Review

Xiaomi 12 Pro: the best Xiaomi smartphone so far?

Besides the Xiaomi 12, the Chinese manufacturer has probably presented their real flagship. The Xiaomi 12 Pro rather follows in the footsteps of the Xiaomi Mi 11 and wants to compete with the established competition. It could even be the best Xiaomi smartphone so far.

Technical data of the Xiaomi 12 Pro

Xiaomi 12 ProXiaomi 12
Display6.73 inch Curved AMOLED, 1-120 Hz, 3200 x 1440 pixels, 522 PPI6.28 inch Curved AMOLED, 120Hz, 2400 x 1080 pixels, 419 PPI
ProcessorSnapdragon 8 Gen 1 Octa Core @ 2,84 + 2,5 + 1,80 GHzSnapdragon 8 Gen 1 Octa Core @ 2,84 + 2,5 + 1,80 GHz
Graphics chipQualcomm Adreno 730Qualcomm Adreno 730
Working memory (RAM)8 GB / 12 GB LPDDR58 GB / 12 GB LPDDR5
Mass storage128 GB / 256 GB UFS 3.1128 GB / 256 GB UFS 3.1
Camera50 MP main camera
50 MP ultra wide angle camera
Telephoto camera with 50 MP resolution
50MP IMX766 main camera with ƒ/1.9 aperture
13 megapixel ultra wide angle camera with 123°.
Macro camera
Front camera32 MP32 MP
Battery4,600 mAh, 120 watts wired, 50 watts wireless, 10W reverse Qi charging4,500 mAh, 65 watts wired, 50 watts wireless, 10W reverse Qi charging
ConnectivityWi-Fi 5 & 6 (ac/ax), BT 5.2, aptX HD, NFC, Dual GPS/Galileo, GLONASS/ BDS, 5GWi-Fi 5 & 6 (ac/ax), BT 5.2, aptX HD, NFC, Dual GPS/Galileo, GLONASS/ BDS, 5G
FeaturesIn-display fingerprint sensor, Face Unlock, stereo speakers, USB-CIn-display fingerprint sensor, Face Unlock, stereo speakers, USB-C
Operating systemAndroid 12 with MIUI 13 interfaceAndroid 12 with MIUI 13 interface
ColorsBlack, Pink, Blue, Green (Faux Leather)Black, Pink, Blue, Green (Faux Leather)
Dimensions / Weight163.6 x 74.6 x 8.16/8.66 mm(leatherette) / 205g152.7 x 69.9 x 8.16/8.66 mm (leatherette) / 180 g

What does the Xiaomi 12 Pro look like?

The design of the Xiaomi 12 Pro is almost indistinguishable from the Xiaomi 12, since the design on the front is basically the same. The punch-hole front camera is also in the center. This is surprising since the left positioning has always been a trademark of the flagship series. However, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is bigger. At 6.73″, it is almost half an inch larger in screen diagonal than the normal Xiaomi 12, but still slightly smaller than the predecessor. This is also noticed in the dimensions of 163.3 mm in height.

Xiaomi 12 Pro Smartphone Display in Hand 1

Holding both smartphones, the normal 12 and the Xiaomi 12 Pro, in my hand, it is immediately clear which one I prefer – the small one. The Pro version is 25 grams heavier and noticeably bigger. Thus, it is more in the league of a Google Pixel 6 Pro, a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra or an iPhone 13 Pro Max. It is interesting how you want to compete with these rivals just because of the size.

Rimless smartphones – that used to be THE topic. Of course, it is not possible to make them completely invisible. The best way to achieve that is with a curved screen, like here. However, the edge is not curved enough for this effect, so a black border is still visible on the left and right. We already noticed this problem in the Xiaomi Mix 4. However, this is also noticeable in the corners, which Samsung manages better in the S21 Ultra, for example. The 2 mm edge is nice and thin on the sides and top, just like the 3 mm on the bottom. Nevertheless, the iPhone has always been thinner at the bottom since the X and the Pro models.

