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Xiaomi 14 review: Bigger on the inside
7:15 pm | April 19, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Phones Xiaomi Phones | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Xiaomi 14: Two-minute review

The Xiaomi 14 is unquestionably in the running to be one of this year's top compact flagships, even if it is a little larger than the iPhone 15 and Samsung Galaxy S24. The phone boasts Qualcomm's best and brightest Snapdrgon 8 Gen 3 chip, a camera system that's been developed in collaboration with Leica, and a sizable battery with impressively fast 90W charging.

Xiaomi was actually first to market with an 8 Gen 3-powered phone, with the Xiaomi 14 series first debuting in China back in October 2023. As of February 2024, the company confirmed that both the Xiaomi 14 and Xiaomi 14 Ultra would be going global (the Xiaomi 14 Pro isn't getting an international release, but that's not as much of a loss as you might think), with the phones touching down in late February and mid-March, respectively.

There's more than a passing resemblance between this phone and the Xiaomi 13 – both phones have a prominent square main camera bump, and they have near-identical dimensions, with the new phone's fractional weight increase a result of the larger rear camera system and bigger battery. Xiaomi's fit and finish is up there, but the mirror-polish straight-sided design is decidedly more iPhone 14, than iPhone 15, which won't be to everyone's taste.

The 6.36-inch display has received a gamut of nice upgrades – there's a resolution bump between generations, while the move to an LTPO panel facilitates a true 1Hz to 120Hz variable refresh rate for greater power efficiency. It's a significantly brighter panel too, also trumping the figures promised by Apple and Samsung's latest.

This marks the fifth generation of flagship phones (if you include the company's mid-year 'S' refreshes) on which Xiaomi has collaborated with optical specialists Leica. For the most part, the user experience offered up by the camera remains much the same as last year's – including the ability to shoot in Leica Vivid or Classic color profiles, but the underlying hardware has been upgraded significantly, with a larger 50MP main sensor sporting a wider aperture, and backed up by two additional 50MP sensors (an ultra-wide and a 3.2x telephoto), which collectively deliver better light, detail, dynamic range, and color reproduction than previously.

Xiaomi 14 review back angled upside down

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Even without flicking the 'high performance mode' toggle on, the Xiaomi 14 benchmarks among the top tier of the current Android pile, which translates to excellent real-world performance, whether multi-tasking or gaming. For all the raw grunt and software optimization the 14 clearly serves up though, the refreshed HyperOS user experience still falls foul of the same convolutions found in the previous MIUI; quirks that newcomers to the brand, and even some veteran Xiaomi users, would likely scratch their heads at when trying to perform certain actions or find particular features.

With this being 2024, there are also a raft of AI features that debut on the Xiaomi 14 series – from AI-generated portraits to semantic search in the gallery app – however, at the time of writing these features remain in beta, with access to them requiring approval from the Xiaomi Community admins, meaning most users won't be able to enjoy these new features and enhancements out of the box until later in the year.

Battery life is a highlight: for all that the Xiaomi 14 delivers, the increased capacity year-on-year also means the phone offer impressive longevity, surpassing the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S24 in terms of screen-on time, and leaving mainstream rivals in the dust when it comes to a full recharge, which takes a matter of minutes, rather than hours.

It's true that Xiaomi's new flagship starts at a higher asking price than both Apple's and Samsung's comparable models, the iPhone 15 and the Galaxy S24, but it also comes with twice the storage, meaning in like-for-like comparisons (using UK pricing for the 256GB model in each case), it's actually the best-value compact flagship of the bunch. One caveat is that despite having been given an 'international' launch, the Xiaomi 14 – like all of the company's phones – remains unavailable in the US and Australia, with third-party retailers or import being the only real way to get ahold of Xiaomi handsets in those countries.

Xiaomi 14 review: Price and availability

  • Priced from £849 / €999
  • Released October 2023 – China only, February 25, 2024 – internationally
  • Limited to no availability in US and Australia

Every time Qualcomm announces a new flagship mobile chipset, I'm always curious to see which phone maker will be first to market with a phone toting said cutting-edge silicon. In the case of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, it was Xiaomi, with the Xiaomi 14 and 14 Pro first debuting in China back in October 2023. However – as with previous generations of Xiaomi flagship – international audiences would have to wait.

It wasn't until a dedicated event in Barcelona in February 2024, ahead of MWC 2024 that we'd have a clear picture of the 14 series' international rollout. This event also served as a release announcement, with the phone being made available on February 25 across various markets, including the UK and Europe.

The Xiaomi 14 Pro didn't make it beyond China, but the gap between the 14 and 14 Pro in terms of specs and features is far smaller than it was with the previous 13 series, making the Pro's absence from the international stage far less of an issue this generation, especially with the Xiaomi 14 Ultra also available.

Despite throwing around words like 'international' and 'global' at the phone's February announcement though, Xiaomi's presence in the US and Australia only extends to smart home and lifestyle products, with its smartphones remaining distinctly absent. This means that, outside of importing or purchasing from fringe third-party retailers, you won't readily be able to pick up the Xiaomi 14 locally, and that's before taking into account whether it supports the carrier bands for local networks.

As for pricing, while a starting price in the UK of £849 places it well above the baseline price of key rivals like the iPhone 15 ($799 / £799 / AU$1,499) and Samsung Galaxy S24 ($799 / £799 / AU$1,399), those phones both come with just half the amount of storage (128GB).

In like-for-like comparisons against the £849 (equivalent to $1,070 / AU$1,640) 256GB base Xiaomi 14, both Apple's and Samsung's 256GB rivals actually cost more, at £899 and £859 respectively.

  • Value score: 5 / 5

Xiaomi 14 review: Specs

Xiaomi 14 review: Design

Xiaomi 14 review buttons

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Color choice affects finish
  • Squared, polished aluminum alloy frame
  • IP68-certified against dust and water

Fans of the Xiaomi 13 will appreciate what the company has done with the design of its successor – or rather what it hasn't done. The overall look of the two phones is much the same, although the 14 sports a hardier build, with tougher Gorilla Glass Victus and IP68-certified dust and water resistance, but elsewhere the dimensions to weight have remained consistent (a larger main camera system and battery have added a couple of grams).

Versus those aforementioned mainstream rivals, Xiaomi's latest is a little thicker and heavier by comparison, but is still small and comfortable enough to be considered a 'compact' flagship, and while the iPhone 15 series has embraced more rounded sides this generation, the Xiaomi 14 retains the iPhone 14 Pro line's straight-sided, mirror-polished aluminum surround, for better or worse, depending on your taste (I like the look but hate the fingerprints).

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Xiaomi 14 review Cloud de Paris design closeup

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The Clous de Paris guilloché detailing around the Xiaomi 14's camera

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Xiaomi 14 review Jade Green closeup

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

A close-up on the Xiaomi 14's Jade Green glass back

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Xiaomi 14 review back straight

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The Jade Green variant featured in this review is the most head-turning colorway on the international stage, with the white model featuring a tasteful silver frame and the black option serving up textured – instead of polished – color-matched rear glass, which better repels fingerprints at the expense of a little grip. The only color that appeared in China but is missing from the global gamut of colorways is 'Snow Mountain Pink.'

Despite its similarities to the last model, Xiaomi has added interest around that new larger rear camera, with what it's dubbed a Clous de Paris (that's a hobnail pattern to you and me) to add a little interest. While it's not the only phone maker that has turned to classic analogue watch styling for design inspiration, this particular adornment is one I wouldn't every expect to find on a phone, and it serves as an aesthetic through-line with the recently-release Xiaomi Watch S3, too.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

Xiaomi 14 review: Display

Xiaomi 14 review front straight

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • 6.36-inch Xiaomi 'CrystalRes' C8 LTPO AMOLED
  • 1Hz to 120Hz variable refresh rate
  • High-brightness mode: 1,400 nits (3,000 nits peak)

The flat 6.36-inch 'CrystalRes' C8 AMOLED fronting the Xiaomi 14 is a new panel of company's own design (manufactured by TCL), offering across-the-board upgrades over the same-sized screen on the Xiaomi 13, while also keeping it competitive against 2024 competitors.

First and foremost, it's sharper than the display on its predecessor, pushing past Full HD+ to a 1200 x 2670 resolution at the same size, upping pixel density from 414ppi to 460ppi, and making it as pin-sharp as the iPhone 15's Super Retina XDR OLED panel. It's also brighter – a lot brighter – with a peak of 3,000 nits (the Xiaomi 13 peaked at 1,900 nits) supports the Dolby Vision and HDR10+ standards. There's also a quoted full-panel high-brightness mode of 1,400 nits (up from the 13's 1,200 nits), which in real-world use ensures the screen is still comfortably visible against a bright sky. I just wish every phone adopted the reduced reflectivity of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra's display.

Regardless, the hits don't stop, with the move to an LTPO panel greatly improving power efficiency, as the refresh rate can now scale far more dynamically, depending on what you're doing on your phone. For context, the Xiaomi 13 could only switch between 60Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz, so its successor's ability to rove anywhere between 1Hz and 120Hz is a welcome upgrade.

Xiaomi 14 review home screen closeup

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The screen serves up pleasing visuals across photos, video streaming, and gaming, and Xiaomi includes a wealth of controls for tinkering with the display experience. By default the phone is set to 'Original Color Pro', but there are additional color profile presets like 'Vivid' and 'Saturated' alongside the ability to force the display to operate in the DCI-P3 gamut or sRGB, and that's before you touch the independent sliders covering things like RGB values, hue, saturation, contrast, and gamma.

There are arguably too many display control on offer as, alongside the above, you can also tweak color temperature, toggle adaptive color temperature adjustment, which adjusts the color temperature relative to ambient lighting, toggle DC dimming for more comfortable low-light viewing, choose between multiple reading modes, add texture and color temperature controls to a grayscale viewing experience, and even have AI step in to upscale videos, enhance photos in your gallery, add HDR viewing to SDR content, and add frames to certain video content for smooth playback.

  • Display score: 4.5 / 5

Xiaomi 14 review: Software

Xiaomi 14 review Quick Settings

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • First phone to debut HyperOS out of the box
  • Runs on top of Android 14
  • 4 years of OS + 5 years of security updates

MIUI is out and HyperOS is in, with the Xiaomi 14 series being the first of the company's phones to debut this revitalized user experience out of the box. If you watched the phone's launch, you'd be forgiven for assuming that HyperOS is something totally new, but in real-world use you'll be hard-pressed to spot any major differences with MIUI at a glance.

Xiaomi says that HyperOS follows a new 'Alive' design philosophy, boasting real-time rendering on certain graphical elements, alongside a color palette "based on natural hues" and while it's unquestionably more consistently fluid and responsive, the general look and feel still feels decidedly MIUI.

Nevertheless, that performance uptick across load times and animations might have something to do with the fact that despite its similarities to MIUI, Xiaomi has rebuilt HyperOS almost entirely. Not only does it take up almost a third less space on-device than its predecessor, it has new underpinnings to enable greater cross-platform interconnectivity with the company's wider product ecosystem, from its wearables and tablets, to its newfound push into automotive – even its debut car, the Xiaomi SU7, comes running its own build of HyperOS.

Back to the Xiaomi 14 though, and as before the user experience is feature-packed and serves up a decidedly different form than a lot of other smartphones out there. By default, there's no apps drawer, notifications and quick settings live behind swipe-down gestures from the top left and right corners of the screen, respectively (very iOS), swiping down on your home screen summons a device-wide search, while swiping up reveals Content Center, featuring links to news and YouTube video. There's a lot going on.

Xiaomi 14 review Security app

The Security app on the Xiaomi 14 does a lot more than just keep your device secure. (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Provided that you're willing to put in some time to learn, HyperOS serves up a lot of flexibility and practically endless personalization too, although it's easy to get lost in disparate controls and settings screens. There's also a degree of bloat out of the box, with various third-party apps – like Booking.com – which can be uninstalled but ideally wouldn't be there to begin with. As for first-party apps, plenty of those could be considered bloat too, with multiple ways to perform seemingly the same action. The App Vault, Cleaner, Game Center and Security apps, for example, all help boost memory performance. Why do users need four different ways to access this feature, Xiaomi?

There are, of course, welcome additions too, like Game Turbo, which handles notification suppression, as well as relevant device controls (over things like brightness), when gaming and even includes a voice changer. Meanwhile HyperOS' Gallery app offers Google Photos integration native, which is a rare and handy bonus.

Xiaomi 14 review Sidebar

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Of course, this wouldn't be a 2024 flagship phone without some AI functionality thrown in, and Xiaomi has promised everything from generative fill when expanding the canvas of images to AI portraits, AI-generative subtitles, semantic search in the Gallery app, and more. Notice I said Xiaomi has 'promised' this suite of AI features, as at launch they remain in beta, meaning you have to sign up to be given access to unfinished iteration of what is one of the Xiaomi 14's headline upgrades.

There's good news, though – I did sign up for the beta once I'd mostly done testing the phone, and the AI features I tried worked as advertised and seemed stable (although wait times on processing for the AI Portrait feature surpassed an hour). So far Xiaomi has, unlike Samsung, made no mention of charging for the use of any AI functionality, although that's a policy that likely won't last forever.

To round things out, HyperOS on the Xiaomi 14 runs atop Android 14, with the company promising four years of update support and five years of security update support. That's behind market leaders like Apple, Google and Samsung, but should prove more than ample for the average smartphone user in 2024, ensuring that the Xiaomi 14 will continue to gain new features and remain secure for the duration of your time with it.

  • Software score: 3.5 / 5

Xiaomi 14 review: Cameras

Xiaomi 14 review camera closeup

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • 50MP f/1.6 Xiaomi Light Fusion 900 main sensor with OIS
  • 50MP f/2.2 ISOCELL JN1 ultra-wide with 112-degree FoV
  • 50MP (32MP effective) f/2.0 ISOCELL JN1 3.2x telephoto with OIS
  • 32MP f/2.0 front camera with 89.6-degree FoV

While the camera system on the Xiaomi 14 isn't without its flaws, it looks to have the edge over compact rivals like the latest iPhone and Galaxy, with an across-the-board sensor upgrade compared to the Xiaomi 13, and ongoing input from optical specialists Leica.

You'll find an impressive-looking trio of 50MP sensors on the back, fronted by the new custom Xiaomi 'Light Fusion 900' (a tuned OmniVision OVX9000 sensor, with input from both Xiaomi and Leica), along with ISOCELL JN1 sensors for the ultra-wide and telephoto, collectively offering a focal range from 14mm to 75mm (although the telephoto's effective resolution is actually cited at 32MP and appears to kick in at 2.5x, which would suggest a shorter max optical range than Xiaomi claims).

AI Portrait... one of the most ambitious and unsettling AI features I've encountered on a phone to date

Leica's involvement, meanwhile, extends to branded 'Summilux' lenses, the 'Leica Vibrant' and 'Leica Authentic' color profiles the phone can shoot in, and the 'master lens system' of digital focal presets built into portrait mode.

Beyond that, the camera UI seems simple enough at first blush, but like the rest of HyperOS is absolutely jam-packed with features. The breadth of features on offer will be welcomed by those happy to spend the time required to learn of the nuances of the user experience, but will likely prove overwhelming for those who just want to tweak basic settings.

Stills shooting is primarily managed via Photo mode, or Pro mode if you want more control, while for video recording, Video and Movie mode are both on hand. More experimental modes include Short Film, which serves as a template complete with filters in which to capture footage; Director Mode, which lets you connect multiple cameras and even monitors wirelessly to orchestrate a multi-cam recording; plus Long Exposure, Supermoon, and more.

Xiaomi 14 camera samples

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 0.6x Barcelona cathedral

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

0.6x zoom (ultra-wide sensor)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 1x Barcelona cathedral

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

1x zoom (main sensor)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 2x Barcelona cathedral

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

2x zoom (main sensor)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 3.2x Barcelona cathedral

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

3.2x zoom (telephoto sensor)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 60x Barcelona cathedral

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

60x zoom (i.e. maximum lossy zoom range)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 0.6x city

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

0.6x zoom (ultra-wide sensor)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 1x city

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

1x zoom (main sensor)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 2x city

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

2x zoom (main sensor)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 3.2x city

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

3.2x zoom (telephoto sensor)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 60x city

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

60x zoom (i.e. maximum lossy zoom range)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample iPhone 15 Galaxy S24 comparison zoom range city

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Zoom range comparison: Apple iPhone 15 (top), Xiaomi 14 (center), Samsung Galaxy S24 (bottom)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample selfie

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Front camera

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample iPhone 15 Galaxy S24 selfie comparison Sub10Xiaomi 14 camera sample iPhone 15 Galaxy S24 selfie comparison

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Front camera comparison: Apple iPhone 15 (left), Xiaomi 14 (center), Samsung Galaxy S24 (right)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample Brie

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
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Xiaomi 14 camera sample Brie AI Expansion

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

AI Expanded by 150%

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample Cheddar

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
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Xiaomi 14 camera sample dessert 1 artificial lighting

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Artificial lighting

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample dessert 2 artificial lighting

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Artificial lighting

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample low light blue neon

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
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Xiaomi 14 camera sample low light orange neon

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
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Xiaomi 14 camera sample low light group selfie

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Front camera

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample low light street

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Low light

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample Night Mode street

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Night mode

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample Pixel 8 Pro low light comparison

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Low light comparison: Xiaomi 14 (left), Google Pixel 8 Pro (right)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample Pixel 8 Pro Night Mode comparison

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Night Mode comparison: Xiaomi 14 (left), Google Pixel 8 Pro (right)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample low light building

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

In side-by-side tests with the usual suspects (the iPhone 15 and the Samsung Galaxy S24), Xiaomi's distinct photographic look shone through. Leica Vivid (which all the Xiaomi 14 camera samples featured in this review were captured in) served up consistently brighter and and more vibrant results than rivals, with good detail captured across its entire (optical) focal range.

There's a pleasing consistency in terms of color, contrast and detail between shots captured with the ultra-wide and that new primary sensor, while telephoto shots adopt a bolder look, with stronger contrast that still equates to pleasing images, although with an unpredictability that the 14's competitors don't suffer from.

In more challenging scenarios, while the 14's macro capture offers good center-frame detail, chromatic aberrations, or color fringing, around the edge of subjects isn't always welcome, while low-light environments did result in exposure hunting from time to time. On the flip side, taking Night Mode shots results in great final images, with this phone only really falling short of category leaders like the Google Pixel 8 Pro.

The phone's stabilization is shown off to great effect in video footage (beyond the impressive capture controls mentioned earlier), while selfies also shine against similar photos from competitors, provided that you're comfortable with Xiaomi's heavier-handed beauty settings as standard – skin tones are accurately represented, but smoothing and blemish-removal algorithms are also clearly enabled by default. Interestingly, you'd assume that the 32MP front-facing sensor would pixel-bin down to 8MP final images, but the Xiaomi 14 unapologetically captures front-facing shots at the sensor's native resolution, and does so with aplomb.

AI camera features

Xiaomi 14 AI Expansion screenshots

Using AI Expansion on the Xiaomi 14 (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

There are also all of the aforementioned (beta) AI imaging abilities that debut on the Xiaomi 14 (practically all of which are accessed from the native Gallery app after capture). AI Expansion lets you punch out of a shot by up to 200% and have the phone's on-device AI processing try to generate new background content that's consistent with the original image. Each generative fill takes around 15 seconds to complete (with tests at 150%) and the results are hit-and-miss – but the fact that they hit as often as they do is what's surprising.

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample Brie

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Original image...

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample Brie AI Expansion

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

...enlarged by 150% using AI Expand on the Xiaomi 14

Then there's AI Portrait, which is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious – and unsettling – AI features I've encountered on a phone. Once you snap around 30 selfies (or at least shots of the same subject with their face visible) and submit them to the AI Portrait creation wizard, it'll use off-device processing to construct an AI-generated simulacrum that – with the help of a written prompt – can be placed into all manner of scenes.

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Xiaomi 14 AI Portrait generation screenshots setup

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The processing time to create my (beta) AI Portrait avatar took over an hour...

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Xiaomi 14 AI Portrait generation screenshots results

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

...but, once done, individual results with the completed avatar took only minutes to generate.

The developmental nature of the AI features coming (as at the time of review, they're still in beta, remember) to the Xiaomi 14 was made clear when the creation time for my AI avatar was cited at over an hour, but once I had it, prompts took around a minute to generate results, once again with varying degrees of success. The feature automatically served up prompts like 'beach resort' and 'northern islands' of its own accord but did a respectable job coming up with convincing images based on my prompt of 'in a kayak' too, as you can see above.

As for how useful this feature is, it's easy to imagine novel scenarios in which your AI Portrait could feature – hilariously implausible holiday snaps on Instagram, for example – but as with any AI-generated imagery, there remain unanswered and ungoverned ethical quandaries surrounding a technology that is evidently already in peoples' hands and will continue to improve in time.

With regards to Xiaomi's specific AI policies, the phone details which devices use solely on-device processing and which rely on the cloud, while the company's AI white paper goes into greater detail around training data-sets and the like. That said, unlike Samsung's Galaxy AI image tools, there's no obvious watermarking to help people discern which images have and haven't been created or altered by Xiaomi's AI, which is something the company should address in a future update, and on future products with AI-enhanced features.

  • Camera score: 4.5 / 5

Xiaomi 14 review: Performance

Xiaomi 14 review gaming Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact on the Xiaomi 14 (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC
  • 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM on all models
  • Impressive thermal performance for a compact phone

Although the Xiaomi 14 has the distinction of being first to market with Qualcomm's latest and greatest flagship mobile silicon in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, its staggered release meant that by the time it made it to international audiences, rivals with that same cutting-edge chipset were already on store shelves. Even so, this remains one of the most capable phones currently on the market.

HyperOS – like MIUI before it – is pretty hands-on with performance management, with overarching power profiles that limit just how much apps and services can ask of the CPU/GPU/NPU; but even without switching 'performance mode' on, in artificial benchmarks the Xiaomi 14 holds its own against many of the other best Android phones right now – including the Samsung Galaxy S24 and Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra – while other flagships like the Pixel 8 Pro score far weaker across compute and graphical tests.

Real-world use shows that, between the processor and the optimizations HyperOS brings over MIUI, the Xiaomi 14 has more than enough clout to handle demanding everyday use, with the AI features being among the few instances where you'll still find yourself staring at a loading bar for a moment or two.

Xiaomi 14 review Game Turbo

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Gaming is a dream on the Xiaomi 14 too, as not only does the phone offer a great visual experience by being on the larger side (within the compact flagship space), but the engineering team has done solid work with the thermal management in spite of the phone's relatively small proportions. Even with Genshin Impact's graphical settings at 'overclocked' (namely by forcing 60fps gameplay) the Xiaomi 14 never got more than a little warm, even after 30 minutes of continuous playtime.

There are also the added benefits of Game Turbo, which can prioritize networking latency, touch response input and, of course, boost performance at the expense of power consumption.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

Xiaomi 14 review: Battery

Xiaomi 14 review USB-C

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Larger 4,610mAh battery than predecessor
  • Up to 90W wired and 50W wireless charging
  • 8.5 hours of screen-on time per charge (using Balanced power profile)

Charging speeds and battery capacity have both received a generous generational upgrade, with the standard Xiaomi 14 now matching the Xiaomi 14 Ultra's impressive 90W fast wired charging and up to 50W wireless charging. This means a pleasingly-rapid full recharge is possible in just 40 minutes, while my tests found the phone consistently passed the 50%-charge mark after just 15 minutes. That's in stark contrast to the likes of the iPhone 15, whose 20W wired charging means a full recharge takes over two hours (based on our tests).

