[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]Excellent 120Hz AMOLED display
Rapid performance (SD 8 Gen 1, UFS 3.1, DDR5).
Very nice videos and photos
50/67W wireless and wired charging,
Strong reception and plenty of sensors.
Compact and excellently processed.
Decent battery life.
[/i2pros][i2cons]The camera sticks out far in the back.
No IP certification
No LTE Band 20 (China version)
No DSS 5G (China version)
SD 8 Gen 1 overheats on benchmarks.
The unique selling point of the Xiaomi 12 is its compact size. But Xiaomi doesn’t skimp on other things either with its cheapest flagship. The brand new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 provides a lot of performance, a 6.3-inch FHD AMOLED display with 120Hz for sharp and smooth content, and a 4500 mAh battery with a 67-watt charging speed for the necessary runtime. The Xiaomi 12 has also upgraded the main and selfie cameras.
I’ve been using the Xiaomi 12 daily for 10 days now, and in this detailed test report, you can read everything you should know about the new Xiaomi 12.
To be honest, I no longer believe in small flagship smartphones. Hardly anyone jumped at the Asus Zenfone 8 last year either. But if Xiaomi makes a small smartphone, then they not only want to take on Apple but could also spur other major smartphone manufacturers on. This year will definitely show whether the fans of small smartphones will also gratefully accept Xiaomi’s offer. With dimensions of 153 x 70 x 8.6 millimeters, the Xiaomi 12, with a 6.3-inch display, clearly belongs in the compact category.
You will notice that immediately when using it and even with my “mini” hands, I can reach every corner of the touchscreen with one hand. With a weight of 180 grams, Xiaomi is well below the 200 mark, but I wouldn’t call it feather-light. The design is typically Xiaomi “clean” and unobtrusive. The processing quality is beyond any doubt. The Xiaomi 12 looks like it was made from one piece, and the choice of materials with metal and glass also underlines the high-quality look in terms of feel. Unfortunately, there is no IP certification.
You can feel a fine structure on the matte glass on the back, but it doesn’t offer any grip. The Xiaomi 12 is super slippery in the hand, but the back is resistant to scratches, and even grease streaks are rarely seen. Unfortunately, Xiaomi does not specify whether Corning Gorilla Glass Victus is also used on the back. The main camera protrudes a full 3 mm from the back and causes the Xiaomi 12 to shake on flat surfaces. Even the supplied protective cover hardly changes anything. However, a hard plastic rim protects the cameras from direct contact with surfaces.
Both the display glass and the back are clearly rounded and both go perfectly into the metal frame. The camera module is discreetly designed and, in addition to the 3 camera sensors, also includes a dual LED flash and “50MP” lettering. The front is interrupted by a tiny, centrally placed punch hole notch. The black borders around the display are very narrow. I can only measure 1.5mm left and right, 2.5mm at the top, and 3.5mm at the bottom of the chin. If you are looking for a handy and perfectly processed smartphone, the Xiaomi 12 is the best choice.
As is typical for flagships, the fingerprint sensor is located under the AMOLED display. It reacts surprisingly quickly (under a second) and is also super accurate (9/10 attempts succeed right away). Even faster is the face unlock, which Xiaomi says has been made more secure under MIUI 13. So far, my brother has always been able to unlock all devices. I’ll add at this point whether that still works.
Flagships have had to do without a notification LED for years, but the Xiaomi 12 has an individually adjustable always-on display (AOD). This can also be terminated and optically extensively configured. Every notification junkie should be happy with this. As usual, the power button is located on the right side, directly below the volume control. Both keys are made of metal and sit without play, with a pleasant pressure point in the thin frame.
As usual, the Xiaomi 12 is controlled with configurable Android onscreen buttons or the popular swipe gestures. I always use these gestures, and as usual, they even benefit from the curved design. The area at the edges where gestures are ignored can be set individually. With the default setting, I never got any errors.
The USB-C port (2.0), the SIM card slot, and a speaker are also located on the underside of the Xiaomi 12. Together with the speaker on top, the latter delivers excellent stereo sound. But Xiaomi should finally stop with the USB-C 2.0 ports. Even if the limitations are marginal, an outdated connector simply does not belong in a flagship. Otherwise, there is an additional microphone and the infrared transmitter at the top.
As usual, Xiaomi’s flagship comes with all sorts of accessories. The Xiaomi 12 comes with a 67-watt charging adapter, a USB-A to USB-C cable, and a case. A screen protector is also already applied at the factory.
Compared to the Xiaomi 11, the screen resolution of the Xiaomi 12 is reduced again to 2400 x 1080 pixels. We welcome this step because the high resolution is purely a marketing feature and very questionable anyway, even with the display size of 6.3 inches. The Xiaomi 12 displays content at 418 pixels per inch and everything is pin sharp. With a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, everything on the display is wonderfully smooth too.
