The OnePlus 12 just launched in China, showing us what the Samsung Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S24, Google Pixel 8 series and iPhone 15 series will have to contend with next year once it arrives in the rest of the world.
OnePlus promises that the global launch of the OnePlus 12 will be coming in "early 2024." Given we're in December, that hopefully means January or February by the time we can sample this phone's charms ourselves, although it could mean we see the Galaxy S24 arrive before it does depending on OnePlus' timing.
OnePlus 12: specs
|December 2023 (China)/ Early 2024 (global)
|6.82-inch 2K OLED
|50MP main, 48MP ultrawide, 64MP 3x telephoto
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
|100W wired, 50W wireless
|Green, white, black
OnePlus 12: pricing
We only have the pricing for the Chinese market, where it starts at 4299 yuan. For comparison, a basic Galaxy S23 in China costs 5199 yuan, while an iPhone 15 starts at 5999 yuan, which suggests (even when accounting for tax differences on non-Chinese phones) that OnePlus will aim to undercut its main rivals once again. That said, we may still see the OnePlus 12 cost more than the OnePlus 11, which launched at 3999 yuan originally.
OnePlus 12: Design and display
At first glance, the OnePlus 12 has a similar look to the OnePlus 11 but with a relocated Alert slider (it's now on the left edge of the phone) and new patterned back glass, which you can choose to have in green, white or black. The other big change is the improved IP65 rating for resistance against water and dust intrusion. That's better than the IP64 OnePlus 11 but behind the standard of IP68 dust/water resistance set by rival phones.
OnePlus boasts that the 6.82-inch OnePlus 12 is 9.15mm thick, and weighs 220 grams, which makes it thicker but also lighter than the Galaxy S23 Ultra and even the titanium-clad iPhone 15 Pro Max, despite being roughly the same size. Dominating the front of the phone is a 120Hz 2K display with LTPO tech, similar to other leading phones. But more impressively OnePlus claims the 12 is capable of a 1,600-nit peak full-screen brightness, as well as an unbelievable peak brightness of 4,500 nits. That would make the OnePlus 12 one of the brightest phones around, assuming those numbers are achievable in real-life use.
OnePlus 12: Performance
As OnePlus teased prior to the launch event, the OnePlus 12 carries a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, which it claims offers 30% CPU and 25% GPU performance increases, coupled with a 10% power efficiency improvement compared to the OnePlus 11. This chip is joined by either 12GB, 16GB or 24GB of LPDDR5X RAM, and 256GB, 512GB or 1TB of storage depending on your chosen version, and comes with Android 14 installed as standard. All of this is covered by what OnePlus calls a "Dual Cryo-velocity Cooling System" which should hopefully keep the phone performing at its peak for when playing games or using chip-intensive apps for long periods of time.
OnePlus 12: Battery and charging
To run everything, OnePlus has given the 12 a 5,400 mAh battery, about 400 mAh larger than the competition. This cell can then be refilled with either 100W wired charging or 50W wireless charging. We aren't guaranteed to see the same speeds in the global version due to differences in voltage across countries, but we're relieved to see wireless charging back on OnePlus' flagship phone after the OnePlus 11 offered wired charging only.
OnePlus 12: Cameras
For photos, the OnePlus 12 has the use of a 50MP main camera, 48MP ultrawide camera and 64MP 3x telephoto camera on the back, plus a 32MP front camera. All of these cameras are seemingly taken from the OnePlus Open foldable, but we hope that OnePlus has done more to improve the camera performance, along with partner Hasselblad, to make the new phone capable of taking on the best camera phones around right now.
OnePlus 12: Outlook
It's unfortunate we're having to wait to try the OnePlus 12 out ourselves, but it's looking like a phone worth waiting for. We're particularly keen to see just how fast this phone charges and how long its battery lasts, as well as how powerful the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip can be, but we're also curious if OnePlus will be able to offer Samsung, Google and Apple-challenging photo quality this time around, and what all these new and improved abilities mean for pricing.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.