Xiaomi is launching more high-end phones in India than it used to. Last year, the Mi 11 Ultra, its flagship smartphone, received positive reviews in the country. This year, the company launched the Xiaomi 12 Pro with a competitive price tag of ₹62,999. That makes the phone the third-cheapest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 phone in India (after the Motorola Edge 30 Pro and the Realme GT 2 Pro). Is that enough to make it a compelling buy? Let us find out in our Xiaomi 12 Pro review.
But first, let us have a look at the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s features. It has a lovely design, an amazing 120Hz OLED screen, the powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, three 50MP cameras on the rear, and a whopping 120W fast charging technology. It is cheaper than the iQOO 9 Pro and all the Samsung Galaxy S22 series phones.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro looks elegant and sophisticated in a way Xiaomi phones have never been earlier. The company seems to have finally found its groove in designing high-end phones. The purple review unit that we received looks particularly chic.
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Xiaomi now has a common design language for its 2022 high-end phones. The Xiaomi 12 Pro looks similar to the Xiaomi 12, Xiaomi 12X, and the Xiaomi 12 Lite. If you’re wondering about the other Xiaomi 12 series phones, they haven’t been launched in India yet.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro uses an aluminium frame that’s sandwiched between two layers of Gorilla Glass Victus. The phone is really well-built. At the front, the all-screen design has extremely thin bezels and curved edges. The screen has an under-display optical fingerprint reader. There is also a centre-aligned punch-hole-shaped cutout to accommodate the selfie camera.
At the rear, the glass panel has a frosted finish with sparkles that shine when sunlight hits the phone at specific angles. While the frosted finish doesn’t save the phone from being slippery, it reduces fingerprints. The buttons are well-positioned and clicky.
The triple-camera setup on the rear is put together on a metal frame that looks really well-designed. Somehow Xiaomi has managed to differentiate the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s design in a sea of other triple-camera phones.
The phone has two loudspeakers, one on the top and the other on the bottom. The speakers are tuned by Samsung-owned audio firm Harman Kardon. The loudspeaker grilles are shaped like a soundwave. A neat touch by Xiaomi. Those speakers are placed on alternate sides of the phone, so it’s hard to cover them both while holding the phone in the landscape mode. But, you’ll always be covering one of those speakers. Intelligent design or not? You decide.
Overall, I really dig the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s chic design and tight build. The phone feels good in the hand, thanks to its rounded design and heft. It doesn’t offer enough grip, though, and I would suggest getting a high-quality case for the phone. It also lacks an IP67/68 rating, and a proper IP rating would’ve made the phone an ace in terms of design.
The 6.78-inch 120Hz OLED display is among the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s best features. It is bright, colourful, sharp, and immersive. It may not be as bright as the Galaxy S22+, but the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s screen is bright enough for almost everyone and all lighting conditions. Reading on the display was never a problem, even in Hyderabad’s extremely sunny conditions.
The colours are a bit dialled up in the default ‘Vivid’ colour mode, but you can choose from the Saturated, Original Colour, and Advanced modes to see which colour mode you like the best. You can also play around with the colour temperature wheel or the presets settings.
You can also choose from Original, P3, and sRGB colour gamuts, and then play around a bit more with Red, Green, and Blue sliders to adjust the colours as per your preferences. That’s not it. The Xiaomi 12 Pro offers sliders to customise Hue, Saturate, Saturation Value, Contrast, and Gamma.
The screen feels smooth, thanks to its 120Hz refresh rate. You can also choose 60Hz, 90Hz, or Automatic modes. I chose the Automatic mode while reviewing the phone. The refresh rate is usually 120Hz whenever the finger is touching the screen or scrolling is happening. A few seconds later, the refresh rate drops down to as low as 10Hz when nothing is moving on the screen. This saves some battery power.
Everything from text to graphics to videos looks amazing on the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s screen. Watching HDR content on YouTube is a treat. It supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ content playback. I wasn’t able to install Netflix on the phone, maybe because it was not a retail unit.
The loud and clear stereo speakers elevate the overall multimedia consumption experience. Despite two woofers, two tweeters, and Harman Kardon tuning, the phone is not the best when it comes to loudspeaker quality. It is still in the good category, but the Galaxy S22+ (Review) sounded louder and clearer in comparison.
The phone lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack, like almost every other high-end smartphone being sold today, and it’s not coming back, ever. So, you either have to settle for Bluetooth earphones or use a USB Type-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro is the first phone to feature my dream team of cameras. It has three 50MP sensors: a 50MP wide camera with OIS and dual-pixel autofocus, a 50MP telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom, and a 50MP ultrawide camera. Although I would’ve liked the telephoto camera to feature 2.5x or 3x optical zoom and OIS. Still, it’s great to see Xiaomi reach for consistency.
Primary Camera – Daylight
The 50MP primary camera on the Xiaomi 12 Pro uses a gigantic 1/1.28-inch sensor. It captures really good images and videos in daylight conditions. The colours have the right bit of pop. There are plenty of details and the noise is low. The dynamic range is wide, too. It is among the best cameras in daylight conditions. Its image quality is on par with 2022’s best smartphone cameras.