Of course, the display is also prepared for HDR10+ and Dolby Vision content. You can also enjoy this with the Chinese version of the Xiaomi 12, for example, via Netflix, because the device is Widevine L1 certified. The same applies to all other Pay-to-Watch providers, such as Display+. The only exception here is Amazon, where you have to follow this guide to enjoy HD content.
In contrast to the Xiaomi 12 Pro, the Xiaomi 12 does not have an LTPO display, so it cannot switch continuously between 1 and 120 Hz. To be honest, we have never been able to understand this feature, and at least the Android setting does not show the change again on the Xiaomi 12 Pro.
However, the 12 Pro has a 90Hz mode, while the 12er only has the choice between 60 or 120Hz. Nevertheless, the Xiaomi 12 automatically switches to 60Hz for certain apps and videos. in order to save the battery. The Xiaomi 12 Pro is said to reduce even further, but with the developer display on Android, we can’t understand that. In any case, what the Xiaomi 12 still offers is so-called DC dimming, which enables sensitive people in particular to use the AMOLED display.
The brightness in manual mode is a maximum of 780 lux and a minimum of 2 lux. With automatic brightness, the display of the Xiaomi 12 boosts to 1200 lux. This enables readability outdoors and also in direct sunlight.
The Xiaomi 12 is equipped with all the modern features that you would expect from a high-end display. A terminable dark mode (black/white reversal) and reading mode (reduction of blue light radiation) are, of course, available. The color representation in the AMOLED standard is typically strong and can be fine-tuned in the options menu. The contrasts are also almost infinite. The viewing angle stability is basically good, but the rounded edges of the curved display light up visibly when viewed from the side.
The 10-point touchscreen reacts extremely quickly and precisely to all inputs. The latest Corning Gorilla Glass Victus protects against scratches and glass breakage. In addition, a screen protector has also been attached. The Xiaomi 12 offers everything we would expect from a high-end display.
New year, new flagship processor? This year, we can count on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in all flagship smartphones from the manufacturers. The Xiaomi 12 series starts with two devices. So the Xiaomi 12 is equipped with the new SoC on the ARMS v9 architecture. The production using the 4-nanometer process should theoretically also ensure better battery life. We will clarify later whether this is really the case with the Xiaomi 12. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 has 3 clusters structured as follows:
An Adreno 730 GPU is responsible for graphically demanding tasks, and there you can see a clear difference, at least in the benchmarks. Now for the less good news. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is not noticeably faster than an SD888, and the new Qualcomm chip is also a hothead, at least when you start graphics benchmarks. This heat problem is a bit contrived, so let’s get into practice first. The Xiaomi 12 runs without noticeable stuttering and is just perfectly smooth. All games are played without problems, and the temperature does not exceed 42°C at the warmest point after an hour of gaming.
The Mi 12 packs at least 128GB of UFS 3.1 memory and at least 8GB of RAM. In the benchmark, the LPDDR5 RAM only achieves average values of 30 GB/s, and the internal memory also does not provide any new records with a read/write rate of 1019 MB/s. Still, everything installs promptly, and files are moved at top speed. Apps open without any noticeable lag, and multitasking is a treat.
The SD 8 Gen 1 increases the graphics performance, but the processor performance is even lower according to the benchmarks. At least with the Xiaomi 12. First of all, the cell phone does not overheat for normal users but has to be really stressed with benchmarks. While the performance gain of the CPU is negligible anyway, the GPU sets new records with massive heat development. If, for example, you start Antutu benchmarks several times in a row, the value keeps getting lower because the graphics performance decreases significantly with each run. Here are the Antutu screenshots:
It then becomes problematic in stress tests such as the Wildlife Extreme (3D Mark). There it is, over after 5 runs, and the Xiaomi breaks off due to overheating. I then let it run in the fridge for test purposes, and there you always get the stability of 84%, while the stability at an outside temperature of 20°C is simply 0. The Antutu screenshots are more meaningful, and you can clearly see there how steeply the graphics performance is going downhill. So the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 seamlessly follows on from the “embarrassing” Snapdragon 888 and delivers similar heat issues with only brief peak performance from the GPU, which looks nice in benchmarks but has no relevance in practice.
After Xiaomi really wanted to introduce intermediate steps with MIUI 12.5, we now have the salad. According to Xiaomi, MIUI 13 is faster, more secure, and has a few new designs (including fonts) at the start. The new cross-device features regarding tablets and laptops will probably remain exclusive to China for the time being. After all, we get the update to Android 12, which to be honest, doesn’t change anything in practical use under MIUI. If you decide on a Chinese Xiaomi 12, you first have to clean up a bit and reinstall the Playstore. In a global version, Google is, of course, included.