The phone doesn't give you its quickest speeds right out the box (although it's still quick to charge); as well as the (included) 90W 'HyperCharge' power adapter, you also have to enable the 'boost charging speed' toggle in the phone's settings menu. This ensures that maximum 90W speeds are made available, with the phone charging on a logarithmic curve – i.e., the lower your Xiaomi's 14's battery percentage is to start with, the faster it'll charge, slowing as it approaches 100%. This ensures that fast charging is most effective when you realize your battery is low and you only have limited time to charge it, while still protecting battery health over the lifetime of the phone.

As for longevity, the Xiaomi 14 puts in a superb effort – especially for a compact smartphone, doling out 8.5 hours of screen-on time in testing. That equates to up to two day's use; particularly if you're willing to toy with the aforementioned power profiles: Performance, Balanced, Battery Saver and Ultra Battery Saver – which limits apps access and background processes to maximize battery life. This is among the best longevity for its size right now, only falling short of the ever-enduring iPhone 15 (which in our tests mustered over 11 hours of screen-on time), however, the Xiaomi is probably the best compact flagship, when you collectively consider battery life and charging performance.

  • Battery score: 5 / 5

Should you buy the Xiaomi 14?

Buy it if...

You want a compact powerhouse
The Xiaomi 14 outpaces the big-name compact phones currently on the market in terms of both value and hardware prowess, so long as you're okay with the slightly shorter update support roadmap, compared to Apple and Samsung's rivals.

You like trying new things
The Xiaomi 14's hardware and software offer near-endless degrees of customization and functionality. HyperOS takes a very different approach to most Android-based smartphone user experiences, but if you put in the time it demands it's an incredibly rich offering.

Battery life and fast charging are high priorities
The Xiaomi 14 probably strikes the best balance of battery longevity and fast charging on the market right now, especially for a phone of its size.

Don't buy it if...

You want the stylish smartphone
Sure, aesthetics are subjective, and while the Xiaomi 14 isn't bad looking, it's squared design feels dated and unexciting. That's not to say it isn't well built and durable, however.

You like a clean easy-to-use OS experience
HyperOS might be far better optimized than MIUI ever was, but many of its predecessor's worst traits persist. The Xiaomi 14 has features upon features, and layers upon layers of menus, and while the breadth of functionality makes it a powerful and versatile phone, not everyone will want to spend time learning its seemingly convoluted way of doing things.

You want AI functionality, right now!
At launch Xiaomi promised a wealth of AI features destined for the Xiaomi 14 series, and while you can get your hands on some of them with a little tinkering, they're still in beta at the time of writing, and not easily accessible if you don't know how to unlock them.

Xiaomi 14 review: Also consider

The Xiaomi 14 has some clear strengths, but also some clearly-defined shortcomings. If you've got this far and think something else might be more your thing, why not consider one of these alternatives.

Apple iPhone 15
The iPhone 15 doesn't exactly need an introduction, but if you like elements of Xiaomi's HyperOS or just want a slimmer, smaller but equally-capable compact flagship, this might be your next phone.

Samsung Galaxy S24
Samsung and Google are arguably the biggest phone makers shouting about AI features right now, and the standard S24 condenses the company's suite of Galaxy AI functions into its most compact flagship form. A slim design, decent cameras and a killer display don't go amiss either.

How I tested the Xiaomi 14

Xiaomi 14 review back angled

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Review test period: six weeks
  • Testing included: everyday use including web browsing, social media, photography, video calling, gaming, streaming video, music playback
  • Tools used: Geekbench 6, Geekbench ML, GFXBench, native Android stats, Xiaomi 90W charger

Xiaomi was able to provide me with a sample of the Xiaomi 14 just ahead of its international launch, giving me plenty of time to get to grips with the hardware, software, generational upgrades and so on. With the abundance of time available, I've throughly tested the phone while using it as my daily driver over a course of weeks, taking it to social events for camera testing, using it for navigation in my car, gaming around the house and other general smartphone use, from smart home control to social media and web browsing.

It took longer to gain access to some features – namely its promised AI functionality – which I was only able to do once I signed in with my Xiaomi account to the brand's forums and registered for beta access, which then had to be approved, but after that I felt like I was fully able to experience what the Xiaomi 14 promised.

Benchmarking apps is never the be-all-and-end-all, but the results do at least provide an empirical indication of performance that some find useful as a comparison tool. As the user has control over the power state the phone operates in, these benchmarks were carried out in both Balanced and Performance modes, although numerous scores out-paced rivals with the need for Performance mode.

Having reviewed smartphones for well over a decade, including numerous Xiaomi phones, as well as devices from the company's key competition, I felt more than comfortable reviewing this latest Xiaomi flagship, in order to balance its strengths and weaknesses against the market in which it competes.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed March 2024

Xiaomi 14 deals

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: a unique taste of flagship values
7:08 pm | April 17, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Phones Xiaomi Phones | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Xiaomi 13T Pro: Two-minute review

Given that Xiaomi's T-series phones are normally considered 'mid-range' devices, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Xiaomi 13T Pro's capabilities would be limited, its hardware poor, and its experience lacking, however, this is frankly no longer the case. The 13T Pro will, for many, provide the flagship experience you'd expect from devices sometimes twice the price, but will not only set you back significantly less, it will also, surprisingly, surpass them in many areas of day-to-day use.

Straight away, the visuals of the Xiaomi 13T Pro bear a striking resemblance to more premium competition; featuring a glass or vegan leather rear panel – both of which are more appetizing to look at than most – even if you disregard the enormity of the camera bump also present on the device.

Xiaomi chose to tailor the 13T Pro towards efficiency and performance improvements, and these couldn't have worked much better. The MediaTek Dimensity 9200 Plus ensures the Xiaomi 13T Pro sets the benchmark for what supposedly mid-range phones can achieve when pushed. Providing not only impressively smooth performance during gaming but also minimal battery drain; the performance of the 13T Pro is one of the most notable among phones in this price bracket.

This performance tailoring hasn't left the 13T Pro slacking in other areas, however, as Xiaomi's partnership with Leica proves. The Xiaomi 13T Pro boasts an impressive and authentic camera, featuring great detail and customizability to ensure a reliable experience in day-to-day usage. This does, however, mask some issues surrounding the night and selfie capabilities, which seem to have been somewhat left behind.

Rounding off its performance tailoring nicely is the 13T Pro's almost expected battery superiority; with a 5,000mAh battery, 120W wired fast charging, and numerous battery performance-based improvements over predecessors. Despite these initial wins for the 13T Pro though, it is let down by a surprising lack of wireless charging, even if the immense speeds of its wired charging do a good enough job of making up for this.

If you're able to take the Xiaomi 13T Pro's quirks as exactly that, and instead focus on the impressive performance across the majority of the device, it's easy enough to learn to love this phone and appreciate what can be possible in the mid-range market.

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Price and availability

  • Unavailable in the US
  • 256GB variant unavailable in the UK 
  • Price impressively undercuts competitors

One of the biggest limitations of the Xiaomi 13T Pro – and the Xiaomi brand as a whole – is the availability of the device. Unfortunately, Xiaomi – alongside most other Chinese brands – is not sold in the US (when it comes to the company's smartphones at least). Alongside this, Xiaomi phones are not sold via any mainstream seller in Australia either (despite numerous attempts), limiting international availability to other countries across APAC, LATAM and EMEA, including the UK. That said, even there the cheaper 256GB + 12GB RAM model remains out of reach.

If you're not in a primary region for the 13T Pro but still curious about pricing, the 512GB model would cost approximately $880 / AU$1,350, based on the UK model's £699 asking price.

Value score: 3.5 / 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Specifications

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Design

Xiaomi 13T Pro rear panel vegan leather alpine blue

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
  • Comfortable, if slightly long in the hand
  • Limited color choices, with one standout
  • Large rear camera bump

Standing out from the mid-range crowd comes in no better form than some of the design choices of the Xiaomi 13T Pro. The device opts for a 20:9 aspect ratio, with semi-rounded edges and a curved rear panel, giving the Xiaomi 13T Pro a comfortable, if slightly long, feel in the hand. With the phone using a 6.67-inch display at this ratio, you may find it occasionally problematic to use the phone one-handed if you need to reach the topmost areas of the display, and it may not be as easily pocketed as some other devices. Most noticeably, however, the curved rear panel does a superb job of making the phone look, and feel, thinner than it is, making the phone appear a much closer comparison visually to its more premium rivals.

Xiaomi 13T Pro side profile

(Image credit: Future // Rob)

Coming in three colors, the Xiaomi 13T Pro doesn't offer extensive variety in this department, however, both the black and the green glass paneled options are pleasant to look at and, in the case of the green, a nice switch from traditional colors. The standout option amongst the three available colors, however, is Alpine blue. Coming exclusively in Xiaomi's BioComfort vegan leather, the Alpine Blue variant is a fresh, and fabulous, take on how to make a premium device. The vegan leather not only looks superb on the device, but also provides added comfort over its glass counterparts, as well as significantly reduces the risk of those pesky finger marks, stains, and scratches that are almost inevitable with glass-backed phones.

As with most well-equipped phones in the current market, one of the biggest design talking points of the Xiaomi 13T Pro is the rear camera bump.  The device comes with a triple camera setup made by Leica, and on this occasion, with big camera possibilities comes an even bigger camera bump. Although it's well-designed, and definitely not too big an eyesore, the camera bump does pose the phone some issues if you choose to use it without a case, as given its position on the left-hand side of the rear of the phone, as well as its protrusion from the rest of the device, the phone can become rather wobbly on flat surfaces, although this is fixed if you choose to use the free clear case you receive with the device.

Design score: 4 / 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Display

Xiaomi 13T Pro lock screen

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
  • 6.67-inch AMOLED panel
  • Up to 144Hz refresh rate
  • HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support

The display on the Xiaomi 13T Pro is one of its most impressive attributes. The phone uses a 6.67-inch AMOLED panel at up to a 144Hz (with refresh rate intervals at 30, 60, 90, 120 and 144Hz), and supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ standards to create one of the most pleasant and visually appealing displays on a smartphone at this price. The display is capable of reaching a peak brightness of 2,600nits and offers rich color reproduction, meaning it doesn't struggle when it comes to creating superb visuals. That high nit count meant I never struggled with using the device in a full gamut of conditions; the screen even has a sunlight mode to help in especially bright environments. However, in day-to-day use, the visibility and viewing angles available on the phone proved sensational.

The 13T Pro's adaptive refresh rate is enabled by default, but you can also customize this in the settings to lock the screen at 60Hz if this is what you prefer, although I can't imagine many people will want to. When it comes to the capabilities of the adaptive refresh rate, the display copes impressively well with some of the more arduous mobile games currently available.

In testing, we enjoyed high refresh rates and crisp, detailed, and vibrant graphics; making it difficult to not applaud how enjoyable gaming on the Pro is, even without some of the device's additional gaming-oriented options activated. When using the Xiaomi 13T Pro across social media, browsing, and general usage, the phone sits comfortably at between 1Hz and 120Hz, to optimize power consumption, while still providing an impressively smooth experience.

The phone comes with three preloaded color profiles that dictate how visuals appear on-screen: Vivid, Saturated and Original. If you prefer to tinker with more precision though – whether that be for color accuracy or simply personal preference – you can also adjust a number of more advanced settings within the phone's deeper display control menu.

Display score: 4.5 / 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Software

Xiaomi 13T Pro home screen

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
  • Upgradeable to Xiaomi's latest HyperOS atop Android 14
  • Small but appreciated generational user experience improvements
  • Four major Android updates promised from launch

Despite releasing on the company's MIUI 14 atop Android 13, at the time of review, Xiaomi had already upgraded the 13T Pro to its new and improved HyperOS user experience; creating responsive, minimalist environment atop the latest Android 14. Small tweaks across areas such as the main font, app icons and user menus give the Xiaomi 13T Pro a pleasing aesthetic, and improvements in performance over the previous MIUI 14 make sure that you aren't left with intractions that aren't as smooth as the redesign itself.

Personalization is improved but still somewhat fenced-in on the Xiaomi 13T Pro, with improved lock screen options that near-enough mirror the experience on the likes of the iPhone 15. Once past the lock screen, practically all of the visual and interaction tweaks you're likely make will pass through the preinstalled Themes app, which offers an array of different elements to make your device your own; even if the personalization process itself isn't necessarily the best.

One key downside of previous iterations of Xiaomi's user experience has bloatware and the inability to remove many of Xiaomi's own preloaded apps, but with the Xiaomi 13T Pro we see a small but appreciated change to this trend. There are now only eight first-party apps that you are unable to uninstall, which is frankly nothing compared to what we've been inundated with on prior generations.

Like many devices in its weight class, the Xiaomi 13T Pro was promised four major Android updates over the course of its lifespan, which while behind market leaders, should more than long enough based on the average user's upgrade frequency. Add to that improved OS performance and battery management and the Xiaomi 13T Pro is more than likely to last you while remaining a more than capable smartphone at the end of its life.

Software score: 4 / 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Cameras

Xiaomi 13T Pro camera bump

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
  • Camera system tuned in partnership with Leica
  • Triple rear camera and 20MP selfie snapper
  • Vast array of more advanced shooting modes

Xiaomi's partnership with Leica on the Xiaomi 13T Pro has resulted in a top-notch camera experience. The 13T Pro runs a triple rear sensor setup, featuring a 50MP main camera, 50MP telephoto camera, and a 12MP ultra-wide camera, whilst the display plays host to a 20MP selfie camera; all in all, a very solid start. The rear cameras can shoot in one of two visual styles, these being 'Leica Authentic' and 'Leica Vibrant,' both of which offer pleasing results under different conditions. Vibrant, as you'd expect, serves up more vivid, contrasting color in scenes, whilst Authentic leverages a more reserved, muted, true-to-life palette, just as we've seen from previous Leica-partnered phones.

Finding a balance between advanced photography controls and satisfying the everyday user is a challenging task, but one which the Xiaomi 13T Pro tackles with aplomb. Yes, there are a large number of menus and options, some of which might never see the light of day under standard usage, but equally, the features you need most are laid out simply and efficiently for quick access in a variety of scenarios. Thanks to both the Pro's large screen and some clever UI placement options, selecting relevant shooting settings is simple enough, even when using the Xiaomi 13T Pro's 'Pro Mode,' which opens up even greater control over conventional photography variables like ISO, exposure and white balance.

Camera samples

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Xiaomi 13T camera sample of a church at dusk

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
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Xiaomi 13T Pro image sample night  shot of bridge

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
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Xiaomi 13T Pro camera sample of petrol station night shot

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
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Xiaomi 13T Pro camera sample close up shot of tree

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
Image 5 of 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro camera sample

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)

The results we saw from the main camera system were impressive, finding a pleasant and effective blend of detail and color accuracy; especially for a device at this price point. The 13T Pro has three optical zoom levels – 0.6x, 1x, and 2x – and was impressive at retaining details and color science consistency throughout. I was positively surprised by the 13T Pro's video shooting from the rear camera, with an impressive level of image stabilization, however, it struggled when trying to zoom during filming, with some notable stuttering and clear color changes when moving from optical to digital zoom ranges; an understandable stumbling block for a phone not necessarily striving to push photographic boundaries. 10-bit LOG video capture is a novel inclusion too, that adds greater post-capture versatility to footage for those looking for an affordable but capable phone for videography.

Other shortcomings noticed during testing included an unnatural level of lighting correction when shooting in dimly lit scenarios, leading to color inaccuracies and limited detail. Detail issues also persisted when using the selfie camera, though this is one area which hasn't received much in the way of generational attention; understandable, if annoying. Overall, however, an the 13T Pro serves up an impressive array of photographic capabilities and provides results that any casual mobile photographer or videographer would no doubt be happy with.

Cameras score: 3.5 / 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Performance

Xiaomi 13T Pro with Mortal Kombat gameplay

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
  • MediaTek Dimensity 9200 Plus chipset
  • Up to 1TB UFS 4.0 storage
  • Up to 16GB LPDDR5X RAM

For many, an Android device not running an ever-reliable Qualcomm Snapdragon chip might be a reason to worry, but the Dimensity 9200 Plus SoC powering the Xiaomi 13T Pro does nothing short of an impressive job at letting this phone go toe to toe with even some flagship competition. The intention of the 13T Pro's Plus-branded chip was to improve efficiency and performance over the standard 9200, with a focus on improved gaming performance and battery efficiency in day-to-day use, both of which the Xiaomi 13T Pro appears to excel at with reasonable ease.

While gaming, the phone was not only able to comfortably hold a consistent and high frame rate across the likes of Call of Duty Mobile, Genshin Impact, and Grid Autosport, but it was also able to retain an impressive amount of battery during longer gaming stints both thanks to the hardware – such as the improved Immortalis-G715 GPU – and the integrated performance optimizing software.

During testing, I did note some warmth across the device for the duration of my gaming stint, but nothing that was too uncomfortable or unexpected for the fidelity of games being played, and at no point did thermal throttling impact on competitive performance to any discernible degree.

The Xiaomi 13T Pro also stands as one of the first Xiaomi devices to dip its toe into the waters of AI. With its upgrade to HyperOS adding support for such functionality as an AI eraser tool and background editor – to help add to the already impressive camera capabilities mentioned earlier. What's more, that's only the start, with Xiaomi delivering even more AI enhancement on the Xiaomi 14 series. That said, to what extent of these will reach back to the 13T Pro remains unknown for now.

Performance score: 4.5 / 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Battery

Xiaomi 13T Pro charging port

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • 120W wired charging
  • No wireless charging

One of the most impressive areas of the Xiaomi 13T Pro – on paper at least – is its battery and charging capabilities. The phone boasts a large 5,000mAh battery, with rapid 120W wired charging – when using the power adapter provided. Xiaomi's Surge Battery Management system is also onboard to help improve battery safety and elongate the lifespan of the device over prolonged use too.

Whilst I was unable to replicate Xiaomi's charging estimate of only 19 minutes to 100% when using 120W wired charging (paired with 'boost mode') during testing, the phone was still impressively quick to charge to 100% and was comfortably able to give me over 12 hours of active screen time before beginning to creep closer to needing a charge.

Somewhat strangely, the Xiaomi 13T Pro – whilst powerful in its wired charging solutions – lacks any form of wireless charging; which presumably is a side-effect of the T-series more affordable standing in Xiaomi's extensive smartphone portfolio. Even so, the impressive wired charging speeds possible meant the inability to rest the phone on a wireless charging pad rarely felt like an issue.

Battery score: 3.5 / 5

Should you buy the Xiaomi 13T Pro?

Buy it if...

Don't buy if...

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Also consider

How I tested the Xiaomi 13T Pro

  • Review period: one month
  • Testing included: everyday use, such as web browsing, photography, gaming, calling and messaging, music playback, as well as some benchmarking tests. 
  • Tools used: Geekbench 6, Geekbench ML, GFXBench, native device stats, Xiaomi 120W charger

True testing of the Xiaomi 13T Pro took place over the course of about a month, with the writing of the review occurring over an extended period afterwards. The Xiaomi 13T Pro reviewed here was a 512GB storage, 12GB RAM, Alpine Blue (with Xiaomi's BioComfort vegan leather) model. The Xiaomi 13T Pro was put through a variety of tests, not limited to daily usage, gaming, photography, streaming of music and video, and, as ever, benchmarking.

Having worked with phones for years – originally on shop floors and later by writing about them on TechRadar (including buying advice surrounding phones in this category) – I felt comfortable reviewing the 13T Pro, safe in the knowledge I had the expertise and context to do it justice.

Xiaomi 13T Pro deals

First reviewed April 2024

Vivo X100 Pro review
7:52 pm | March 27, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Phones | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Vivo X100 Pro two-minute review

Chinese smartphone company Vivo has made its latest attempt to make a name for itself outside China with its new premium phone, which takes on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max as a top-price top-spec juggernaut.

The Vivo X100 Pro is the brand’s most recent top-end Android phone, following the Vivo X80 Pro from 2022 – the company has a bit of a scattergun approach when it comes to releasing its Chinese phones in the rest of the world.

The X80 Pro was a great phone hindered by a horribly high price tag; while the Vivo X100 Pro is also an eye-wateringly pricey smartphone, it does a much better job at justifying this cost than its predecessor. It’s still unlikely to tempt you from Samsung or Apple’s latest powerhouses, but you won’t feel disappointed by it either.

The most startling upgrade the Vivo X100 Pro has, not just over its predecessor but over the vast majority of other Chinese mobiles on the market, is in the software department. Not only is it a bloatware-free breath of fresh air, but it’s good-looking, with lots of customization and navigation tools that are easy to use and improve your phone experience.

The Vivo X100 Pro on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)

Vivo’s also greatly improved its cameras on the X100 Pro. It boasts three 50MP snappers on the back: a main, ultra-wide and telephoto combo. Pictures are bright and bold, but the camera app also offers an eye-watering number of extra features, tools and functions.

Want to zoom between 0.6x and 100x? Add different color profiles to your photo? Take a picture of the stars and have the phone use augmented reality to work out what constellations you’re actually looking at? The camera app can offer all of those.

This is also as powerful a phone as you’d hope for its price. The chipset is ready to blaze through your choice- game, photo editing app or AR simulation. The screen looks great, with a high resolution and refresh rate. You’re getting oodles of RAM, a huge amount of storage and a really long battery life.

An extra feature lets you use the Vivo as a portable power bank for other gadgets, with reverse wireless charging, which proved very handy when headphones or tablets were running out of power.

The X100 Pro isn’t the perfect phone for everybody: it’s huge, so people with small hands might struggle, with a giant camera bump that means it doesn’t sit flat on surfaces, and sadly no 3.5mm headphone jack. But its biggest issue is still the price, which is hard to swallow no matter how many top-end features you’re getting.

Vivo X100 Pro review: price and availability

  • Unveiled in January 2024
  • On sale in Europe, Asia; not the UK, US or Australia yet
  • Costs €1,199 (around $1,300 / £1,020 / AU$1,990 )

The Vivo X100 Pro on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)

The Vivo X100 Pro was unveiled in late January 2024, and saw a slow roll-out across Europe and India over the following months. Based on precedent, we don’t expect a US release for the phone, as Vivo generally doesn't sell its tech on that side of the pond.

At the time of writing, no UK price has been confirmed, but in Europe it costs €1,199, which converts to roughly $1,300 / £1,020 / AU$1,990 for the 16GB RAM and 512GB storage model. This is a premium phone for people who want top specs.

Some other variants are on sale in China, but Vivo seems to be pushing the 16GB/512GB model as the primary model in Europe.

  • Value score: 3 / 5

Vivo X100 Pro review: specs

The Vivo X100 Pro is a top-end phone, and its specs prove it:

Vivo X100 Pro review: design

  • Very large, with a giant camera bump
  • USB-C port but no 3.5mm headphone jack
  • In-box case is very sturdy

The Vivo X100 Pro on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)

There’s no two ways about it: the Vivo X100 Pro is a big phone, and you’ll feel its heft in your hand. Measuring 164 x 75 x 8.9mm and weighing 221g, this thing will fill up your pocket and require a large mitts to be able to hold it in one hand.

The phone has slightly curved display display edges, which it makes it feel a little more comfortable to hold but doesn’t taper so dramatically that you’re at risk of accidentally pressing it. Not once during testing did I encounter the dreaded accidental-curved-edge-button-press.

Dominating the back of the mobile its its large camera bump; a protruding circle housing the three lenses and the flash module. This sticks out enough that you’ve no hope of putting the phone flag on a table.

Normally, for a phone like the Vivo X100 Pro, I’d recommend a case: not only will it make the large phone a bit grippier, but with a glass front and back, the device isn’t too protected from drops and bumps otherwise. However, the box contains a fairly solid rubber one, that’s more durable (and nicer-looking) than most cheap in-box silicon ones. The phone also has IP68 protection, keeping it safe from accidental drops in bathtubs or fine particles.