Telephoto Camera – Daylight
The telephoto camera performs admirably, too. The details are enough and there are no issues related to autofocus. The dynamic range is wide, similar to the primary camera. However, the colours can be slightly warm sometimes. In my opinion, just 2x zoom doesn’t cut it anymore in the high-end segment. In comparison, the Galaxy S22 has a 3x zoom lens.
Ultrawide Camera – Daylight
The ultrawide camera is among the good ones I’ve used. It captures sharp and detailed images. The colour science is largely similar to the primary camera but the dynamic range is slightly narrower in comparison. It lacks autofocus, which means you won’t be able to capture macro shots like on some high-end phones like the Apple iPhone 13 Pro, Motorola Edge 30 Pro, OnePlus 10 Pro, and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
All three cameras on the Xiaomi 12 Pro capture 12.5MP images by default and switching to the 50MP mode results in very little addition in terms of details.
Colour Tuning & Consistency
Xiaomi may have boasted of the similar colour tuning for the three rear-facing cameras on the 12 Pro, but in my experience, there are a few differences between them. In comparison, the Galaxy S22 had better consistency between its three rear cameras.
Another aspect of the Xiaomi 12 Pro where the competition has an advantage is the Portrait Mode. Subject separation is decent, but the background blur effect is below par. It misses out on blurring some of the parts of the image. Plus, the blur effect isn’t gradual like some other high-end phones.
The Galaxy S22+ and the Realme GT Neo 3 capture better Portrait images. The Xiaomi 12 Pro’s dynamic range is also limited in the Portrait mode and the highlights (such as clouds in the sky) are almost always blown. The phone can’t capture Portrait images using its primary camera, which I think is a downside, especially on a high-end phone.
In low-light conditions, the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s cameras perform really well. The primary camera captures good-looking shots with enough details, low noise, and a wide dynamic range.
All the cameras use Night Mode by default when they deem necessary, even in the Photo mode. So, the images are bright enough, the highlights are well-controlled, and the noise is lower.
Since the phone only takes a second to capture Auto Night Mode shots, you don’t have to wait a long time to capture the shots. Even with the dedicated Night Mode, images don’t have that over-the-top bright look that some other brands opt for. Colour me impressed!
Now, let’s talk about that front-facing camera. The 32MP camera takes good images. There is little noise and the dynamic range is wide. Xiaomi applies a beauty filter by default, so faces can look a bit soft. Once the beauty mode is turned off, enough details are captured.
In Portrait Mode, though, the dynamic range is severely limited and the highlights are blown, especially compared to other high-end phones I’ve tested, including the Apple iPhone 13 Pro (Review), Realme GT Neo 3 (Review), and the Samsung Galaxy S22+. Xiaomi needs to fix this.
Video Recording Quality
The Xiaomi 12 Pro can capture up to 4K 60fps videos using all three rear-facing cameras. But you can’t switch between those sensors once you start recording the video. I hope Android OEMs can solve this problem next year. It’s more important than bringing Portrait Video mode or 8K video recording.
Now that we’re on the subject, the Xiaomi 12 Pro can capture 8K videos only through its primary camera. Despite featuring 50MP sensors, the telephoto and ultrawide cameras can’t capture 8K videos.
4K videos captured using the Xiaomi 12 Pro are not as good as the ones captured using the Galaxy S22+. The exposure seems a bit off and the colours are slightly washed-out. The image stabilisation is decent but there are some judders while panning the phone.
In low-light conditions, the primary and telephoto cameras capture high-quality 4K 60fps videos. The ultrawide camera appears to capture darker videos and there is more noise than usual. Apple and Samsung phones are a notch above Xiaomi when it comes to video recording performance, both in daylight and low-light conditions.
Unlike the Galaxy S22+ and the iPhone 13 Pro, the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s front-facing camera can’t record 4K 60fps videos. It tops out at just 1080p 60fps. The video quality is below par for the price. Xiaomi could’ve done much better on this front.
It has been months since the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 was launched, and it is common knowledge that it has throttling issues under sustained workloads. The chipset is fast but it runs quite hot. It needs a lot of cooling. And compact phones like the Galaxy S22 and the Xiaomi 12 Pro can’t cool it well.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro runs quite fast and fluid in most day-to-day tasks and multitasking. However, throw long gaming sessions or camera use on it and it will overheat after a few minutes and start throttling the performance. And the Indian summers (42 degrees celsius in Hyderabad) didn’t do the phone any favours.
In the CPU throttling test, the phone throttled the chipset’s performance fast and hard. It settled for 56% of its initial performance just two minutes into the test. In the graphics performance test (3DMark Wildlife Extreme Stress Test), the phone settled for just 45.9% of its initial performance after 20 test loops.
Xiaomi seems to have decided to keep the temperature in check. Hence, throttling comes in early compared to other Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 phones like the iQOO 9 Pro and the Motorola Edge 30 Pro.
