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Tech

OnePlus' next flagship phone is the most outrageously specced handset I've ever seen

The brightest display on a smartphone, 24GB of RAM, and a 5,400mAh battery with 100W wired charging and 50W wireless charging headline the upcoming OnePlus 12.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
The OnePlus 11 in hand.

The successor to the OnePlus 11 is launching globally soon, but you can already get a sense of what's coming.

June Wan/ZDNET

OnePlus is doing that thing again; it's launching next year's flagship phone in China first, during the company's December anniversary, and will host the global unveiling a month or two later. 

Also: OnePlus' first-ever foldable makes Samsung and Google's look outdated

Last night, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau took to the stage to debut the OnePlus 12, a device that bears a strong resemblance to this year's fastest-charging Android phone (at least in the US) and is easily the most outrageously specced handset I've seen so far.

Here's a rundown of the specs:

  • Display: 6.8-inch Quad HD+ AMOLED with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Brightness: 4,500 nits peak brightness
  • Durability: Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 and IP65 dust and water repellant rating
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 (Clock CPU speed of up to 3.3GHz, paired with an Adreno 750 GPU)
  • Storage: Base of 12GB RAM (up to 24GB) with 256GB base storage (up to 1TB)
  • Camera: Rear: 50MP wide (Sony LYT-808 sensor, f/1.6), 48MP ultra-wide (f/2.2), and 64MP periscope telephoto (f/2.6), Front: 32MP (f/2.4)
  • Battery: 5,400mAh with 100W fast charging and 50W wireless charging
  • Colors: White, Black, and Green

A quick skim through the list makes it clear that this is anything but another next-gen, flagship Android phone, with the latest Qualcomm processor at the helm. Several numbers and terms jump out at me in a grandiose way. 

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First, that brightness. The 4,500 nits rating on the OnePlus 12 is insanely bright -- excessive, almost -- but should come in handy when you're navigating or taking pictures outdoors and the sunlight is beaming down intensely. By comparison, the iPhone 15 Pro Max peaks at 2,000 nits, and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra at 1,750 nits.

OnePlus 12 colors
OnePlus

RAM gets a big upgrade, too, with the highest configuration of the OnePlus 12 supporting 24GB. I had to make sure I didn't misread that when first learning about the phone. 24GB of RAM is basically "pro-grade laptop" tier, capable of managing the most graphics-intensive applications, and should cater well to power users. For more casual users, the base 12GB of RAM will be sufficient.

Some smaller but still meaningful changes include the IP65 rating (up from the last model's IP64) for improved water and dust resistance, a 5,400mAh battery (up from the 5,000mAh standard that most flagship phones field), and 100W wired and 50W wireless charging. 

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Given that North America only supports 110 and 120-volt AC power, the OnePlus will likely be capped at 80W wired charging here, which is still crazy fast. The 50W wireless charging is great to have, too, though it may require a proprietary OnePlus charging dock, much like how it was when the company introduced a similar feature with the OnePlus 8 Pro three years ago.

On paper, the OnePlus 12 looks very promising, but some questions remain going into my eventual review period. How competitively priced will the phone be? Will OnePlus tag-team with carriers again to better connect with the mainstream audience? How well does the new Sony LYT-808 sensor stack up against the industry's best? "Early 2024" is the expectation for the global launch, so until then, I'll be staring at this spec list, wondering if this may just be the next best Android phone.

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