Xiaomi 12 review: small smartphone, big price!
With the Xiaomi 12, the manufacturer presented its flagship for 2022, which should bring a breath of fresh air to the market thanks to its compact size. For a recommended retail price of 849 euros, customers are offered a lot of hardware in a compact housing.
The OLED display measures 6,28 inches and supports a smooth refresh rate of 120 Hertz, a current top SoC works under the hood with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen1, the battery measures 4.500 mAh and the 50 megapixel triple camera should be very good Photos can be taken. All of this sounds really good on paper, but you can read in the following lines whether the Xiaomi 12 can also convince in everyday life.
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Let's start right away with my highlight on the Xiaomi 12, the design, because in addition to all the big smartphones, the compact Xiaomi 12 is once again bringing a breath of fresh air to the market. With dimensions of 152,7 x 69,9 x 8,2 millimeters and a weight of 180 grams, it is one of the most compact smartphones from the Android camp. Due to the curves on both the front and back, the smartphone, which is available in blue, gray and purple, fits comfortably in your hand. The matt glass back and the aluminum frame underline this. The keys are also easy to reach, click comfortably and have good pressure points.
Unfortunately, the Xiaomi 12 does not have an official IP certification against the ingress of water and dust. I also find it a pity that the green color available in China is not offered here in Europe. This is made of vegan leather and would therefore provide some variety. Another thing I would like to address is what I feel is a lack of consistency in the design. While manufacturers like Apple, Sony and now also Google have found their very own design language, every Xiaomi feels different. Personally, I just lack a certain consistency here. But you will certainly notice that when I complain about such simple things as the color selection or the lack of consistency, it means that Xiaomi has succeeded in creating a visually very beautiful smartphone with the compact 12.
The display of the Xiaomi 12 measures 6,28 inches and I really liked it in everyday life. OLED, 120 Hz, Full HD+ resolution and really good brightness. But the devil is in the detail here, because compared to its predecessor, the Xiaomi Mi 11, there are regressions in resolution. Yes, one could now argue that the display is smaller and 419 PPI is perfectly adequate, but that doesn't change the fact that the display was better in the predecessor. Unfortunately, the Xiaomi 12 does not use LTPO technology, which ensures that the refresh rate adapts itself. This feature is unique to the Xiaomi 12 Pro Reserved. What surprised me in a positive way was the brightness. It's really neat and I've never had Proproblems with readability.
As usual, the top SoC from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, is used this year. This is supported by 8 GB of RAM and either 128 or 256 GB of UFS 3.1 memory. As expected, the Xiaomi 12 flies through all applications and masters them with flying colors. Apps open quickly and directly, games run smoothly and the overall operating speed is at a high level.
Last year had that Xiaomi Mi 11 yes with heatproproblems and it seems that this year too Proproblem to overtake again. The smaller case leaves less space for cooling, which is why the Xiaomi 12 gets noticeably warm very quickly. But for all those who jump up now, I would like to give the all-clear, because in everyday life this never turned out to be the case problematic out. The situation was different during longer gaming sessions. So if you gamble a lot, I wouldn't go for the Xiaomi 12.
Xiaomi's MIUI has been the subject of controversy for years. Some like them, others hate them. Version 12 of the MIUI, which is based on Android 13, offers beautiful animations and many useful functions. However, one can argue that the visuals are not original and that some bloatware and advertising are pre-installed. Still understandable for a smartphone that costs 300 euros, but not for a smartphone that costs 849 euros. On the positive side, the Xiaomi 12 offers an update promise of three years for OS and 4 years for security updates.
Xiaomi wants to have improved a lot with the cameras this year. So you no longer rely on the 108 megapixel sensor, but instead install the Sony IMX766 with 50 megapixels. This already made in Huawei P50 Pro and Oppo Find X5 Pro Excellent work. He is assisted by a 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera and a 5-megapixel tele-macro camera. One or the other should be familiar with the sensors, because they are well-known. The 13 megapixel sensor from OmniVision was already used in the Xiaomi Mi 9T, Mi 10 and Mi 11. The macro camera, on the other hand, was already used in the Xiaomi Mi 11.
Maybe we'll start with the latter, because I really liked it for a dedicated macro camera. The special thing about it is that it is a tele-macro camera, which comes with a 50mm focal length. So you don't have to get very close to the object to get good pictures. Sure, 5 megapixels is not much and when viewed on the PC, the images definitely lack sharpness, but in my opinion this is the best dedicated macro camera. But you also have to be honest with yourself and realize that smartphones that solve the macro mode via the ultra wide angle are still ahead of the game here.
