I just came across a new Xiaomi phone in a nearby store, the budget-targeted Redmi 12 5G, and it dials back the clock to some good ‘ol days. It’s been a while since the Indian phone market got a disruptive phone.

My first phone purchase was actually the Redmi 1S all the way back in 2014. At Rs. 6,999, it was terrific and really redefined what a budget smartphone can do. Over the years, I’ve used Xiaomi phones across all price brackets. Some hits, some misses, but none could capture the segment-obliterating virtues as the Redmi 1S.

Of course, the tech has improved by leaps and bounds, but so have the prices, over time. The competition, too, has caught up. The Redmi 12 5G, however, comes closest to serving a nigh unbeatable formula. And from the buyer’s perspective, I’m all for it.

Redmi 12 5G in black
Credit: Xiaomi

Starting at Rs. 11,999, it offers some sweet  — and most importantly, practical — perks that are hard to get for that sticker price. A large 5,000mAh battery with 18W fast charging, a splash-resistant build with microSD card slot, a full-HD+  display with 90Hz refresh rate and Gorilla Glass protection, and neat looks.

It also offers 5G for that asking price, which is surprising. I’m not sure how many tier-3 Indian cities have 5G coverage at the moment, but even if your city doesn’t, you’re at least future-proof — without paying a fat premium for it.

Effectively at Rs. 10,999, this one is effortlessly cool.

There are plenty of budget phones available at this asking price, but the Redmi 5G stands out  with one huge advantage. An expansive network of support and repair outlets. So yeah, if you break a few things, you can find an authorized outlet close by to fix it. It’s a huge consideration for any shopper, and a massive edge for Xiaomi.

Rear face of Redmi 12 5G
Credit: Xiaomi 

No wonder this phone is selling well. Xiaomi says it sold its entire inventory on launch day, became a best-seller on Amazon, and raked revenue worth over Rs. 300 crores. There’s also banking and exchange offers in place, which bring the price down to Rs. 10,999. That’s pretty sweet, especially from a competitive perspective.

I won’t go as far as claiming that this phone will herald the 5G era for budget phones in India, but the competition doesn’t seem to offer anything of this calibre. So, it just might go for that moonshot title. In the meanwhile, if your budget falls in that segment, well, it’s an easy pick.

It's kinda big, though. So, if you're picking this one up for your grandpa, you might as well ask him whether he truly, really wants a bigger screen to watch 80's classics on YouTube. We’ll soon push an in-depth review of the Redmi 12 5G at Athenil and find if the phone is truly worth its salt.

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