The OnePlus 12 has officially been announced, at least in China, and it matches almost everything that has been leaked previously. No, there is no wood grain model or case, but there is indeed a marble-like green variant on the table. Truth be told, there isn’t anything surprising or new with the OnePlus 12, at least in terms of overall design. It looks exactly like the OnePlus 11 before it, which ties in with the company’s less aggressive branding strategy. That’s not to say they’re exactly the same, of course, and OnePlus is trying to focus on the design story of the phone this time around. In particular, it’s homing in on how the OnePlus 12’s camera was inspired by the same creative and manufacturing processes used to make luxury timepieces as if these two product categories shared a common ancestor.
To be fair, manufacturers have thankfully started to pay as much attention to materials, colors, and aesthetics as watch-makers do for upscale timepieces. Of course, most of the conventions and practices don’t cleanly transfer between these two worlds, but there are definitely lessons that can be learned from both sides of the fence. Coincidentally, the OnePlus 12 does have one part that lends itself perfectly to that same watch-making expertise thanks to its circular camera bump that does look like a watch to some extent.
OnePlus spares no effort to illustrate how the OnePlus 12’s camera design takes a few pages from luxury watches, like using the same high-end machined aluminum casing for the camera island as well as the plate on top of the cameras. It also uses special laser engraving for the markings on the outer area of the plate, while utilizing a polishing process with micron-level precision for the semi-circular island to achieve an elegant appearance. This is then topped by a circular Gorilla Glass cover, completing the picture of a watch-like camera.
Of course, that story will probably be lost on most buyers who haven’t heard of it, but the OnePlus 12 is undoubtedly quite stunning even without that backstory. Unfortunately, the phone’s color options are rather unremarkable, except for the “emerald green” colorway that looks more like a slab of marble than a gem. The phone does have a classic appeal to it, with its curved back and equally curved screen, though that might also be just a kind way of saying “old”.
The OnePlus 12 is one of the first to carry the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, positioning it as a premium 2024 flagship. Despite appearances, it only has three cameras, a stacked 50MP main shooter, a 64MP telephoto camera with 3x lossless zoom, and a 48MP ultrawide with a 14mm equivalent lens. The other unnamed circle is pretty much a 3D ToF (Time-of-Flight) depth camera. Although now officially available in China, international markets will have to wait until next month to get their hands on the OnePlus 12 and its watch-inspired camera design.