On the right edge of the device – a slight stretch up, unless you’ve got big hands – is the power button and volume rocker. I resigned myself to relying on my non-phone-holding hand to change volume.

There’s a USB-C port for charging on the bottom edge of the phone but, as is the case in most top-end devices, no 3.5mm headphone jack. You’ll have to rely on Bluetooth or a USB-C adaptor for listening to music.

The Vivo X100 Pro is available in three colors: Startrail Blue, Sunset Orange and Asteroid Black, and as you can tell from the images, we used the latter. The exact availability might depend on your region, though.

  • Design score: 3.5 / 5

Vivo X100 Pro review: display

  • Giant 6.78-inch display, which curves at edges
  • High-res 1260 x 2800 makes screen look crisp
  • Really high max brightness

The Vivo X100 Pro on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)

The Vivo X100 Pro’s screen clocks in at a large 6.78 inches diagonally, an oft-used display size that's commonly seen on big phones. This large size is why the phone is such a strain on the hand!

The resolution of the screen is 1260 x 2800, so you’re getting more pixels than on your standard 1080p phone, which is useful for certain games and streaming services that support higher resolutions. The refresh rate is 120Hz, so motion looks smoother whether you’re in a game or just swiping between menus.

A real stand out of the Vivo’s screen is its brightness – with a maximum output of 3,000 nits, it can get blindingly bright if you need it to. Bear in mind that many mobiles peak at below 1,000 nits, and most don’t go above 2,000 – so this is a lovely and bright display.

  • Display score: 4 / 5

Vivo X100 Pro review: software

  • Android 14 with Funtouch 14 over the top
  • No pre-installed bloatware
  • Plenty of customization and navigation options

The Vivo X100 Pro on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)

When you boot up the VIvo X100 Pro, it runs Android 14 with Vivo’s Funtouch 14 laid over the top. 

Android 14 is, at the time of writing, Google’s most recent build of its mobile operating system, but Vivo has promised that the X100 Pro will see three years of updates. Some people may consider that on the low side, with other Android brands promising five or more years, but for the majority of people who don’t fastidiously follow tech news, three years will be adequate.

More so than most Android forks, Funtouch looks very similar to stock Android. Icons and wallpapers are bright and bold, apps appear on the main home page as small circles, and Google’s own apps form the backbone of the pre-installed list.

Talking of pre-installed apps, purchases of Chinese smartphones will know the problems they usually have with bloatware. Vivo bucks this trend with the X100 Pro – it didn’t have a single bloatware app, and in that regard it beats out even Google’s Pixel phones. Apple and Samsung need to take note with their app-infested software.

Funtouch has some customization: you can modify the always-on display, animations for things like fingerprint recognition, charging and home screen transitions, lighting effects for when the display is off but you’re listening to music, and ways to change app and UI design. There’s a lot of tweaking you can do if you’re so inclined.

Plus, lots of other useful features show up: there’s a smart sidebar for quick navigation, shortcuts that let you summon the camera app or turn off the camera by holding or double-tapping the volume down button, schedulable power on/off and other tasks and lots of digital wellbeing tools too. Funtouch is really feature-flush and I’d recommend you make your way through all the menus when you first boot up the phone.

  • Software score: 4 / 5

Vivo X100 Pro review: cameras

  • 50MP main, 50MP ultra-wide and 50MP telephoto cameras
  • 32MP selfie camera on front
  • Loads of modes and options for photos and video

The Vivo X100 Pro on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)

You could call the Vivo X100 Pro a triple threat, as it boasts three 50MP cameras across the rear array for photography. A main camera with optical image stabilization and laser autofocus is joined by a periscope zoom snapper with 4.3x optical zoom, and also an ultra-wide snapper with a 119-degree lens.

While camera performance was one of our problem areas in the X80 Pro, that’s fixed in the X100 Pro. This is a capable smartphone for photography, and while it doesn’t quite compare with the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, it comes close.

Pictures taken on the main camera are sharp, rich in color and pick up details in low-light conditions well. Vivo’s AI clearly does a good job at optimizing scenes based on setting, even when pictures are taken in dingy locations.

Move over to the other cameras, pictures taken on the ultra-wide are noticeably lighter, but also a little more washed-out. This was only an issue when comparing pictures taken of the same scene between cameras, and sometimes it made for better pictures.

The 4.3x zoom camera was a treat to play around with, letting you close the distance with far-away subjects or add some natural depth to nearer objects, animals and plants. If you’re happy to use digital zoom (or cropping) you can get all the way to 100x, which is grainy but fun to try out. Up to 10x digital zoom, pictures were usable, but I'd advise against going any further.

Something that hit me when testing out the camera app, was the sheer number of extra features available. You can change between three color profiles, try different modes like Night, Portrait and Snapshot, add a tilt-shift effect, correct perspectives, turn on not one but two different astrophotography modes, turn on a macro effect, and then go to down in the Gallery app editing it all.

Frankly, it’s a little overwhelming to begin with, but if you take time to go through all the menus you’ll find some really cool features. I particularly like the Astro mode, which uses AR to identify stars in your picture.

Shooting videos, you can record in 8K at 30 frames per second or 4K at 60fps, with slow-mo letting you drop down to 240fps at 1080p.

For selfies, you’re looking at a 32MP snapper. Pictures look a little dim compared to ones taken on the main camera, but Portrait mode uses AI to add some vibrancy as well as a realistic-looking bokeh blur.

Vivo X100 Pro camera samples

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A camera sample taken on the Vivo X100 Pro

A standard picture taken on the Vivo X100 Pro. (Image credit: Future)
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A camera sample taken on the Vivo X100 Pro

An ultra-wide picture taken on the Vivo X100 Pro. (Image credit: Future)
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A camera sample taken on the Vivo X100 Pro

A standard picture taken on the Vivo X100 Pro. (Image credit: Future)
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A camera sample taken on the Vivo X100 Pro

A 4.3x zoom picture taken on the Vivo X100 Pro. (Image credit: Future)
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A camera sample taken on the Vivo X100 Pro

A 100x zoom picture taken on the Vivo X100 Pro. (Image credit: Future)
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A camera sample taken on the Vivo X100 Pro

A 1x zoom picture taken on the Vivo X100 Pro. (Image credit: Future)
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A camera sample taken on the Vivo X100 Pro

A 1x zoom picture taken on the Vivo X100 Pro. (Image credit: Future)
  • Camera score: 3.5 / 5

Vivo X100 Pro: performance and audio

  • Dimensity 9300 is blazing fast
  • 512GB storage and 16GB RAM
  • Bluetooth 5.4 but no 3.5mm headphone jack

A quick look at the Vivo X100 Pro’s specs list – or a brief gaming stint – tells you that this is a powerful phone. 

The handset packs the same Dimensity 9300 chipset, which we’ve also seen in the Oppo Find X7, and it’s a champ for gaming. That's paired with 16GB RAM and 512GB storage: plenty of space and lots of power. There’s no expandable storage but with how much comes on board, that's not the end of the world.

In some regions, the VIvo X100 Pro has variants with either 12GB or 16GB RAM and 256GB, 512GB or a 1TB of storage, depending on which model you opt for or is available to you. In Europe, these aren't on sale.

The Vivo X100 Pro on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)

In a Geekbench 6 benchmarking test, the phone hit a multi-core score of 7,292 – that blazes past the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra in Geekbench’s official rankings (which is maxed at 5,244, with the Galaxy S24 Ultra not listed at the time of writing). This is all to say, it’s a very powerful phone.

I spent ages playing Call of Duty: Mobile and tested several other games like Northgard, PUBG Mobile and Ronin. Not a single game displayed any cases of lagging, with high frame rates and top graphic options available all around.

For those who don’t game much, this huge amount of power also benefits things like video and photo editing and simply having many apps open at once to jump between.

In terms of audio, there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack as mentioned before. You can use the Bluetooth 5.4 standard to connect, which is nice and reliable, or play music out loud. The dual speakers are fine for playing games or voice messages but if you want great audio for streaming music or movies, I’d recommend buying the best wireless headphones.

  • Performance score: 4 / 5

Vivo X100 Pro review: battery life

  • Giant 5,400mAh battery
  • Charges wired at 100W, wireless at 50W
  • Reverse wired charging is a useful extra feature

The Vivo X100 Pro on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)

The Vivo X100 Pro has a 5,400mAh battery, which is one of the biggest power packs we’ve seen on a smartphone, with 5,000mAh the biggest generally used.

It’s needed too; between the large 120Hz display, 5G connectivity, and powerful chipset, the Vivo burns through power. Thankfully, because of the large chipset, the handset can comfortably get through a day of use without needing a recharge.

When you do need to power up the phone, it’s a quick affair: wired charging is a steamy 100W, which will see your phone go from empty to full in under half an hour if you have a compatible cable. Wireless charging is 50W, which is again incredibly fast for this mode of transmission.

There’s also reverse wired charging, so you can plug in another device to the Vivo and use it as a power bank – I found this handy for headphones when on the go, as it's more reliable (and much faster) than reverse wireless charging. You just need to have a cable that’s USB-C to whatever your second gadget requires.

  • Battery score: 4 / 5

Should you buy the Vivo X100 Pro?

Buy it if...

You like taking photos
With its rear camera triple threat and wide range of extra features, the Vivo X100 Pro is great for both serious photographers and those who just want to play around.

You're a mobile gamer
With its blazing-fast chipset, plentiful RAM and beautiful display, the Vivo X100 Pro is one of the best phones for gamers.

Your gadgets run out of power frequently
Thanks to its reverse wired powering feature, the Vivo is great as a replacement portable power bank, as long as you bring a cable too.

Don't buy it if...

Size matters
With its giant body, the Vivo X100 Pro barely fits in pockets or hands. Don't buy it if you want a svelte mobile.

You're on a budget
The Vivo X100 Pro isn't a cheap phone by any means, in fact it's one of the priciest on the market. Only buy it if you're happy paying top dollar.

You like wired audio
As with most top-end smartphones, the Vivo X100 Pro doesn't boast a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you need to rely on a fiddly adaptor or wireless chargers.

Vivo X100 Pro review: Also consider

If you're shopping around at the top end of the smartphone market, you have a few options for rivals to the Vivo X100 Pro:

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Samsung's latest top-end mobile is spec'd to the extreme, with a price that matches, and a stylus thrown in too. The Vivo wins in the spec department in some ways, but our preference tips towards Samsung for sure.

iPhone 15 Pro Max
If you want an iOS rival to Vivo's mobile, you're looking at the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Top specs almost everywhere across the board, though again Vivo pips ahead in some ways.

How I tested the Vivo X100 Pro

The Vivo X100 Pro on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)
  • Review test period = 3 week
  • Testing included = Everyday usage, including web browsing, social media, photography, video calling, gaming, streaming video, music playback
  • Tools used = Geekbench 5, Geekbench 6, Geekbench ML, GFXBench, native Android stats

I tested the Vivo X100 Pro with 512GB storage and 16GB RAM, which seems to be the only model in my region. It was the black version of the device.

My test period for the Vivo X100 Pro was over three weeks, and that doesn't even count testing that was being done during the writing process, which would push the full figure to roughly a month. Testing included videography, using various apps and functions, gaming, streaming movies and music and photography. For the latter, I ended up using the Vivo to take review units for other products I reviewed for TechRadar.

I was a writer and editor for TechRadar's phone team for several years so I've got plenty of experience testing mobiles like this, particularly looking at Chinese mobiles – I've used devices from almost every major brand, including Vivo. I still review phones for TechRadar, as well as products in other categories.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed March 2024

Motorola Razr 2023 review – a flipping cool phone that you can afford
12:00 pm | March 24, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Phones | Tags: | Comments: Off

Motorola Razr 2023: One-minute review

The Motorola Razr knocked my socks off when I first saw it last year, and it’s remained one of my top three phone designs of the past year (the other two being OnePlus phones). I love the color options, I dig the feel of the ‘vegan leather’ finish, and I show off the amazing clamshell design. If you haven’t seen this phone go from a truly huge smartphone to a tiny, pocketable communicator, you need to get your hands on one for a look. 

Compared to the Motorola Razr Plus, I missed the larger display but the smaller screen on the cover of the Motorola Razr was still sharp and very usable. You can get a preview of your selfies and videos on this phone, just like on the more expensive clamshell foldables, which means you can use the main camera as your selfie cam. 

Unfortunately, the camera is the perennial compromise with foldable phones, and none moreso than on this Razr. The Razr Plus had disappointing cameras, but the Moto Razr cameras just feel a bit cheap compared to other options in this price range. For $500, you can get a Google Pixel 7 or a OnePlus 12R, and both of those have much, much better cameras than this phone. 

What those phones, and any other phone in this price lacks is the cool factor of the Razr. You can snap it shut to hang up on a phone call. Heck, you can hang up on TikTok or Snapchat the same way. It’s a very satisfying way to put your phone away and focus what’s in front of you, and that is part of what makes the Razr so cool. 

The Motorola Razr dares you to put away your phone. You can take photos without the distraction of a big screen. You can check messages with a quick glance. You can snap it shut and show off the look instead of looking at the show. That’s cool. Being hundreds cheaper than other clamshell phones? Maybe the coolest part of all.

Motorola Razr 2023 review: price & availability

  • Launched at a higher price and immediately went on sale
  • Cheaper than every other new clamshell
  • Don’t buy it when it’s not on sale

The Motorola Razr had a staggered launch across the globe, in the shadow of the more exciting Motorola Razr Plus. This phone snuck into US stores at a price close to $700 at launch, after sitting on shelves in the UK for months prior. It quickly went on sale, dropping $100 then another $100, settling at its current price point.

Except Motorola hasn’t changed the price, it’s just kept the phone on sale for months. Not one sale, either, but different sales that tend to run concurrently. As I write this there is a “Spring Break” sale offering $200 off. I’m sure there will soon be an “April Showers” sale offering $200 off, followed by a Mother’s Day $200 sale. Don’t worry about that sale expiration date, but don’t buy this phone if it’s not on sale. 

Outside of the US, this phone ships with 256GB of storage, but Americans only get 128GB. We all get 8GB of RAM on this phone, though a 12GB variant may be available in other regions. 

  • Value score: 4 / 5

Motorola Razr 2023 review: specs

The Motorola Razr 40 isn’t a very powerful phone, but it can handle any apps, web pages, and games you throw its way. It lacks the high-end camera specs you’ll find on other bargain phones like the OnePlus 12R, and even the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra has slightly better cameras. That said, you still get a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset, a respectable engine that is capable enough, as well as 8GB of RAM and just enough storage, 256GB if you live outside the US (sorry Americans, only 128GB for us). 

It’s hard to compare specs directly, because the Motorola Razr 40 bends in half. The OnePlus 12R may have better cameras, but the Motorola Razr weighs 20g less, and it folds up to a pocketable shape that is half the length of the OnePlus phone. If size and style are meaningful, that’s worth a lot more than a little spec bump. 

Motorola Razr Plus review: design

Motorola Razr Plus 2023

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
  • Loses the chin but it’s for the best
  • External display is much more useful than anticipated
  • Very thin whether open or closed

At a glance, the Motorola Razr Plus seems to borrow heavily from Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip design while ditching some signature Razr design elements, notably the chin. Motorola wouldn’t come right out and say it ditched the chin because it was downright ugly, but let’s face it – it was ugly. 

When folded, the two halves of the phone smack together like pursed lips, with a gentle curve around the edges that still manages to cleave together in a sealed crease. Perhaps it's the Viva Magenta hue of my review unit that adds to this impression. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, by comparison, seems boxy and square. The Razr Plus shows no visible gap when closed, unlike every competing flip phone so far.

Motorola Razr Plus 2023

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

When you open the Razr Plus, the crease disappears more completely than on any flip phone I’ve used. It’s there, and you can feel it, but it's so unnoticeable that my dad, upon seeing the phone unfold, exclaimed “Wow, the crease just disappears!” Folding phones are new to him, but he was enamored enough by the Razr Plus to look ruefully at the Galaxy S23 he'd just purchased.

Those rounded edges also come together very nicely when the phone is unfolded, creating a seamless curved edge that makes the flexible glass seem even more impossible. The fingerprint scanner is embedded in the power button, which doesn’t stick out as much as the volume rockers, which are the only protruding buttons.

When you close the Razr Plus, the external display lights up and wraps around the dual camera lenses and the small flashlight. Rather than looking odd or compromised, it makes the phone look ultramodern. It doesn’t say “we’ve cut up our display,” it says “our display doesn’t stop for camera lenses.”

Motorola Razr Plus 2023 external display

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

It was absolutely the right choice (apologies to the rumored Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 cover display camera corner cutout), and Motorola has even designed games that have you drop marbles into the holes created by the lenses, embracing the design. I’ll talk more about what this screen can do later, but suffice to say, for now, that it's very big for a second screen on a flip phone, and it makes a huge difference.

As mentioned, my review unit is in the Viva Magenta finish, which also uses a so-called 'vegan leather' material. It may be plastic, but it feels great. Also, the phone never slipped off a surface, even in my car when I left it sitting on my center console while in stop-and-go traffic.

Motorola should seriously consider launching more (read: all) color options in this vegan leather finish. It feels more durable than glass, it weighs a few grams less, and it looks great. I’m tired of glass. As long as Moto is shaking up the phone world, let’s shake off the glass back as well.

  • Design score: 5 / 5

Motorola Razr Plus review: display

  • Bigger and brighter than competing flip phones
  • External display is a real game changer
  • Cover screen is bigger than the original iPhone's screen

If the Motorola Razr Plus didn’t have the great external display it would still be a standout for its big folding internal screen, which is great news if you’re holding out for the Motorola Razr 2023, which will have the exact same internal screen (though the slower chipset will run it at ‘only’ 144Hz). 

Motorola’s display has the same ‘FHD+’ resolution as the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, at 2640 x 1080 pixels. It unfurls to a majestic 6.9 inches, which really is a marvel of modern technology when you think about it. When the first tablets were launched, that compact models had a 7-inch display, and now that same display size – and a higher-quality display too – is available on a thin smartphone that folds up to fit in your pocket.

Motorola Razr Plus apps

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

For comparison, the iPhone 14 Pro gives you around 2.5 inches less screen area, even though it weighs more. No matter what phone you’re used to using, when you open up the Motorola Razr Plus you’re going to be amazed by just how much screen you can fold up and stow in your pocket. 

Here’s another mind-blowing iPhone comparison. The original iPhone had a 3.5-inch display (with a 480 x 320 resolution), with just over 5.6 inches of screen area. On the Moto Razr Plus you get almost 6.5 square inches of screen space on the external 3.6-inch square display, and it runs at a stunning 1056 x 1066 resolution, which means it has the same sharpness (pixel density) as the internal screen. 

Motorola Razr Plus 2023

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

In other words, this is the first flip phone that isn’t paying lip service to the cover screen. This isn’t a screen that’s just for checking the weather or simple notifications, and neither is it there to just show cute animations. This is the real deal. You can run full apps on this display, as I’ll explain in the Software section below. Apps aren’t always drawn properly, but you can run almost anything, unlike on previous external displays, which could run almost nothing. 

I wish both displays were much brighter, but that’s because I was using them a lot for taking outdoor photos, and from unusual angles, making them harder to see. The internal screen can go just a bit brighter than the one on Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 4, but the external screen needs a real boost. Neither display comes close to the brightness you’ll get from an iPhone 14 Pro.

  • Display score: 5 / 5

Motorola Razr Plus review: cameras

  • The weakest link in the Razr Plus' chain
  • Image processing is terrible
  • Better for selfies than most competitors

Ugh… why Motorola? Why does everything have to fall apart when it comes to the cameras? I have reviewed and previewed quite a few Motorola phones in the past year, and none of them have impressed me with their photography capabilities. The Motorola Razr Plus sadly continues Moto’s problematic tradition of phones that take bad photos. 

How bad? Pretty bad. I relied on this phone for my kid’s 8th grade graduation, and it was a big mistake. I won’t make that mistake again for the High School finale (the one that matters). Zoomed photos look blurry and oversharpened, and even basic portrait shots need help.

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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

I've blurred the kids that aren't mine, but mine is still too blurry (Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

A low-light night selfie that should look much better (Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

Where is the Chrysler building?! Blown out by terrible exposure (Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

This is an unacceptable shot, no matter the zoom (Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

All around, this phone has all the hallmarks of a low-quality camera. In photos of flowers, the camera blew out red tones until the details were mostly gone. Taking photos in the woods, stems and leaves in the background were either unnaturally blurry or digitally oversharpened, with deep black lines dividing objects.

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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

The one saving grace is that this low-quality main camera is still better quality than most selfie cameras, and the Motorola Razr Plus is made for using the main lens as your selfie shooter. You can easily use the external display as your viewfinder, and there are a couple tricks that let take a shot even if you aren’t holding the Razr. You can smile or wave your hand, with both options selectable as shortcuts in the camera settings. 

Can I forgive bad photos if the process of taking photos is so much better? They say the best camera is the one you have with you, and more often than not that's going to be one of the best camera phones. I always carry a smartphone, but I found myself taking more photos with the Razr Plus – more selfies, and more unusual shots taking advantage of the angled flex of the display.

I also took more group shots, because people love seeing themselves in the external display viewfinder. It was one of the most delightful things about this phone when I was showing it off to friends. Foldable 6.9-inch display? Not impressed. Want to see yourself while I take your picture? OMG, YES!!!

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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

I want better cameras, though. Even Samsung skimps on the cameras in its Galaxy Z Flip 4, but I was especially disappointed here. The main camera uses a wide aperture lens, wider than any flip phone competitor and most other smartphones. It should be great at low-light photos, and it should produce a smoothly blurred backgrounds with attractive bokeh. 

If it actually makes a difference, I couldn’t see it. I put the Motorola Razr Plus up against my iPhone 14 Pro, and there wasn’t a single photo from the main camera that was better, unless I was comparing it to one from the selfie camera on the iPhone. 

I can forgive most of the Razr Plus’ faults, but the poor camera performance is hard to swallow. I enjoyed taking more selfies and delighting friends with the external display camera tricks, but I need at least a partly competent zoom lens for school functions and the occasional bird sighting. The Motorola Razr Plus 2023 is great for selfies, but otherwise getting great shots will be a matter of luck, not technical advantage.

  • Camera score: 3 / 5

Motorola Razr Plus review: software

  • Useful clocks and widgets for the external screen
  • Most apps will run on both displays 
  • Useful Motorola gestures and shortcuts

I can tell you the exact moment that I realized the Motorola Razr Plus was something entirely new. I was out hiking with my dog, expecting to use the Razr for photos and fitness tracking. I downloaded my maps to AllTrails as I always do, and as I hiked I checked my maps and recorded my progress. 

Normally I obsessively check my phone maps to make sure I’m on track, finding the best and easiest routes to keep the dog and kiddo interested. Every time, I feel like I’m interrupting my hike with my technology – but not with the Razr Plus. Using the external display, I could simply glance at my AllTrails map without opening the phone. Everything worked, including the high-definition map, the progress tracking, and all of the other apps I had running at the same time.

It wasn’t like having a phone on my hike; it was like having a pocket-sized map device. And while I’ve never had a pocket-sized map device, this was much nicer and more convenient than a big smartphone. In this context it becomes a whole new device, and a whole new experience.

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Motorola Razr Plus 2023

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023

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Motorola Razr Plus 2023

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Motorola Razr Plus 2023

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

When I go to the grocery store, I’m not lighting up my smartphone every time I need to check my list; I can just keep my list on the external display. Now I have a pocket-sized shopping list device too. A smartphone is big and obnoxious and distracting; this is quick and unobtrusive. I check the box on my Google Keep Notes shopping list, then flip to Spotify or Apple Music (yes, on Android). It all works great on the external display, and I don't need to open my phone. 

