The OnePlus 12 is launching very soon, and while we'll have to wait another two months before it is available globally, the launch in China on December 5 should give us a good indication as to what the device is all about. Of course, OnePlus did a good job on that front by officially revealing the design, and we'll undoubtedly get to know about the cameras and hardware ahead of the launch.
In Hardwired, AC Senior Editor Harish Jonnalagadda delves into all things relating to hardware, services, and the broader tech ecosystem.
For now though, the design is what's already been highlighted, so I'll start there. I really liked the design of the OnePlus 11, and I'm glad that OnePlus isn't messing with that aesthetic; the OnePlus 12 uses a largely similar design, but with a few tweaks. There's a new white color option at launch, but I'm drawn to the Flowy Emerald model. The color is nearly identical to the green version of the OnePlus 11, but the phone has a wavy pattern at the back that looks very distinctive.
The OnePlus 12 may just set a new standard for displays
And then there's the display. The OnePlus 12 is touted to feature a BOE X1 display that goes up to an insane 4,500 nits, making it the brightest panel of any phone by a significant margin. To give you some context, the Galaxy S23 Ultra goes up to 2,000 nits in HDR content, and the Pixel 8 Pro hits 2,400 nits. So for OnePlus to be able to double that figure is a big deal, and I'm excited to see how the panel holds up in real-world testing.
The phone is also likely to get a high PWM frequency of 2,160Hz, so it should be easy on the eyes — particularly if you're sensitive to PWM dimming. Other BBK devices launched this year — notably the Find X6 Pro — have a similar 2,160Hz PWM dimming, but these phones didn't launch outside China. With the OnePlus 12 getting a global release, the screen tech will be much more accessible to a wider audience.
I can't wait to try out the cameras
It feels like just yesterday that OnePlus was announcing its collaboration with Hasselblad, but it has been over three years. A lot has changed for the brand in that time, but what's evident is the steady progress that has been made on the camera side of things. I'm not really sure how much of that is down to Hasselblad; the OnePlus 11R doesn't have the Hasselblad "tuning" and it somehow takes photos that are just as good as the standard OnePlus 11.
Nevertheless, OnePlus made heady gains with the imaging system on the OnePlus Open foldable, and it's likely that the OnePlus 12 will use the same 50MP Sony LYTIA-808 sensor. Leaks suggest it will get a 48MP wide-angle and a 64MP zoom lens with 3x optical zoom, so at least from a hardware point of view, things are looking good.
Of course, there will be plenty of tweaks to the algorithm to take better advantage of the new Qualcomm silicon, and I'm intrigued to see how the device holds up against the Xiaomi 13 Ultra and Pixel 8 Pro. The Xiaomi 13 Ultra continues to be my favorite phone camera — it just delivers outstanding photos in any situation, but with OnePlus investing a lot of resources in its imaging unit, we're going to see noticeable gains in 2024.
OnePlus 12 will have amazing hardware
This is something that doesn't need mentioning, but the OnePlus 12 will have terrific hardware — that's been the case with all OnePlus flagships. It will be powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, feature up to 24GB of memory, and use the same 100W charging tech that we got this year.
And if you were wondering, yes, wireless charging is making a return. OnePlus omitted the tech in the OnePlus 11, but that isn't likely to be the case next year; the OnePlus 12 will let you charge wirelessly, so if you've got a OnePlus charging stand, don't throw it out just yet.
OnePlus is gearing up for a massive 2024
OnePlus didn't put a foot wrong in 2023. The company launched a wave of products this year, and while there have been a few software quibbles, on the whole, OnePlus is back on form. It was an ambitious year for the manufacturer; it rolled out the OnePlus Pad and Pad Go, its first foldable in the OnePlus Open, the Nord series got a major update, and it even collaborated with Keychron to launch a keyboard — which I'm still using.
While the Open was the marquee launch of the year, the OnePlus 11 showed that the manufacturer can deliver on value-focused flagships once again. OnePlus's decision to ditch the Pro model this year and instead bundle all the upgrades into the OnePlus 11 was the right choice, and it made the device all the more enticing. OnePlus was always at its best when it undercut its rivals, and the OnePlus 11 did just that this year.
And then came the OnePlus 11R, and it offered an even better value. As I said in my review, the 11R did a magnificent job delivering the best features of the OnePlus 11 for a lot less, and I still don't understand why it didn't release globally — it would have allowed OnePlus to go up against the likes of the Pixel 7a and Galaxy A54.
But what stood out the most was the return to custom editions. I cherish the OnePlus 5T Star Wars and OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren phones, and OnePlus introduced a gorgeous Marble Odyssey verison of the OnePlus 11 and the stunning Solar Red 11R. The OnePlus 12 feels like a continuation of these efforts, and I can't wait to see what else is in store for 2024.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.