OnePlus 12 long-term review: Can OnePlus dethrone Samsung?

Anurag Singh
OnePlus 12 in Silky Black

The OnePlus 12 has been out for almost 2 months, and I’ve been using it since its release. Is it better than the Samsung and Google Pixels of the world? We find out.

When OnePlus announced the OnePlus 10 Pro back in 2022, it was widely criticized for losing parts of what made the company special. Fans said the company focussed more on profits than offering flagship-killer phones. OnePlus took the criticism to heart and completely axed its “Pro” lineup, introducing only the OnePlus 11— a competitively-priced phone with flagship specs.

The OnePlus 11 marked the return of the “old” OnePlus for many. But for me, it’s the OnePlus 12 that brings back the essence of what the company used to stand for. The OnePlus 12 costs the same as the vanilla Galaxy S24 and offers specs that you won’t find even on the more expensive Galaxy S24 Ultra.

In my two months with the OnePlus 12, I’ve loved its battery life and charging speed more than anything. The super-bright display also manages to impress, along with its haptic feedback. The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 powered phone runs smoothly, but costs $100 more than its predecessor. After two months of using the phone, I’m finally ready to lay down my verdict on if you should pick one up for yourself.

Key Specs

  • Display: 6.82-inch LTPO AMOLED panel with 4500 nits peak brightness, HDR10+, 120Hz refresh rate
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC
  • Memory: 12GB or 16GB RAM
  • Storage: Up to 512GB
  • Battery: 5,400mAh unit with 80W fast wired charging
  • Cameras: 50MP+64MP+48MP triple rear camera setup, 32MP front cam
  • OS: Android 14 with OxygenOS 14


The OnePlus 12 brings along all the expected iterative updates you’d want out of a 2024 device. But, if there’s one upgrade that’s not welcome, it’s the price. The OnePlus 11 costs $700 for the 8GB + 128GB storage version in the US, while the OnePlus 12 starts at $800. In the company’s defense, the base model now offers 12GB RAM and 256GB of onboard storage.


OnePlus 12 in black

The OnePlus 12 keeps almost the same design as the OnePlus 11, and it doesn’t look too shabby, with an interesting back design. There’s a circular camera module that’s home to three main cameras. While most premium flagships are now moving towards a boxy design, OnePlus 12 sticks to its curvy frame. Its back is curved towards the edges, and so is the display.

My unit comes in a Silky Black color option with etched glass on the back. It’s a bit gritty, but not uncomfortable to hold. The glass has a shimmery texture on the back, noticeable in the sun or bright light in general. OnePlus also offers an Emerald Green color option with a frosted glass back and wavy patterns on it.

Whether you like its design or not is something only you can decide, but to me, the OnePlus 12 is a good-looking device. It’s not something that will necessarily garner compliments from others. I’ve taken it out with me several times, and my friends have commented that the camera housing was odd. “It would look much better if the circle (referring to the camera island) were in the center,” they said.

OnePlus 12 in sunlight

From a durability perspective, the OnePlus 12 features an aluminum frame and Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the front, which is the latest from Corning. It can withstand accidental drops without sustaining any permanent damage.

I have used the phone without a case or protective glass for two months, dropping it many times (not on purpose, I am just clumsy). Surprisingly, it remains in prime condition. In fact, all the pictures you see in this review were taken a few days before I started writing it. You won’t notice any scratches or dents.

The OnePlus 12 comes with an IP65 rating, which offers better protection than having nothing at all. However, it’s not as good IP67 or IP68 ratings. The IP65 rating indicates that the phone’s enclosure is dust-resistant and can withstand sustained low-pressure water jets from any direction, but it cannot be submerged.

OnePlus’ signature alert slider is also there, as it has always been. As far as I recall, the OnePlus 10T has been the only device that didn’t feature an alert slider. But, it’s still very welcome and works great for switching up your alerts on the fly. I wish more phones adopted this nifty feature, I’m looking at you, Samsung.


OnePlus 12 display

The display is where I begin to tell you how good the OnePlus 12 is. It features a 6.82-inch display, larger than the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. The LTPO AMOLED panel supports a 120Hz refresh rate and a peak brightness of 4500 nits. It’s brighter than any other phone available in the US.

You might not notice how bright this phone is indoors because manually, the brightness only goes up to 1600 nits. However, if you take it out in the sun with auto-brightness enabled, you’ll see that it’s a perfectly clear display that can be viewed without any issues. It gets more legible the more sun you throw directly at it. OnePlus 12 also goes equally dark in a dim environment.

The display is good-looking overall. I’ve watched a lot of movies, YouTube videos, and shows, and the experience has been great. The colors are vivid, and the content looks sharp. It has Dolby Vision support, but whether you’d be able to enjoy it or not depends on the streaming app. It worked on Netflix but not on Amazon Prime or Disney Plus.

Another interesting feature of the OnePlus 12’s display is Aqua Touch. The phone’s panel can differentiate between water droplets and your touch, making it easier to use when it’s raining. It doesn’t rain where I live (not at this time of year, at least), but for the love of science, I sprinkled water on the phone and tried to use it. It worked better than other phones I’ve used, but it certainly is not as usable as OnePlus claims.