For almost every app on the phone, you can set how it behaves when you close the display. An app can do nothing, or it can appear automatically on the external screen. You can also have apps 'tap to transition' giving you agency over whether they become available on the cover screen on an ad-hoc basis with a single button press. Every app can be set with its own behavior. 

Not every app works perfectly. I tried to play Marvel Snap, a game that's designed for portrait mode. It ran just fine on the square external display, but the text was too small (though legible), and the layout was weird. It worked, it just wasn’t optimal. 

More apps work well and look good than not, though. I had no trouble scrolling my feeds in Slack, Facebook, Instagram, and other social apps. I could read web pages in Chrome, or browse Yelp with the display shut. There’s a keyboard if you really need to type, but that's obviously easier with the screen open.

Motorola Razr Plus 2023

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

Other than on the external screen, Motorola's software hews very close to Google’s own designs for Android, as you’ll find on the Pixel 7 Pro, for instance. There aren’t many new tweaks or improvements for this new Razr, but that’s fine. I’d like to see some aspects of the experience improved, but it’s already mature, and doesn’t overload you with features or pop-up windows. 

I like Motorola’s gestures and use them frequently. On Moto phones you can twist your hand back and forth to open the camera, and on the Razr Plus this works even when the display is closed. You can make a couple of quick karate-chop motions to turn the flashlight on and off. These gestures work well, and I used them often once I'd committed them to memory. 

The Motorola Razr Plus comes with Android 13 preloaded, and we expect three major OS updates for this phone, which should take it to Android 16. Google is launching its own folding phone this month, the Google Pixel Fold, so it’s an interesting time for folding phones, and hopefully Google’s own improvements will trickle down to other Android foldables.

  • Software score: 4 / 5

Motorola Razr Plus review: performance

  • Fast performance for games and running both displays
  • Improved performance over last year
  • Same chipset as the Razr 2022 and Galaxy Z Flip 4

If all you care about are benchmark scores, the Motorola Razr Plus won’t be the phone to pick. Thankfully, real-world performance tells a different story than I expected from the specs, and even though this phone uses the same platform as last year (or perhaps because it does), it performs better than the previous Razr, and better than I expected. 

Inside, the Razr Plus is nearly identical to the Motorola Razr 2022. They both use the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, and 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and in the year since the Razr 2022 was launched, Moto has clearly done some work to optimize its software. We complained in our Razr 2022 review that it stuttered while playing games or switching to the external display, but I had no performance complaints at all during my review period with the Razr Plus. It ran smoothly no matter what I was doing, whether playing new games like the highly-detailed Marvel Snap or shooting video with the flex mode video camera. 

Motorola Razr Plus camera app

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

The Razr Plus was impressively responsive. When I used the camera, I set the phone to snap when it detected a smile, and it responded almost instantaneously whenever anyone so much as smirked. When I clapped the phone shut, the external display lit up with no delay, and apps switched smoothly from one screen to the other without hesitation. 

It’s likely that the Motorola Razr base model will see more of a sacrifice performance-wise, as it relies on a mid-level Snapdragon 7 chipset. The Razr Plus uses a flagship platform, and the fact that there’s been a Snapdragon update since it was launched doesn’t diminish its performance. It’s a very fast chipset, and Motorola has clearly learned how to make the best use of it.

  • Performance score: 4.5 / 5

Motorola Razr Plus review: battery

  • Slightly larger battery than Galaxy Z Flip 4
  • Battery life could be better
  • Using two displays drains the battery faster, go figure

Motorola has done the best it could in fitting a large battery inside the thin folding shell of the Razr Plus. It's even managed to fit a larger battery into the folding frame than you’ll find in the iPhone 14 Pro, though Apple manages power slightly better. I couldn’t quite make it through a full day on a full charge with the Motorola Razr Plus, though that's probably because the phone was just so much fun to use. 

Having a dynamic and useful external display meant that I used the phone a lot more than I would a flip phone that's dark and motionless when it’s shut. Even when I wasn’t checking my hiking trails or keeping up with Slack chats, I just liked having the clock and screen saver active. It looks cute, and I don’t mind charging my phone a little more often as a trade-off for a bit of cuteness.

Motorola Razr Plus apps

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

That said, the Razr Plus would benefit from faster charging. The 30W charging capability is fine, though Moto doesn’t give you a charger in the box (they sent one with my review unit). You can charge the phone wirelessly if you have a lot of spare time, as the Razr Plus charges at a trickling 5W, a fraction of the 15W wireless you’ll find as standard on the best smartphones. 

If you need extra power, you might want to wait until the base model Motorola Razr shows up. It will have a slightly larger battery inside, a benefit of foregoing the cool external display in favor of a smaller display strip. Having used the Razr Plus for a while, though, I’d rather have the external screen and charge more often. 

If I'd wanted the Moto Razr Plus to last longer I could have turned off the screensaver clocks and engaged power management, but I didn’t do that, I let it drain. I was having too much fun.

  • Battery score: 4 / 5

Should you buy the Motorola Razr Plus?

Buy it if...

You’ve been waiting for phones to get cool again
If you’ve been telling yourself “I’ll buy a new phone when there’s a reason to buy something new,” you now have that reason.

You want a small phone but need a big screen
The Motorola Razr Plus is the thinnest flip phone when folded shut, and has the biggest display when open. It's bigger on the inside than the others, and you don’t need to be a Time Lord to appreciate the magic.

You aren’t addicted to your iPhone
Seriously, what’s stopping you from buying a cool phone? Are you really addicted to blue bubbles and the Dynamic Island? Try something cooler, I promise you’ll like it.

Don't buy it if...

You need a great camera phone
The Motorola Razr Plus has forgivable flaws, but the cameras aren’t among them. They're pretty lousy for regular photos, although selfies benefit from using the main lens.

You’re going to get it wet
The Moto Razr Plus is more dust resistant than other flip phones, but less water resistant than the Galaxy Z family devices, which can take a dunk.  

You want to totally unplug and hang up
Unlike other flip phones, the Razr Plus doesn’t go to sleep when you hang up. It’s often even more fun when it’s closed, but wait for the base model Razr if you appreciate the joy of tuning out. 

Motorola Razr Plus review: also consider

Note that this chart is going to change when Samsung launches the Galaxy Z Flip 5, and I’d also expect the Z Flip 4 to stay on the market for a while at a lower price.

If you're looking for other flip phones to consider alongside the Motorola Razr Plus, here are a few of options.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
There’s no reason to buy the Galaxy Z Flip 4 over the Motorola Razr Plus right now, but if the price drops after the Flip 5 shows up, this could be a compelling bargain alternative.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review

Motorola Razr 2023
Motorola hasn’t announced pricing or a release date for the base model Razr yet, but if the Razr Plus is too much phone for you, you’ll be able to get a less expensive version that gives you peace and quiet instead of a big external display.

Read all the Motorola Razr 2023 news

How I tested the Motorola Razr Plus

  • I've had the Motorola Razr Plus for two full weeks of testing
  • This was the only phone I used for the review period
  • I use benchmarking software, developer tools, and internal data collection

I used the Motorola Razr Plus as my primary phone for both business and personal use for a few weeks while writing this review. I used the Razr Plus in every way I imagined a typical user would want to use it. I took photos, played games, and used it for all of my social networking and communication needs. I used productivity apps and tools, mindfulness and health apps, and fitness apps on the phone. 

I also used the Razr Plus with wearable devices, including the Pixel Buds Pro earbuds and my Pixel Watch. I used it with an Xbox gaming controller, my Honda and Kia cars, and numerous Bluetooth accessories.

We benchmark all the phones we test using standard benchmarking software, and we also perform internal testing on the phone’s performance and battery life. I used GFX Benchmark, PhoneTester Pro, and Geekbench, among other testing apps. I also access the developer options on Android phones for direct feedback on performance from the device itself. 

During my review time with the Motorola Razr Plus I loaded all of the apps I normally use with my smartphone. I used it for maps and navigation, music and video playback, as well as for calls and messaging. I took lots of photos and videos, played games, and used the phone to take photos at special occasions, including my kid’s middle school graduation. 

Read more about how we test

First reviewed June 2023

Nothing Phone 2a review: Distinctive design meets mid-range magic
4:05 pm | March 13, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Nothing Phones Phones | Tags: | Comments: Off

Nothing Phone 2a: Two-minute review

The Nothing Phone 2a aims to shake up the mid-range market, by taking some of the DNA of the Nothing Phone 2, but swapping out select higher-end components for scaled-back parts. The result is a phone that’s aimed at those who want a reliable device for day-to-day use in Nothing’s style but aren’t interested in higher performance and flagship features, that the higher price of the Phone 2 affords.

Back of Nothing Phone 2a

(Image credit: Future / James ide)

Although the Nothing Phone 2a has been scaled back versus the company's flagship, it’s still very much a Nothing phone. It provides a spacious and vibrant display, steeped in vivid colors and deep blacks; great for watching media and gaming.

Phone 2a’s custom MediaTek chip further enhances the experience, providing snappy performance that can handle any day-to-day tasks. The chip is also efficient enough to give you days of standard use, helped by the phone’s large 5,000mAh battery.

I still can’t get on board with the Glyph lighting system offered up by Nothing’s existing handsets, so the fact that it’s been cut-down on the Phone 2a didn’t bother me, although I missed the fill light it offered for portrait photography and its signature lighting design.

Front of Nothing Phone 2a

(Image credit: Future / James Ide )

The Nothing Phone 2a has a dual-camera setup, comprising a 50MP primary camera and a 50MP ultra-wide camera. It offers mostly true-to-life colors and a decent amount of detail, and I was left impressed by how it managed in low-light conditions; keeping pictures bright while also stopping them from looking overprocessed.

It provides decent performance for its price range, however, it faces tough competition from the Google Pixel 7a, which offers superior image quality and editing tools. Although the camera may not match competitors in a slightly higher price range, it still delivers decent results for everyday use.

While I preferred the design of the original Phone 1, the Phone 2a’s enhancements are hard to ignore. It gets the fundamentals right – such as a great display, long battery life, and a clean and fast user experience – making it a compelling choice for budget-conscious buyers.

Overall, the Nothing Phone 2a is a breath of fresh air in a market saturated with mundane cheap smartphones. Behind its unconventional glossy plastic design, it’s one of the most solid and sensible affordable phones on the market.

Nothing Phone 2a review: Price and availability

  •  Announced March 5, on sale March 12 
  •  Priced from $349 / £319 /AU$675 
  •  Cheaper than Google Pixel 7a and Samsung Galaxy A54 
  •  Limited US availability at launch 

The Nothing Phone 2a launched on March 5 and is now available in Nothing's homeland of the UK (as well as many other markets across Europe), while US availability is limited. This means Stateside buyers will need to sign up for Nothing's developer program if they want to be in with a chance of getting the phone for themselves.

If you can get hold of it, the Phone 2a is very affordable for what it offers; priced from £319 for 8GB RAM and 128GB storage and$349 / £349 /AU$675 for 12GB with 256GB storage, which puts it in the same price range as the Samsung Galaxy A54 and Honor Magic 6 Lite.

  • Value score: 4 / 5

Nothing Phone 2a review: Specs

Nothing phone 2a review: Design

Nothing Phone 2a back of device with Glyph lights on

(Image credit: Future / James Ide)
  • Modern, minimal design
  • Glyph lighting system
  • IP53-certified 

One of the most significant changes of the Phone 2a is its new design, which is a slight but irrefutable departure from the look established by both previous Nothing Phones. The stripped-back glyph lighting, plastic build, and moved camera all make it clear the Nothing Phone 2a is a very different device from its predecessors.

It retains the flat-edged aesthetic, curved frame, and semi-transparent back that Nothing phones are known for.

The unique Glyph system is still present – albeit in a more cut-down form that only takes up the top third of the phone, comprising three LED elements surrounding the rear camera module. It still provides soft, fill lighting when using the camera but is considerably weaker than the more comprehensive Glyph systems on past models.

Despite this more modest Glyph lighting, the Phone 2a’s back can still offer visual cues for notifications and ringtones without you needing to look at the screen, while the Glyph timer returns to tick down on that perfect soft boiled egg. One of my favorite Glyph features is third-party integration with apps like Uber, and this works seamlessly on the Phone 2a, just as it does on Nothing’s other phones. It works much like the timer function and provides a visual time, with one LED slowly lighting up as your car gets closer, however, it only works if your phone is face down on the table.

The lower half of the phone’s back, meanwhile, looks like an asymmetrical ribbon cable; only there to serve the Phone 2a’s distinct aesthetic. It’s harder to appreciate the details on our review device as, unlike the Phone 2’s gray finish, Nothing has once again opted for a true black color, rendering fine design details a little too dark, but these visual tidbits are at least more visible on the white and Milk finishes.

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Nothing Phone 1 Nothing Phone 2a Nothing Phone 2 Glyph lighting on

(Image credit: Future | James Ide)

Nothing Phone 1 (left), Nothing Phone 2a (center), Nothing Phone 2 (right)

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Nothing Phone 1 Nothing Phone 2a Nothing Phone 2 Glyph lighting on closeup

(Image credit: Future | James Ide)

Nothing Phone 1 (left), Nothing Phone 2a (center), Nothing Phone 2 (right)

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Nothing Phone 1 Nothing Phone 2a Nothing Phone 2 Glyph lighting on

(Image credit: Future | James Ide)

Nothing Phone 1 (left), Nothing Phone 2a (center), Nothing Phone 2 (right)

The other most prominent change from Nothing’s existing phones is the 2a’s camera module, which has ditched the vertical layout and moved from the top left, as on Phone 1 and 2. The Phone 2a places the camera module in the center of the upper third of the phone’s back, as part of a slightly raised pill-shaped bump, which looks like a pair of eyes, giving the phone a retro robot look.

The mostly-polycarbonate build of Phone 2a renders it lightweight for its size and more shatter resistant than its glass-backed siblings, but plastic is plastic and is more prone to scratching in everyday use. It isn’t as slippery or likely to slide off surfaces as the Phone 2’s pillowed glass back is either. Nothing claims that the 2a is more scratch-resistant than the glass used on the previous models, and I didn’t notice any nicks or scratches in my time with it, however, it does pick up fingerprints, dust, and smudges easily, which could be annoying for some. The frame is made of recycled aluminum coated in the same polycarbonate used elsewhere across the body, providing more texture and an easier grip than some glasses back phones I’ve used in the past.

Like the full-fat Phone 2, the 2a comes IP54 certified, meaning it can handle some dust ingress and splashes but you won’t want it to get completely submerged. It does, however, mark an improvement on the original Phone 1’s IP53 protection. While different from both Phone 1 and Phone 2, Nothing’s strong design aesthetic – influenced by architecture and graphic design, with its bold shapes and lines – is on full display here. While I like its new retro–technological design, I still prefer the cleaner finish of Phones 1 and 2.

  • Design score: 3.5 / 5

Nothing Phone 2a review: Display

Spider-man playing on the Nothing Phone 2a

(Image credit: Future / James Ide )
  • 6.78-inch 1.5K 120Hz AMOLED display
  • Peak brightness up to 1,300nits
  • 91.65% screen-to-body ratio

As with Phone 1 and Phone 2, the display is one of the Phone 2a's best features and stands out within its price range. The large panel provides an impressive 91.65% screen-to-body ratio (pricier rivals like the Galaxy A54 top out at just 82.9%), and offers strong contrast and sharp image quality, making it a joy to use. The 6.7-inch flexible AMOLED screen supports an adaptive refresh rate of between 30 and 120Hz; preserving battery life when needed, and then ramping up to higher refresh rates when playing supported games. It doesn’t rely on LTPO technology – like the Phone 2 – so can’t drop down as low (for even greater power saving), but it isn’t bad for its price range.

It also supports a resolution of 2412 x 1080 (that’s 394ppi), HDR10+ compatibility and 10-bit color depth, which delivers sharp, high-contrast images; making it great for watching films or gaming.

The screen is framed by small and evenly sized 2.1mm bezels on all sides that look clean and aren’t too distracting, while the panel itself is also protected by Gorilla Glass 5 (the same as Nothing’s other phones). The front-facing camera has moved from the top, left-hand corner to the top-center of the screen, while an optical in-display fingerprint sensor sits low and close to the bottom edge of the panel. The sensor also seemed faster and more reliable than the sensor used on Phone 1. It also used Face unlock but that wasn’t as consistent at unlocking the phone quickly.

Peak brightness is cited at 1,300 nits (trumping the Phone 1), however, most of the time you’ll experience a peak of 1,100 nits in sunny conditions, where the phone jumps to high brightness mode to remain comfortably visible. In testing, when using my phone at night, it dimmed down enough to avoid hurting my eyes too.

  • Display score: 4 / 5

Nothing Phone 2a review: Software

Nothing Phone 2a in the hand showing Nothing OS 2.5

(Image credit: Future / James Ide)
  •  Android 14 with Nothing OS 2.5 on top 
  •  A few pre-installed apps 
  •  Strong visual identity

The Phone 2a comes running Nothing OS 2.5 out the box, which is based on Android 14. The company’s user experience stands out from the crowd due to its strong visual identity and otherwise near-stock Android 14 qualities, making for a stylish and well-featured interface that doesn’t feel overwhelming.

The distinctive graphic, dot matrix-inspired look – with unique widgets, stylized app icons, and near-monochrome palette, all make a return, as do retro notification sounds that take me back to the nineties.

There are a few included apps, like Nothing X – which lets you configure your Nothing Ear 2 buds, and the Glyph Composer – which lets you put your own Glyph animations to music, but unlike many other devices, the Phone 2a isn’t riddled with pre-installed bloatware.

It’s supported by three years of software and four years of security updates, which is lower than Samsung's four major OS upgrades on the Galaxy A54 but better than the Honor Magic 6 Lite, which provides only two updates. The Phone 2a also includes some unique features not included on either Phone 1 or 2. The first of these is Smart Clean, which automatically removes duplicate and temporary fragments of files. This feature uses AI prediction and becomes active in the background when the device is charging, with the intention of staving off the minor slowdowns that happen over time, ensuring the 2a runs at peak performance for longer.

Nothing has introduced a RAM Booster feature as well, which augments the existing RAM with internal storage to act as virtual RAM. This results in the ability to open more apps and reopen them quicker when still active in the background. Although standard on mid-range and even some flagship devices – as a way to enhance their RAM capabilities – it’s worth noting it’s not currently available on Phone 1 or Phone 2. Whether a subsequent update will change that remains to be seen.

NTFS optimization is another new feature, providing faster transfer speeds when moving files from a Windows PC to the Nothing Phone 2a. This is a pretty niche feature that most won’t notice or care about, but if you’re old school like me and still keep a lot of your music as MP3 files, you’ll appreciate those faster transfers.

  • Software score: 4 / 5

Nothing Phone 2a review: Cameras

The back of the Nothing Phone 2a

(Image credit: Future / James Ide)
  •  50MP main, 50MP ultra-wide 
  •  32MP selfie camera 
  •  Redesigned camera module compared to Phone 1 & 2

For photography, the Nothing Phone 2a offers a dual camera setup on the back: a 50MP primary sensor and a 50MP ultra-wide sensor. In a nutshell, these cameras are ‘okay’ but aren’t especially bright or sharp, and save for the occasional hiccup when opening the camera app, focusing and capturing feels fast enough.

By default, the rear cameras capture 12MP stills, which are serviceable for the likes of social media, if unremarkable. You can set the phone to shoot in 50MP, increasing the amount of detail captured, but this locks your focal length, leaving you unable to zoom in a similar trade-off from the previous model; making it less versatile.

Details were okay at 12MP a distance but couldn’t hold up to close inspection. Some photos showed the camera struggling to capture a deeper dynamic range, leaving some elements of photos too dark or blown out.

Nothing Phone 2a camera samples

Image 1 of 8

Sample photos from Nothing Phone 2a

(Image credit: Future / James Ide )
Image 2 of 8

Sample photos from Nothing Phone 2a

(Image credit: Future / James Ide )
Image 3 of 8

Sample photos from Nothing Phone 2a

(Image credit: Future / James Ide )
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Sample photos from Nothing Phone 2a

(Image credit: Future / James Ide )
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Sample photos from Nothing Phone 2a

(Image credit: Future / James Ide )
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Sample photos from Nothing Phone 2a

(Image credit: Future / James Ide )
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Sample photos from Nothing Phone 2a

(Image credit: Future / James Ide )
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Sample photos from Nothing Phone 2a

(Image credit: Future / James Ide )

Like most phone cameras without a telephoto sensor, image quality drops significantly when zooming in all the way, with the phone’s attempts at sharpening in post only making resultant images look worse.

Colors appear saturated and strong, but sometimes shots come out woefully underexposed. This was especially apparent in one particular shot I took, with bright greens and yellows, that appeared dark and moody.

Low-light performance makes for a pleasant surprise, especially with the 2a’s primary camera. It’s aided by OIS (optical image stabilization) to help mitigate and prevent too much motion blur, so w. While I could tell my night images had been enhanced in camera, they still looked relatively natural.

The front camera looks to be an upgrade from the Phone 1’s 16MP snapper to a 32MP sensor, which helps capture greater detail when chatting on video calls and taking selfies.

  • Camera score: 3.5 / 5

Nothing Phone 2a review: Performance

Call of duty mobile running on Nothing Phone 2a

(Image credit: Future / James Ide)
  • Good performance for a mid-range phone
  •  Very power efficient
  •  RAM Booster 

Nothing has moved away from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipsets for the Phone 2a; instead turning to the MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro. This custom chip offers a modest jump in performance from the previous Snapdragon 778G used in Phone 1.

Nothing claims the Phone 2a offers an 18% improvement in performance compared to its predecessor, built on a more efficient 4-nanometer process. The company accounts for this uptick through better software and hardware integration, but I didn’t see any dramatic improvements in normal use, save for gaming performance and battery life.

Day-to-day use was generally swift, with most apps snappy and responsive, however, the camera app sometimes took a few seconds to open up, which could be frustrating for those moments when all you have is a split-second to grab that perfect shot.

Benchmarks put its performance just behind Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7s Gen 2, which is used in the comparable Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G; that said, I didn’t notice much difference between the two in regular use.

Gaming with the Nothing Phone 2a proved better than expected, considering the price point. Genshin Impact ran well at ‘medium’ to ‘high’ settings but did stutter when there was a lot of action and particle effects on screen. I also noticed the phone got warmer when playing the likes of Genshin and COD Mobile with ‘high’ settings enabled, but not nearly enough to feel uncomfortable or hinder performance.

I was surprised to see that Nothing didn’t include a microSD expansion slot, which still appears in some mid-range phones. This slot provides extra storage space and makes some budget phones even better value, but sadly in the case of the Phone 2a, you’re stuck with the onboard 128GB or 256GB of storage.

  • Performance score: 4 / 5

Nothing Phone 2a review: Battery

Close up of battery settings on the Nothing Phone 2a

(Image credit: Future / James Ide)
  •  5,000mAh battery
  •  USB-C cable, but no power adapter included
  •  45W wired fast charging

The 2a comes equipped with Nothing's largest battery so far, a 5,000mAh unit that beats the Phone 1’s 4,500mAh cell and trumps the 2’s 4,700mAh power pack too. Nothing claims it provides around two days of use, and in my testing, I got an impressive 11 hours of screen-on time, which included browsing, gaming, and streaming video.

Fast charging up to 45W is also supported, which is an improvement over the Phone 1’s 33W however, no wireless features on the Phone 2a. It’s also worth noting that no charging brick is provided with the phone, so you’ll need to buy that separately (Nothing sells its own for $35 / £35 / AU$35).

