Last year, Xiaomi unveiled the first phone with the then new Snapdragon 888. Although not quite the first, the company has secured an early supply of Qualcomm’s new top chipset and has unveiled two “coming soon” models with it, plus a budget option with SD 870.
Xiaomi 12 is smaller than its predecessors, going back to the Mi 8 – 6.28 “screen is a welcome departure from the 6.81” plate that was the Mi 11’s screen. For those who prefer a larger screen, there is the Pro model. This panel is an OLED with 120Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision and HDR10 + support and Gorilla Glass Victus.
This year, Xiaomi switched away from the 108MP (1 / 1.33 ”) sensor and chose the 50MP IMX766 (1 / 1.56” with 1.0µm pixels) while retaining its OIS. Along with it is a 13 MP ultra-wide camera and a 5 MP telecom macro.
Charging is a bit faster than last year – getting the 4,500 mAh battery to 100% takes 39 minutes, while the Mi 11 needed 45 minutes to fully charge its 4,600 mAh battery. Not the big difference, and the 50W wireless charging is the same.
If we move on to the Xiaomi 12 Pro, this year it will be launched with its vanilla sibling instead of being delayed by a few months. This gives a larger screen, 6.73 “. Compared to the 12, it has a higher resolution (1440p + vs. 1080p +) and a better panel – an LTPO AMOLED, which gives it a variable refresh rate of 1-120 Hz. It is also lighter and tops with 1,500 nits (against 1,100 nits).
The camera has a triple 50MP setup. The main sensor of 50 MP (the first IMX707) is larger than that in the vanilla model of 1 / 1.28 ”, but not as big as Mi 11 Pro (1 / 1.12”). However, the new Pro beats both with a 50MP ultra-wide camera (115º).
Then we come to the telephoto module, the 5x periscope has been replaced by a 48mm lens (2x magnification), but it is supported by the larger, higher resolution 50MP sensor (up from 8MP). Both models in the 12 Series also upgrade to a 32 MP selfie camera (up from 20 MP).
The 12 Pro also features the Xiaomi’s Surge P1 chip, which enables 120W fast charging – it can charge the 4,600 mAh battery in just 18 minutes. 50W wireless charging is also supported.
Before we look at the competition, let’s briefly examine the Xiaomi 12X. A quick comparison reveals that it’s a cheaper Xiaomi 12 that uses the Snapdragon 870 chipset instead (it also loses the 50W wireless charge). How much cheaper? We only have the prices for China, as Xiaomi has not yet detailed its plans for a global rollout.
Xiaomi 12 Pro starts at 4,700 CNY, vanilla Xiaomi 12 at 3,700 CNY and 12X at 3,200 CNY (all with the same 8/128 GB base storage).
What else can you buy for that kind of money? The Motorola Edge X30, the first Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-powered phone, starts at CNY 3,200 (8/128 GB). The 6.7 ”144Hz OLED screen has a higher refresh rate than the 12 Pro, although it is not as bright or sharp (it has 1080p + resolution). The camera and battery are not quite on par with the 12 Pro with a 50MP + 50MP + 2MP camera setup (which lacks the telephoto module) and a larger 5,000 mAh battery that needs to be charged for 35 minutes (at 68W).
Still, a fairer comparison would be the Edge X30 versus the Xiaomi 12 or 12X. Then the screen is a plus (if you do not mind the size), and so is the ultrawide camera with higher resolution. Then there is the Motorola Edge S30, which starts at just 2,000 CNY (6/128 GB). Unlike the 12X, it is powered by the faster Snapdragon 888+. Its 144Hz screen is also an LCD, whether that is an advantage or disadvantage is up to you. The camera trio on the back has a 108MP + 13MP + 2MP configuration.
Motorola Edge X30 • Motorola Edge S30
Other Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 phones are also coming soon, like the Realme GT 2 Pro, which will be unveiled in early January. Its Samsung-made LTPO AMOLED has already received an A + from DisplayMate – it’s a 6.7 ”1440p + panel with 1-120 Hz refresh rate and 1,000 Hz touch sampling. Realme already boasts the widest ultra-wide camera on a phone yet – a 150º lens paired. The main camera will have a 50MP sensor (same IMX766 with OIS) and at the sound of it there will be a tele-macro module instead of a proper tele-module. However, the price is TBA.
Realme GT 2 Pro
A OnePlus 10 Pro is on the way, as is the first foldable from Honor, both of which will also use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but their announcements are further away, so we do not have many official details about them.
So how do you like the Xiaomi 12 series – which is your favorite, or do you think there are better flagships on the way?
If you have trouble voting in the integrated poll above, try casting your vote here. Below is an infographic comparing the three models: