OnePlus has beefed up its latest flagship with wireless charging and a powerful processor. While the OnePlus 12 is more expensive than the OnePlus 11 was at launch, the specs are still mighty impressive for the price, with a gorgeous design, punchy performance and capable cameras. It’s a great buy.
OnePlus has steadily made a name for itself across the globe by offering competitively priced smartphones that undercut flagship phones from Samsung, Google and others.
The OnePlus 12 bucks this trend, and isn’t as cheap as the OnePlus 11 was at launch. But it does justify the price hike with some new features as well as providing all the stuff you’d expect: a top-notch screen, capable performance and great cameras. Yet again, OnePlus is living up to its motto of never settling.
Design & Build
Available in green and black
IP65 rating rather than IP68
Alert slider still a handy feature
I love the OnePlus 12’s design. To me, it looks better than any other phone I’ve reviewed, although I am biased towards green tech.
Weighing 220g and measuring 9.15mm thick, the ’12 is par for the course these days: it’s a big, weighty flagship that doesn’t easily fit into pockets.
OnePlus has kept the massive circular camera module on the back that was first introduced on the 11, complete with inscriptions indicating the specs of each camera.
The green colour is called Flowy Emerald, which is allegedly inspired by the rivers that flow down the Alps. Marketing lingo aside, the texture is like an earth-toned marble whose tones varies depending on the ambient lighting. It also comes in Silky Black for those who don’t like green as much as me.
The glass back feels smooth in the hand, as does the curved display. During testing, the phone survived an accidental drop with the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the rear and Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the front doing a good job and not cracking or shattering.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
The IP65 rating makes the OnePlus 12 less susceptible to damage from water and dust than the 11, but still isn’t as good as the IP68 standard that many other expensive smartphones comply with. What it means is that you can’t submerge the OnePus 12 in water: it’s only protected against low-pressure jets of water.
I’m a big fan of OnePlus’s alert slider. It eliminates extra taps on the screen and presses of the volume slider. It’s a good reason to go for a OnePlus phone over rivals which don’t have one.
There’s no headphone jack, which is the norm for flagship phones these days. The SIM-tray (with dual-nano SIM support) sits next to the USB-C port on the bottom, whilst the volume rocker and power button live on the right-hand side.
Haptics – the vibrations for alerts and key presses – are some of the best I’ve used, with noticeably different patterns for alerts, calls and messages. You adjust the intensity as well as alternating between ‘crisp’ and ‘gentle’ depending on your preferences.
Screen & Speakers
Very bright 6.82-inch display
120Hz adaptive refresh rate
Stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support
The AMOLED display has been increased to 6.82-inches from the 6.7-inch panel seen on the OnePlus 11. The resolution is also higher, at 1440 x 3168. As before it uses LPTO tech with a 120Hz refresh rate that can automatically adjust all the way down to 1Hz to save battery power.
With support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+, it’s colourful, bold and responsive to taps and scrolls. Bright sunlight doesn’t affect it whatsoever thanks to the amazing peak brightness of 4,500 nits, around 2.5x more than the brightest current phones. It’s almost overpowering in dimmer rooms, although it does adjust automatically.
Put simply, the OnePlus 12 is sublime for streaming Netflix shows and playing games.
There’s an under-display fingerprint sensor for biometrics, and face recognition. Both work a treat, with the latter having no issues with glasses or only minor trouble with dark rooms.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
The stereo speakers are great, with support for Dolby Atmos. They sound clear and produce lively sound with a bit of bass. I wouldn’t want to listen to much music on them, but they’re good for podcasts and games.
Under the Dolby Atmos section in the settings, there are four sound profiles to choose from: Smart (adaptive), Movie, Gaming and Music. Movie was my preferred opinion.
There’s also support for spatial audio and ‘holo audio’ (see below), providing you have compatible earbuds and apps for these features. The same goes for head tracking. Testing with the Jabra Elite 8 Active earbuds, spatial audio sounded decent for action scenes, but dialogue was echo-y.
Holo audio allows you to have different sounds coming from different directions. So, you can have your Spotify audio playing from the front, your notifications coming from the right and alarms pinging from the left. That’s the theory. When I tried it, notifications wouldn’t play over Spotify, and the timer would halt the audio altogether.
Clearly some work needs to be done there, or you need OnePlus’s own buds.
Specs & Performance
Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
If you’re looking for flagship performance, the OnePlus 12 doesn’t disappoint. It’s fitted with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, the same chip seen in the Xiaomi 14 and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, though it’s tweaked specifically for the latter.
Depending upon your choice when purchasing, you get either 12- or 16GB RAM, and 256- or 512GB storage. Even the base model is more than enough for demanding apps and games. Needless to say there’s an abundance of performance for day-to-day tasks.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
To keep that performance in check the OnePlus 12 has a Dual Cryo-velocity VC Cooling System, which has a larger surface area and a shortened gas-liquid circulation distance compared to rivals to improve heat dissipation.
Tech jargon aside, it does work. The phone stayed remarkably cool when playing the demanding game Genshin Impact. In fact, the only time the OnePlus 12 felt warm was during charging, but not problematically so.
Genshin Impact could run at medium graphics settings without overclocking. There was no stuttering and responses to touches, swipes and camera adjustments were rapid. This is likely aided by HyperBoost, HyperRendering and HyperTouch, three new features in Oxygen OS 14 designed to improve gaming performance.
OnePlus 12 Benchmarks
In our tests, the OnePlus 12 bested rivals in GeekBench 5. This includes the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which is an impressive feat considering that iPhones usually outpace Android models here.
However, surprisingly it fell short of the OnePlus 11 in GeekBench 6, which has the older chip – a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, as also fitted to the more affordable OnePlus 12R.
These synthetic benchmarks are just one measure of performance, though, and it doesn’t mean it’s slower overall.
The ’12 produced some impressive numbers in GFXBench, showing the graphics prowess of this phone in comparison to other flagships. It’s also got some the fastest charging out of the group, only bested by the 11, which has a smaller battery that’s quicker to recharge.
Superb main camera
Capable low-light performance
Selfie camera not as impressive as rivals
OnePlus is continuing its partnership with Hassleblad for its triple rear camera set-up.
The main 50Mp main camera uses Sony’s LYT-808 1/1.4 sensor and has OIS – optical stabilisation. The sensor allows for lots of light to be let in, and as such the phone can capture scenery and textures extraordinary clarity.
This also applies to photos taken in dark environments. Clouds in the night sky have incredible depth, and bright lights are handled well without too much flaring or glare. Textures appear lifelike, and colours are realistic. The OnePlus 12 makes it easy to take an impressive photo.
The upgraded 64Mp f/2.6 telephoto camera provides 3x optical zoom. There’s also 6x ‘lossless’ zoom and up to a whopping 120x digital zoom. Using optical zoom, the camera resolves details like strands of hair with ease.
When you start heading into the digital zoom territory, it still holds up at 10x. Beyond that, details start to become fuzzier and when you get past 60x zoom, it’s hard to keep the phone still enough, and is a largely pointless exercise.
Some rivals (the iPhone 15 included) don’t have a telephoto camera, so this is a big tick for OnePlus.
The 48Mp wide-angle camera produces dimmer tones compared to the main snapper, with softer edges and generally less flair. Compare the colours below, particularly on the grass:
For selfies, there’s a 32Mp front-facing snapper with a Sony IMX615 sensor. Portrait mode has a decent amount of blur in the background, though there’s some smudging on loose hairs. This camera isn’t as impressive to use at night as the main rear one.
Photos can be edited either directly in OnePlus’s own gallery, which includes skin retouching features and an eraser tool for any unwanted background elements, or in Google Photos. I much prefer using Google’s Magic Eraser, which automatically finds background elements and pre-selects them for faster editing.
Neither are foolproof, with some weird textures sometimes left behind, but Google’s editing tools are undoubtedly superior. However, you’ll need a Google One subscription – OnePlus 12 users get a three-month free trial.
