We’ve already seen some terrific, very refined flagships with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and OPPO Find X5 Pro in the first three months of 2022. Both phones include a 120Hz LTPO gen 2 OLED display, fantastic cameras, and Android’s most powerful chipset (well, some Galaxy S22 Ultras do, anyway). They are, however, much over the four-digit barrier in price. Xiaomi, as usual, has come up with a superior value proposition: the Xiaomi 12 Pro comes with practically all of the features I just outlined, plus a better speaker system, for a price that should be about $999.
However, it’s not all good: the Xiaomi 12 Pro has the most uninspiring look of the three phones, and its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor runs hotter than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor in the other two. In other words, there are sacrifices, and if you choose the Xiaomi 12 Pro over the other two phones, which are currently more refined, you will have to compromise.
The elephant in the room, though, is that, despite Xiaomi’s silence, everyone knows the Xiaomi 12 Pro isn’t the series’ actual leader. We know a Xiaomi 12 Ultra is on the road — and who knows, maybe it’ll be even better than the Xiaomi 11 Ultra. The Xiaomi 12 Pro is now a good, iterative flagship that is a jack of all trades but a master of none.
Xiaomi 12 Pro: Price and Availability
First, it was sold in China. Global: This version is part of a series that also includes the Mi12 and the Mi12X. It will be available in Europe and other parts of Asia, as well as in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. The exact dates have not been given out. Prices are in US dollars, which local markets will convert to the equivalent prices in their own markets.
There is a Xiaomi 12 Pro that starts at $999 for the version with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. People don’t know how much it will cost to get 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage yet.
Starts at $749 for the version with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. There will be 8GB+256GB and 12GB+256GB versions, but the prices haven’t been announced yet.
The Xiaomi 12X starts at $649 for the version with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, but you can get it for less. There will also be an 8GB+256GB version with a price that hasn’t been announced yet.
Xiaomi 12 Pro: Hardware and Design
- 6.7-inch, 120Hz LTPO 2 OLED screen: It’s lighter and thinner than other recent Android flagships from Samsung and OPPO, and it looks great.
- Speaker grilles on the top and bottom of the phone make the sound louder and more full than other phones.
- It has great main and wide-angle cameras, but its zoom lens isn’t up to snuff.
So what can you expect when it comes to the Xiaomi 12 Pro? It’s a glass and metal slab with Gorilla Glass Victus on the front that curves to blend in with an aluminum frame. When you look at the screen, it has an LTPO 2.0 OLED panel. This means that the refresh rate can go from 1Hz to 120Hz. People who buy this phone will find a camera in the upper left corner of the back, as well as a processor called Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.
Even though I may have seemed a little bored in the last paragraph, this isn’t necessarily an insult to the company that makes it. Google has been using the same curvy glass and metal sandwich, thin bezels with a hole in them for three years now. The Xiaomi 12 Pro is very well made, with clicky buttons and a smooth one-piece feel in the hand that makes it easy to hold. Xiaomi Mi 11 or Mi 10 Pro, on the other hand, could also be said to be the same.
There’s also nothing flashy about the design of the Xiaomi 12 Pro, like the OPPO Find X5 Pro’s camera bump or the Huawei P50 Pro’s dual circular cameras. The Xiaomi 11 Ultra has a huge camera island with a screen, but the Xiaomi 12 Pro doesn’t. In the dark gray color that I have, the phone looks clean and simple, but it also looks a little dull. Another color that looks good in a picture is purple or blue.
The back glass is called Gorilla Glass Victus, and it has a soft frosted coating like the one on the Vivo X70 Pro Plus, which has the same thing. People can feel and see small patterns on the back of the shirt. They can also touch them. Because of this coating, the phone can look almost black or blue at different times of the day. There’s also a Xiaomi logo on the left bottom, but it only shows up when it gets a little bit of light on it.
With a thickness of 8.16mm and a weight of 205g, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is a little lighter and thinner than the last few high-end phones I’ve used. It’s a lot easier to carry and use with one hand than the Galaxy S22 Ultra. I prefer the OPPO Find X5 Pro’s in-hand feel. You can tell that ceramic has a lot of weight to it that makes it feel like it’s worth more money. I think Xiaomi knows this because it has used ceramic in some of its most high-end phones in the past, like the Ultra or Mix phones.
If you buy this phone, you’ll get a 4,600 mAh battery that can be charged at 120W speeds. It comes with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM and either 256GB or 512GB of storage. My unit has the latter. Everything is up to date: UFS 3.1 and LPDDR5. Read also; Increasing Digital Payments in Africa for a Cashless World
The Xiaomi 12 Pro’s display panel is a 12-bit, 6.8-inch LTPO 2.0 OLED panel from Samsung Display that can be set to refresh at a rate of 1Hz to 120Hz. It has a resolution of 1440 x 3200 and can reach a brightness of 1,500 nits. The color output can be changed, and the phone’s software lets the screen lock itself to 60Hz, 90Hz, or 120Hz. It can even play Dolby Atmos. Display marketing terms and specs are all over this one, except for the fact that it can’t be folded.
Every year, it’s easy (and a little lazy) to say that Samsung’s Galaxy flagship phones have the best smartphone screens. I challenge anyone to look at the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s screen next to the Galaxy S22 Ultra screen and say where Samsung’s display actually wins (especially since we as humans perceive brightness logarithmically and not in a linear fashion). Not that Xiaomi’s display is better, but it seems to be just as good as “the best display.”