With Xiaomi, Samsung takes a step from the 108MP Samsung sensor to the 50-megapixel Sony sensor. Basically, Sony sensors are often the better choice for smartphone cameras, and the Xiaomi 12 can also confirm this with its Sony IMX766 main camera. We know the main camera sensor from the OnePlus Nord 2 or from the ultra-wide-angle camera of the OnePlus 9/9 Pro, among others. Xiaomi combines the Sony IMX766 with a 13-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera with an OmniVision sensor and a tele-macro camera with a Samsung sensor. As with the Xiaomi 12 Pro, an OmniVision OV13B40 sensor is responsible for selfies. Here is the camera setup in detail:
We have already made a direct comparison with the Xiaomi 12 Pro.
In terms of color reproduction, the Xiaomi 12 tends to have very strong colors in daylight, which can be seen particularly well in the exaggerated sky blue. Depending on the scenario, you can also perceive a slight red cast, but this is mostly limited to indoor shots. The colors are just really warm. On the other hand, the images are crisp and have many details to offer. The Xiaomi 12 captures a lot of light, and the dynamics are excellent even without HDR mode.
The zoom function is limited to digital zoom, but even then, the results are still quite usable. The colors change a lot indoors, but the results are impressive outdoors. Ultimately, you get similar results if you zoom in on the normal recordings on the PC afterward.
The 13-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera of the Xiaomi 12 delivers surprisingly good pictures. The edges, in particular, are not as blurred as we are used to seeing on many other devices. The colors are significantly less saturated than on the main camera.
The reality, as is so often the case, lies somewhere between the strong colors of the main sensor and the pale colors of the UWW camera. Acceptable sharpness can also be attested to the UWW recordings of the Xiaomi 12. The photos are definitely suitable for viewing on a laptop or PC screen, and that’s not bad at all.
Finally, a look at the tele-macro camera. Xiaomi should be mentioned positively here because these 5-megapixel zoom cameras can actually produce usable pictures. These sensors have been standard since the Poco F2 Pro, and you can see the results here. If you really want to take macro shots, you can do that with the Xiaomi 12 with visible added value.
The Xiaomi 12 also takes decent portrait shots with its main camera. At least the separation of foreground and background works without any problems. However, there is still some catching up to do with the colors. That shouldn’t be a problem with a software update.
As soon as yellow lighting is involved, the Xiaomi 12 clearly overdoes it with this color. We already know that from OnePlus smartphones, and Xiaomi’s software obviously can’t prevent it either. Otherwise, Xiaomi’s night mode has changed and only rarely uses a long exposure. Rather, the recordings are recorded in less than a second and processed just as quickly.
You have to cope with a few image errors in the sky, but it is also as dark as it should be. In any case, the Xiaomi 12 takes good night shots, as you would expect from an almost flagship. The color representation is successful (unless everything turns yellow!) and enough light is captured at all times. Blurred shots rarely happen thanks to OIS.
Similar to daylight shots, the UWW camera also delivers much weaker colors here. A strong noise also clouds the impression, and even if the recordings on the smartphone still look quite usable, the PC is the end at the latest.
Xiaomi has finally installed a new selfie camera. However, we would definitely have wished for autofocus because the pictures are never really sharp. The background is a bit burned out, but the face is nicely presented, which is how a selfie should be. The software-based bokeh mode also does a good job. Incidentally, instead of pixel binning, the Xiaomi 12 emits images with 32 megapixels.
The main camera of the Xiaomi 12 can record a maximum of 4K at 60FPS. Even 8K recordings are possible, but only with 24FPS, which is definitely not enough. The Xiaomi 12 also surprises us with its ultra-wide-angle camera and can also deliver 4K/30FPS here. This also makes it possible to switch between the sensors during recording at 4K/30FPS. All resolutions are reliably stabilized.
The front camera can also record stabilized videos, but only at 1080p with a maximum of 60FPS. That’s a pity because 4K would definitely have been an added value here. Nevertheless, the recording quality is convincing, which you can also see in the video. The sound quality is decent, and the focus of the main camera does a great job. The 4K recordings shine with many details, good sharpness, and strong colors.
The Xiaomi 12 delivers decent results with the main camera, both day and night. The 13-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera is surprisingly strong, at least during the day. The entry-level flagship does not have good zoom shots, but it does have a tele-macro sensor, which at least offers added value for its target group. The selfie camera is a clear upgrade over the Xiaomi 11, but unfortunately, it’s still neglected. The Xiaomi 12 is also well equipped for video recordings because both the UWW and the main camera deliver stabilized and respectable 4K video material.