New details in the twelfth generation

Xiaomi has once again slightly revised its design language with the 12th generation. This can be seen in the speaker grills alone, which now resemble a waveform audio file on the bottom and top. Or is that all I see? In addition, there is the minimally different IR blaster, which is no longer completely round. Between the two elements, there was still room for the harman kardon branding on the top.

However, the trained eye is most likely to see the redesign on the back. The back looks confusingly similar to the normal version. The camera module consists of three cameras and an LED flash, but it also looks like it was added later. The individual sensors are separated by thin dividing lines. Xiaomi seems to rely on the golden section look again.

In terms of color, there are no differences to the normal Xiaomi 12: black, pink, blue and green. The green back is made of artificial leather like the Xiaomi 12, which makes it half a millimeter thicker at 8.6 mm. We got it in black, which is more reminiscent of a gray. For such a Pro version, this plain design looks classy, but I would still have liked to see the green faux leather. Nice detail: The Xiaomi lettering has a slight 3D effect when viewed from the right angle.

How is the Xiaomi 12 Pro finished?

One expects pro workmanship from a pro smartphone. Is it better manufactured than the normal Xiaomi 12? No. Is it still very well manufactured? Yes. Xiaomi does not make any exceptions across the board and also delivers a very high-quality smartphone with the Xiaomi 12 Pro. The actual casing bezel measures only 3 mm and connects the curved front and back. The buttons still have enough space and can be pressed well, gaps have almost disappeared on the sides, and the cutouts are precisely milled. The back is made of Gorilla Glass Victus.

Of course, it still does not pass the wobble test. The camera module protrudes almost 2 mm from the casing and causes this imbalance. The somewhat boring integration into the optics can be overlooked, but at least I sometimes get caught a bit on the corner of the module with my index finger.

As with the Xiaomi 12, the manufacturer is once again criticized for the lack of an IP68 rating. That is already regrettable enough for the normal Xiaomi 12, but it is no longer debatable in a Pro version. It simply cannot keep up with a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, iPhone 13 Pro or Google Pixel 6 Pro in terms of workmanship – unfortunately, it is as simple as that.

Xiaomi 12 Pro finally with LTPO display

In contrast to its smaller brother, the large 6.73″ AMOLED display offers a resolution of 3200 x 1400 pixels like in the predecessor. This results in a high pixel density of 522 ppi. Thanks to the Samsung E5 AMOLED panel, the fingerprint sensor is also located under the display and the contrast ratio is 8000000:1. The maximum brightness of up to 1500 nits is even higher than in the 12, but the color depth of 10 bits is lower than the 12 bits of the Xiaomi 12. However, the display of the Xiaomi 12 Pro is also protected by Gorilla Glass Victus.

New for Xiaomi and only the Xiaomi 12 Pro is the LTPO technology. We have already seen LTPO displays in the OnePlus 9 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra or Google Pixel 6 Pro. Here, the refresh rate can be variably adjusted downwards so that the screen only offers a 1 or 10 Hz refresh rate in extreme cases. This makes the panel much more energy-efficient and is supposed to ensure an improved battery life. Thus, the Xiaomi 12 Pro can set the refresh rate to a maximum of 120 Hz and also regulate it down to 1 Hz. The touch sampling rate is 480 Hz.

Xiaomi 12 Pro Smartphone Display in Hand 3

Xiaomi relies on the LTPO 2.0 technology, which is supposed to be even more efficient. The active scrolling speed is probably also included in the calculation of the refresh rate. A corresponding adaptation of the apps on the manufacturer’s side is necessary.

How sharp is the display of the Xiaomi 12 Pro?

The display of the Xiaomi 12 Pro is very sharp in theory. In practice, my impression that a WQHD+ resolution does not make a difference in everyday use is confirmed once again. Fonts or icons do not look significantly crisper, so I would probably disable it in private use. It is nice that you can also select an energy-saving mode for the WQHD+ resolution so that the battery is saved.

The brightness is extraordinary; on the full setting, you almost think you have a small flashlight with you. Even acute viewing angles still allow a sharp picture on the Xiaomi 12 Pro, and I did not observe a color shift into greenish as much as on the Xiaomi 12.

