Last year the Xiaomi unveiled the first phone with the then new Snapdragon 888. While not quite first, the company has secured an early supply of Qualcomm’s new top chipset and has unveiled two “coming soon” models with it, plus a budget option with the SD 870.
The Xiaomi 12 is smaller than its predecessors going back to the Mi 8 – the 6.28” display is a welcome departure from the 6.81” slab that was the Mi 11’s display. For those that prefer a larger display, there is the Pro model. This panel is an OLED with 120Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support and Gorilla Glass Victus.
This year Xiaomi switched away from the 108MP (1/1.33”) sensor and picked the 50MP IMX766 (1/56” with 1.0µm pixels), while keeping its OIS. Joining it are a 13MP ultrawide camera and a 5MP tele-macro.
Charging is slightly faster than last year – getting the 4,500mAh battery to 100% takes 39 minutes, while the Mi 11 needed 45 minutes to fully charge its 4,600mAh battery. Not a huge difference and the 50W wireless charging is the same.
Moving on to the Xiaomi 12 Pro, this year it will launch alongside its vanilla sibling, instead of being delayed by a few months. This one does bring a larger display, 6.73”. Compared to the 12, it has a higher resolution (1440p+ vs. 1080p+) and a better panel – an LTPO AMOLED, giving it a 1-120 Hz variable refresh rate. It’s brighter too, peaking at 1,500 nits (vs. 1,100 nits).
The camera features a triple 50MP setup. The main 50MP sensor (the first IMX707) is larger than the one in the vanilla model at 1/1.28”, but not as large as the Mi 11 Pro (1/1.12”). However, the new Pro beats both with a 50MP ultrawide camera (115º).
Then we get to the telephoto module, the 5x periscope is replaced by a 48mm lens (2x magnification), but it is backed by the larger, higher resolution 50MP sensor (up from 8MP). Both 12-series models also upgrade to a 32MP selfie camera (up from 20MP).
The 12 Pro also flaunts Xiaomi’s Surge P1 chip, which enables 120W fast charging – it can fill the 4,600 mAh battery in just 18 minutes. 50W wireless charging is also supported.
Before we look at the competition, let’s briefly examine the Xiaomi 12X. A quick comparison reveals that it is a cheaper Xiaomi 12 that uses the Snapdragon 870 chipset instead (it also loses the 50W wireless charging). How much cheaper? We only have the prices for China as Xiaomi is yet to detail its plans for a global rollout.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro starts at CNY4,700, the vanilla Xiaomi 12 at CNY3,700 and the 12X at CNY3,200 (all with the same 8/128 GB base storage).
What else can you buy for that kind of money? The Motorola Edge X30, the first Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 powered phone, starts at CNY 3,200 (8/128 GB). The 6.7” 144Hz OLED display has a higher refresh rate than the 12 Pro, though it is not as bright or sharp (it has 1080p+ resolution). The camera and battery aren’t quite on the level of the 12 Pro with a 50MP+50MP+2MP camera setup (which lacks the telephoto module) and a larger 5,000 mAh battery that needs 35 minutes to charge (at 68W).
Still, a more fair comparison would be the Edge X30 versus the Xiaomi 12 or 12X. Then the screen is a plus (if you don’t mind the size) and so is that higher-res ultrawide camera. Then there’s the Motorola Edge S30, which starts at just CNY 2,000 (6/128 GB). Unlike the 12X it is powered by the faster Snapdragon 888+. Also, its 144Hz display is an LCD, whether that is an advantage or downside is up to you. The camera trio on the back has a 108MP+13MP+2MP configuration.
Other Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 phones are coming soon too, like the Realme GT 2 Pro, which will be unveiled in early January. Its Samsung-made LTPO AMOLED already got an A+ from DisplayMate – it is a 6.7” 1440p+ panel with 1-120 Hz refresh rate and 1,000 Hz touch sampling. Realme is already bragging about the widest ultrawide camera on a phone yet – a 150º lens paired. The main camera will have a 50MP sensor (the same IMX766 with OIS) and by the sound of it, there will be a tele-macro module instead of a proper tele module. Pricing is TBA, however.
A OnePlus 10 Pro is in the works, as is the first foldable from Honor, both of which will use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 as well, but their announcements are further off, so we don’t have many official details on them.
So, how do you like the Xiaomi 12 series – which one is your favorite or do you think there are better flagships on the way?
If you’re having trouble voting at the embedded poll above, try casting your vote here. Below is an infographic comparing the three models: