The Xiaomi 12 was thought to be a direct rival to Samsung Galaxy S22. But it isn’t. It’s actually a message from the fast-growing Chinese company, to its stalwart Korean competitor: “This is how you make small-form flagship phones.”
This handset, which is part of the 2022 family’s flagship phones, was launched alongside the Xiaomi 12 Pro. It is the first major device by Xiaomi to abandon its old mantra that bigger is better. The 12 is a smaller smartphone than the Pro, with fewer specs and a more compact form. With a large screen, powerful camera array, and fast charging, the Pro does all of the heavy lifting.
The Xiaomi 12 is similar to the Samsung Galaxy S22 in that it is small-form and offers good specs in a phone you don’t have to reach for. Both phones cost the same amount.
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However, Xiaomi is able to beat Samsung in several key areas. The Xiaomi 12’s curved-edge display makes it more comfortable to hold. It also charges much faster than the S22 and has a larger battery.
It’s not perfect, however. There were some issues that we encountered during our testing.
There are a number of fun camera modes that Xiaomi offers, such as Sky editing, which allows you to digitally replace the sky on photos. Or a macro option for taking close-up shots. It does not have a telephoto lens to zoom in, which is a key feature. The camera app only offers digital zoom, or ‘cropping’ zoom. This means that the phone won’t be able to take close-up photos.
Xiaomi is one of the few brands that offer zoom cameras only on premium phones. It’s a shame, however. The problem is not intentional. There are other issues with the phone that don’t seem to be features.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset is the first. It is extremely powerful and can handle tasks that require a lot of power. However, it also has a problem. It can heat up quickly. The Xiaomi 12 warmed up quickly after playing a few games of Call of Duty: Mobile and PUBG Mobile. This was also true when the phone was first powered on or charged.
Xiaomi 12 uses Android with MIUI, the company’s proprietary software. It offers many customizations and security tools. However, there are some bugs and issues too. We found that apps often close without our input. Gesture navigation is surprisingly sensitive and the security scan done when an app is installed shows you an overlay over whatever you were doing.
These problems don’t ruin the user experience, but they can be annoying if you come up against them.
We must point out, however, that this phone is not the successor to the Xiaomi Mi 11. The Xiaomi 12 Pro was larger and had a higher-res display. However, it is quite expensive. Despite being smaller and with a lower-resolution display, the new Xiaomi is the same price as the old one. The 2021 flagship might be a better option depending on your needs.
Xiaomi has shifted its flagship series away form its mid-range roots to a premium market tier. It’s produced some great phones but nothing that truly wows us like its amazing value-for-money midrange offerings such as the Xiaomi 9 and Mi 10.
The Xiaomi 12 is exactly the same. It’s a decent phone with many useful features and it can compete with many similar-priced phones. It’s actually one of the most popular Android phones, and definitely one of the top Xiaomi phones. But you get what you pay for.
Xiaomi 12 Price and availability
The Xiaomi 12 is available for $749 / PS749, which amounts to approximately AU$1,320. This is if you need 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. You can upgrade it to 256GB for $849 / PlayStation849 (around AU$1,500). Power-users may prefer this option.
Americans beware: Although the price is in US dollars, Xiaomi does not sell phones in the US. This means that the handset will not be sold in the US. Since it is a well-known currency, the dollar price is probably only a guideline.
You want to know why the Xiaomi 12 is so often compared to the Samsung Galaxy S22. The Xiaomi 12 Pro costs $799 / PlayStation769 / AU$1,249 and has 128GB storage. It’s very similar in price. The Xiaomi 12 Pro is available at a starting price of PS1,099 / PlayStation1,049 (about AU$1,850).
Official pre-order dates were a joke – literally. It was April 1, April Fools’ Day before the official release of April 15.
We are very impressed with the Xiaomi 12 and its compact size.
This phone measures 152.7×69.9×8.1mm and weighs 180g. It won’t stretch your hand or cause wrist pain. It was easy to use our fingers and touch the volume and power buttons on the right edges.
Two factors are key to achieving that wonderful ‘handfeel’. The curved-edge display ensures that the device fits comfortably in your hand. The second is the smooth, textured glass at the back which is a delight for your fingers.
The rear is also a treat for eyes, at least in the purple model that we tested. You can also find gray and blue models. Instead of relying solely on photos, we recommend that you find a shop where you can actually see these phones in person.
You will have to endure a bumpy phone if it is laid flat on a desk.
The phone’s connectivity features include a USB-C port, but no 3.5mm jack. An IR Blaster lets you use your phone as a remote control for your smart TV or home features. However, compatible devices are required.
Xiaomi did not provide any IP rating for the phone. We recommend that you avoid getting your phone wet or in the tub.
The Xiaomi 12’s diagonal width is 6.28 inches. This screen is smaller than what we are used to seeing from the company.
FHD+ is 1080×2400. This resolution is standard for most Android phones. Only super-premium and super-budget handsets can achieve higher resolutions. However, it is worth noting that the resolution was better than the Mi 11 Pro.
This panel is AMOLED, which means that colors are vivid and there is a lot of contrast. It can be used indoors or outdoors to achieve a blinding brightness of 1100 nits.
The display has a 120Hz refresh rate, meaning that it refreshes 120 times per seconds. This makes gaming and scrolling social media smooth. The display also supports 68 million colors with Dolby Vision support and HDR10+. However, you won’t notice this feature if you are streaming a 90s sitcom on slow 4G.