Thanks to the LTPO display, the refresh rate can be set either automatically (adaptive) or in 60, 90 and 120 Hz – the intermediate step is new. If you select Automatic, you get the promised LTPO refresh rate. According to the Android debugging tool, the Xiaomi 12 Pro does not reduce the refresh rate to 1 Hz, but only to 10 Hz. This happens as soon as the picture stands still for about three seconds. It immediately increases to 120 Hz with the next touch input. For example, only 60 Hz is possible in the camera or YouTube app, but 30 Hz is possible when watching a video.

Fingerprint sensor under the display

The fingerprint sensor is integrated under the display in the Xiaomi 12 Pro. Fun Fact: The Xiaomi 8 Pro, i.e. the pre-pre-predecessor of the Mi 11 Pro, was the first “globally” available Xiaomi smartphone with an in-display fingerprint sensor. Since then, the speed and reliability have actually improved a bit. However, I still had the feeling that the sensor did not react immediately during a longer standby, but always directly afterwards. Overall, I am satisfied with it. However, the optical sensor is still inferior to the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor in a current Samsung device.

Display settings in MIUI

A lot of hardware usually means a lot of software for Xiaomi. In other words: The display can be customized extensively. Modes like dark mode and reading mode are no longer new, and the sunlight mode for automatic outdoor brightness is not new either. Beyond that, however, you can switch the resolution between FullHD+ and WQHD+, just like the refresh rate. In addition, there are some AI adjustments like HDR enhancement, but the wildest thing is the numerous, extended options for the color scheme. Even the font can be changed.

In addition, there are some adjustments for the always-on display, which is really always on. If you like, you can completely customize your Always-On screen and use your own photo or choose from one of over 50 animations, at least in the Chinese version. Since there is no longer a notification LED, Xiaomi integrates “Light Up” notifications, where the display shows a “lighting up” animation to signal a notification.

Since Xiaomi again integrates a curved screen, MIUI also offers the option to prevent unintentional inputs. Under the additional settings, you can define an area on the screen’s edges where the touchscreen does not react.

The most powerful Xiaomi smartphone

Like the regular 12, the Xiaomi 12 Pro also works with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. We will encounter the new top chip in several flagships in 2022. The SoC was manufactured in a 4 nm manufacturing process and is supposed to be up to 25% more efficient than its predecessor with more performance. The Cortex X2 high-performance core clocks with up to 3 GHz. In addition, the Adreno 730 graphics unit promises 30% improved graphics rendering. New connection standards like Wi-Fi 6 and 6E are also possible, and the Snapdragon X65 modem supports 5G. The CPU also theoretically enables an always-on camera, but Xiaomi does not use it.

In addition, there is at least 8 GB LPDDR5 working memory and 128 GB UFS 3.1 storage. Xiaomi uses an improved cooling system with a vapor chamber to prevent overheating. Xiaomi uses several components, including a graphene layer and the 2900-square-millimeter Vapor Chamber, which is supposed to dissipate the heat. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 did not lose quite as much energy as the predecessor in the test. Nevertheless, a performance drop of approximately 8% is noticeable over five runs of the 3DMark WildLife benchmark.

The performance drops by almost 10% under permanent load

I don’t think the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is the revelation everyone has been waiting for. Nevertheless, it might be the best non-homegrown processor we will see this year. Accordingly, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is also a rocket in everyday use. Apps are available immediately and can be closed just as quickly, and the camera usually processes the photos instantly, so that a zoom-in is also possible directly. I was a bit surprised, however, when exporting videos in InShot, for example. The GPU renders a 50-second video just as fast as a two-year-old iPhone 11. I would have expected more here. Perhaps InShot is simply better optimized for iOS. There are also slight stutters here and there, but they are more likely due to MIUI 13, which does not seem to run smoothly yet.

Order Xiaomi 12 Pro »

Benchmark results

In the benchmarks Geekbench 5, AnTuTu, 3DMark and PCMark, the Xiaomi 12 Pro actually achieves the same scores as its smaller brother, the Xiaomi 12. This is due to the identical processor. Again, the new flagship does not crack the 1,000,000 points that the realme GT 2 Pro probably achieved in AnTuTu, but it is just before that. However, it is impressive how smoothly the 3D benchmark runs. Benchmarks are still a tendency and should not be seen as the only reason for a good or bad performance.