In the global version, the Xiaomi 12 supports all the necessary network frequencies for Germany and Europe. The reception strength shows no abnormalities.
Otherwise, the Xiaomi 12 supports telephony via the LTE network (VoLTE) and WLAN telephony (VoWiFi). The call quality is excellent, and the display reliably darkens during phone calls. The fact that Xiaomi installs real stereo speakers in the Mi 12 series has a clear disadvantage. Even at the lowest volume, everyone in a quiet environment can hear your conversation.
This could definitely bother people who use the phone a lot and should definitely be considered before buying. In return, you are rewarded with a loud and clear stereo sound with a bit of spaciousness. The speakers of the Xiaomi 12 Pro are audibly better here. Using Dolby Atmos, you can also choose between 4 presets with the 12 (Dynamic, Video, Music, Voice) and improve them individually with an equalizer. As usual, there is no longer a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an adapter is unfortunately not included in the scope of delivery.
In the latest WiFi 6 network, the reception was consistently stable and 10m and 2 walls away from my router, 300Mbit/s came from my gigabit line. Directly next to the router, it’s a massive 850 Mbit/s. In addition to the acceleration, proximity, and brightness sensors, there are also a gyroscope, compass, and infrared transmitter on board.
The location determination is accurate to within 3m and works within a few seconds. Dual GPS, dual Galileo, dual Beidou, Glonass, and NavIC are used for this. Outdoors, the Xiaomi 12 connects to up to 60 satellites, and location determination is even possible indoors. With Bluetooth 5.2, the most modern version of the wireless transmission standard is on board.
Even though Xiaomi only states AAC, LDAC, and LHDC on the datasheet of the Mi 12, I was able to test aptX successfully. So aptX-HD and aptX-adaptive are probably also supported by the Xiaomi 12 (I haven’t been able to test that yet due to the lack of headphones). The Bluetooth connection was always stable. Only my Seat Mii Electric (VW) caused problems again. In my Opel, however, there were no disconnections and all Bluetooth speakers showed no restrictions.
The battery life of the Xiaomi 12 is exemplary considering the size of the smartphone. This is also noticeable in practice. In the PCMark battery test, the Xiaomi 12 ran solidly for 10.5 hours at 120Hz. If you also want to save energy, you can achieve a full 13 hours at 60Hz in the benchmark. In practice, I used the AOD from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
And that costs almost 1% of the battery per hour. With 3–4 hours of active use, with lots of camera use and benchmarks, I had 35–40% battery left before falling asleep. The Xiaomi 12 is not a real 2-day smartphone, but even hardcore users will easily get through the day. Here are a few more practical usage scenarios, each with one hour at 200 lux brightness :
With the charging adapter supplied, it takes exactly 41 minutes from 1 to 99% with a charging speed of 67 watts. The Xiaomi 12 can also be charged wirelessly using Qi Wireless Charging. With the right 55-watt wireless charger from Xiaomi, charging takes just 55 minutes. Of course, you can also use a slower charging pad, but then it will take much longer.
As always, I am mercilessly honest with you, and the Xiaomi 12 has to take criticism mercilessly. The problem is not the placement in the flagship sector, but rather I would first like to talk about the sense and nonsense of flagships. What do you actually get here for almost 70,000 Tk compared to a mid-range smartphone that costs 20,000-30,000 Tk?
The Xiaomi 12 is an all-around successful smartphone, but somehow far from being a perfect smartphone. If you’ve been waiting for a small, high-end smartphone, you’ve come to the right place. The Xiaomi 12 convinces with a chic design and almost perfect workmanship. The display is awesome and the performance can only be pushed to its limits with benchmarks.
With MIUI 13 based on Android 12, you get the latest software, but unfortunately, there are no really groundbreaking innovations. The main camera, in particular, delivers a decent performance day and night, with the ultra-wide-angle camera offering significant added value in contrast to the Xiaomi 11. You can also enjoy the new selfie camera, and the Xiaomi 12 is also ready for nice souvenir videos. When it comes to connectivity, everything imaginable is on board, both in terms of frequencies and modern standards and features.
The USB-C 2.0 port is the only non-current feature on the Xiaomi 12. Ultimately, you can easily get through the day even with heavy use, and that’s kind of the goal. The battery can be charged quickly both wirelessly (QI Wireless Charging) and with the cable. The Xiaomi 12 is a small smartphone, and that should definitely be your priority. There is simply no such thing in the middle class at the moment, especially not with this “round” equipment. Otherwise, look at the mid-range devices, because you get so much more for your money and hardly have to do without anything.