The battery's longevity shouldn’t be a problem either; Nothing claims the Phone 2a’s cell is designed to weather 1,000 cycles while maintaining 90% of its original capacity, which is around three years of use; meaning this phone is in it for the long haul.

  • Battery score: 4 / 5

Should you buy the Nothing Phone 2a?

Buy it if...

You want a taste of Nothing for less
You want to try out the Nothing ecosystem without committing to a flagship device like Phone 2 or an older device that's about to be phased out, like the Phone 1.

You want an affordable all-rounder
If you're after an option that's cheaper than some of the better-known brands, like Samsung, but still offers great performance and features.

You want a phone that stands out
The 2a offers a unique design and OS that is eye-catching, to say the least. If you want something different and unique, designed to stand out amongst the crowd, while still offering high-quality performance, the 2a fits the bill.

Don't buy it if...

You need a phone that's durable and tough
The plastic body, while lightweight, is as resistant as the glass and metal of some phones. Water and dust resistance is also only IP54-certified, which isn't as protected as a lot of modern phones.

You want the full Nothing Phone experience
If you're after the full Glyph system, an even more eye-catching design and solid build, you'll have to pay more for something like the Phone 2, instead. 

You want a performance-focused phone
The new MediaTek chip inside the 2a is only marginally faster than the Snapdragon that powers the Nothing Phone 1 and it can't handle heavy workloads or intensive gaming.

Nothing phone 2a review: Also consider

The Nothing Phone 2a is a compelling budget choice, however, it's not for everyone. Here are some alternatives:

How I tested the Nothing Phone 2a

Nothing Phone 2a box

(Image credit: Future / James Ide)
  • Review test period: 10 days
  • Testing included: everyday use including web browsing, photography, gaming, streaming video, music playback
  • Tools used: Geekbench 6, GFXBench, 3DMark, My Device Pro

I used the Nothing Phone 2a for ten days for this review, adding my own Google, video streaming, and social media accounts.

The phone was used to take photos and record videos, these were then analyzed on a PC. I watched both local and streamed video content from various streaming services too. Although performance was tested using publicly available benchmarking apps to meter the CPU and GPU, along with real-world use, though we don't always publish the results, we do take them into consideration and keep them on file for comparison with other devices.

Interestingly my Geekbench 6 scores show the older Nothing Phone 1 slightly outperforming the Phone 2a in multicore processing, but again, this didn’t really translate to any delay in real-world performance.

Battery usage was measured from fully charged down to zero in 15-minute increments. The Nothing 45W charger was used as no adapter is provided with this phone. The camera was tested in several different situations and conditions as part of the review process.

I have previously reviewed several smartphones including the Nothing Phone 1 and Nothing Phone 2, with the latter serving as my main phone since its release.

Read more about how we test

Motorola Moto G84 review
9:29 pm | March 11, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Phones | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Moto G84 two-minute review

Another day, another Moto G phone…

…and as usual, the Moto G84 is a surprisingly adept and reliable Android handset from one of the world’s most dedicated phone manufacturers, with Motorola continuing its forcible takeover of our round-up of the best cheap phones.

The latest entry in Motorola’s ever-growing G-line of low-cost mobiles, the G84 brings a few clear and concise arguments as to why it should be your next purchase, as well as a few wardrobes that it hopes you won’t be checking for skeletons.

First up, the Moto G84 is the company’s latest collaboration between Motorola and paint company Pantone, with one of its three colors designed by color experts. This is the Viva Magenta one that you can see pictured above, adorned in the shade that Pantone decided was its Color Of The Year 2023.

It's a distinctive shade (which may put some people off), and we’re big enough fans to add the vibrant and striking look to the ‘Pros’ list above. But for some reason, Moto decided to release two other color options, silver and black, which look pretty boring by comparison.

We go from one of the phone’s touted selling points to something Motorola is barely mentioning: the G84 is a powerhouse for gaming. While I’ve been disappointed by other mobiles brandishing the same Snapdragon 695 chipset used here, the Moto chews through gaming and other intensive tasks. If you’re a gamer on a budget, this is definitely a solid pick.

The Moto G84's home screen next to some festive cookies

(Image credit: Future)

It’s at this point in the review (less than a minute into the ‘two-minute review’, so pretty early on) that I should mention the Moto G73. This mobile, released in early 2023 and still ranged by most retailers including Moto itself, has lots of specs in common with the G84.

It has a lower price and the same camera array, same rough design, same software, same battery size, same charging speed and same screen size. Admittedly it’s screen quality is worse, it doesn’t have an under-display fingerprint scanner, it’s less powerful and it doesn’t catch the eye quite like this Viva Magenta-clad beast. But if you want to save some cash and don’t mind these tweaked features, it’s a very real competitor that may sway your attention.

‘Close competition’ is nothing new for Moto phones, given how many similar-looking budget mobiles it releases each year. Neither is my other major gripe with the handset: its cameras are anything but impressive, with photos that look a little dull and unexciting.

Picking up a Motorola phone and being surprised that its cameras aren’t amazing, is like picking up a dumbbell and being surprised it’s heavy – that trait is just par for the course. The cameras aren’t terrible either, they just won’t suit passionate smartphone-centric photographers.

And overall, the Moto G84 is a terribly impressive phone, when you consider its feisty look, gaming power and low price; it’ll just fit some users better than others.

Moto G84 review: price and availability

  • Released in September 2023
  • Costs £249.99 (roughly $315, AU$475) 
  • Not for sale in US or Australia

The Moto G84 in the hand

(Image credit: Future)

The Moto G84 was released in the UK in mid-September 2023, after coming out in India and Europe in the weeks prior. It was joined by the low-end Moto G54 and premium-leaning Moto Edge 40 Neo.

You can pick up the phone for £249.99 (roughly $315, AU$475), which lodges it firmly in the category of ‘cheap Android phone’, perfect for people on a budget who want a reliable mobile. That’s Moto’s whole schtick, after all. There’s no information on a US or Australian launch, but they seem unlikely even several months after the phone's release.

Rivals at that price include Samsung’s Galaxy A23 5G, Redmi’s Note 12 5G, OnePlus' Nord CE 3 Lite and several of Motorola’s own mobiles, like the Moto G73 5G and Edge 40 Neo, which are all at roughly the same price point. But for its price and the performance it offers, the G84 is solidly good value. 

  • Value score: 4 / 5

Moto G84 review: specs

The Moto G84 has many traits in common with other budget phones, but it exceeds its class in a few areas too.

Moto G84 review: design

  • Vibrant Pantone-designed red shell
  • Repositioned under-display fingerprint scanner
  • 3.5mm headphone jack and USB-C port

The Moto G84 looking festive amongst some baked goods

(Image credit: Future)

Motorola isn’t exactly in the business of revolutionizing smartphone design (well, at least for its budget mobiles, though you can say what you like about the Moto Razr). So if you’ve seen a Moto G in the last few years you’ve seen the G84.

It’s a standard Android mobile measuring 160 x 74.4 x 7.6 mm – a few years ago we could’ve called it "a little on the big side" though you could probably consider it average now. It’s surprisingly light at 166.8g, which means the phone sits a little comfier in the hand than most phones with a flat edge.

You’ve got the usual accouterments of a Moto: a USB-C port and 3.5mm headphone jack underneath, a power button and volume rocker on the right edge. But Motorola has made one big adjustment in its budget phones of late, and that’s in replacing the side-mounted fingerprint scanner with a more premium under-display one. And it’s a great change too, as unlocking the phone is much easier than in previous Motos. The scanner is a bit lower down the phone than on most others, but it’s something I got used to.

There are three different color options for the Moto G84: a silver and a black option, and also an eye-catching red version called Viva Magenta. This latter was created by paint company Pantone, and it’d make the phone very attractive if it wasn’t for the big Pantone-logo color swatch on the bottom. You can’t remove this, it’s part of the phone.

Still, if the G84 was in a line-up of 10 random other phones, it’d be the most attractive one the vast majority of the time – its red is a little richer than Apple’s Product Red and the glossy alternatives some Chinese phones offer.

In terms of protection, you’re looking at IP54: it’s partly dust proofed but not against all solids, and is splash-proof but can’t be dunked in water. That's all to be expected at this price. 

  • Design score: 3.5 / 5

Moto G84 review: display

  • Big 6.5-inch screen
  • FHD+ resolution and 120Hz refresh
  • Automatic brightness issues

The Moto G84's front-facing camera

(Image credit: Future)

The Moto G84 has a 6.5-inch display, which is pretty average for a smartphone these days, but the Moto’s specs are anything but average.

The phone packs an FHD+ display (that’s 1080 x 2400) and a 120Hz refresh rate, which means the display updates its image 120 times per second, over the old standard of 60Hz. Lots of budget mobiles tout this spec now but certainly not all of them, and it brings a marked improvement when you’re scrolling around the menus.

Another unusual trait is the use of the DCI-P3 color gamut with over 1 billion colors – this was designed for use in movies and it makes videos look that little bit better than on another budget phone.

One other display feature worth flagging is that the punch-hole that houses the front-facing camera is very small, reducing the amount of screen space you’re losing from it.

A small issue I had with the phone was with its display and the automatic brightness features. Often, the phone would default to a screen brightness that was just too low, and I frequently had to manually adjust it to be able to make out the display.

  • Display score: 3.5 / 5

Moto G84 review: software

  • Stock Android 13 is clean
  • Useful Moto Actions return
  • Plenty of customization options

The Moto G84 looking festive amongst some baked goods

(Image credit: Future)

When you boot up the Moto G84, it’ll come running stock Android 13 – that was the current OS when the mobile launched, though Android 14 started rolling out just weeks later. The G84 is only confirmed for one software update too, so Android 14 is all you’ll definitely get, though you’ll be able to enjoy at least three years’ security updates.

Stock Android is always fairly clean, at least compared to some other Android forks, but some bloatware has snuck into the Moto. There’s TikTok, LinkedIn and three simple games – it’s nothing too offensive, and if you’ve used one of the budget phones from another brand you might have used something a lot worse, but it’s still not ideal.

Moto phones have always been great for software customization, even before Google made it an official Android feature, and there’s no difference here. You have plenty of choice in terms of font, color scheme, icon shape, animations and more – if you like diving into the settings and then tweaking the nitty-gritty of how your phone looks, you’ll love this phone.

A returning feature exclusive to Moto phones are Moto Actions, which are easy navigation tricks that I find myself using a lot. Examples include a double karate-chop motion to quickly turn on the torch and a twisting shake to open the camera app. They take a little getting used to, but once you’ve got the knack for them, they’re incredibly handy.

  • Software score: 4 / 5

Moto G84: cameras

  • 50MP main and 8MP ultra-wide cameras
  • Some extra features like Spot Color
  • 16MP front-facing camera for selfies

The Moto G84's camera bump

(Image credit: Future)

The camera department is an area that Motorola phones rarely excel in, and there’s no exception here. The phone uses up its ‘color’ budget on its exterior shell and there’s none left for its photos…

The main snapper is a 50MP f/1.9 unit and it’s joined by a single 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide companion. On the front, you’re looking at a 16MP f/2.5 selfie camera. That’s not exactly a revolutionary combo for Moto, which used the exact same line-up in the Moto G73 from earlier in the year. 

Pictures taken on the main camera looked fine – that nondescript word is the best way to describe them – with fair sharpness but a lack of vibrancy or color that made me miss Samsung’s or Xiaomi’s handsets.

Flip onto the ultra-wide camera and you’re getting pretty grainy pictures – it’s an 8MP sensor, what did you expect – though not straight away. No, the secondary snapper was surprisingly slow to focus when I pressed the icon in the camera app, and I often found myself waiting a few moments for it to sharpen the image.

You can also use the ultra-wide camera for macro (close-up) shots, but this suffers from the issue that all wide-angle-macro phone photos do: it’s rounded and distorted thanks to the lens type. No thanks!

There’s no zoom lens on the Moto G84, so you have to use its 8x digital zoom to get closer to a subject. But I’d really recommend you don’t, unless you want your photo to be as grainy as spot art.

Grainy is also the word to use for pictures captured on the front camera, which is a surprising twist as some Motos redeem themselves on their selfie abilities. They'll be fine for sending between phones, especially with bokeh working well in Portrait mode, but if you look at selfies on any bigger screen you'll see the pixels clearly.

When capturing video, you can shoot at 1080p, with no 4K option. There’s also a slow-mo option as well as dual capture (front and back cameras at once) and Spot Color, which lets you isolate a single color in your recording. These latter two options are also available for photography.

  • Camera score: 2.5 / 5

Moto G84 camera samples

Image 1 of 7

A coffee photographed on the  Moto G84

This 'standard' shot of a coffee looks a little dull in the froth and colorful plates. (Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 7

A pint captured on the  Moto G84

This photo came out bizarrely yellow. (Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 7

A street shot on the  Moto G84

Here's a standard snap of a street, so you can contrast to the next pic... (Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 7

A street captured on the Moto G84's ultra-wide camera.

...here's that same street in ultra-wide. (Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 7

A christmassy table captured on the G84

This festive outlook also looks a little duller than what another phone would capture. (Image credit: Future)
Image 6 of 7

A selfie on the Moto G84

If you were to zoom in close to the face, you'd see it's quite grainy (but please don't!). (Image credit: Future)
Image 7 of 7

The Moto Edge 40 Neo captured on the  Moto G84

I captured the G84's contemporary, the Edge 40 Neo, so you can see how it picks up color. (Image credit: Future)

Moto G84: performance and audio

  • Snapdragon 695 chip exceeds expectations
  • 12GB RAM and 256GB storage
  • 3.5mm headphone jack and Bluetooth 5.1

The Moto G84 packs the Snapdragon 695, and anyone who’s used a phone using this chipset knows what to expect: fine everyday performance, but a lackluster showing when used for gaming or intensive processes. That's how this exact same chip worked in the recent OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite, and gaming was a slog.

In a pleasantly surprising plot twist, the G84 bucks expectations: it runs a lot faster than you’d think. In fact, through our rigorous gaming tests, it proved itself as one of the most reliable low-budget phones for gaming.

When playing titles like Call of Duty: Mobile and PUBG Mobile, the phone could be relied on to get through a match without lags, stutters or freezes – in fact, the G84 beat many gaming phones in that it didn’t even overheat!

This may be thanks to the 12GB RAM you’re getting, a surprising amount for a phone at this price. The 256GB storage is also laudable – this is a phone that’ll last you a long time, and even if you do manage to fill the device’s onboard storage, the microSD card slot will keep you going for even longer.

If you’re into your facts and figures, a benchmark test through Geekbench 6 returned a multi-core average score of 2,037. That middling score shows that this phone is no supercomputer that’ll land a spaceship on the sun or predict the future, but for the price, I was very surprised.

Onto audio – this is par for the course for a Moto phone. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack for wired music and Bluetooth 5.1 for wireless. The onboard stereo speaker is nothing to write home about, but it’s not so tinny that voice calls or memos are affected.

  • Performance score: 4 / 5

Moto G84 review: battery life

  • Large 5,000mAh battery
  • Over a day's use from a single charge
  • 30W charging isn't particularly fast

The Moto G84's ports looking festive amongst some baked goods

(Image credit: Future)

If there’s one thing a Motorola phone can be relied on to have, even more than a confusing name, great customization or that distinctive sound when you first boot it up, it’s a long-lasting battery life.

No surprise, then, that the Moto G84’s 5,000mAh battery lasts a long time. You can use it to get through a day of use with no issue, and in our tests it lasted well into a second day before the charging cable needed to come out.

That charging cable gets you powering at 30W, so it’s not particularly fast, not when rival budget mobiles hit 50W, 67W or higher. You’re looking at charging times just shy of an hour, or more if you’re using the thing as you power it.

There’s no wireless charging here, but at that price, no-one should be surprised.

  • Battery score: 3.5 / 5

Should you buy the Moto G84?

Buy it if...

You like the color
As soon as you opened this review and saw the header image, you came to a quick conclusion on its distinctive color. If that reaction was positive, then for sure, go for it!

You’re a budget gamer
Honestly, if I didn’t already have a phone, I’d consider the G84 just for its gaming chops alone – it plays games just as well as a handset that’d cost you twice as much. 

You need a reliable budget device
Moto's G phones are always dependable low-cost Androids that'll last you a long time, and if you're not fussy about certain premium features, they're always great picks.

Don't buy it if...

The Moto G73 is fine for you
The G84 has many specs in common with the G73, yet costs more – if you don’t mind screen quality and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, you’ll be happy and have more cash with the older phone!

You’re a phone photographer
If there’s one cut corner with the G84, its the lackluster camera performance. If you love taking pictures all the time with your phone, you can do better than this handset.

You care about software updates
Software fanatics out there might raise an eyebrow at Moto's limited software update promise. If you want new Android versions for years to come, you might want to opt for another brand's phones.

Moto G84 review: Also consider

If you're looking for Android phones at the Moto G84's price, you've got loads of rivals to consider. Here are a few:

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite
A bigger screen, higher-res main camera and fast charging are balanced out by a higher price, weaker gaming chops and a bulkier build in this recent rival from OnePlus.

Redmi Note 12 Pro
Xiaomi is a strong budget phone rival with its spec-heavy Redmi mobiles, and the 12 Pro is an example. Lots of specs in common with the G84 but more processing power.

How I tested the Moto G84

  • Review test period = 2 week
  • Testing included = Everyday usage, including web browsing, social media, photography, video calling, gaming, streaming video, music playback
  • Tools used = Geekbench 5, Geekbench 6, Geekbench ML, GFXBench, native Android stats

As you can tell from my review and the images, I tested the Moto G84 in its Pantone-endorsed Viva Magenta colorway. It felt fitting to test this festive-looking mobile during winter, hence the Christmas baking images!

Before true testing commenced I set up the phone to let the battery use settle, then used it as a standard mobile for two weeks. This included all the tasks you'd use your mobile for: social media, photography and streaming. 

I also used it for gaming a lot. In fact, it was so snappy and fast for this task, alongside its lovely display, that I was loathe to move onto the next handset I'm testing for TechRadar!

My tech review history spans five years for TechRadar, and more for other brands. I used to work as an editor and writer for the site, covering phones, tablets and wearables (as well as a wide range of other gadgets), and continue to write freelance reviews across many types of gadget.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed December 2023

Nubia Z60 Ultra review: Unrefined power
10:18 pm | February 23, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Phones | Tags: | Comments: Off

Nubia Z60 Ultra: Two-minute review

The Nubia brand might not be overly familiar here in the West, but this ZTE offshoot has quietly been carving out a niche in recent years with its surprisingly affordable Red Magic gaming phones.

However, the Nubia Z60 Ultra represents something slightly different. It takes many of the Red Magic 9 Pro’s hardware features and seeks to apply them to a more mainstream flagship phone. The result is a super-sized handset with impressive performance, a huge battery, and a surprisingly fully featured camera system, for less than $600/£700. That said, the mainstream smartphone space is a much more hotly contested market, with customers who have come to expect finesse and balance from the best phones out there.

There’s no getting away from the fact that the Nubia Z60 Ultra’s brash looks will put many off. Not to mention, it’s big and unusually heavy, while its industrial design language feels somewhat clumsy.

The phone’s large 6.8-inch AMOLED is of decent quality, and there’s some appeal to the combination of minimal bezels and no notch. Nubia has achieved this by cramming the phone’s front camera behind its display, which unfortunately means that selfie quality is awful. Again, this is something that’s less forgivable in a ‘regular’ smartphone.

Thankfully, the rest of the cameras are pretty decent for the money. The main Sony IMX800 sensor picks out bright, detailed shots in a variety of conditions, while the 64MP 3.3x periscope camera is a rare provision in the sub-$600/£700 market.

Nubia Z60 Ultra review back

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)

General performance is unimpeachable, with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 tackling intensive tasks such as games with consummate ease. A strong cooling provision means that the Z60 Ultra can sustain its performance over extended periods, too.

Perhaps the Nubia Z60 Ultra’s defining feature is its huge 6,000mAh battery. True, it’s what gives the phone its unusual weight, but it also ensures full two-day usage potential. While 80W charging is pretty decent, however, it’s a shame that there’s no wireless charging.

Another slight drawback is Nubia’s take in an Android user experience: myOS. It’s functional and slightly less cluttered than its Red Magic cousin, but it lacks the finesse of rival UIs, and is only set to receive three years of updates, where Apple and Samsung offer double or more.

All in all, the Nubia Z60 Ultra feels slightly less than the sum of its parts. It offers a very strong package on paper, with a number of ultra-flagship specs for around half the price. However, it doesn’t quite feel like an entirely cohesive or complete product.

Qualities that made for an excellent value smartphone in the Red Magic 9 Pro don’t quite translate to a convincing ‘normal’ phone. With a little more refinement, however, Nubia could be onto something with the Z60 Ultra’s successors.

Nubia Z60 Ultra review: Price and availability

  • From $599 / £679 / €679 (no official AU$ price, Australian buyers will have to buy through Nubia's global online store in US$)
  • Shipping from December 29, 2023
  • Three models available globally

The Nubia Z60 Ultra began shipping on December 29, 2023. Prices officially start from $599 / £679 / €679 for the 8GB RAM / 256GB storage model, while the 12GB RAM / 256GB model costs $649 / £749 / €749, and the 16GB RAM / 512GB range-topper costs $779 / £899 / €899 (that's a range of approximately AU$910 to AU$1,180, when converting from USD directly).

In some markets, including the UK, only the top two models are available to purchase from the Nubia website at the time of writing. However, US buyers can snap up that baseline 8GB RAM variant right now too, for less.

It’s difficult to find a comparable phone in terms of supersized flagship(ish) specs at around the same price. The OnePlus 12R is perhaps its closest contemporary, sporting a broadly similar display, albeit packing 2023 chip technology and omitting the telephoto camera.

Google’s Pixel 8 starts from $699 / £699 / AU$1,199, and doesn’t give you the same supersized display or telephoto camera, nor does it give you the same level of performance. It does have wireless charging, though.

  • Value score: 4 / 5

Nubia Z60 Ultra review: Specs

Nubia Z60 Ultra review: Design

Nubia Z60 Ultra review back angled

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
  • Flat-edged and very heavy
  • Slightly convoluted pro-camera aesthetic
  • Mappable shortcut slider
  • IP68 rated against dust and water

You have to hand it to Nubia – it’s certainly gone big and bold with the Z60 Ultra’s design. This is a chunky beast of a phone, with an aesthetic approach you could possibly call ‘industrial’, if you were being polite.

It’s incredibly heavy, even relative to other larger flagships. At 246g, it’s closer to the Galaxy Z Fold 5 (253g) than the Galaxy S24 Ultra (232g).

The phone’s 8.8mm thick, blocky, flat-edged approach clearly shares some DNA with Nubia’s Red Magic gaming phone sub brand. That’s fine in a phone that by its nature prioritizes cooling and a comfortable handheld gaming experience, but it feels less defensible here.

Even the physical sliding switch from the Red Magic 9 Pro makes the transition, here repurposed as a mappable context-sensitive shortcut button. It’s a nice thing to have to hand, but I’m not keen on the binary nature of the switch, which simply changes to the opposite state when flipped. Similar switches from Apple and OnePlus will attribute a sound profile function to a specific position.

Nubia Z60 Ultra review side

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)

Weight aside, I suspect that the back of the phone will prove the most divisive element here. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but to my eyes the Z60 Ultra’s camera module is flat-out ugly.

The whole triple array sits on a square slab that’s slightly raised above the body of the phone. Only the ultra-wide camera lays flush with this element, however, with the circular wide camera gaining further height and a red surround. The periscope camera gets its own rectangular slab of a module. It’s all a bit of a mish mash.