The main camera also convinced me. The Sony IMX766 in combination with the ISP from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 ensures really good pictures. The images are characterized by high image sharpness and a good dynamic range. What is noticeable is that the colors are somewhat oversaturated. This is particularly noticeable in pictures where there is a lot of green to be seen. The camera of the Xiaomi 12 is also convincing at night.
I was initially skeptical about the ultra-wide angle and, to be honest, I don't think it's a good thing that the same sensor is installed here as in the three-year-old Xiaomi Mi 9T. But if there's one thing we've learned over the past few years, it's that the image sensor isn't the deciding factor in the ultimate image quality. So it happens that thanks to the new ISP and revised software, the pictures are significantly better during the day. What I noticed, however, is the lack of consistency in the color reproduction of the main camera and ultra wide angle.
At night, the quality of the ultra-wide-angle camera degrades significantly and, in my opinion, cannot keep up with the competition.
Especially with compact smartphones, the battery life often turns out to be the Achilles' heel, because a smaller housing also means a smaller battery. Not so with the Xiaomi 12. I have no idea how Xiaomi was able to do it, but installing a 4.500 mAh battery in such a small case is a masterpiece in my opinion. For comparison, the significantly larger Samsung Galaxy S22+ has the same battery capacity and a Xiaomi 12 Pro only 100mah more.
But how is the battery life? Well, in everyday life I always got over a day, mostly with 5 to 5,5 hours of screen-on-time. Even if a iPhone 13 Pro and Google Pixel 5 are better here, I was still impressed. The battery life is quite usable, especially for this form factor. Unfortunately, the 120 watt charging technology that was used last year with the Xiaomi 11T Pro came to Europe for the first time and already at a much cheaper price Redmi Note 11 Pro+ is used. However, this is complaining on a very high level, because the built-in 67 watts are also superior to some of the competitors. The fact that this still happens via USB-C 2.0 is not worthy of a flagship in my opinion. Sure, you can argue that this doesn't affect loading speeds, but it's about what customers can expect for $849.
Unlike the Xiaomi 12X, which my colleague Nils tested, you don't have to do without wireless charging with the Xiaomi 12 and you even get a lot with 50 watts. On the positive side, Xiaomi includes the 67 watt power supply. That is no longer a matter of course these days.
Under the item "Other" I would like to address a few little things that the Xiaomi 12 does really well. For example, the built-in X-axis vibration motor is pleasant and, in my opinion, one of the best on the market. A good vibration motor in particular ensures a pleasant operating experience, which is often underestimated, and the Xiaomi 12 always offers that. And the built-in stereo speakers, created in cooperation with Harman Kardon, also contribute to this. Unlike most other manufacturers, the earpiece is not used as a supplement, but an additional dedicated loudspeaker is installed. This ensures that you get really good speakers despite the compact form factor.
Comparison with the Xiaomi 12X
Alongside the Xiaomi 12 and 12 Pro was also presented Xiaomi 12X. Since this is very similar to the Xiaomi 12, I wanted to show the differences in a separate paragraph.
Xiaomi only installs the Snapdragon 12 in the 870X and not the current 8 Gen 1 as in the Xiaomi 12. This also affects the camera, because with identical hardware, the Xiaomi 12 takes slightly better pictures thanks to the better ISP. Furthermore, buyers of the Xiaomi 12X have to do without wireless charging, but they can also enjoy 67 watts of fast charging. Probably the most significant difference concerns the software. Because while the Xiaomi 12 starts with Android 12 and an update guarantee of three years for OS and four years for security updates, the Xiaomi 12X is only launched with Android 11 and without any update promises. This is probably due to the Snapdragon 870, which is already two years old. But not giving a guarantee for updates on a smartphone for 699 euros is very weak.
As you can probably tell, I really liked the Xiaomi 12. A high-quality design, good display, great performance, long updates, a decent main camera and a usable battery life create a good overall package. But you can expect that for 849 euros. However, if you look at the current market prices, it is noticeable that the Xiaomi 12 has fallen below the 700 euro mark, which is a price that I think you can buy without hesitation, especially if you are looking for a compact flagship . But it must also be clear to everyone that with the Xiaomi 12X you can get a similarly good one Proproduct for less money, as long as updates don't play a major role. And a Galaxy S22 should not be ignored either. This offers, for example, a better camera and longer update support, but makes compromises in terms of battery life and charging speed. Ultimately, it's all a matter of personal taste.
Buy Xiaomi 12
We would like to thank Xiaomi Germany for providing the test device.