OnePlus 12 cameras

The OnePlus 12 features the same cameras as the OnePlus Open or its Chinese counterpart, the Oppo Find N3. It has a 50MP primary camera, a 48MP ultrawide, and a 64MP telephoto lens for 3x optical zoom. In broad daylight, the primary camera captures beautiful pictures with excellent detail and without any noise.

The cameras offer a good wide dynamic range, capturing vibrant hues while maintaining natural-looking skin tones. Images taken with 2x zoom from the main camera are decent, providing sufficient detail, although they lack the highest level of detail.

The 3x shots are remarkable. The details are pretty good, better than what you get using 2x. The same goes for 6x images which feature a great amount of detail and sharpness. However, the quality starts deteriorating once you go higher than that.

While most phone cameras perform adequately in broad daylight, the true test lies in low-light environments. The OnePlus 12 pleasantly surprised me with its low-light performance. The pictures exhibit excellent exposure and a nicely wide dynamic range. Shots taken at 2x zoom are still acceptable, albeit not exceptional. Even the telephoto camera manages to capture good images in low light. Shots taken at 3x zoom are crisp, and those at 6x zoom are usable.

The OnePlus 12’s ultrawide camera also holds its own. The pictures are well-exposed with a wide dynamic range and impressive details. Colors pop with vibrancy, and the white balance stays reliable. As for selfies, the smartphone packs a 32MP main camera that captures likable and on-point pictures.


With the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 under its hood, the OnePlus 12 is quite powerful. It runs smoothly, whether you want to open tens of apps at once or play demanding games like Genshin Impact. I didn’t notice the phone heating too much or lagging while performing any task.

During the last 2 months, I used the phone as my daily driver. I didn’t just run a few benchmark tests but used it for everything a normal person does on their phone.

First, let’s dive into gaming. I played a bunch of games on the phone. Genshin Impact runs super smoothly on the smartphone at 60 frames per second. When I fired up Call of Duty: Mobile, it handled 120 FPS performance easily with medium graphics and ultra settings. Even cranking up the graphics and frame rate to Very High didn’t seem to stress out this phone.

OnePlus 12’s large vapor chamber cooling system keeps this phone cool, no matter what you throw at it. Whether you’re battling it out in the latest 3D games, recording hours of 4K video, or just crushing everyday tasks, this phone stays comfortably cool. You won’t even break a sweat streaming a movie for an hour on max brightness.

I decided to push the limits further by playing Genshin Impact at max settings with max brightness. Here, the phone did get warm, even a bit uncomfortable to hold. However, it’s important to note that most users wouldn’t subject their phones to such demanding conditions for extended periods.

Let’s talk about benchmarks now. I ran Geekbench 6, 3D Wild Mark Stress test, and AnTuTu on the OnePlus 12. Check out the results in the tables. The scores of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and iQOO 12 (another Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 phone) have been added for reference.

BenchmarkOnePlus 12Samsung Galaxy S24 UltraiQOO 12
Geekbench 6 (multi-core)4849 7076 7006
AnTuTu 1821801 1453497 2022873
3DMark’s Wildlife extreme test 4490 4983 4958

Starting with Geekbench 6, the OnePlus 12 managed to receive 4849 points in the multi-core test and 948 points in the single-core test. These results are without enabling the performance mode. By comparison, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered Galaxy S23 Ultra manages to get 5077.

OnePlus 12 managed to get 4490 points in 3D Mark’s 1440p 3D Wild Life Extreme test with an average frame rate of 29.69 FPS. It scored an impressive 1821801 points in AnTuTu, outperforming the Galaxy S24 Ultra, which scored 1453497 points, by a significant margin.


Battery and software

Battery life is one of the strongest features of the OnePlus 12. It packs a 5400mAh battery — 400mAh more than its predecessor. During my usage, I consistently got more than 9 hours of screen-on time. That’s very impressive considering most phones don’t go above 7 or 8 hours.

I use my phone for extended periods, scrolling through Instagram, X, and YouTube. I also like to record a lot of videos and click pictures. The 9 hours of screen-on time mentioned here is after all these tasks. If you just watch videos the whole day, expect to get around 18 hours of battery life.

However, I observed a significant drop in screen time when playing games. It dropped to around 6-7 hours when gaming was added to the mix. The phone compensates for this with its super-fast 80W charging, which takes it from 0 to 100 in around half an hour. It even supports 50W wireless charging, which takes around 1 hour to fully charge the phone.

The OnePlus 12 runs OxygenOS 14 on the software front and offers a decent experience, but I found it to be filled with many bugs. I noticed that YouTube Music keeps closing on the phone, and the option to forward music doesn’t work. The same problem was there with Spotify, but it got fixed after the recent security update.

Verdict – 4/5

OnePlus 12 gets almost everything right. It is one of the best smartphones the company has launched to date, and there isn’t a better phone in its price category. If you’re looking for solid gaming performance and an amazing display, the OnePlus 12 has your name written on it.

The smartphone may not have the best camera systems out there. In fact, if the camera is your priority, you are better off with a Pixel 8 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is worth considering if iOS works for you. But if you’re on a tight budget, I’m afraid there isn’t a better choice than the OnePlus 12.

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