With the camera module’s ‘Neo Vision’ red dot branding and choice of black or silver finishes, it’s almost as if Nubia is attempting to emulate Leica’s pro camera look. It doesn’t quite work.

The front of the Z60 Ultra is much more subtle. Nubia has gone with a similar all-screen approach to the Red Magic 9 Pro, with minimal bezels and a fractionally thicker chin.

Despite shooting for such a competitive price point, it’s good to see that Nubia has included IP68-certified dust and water ingress protection. It’s far from a given, even at this price.

  • Design score: 3 / 5

Nubia Z60 Ultra review: Display

Nubia Z60 Ultra review front

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
  • 6.8-inch AMOLED
  • 2480 x 1116 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate
  • Under-display selfie camera

Nubia appears to have brought its 6.8-inch AMOLED display across from the Red Magic 9 Pro too. It’s another 2480 x 1116 resolution, 120Hz panel, with a stated peak brightness of 1,500nits.

That’s well short of some of the 2024 flagship crowd (the Galaxy S24 range hits 2,600nits, for example), but it still gets plenty bright enough in daily use. PWM Dimming at 2160Hz, meanwhile, is hard to measure but is designed to be easier on your eyes.

You’ll notice the same lack of a front camera notch as on the brand's Red Magic phones. Nubia is one of the few that likes to go with an under-display solution, which results in gloriously unobstructed landscape video and gaming content at the expense of even halfway decent selfies (more on which later).

Like the aforementioned Red Magic 9 Pro, Nubia has used BOE’s Q9+ luminescent material for a punchier color output. Sure enough, the color output is nice and natural, at least on the Normal setting. Nubia supplies reasonably flexible system for tweaking the tone to your liking, too.

  • Display score: 4 / 5

Nubia Z60 Ultra review: Camera

Image 1 of 2

Nubia Z60 Ultra review camera

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 2 of 2

Nubia Z60 Ultra review camera UI

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
  • 50MP ‘35mm’ main with OIS (optical image stabilization)
  • 64MP ‘85mm’ periscope telephoto
  • 50MP ‘18mm’ ultra-wide
  • Awful 12MP under-display selfie camera

One of the most impressive things about the Nubia Z60 Ultra – given its aggressive pricing – is the provision of a comprehensive triple camera system. Nubia uses the 35mm, 85mm, and 18mm focal length names for these, which is classic photography terminology, and there’s OIS backup for each.

This system is led by a 50MP Sony IMX800 main sensor, which is the same 1/1.49-inch component that you’ll find in the likes of the Xiaomi 13, Honor 70, and the Honor Magic Vs. It’s not a cutting edge component, but it lends a certain flagship flavour to many of its images.

Day time shots pack a suitable amount of detail and dynamic range, with vibrant (but not too unnatural) colors. Snaps taken in lesser indoors lighting remain nice and sharp, with solid subject lock-on via laser autofocus and OIS assistance, and natural bokeh thanks to a wide open f/1.6 aperture.

Night shots can be reasonably crisp, too, when they come out properly. I found that a couple of shots failed to lock on or steady the image sufficiently, producing blurry, unfocused results. When they work, however, they look decent, with less of that over-brightening effect that can lend a somewhat uncanny impression in such lower-tier cameras.

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera samples

Image 1 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Flowers-2

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 2 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Night-2

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 3 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Harbour-18mm

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 4 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Harbour-35mm

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 5 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Harbour-85mm

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 6 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Night-1

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 7 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Flowers-1

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 8 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Selfie-1

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 9 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Food-2

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 10 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Shed-18mm

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 11 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Shed-35mm

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 12 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Shed-85mm

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 13 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Selfie-2

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 14 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Food-1

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 15 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Tennis-trees-18mm

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 16 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Tennis-trees-35mm

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 17 of 17

Nubia Z60 Ultra camera sample Tennis-trees-85mm

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)

This main sensor provides a competitive shooting experience for the price, which only the Pixel 8 really shows up. Unlike the Pixel 8 – and pretty much any other phone around this price for that matter – the Z60 Ultra also adds a 64MP periscope telephoto into the mix. You’ll want to feed it with plenty of light, but when you do it largely maintains the tone of the main sensor, with a meaningful 3.3x OIS-assisted optical zoom, that works for portrait shots, as well as subject in the distance.

There’s also a 50MP ultra-wide, which marks a more notable divergence in color tone and a spot of overexposure compared to the other two. While it’s not flagship-standard, however, the results are reasonably sharp and certainly usable.

One thing that barely deserves the ‘usable’ tag is the Z60 Ultra’s 12MP selfie camera. As has been the case with every under-display camera to date, the images it produces are awful; with a level of softness and murk that makes every shot look like it's been passed through a third rate Instagram filter.

As you can see from the sample images, you’ll need to contend with an irritating watermark straight out of the box. This can be deactivated in the camera settings menu, but it really shouldn’t even be there.

  • Camera score: 4 / 5

Nubia Z60 Ultra review: Performance

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review Game Space

Game Space is loaded with useful tools for gamers. (Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
  • Top of the line Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset
  • 8GB, 12GB or 16GB of RAM (varies by market)
  • Strong sustained gaming performance

While some phones pitching for the price point compromise on power, the Nubia Z60 Ultra most certainly hasn’t. It pairs the latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip with (on the UK Nubia store at least) either 12 or 16GB of RAM.

This is a spec fit to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra – a phone that costs about double the money. The Geekbench 6 benchmark scores are certainly competitive with such a lofty performer.

GPU benchmarks are similarly up there near the top, reflecting the phone’s top-level gaming performance. The likes of Genshin Impact and Wreckfest will run at a super-smooth 60fps, with the graphics cranked up to the max, though that was also largely true of last year’s flagship phones.

Without the Red Magic 9 Pro’s physical fan onboard, the Z60 Ultra ran extremely hot when subjected to the 20-minute Solar Bay Stress Test. But then, that’s a benchmark custom made to make even the most capable of phones puff and pant.

More importantly, the Nubia Z60 Ultra aced said test, which runs 20 minute-long intensive GPU workouts, simulating the effects of sustained high-end gameplay. The way it tends to work is that a smartphone will offer speedy performance for the first few minutes, but will then throttle back when things heat up.

A score of 92.7% suggests a phone that has its cooling game in order, matching the mighty Asus ROG Phone 8 gaming phone for consistency. This means you’ll be able to game and run other intensive tasks for extended periods, without a discernible drop off in performance.

  • Performance score: 4.5 / 5

Nubia Z60 Ultra review: Software

Image 1 of 3

Nubia Z60 Ultra review quick settings

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 2 of 3

Nubia Z60 Ultra review settings menu

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
Image 3 of 3

Nubia Z60 Ultra review front angled

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
  • MyOS 14 atop Android 14
  • Not too much bloatware
  • Up to three years of software updates

Nubia has packed its latest custom UI – MyOS 14, on top of Android 14. This custom UI is closer to Oppo’s ColorOS or Xiaomi’s HyperOS/MIUI than it is to more stock offerings, from the likes of Motorola, Sony, or OnePlus. It’s all there in the toggle-filled notification pane and in Settings menus that lack a cohesive visual style.

Unsurprisingly, it’s not at all dissimilar to Red Magic OS 9.0 on the Red Magic 9 Pro from the same manufacturer. You have the same basic home screen and menu layout, albeit with round icons and a little less bloatware.

There’s also the same ugly browser-meets-news-feed app that you’ll instantly want to swap with Chrome or your browser of choice, but at least there’s no Booking.com app this time around. As before, Nubia has preinstalled Google Keep, which will always gain props from me.

Despite this not being one of Nubia’s gaming phones, the Game Space UI is here to help you fine-tune your gaming experience. You can even have that physical slider activate it, as is the case with the Red Magic phones.

One other negative is that Nubia is only promising up to three years of software updates, which falls well short of the best.

  • Software score: 3 / 5

Nubia Z60 Ultra review: Battery

Nubia Z60 Ultra review front angled handheld

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
  • Huge 6,000mAh battery
  • Genuine two-day potential
  • 80W wired charger in the box
  • No wireless charging

While a notchless display and a periscope camera certainly stand out at this price, there’s one component that really dominates the Nubia Z60 Ultra package: it has an absolutely huge battery.

The phone’s 6,000mAh cell is another holdover from Nubia’s work in the gaming phone space. It’s actually a little smaller than the Red Magic 9 Pro’s 6,500mAh cell, but then that phone has to drive a physical cooling fan.

This is a very big battery any way you cut it, and is likely a leading contributor to the Z60 Ultra’s extreme weight. Thankfully, it partly balances this out with strong stamina.

I found that the phone could get through a full day of moderate usage (four hours of screen on time) with just over 60 percent left to play with. The mathematicians among you will hopefully have figured out that this makes the Z60 Ultra a phone with the scope to go two days in between charges.

For the power users and media-fiends out there, you’ll be able to go through a whole day of intensive usage without sweating over those final few percentage points. Alongside the OnePlus 12R, which manages to wring similarly epic stamina from a slightly smaller battery, this positions the Nubia Z60 Ultra right near the front of the pack.

Elsewhere you can count on rapid 80W wired charging. And yes, said charger is bundled into the box, unlike big-hitting rivals from Samsung, Apple, and Google. It’ll still take around 45 minutes to fill up a complete charge, in my experience, doubtless owing to the sheer size of that cell. But that’s still not bad going.

Sadly, Nubia has opted to omit wireless charging from the Z60 Ultra. This isn’t a totally unusual decision within the ‘almost-flagship’ space, as we saw with the OnePlus 12R, but it’s still a negative point that needs to be acknowledged.

  • Battery score: 4.5 / 5

Should you buy the Nubia Z60 Ultra?

Buy it if...

You want a complete photographic bundle for less than your average flagship
There aren’t many phones at this price point that give you a solid 3.3x periscope telephoto camera.

You’re after an all-screen phone
The Nubia Z60 Ultra gives you small bezels and an under-display notch, meaning its front is all-screen.

You want two-day battery life
With an unusually large battery, the Z60 Ultra can last two full days of moderate usage.

Don't buy it if...

You like your phones light
This is one of the heaviest non-foldable phones on the market, making it a bit of a bind to carry around.

You prefer your Android stock
Nubia’s custom UI isn’t terrible, but it’s a fair way from Google’s stock ideal.

You take a lot of selfies
The Nubia Z60 Ultra’s 12MP front camera takes some of the worst selfies around.

Nubia Z60 Ultra review: Also consider

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro
Nubia’s keenly-priced gaming phone is a close cousin of the Z60 Ultra, with a similarly shaped body, an even bigger battery, dedicated gaming controls, and improved performance thanks to a physical cooling fan. However, its camera is inferior, its design is even less appealing, and its software is even busier.

OnePlus 12R
The OnePlus 12R offers a broadly flagship-level experience for a similar price to the Nubia Z60 Ultra. Its design is much more appealing and it packs a superior display, though its performance is inferior and its camera less flexible.

Google Pixel 8
The Pixel 8 is another almost-flagship selling for a similar price. It’s much smaller than the Z60 Ultra, however, and its performance isn’t as good. While it lacks a telephoto camera, its main camera is superior, and the Pixel 8 also gives you wireless charging and a much more refined design.

How I tested the Nubia Z60 Ultra

  • Review test period = 2 weeks
  • Testing included = Everyday usage, including web browsing, social media, photography, video calling, gaming, streaming video, music playback
  • Tools used = Geekbench 6, GFXBench, 3DMark, native Android stats, bundled Nubia 80W power adapter

I was sent the top 16GB RAM / 512GB storage model of the Nubia Z60 Ultra by a PR representative, at which point I started using the phone on a daily basis over a two-week period.

For at least a week of that time, the Z60 Ultra was my everyday phone. For the rest of the time, I swapped in another active SIM and continued to use the phone for benchmark tests, photos, and general browsing.

I’m a freelance journalist who got his start writing about mobile games in the pre-smartphone era. I was around to cover the arrival of the iPhone and the App Store, as well as Android, and their seismic effect on the games industry. I now write about consumer tech, games, and culture for a number of top websites.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed February 2024

OnePlus 12R review: Long-lasting, eye-popping
5:00 pm | February 5, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets OnePlus Phones Phones | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

OnePlus 12R: Two-minute review

OnePlus is kicking off 2024 with a pair of new phones, its latest flagship OnePlus 12 and the intriguing OnePlus 12R; which marks the first time an R-series device has launched internationally and not just in India.

While we've seen T-series entries on the global stage before, the R more closely delivers on the promises of the company's full-fat flagship phones and this year's 12R is no exception; running on familiar hardware for those who knew last year's OnePlus 11, while also serving up some company and industry firsts all its own.

OnePlus 12R review back straight perspective

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

At a glance, you'd be forgiven for mistaking the 12R for both the OnePlus 11 and the OnePlus 12, as all three phones sport a familiar aesthetic, with rounded edges and the distinct 'Starlight Dial' circular camera surround that we were first introduced to on 2023's OnePlus flagship.

The iconic physical alert slider may have swapped sides (OnePlus says this improves antenna performance), and the phone may lack wireless charging and full IP68 dust and water resistance, but it's otherwise a beautifully crafted and premium-feeling phone with plenty of power and battery longevity to boot.

If it weren't for the lesser secondary cameras, the 12R amounts to a revamped OnePlus 11, with the same flagship-class Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 found in 2023's finest, up to 16GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and the biggest battery ever seen in a OnePlus phone, which translates to the best longevity we've ever gotten from a OnePlus phone – battery life that matches the likes of the mighty Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

OnePlus has also included its latest OxygenOS 14 user experience out of the box, which comes with a heap of branded technologies; most importantly the 'Trinity Engine': an umbrella term for a number of features that ensure the 12R's performance doesn't degrade over time, focusing on CPU, RAM, and ROM management.

A killer 1.5K LTPO 4.0 AMOLED display fronts the phone, with a more advanced adaptive refresh rate, touch response rate and peak brightness (4,500nits) than even the OnePlus 11.

OnePlus 12R review front angled

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

If there's one area where the 12R does fall short of its otherwise flagship standing, it's with camera versatility. The main 50MP Sony sensor delivers a similar experience to that of last year's flagship – running on the same sensor and with a fast shutter not to mention a year's worth of refinement from OnePlus. However the 8MP ultra-wide and 2MP macro cameras don't keep step with regards to quality and consistency.

For the price, there's little that matches the 12R directly, however, alternatives like the OnePlus 11, Samsung Galaxy S23 FE and iPhone 14 come close; provided you're willing to trade away the phone's excellent display tech and battery prowess. One of the best OnePlus phones yet? Quite possibly, even without being a fully-fledged flagship in its own right.

OnePlus 12R review: Price and availability

  • Priced from $499.99 / £649
  • Announced January 23, on sale February 13
  • $300 / £200 lower starting price than equivalent storage OnePlus 12

The OnePlus 12R serves as the global variant of the OnePlus Ace 3, which launched in China at the very start of 2024. The 12R made its debut as part of the OnePlus 12's global launch event in India on January 23, with a staggered on-sale date that sees the phone released first in India (on February 6), before arriving in markets including the US, UK and Europe on February 13.

US customers get the choice of two storage configurations, starting at $499.99 with 128GB of space, while UK and European customers only have access to the single higher-capacity 256GB model, which sells for $599.99 in the US and £649 / €699 in those two other markets, respectively.

Pricing means it undercuts other newcomers, like the Samsung Galaxy S24, Google Pixel 8 and baseline iPhone 15 by quite a margin, and in truth, there's little worth considering around the 12R's launch price, save for more expensive but older phones that have had time to drop in price, including the company's own OnePlus 11.

The company's 2024 flagship – the OnePlus 12 – comfortably sits around $300 / £200 more expensive for the same amount of storage, but for the extra cash you're getting a sharper screen, better cameras, longer-term software support, and Qualcomm's latest and greatest flagship silicon in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.

Note though that there's no current Australian availability for the OnePlus 12R or the standard OnePlus 12.

  • Value score: 4 / 5

OnePlus 12R review: Specs

OnePlus 12R review: Design

OnePlus 12R review back angled floating

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Elegant, premium curved glass and metal aesthetics
  • Physical alert slider on left side
  • IP64-certified against dust and water

The OnePlus 12R presents itself as a premium handset, with a level of fit and finish on par with any of the latest top-tier phones out there, not least because it shares in the 'Starlight Dial' design language of this year's and last year's OnePlus flagships.

The Iron Gray model (pictured) has a matte glass back that's superb at repelling fingerprints (and other marks) but has an almost Teflon-like low friction coefficient, meaning it's a little slippery in the hand. The Cool Blue alternative, meanwhile, is the more head-turning option, that's better at catching the light (and fingerprints), if you're in the market for a little more flare. It's worth noting that colorway availability varies by region and storage variant too.

If you're not a fan of the straight-sided iPhones or Galaxy phones (or the rumored design of the forthcoming Pixel 9 series) leading the market, the 12R is the perfect remedy. The front and back glass curve elegantly into the thin metal frame, which makes it a touch trickier to hold by comparison but nicer in the hand and on the eye.

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OnePlus 12R review alert slider

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OnePlus 12R review alert slider UI

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OnePlus 12R review top

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OnePlus 12R review handheld front

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OnePlus 12R review back straight

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OnePlus 12R review camera

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A trait that's slipped in since OnePlus more closely buddied up to sister company Oppo is the adoption of a flat top and bottom to some of its phones' frames, and that's the case with the 12R. A USB-C port, SIM tray and speaker grille reside along the bottom, while microphones and – perhaps most intriguingly of all – an IR blaster can be found on the phone's top edge. This is a novel addition that's seldom seen on phones nowadays, but gives the 12R universal remote functionality which you won't readily find on the competition; great for controlling your TV, aircon, projector, and even some smart lights, all from the one device.

OnePlus' iconic alert slider (oddly absent from previous performance flagships like the OnePlus 10T) is reassuringly present on the 12R, although perhaps not as 'correct' as long-time OnePlus users might expect, as across both entries in the series, this knurled three-stage switch is now found on the opposing side to where it usually sits (the right side). OnePlus claims this helps with antenna performance – especially when gaming in landscape – and in practice, the learning curve of adjusting to a swapped alert slider and volume rocker is negligible.

While the 12R is notably thinner (and a touch lighter) than the standard OnePlus 12, that's partly down to the lack of wireless charging, while that finely-crafted bodywork also falls short of the industry-standard dust and water resistance, with only IP64 certification (most flagships boast IP68 protection against water ingress).

  • Design score: 3.5 / 5

OnePlus 12R review: Display

OnePlus 12R review front angled straight on

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • 6.78-inch 1.5K 19.8:9 120Hz LTPO 4.0 ProXDR AMOLED display
  • Outstanding peak brightness up to 4,500nits
  • Aqua Touch for accurate use in the wet

Look past the marketing spiel (which there's a lot of) and the 12R's display is spec'd as one of the market's best right now. Beyond the fundamentals as a 6.78-inch 1.5K AMOLED panel protected by Gorilla Glass Victus 2, the ProXDR screen on the 12R boasts the same peak brightness as the OnePlus 12, at a whopping 4,500nits (with an HBM or high brightness mode peak of 1,600nits).

For comparison, the iPhone 15 series tops out at 2,000nits, while the S24 series reaches 2,600nits. Although that peak isn't an increment you'll likely hit in day to day use, the additional headroom over screens of the most prominent players in the industry means everything from outdoor legibility to HDR content consumption (it's also Dolby Vision, HDR Vivid and HDR10+ compliant for good measure) is comparatively better. Speaking of HDR content, being able to view HDR imagery shot on device, natively in both the OnePlus Photos app and the Google Photos app – similarly to the likes of the latest Pixel 8 Pro – is a nice flex.

The LTPO 4.0 tech at work also means improved power efficiency (relative to LTPO 3.0, as on the OnePlus 11), as this new panel is able to switch between more frequency increments through its 1Hz to 120Hz range, depending on the situation (lower frequencies equal less power drain, higher frequencies offer more fluid visuals).

As for gamers, an impressive 1,000Hz touch response rate (branded 'HyperTouch') is on-hand to ensure accurate touch input at any pace (that's faster than any of the best gaming phones currently out there), while 'HyperRender' is responsible for backlight calibration when gaming; accounting for the environment you're playing in and optimizing contrast and brightness dynamically.

There's also the presence of Aqua Touch: an algorithm that helps the 12R discern between water droplets and true touch inputs on a wet display; making use in rain or similarly wet conditions far more reliable than you'd experience with a conventional touchscreen and in practice, it's a huge win for convenience, especially if, like me, you're a Londoner all too familiar with the Great British weather's habits.

Throw in 2160Hz PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) dimming for reduced eye strain in low light (backed by independent certification from TÜV Rheinland), and an overall A+ rating from DisplayMate, and OnePlus has receipts to back up its claims surrounding the 12R's screen tech.

Sure, these aren't all headline features worth buying the phone for explicitly but they're 'nice to haves' that elevate the 12R's viewing experience beyond both expectation and more prominent competitors.

  • Display score: 5 / 5

OnePlus 12R review: Software

OnePlus 12R review apps drawer

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • OxygenOS 14 atop Android 14 out of the box
  • Customizable user experience without feeling overwhelming
  • 3 years of OS + 4 years of security updates

If you're a long-time OnePlus user, you'll know OxygenOS has lost a little of its individuality since OnePlus and Oppo more closely collaborated on their respective mobile user experiences (we lost the 1+ calculator easter egg with OxygenOS 13), however, OxygenOS 14 (running atop the latest Android 14) still delivers on the core values of OnePlus' software from previous generations; packed with sparks of software design so good that you'd wish other brands would crib from it.

While delivering a relatively clean aesthetic and user experience, OxygenOS has supported user generated wallpapers long before Samsung and Asus called upon AI smarts to offer similar results with their latest-generation phones, Zen Space is a one-stop destination for mindfulness that supports Android's native Digital Wellbeing toolset, gestures and floating windows add a heap of flexibility to the base OS's multitasking experience, and being able to quick-launch apps from the fingerprint sensor is a nice trick too.

OnePlus 12R review The Shelf

The Shelf on OxygenOS 14 (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The Shelf is an interesting inclusion that OnePlus has struggled to find a consistent home for within OxygenOS and I'm not convinced its current location – accessed by swiping down on the home screen, replacing quick access to notifications and quick settings – should be its final destination. Nevertheless, as a dedicated home for widgets – akin to Today View on iPadOS – it's a nice way to keep glanceable information all in one place.

OxygenOS manages to walk the line between simplicity and functionality where other brands' user experiences tend to err on the side of 'more features equals better', even if that's at the expense of intuitive navigation and interaction.

The 12R's standing below that of the company's true current flagship does mean that its software support isn't quite as extensive – at three years of OS upgrades and four years of security updates – but that does at least keep it in step with the similarly-spec'd OnePlus 11, meaning both phones won't fall out of favor until Android 18 (and presumably OxygenOS 18).

  • Software score: 4 / 5

OnePlus 12R review: Cameras

OnePlus 12R review camera closeup

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Robust 50MP Sony IMX890 lead sensor, as on OnePlus 11
  • Same RAW HDR algorithm, as on the OnePlus 12
  • Ineffectual macro camera

While at a glance the OnePlus 12R's rear camera setup may resemble the OnePlus 11's and 12's, it's likely the biggest departure from both phones and one of the biggest cost-saving aspects of the 12R's spec sheet. You still get the same 1/1.56-inch Sony IMX890 sensor that leads the OnePlus 11's camera setup, complete with a year's worth of software refinement, plus improved speed from mode switching to shutter lag, but beyond its main snapper, the 12R's photographic capabilities are more pedestrian.

The 8MP Sony IMX355 ultra-wide serves up consistent colors with the main camera in good lighting, but detail is noticeably lacking when comparing similar shots taken between the two, while the 2MP macro camera lacks the pixels, dynamic range and color depth to be anything other than novel.

