Xiaomi 12 Pro review: a super fast Android phone | xiaomi

The best new phone from Xiaomi at the beginning of 2022 is the 12 Pro which has high specs, elegant design and 50MP triple cameras but at an excellent price for sure.

China’s Apple, as it was previously called Xiaomi, is known for its high-spec phones that undermine the competition on price. But the 12 Pro is different – a direct competitor to Apple and Samsung at a cost of £1,049, which is as much if not more than the rivals.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro has appeared shining in the sunlight.
The frosted gray back resists messy fingerprints and has a subtle luster that glows in direct sunlight. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Definitely looks the part. The 6.73-inch OLED display is ultra-bright, vibrant and ultra-sharp with a 120Hz refresh rate to keep everything smooth. The sides curve into a metal frame and a smooth frosted glass back with a prominent camera bump in the upper left corner. The 12 Pro is a big phone but it looks great, it’s a bit lighter than some of the competitors and relatively easy to hold.

There’s a set of four speakers on the top and bottom of the phone, which is surprisingly good for a smartphone and isn’t as easy to block in your hand as some competitors.

to specify

  • Screen: 6.73 inch QHD + OLED (522 ppi) 120 Hz

  • Healer: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

  • RAM: 12 GB of RAM

  • storage: 256GB

  • Operating System: Miui 13 based on Android 12

  • camera: 50 MP triple rear camera: wide, ultra-wide, 2x telephoto lens; 32 MP Selfie Camera

  • Delivery: 5G, USB-C, wifi 6E, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, location

  • Water Resistant: Nobody

  • Dimensions: 163.6 x 74.6 x 8.2 mm

  • Weight: 205 g

Exceptionally fast charging but short battery life

The USB-C port is on the bottom of the Xiaomi 12 Pro.
The phone fully charges in just over 20 minutes using the 120W power adapter and a special “boost mode”, but it gets very hot when doing so. The normal fast charging mode takes about 30 minutes, which is still fast. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The 12 Pro has the same top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip as the Oppo Find X5 Pro, OnePlus 10 Pro and most high-end Android phones launched in 2022 and works similarly, able to handle challenging tasks and games with confidence.

Battery life is a bit short compared to competitors. The 12 Pro only lasted 30 hours between charges, while most phones last at least 35 hours. This included about two hours on 5G and actively using the screen for about four hours for light tasks such as messaging, browsing, music and taking two photos.

Sustainability

The fingerprint scanner in the Xiaomi 12 Pro display.
The in-display fingerprint scanner is good but not the fastest available on a smartphone. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Xiaomi rates the battery for at least 800 full charge cycles while maintaining at least 80% of its original capacity and can be exchanged for around £12 plus labor.

The phone is generally repairable, with screen repairs costing around £180 plus labour. Its predecessor scored only four out of 10 in the iFixit repair rating.

Xiaomi does not publish environmental impact assessments nor offer schemes for UK trade or recycling. The phone is not made of recycled materials.

Miwe 13

Miui 13 sidebar feature over Xiaomi 12 Pro.
Miui 13 has many small features and additions such as the sidebar of the application which can be enabled, disabled, or customized to your liking. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Miui 13 is Xiaomi’s custom version for Android 12. It’s still a work in progress for western markets, full of small differences and oddities compared to Samsung, Google and other popular brands, and definitely not the best Android version available.

It’s highly customizable with options to change the way it looks and works beyond what most competitors offer, from making it look and work like an iPhone to the more traditional Android way. But it did take some digging through the menus and tweaking settings to get it to work to my liking, after which it became fairly quick and attractive.

Xiaomi will support the 12 Pro, with software updates including three major Android version upgrades and a total of four years of security updates from the phone’s release. This is a year longer than last year’s model but behind five years of support for Samsung and six years of Apple.

camera

Camera app for Xiaomi 12 Pro
The Xiaomi Camera app is fairly easy to use with plenty of preloaded automatic, creative or manual modes and more available as downloads. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The phone has three 50MP cameras on the back and a 32MP high-powered selfie camera, which produces detailed photos but forgoes a certain degree of artificial skin smoothing unless you turn it off manually.

The main camera is the best of the bunch, producing sharp, well-detailed images with excellent color balance and exposure, even in high-contrast scenes. Low-light performance is strong and video is excellent as well. But the ultra-wide and 2x telephoto cameras are also good with color consistency and exposure while switching between the three cameras. The 2x zoom is poor compared to competitors, who often have 3, 5 or even 10x optical zoom. Extending beyond 2x with digital zoom quickly becomes full of craftsmanship.

Overall, the 12 Pro’s camera is generally very good but it is let down by its limited optical zoom.

price

The Xiaomi 12 Pro costs £1,049.

For comparison, the Google Pixel 6 Pro costs £849, the OnePlus 10 Pro costs £799, the Samsung Galaxy S21+ costs £949, the Oppo Find X5 Pro costs £1049, the Galaxy S21 Ultra costs £1149 and iPhone 13 Pro Max. It costs £1,049.

to rule

The 12 Pro is Xiaomi’s latest attempt to grab the best of Samsung and Apple at the top of the premium market, which delivers in some areas while falling short in others.

It sure looks the part, feels good, works well and has the fastest charging currently available. The camera is also very good but it lacks the extended optical zoom, and is only limited to 2x zoom while others offer 3x or 4x for the same price.

The Xiaomi Miui is getting better but still feels enthusiast-oriented. The 12 Pro’s biggest problems are the relatively poor battery life and high cost. Buyers simply get less with Xiaomi than similar phones from OnePlus, Google, Samsung or Apple.

Positives: Good screen, super performance, super fast charging, nice design, good camera, good speakers, in-display fingerprint scanner.

Negatives: Expensive, relatively short battery life, lack of extended optical zoom for the camera, only four years of software support guaranteed, and no official water resistance rating.

The camera is lumpy on the back of the Xiaomi 12 Pro
The camera block protrudes a bit from the back but offers a somewhat interesting feature in an otherwise seamless design. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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