The OnePlus 12 shoots up to 8K video at 24fps, but it’s also capable of 4K, 1080p and 720p all at either 30fps or 60fps. There’s the option to turn on HDR video (Dolby Vision) and an ‘ultra steady’ mode to minimise shakes.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
Battery Life & Charging
50W wireless charging
The OnePlus 12 is fitted with a 5,400mAh battery. On average, this lasted for a day and a half but less than that if I kept the 120Hz refresh rate on permanently and used it heavily for gaming.
100W charging means the battery goes from empty to 67% full in just 15 minutes, and 100% within half an hour.
On top of all that, there’s 50W wireless charging. You can buy OnePlus’s official charger for just under £40 at the time of writing.
It’s great to see a flagship phone with not only strong battery life, but also speedy wired and wireless charging. Not all can compete with that.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
OxygenOS 14.0 (based on Android 14)
Four years of OS updates
Five years of security updates
OxygenOS has long been one of the favourite Android skins among the Tech Advisor team, and that remains the case now. It’s clean, intuitive and minimal when it comes to app bloat. There’s a neat little ‘OnePlus’ folder with some of the brands own apps, but no unwanted games in sight.
You can easily customise the home screen with large folders for apps and support for some widgets that aren’t available on other Android models – Pinterest, for example. Timers also neatly sit in the corner of the screen when active, so you can see the status even when you’re in other apps.
This is the most recent update, based on Android 14. That means it has features such as smart cutout, where you can long press and person or object in a photo to isolate it from the rest of the background. This can then be saved to your gallery or sent to someone.
There are also new security tools such as the Safety Centre, where you can choose what data is shared on an app-by-app basis. Meanwhile, Auto Pixelate 2.0 blurs any sensitive information that the phone senses on images.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
OnePlus provides four years of OS updates and five years of security updates. This is on par with some other brands, but it doesn’t match the Google Pixel 8 and Samsung Galaxy S24 series, which offer an impressive seven years of both types.
Hopefully we’ll see more Android brands follow suit in the coming years, as it encourages people to hold onto phones for longer which is both beneficial for people’s wallets and the planet. Obviously, it’s less helpful for sales…
Price & Availability
The OnePlus 12 is available from 6 February, and can be pre-ordered from OnePlus from 23 January. If you get in quick, then you can grab a free pair of Bang & Olufsen Beocom Portal headphones, which are normally £459.
It should be available on Amazon and other sites but wasn’t at the time of review.
Here’s the prices for the OnePlus 12:
12GB/256GB – $799/£849
16GB/512GB – $899/£999
That’s a $100/£120 increase on last year’s flagship, the OnePlus 11. But there’s 50W wireless charging (the 11 had none), a higher IP rating and a more powerful chipset. On top of all that there’s inflation, which has affected other phones: it isn’t just OnePlus putting up prices.
The hike means the OnePlus 12 goes toe-to-toe with the Pixel 8 Pro. The Pixel’s flat, wider display make it less comfortable to hold (especially if you have small hands like me), and the plain pastel finishes aren’t as interesting as Flowy Emerald though, admittedly, these things do come down to personal preference.
More definitively, the Pixel 8 Pro has a less powerful processor and shorter battery life. However, photos taken on the Pixel 8 Pro are slightly better than those on the OnePlus 12, and the seven years of OS updates trumps OnePlus’s four-year promise.
You could also consider the Samsung Galaxy S24+, which has a raft of new AI software features and again seven years of OS updates. But despite the higher price of £999/$999.99, the S24+ is a downgrade from the OnePlus 12. A closer match would be the Ultra model, but that’s more expensive still, and it makes the OnePlus 12 look even better value for money.
See what other options are available in our roundups of the best smartphones and the best OnePlus phones.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
Should you buy the OnePlus 12?
The OnePlus 12 is a fantastic phone and a joy to use. It has a stunning and distinctive design, an incredibly bright, excellent performance, cracking main cameras and a surprisingly long battery life for everything that’s running in the background.
The main downsides are that Samsung and Google offer longer promises of OS and security updates, and that the price isn’t as much of a steal as the OnePlus 11 was. However, the fortified specs and a tough economy make this inevitable.
The fact of the matter is that I have no trouble giving a glowing badge of recommendation to the OnePlus 12. It isn’t flawless, but it should certainly be on your shortlist along with the Google Pixel 8 Pro.