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Xiaomi Redmi 12C: Get this phone if…

The Xiaomi Redmi 12C is Xiaomi’s latest contender in the budget smartphone space, bringing a larger display and more storage options than its predecessor. But is that enough reason to buy this new handset? I’m here to offer the different considerations you might want to take into account before making that purchase decision.

You want a low-maintenance, large phone (with a dash of personality) 

I’ve already said I loved the Redmi A1’s light and bright design. And Xiaomi continues that tradition with the different color options you can get with the Xiaomi Redmi 12C. It’s available in Graphite Gray, Ocean Blue, Mint Green, and Lavender Purple. I would’ve wanted to see the more colorful variants instead of this restrained black/gray option.

It still has interesting design details like the diagonal stripes on the rear panel. It gives texture and grip to the back of the phone. You don’t get a jelly case in the box for this phone so that extra grip is welcome. While I still prefer the Redmi A1’s look, I like that the Redmi 12C similarly keeps fingerprints and smudges away. You don’t have to constantly wipe it down. And this darker color option hides dirt easily.

Xiaomi Redmi A1 (left) and Redmi 12C (right)

The Xiaomi Redmi 12C slightly curves on the back, joined by a flat-edged display in front. And similar to other budget phones, it still has thick bezels and a waterdrop notch. Unfortunately, in 2023, the waterdrop notch continues to take up space in the top part of the phone.

As I mentioned, you also get a larger 6.71-inch HD+ LCD with a 20.6:9 aspect ratio on this phone (compared to the Redmi A1’s 6.52-inch HD+ display with a 20:9 aspect ratio). If that extra screen size matters to you, the Redmi 12C offers that.

Why you should reconsider…

  • If you’re the type who prefers a glass back or even that glass-like look in the budget space, it might be time to look elsewhere.
  • Not everyone wants a larger phone either.
  • You might prefer a sharper display. This is still an LCD screen, after all.

You’re looking for a starter phone/secondary device

Budget smartphones are typically starter phones for first-time smartphone users or a second phone they can bring out during commutes or as a hotspot device. And the Xiaomi Redmi 12C comfortably fits that mold. It runs on an older but reliable MediaTek Helio G85 processor, which powers phones like the narzo 30A and the Wiko T50. And that’s paired with more storage and RAM options than the Redmi A1 (up to 6GB for RAM and up to 128GB for storage).

The upside to that is this phone doesn’t run on the barebones Android 12 Go Edition. Instead, you get the MIUI 13 based on Android 12. That offers you more customization and the ability to install more apps. If you want the best performance from this phone, the 6GB variant is for you. The Redmi 12C supports 5GB extended RAM support for that model. All variants get a dedicated slot for storage expansion. So if you store a lot on your phone, you can add some extra storage this way.

We’re also happy to see a fingerprint sensor this time around. I wish it was located in a lower position. But it’s been pretty responsive when I used it. I’ve typically just relied on the equally trusty facial unlock option. It’s not as fast as more expensive models, but I don’t expect it to be anyway.

A full day’s use is typical for me on the Xiaomi Redmi 12C. But then I’ve had it playing a video or some audio while I got through my day. It’s possible to stretch that 5,000mAh battery to more than a day’s use if you’re on your phone less than I am. You’ll want that extra time because it’ll take more time to recharge this phone. I got around two and a half hours of typical charging time with its 10W support. At least you get that 10W charger in the box.

This phone is also more than ready to handle social media apps and a few casual games. I noticed performance improvement over the Redmi A1 instantly. I wasn’t getting too impatient waiting for apps to load. But I noticed a weird bug where I’d let Instagram Stories play, and it’ll crash after a while. I hope this is something Xiaomi can fix or look into. When this happens, the phone heats up more than its usual temperature.

Why you should reconsider…

  • You need a bit more power out of a newer processor. Xiaomi also has options for you in this regard. 
  • The simplified experience on the Redmi A1 might be more your thing. If you find MIUI too overwhelming, its predecessor might be a better option.
  • You need faster charging.

You still want to express yourself creatively

I talked about it in our first look already. But it’s worth mentioning again that the new 50-megapixel camera on the Xiaomi Redmi 12C is a significant leap from the 8-megapixel rear sensor on the Redmi A1. Xiaomi pairs that with a depth sensor and a 5-megapixel selfie camera. This is still one of those areas you need to temper your expectations when taking out for a shoot.

But that 50-megapixel sensor gives you some flexibility with getting shareable photos like these portraits I took with both the rear and front cameras. The first two were taken with the selfie camera, while the remaining two were shot with the rear camera.

This phone also has a 50-megapixel mode, which is best used for trying to crop into shots without degrading the quality. I’ve noticed some decent subject and background separation in this mode.

Unsurprisingly, the quality will dip when the lights get low (both for the front and rear cameras). That selfie shooter, particularly, is best used in great lighting. There is no Pro mode on this phone, either. So when it’s dark, you’ll need to use the Night mode. But it does minimal to boost the brightness in the shot, giving off “Lomo” vibes from your pictures.

Why you should reconsider…

  • If selfies are important to you, this might not be the best phone camera.
  • The same goes for low-light photography. If you can’t be bothered to edit those pictures, it might be better to look elsewhere.

Xiaomi Redmi 12C: Pricing and availability

If you’re buying one, Xiaomi offers early bird deals on the Redmi 12C until March 31 (particularly for the 6GB model). Here is the pricing info:

  • 3GB + 32GB – PHP 5,499 (around USD 100)
  • 4GB + 64GB – PHP 6,499 (~USD 120)
  • 4GB + 128GB – PHP 7,499 (~USD 138)
  • 6GB + 128GB  PHP 8,999 (~USD 165)

You can purchase the 3GB and 4GB models from Xiaomi-authorized offline stores and online via their official Shopee, Lazada, and TikTok Shop. And buying any of the three models entitles you to a free Mi Compact Bluetooth Speaker 2 (valued at PHP 599 or ~USD 11) during the promo period.

The 6GB variant is available exclusively through Xiaomi’s e-commerce platforms. And if you get it during this early bird sale, you can get it for PHP 8,599. It’ll also come with a free pair of Redmi Buds 3.

Xiaomi Redmi 12C: Final thoughts

The Xiaomi Redmi 12C joins a rather crowded budget phone space. It attempts to stand out in the segment but stays within the lane of what you’d expect for its price. As a starter smartphone, it delivers what it needs but not much more. It’s not for the budding power user. It’s more for those who browse their socials, occasionally share photos of their adventures, and listen to or watch things on their phone.

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