The Xiaomi 12 Pro is the latest Android flagship phone to arrive in India. Honestly, I loved last year’s Mi 11 Ultra. It showed that Xiaomi is capable of making flagship Android phones that can compete with the likes of Samsung and others. It was unfortunately discontinued in India, sooner than expected. The 12 Pro is not as muscular as the Mi 11 Ultra but, is still packed with enough features to give a tough competition to existing phones like OnePlus 10 Pro, iQOO 9 Pro and Realme GT 2 Pro. For all we know, Xiaomi may launch an ultra later this year as well. As of now, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is the best Xiaomi smartphone one can buy in India.
It has a high-resolution, high refresh rate display, best available processor in the market and supports insanely fast charging speeds. Xiaomi has brought the phone to India in 256GB storage with either 8GB or 12GB RAM. The camera system also seems very capable on paper with three 50-megapixel sensors. I have used this phone over a weekend and here are some quick thoughts.
Xiaomi 12 Pro quick review: Design
Xiaomi 12 Pro has a minimalist, yet familiar design. We have seen the curved screens and backs on multiple occasions. The rear panel looks similar to other Xiaomi phones. It is glass with a frosted finish this time which makes the body sparkle under light. It also keeps fingerprint smudges away. The phone feels good to hold and use. It is slippery though and on the heavier side too. The Xiaomi 12 Pro weighs nearly 205 grams. This is the same as the iPhone 13 Pro and 4 grams more than the OnePlus 10 Pro. The weight distribution is good. Also, the phone is relatively slim at 8.2mm. You will still need both hands to properly use the Xiaomi 12 Pro.
The camera module is fresh. It has a similar finish as the rest of the body and houses all three lenses – with the primary lens getting a special treatment. It’s huge. Xiaomi is providing Gorilla Glass 5 protection at the back and Gorilla Glass Victus on the front. The rear panel curves into an aluminium frame which houses all buttons and ports. The power and volume buttons are on the right, and a dual-SIM slot is at the base. It doesn’t come with a SD card slot. There is a type-C USB port at the bottom and an IR blaster at the top.
The phone is not IP rated but Xiaomi tells me that this phone gets IP53 equivalent protection against dust and water. It is available in 3 colour options. I have the most subtle grey variant which looks good.
Xiaomi 12 Pro quick review: Display
The display is where Xiaomi 12 Pro feels better than even the Mi 11 Ultra, without changing much. Xiaomi has gone from a 6.81-inch screen on last year’s flagship to a 6.73-inch display on this phone. It did so while keeping the same quality and improving a few things. So, now you have a high-quality display that fits better in palm. Xiaomi 12 Pro uses a Samsung LTPO AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate, WQHD+ resolution, 521 ppi (higher pixel density than iPhone 13 Pro), peak brightness of 1500 nits, HDR10+ video and Dolby Vision support.
In other words, it’s a gorgeous display that is fun to use and work on. Swiping through the UI and other apps is super smooth. The visuals look stunning. Netflix successfully showed the Dolby Vision compatible content. Xiaomi claims that the refresh rate can go down to as low as 1Hz and save battery. We have seen similar implementation on OnePlus 10 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
It’s the refresh rate implementation within the phone that had my attention. Unique and useful. The 12 Pro comes with two options in the menu – Auto and Custom. Auto is self-explanatory, while Custom allows users to pick between 60, 90, and 120Hz. Most phones only allow you to choose between 60 and 120Hz. There is also an option to switch between 1440p resolution or a lower 1080p, again to get more battery life out of the phone.
Xiaomi 12 Pro quick review: Performance and battery
I already have serious doubts the Xiaomi 12 Pro performance. On paper, it comes with the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip. I have used this on a few other phones. All of them had heating issues – going from mild to severe. But the problem seems more prominent on the 12 Pro. The phone got really warm during the setup process. The upper frame was burning. I haven’t the issue during day-to-day tasks since. But, we will keep a close eye over the next few days and talk about this in detail in my final review. I have the 12GB RAM variant of the phone so otherwise the performance was fluid. There is an additional 3GB virtual RAM too.
The fingerprint scanner is quick and the quad speakers with Harman Kardon tuning and support for Dolby Atmos are also loud. The phone runs MIUI 13 based on Android 12. It comes with a few pre-installed Xiaomi and third-party apps. Yet, it’s a lot cleaner than the previous versions of MIUI. It also seems to have less glitches. Again, something I can only confirm after spending a few more days with the phone.
The phone packs a 4,600mAh battery which is less than the 5000mAh battery on the OnePlus 10 Pro and 4700mAh battery on the iQOO 9 Pro. Xiaomi compensates for that with a 120W fast charger that comes bundled with the phone. The 12 Pro also supports 50W wireless charging and 10W reverse wireless charging.
Xiaomi 12 Pro quick review: Cameras
Xiaomi took a huge step in the camera department with the Mi 11 Ultra. The Xiaomi 12 Pro isn’t in the same league but still manages to impress. It has three cameras at the back – all 50-megapixels (primary, ultra-wide and telephoto). The difference is that the main sensor features a larger 1/1.28-inch sensor which allows more light and results to better images than the same resolution wide and telephoto cameras. It uses a 32-megapixel selfie camera on the front.
The camera app has the usual features such as the 50MP mode, vlog mode and a Supermoon mode to capture, no points for guessing, the moon. The Night mode works with all three cameras and there is also a motion tracking focus to automatically focus and track moving subjects like animals, vehicles and others. This is turned on by default and can be disable from the settings menu. I have only spent a couple of days with the Xiaomi 12 Pro and here are some quick thoughts on the camera performance –
The main camera is excellent. It captures good images with fine details and impressive dynamic range. The image processing is also on point. There is no over sharpening or colour boost visible here. In fact, the colour consistency is one thing that really impressed me.
– Only thing I haven’t liked on the main camera is the treatment of skin tones. Human subjects tend to have a pink hue on their face which is doesn’t look nice. The portrait shots are pretty good but, only while using the full body mode in the camera app.
– The wide-angle camera comes really close to the main sensor in terms of picture quality. It doesn’t really match it but, delivers reliably good results. The zoom-in capabilities aren’t the same as the Galaxy S22 phones. You can still get decent shots by pinching in.
– Lastly, not so impressed by the selfies so far. The front camera tends to wash out the details in the background. Even selfies in daylight weren’t that great.
Xiaomi 12 Pro: First impressions
Almost all the major smartphone players have already launched their flagship phones for 2022 (except Vivo) in the Indian market. The OnePlus 10 Pro has stood out for its overall performance and value aspect. Almost everything else feels compromises. The Realme GT 2 Pro is not really a flagship, S22+ has its heating issues and the iQOO 9 Pro needs major software improvement. The S22 Ultra, on the other hand, is just too expensive and not for everyone. The Xiaomi 12 Pro emerges as a good OnePlus 10 Pro alternative with an equally good display, premium build and cameras that show a lot of promise. If only it manages to keep the ‘cool’. Is it the best flagship of 2022 so far? Wait for India Today Tech’s full review to find that out.