The comparison with the Xiaomi Mi 11 is also interesting. The Snapdragon 888 achieved almost as many points in the Geekbench benchmark, so a real performance increase is not seen in the new chip.

How long does the battery of the Xiaomi 12 Pro last?

With a capacity of 4,600 mAh, the battery of the Xiaomi 12 Pro is quite a bit smaller than that of its predecessor, the Xiaomi 11 Pro. The latter surprised with an unusual 5,000 mAh for a flagship. We cannot explain why there is less room for the battery despite very similar dimensions and thickness. Compared with the normal Xiaomi 12, there is at least 100 mAh more, but the battery also has to supply the much smaller screen with power. The chip should be equally efficient in both cases, but the Xiaomi 12 Pro has the advantage of the LTPO display.

However, this is not noticed so far. At least in our standardized PCMark benchmark with medium brightness, active, wireless connections and with the LTPO display enabled, we get a value of approximately 8 hours. The impression is also confirmed in practice. However, I “only” get through the day in my use, which is still relatively comfortable. The standby consumption is decent; two days without use drains the battery by about 10%. I think Xiaomi still has to optimize this a bit. To save power, the WQHD+ resolution should be omitted.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro charges in 20 minutes!

The Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra demonstrated this, followed by the Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 and globally the Xiaomi 11T Pro. We are talking about fast charging with 120 W of power! Despite various announcements by OPPO and realme, no other manufacturer currently offers that. The corresponding charger is even included in the scope of delivery! The Chinese version has a corresponding CN plug. The charger charges the Xiaomi 12 Pro completely in almost exactly 24 minutes!

The big advantage of fast charging is that it changes your charging behavior from the ground up. Instead of plugging it in at night, it’s enough to plug the phone in while taking a shower in the morning. You have to go out again in the evening? Even 10 minutes at the socket is enough for more than 50% charge. The Xiaomi 12 Pro offers a normal and a boost mode, which accelerates the charging speed to 18 minutes, but also generates more heat. The charging animations even show two decimal places, a nerdy detail!

It is also equipped with 50W wireless charging, just like the Xiaomi 12. Xiaomi still holds the record for the fastest wireless charging on the market, but not with the Xiaomi 12 Pro, but with its predecessor. That, like the Mi 11 Ultra, even allowed 67W wireless charging – why do they row back here? That is a shame, but it is still enough for a tie with Huawei and OnePlus. Thus, the Xiaomi 12 Pro charges completely wirelessly in 50 minutes, but you have to purchase this Qi charger from Xiaomi separately.

The Pro version can also charge other Qi-enabled devices wirelessly with 10W like the Mi 12. However, you have to activate this manually in the control center. For example, when “Reverse Wireless Charging” is enabled, you can place wirelessly chargeable headphones like the Soundcore Life P3 on the back and they will charge.

50 MP triple camera setup

Again, Xiaomi opts for a triple camera setup, a strong one it seems. Three 50 megapixel sensors adorn the back of the new top phone. The main sensor is the Sony IMX707 with a size of 1/1.28″, which is once again significantly larger than the IMX766 from the Mi 12. Thanks to almost 50% more surface area, the sensor captures significantly more light, which should be noticeable in low-light. This is a brand-new sensor that celebrates its world premiere in the Xiaomi 12 Pro. The new Xiaomi CyberFocus autofocus with FollowFocus is also used here.

Xiaomi also opts for a 50-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with a 123° shooting angle at a 14 mm focal length equivalent. This closes the gap to the OnePlus 9 Pro and OPPO Find X3 Pro. We are also happy about the telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom, which is probably intended for portrait shots. The aperture of ƒ/1.9 is particularly interesting, which makes the zoom camera relatively fast. Nevertheless, you have to keep in mind that the competition currently tends towards 3x optical zoom. On the front, there is the same 32-megapixel sensor that is also supposed to provide more sharpness and details in selfies in the Xiaomi 12.

