Xiaomi’s flagship series of smartphones have been getting better year over year, and the Xiaomi 12 Pro is no exception. As a matter of fact, last year we compared the Xiaomi Mi 11 to the Samsung Galaxy S21+ and said that it was ultimately the better value. Flash forward to 2022 and the new Xiaomi 12 Pro has recently launched, so do we still feel that it can beat out the likes of Samsung’s latest flagships? Read on for our Xiaomi 12 Pro review.
The design of the Xiaomi Mi 12 Pro is sophisticated and pretty minimalist. We love the choice of dark grey, blue or purple colors that you can choose from. That said, it’s not a super unique design, as it seems to take some design cues from the likes of Samsung. We’d like to see more innovation in the design space from Xiaomi – especially now that Oppo and RealMe are coming out with some specularly unique phone designs. Also, weighing in at 205g, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is also a bit heavier than we’d like. Its backside is not very fingerprint prone, yet it is slippery. That said, is anyone brave enough these days not to use a case? Fortunately, a transparent case is included in the box.
The 6.73-inch 120Hz AMOLED screen (1,440 x 3200 resolution / 522ppi) on the Xiaomi Mi 12 Pro is wonderful and excels at everything from watching movies to gaming. The 120Hz refresh rate isn’t the best you can get in a flagship but it’s more than adequate. We’re not fond of curved displays but the curve at the display’s edges is subtle enough that we don’t mind it, and it helps to make the phone seem like its bezel-less. To that effect, the screen-to-body ratio is a respectable 89.5%. We appreciate its 20:9 aspect ratio which is great for web browsing. Xiaomi also offers a convenient reading mode to help reduce eye strain.
When it comes to performance, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is powered by Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset and 12GB of Ram. Unsurprisingly, this phone can handle everything you throw at it, and the benchmarks are impressive. The phone earned a Geekbench 5 Multi-Core score of 3340, effectively beating out the likes of last year’s Galaxy S21 Ultra.
How good is the Xiaomi 12 Pro camera?
One of our gripes with the Xiaomi 11 Pro was that its camera couldn’t quite compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple’s flagships. Fortunately, the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s camera has been much improved over its predecessor. It sports a triple 50MP rear array composed of a f/1.9 wide-angle, a f/2.2 ultra-wide angle (115°), and a f/1.9 telephoto (2x optical zoom) camera with a Sony IMX707 chip sensor, which is supposed to be a light refresh of the excellent Sony IMX700 sensor.
We found that photos this time around have been significantly improved. It’s easy to snap beautiful DSLR-like portrait shots, daylight photos come out sharp and vibrant with good color balance, the 2x optical zoom is quite good, and the 12 Pro offers capable low light photography. Unfortunately, the camera still isn’t quite as good as what you can find from Samsung and Apple.
Video capabilities are quite robust too. The Xiaomi 12 Pro is able to shoot slow-motion shooting at 120fps, 240fps, 480fps, 960fps, and 1920fps, it can record in a dual video mode, that utilizes the uses both the selfie and rear cameras, and it supports motion-tracking focus, and ultra night video shooting mode.
How good is the battery life on the Xiaomi 12 Pro?
The Xiaomi 12 Pro comes with a pretty respectable 4600mAh battery. However, most flagships these days come with a 5000mAh battery. Ultimately Xiaomi’s battery struggles to get through a full day of use if you’re using it regularly. On the plus side, the phone is able to charge up super fast thanks to its 120W HyperCharge support – it can charge from 0% to 100% in about 18-20 minutes, which is very impressive. The phone also supports 10w reverse wireless charging.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro comes running Android 12 with Xiaomi’s MIUI 13 overlay which is showing signs of age and the device also comes with lots of bloatware apps. We would wholeheartedly prefer if Xiaomi used a clean stock version of Android 12 instead.
Can Xiaomi phones be trusted?
Yes, although the brand is not well known in the U.S., Xiaomi comes in third place (12%) worldwide when it comes to smartphone market share. Believe it or not, they are right behind Apple (22%) and Samsung (20%). They also have a great track record for producing truly high-quality flagship smartphones.
Is it worth buying the Xiaomi 12 Pro?
The biggest hurdle for Xiaomi right now isn’t competition from Samsung, but the likes of Oppo and Realme. These two companies have been knocking out beautifully designed and competitively priced flagships. Case in point, the Oppo Find X5 Pro with its spectacular sculpted ceramic design, and the Realme GT 2 Pro with its powerful specs for under $800. Starting at $929 for the 12GB RAM model, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is facing some stiff competition from other Chinese smartphone brands.
Our biggest gripes with the Xiaomi Mi 12 Pro are its mediocre battery life, its unnecessary bloatware, and its lack of IP rating, with the last bit seeming like a big oversight for a flagship priced at $999+. However, these gripes are mostly forgivable and don’t stop us from emphasizing that the Xiaomi Mi 12 Pro is overall an excellent flagship that serves as a fine upgrade over its predecessor. That said, Xiaomi needs to drop the price on the Xiaomi 12 Pro to be able to more effectively compete.