Xiaomi lets you set the display’s color calibration, as well as set the refresh rate to 60Hz, 90Hz, or 120Hz. These are great for people who like to change things. Also, it’s great that you can lock your phone to 90Hz, which saves battery life while still making animations that aren’t too smooth.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro has a four-speaker system that was tuned by Harmon Kardon. It has two woofers and two tweeters, and they’re placed in a speaker grill at the top and bottom of the phone. This is better than phones that put one of the speakers in the sliver of an earpiece, which isn’t very good.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro speakers don’t get as loud as the speakers in the iPhone 13 Pro Max or the Galaxy S22 Ultra. However, Xiaomi’s audio is a little more full and has more bass.
Last but not least, the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s haptics are the best on any phone right now. They’re even better than the best phones on the market right now, though. Because this phone gives me strong, precise feedback when I hit the keys, I love typing on this one so much. When I unlock the phone with my fingerprint, I feel like I’m getting a good buzz that I don’t get from any other Android phone.
Xiaomi 12 Pro: Cameras
The Xiaomi 12 Pro has a triple 50MP lens array that covers the usual wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto focal lengths. The telephoto lens, on the other hand, only has a 2x optical zoom, which isn’t very good in 2022. This isn’t the first phone in this series to have a 5x optical zoom. Even the Xiaomi 10 Pro could do that.
Sony’s new IMX707 sensor is used in the main camera, and it has a sensor size of 1/1.28-inches, which is a lot bigger than the sensor in the other camera. In the Xiaomi 11 Ultra, there isn’t a sensor as big as this one. It is bigger than the sensors in the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, OPPO Find X5 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, and Google Pixel 6 Pro. Having a large image sensor means that the camera naturally takes in a lot of light. This means that the picture looks better. Because of pixel-binning technology, the 50MP sensor only outputs a 12.5MP picture. This means that the phone almost never has to use night mode except in very dark places. Read more; Pixel 6 Pro Review: Imperfectly Perfect
The photos above were all taken by the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s main camera, and they look great. Dynamic range is great in every shot, there’s natural bokeh that separates subjects in the foreground from the background, and all of the neon lights are well-exposed and not blown out in all of them. However, the Xiaomi 12 Pro tends to overdo colors and contrast. This could be good or bad, depending on how you like your phones to look. Before and after shots show how the Galaxy S22 Ultra looks next to them.
Xiaomi 12 Pro: Software
- Over Android 12, MIUI 13 has a lot of fun animations that are fast and fun.
- A lot of the basic Android 12 features aren’t there, like being able to force rotate.
- The settings panel is too complicated.
As long as you don’t mind a few things about MIUI, you’ll be fine with the Xiaomi 12 Pro. It runs MIUI 13 over Android 12, and the whole thing works well. I’ll start with the good: I find MIUI’s animations to be very smooth and fluid, a lot more than One UI, which means I can really feel the 120Hz when I’m scrolling and closing apps on my phone. At this point, I’d say that the animation fluidity of ColorOS and MIUI is about as good as it gets right now. People can now use one hand mode even when they’re using gesture navigation. This has been a problem with MIUI for the last two years (before, you could only do so with button navigation). All in all, MIUI is a good-looking UI that doesn’t bother me like FunTouch OS used to.
Now let’s point out that MIUI has a very complicated settings panel that hides some basic settings. For example, the phone comes with button navigation out of the box. If you want to switch to gestures, you have to go to a separate setting page called “Full Screen Display.” if you want to set Always-On Display, there is also a separate setting page for that. In the past, when I’ve switched phones, I’ve always had to spend more time setting them up than I did with phones from Samsung or OPPO.
There aren’t many basic Android features here, like force rotate (the ability to rotate an app even if the orientation of your phone is set to stay the same). This is a feature I use a lot because I like to scroll through my phone while I’m lying down on the bed. I need to lock the main orientation so that the phone doesn’t rotate on its own. If I had to choose, I’d rather use ColorOS or OneUI.
Xiaomi 12 Pro: Overall Performance, Battery Life and Charging
- It has a long battery life that can last a whole day with a lot of heavy use.
- The phone can get very hot when you play a lot of games. In fact, it couldn’t last a 20-minute stress test on 3D Mark when other phones could.
- A good screen and a good speaker make for a good movie watching machine.
So, if the Xiaomi 12 Pro had a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and either 8GB or 12GB of RAM, it would run like a champ, right? Isn’t that right? While the phone moves quickly for most everyday tasks, the temperature here is a problem. When Xiaomi advertises its “large heat dissipation graphite sheets,” it doesn’t seem to work very well.
I first noticed that the phone was getting really hot while I was playing a long game. I installed 3D Mark and ran the “Wild Life Stress Test,” and the Xiaomi 12 Pro couldn’t finish the 20-minute test because it overheated and shut down the app. There were a few hours between the first time I tried and when I tried again, the Xiaomi 12 Pro couldn’t finish the test. I got another message that said the phone had overheated (the first screenshot below). The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and OPPO Find X5 Pro didn’t have any trouble with the 20-minute test.
If you don’t put the Xiaomi 12 Pro through a lot of stress (Geekbench and 3D Mark’s shorter Wild Life test), the results are impressive. The Galaxy S22 Ultra isn’t even close to that. In normal use, I didn’t see any lag or stuttering, so the overheating problem only comes up if you really push the phone’s GPU. The mobile gamer might not like this, but if you don’t play too many games, it should not be a big deal. There were no problems when I took the phone out for an afternoon of shooting in the sun, and I didn’t have any problems, either
Who should buy the Xiaomi 12 Pro?
For a new high-end phone, the Xiaomi 12 Pro has a lot of what you’d want: a great screen; a top-of-the-line processor; and a very good main camera, among other things. If you want to play a lot of mobile games, the overheating problem could be a problem for you.