OnePlus 12R camera samples

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OnePlus 12R camera sample main Citroen

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OnePlus 12R camera sample main portrait mode Brie

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Portrait mode

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OnePlus 12R camera sample ultra wide high street

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Ultra wide camera

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OnePlus 12R camera sample main high street

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1x zoom

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OnePlus 12R camera sample 2x zoom high street

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2x zoom

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OnePlus 12R camera sample 5x zoom high street

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5x zoom

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OnePlus 12R camera sample 20x zoom high street

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20x zoom

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OnePlus 12R camera sample main jumper sleeve

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Main camera

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OnePlus 12R camera sample macro jumper sleeve

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Macro camera

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OnePlus 12R camera sample main glass

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Main camera

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OnePlus 12R camera sample macro glass

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Macro camera

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OnePlus 12R camera sample main garden

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Ultra wide camera

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OnePlus 12R camera sample ultra wide garden

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Macro camera

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OnePlus 12R camera sample main low light moon

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Low light

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OnePlus 12R camera sample main Night mode garden

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Night mode

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OnePlus 12R camera sample main manual max ISO and shutter garden

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Low light w/ maximum ISO and shutter speed

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OnePlus 12R camera sample selfie

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Front

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OnePlus 12R camera sample selfie Portrait mode

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Front camera w/ Portrait mode

If you're serious about shooting on the 12R, all your photos should really come from the OIS-supported (optical image stabilization) main 50MP sensor. It offers enough versatility in its own right to satiate the average mobile photographer, and while there's no Hasselblad tuning to speak of – as on the brand's other premium phones – image quality is generally great; with a particular talent for HDR shooting, exemplified by the 'ProXDR' toggle in the phone's native gallery app that shows this trait off most clearly.

Along with excellent colors, detail, and dynamic range when snapping standard 12.6MP jpeg stills, you have the choice of capturing full-sensor 50MP images, as well as HDR shots in RAW, with the 12R benefitting from the same RAW HDR algorithm as found on the OnePlus 12.

One growing trend from the current era of smartphone photography that isn't as prevalent on the OnePlus 12R is AI-supported shooting, especially when it comes to editing tools. Features like generative fill are being popularized by the likes of the latest Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy smartphones, and is one such AI feature you won't find here.

  • Camera score: 3.5 / 5

OnePlus 12R review: Performance

OnePlus 12R review gaming

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC
  • Trinity Engine for CPU, RAM and ROM optimization
  • Dual vapor chamber cooling design

If you thought the branding for the various technologies in the display section of this review was a bit much, OnePlus kicks things into overdrive when it comes to talking about the phone's performance. Practically every performance-centric hardware and software optimization comes with a catchy name attached, with the 'Trinity Engine' being the umbrella brand under which they all sit.

Building on memory optimization features the company first introduced with the OnePlus 11, the Trinity Engine consists of three key parts: CPU-Vita, RAM-Vita and ROM-Vita, which collectively work to keep the 12R feeling fast and fluid long into your time with it. This is primarily achieved by throttling for heat management and battery longevity, prioritizing memory allocation for more frequently used apps, and on-the-fly defragmentation of storage to keep files accessible; all in the pursuit of peace of mind for users looking for a worthwhile long-term smartphone purchase.

Running on the same chipset as the OnePlus 11 – paired with the latest UFS 4.0 storage (on the 256GB model, at least) and LPDDR5X RAM for greater speed and power efficiency – you'd expect comparable flagship performance, and in artificial benchmarking tests, you'd be right. In fact, the OnePlus 12R feels as fast and as fluid to use as any current flagship, including more cutting-edge Snapdragon 8 Gen 3-powered phones. The performance shortfall likely won't be felt for at least a year or two, which is to say this phone is comfortable with whatever you throw at it, right now.

Gaming on Genshin Impact with default (medium) graphical settings and a bump up to a 60fps frame rate cap proved zero issue for the 12R for extended periods and seldom were frames dropped. The caveat to that is that despite a new 'Cryo-Velocity' dual vapor chamber cooling system – offering a reported three-times-larger vapor chamber area compared to the OnePlus 11 – heat build-up was more noticeable during intensive tasks than expected; never to a concerning degree, but still.

There are some great user-accessible performance tools worth digging into too. Live Lock is perfect for pinning apps that you want the system to leave resources available for – ideal for downloading system updates for Genshin while doing other things. Gaming Tools let you customize graphical settings, manage notifications and performance allowances, and even toggle improved HDR visuals.

There's also the fact that OnePlus (and Oppo and Realme) phones don't run in a high performance state out of the box. While the 12R feels perfectly tightly wound for responsive everyday use, dive into the phone's power menu and you'll find a toggle for 'high performance mode.' It's a little bonus that you'll likely never need, but additional grunt on tap is never to be sniffed at.

  • Performance score: 4 / 5

OnePlus 12R review: Battery

OnePlus 12R review USB

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Largest capacity battery in a OnePlus phone ever
  • Up to 100W SuperVOOC wired charging
  • Rated for only 20% capacity degradation after 1,600 cycles

Along with the screen, the battery is arguably one of the OnePlus 12R's greatest strengths. Around the same physical size as the OnePlus 11's battery, the company has managed to up the capacity to a whopping 5,500mAh – making this the largest power cell in a OnePlus phone ever.

Even without the latest-generation Qualcomm chipset, that larger capacity helps deliver the best battery life we've tested in a OnePlus phone, clocking in at around eight hours of screen-on time per charge, equivalent to two days of light to average use on a single charge. It's not quite iPhone 15 series longevity, but matches some of the best Android phones on the market, beating out mainstream rivals like the Pixel 8 series, handily.

Not only that, in most markets save for the US (where it peaks at 80W), the OnePlus 12R comes with rapid 100W fast charging, which OnePlus claims means you can hit 100% charge after only 26 minutes, In testing, the review sample used here reached 92% in the same time, fully charging at the 30-minute mark exactly; making this one of the faster-charging phones out there right now.

Being built for long-term use seems to be a key theme of the OnePlus 12R, with the company promising a four-year or 1,600-cycle on the battery, after which they claim longevity will equate to around 80% of the out-of-box performance. For comparison, Apple officially states that its iPhones reach this same 80% capacity threshold after just 500 cycles.

The only real fly in the ointment here is the reduced peak 80W charging speed in the US (a trait found on other OnePlus phones too) and the absence of any form of wireless charging.

  • Battery score: 4.5 / 5

Should you buy the OnePlus 12R?

Buy it if...

You like media and gaming
The combination of display, performance, and battery life make this a superb phone for high-fidelity gaming or enjoying HDR content for hours on end.

You like curved-edge smartphones
The latest iPhones, Samsung Galaxy phones and, as it currently looks like, the next batch of Pixels have all adopted straight sided designs with flat screens. The OnePlus 12R shirks this design trend and places elegant curves first.

You want an Android phone with great battery performance
One of the longest-lasting Android phones on the market also packs in a battery that's built to charge quickly and last years upon years of recharge cycles with minimal degradation. Great for travelers, gamers, and power users.

Don't buy it if...

You want a killer camera
That main 50MP Sony IMX890 sensor is a real joy to use and highlights the strides OnePlus has made in its camera tuning over the years, but as the 12R packs three cameras on the back, you have to consider the whole packages and those other sensors don't pull their weight.

You need the best water resistance or wireless charging
Most flagships come packing IP68-certified dust and water ingress protection, the 12R falls short of the mark when it comes to withstanding the wet stuff by comparison, and that slim body may look good but leaves no room for wireless charging.

OnePlus 12R review: Also consider

Even though it's a great device, there are issues with the OnePlus 12R, so you might want to consider one of the following alternatives.

OnePlus 11
Similar specs and the same software update expiration date, but the previous year's OnePlus 11 boasts a superior camera with Hasselblad tuning to boot.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE
The last of Samsung's Galaxy S23 series is smaller than the 12R and doesn't pack the same degree of grunt, but it offers affordable access to a premium Samsung experience and is one of the few phones that comes to market around the same asking price as the 12R.

How I tested the OnePlus 12R

OnePlus 12R review camera closeup alt

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Review test period: three weeks
  • Testing included: everyday use including web browsing, social media, photography, video calling, gaming, streaming video, music playback
  • Tools used: Geekbench 6, Geekbench ML, GFXBench, native Android stats, OnePlus 100W SuperVOOC charger

Having received both the OnePlus 12 and 12R a week ahead of the OnePlus 12 series' launch, I got straight to using the 12R (check out our OnePlus 12 review if you're curious about the company's new flagship), adding my own Google account and OnePlus account before using the device as my main phone for the duration of the review period.

Usage included streaming video, snapping stills and video with the phone's various cameras, and toying with the ProXDR display's abilities with both compatible content and gaming.

Publicly available, industry standard benchmarking apps were used to meter the CPU, GPU, and AI performance of the OnePlus 12R, and while we don't always publish the results, we keep them on file for comment and comparison with other devices we've tested. Battery life was tested by recording screen-on time each day across a single charge from 100% to 0%, based on normal everyday use, while the in-box charger was used to recharge the phone, with the charge checked at intervals to assess the rate of replenishment.

The cameras were used in a myriad of conditions to test their versatility, with comparisons between sensors and the cameras of other phones as part of the testing process.

Having extensively reviewed numerous smartphones, including a myriad of OnePlus phones during my 12 years of journalistic experience, I felt confident in putting the OnePlus 12R through its paces and evaluating its abilities in a fair and informed manner, based on the market, its target audience, pricing, and the competition.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed February 2024

OnePlus 12 review: the coolest phone you can buy, if you dare
8:00 am | February 2, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Android Computers Gadgets Phones | Tags: | Comments: Off

OnePlus 12: Two-minute review

The OnePlus 12 is cool, there is no doubt about it. It looks gorgeous, and OnePlus has somehow managed to set itself apart from the slew of slabs that clutter store shelves with one of the sweetest color options I’ve ever seen on a phone, along with a design that is uncompromising and polished. 

Just like the coolest people, the OnePlus 12 is fun and flashy and hides its weaknesses where you can’t see them. It’s the best player in a scoring position, but it can’t play every role on the field. 

The OnePlus 12 tries to play the smartphone game as the so-called ‘flagship killer,’ which is a phone that costs much less than the best Samsung Galaxy or best Apple iPhone, but still gives you the best features of those more popular handsets. 

In many respects, it’s victorious, especially when you compare the OnePlus 12 to competitor phones that actually cost the same. If the OnePlus 12 is almost good enough to take on the Galaxy S24 Ultra, it’s more than enough to challenge the Galaxy S24, which is a bit more expensive. If the Pixel 8 Pro has a tough new competitor, the Pixel 8, at the same price, is no competition at all for the OnePlus 12.

OnePlus 12 showing TechRadar.com on web browser

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The OnePlus 12 has amazing performance, good enough to go toe-to-toe with the latest iPhone 15 Pro in games and some productivity tasks. It has cameras that produce excellent images; in some cases these photos are more compelling than the Galaxy S24 Ultra and our other best camera phones. 

In other words, if you go for the OnePlus 12 instead of that other phone you were considering, you won’t feel like you’re missing out. You get top-level performance, amazing photography, and battery life that lasts for days. You also get some cool features you can’t find elsewhere, like super-fast charging, and even an IR blaster that can change the channel on your TV. 

For the price, the OnePlus 12 is a stellar phone that exceeds expectations. If that makes you a little suspicious, you’re right to raise an eyebrow. What’s missing are some of the same aspects OnePlus has omitted before, but now these features may be more important than ever. 

For one thing, the OnePlus 12 isn’t as durable as the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra or the iPhone 15 Pro, not even close. Between the iPhone 15 Pro’s titanium frame and the new Gorilla Armor glass on the Galaxy Ultra, OnePlus won’t stand up to abuse like its rivals.

OnePlus 12 up close showing camera lenses and color

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

What’s worse, OnePlus has once again skipped IP68 certification, which would ensure its phones could be submerged underwater. OnePlus says you can use the phone in the rain, and it even built the screen to account for water droplets. It just didn’t go as far as making the phone truly water resistant, which is a shame considering every iPhone, Pixel, and Galaxy S phone can take a dip. It’s hard to recommend any smartphone that doesn’t have this bare minimum level of durability. 

The biggest OnePlus omission compared to its rivals won’t be felt for years, but it may be the most important in the long run. Samsung and Google have promised to support the latest Galaxy S24 and Pixel 8 families, respectively, for seven years of Android OS and security updates. OnePlus has no advertised promise, and in the past, it has delivered three years or less, which is now far behind the best Android phones. 

Then there are more esoteric questions about OnePlus ownership. How will you afford this phone if you can’t pay for it monthly with your carrier contract? OnePlus has great deals and financing, but that may not be enough for some buyers. 

Where will you get it fixed when it breaks? You can call OnePlus, but with an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy phone, you can just walk into a store and get your phone fixed on the same day. Hopefully, that never matters, but when it happens to you, you’re going to be unhappy. 

I’m happy to root for an underdog, and there’s a lot to love in the new OnePlus 12. If you like these OnePlus priorities, I have no problem recommending this phone to you, but I can’t recommend it to everybody. For that, I’d trade performance for more durability, and maybe get the phone through testing at one US carrier, at least. But OnePlus isn’t trying to go mainstream, and that’s another thing that makes it the coolest smartphone you can buy. 

OnePlus 12 review: Price and availability

  • Costs $799.99 / £849 (around AU$1,215) but nobody will pay that much
  • OnePlus will offer $100 minimum for any trade for the life of the phone
  • Not available with any major carrier for a contract deal

The OnePlus 12 will list for $799.99 / £849 (around AU$1,215), but just like it does for the OnePlus Open (my favorite foldable tablet phone), OnePlus will offer a deal for the life of the OnePlus 12 promising at least $100 for any trade-in of any phone. You can trade a broken rotary phone, they don’t care, they just want to knock $100 or more off the price without advertising it that low. It’s weird but take the discount. 

In other words, the OnePlus 12 is effectively a $699 phone in the US, which puts it in the same price range as the Pixel 8, the Galaxy S24 (with a similar trade-in offer), and $100 less than the base model iPhone 15

Comparing the OnePlus 12 to those phones is almost laughable. The OnePlus 12 has a display that is as large as the Galaxy S24 Ultra, except the OnePlus is more sharp and can reach a brighter peak in outdoor light. It has a larger battery than the expensive iPhone 15 Pro Max, a full 35% larger than the Galaxy S24. 

OnePlus 12 from the side

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

Of course, even those cheaper phones all have IP68 water resistance certification, as well as five years (iPhone 15) or seven years (Pixel 8 and Galaxy S24) of software updates, which could make those devices more valuable in two years when you want to sell them and upgrade. 

Compared to the big, mighty flagship phones, here in the US, the OnePlus 12 is $600 less than the Galaxy S24 Ultra and $500 less than the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Even compared to the top-of-the-line, you still get a bigger, sharper, and brighter display on the OnePlus 12, as well as a larger battery than any competitor. That battery charges much faster, too. 

Is it worth saving money and buying a OnePlus 12 instead? Absolutely, if you promise to be very, very careful with your new phone. There won’t be as many cases available as there are for Galaxy and iPhone, but you might want a case anyway, so you don’t crack that silky, smooth finish. 

  • Value score:  5 / 5

OnePlus 12 review: Specs

OnePlus 12 from bottom showing curves and USB C port

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The OnePlus 12 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, just like the Samsung Galaxy S24, but it isn’t overclocked like the Samsung “for Galaxy” option. In testing, including benchmark apps, the OnePlus 12 performed very well against the Galaxy phones and the latest iPhone 15 Pro models, even beating the iPhone on some tests. The results were always very close, which means the OnePlus may not be the top-performing phone you can buy, but the differences are more slight than ever before. 

Where the OnePlus wins in specs is in charging and battery size. It packs a 5,400 mAh cell, which is actually two 2,700 mAh cells, thanks to OnePlus / Oppo SuperVOOC charging. That means you can charge at an effective 80W (max in the US), or up to 50W wireless with a AirVOOC charger.

OnePlus 12 review: Design

OnePlus 12 from 3/4 angle in green

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Unique green color with cool stripes and satin finish
  • Even the black has a unique, sparkly look
  • Seriously, maybe the coolest smartphone design ever

At a time when Apple and Samsung seem to be trying to undo smartphone design, OnePlus boldly embraces curves, swoops, and outstanding color options with the OnePlus 12. My review unit is thankfully the Flowy Emerald color I adored at the preview I saw last year, but even the Silky Black has a unique, glittery finish that makes it sparkle unlike any other staid black option I’ve seen on the market. 

The Galaxy S24 is a slab of a phone, no matter which you choose. The Samsung Galaxy has lost all of its curves and lines. The OnePlus 12, on the other hand, is gently curved on every edge. The lines are inviting, not just unobtrusive. The camera hump flows gracefully into the edge of the phone, and the touches of color and polished glass are playful and clever. 

The OnePlus 12 retains the mute switch, and OnePlus fans would revolt if they lost it. I still find the switch more useful than I find the Action Button on my iPhone 15 Pro Max, but what I really want is a camera shutter button. Especially on a phone with true Hasselblad branding, how about it, OnePlus? Maybe for the lucky number OnePlus 13?

OnePlus 12 logo up close macro shot

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The OnePlus 12 is a chonky beast and I’m not gonna complain about it. It’s thicker than any current iPhone 15 or Galaxy S24 phone, even the big ones, but it packs a much larger battery inside, and that pays off with longer battery life. I’ve been begging for years for phone makers to just add some thickness so the phone can last longer. OnePlus listened. Thank you! It turns out we were both right, and it’s worth the trade. 

With its larger display, the OnePlus 12 is actually less dense than the competition, so it’s lighter than the Galaxy S24 Ultra, which is close in size. It still feels substantial and thick, though the curved edges make it comfortable to hold.

I still can’t forgive the lack of IP68 support, and to put this into proper context, Samsung has made water resistance a standard feature on every Galaxy S phone (but one) since the Galaxy S5, and we’re up to the Galaxy S24 this year. Shipping a phone without IP68 certification is like selling a car without a backup camera. Maybe you can drive safely without that feature but would you want to? Similarly, most people prefer the peace of mind of knowing that if you drop your phone in the toilet, you haven’t ruined your baby.

  • Design score:  4.5 / 5

OnePlus 12 review: Display

OnePlus 12 home screen in emerald green

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Incredibly bright display can reach dangerous levels
  • More sharp than the iPhone 15 Pro Max
  • Bigger than the Galaxy S24 Ultra, but curved so it looks smaller

I’m not sure what OnePlus did to reach peak brightness levels up to 4,500 nits on the OnePlus 12, but maybe it should stop? OnePlus reps told us that levels over 3,000 nits can be harmful to your eyes over a long period, and the OnePlus 12 can’t actually blast you with that much light all at once for a long period. It’s more likely to simply light up small portions of the screen that need the boost. Still, when we cross the threshold for potential eye damage, maybe we’ve gone too far. 

In practice, I couldn’t actually hurt myself with the OnePlus 12, and not for lack of trying. It’s simply been cold and cloudy since I picked up my review unit almost a month ago. Blame Connecticut’s terrible winter weather. In any case, I’ve been very impressed with the speed and responsiveness of the display, especially playing games. This screen is totally lag-free in every way. 

The OnePlus 12 display is apparently fractionally larger than the Galaxy S24 Ultra, and it is technically sharper, but the curve at the edges makes it seem a bit smaller. I prefer the look of the OnePlus 12 curves, but I can’t argue that the amazing new Gorilla Armor glass on the Ultra makes it much better at reflecting glare from my studio lights or bright sun. The OnePlus can push more brightness, but the Ultra doesn’t need to get so bright. It’s a fair trade. 

  • Display score:  5 / 5

OnePlus 12 review: Software

OnePlus 12 showing multi window with maps and TechRadar.com on the browser

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • A light hand with Android, and good organization tools
  • No junky AI features that nobody asked for
  • Oxygen OS is still Android, but not as complex as Samsung’s woeful One UI

OnePlus uses Oxygen OS from parent Oppo with Android 14, and it keeps a light touch with Android, as opposed to Samsung’s Galaxy S24, which is loaded with extra features and apps. The OnePlus 12 is still an Android phone, but it keeps some of the great home screen organization tools that Google abandoned a few years back, so it’s a bit easier to use and organize than even a so-called ‘vanilla’ Android Pixel 8. 

That doesn’t mean the OnePlus 12 doesn’t fall victim to familiar Android traps. There are multiple “Photo” apps on this phone, including the OnePlus photo gallery and Google Photos. It’s confusing, but you don’t get two web browsers or two App Stores. OnePlus has a OnePlus Store, but it only tried to sell me some new earbuds, not the phone I was already holding in my hand (hi, Samsung). 

The big problem with Oxygen OS and OnePlus developing its own system comes down the road when it’s time for an Android update. OnePlus has delivered three years of updates for its best phones, but Samsung and Google are now promising seven years of updates, while Apple has always given its iPhone models five years of new software.

OnePlus 12 settings quick panel

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I don’t see a specific software promise on the OnePlus online store, but even three years won’t be enough anymore. I doubt OnePlus can sustain its own OS development on older models. That takes serious developer commitment that only the biggest companies like Google, Samsung, and Apple can offer. This will remain an ongoing problem for OnePlus, I believe. 

The OnePlus 12 conspicuously skips new AI features that are plaguing other Android phones. The Galaxy S24 launched with a mixed bag of AI on board, including very useful translation tools and somewhat useless writing style adaptation tools. New AI features for editing images fall in between. On the OnePlus 12, you’ll find none of these, for better and for worse. 

I suspect that Google will bring more AI to Android in general, which will include OnePlus, but it won’t port everything. Samsung got some features that were previously Pixel-exclusive, like Magic Editor in the Samsung Gallery app. The OnePlus 12 did not benefit from Google’s largesse. 

For now, it’s almost a relief that the OnePlus 12 is unburdened with AI features that nobody requested. Apple isn’t stuffing AI into the iPhone 15 yet, so it doesn’t feel like OnePlus is behind. That could change quickly, especially if Samsung makes some quick advances with AI and Bixby and gives its phones an entirely AI interface. 

  • Software score:  3 / 5

Google Pixel 8 Pro review: Cameras

OnePlus 12 cameras

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Quirky camera system takes some practice but delivers results
  • Excellent selfies and solid portraits
  • Unique color tuning works when it works

If you want a camera that creates really cool-looking photos, especially photos of people, the OnePlus 12 was made for you. If you’re looking for extreme accuracy in color and detail, look elsewhere. The partnership between OnePlus and Hasselblad continues into its fourth generation, and once again the cameras produce images that are certainly unique, though perhaps not what most people expect or desire from a smartphone camera.

OnePlus says that Hasselblad has tuned its camera processing (ie. it hasn’t helped create the lenses) to imitate classic Hasselblad portrait lenses. I’ve never shot with a Hasselblad camera, but in my shootout against the best camera phones you can buy, including the latest Galaxy S24 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max, the OnePlus held its own, and in selfie photos and portraits, the results were often better from OnePlus.

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Macro shot of the camera lenses on the OnePlus 12

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Macro shot of the camera lenses on the OnePlus 12

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Macro shot of the camera lenses on the OnePlus 12

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Macro shot of the camera lenses on the OnePlus 12

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Macro shot of the camera lenses on the OnePlus 12

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This is not a versatile camera setup. The zoom lens works great to add bokeh and dramatic blur to portraits, but this phone cannot shoot long distance like the Galaxy S24 Ultra. It also had more trouble focusing close up, which made for macros that looked blurry and some food shots that needed to be retaken. 

