Hands on: Xiaomi 12 Review
The Xiaomi 12 is in the middle of the Chinese manufacturers’ new flagship range, and there’s plenty to recommend about this petite handset.
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This year, Xiaomi has welcomed three devices into its flagship range: the Xiaomi 12X, the Xiaomi 12 Pro and the standard Xiaomi 12 here, which slots neatly into the middle of the trinity.
It might not have the super-high specifications of the Pro version, but does it still offer enough to be worthy of your consideration? Here are our impressions of the handset after some brief time using it ahead of its launch.
Price and Availability
The Xiaomi 12 has a starting price of $749 (~£573), which is considerably less than the Xiaomi 12 Pro at $999 (~£765). According to the manufacturer, it will arrive in the UK starting from April, with the full pricing and retail availability to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Design and Screen
The Xiaomi 12 is smaller than its Pro sibling, and while there will be many who would prefer a larger screen, it’s by no means assured that bigger is better when it comes to a smartphone. This one is manageably-sized and easier to use with one hand, so in fact it may win some admirers for these virtues.
The light purple colour of my review handset is very fetching (there are also grey or blue options), and the smooth matte finish of the rear panel makes it attractive to look at, resistant to smears, and comfortably smooth to the touch as well.
The screen is a real highlight of this phone. Measuring 6.28-inches due to its relatively diminutive size, it nonetheless has a 120Hz refresh rate, 1100 nits peak brightness, and HDR10+ support. Yes, the resolution may be a fairly standard Full HD+ (1080x2400p), but for me that’s still plenty sharp enough to enjoy videos, games, or even just your social media feed without feeling like you’re really missing out, especially thanks to the display enhancements just mentioned.
Zipping around the screens feels as smooth as you’d like, while videos also stand out due to the great contrast. I’ll be curious to see how the screen performs when I put it through more thorough lab testing using a colorometer for our full review.
The Xiaomi 12 packs a triple camera system, but the main sensor is evidently a cut above the other two secondary snappers. That wide angle sensor has a 50-megapixel resolution and an f/1.88 aperture, and from what we have seen so far it certainly looks like a promising sensor. Images seem to have a strong level of detail, can deal fairly well with mixed lighting in an indoors setting, and have a pleasingly natural look. While I’ve not yet had the chance to put it to the test in night-time settings, and I’ve not yet run it through a full gamut of tests, it looks to be a decent snapper when shooting under favourable conditions.
The ultrawide lens clocks in at 13-megapixels, and the few images that we’ve taken seem to be somewhat washed out by comparison to the main camera, with significantly less detail too. It’s good to have a bit of extra versatility in your locker, but this is unlikely to live up to the same standards as the leading lens. The final sensor is a 5-megapixel macro camera. I’ll be putting this to the test for our fill review.
Fortunately, the Xiaomi 12’s price cut does not mean that it misses out an a great chipset. For your money you’ll get the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 that’s on the Xiaomi 12 Pro and will also be found on a host of other Android flagships this year.
This high-performance silicon should guarantee the kind of muscle that you’ll need for intensive gaming (and this is also where the screen’s 480Hz touch sampling rate will come in handy), but it should also mean that just performing daily tasks on your usual favourite apps will run smoothly too. In my time with the phone, I’ve not noticed any lag or slowdown, even when playing demanding games.
It’s also been confirmed that the device will receive at least 3 Android OS updates and 4 years of security patches, which is still (lamentably) unusual for Android devices, and will be a relief if you’re looking to hold onto the phone for a few years and keep it secure and up-to-date.
The Xiaomi 12 is powered by a 4,500mAh battery. That’s a fairly large capacity for a handset this price and size, but I haven’t yet had the chance to try this out for a full day, using a variety of different apps, to really say how it will cope in the real world. So I can’t attest to its actual stamina just yet.
However, more impressive than just this capacity is its ability for fast-charging.When wired up, it supports 67W fast-charging, similar to the Oppo Find X3 Pro, to replenish its battery at eyebrow-raising speeds. Yes, it’s not as fast as the 120W rating that the Pro version proudly boasts, but it’s still impressive. On top of that, you’ll also get 50W wireless charging if you prefer to leave your handset on a Qi pad to juice itself back up.
The Xiaomi 12 packs in plenty of punch for a modestly-sized device, and while it looks to be an evident downgrade from the standards of the Pro, there’s still plenty to recommend here based on our earliest impressions, including the screen, performance, and fast-charging.
If a smaller Android phone is on your wishlist, then this one might be worth considering along with the Asus Zenfone 8. Check back to see our full verdict on this handset, coming soon.
Feast your eyes upon the list of specifications for the Xiaomi 12:‹USA RRPManufacturerScreen SizeStorage CapacityRear CameraFront CameraVideo RecordingIP ratingBatteryWirless chargingFast ChargingSize (Dimensions)WeightOperating SystemRelease DateResolutionHDRRefresh RatePortsChipsetRAMColoursXiaomi 12$749Xiaomi6.28 inches128GB50MP + 13MP + 5MP32MPYesNot Disclosed4500 mAhYesYes69.9 x 8.16 x 152.7 MM180 GAndroid 12, MIUI 1320212400 x 1080Yes120 HzUSB-CSnapdragon 8 Gen 18GBGrey, Purple, Blue›Trusted ScoreNews, competitions and exclusive offers direct to your inbox.Terms and conditions