge non-OnePlus devices quickly, the 80W charger that comes with the OnePlus 12, does not. Sad day.

Overall, battery anxiety is safely a thing of the past here. It still boggles my mind how other OEMs have not jumped on this train yet. And don't try to give me the 'it shortens the lifetime of the battery' spiel, I don't care. In fact, repeatedly charging the battery overnight when it's not at 10% or lower - as most people charge their phones - is arguably just as bad, if not worse for the battery.

Software

OnePlus has well and truly abandoned all notions about their own fast and smooth version of Android and fully adopted OPPO's Color OS in all but name. So yes, it is still technically called Oxygen OS, and it's a pretty clean build atop Android 14, it's really just Color OS by a different name.

Here's the thing though: I don't hate it. I've always been a fan of their software, mainly for how free of bloatware it was and for how fluid the experience was. And the same still holds true on the OnePlus 12. It feels very clean and light and I've not noticed any slowdowns or hiccups as I navigate around.

My favorite part of the whole experience is that OnePlus has not stuffed Oxygen OS with a whole bunch of arguably useless AI features. Samsung launched their latest galaxies with a whole lotta AI…and not much else this year. I'm quite thankful, and honestly a bit surprised, that OnePlus hasn't really offered AI features as of yet, although I have heard they're looking into bringing a few later this year. We'll see what happens.

Samsung and Google have both promised seven years of software updates - including platform updates - for their latest flagship phones, which rightly received a lot of praise from reviewers. OnePlus has only promised four years of platform updates and many of my colleagues, as well as the internet, are not happy.

Here's my thing on this: keeping devices updated requires a huge amount of money and manpower. Not only that, I've never known a single Android phone to continue running well after more than about four years anyway. Sure, you could argue that has a lot to do with the software, and you might be right. However, I'm willing to believe that it has just as much to do with the age of the processor and other parts powering the phone.

Call me crazy, but apps and even Android itself is getting bigger, beefier, and bulkier every year so optimizing it to give you the same fluid experience years down the road just doesn't seem plausible to me. Sure Sammy can physically push an update to your seven year old phone, but will you have the same experience? And will it be able to run the latest features that you'd even want anyway? Almost certainly not.

Lastly, I don't know many Android users who hold onto their phones for more than about three or four years. iPhones are a different story, and that's always been a big part of their value, but that's never been the case for Android. And with the way Google kills stuff left and right and Samsung's penchant for overpromising and under delivering, I'm not optimistic about those promises anyway.

All this to say that I think OnePlus' four year commitment of updates is actually quite fine. If they can't guarantee me the same great experience more than four years down the road, I don't want them to try and be disappointed.

Final Thoughts

I'll just say it: The OnePlus 12 is the best phone OnePlus has ever made, and probably the best phone you can buy right now in 2024. The design is fantastic and stands out in a good way in a sea of boring slabs. The software is fast and fluid and it's got more than enough power to handle anything you throw at it. And it can charge faster than any other phone available in the US.

No, it's not perfect. I'd like to have full water protection. There's some quirks with the software, but that's true of literally every phone on the planet and Oxygen OS is certainly better, in my opinion, than most anything else right now.

The craziest part is all of this starts at only $799. That's a pretty amazing price for everything you're getting, in my opinion. A top-gen processor, lots of RAM, a decent amount of storage - at least more than others offer for more money - a blisteringly fast and clean software experience, stunning display, the fastest charging around, and four years of software updates. Everyone is gonna charge you several hundred dollars more for a similar experience.

Should I buy it?

In a word: why not (ok two)?

Buy it if you want:

  • The fastest processor
  • Great cameras
  • A gorgeous display
  • Insanely fast charging
  • To save money

Don't buy it if:

  • You simply have to have AI
  • You need better water protection
  • You don't care about money

In short, if you're looking for a top-of-the-line phone with everything you could ever need without having to spend $1,000 or more, it's hard not to recommend the OnePlus 12.

A true flagship killer

Op12-reco-box

OnePlus 12

The best Android phone in early 2024

The OnePlus 12 offers nearly everything you could want in a flagship phone: powerful specs, great cameras, beautiful hardware, long battery life, crazy fast charging and more. And all at a very respectable price.

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