Main camera

I welcome the departure from the too-large 108 MP sensor from Samsung and that they are now trying their chances with Sony sensors. There is no difference in resolution from the Xiaomi 12, but the larger sensor is said to capture almost 50% more light. Theoretically, this is an advantage for low-light pictures. However, with an aperture of ƒ/1.9 in contrast to the ƒ/1.88 of the Xiaomi 12, it is theoretically less light-intense, but the difference is too marginal to speak of a difference.

In daylight, the Xiaomi 12 Pro delivers really good results in almost every situation. The sharpness is on a high level, but we also have a hard focus area here due to the large sensor. As you can see in the example photo of the flower, little image content is in focus, but what is in focus is very sharp. Because of this high level of detail, I really like photos with a lot of surface texture, like walls. It also allows you to work well with depth in the image. However, we already get a very similar level in the Sony IMX766 from the Xiaomi 12. Same manufacturer, same resolution and same aperture – that was almost to be expected.

The photos with the Xiaomi 12 Pro contain a lot of contrast, but shadows are often very black. I like the color reproduction relatively well in most cases, everything is very rich. Sometimes too rich and when the focus is not quite right, which happens occasionally, the colors can also be off. In some cases I also quickly got an overexposed photo, I also noticed that with the front camera. Only skin tones are still the biggest construction site for Xiaomi phones for me, for my taste they are not always hit the right way. Especially when the light is missing, red is very present in the photos.

Ultra wide angle camera

Finally! After the competition from the BBK group, i.e. OnePlus and OPPO, already raised the bar with large ultra-wide-angle camera sensors in the last generation, Xiaomi catches up. The new 50-megapixel camera is almost on par with the main sensor, and the color matching between the two cameras works reliably. When looking at the pictures, they usually look as if they came from the same camera.

Xiaomi 12 test photo ultra wide angle camera 2 Xiaomi 12 Pro ultra-wide angle camera test photo comparison main camera Xiaomi 12 Pro ultra wide angle camera test photo outdoor 2

When zooming in, it is of course noticeable that less details are possible due to the greater distance between the sensor and the object, that is clear. Nevertheless, fonts are still partially legible. Despite the 123° shooting angle, Xiaomi hides the distortion well, but this can also be deactivated in the settings. However, the lower dynamic range is still noticeable in extreme situations, such as a sunset, where the main camera is simply a bit stronger. Nevertheless, the good quality ensures that the ultra-wide-angle camera can be used more often in everyday life. Even for nice memories like group photos or vacation snapshots, there is hardly any need to compromise.

Xiaomi 12 Pro Camera Dynamic Range
The lower dynamic range is clearly visible here.

Xiaomi 12 Pro focal range comparison test photo 1

Zoom camera

Xiaomi must have thought “2x has to be enough”, since the competition almost always offers triple optical zoom. We have almost ticked off the biggest point of criticism with that. The photos look surprisingly good. Color matching is also successful here, so three photos from different cameras are on the same level next to each other. Almost all mid-range phones fail at this challenge, and even established manufacturers like Apple have only managed this since the last generation.

Xiaomi 12 test photo telecamera 2 Xiaomi 12 Pro Test Photo Telecamera 1 Shoes Xiaomi 12 Pro Telecamera Bokeh 3

The photos tend to be a bit brighter, but provide a more natural bokeh. When taking pictures, I noticed that the autofocus sometimes does not work, and then you have to adjust it manually. However, the open aperture of ƒ/1.9 is particularly strong, which is unusual for a zoom camera. Thus, you can still achieve quite useful results at night.

Selfie camera

The 32 megapixels in the front-facing camera are an upgrade over the 20 MP camera of the predecessor, which is quite visible. Xiaomi does not officially state the aperture, but according to the file info, it is not as fast as the previous camera with ƒ/2.45. The level of detail is high, even whiskers are displayed quite sharply and you almost get more image information than you would like. The color profile is a bit paler than that of the cameras on the back.

Xiaomi 12 Pro test photo front camera selfie good Xiaomi 12 Pro Front Camera Test Photo low light

This is only intensified by the fact that the front-facing camera automatically overexposes very quickly in some cases. Many of the test photos then make us look like ghosts, artificial light sources in the background make it difficult for the Xiaomi 12 Pro. There were also some unwanted lens flares that ruined the selfie a bit. You have to pay attention to this in the composition, but Xiaomi might be able to improve this via a software update. Photos in daylight look really good overall.