If you love street photography or candid snapshots, the OnePlus 12 will be totally satisfying, and it has plenty of shooting modes, Pro settings, and filter options to create great images. This isn’t the top camera on our list, but it deserves respect for a unique look that is often cooler than the laboratory-accurate photos you’ll get from the iPhone and Galaxy. 

OnePlus 12 camera app

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OnePlus 12 camera samples

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  • Camera score:  3 / 5

OnePlus 12 review: Performance

OnePlus 12 showing Alito's Odyssey and gaming controls panel

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Excellent performance in gaming and productivity
  • No AI features to bog down the latest Snapdragon

The OnePlus 12 offered superb performance for every task I threw its way. With a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset on board, it almost matches the Galaxy S24 Ultra, which itself beat Apple’s latest iPhone 15 Pro in performance tests. The Galaxy is overclocked slightly, so the OnePlus 12 is technically a bit slower, but you won’t notice the difference unless you only care about benchmark scores. In real-world gaming, photo editing, and navigating the interface, the OnePlus 12 moves as swiftly as I could hope. 

The Galaxy S24 Ultra squanders its performance on AI features that lag, because they require more processing or need to talk to a cloud server. Using an S24 Ultra actually feels a bit slower because you’re constantly waiting for the phone to do its new thing. The OnePlus 12 skips those new things. There’s no Circle to Search, or Magic Editor in the Photos app. I don’t miss those features, not yet, so I appreciate the performance benefit. 

OnePlus brags a lot about its cooling prowess and its Oxygen OS ability to keep your CPU, your RAM, and your storage running smoothly over a longer period. Frankly, I’m skeptical of any claims from a company that doesn’t know the difference between ROM and storage, as indicated on the OnePlus 12 website. I had no performance issue, but I’m taking OnePlus claims with a hefty grain of salt.  

  • Performance score:  4 / 5

OnePlus 12 review: Battery life

OnePlus 12 USB C port

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • A larger battery means longer battery life, who knew?
  • Better battery than the Galaxy S24 Ultra, even
  • Super fast charging, wired or wireless

The OnePlus 12 has more battery inside than the Galaxy S24 Ultra or the iPhone 15 Pro Max, so it’s no surprise that it also offers more battery life. I had no trouble using the OnePlus 12 for two days of normal usage, without too much camera time. Even with intense use, playing games, and shooting tons of photos, the OnePlus lasted all day and into the night. 

There’s technically 5,400 mAh of battery in the OnePlus 12, but that’s divided into two battery cells. This technology lets OnePlus charge both batteries simultaneously, which doubles the charging speed. With the included 80W charger, you can easily charge the OnePlus to 100% full in just under 30 minutes. A Galaxy S24 Ultra can only charge to 70% in that time, and an iPhone 15 Pro Max will top 40% in half an hour of charging. 

OnePlus sent me a special 50W wireless charger that works with the OnePlus 12. In only 15 minutes my phone was 27% charged, which is more juice than the iPhone 15 Pro Max can sip on a wired charger in the same time. Wireless charging for the OnePlus 12 is faster than most other wired competitors. 

The Galaxy S24 Ultra charges at 45W on a wired charger, but wired charging is more efficient than wireless charging, so it still charges faster when plugged in than the OnePlus 12 charges wirelessly.

  • Battery score:  5 / 5

Should you buy the OnePlus 12

OnePlus 12 from angle showing glittery finish

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

Buy it if...

You want the coolest phone around
The OnePlus 12 has what no other flagship smartphone has – coolness. It looks cool, it runs cool, and it isn’t bogged down with uncool software and AI features.

Battery life and fast charging are important
The OnePlus 12 charges faster than any iPhone or Galaxy, whether you use the included (yay!) charger or OnePlus’s fast wireless option. The battery life also beats all competition.

You’ve only got a few bucks and want the most bang
The OnePlus 12 competes with the most expensive phones, so compared to any phone in its price range, it's easily the best phone you can buy. 

Don't buy it if...

You want a phone that does everything
The OnePlus 12 does a lot of things right, but it skips a lot of features, like new AI tools from Google and the desktop environment, DeX, that Samsung gives you on most Galaxy S phones.

You want a phone that will last a long time
The OnePlus 12 isn’t as durable as the competition, and it isn’t IP68 water resistant. Even worse, OnePlus doesn’t offer as many years of Android updates and security patches. 

You need versatile cameras for every situation
The OnePlus 12 takes great portrait shots, but if you need a zoom lens to catch your kid on the field or the stage, or you want to take macro close-ups, this camera doesn’t do everything right. 

OnePlus 12 review: Also consider

The OnePlus 12 is an amazing phone for the price, but other phones in the same price range might be a better option, depending on what you do with your phone. 

Samsung Galaxy S24
The Samsung Galaxy S24 is smaller than the OnePlus 12, with a smaller battery, but it’s even more powerful, with tons more features thanks to Samsung’s One UI and Google AI.

Apple iPhone 15
The iPhone 15 doesn’t have the most powerful iPhone cameras or performance, but it offers Apple’s elegant and fun iOS 17 in a sleek device that will stay up to date for five years to come.

How I tested the OnePlus 12

I tested the OnePlus 12 as my primary device for work and personal use, loading numerous apps and services including my email accounts, Slack and Google Meet accounts, and more. I took photos, played games, and used the OnePlus 12 for navigation and music playback in the car. 

I used the OnePlus 12 with a variety of accessories, including Bluetooth earbuds like the Google Pixel Buds Pro and OnePlus Buds Pro 2, as well as the Ray Ban Meta smart glasses. I used the OnePlus 12 with my car stereo, and with an Xbox controller while playing games. 

I tested the splash resistance of the OnePlus 12 by spraying it with water from my kitchen sink, but I did not submerge the phone. 

For battery and benchmark testing, I worked with Future Labs to coordinate testing. I also tested the device’s charging on my own using a wireless AirVOOC charger supplied by OnePlus. 

Read more about how we test

First reviewed February 2024

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro review: a gaming phone for everyone
2:01 pm | January 18, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Asus Phones Computers Gadgets Phones | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro: Two-minute review

Last year’s Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate was arguably the best gaming phone on the market, but there was a considerable price to be paid for such gaming excellence. Quite literally, thanks to its hefty price, but also because it wasn’t the easiest phone to live with day to day.

The Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro is still very expensive, and it’s still a superb gaming phone. However, a radical rethink from Asus means that it’s now also an accomplished flagship smartphone in its own right.

Its refreshed design is much more discreet than before, with less of the gamer bling that would embarrass anyone not in thrall to Twitch game streamer culture. Crucially, the ROG Phone 8 Pro has also gained a couple of quality-of-life features that we’ve come to take for granted in similarly priced non-gaming phones, including an IP68 rating and wireless charging.

Another welcome flagship addition is a decent camera system, which is capable of capturing bright, sharp images in a range of scenarios. It’s not a photography front-runner, but it’s plenty good enough for daily snapping, which is arguably a first in a gaming phone.

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro from the back

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Slimmer bezels mean you’ll have to put up with a punch-hole selfie cam this time around, and there’s no dual front-facing speaker set-up. Meanwhile, the ROG Phone 8 Pro can’t quite offer the same level of sustained high-end performance as the Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro - not without the clip-on AeroActive Cooler X fan, at least, which only ships with the top model.

Even so, this remains a brilliantly balanced gaming phone. Performance is some of the fastest we’ve seen in any handset, while the ROG Phone 8 Pro’s 6.78-inch 165Hz AMOLED display is big, fast, and color-accurate.

You still get those little extras that make for a superior gaming experience, too, including flexible Air Trigger shoulder buttons and a secondary USB-C port along one of the longer edges.

All in all, raw performance aside, it’s difficult to say that Asus has made a flat out better gaming phone in the ROG Phone 8 Pro. What it’s made is a very good gaming phone that won’t let you down when you’re doing non-gaming things, which is arguably a way more valuable advance.

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro review: Price and availability

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro screen

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • From $1,099 / £949 (approximately AU$1,640)
  • Out now

The Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro is out now, as it started shipping on January 16, 2024.

While the ROG Phone 8 Pro comes in three variants, they’re so fundamentally similar that we’ll be treating them as a single entity for the purposes of this review. Pricing starts at $1,099 / £949 (approximately AU$1,640) for the plain Asus ROG Phone 8, which comes with 12GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and classic RGB lighting.

Moving up to the ROG Phone 8 Pro gives you 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and switches to subtle LED lighting on the back for a price of $1,199 / £1,099 (around AU$1,790).

The top model – which is the one we’ve been sent, and available exclusively through the Asus official online store – is the ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition. This comes with 24GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, LED lighting, and an external AeroActive Cooler X fan bundled into the box at a cost of $1,499 / £1,299 (about AU$2,240).

  • Value score: 4 / 5

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro review: Specs

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro review: Design

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro from the back

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Brand new less ‘gamery’ design
  • Air Trigger shoulder buttons
  • Two USB-C ports

Asus has gone back to the drawing board with the ROG Phone 8 Pro design, having seemingly come to a radical realization: most people don’t actually want a gaming phone in their pocket. Even among those who do, most would rather it didn’t look like a prototype based on an 11-year-old’s sketch.

Simply by looking and feeling relatively normal and understated, the ROG Phone 8 Pro comes as something of a revelation. It’s still large by anyone’s standards, and at 8.9mm thick and 225g it’s precisely as thick as the Red Magic 9 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, and scarcely any lighter.

But its subtly rounded edges, sober color tones, and the nice shimmery finish of the Pro model, make it look and feel more like a phone you’d be comfortable whipping out among polite non-gaming company. The cringey ‘Dare to win’ decals are still there on the back, but they’re rendered in small, dark writing this time around.

Choose the Pro model and you won’t even get RGB lighting. In its place comes a small area on the back cover embedded with 341 subtle white LEDs, which Asus calls AniMe Vision. These are turned off by default, and in this state, you wouldn’t even know they were there. When they’re switched on, they offer heads-up information on the phone’s time, charging status, incoming notifications, and a few other things that can be set in the Armoury Crate app.

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro from the back

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Another design feature that makes the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro a more appealing mainstream proposition is the inclusion of IP68 certification. Finally, we have a gaming phone that won’t quit if you drop it in a body of water.

In order to hit that rating, Asus has done away with the huge AeroActive Portal from the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, which exposed the internals of the phone when the AeroActive Cooler was attached. You still get an AeroActive Cooler X fan accessory with the top model of the ROG Phone 8 Pro, but it contents itself with drawing heat away from the rear surface. There’s a 2.6x larger cooling area and a slightly faster fan speed to compensate.

What might prove more disappointing to some gamers is the loss of two mappable physical trigger buttons with the AeroActive Cooler X. You now only get two, rather than four.

The other point to note is that, in radically reducing the size of the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro’s bezels, it’s almost 10mm shorter than its predecessor. That’s great for portability, but it does mean that the display is now interrupted by a punch-hole selfie cam.

Personally, I’d rather that than the Red Magic 9 Pro’s woeful in-display selfie cam solution. But if you’re making a gaming phone, there’s an even stronger case to be made for leaving a slight forehead and chin in place.

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro from the side

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That would also facilitate proper front-firing speakers, which are missing here. There’s one in the earpiece, but the other is on the bottom edge of the phone, which can be blocked when you hold it in landscape. These speakers still sound nice and clear, and they get plenty loud, but they’re shown up for separation and clarity by a teeny-tiny iPhone 15 Pro.

Two vital gaming design elements have been retained, however. One is a set of Air Triggers, which are dedicated capacitive buttons on the top edge of the phone. These can be mapped to controls in many games, which comes in very handy in competitive shooters and MOBAs. They can even be split into two for a total of four physical controls.

The other gamer-friendly feature to have been retained is a secondary USB-C port on the longer edge of the phone opposite the Air Triggers. This makes it much more pleasant to plug and play while you’re playing landscape games. And yes, there is still a 3.5mm headphone jack for that vital low-latency personal audio.

  • Design score: 4.5 / 5

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro review: Display

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro screen

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  • 6.78-inch LTPO OLED
  • Super-fast refresh rates up to 165Hz
  • FHD+ resolution

Asus has fitted the ROG Phone 8 Pro with a new 6.78-inch E6 OLED display. It’s not particularly sharp at 1080 x 2400 (FHD+), especially when compared to other $1,199 / £1,099 Android phones, but I honestly have no complaints.

It gets extremely bright, with a claimed peak of 2,500 nits in HDR scenarios and 1,600 nits in high brightness mode, which will initiate when heading outdoors on a sunny day with auto-brightness on.

With auto-brightness switched off, I measured a maximum brightness of around 775 nits, which is excellent. The Red Magic 9 Pro, by way of comparison, could only hit 445 nits.

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro screen

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I also found the ROG Phone 8 Pro’s display to be extremely color-accurate and natural-looking, at least once I switched away from the default Optimal setting and flipped it to Normal mode.

This is an LTPO panel, so it can scale from 1 to 120Hz in regular usage depending on the use case, meaning it’s nice and energy efficient when flitting between non-gaming tasks.

Head into gaming mode, however, and it can ramp up even further to 165Hz. There aren’t many games that will step north of 120Hz, of course, but the ROG Phone 8 Pro is ready for any that do.

  • Display score: 4.5 / 5

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro review: Cameras

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro camera close-up

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  • Massively improved 1/1.56-inch main camera with gimbal
  • 13-inch ultra-wide with freeform lens
  • Finally, a dedicated 32MP 3x telephoto

Giving your gaming phone a chic design is all very well, but if you want the masses to take it seriously as a genuine flagship contender, you’d better get your camera game in shape. Thankfully, Asus has done just that.

It starts with a vastly improved main camera, fitted with the same 1/1.56-inch Sony IMX890 sensor as the OnePlus 11. This is then paired with a new generation of the impressive 6-axis Hybrid Gimbal stabilizer found in the Asus Zenfone 10, which keeps things way steadier than your standard optical image stabilization (OIS) system.

This combination of components, together with Asus’s contrasty image science, produces well exposed and detailed shots in a range of lighting conditions. Night shots are particularly crisp here, with that larger sensor and gimbal system holding things steady during the necessary extended shutter times.

It’s not just night shots that the gimbal helps with either, with video footage also kept super-steady. This is illustrated by a neat UI element: so long as you keep the dot within the circle, you can be sure the gimbal is doing its thing.

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro camera samples

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An Asus ROG Phone 8 camera sample

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An Asus ROG Phone 8 camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Hyper Steady mode goes even further, cropping in and using electronic image stabilization (EIS) to further even things out during particularly active shoots. You can shoot at up to 8K and 24fps or 4K at 60fps here, though Hyper Steady mode is only available at 1080p/30fps.

The photographic improvements continue with the provision of a 32MP 3x telephoto camera. Previous ROG Phone models haven’t bothered, supplying a pointless macro camera instead. Zoomed shots taken with this dedicated component turned out to be crisp, clear, and tonally similar to the main sensor.

If there’s a weak point it’s the ROG Phone 8 Pro’s 13MP ultra-wide camera, which notably falls off in tone, detail, and dynamic range compared to the other two. Still, Asus has supplied a freeform lens, which reduces distortion towards the edges.

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro camera UI

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Asus’s AI image processing didn’t always call the scene right in my experience. This is illustrated in one selection of shots of an old train carriage, which the main sensor and the telephoto seemed to overexpose, while the ultra-wide went in the opposite direction.

The 32MP selfie camera, too, lacks a certain degree of subject sharpness, with slightly smudgy skin tones. It does have the distinction of being capable of a wider ‘0.7x’ view in addition to a cropped 1x view, however, so you have some flexibility with group and landscape selfies.

To be clear, the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro doesn’t rival the iPhone 15 Pro, Google Pixel 8 Pro, or Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra in the camera department. Which, given its pricing, you might well expect it to do. However, given the calamitous history of gaming phone cameras, this represents a huge step forwards into respectability.

  • Camera score: 4 / 5

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro review: Performance

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro playing a game

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Packs the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip
  • 12GB, 18GB, or 24GB of LPDDR5X RAM
  • 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of UFS 4.0 storage

As smart as the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro looks in its new suit, we’re still all here for the performance. Thankfully, it’s an absolute barnstormer, with only the barest of wrinkles to speak off.

Let’s start with the specs, because they’re all cutting edge. You get Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, which is going to be the go-to chip for 2024.

This is accompanied by up to 24GB of LPDDR5X RAM in the top Pro Edition, which we’d ordinarily dismiss as overkill. In a pricey gaming phone such as this, though, it seems far more reasonable.

With such components at its disposal, Asus has turned the performance tap on full. My Geekbench 6 CPU benchmark tests reveal a multi-core score of around 7,200, which broadly matched side-by-side test results from the Red Magic 9 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro.

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro screen

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Across the suite of GFXBench GPU-focused benchmarks, the ROG Phone 8 Pro trounced the Red Magic 9 Pro in the on-screen tests, and matches it in off-screen tests. You can likely put that disparity down to the Red Magic 9 Pro’s higher screen resolution.

Where the Red Magic 9 Pro wins back some ground – and it’s not an insignificant victory – is in sustained performance. The 3DMark Solar Bar Stress Test runs 20-minute-long loops of a high-intensity graphical workout, mimicking sustained high-end 3D gameplay. The ROG Phone 8 Pro scored 92.2%, reflecting the fact that its performance remained at a fairly consistent rate from the first loop to the last.

That’s much better than most normal flagship phones, which tend to score in the 70 to 80% region. However, it falls short of the Red Magic 9 Pro, which scored a nigh-on perfect 99.7%. The reason for this is almost certainly the ROG Phone’s lack of an integrated fan cooling system. Sure enough, with the AeroActive Cooler X attached to the back of the ROG, it scored 98.3% in the same test.

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro with AeroActive Cooler X fan attached

(Image credit: TechRadar)

I should also note that the ROG Phone 8 Pro had gotten extremely toasty by the end of this 20-minute GPU workout, to the point where it was uncomfortable to hold. It’s something to bear in mind if you’re someone who plays graphically advanced games for extended periods, though no current games will push a phone quite so hard.

In summary, then, the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro is one of the very strongest performers on the market. It falls slightly short of the Red Magic 9 Pro when it comes to sustained gaming performance, unless you purchase the top model and fit the AeroActive Cooler X fan, but it’ll still blow through any modern game you can throw at it on the very highest graphical settings with contemptuous ease.

There’s ample space for storing games and media files, too, with a choice of 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of storage depending on the model.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro review: Software

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro screen

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Android 14 with ROG UI
  • Armour Crate app to fine-tune gaming settings
  • At least two OS updates, four years of security updates

Asus’s custom UI is one of the less tinkered-with on the Android market. Compared to Nubia’s Red Magic OS 9.0, it’s absolute bliss to deal with, and I encountered none of the set-up woes or bugs that we encountered with the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate.

The joy starts right at the outset, where Asus gives you the choice of the stock Android or Asus Optimized quick settings panel and a more Classic (i.e. stock) home screen layout. I dearly wish more (read: all) Android manufacturers did this.

Essentially, ROG UI is the same as Zen UI on the Zenfone 10. There are a few cosmetic tweaks to the Google formula, some ugly ‘gamer’ wallpapers, and some added pre-installed apps like Gallery and the Link to Windows app. There are also a couple of third-party apps pre-installed in Instagram and Facebook, but it’s nothing egregious.

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro screen

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The main nod to gamers here is the Armoury Crate app, which is where you can go to tweak performance modes, Air Trigger configurations, and to load up shared custom macros on a game-by-game basis.

You can also bring up an Armoury Crate UI over your current game by swiping down from the top corner. This is most useful when you want to map those Air Trigger controls.

Asus promises at least two major OS updates, bringing the ROG Phone 8 Pro up to Android 16, and four years of security updates. It’s not among the leading pack of premium Android phones in this department, which is shame give how future-proof the hardware is.

  • Software score: 4 / 5

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro review: Battery

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro from the side

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • 5,500mAh battery is smaller than before
  • All day usage, but not the strongest gaming phone stamina
  • 65W wired and 15W wireless charging

In order to pull off this sleeker design, Asus has taken the slightly concerning step of downsizing the ROG Phone 8 Pro’s battery. While the ROG Phone 7 had a 6,000mAh battery, the new model only has a 5,500mAh cell.

Improvements to the efficiency of the chip and the display technology obviously go some way to offsetting this, but even Asus has admitted to a slight drop in stamina compared to its previous model. That’s not the ideal direction of travel for a gaming phone, where a ‘higher, further, faster, baby’ motto tends to apply.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro offers a 6,500mAh battery, which is significantly larger.

Sure enough, I was unable to get quite the same practical battery life out of the ROG Phone 8 Pro as its significantly cheaper rival. In an average full day of moderate usage with about four hours of screen-on time, I would be left with a little shy of 50% left in the tank. That’s not a bad result by any means, but it falls way short of the Red Magic 9 Pro on 65%.

Given the lower capacity of its battery, the 65W charger Asus bundles in yields similar results to the Red Magic 9 Pro. Charging from empty got me to 100% in around 40 minutes.

The ROG Phone 8 Pro also has an ace up its sleeve in the form of 15W wireless charging, which is something that previous gaming phones have omitted. It’s another feature that makes this the most easy gaming phone to live with.

  • Battery score: 4.5 / 5

Should you buy the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro?

Buy it if...

You want a gaming phone that won’t embarrass you
The ROG Phone 8 Pro is an excellent gaming performer, but it’s not too garish or cheap-looking like other gaming phones – both in terms of hardware and software.

You want a gaming phone with all the creature comforts
Gaming phones tend to omit wireless charging, a full IP rating, and a telephoto camera. The Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro is the first one that doesn’t.

You want a flagship phone with excellent sustained performance
There are fast flagship phones out there, but none can keep up that performance over a long period like the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro.

Don't buy it if...

You want an affordable gaming phone
The Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro is not cheap, and you can get a broadly competitive gaming phone experience elsewhere for a fraction of the price.

You like your phones slim and light
Despite its refined design, the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro is still a chunky device.

You want a phone for the long haul
Asus is only promising two years of major Android updates with the ROG Phone 8 Pro.

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro review: Also consider

The Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro is a unique gaming phone that will serve you well in everyday life, but it’s not your only option. These phones can tick some of the same boxes, and a few others besides.

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro
The Red Magic 9 Pro is the ROG Phone 8 Pro’s major gaming phone rival. It tops the ROG Phone on sustained performance and stamina and is around half the price, though its design, software and camera fall way short.

Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate
The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate isn’t as fast as the ROG Phone 8 Pro, and it’s much less pleasant to look at and use day to day. However, it’s more gaming-focused, and should now be cheaper too.

iPhone 15 Pro Max
For around the same price as the top ROG Phone 8 Pro model, Apple’s super-sized phone offers competitive gaming performance (though not over sustained periods) and a better all-round smartphone experience, as well as access to a new breed of console games.

How I tested the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro

  • Review test period = 1 month
  • Testing included = Everyday usage, including web browsing, social media, photography, video calling, gaming, streaming video, music playback
  • Tools used = Geekbench 6, GFXBench, 3DMark, native Android stats, bundled Asus 65W power adapter

I was sent the top Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition model by a PR representative, at which point I commenced using the phone on a daily basis over a two-week period, followed by a further two weeks of intermittent usage.

For at least a week of that time, the 8 Pro was my everyday phone. For the rest of the time, I swapped in another active SIM and continued to use the phone for benchmark tests, gaming, photos, and general browsing.

I’m a freelance journalist who got his start writing about mobile games in the pre-smartphone era. I was around to cover the arrival of the iPhone and the App Store, as well as Android, and their seismic effect on the games industry. I now write about consumer tech, games, and culture for a number of top websites.

First reviewed January 2024

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