Hopefully, ARM and Qualcomm can make a more stable and power-efficient chip next year. It is being rumoured that Qualcomm is switching to TSMC’s more stable 4nm fabrication for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1+ and next year’s flagship chip.
While playing BGMI and Call Of Duty Mobile with my colleague and brother, Abid Iqbal, the phone got warm. It was never uncomfortably hot, though. Frame rates usually hover around 55-56fps in Call Of Duty Mobile, but they can fall to 25fps after a few minutes in some high-graphics scenes.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro supports high-refresh-rate gaming, unlike most high-end Realme phones. Alto’s Adventure, BGMI, and Call Of Duty Mobile support the high refresh rate mode.
Xiaomi launched the 12 Pro with Android 12-based MIUI 13 out of the box. The software has a lot of eye candy and it runs smooth. It is extremely feature-packed, and you can read more about it in our detailed MIUI 13 feature article.
Animations and transitions are eye-catching and you would mostly be satisfied with the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s MIUI 13 software. Xiaomi has come a long way from the clunky MIUI software, but there are still a few rough corners around the edges. A few UI elements don’t look as cohesive as others.
Then there’s the bloatware situation. The phone comes with a lot of unwanted apps, and you can uninstall most of them. However, some apps like Get Apps and Emoji Keyboard can’t be uninstalled. You need to follow our detailed guide to uninstall those stock apps.
Many stock apps, including Security and Themes, send a lot of unwanted notifications. Seeing them on an entry-level or mid-range Xiaomi phone is one thing, but seeing such problems on a high-end phone like the Xiaomi 12 Pro is plain unfortunate. Xiaomi needs to draw a line and decide if it wants even premium customers to go through painful distractions.
Samsung used to show ads on its high-end phones, but after some backlash, the company stopped ads completely, except in the Galaxy Store. Xiaomi needs to learn from Samsung and stop shipping its high-end phones with bloatware.
The 4,600mAh battery inside the Xiaomi 12 Pro seems below par to handle the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and the 6.73-inch 120Hz OLED display. With a full charge, the phone usually lasts a day with moderate usage, but if you use it for long gaming sessions or camera usage, you might have to charge the phone once more in the evening.
Of all the high-end phones I’ve tested this year, the Xiaomi 12 Pro seems to have the shortest battery life. It’s not terrible, but I’ve seen phones last much longer in comparison. In comparison, both the Galaxy S22+ and the Realme GT Neo 3 last a complete day even with heavy usage. Xiaomi should’ve powered the 12 Pro with a 5,000mAh battery.
How Fast Does Xiaomi 12 Pro Charge?
But it’s not all bad. The phone makes up for its below-par battery life with its whopping 120W fast charging technology. It takes around 20 minutes to charge a fully depleted battery. That’s not as fast as the Realme GT Neo 3 150W’s 14-minute full-charge speed.
The 120W charging mode is not activated by default, and you’ll have to activate the ‘Boost Mode’ feature manually from the Settings app. Moreover, the Boost Mode is not activated when the phone is turned off. So, if the Xiaomi 12 Pro is dead, you’ll have to wait until it has enough juice to turn on and then activate the Boost Mode to take full advantage of its fastest charging mode.
The phone also features 50W wireless charging and 10W reverse wireless charging. I did not test the charging times with the 50W wireless charging mode as I don’t have a compatible wireless charger.
The reverse wireless charging feature works, and I was able to charge my Samsung Galaxy Buds 2. However, both devices are so slippery that it’s hard to keep them together even on a flat surface. So, don’t expect to use reverse charging, owing to the phone’s slippery back unless you use a case. Plus, the phone itself doesn’t last as long as other high-end phones from 2022, so using reverse wireless charging to charge other products wouldn’t be a wise idea.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro is a really good high-end phone. It has a chic design, an excellent 120Hz OLED screen, and dependable rear cameras. It is fast and smooth and features mind-blowing 120W fast charging. However, the missing IP rating and below-par battery life stop us from making it our out-and-out recommendation.
When you compare it with the Realme GT 2 Pro and the Motorola Edge 30 Pro, it has a better design, more dependable cameras, and faster charging. But you need to decide whether those aspects are worth an extra ₹10,000-₹13,000.
The OnePlus 10 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S22+ are pricier than the Xiaomi 12 Pro but offer better software, longer software update support, and longer battery life. The Galaxy S22+ is also more compact and offers better cameras.
Xiaomi 12 Pro
The Xiaomi 12 Pro is a really good high-end phone. It has a chic design, an excellent 120Hz OLED screen, and dependable rear cameras. It is fast and smooth and features 120W fast charging. However, the missing IP rating and below-par battery life stop us from making it our out-and-out recommendation.
- Chic design.
- Excellent 120Hz OLED display.
- Good rear cameras.
- Fast and smooth day-to-day performance.
- Feature-packed software.
- Extremely fast charging.
- IR blaster!
- Processor throttles fast and hard under sustained workloads.
- Too much bloatware and unwanted notifications.
- No IP67/68 rating.
- Telephoto and ultrawide cameras could’ve been better.
- Below par battery life.
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