The theme for phones this year so far has been redundancy. Most phone manufacturers are taking what worked last year and improving it with the latest parts and specifications. This is exactly what Xiaomi did with the Xiaomi 12 Pro, a phone that is a frequent but still meaningful upgrade over the Mi 11.
Xiaomi 12 Pro is the definition of a solid phone. It has a sharp display, best-in-class speakers, and a great camera setup. However, it’s big, doesn’t work in the US, and MIUI would be a huge mod to come from any other Android phone.
- Brand: xiaomi
- storage: 128 GB / 256 GB
- CPU: Snapdragon 8 first generation
- memory: 8 GB / 12 GB
- The operating system: MIUI 13 is based on Android 12
- battery: 4600 mAh
- Ports: USB-C . port
- Screen (size, resolution): 6.73 inch 3200x1440p LTPO OLED, 120Hz
- Camera (front): 32MP
- Cameras (rear): 50MP wide, 50MP telephoto, 50MP ultrawide
- price: $999
- Delivery: 5G, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6 / 6E
- Dimensions: 163.60 mm x 74.60 mm x 8.16 mm
- Colors: Pink, gray and blue
- Weight: 206 grams
- Feels great in the hand, the best matte finish glass on any phone
- 120W incredibly fast charging
- Some of the harshest night mode on any phone
- Beautiful OLED screen made by Samsung
- It’s a bulky phone that discourages one-handed use
- Not working in the US
- 2x magnification doesn’t fit in a flagship anymore
- MIUI will not be to everyone’s taste
Design, hardware, what’s in the box
The Xiaomi 12 Pro is remarkably similar to most of the flagships on the market right now. It has a curved, bezel-less, punch-hole display with a massive camera module and a fingerprint scanner. Nothing really special here, except for the rear glass. I’m not sure what Xiaomi did differently here, but the matte texture on the glass is great. It feels soft and adds a bit of grip without showing signs of wear.
The display on the 12 Pro is Samsung’s 6.73-inch OLED display with a resolution of 1440 pixels. This year Xiaomi chose to use the LTPO panel, which means that it has a dynamic refresh rate that can reach 10Hz and 120Hz. The screen also supports Dolby Vision, which is not very common on Android devices. Dolby Vision is the most advanced HDR standard, but most apps on Android don’t support it, and it chooses to support the more widely accepted and used HDR10 standard. In apps like Netflix, though, Dolby Vision movies and TV shows will look better on the Xiaomi 12 Pro than on almost any other Android phone, including the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Xiaomi has also included a quad speaker system with two sets of identical settings. At the top and bottom are the woofer and woofer, with the same woofers on both parts. This system produces great sound quality and is very loud. These are the best speakers I’ve heard on a smartphone, much better than the previous champion, the Galaxy Z Fold3.
In the box, Xiaomi includes a charger, case, USB-A to USB-C cable, the usual manuals, and the like. The charger supports 120W fast charging for Xiaomi 12 Pro. The included case isn’t high quality, just a cheap TPU case to put it in there so you can get something a little better.
Software, performance and battery
The Xiaomi 12 Pro comes with MIUI 13 based on Android 12. If you’ve used MIUI in the past two or three years, you won’t really notice anything different. It’s the same interface with the same features, only based on Android 12, which is not a bad thing. It’s still smooth, fast, and highly customizable.
If you are familiar with most Android phones that have a similar user interface to Android storage with minor color and design tweaks, this may not be appropriate. Xiaomi is very strict with the changes it is making to Android. It may sound more like iOS than Android to some, but at its core, it’s the Android you know and love. All the default apps are Google apps and everything works the same, but a lot of system stuff might be a bit malfunctioning.
One of the unfortunate parts of it is the lack of materials to support it. Supposed to be wanted on devices running Android 12 soon, but it’s missing at the time of review. It’s not a big deal, but most of the other major Android devices running Android 12 are already adopting it.
Update support is never more important, and Xiaomi hasn’t been the quickest to roll it out. This time next year, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is likely to get Android 13. Xiaomi promises 3 Android OS updates and 4 years of security updates, which is better than nothing even if it’s slow. It’s just shy of Samsung’s four Android OS updates and matches Google’s three OS updates.
The performance on the Xiaomi 12 Pro is very good. It runs on Snapdragon 8 Gen, so you know it’s going to be fast and hot. The phone becomes interesting while you’re running it on performance-intensive tasks like gaming, but it generally stays cool. If you’re worried about a Samsung or OnePlus-style app throttling, not do. I’ve run some tests, and nothing like that seems to happen. There are a few different performance modes, and you can switch between them depending on what you’re doing with the phone. I kept my phone in balanced mode, because I didn’t really notice a difference in any apps.
As for the battery, the 4600mAh battery powers the phone all day long without any issues. I would easily get a full day of use, but not much more than that. I was getting between four and six hours of screens on time. The standby mode on the phone is also pretty good, barely draining 5% overnight. This is better than most of the Android phones I’ve used recently.
Cameras have always been the focus of Xiaomi phones, and the Xiaomi 12 Pro is no exception. The rear camera setup includes a 50MP Sony IMX 707 main sensor, a 50MP Samsung JN1 ultrawide sensor, and a 50MP 2x Samsung JN1 telephoto sensor. The selfie camera is a 32MP sensor. No fancy games going on here with super zoom or anything like that; It’s just a tried and true camera setup with some HD cameras.
The main sensor is one of the largest in the 2022 flagship to date. It’s physically larger than the ISOCELL HM3 on the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the 50MP sensor on the Galaxy S22. The result of this size? Really clear images with lots of detail, day or night. You’ve got some of the best and most detailed night mode photos I’ve ever seen from a Xiaomi 12 Pro. It provides pretty much true-to-life colors, although sometimes the white balance has an issue. It’s not big, but some photos will end with a funky gradient.
Both the telephoto and ultrawide cameras are fine, and there’s not much to report here. I don’t have any real complaints or comments, but I don’t have any compliments. The sensors themselves are quite small, at 1/2.76″. I think a phone in this price range needs more than 2x zoom on the telephoto lens. The sensors on the Galaxy S22 and S22+ are better than these.
The selfie camera is better, but it’s not as good as the S22+’s. In apps like Snapchat or TikTok, where the selfie camera is important, that’s okay. The images appear to be processed with HDR and provide good detail, but the images also appear to be blurred from any slight movement. Video appears to be around 15fps in good lighting and overexposed while recording video in apps like TikTok, which fits the course on Android phones, even S22s and Pixel do.
Should you buy it?
YesIf you are outside the United States. The phone retails for $999, but that price will vary by region. This puts it in the same category as the Galaxy S22+, and between the two, I’d rather have the Xiaomi 12 Pro. It has a top-notch camera, 120W ultra-fast charging, a crisp screen, great speakers, and good software (really, you’ll get used to it). The build quality is great and it’s hard to think of anything that’s necessarily wrong with the phone.
At the end of the day, it’s all about whether you like Xiaomi’s software. MIUI stands out compared to the competition. It’s smooth, fast, efficient and looks good, but it lacks some of the third-party support that skins like Pixel UI and One UI have. Whether this phone is really for you is down to how much you value the more general Android experience and how much you use social media apps that demand good selfies.
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