MIUI 13: Everything better?

During the presentation of the Xiaomi 12 & Xiaomi 12 Pro, the new MIUI 13 operating system was also introduced, which comes with improved security features and revised widgets. This will land on the new Xiaomi 12 Pro and Xiaomi 12 based on Android 12. The company has also emphasized that it wants to follow the ecosystem approach and use MIUI as universally as possible. Thus, it will probably not only be found on smartphones, but also on wearables or smart home devices in the future.

MIUI 13 is only usable in English and Chinese in the China version of the Xiaomi 12 Pro, after all it has only been released in China so far. MIUI 13.0.1 thus comes with a security patch from November, but the first update was already available during the test period. Since it is only intended for the Chinese market, all Google services are missing. However, they are easy to install. The Google Play Store is then also certified and the copy protection Widevine Level 1 is also on board. This means that you can watch Netflix in Full HD even with the CN version of the Xiaomi 12 Pro. However, it does not pass the Safety Net test because it cannot access Google Play Services.

One could criticize the import version of the Xiaomi 12 Pro for countless bloatware apps. However, we do not do that at this point. After all, the Chinese version is not intended for the European market and the Chinese market has completely different requirements in this regard. As soon as the global version of the Xiaomi 12 Pro is available, we will change this section accordingly.

Widgets

Widgets are not a novelty on Android, since Android 4 the small ads on the home screen have been part of the game. With the introduction of iOS 14, half the tech world has been amused that Apple is about ten years too late. That does not stop Xiaomi from adopting Apple’s widget look almost one-to-one. The widget menu actually looks the same and also offers different sizes for the individual apps. There are almost no third-party widgets so far, but they are now much prettier.

MIUI 13 vs iOS. It already looks similar!

I like the look, but apparently the widgets are not stored locally, but online. This leads to slightly longer loading times, but maybe it’s due to the Chinese servers.

Security

Not only with the widgets, but also with the topic “security” Xiaomi looks a bit in the direction of iOS. Privacy and data security is one of Apple’s highest priorities, Xiaomi expands the approach further. This includes various, improved protection mechanisms that are already noticeable when running a new app. The security control goes much further than pure Android and asks for the use of Virtual ID, for example.

Xiaomi plays it safe.

How to install the Google Play Store on the Xiaomi 12 Pro

If you have imported the Xiaomi 12 Pro in the Chinese version, you do not have to do without Google services. Since a few generations, Xiaomi has pre-installed the Google Framework even in China. This has the advantage that you can store your Google account in the settings under “Accounts & sync”. Once you have done that, you can install the Google Play Store installation file (.apk) via sideload from the browser. The easiest way to do this is via the preinstalled Mi Browser, where you can safely download the file here.

Google Play Store download »

Xiaomi 12 MIUI Google services install

Once you have downloaded the file, just install it and you can log into the Google Play Store. This is now certified and you can download all other missing Google services like GMail or YouTube.

Even Pro version with outdated USB

Xiaomi usually attaches great importance to forward-looking connectivity standards. For example, UWB is already integrated in the Xiaomi Mix 4, the ultra-wideband technology is otherwise only found in the top phones from Samsung and Apple. Unfortunately, the Xiaomi 12 Pro does without it. However, it has a dual-SIM slot that supports 5G in both slots. Even the China version includes the n1, n28, n77 and N78 5G frequency bands. Unfortunately, this does not apply to LTE; the CN version does without band 20 and band 28. Of course, these are part of the equipment in the global version. The Xiaomi 12 Pro also supports VoLTE.

Dual-band 802.11 WiFi 6 and 6 Plus provide local Internet, so the latest standard is used here as well. Bluetooth 5.3 is in the starting blocks, but you still have to settle for Bluetooth 5.2 in the Pro version, but the differences in functionality are negligible. The Xiaomi 12 Pro supports the codecs AAC, LDAC and LHDC, but also dual-GPS and other satellite systems like Beidou, Galileo, GLONASS and QZSS. As expected, the fix is fast and accurate enough with less than 5 meters. Of course, NFC is not missing either, so you can also pay contactlessly with the Xiaomi 12 Pro in the global version.

