ZDNET’s key takeaways
- The OnePlus 12 is on sale now for a starting price of $799. For a restricted time, OnePlus will supply double the storage (from 256GB to 512G), together with a 50W wi-fi charging dock, free of charge.
- It is the corporate’s most full handset so far, with the quickest charging speeds in the marketplace (each wired and wi-fi), a flagship digicam system, premium construct high quality, and dependable efficiency.
- The dearth of generative AI options is felt, however for a lot of, that might not be an issue.
OnePlus is launching its first smartphone in 2024, driving the momentum of final 12 months’s distinctive OnePlus Open foldable. However the timing is considerably awkward; not as a result of the OnePlus 12 was already unveiled in China again in December, however as a result of it is being launched to the US viewers only one week after Samsung’s Galaxy S24 series debut.
Samsung Unpacked was unquestionably all about AI — it is the mobile trend of the year, and can possible be entrance and heart of each cellphone, pill, and laptop computer launch we see shifting ahead. The OnePlus 12 has a few of that, too. Nevertheless it’s unabashedly a cellphone first, AI companion second sort of system. And I choose it that means.
The latest OnePlus phone features a 4,500-nit display, an improved camera system, and features that fans have been longing for.
My fondness for the OnePlus 12 is a part of a much bigger story. The system is probably the most full handset from an organization infamous for settling in small however invaluable areas — whether or not it is the omission of wi-fi charging, a greater low-light digicam, or an official IP score. The OnePlus 12 has all three of these options, by the best way, and at a value that is very aggressive in immediately’s market: $799, to begin.
Whereas that value is a $100 soar from final 12 months’s OnePlus 11, the distinction in person expertise is very noticeable, from the texture and polish of the marble-like FlowyEmerald end to the best way the system optimizes its RAM, of which it has loads of (as much as 16GB). On my desk proper now sits the OnePlus 12, Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus, and Google Pixel 8 Professional — amongst different telephones that I can not discuss simply but — and the OnePlus seems and feels the very best to me. The perimeters of the system are curved in a means that makes it sit easily in my hand, and I am not struggling to press any of the buttons.
Correction: I am not struggling to press any of the buttons besides for the alert slider, which has now been moved to the higher left aspect of the cellphone. For one thing that requires a toggle as a substitute of a press, bodily switching from “Ring” to “Vibrate” to “Silent” feels extra cumbersome than it ought to. In any other case, I am a fan of OnePlus’ industrial design, which feels a bit extra distinct now that each Samsung and Google have formally ditched the curved glass kind issue.
Internally, the OnePlus 12 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, which brings improved day-to-day efficiency and higher effectivity of on-device AI functions. I’ve had no downside placing the cellphone by way of its paces, whether or not it is enhancing movies on Premiere Rush, taking part in demanding video games like Fortnite and Genshin Impression, or multitasking with a PiP (Image-in-Image) video taking part in. Whereas the marketed peak brightness of 4,500 nits places even the Galaxy S24’s 2,600 value to disgrace, I solely discovered it to be barely brighter when open air.
Apart from Google’s inventory AI options, reminiscent of Magic Compose and Photomoji, there’s actually no killer generative AI service with this mannequin, as I alluded to within the introduction. That is not a foul factor, particularly if generative AI is not factored into your life-style anyway. Having cycled between the OnePlus and Samsung’s AI-heavy Galaxy S24 sequence, I have never discovered myself lacking the assisted options all that a lot.
When requested about its stance on AI, OnePlus advised me it is “dedicated important R&D sources to the developer of each on-device AI and cloud AI options,” and “(will) be introducing much more modern AI options later in Q1 2024, together with self-developed AIGC-related options.”
One space that I do want OnePlus flexed its machine-learning muscle tissue extra is with the cameras — particularly, the telephoto lens. Whereas the Sony LYT-808-backed, 50MP major digicam does a unbelievable (and dependable) job of reproducing lighting and colours in a really pure tone, the telephoto lens falls brief for me in two methods: distance and edge detection. As a result of the telephoto lens is capped to 3x optical zoom, taking pictures topics which might be additional away tends to supply photos that seem extra washed out and missing intimately. You possibly can view a few of my camera samples here.
For pictures captured with Hasselblad Portrait Mode, the cellphone can battle to use a bokeh impact behind folks with fuzzy and springy hairstyles. In each instances, a visible engine that may assist amplify or higher detect topics would assist immensely.
Finally, one of the vital compelling causes to purchase a OnePlus cellphone is its battery life and charging pace. For the previous, the OnePlus fields a 5,400mAh battery, the most important on a mainstream smartphone. I’ve comfortably gotten a great day and a half’s value of utilization earlier than needing to cost the system.
For the latter, the OnePlus 12 is the quickest in its class, each wired and wi-fi. The 80W charger that is included within the field has spoiled me, and the 50W wi-fi charging assist — which solely works with OnePlus’ first-party dock, to be clear — outpaces the wired charging charge of competing flagship telephones.
ZDNET’s shopping for recommendation
At a beginning value of $799, the OnePlus 12 could also be the very best cellphone which you could purchase at its value level, with its most well-rounded characteristic set ever, 5G assist for each main service (Verizon included), the quickest charging in the marketplace, and an industrial design that screams premium. It is also an excellent cellphone for customers who aren’t absolutely purchased into the AI craze.
The trade-offs are extra of a blur this time round, however from my weeks of utilization, I might nonetheless record the scarcity of generative AI options, the subpar telephoto lens, and the IP65 score — which simply misses the mark for the trade normal for water and mud resistance — as probably the most notable causes to assume twice concerning the system. However should you can shoulder the compromises, that are extra delicate than ever, then I’ve no downside recommending the newest cellphone from OnePlus.