Why so old?

As with the Xiaomi 12, the manufacturer from Beijing misses out on a few points with the USB-C port. Once again, they seem to forget to attach importance to a USB-C 3.1 port. The USB-C 2.o port installed here prevents the use of an external monitor, for example. The competition simply does this better and it is now also appropriate. You will also look in vain for a jack, but the top model still uses the IR blaster. Rightly so, in our opinion, as this can make the purchase of a replacement remote obsolete.

Harman kardon Speaker

What Huawei did in the camera field with Leica, Xiaomi has now been pursuing in the audio field with harman kardon for several models. The cooperation with the historic hi-fi component manufacturer also bears fruit in the Xiaomi 12 Pro. There is one speaker each at the top and bottom, and in combination, they achieve a deep, voluminous sound that is right at the top of the league. Even low frequencies are present in the sound spectrum, but there is of course no “real” bass in a smartphone.

It is interesting that Xiaomi again omits the integration into MIUI. At least in the Chinese version, there are no presets like in past generations. However, you still have equalizer options to adjust the sound according to your preferences.

Xiaomi 12 Pro order »

In contrast to the Xiaomi 12, I like the positioning of the speakers even more. Instead of placing them both on the same side, they are offset. Thus, you can always hear enough when you hold the phone horizontally. No matter how you turn it, one side is always free. This is different in the Xiaomi 12, so the speakers are partly covered when watching YouTube videos or Netflix.

Conclusion: the best Xiaomi smartphone so far!

The Xiaomi 12 Pro is much more the successor of the Xiaomi 11 than the Xiaomi 12, which is more like the old-school Xiaomi style. With this model, they want to take on the iPhone 13 Pro, but also the competition from OnePlus and Google. And indeed, it is probably the best smartphone that Xiaomi has released so far. This is despite some setbacks compared to the direct predecessor, the Xiaomi 11 Pro.

The display is state of the art, Xiaomi finally jumps on the LTPO train, a higher resolution and the 120 Hz refresh rate. It is only a matter of time before Xiaomi develops its own CPUs. Until then, Qualcomm’s top processor is prepared for all tasks, even if Apple and Google achieve a better match with their own hardware. 120W charging and a 5,000 mAh battery are cool features, but nothing new for Xiaomi fans. Fun Fact: That is six times as much charging power as in the iPhone 13 Pro.

However, the main reason for my opinion is the new camera system. The three cameras not only cover a good focal length range of 14 mm to 48 mm, but also feel like three times the same camera thanks to strong color matching. This improves everyday photography immensely. Colors are still a matter of taste; for me, Apple and Google are still slightly ahead, but Xiaomi is on its heels. A triple optical zoom would have been the cherry on top.

An IP68 rating and a USB-C 3.1 port are still missing for perfection. Besides the 2x optical zoom, the step back in terms of wireless charging performance and the mediocre fingerprint sensor under the display can also be criticized. MIUI 13 is also probably still a few updates away from its true performance. To be fair, though, Xiaomi has only caught up with the competition from OnePlus and OPPO, not overtaken them. I think that might only be the case in the next generation.

Buy the Xiaomi 12 Pro?

The Xiaomi 12 Pro will be launched in China for a starting price of 4,699 yuan. Of course, you have to pay extra for more storage. There is no global release date yet. Accordingly, no price is known yet.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro will probably have its biggest rival in the OnePlus 10 Pro. Both smartphones are on par overall thanks to almost the same display, identical processor and similar camera setup. The Xiaomi 12 Pro offers even faster charging, while the OnePlus 10 Pro has an IP68 rating and the USB-C 3.1 port. When a price is known for both, the comparison will be even more interesting.

What do you think of the Xiaomi 12 Pro? Do you find it more interesting than the regular Xiaomi 12?

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Thorben

My special interests are smartphones from China and I am always keen to discover new smartphone accessories like smartwatches and headphones. 

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