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Xiaomi 12 Review: Newfound Power Meets Familiar Compact Form Factor

Xiaomi 12 Review

The Xiaomi 12 series was unveiled to the entire world recently, and thanks to Xiaomi Malaysia, we’ve gotten our hands on the Xiaomi 12 for review. Unlike its larger Pro sibling, the Xiaomi 12 features a smaller body, but doesn’t lack the power at all. It uses the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip as the Pro version, seemingly made smaller for those who prefer a smaller device footprint. After using the device for about two weeks, here’s our take on the Xiaomi 12. But before that, let’s check out its specs.

Xiaomi 12 – Specifications

  • Body: 152.7×69.9×8.2mm, 179g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), glass back (Gorilla Glass 5), metal frame.
  • Display: 6.28″ OLED, 12-bit (68B colors), 120Hz, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, 1100 nits (peak), 1080x2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 419ppi.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM8450 Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (4 nm): Octa-core (1×3.00 GHz Cortex-X2 & 3×2.50 GHz Cortex-A710 & 4×1.80 GHz Cortex-A510); Adreno 730.
  • Memory: 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 12GB RAM; UFS 3.1.
  • OS/Software: Android 12, MIUI 13.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 50 MP, f/1.9, 26mm, 1/1.56″, 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 13 MP, f/2.4, 12mm, 123˚, 1/3.06″, 1.12µm; Macro: 5 MP, 50mm, AF.
  • Front camera: 32 MP, f/2.5, 26mm (wide), 0.7µm.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 8K@24fps (HDR10), 4K@30fps (HDR10+), 1080p@30/120/240/960fps, 720p@1920fps, gyro-EIS; Front camera: 4K@30fps (HDR10+), 1080p@30/60fps, 720p@120fps.
  • Battery: 4500mAh; Fast charging 67W, 100% in 39 min (advertised), Fast wireless charging 50W, 100% in 53 min (advertised), Reverse wireless charging 10W, Power Delivery 3.0, Quick Charge 4+.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical); Infrared port; Virtual proximity sensing.

What’s In The Box?

Xiaomi 12 Review
  • Xiaomi 12
  • Transparent Protective Case
  • 67W Charging Adapter
  • USB-C Cable
  • Transparent Protective Case
  • SIM Eject Pin
  • User Manual


Xiaomi 12 Review

The Xiaomi 12 features a minimalist design that takes popular design cues and mash them altogether in one device, and that’s a good thing. On the front, instead of the comeback of flat displays, it has these dual curved sides which gives it a more elegant look. Not only that, the curve also feels better on your thumbs when you use navigation gestures.

On the back, our unit is the purple unit, which at times under different angles, it would show up as silver too. It has the Xiaomi and 5G logo etched on the bottom left of the device, with the camera array on the top left corner. The camera bump isn’t too big so the size feels just fine. There’s no obvious wobbling from the camera bump, and you can see each camera module being placed into its own “container”. The camera bump gets a touch of gold which gives it a nice contrast to the purplish silver on the back of the device.

The Xiaomi 12’s dual stereo speaker system is tuned by Harman Kardon, and I like that the speaker grille has a soundwave design to it instead of the usual symmetrical lines/dots. On the top, there’s the infrared port and the cutout for the microphone right beside the Harman Kardon logo. The bottom is where you’ll find the USB-C port data and charging, as well as the SIM tray slot and another cutout for the microphone. The power and volume buttons are placed on the right side of the device, and they feel adequately placed as my thumbs could comfortably reach them.

Overall, I like the Xiaomi 12’s design as it is compact, minimalist, but has these small, premium touches all around the device. Its elegance is subtle, when noticed, could go a long way in terms of leaving a good impression. It’s unfortunate there isn’t an IP rating for dust and water resistance, that means I’ll need to be extra careful handling the device along with the protective case provided in the box.


Xiaomi 12 Review

Going for the compact build, the Xiaomi 12 features a 6.28-inch AMOLED screen that supports a FHD+ resolution and 120Hz with Adaptive Sync. Not only that, you’d also find the phone to have low blue light certification, support HDR10+, as well as Dolby Vision.

The 120Hz refresh rate is truly a delight to use, as it makes everything on the phone look smoother. The 480Hz touch sampling rate helps improve touch responsiveness, it’s just such a reactive display to use. When you’re viewing less demanding content, Adaptive Sync would lower the refresh rate (down to 60Hz) to conserve battery. But, it can’t go all the way down to 1Hz like the AdaptiveSync Pro can. Personally, I prefer to just have it at 120Hz the entire time.

The smaller screen and smaller bezels makes it a lot easier to handle and navigate while on the screen. As mentioned above, the sides are curved and with MIUI 13, notifications would light up the screen and the lights would reflect off the table surface when put face down. Adding to that, the in-display fingerprint sensor is fast and responsive, which makes it really easy to use.


Xiaomi 12 Review

The Xiaomi 12 runs on Qualcomm’s latest chipset, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, packed with 8GB of RAM (up to 12GB) and 256GB (128GB available) of storage. The RAM is using LPDDR5, while the storage module does use UFS 3.1 for maximum transfer speeds. By having Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, you’ll also be getting 5G support (whenever 5G rolls out to the public in Malaysia). In line with that, you’ll also be getting Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.2.

The overall experience of using the Xiaomi 12 has been pleasant, as there’s never a moment where the phone lags, hangs, or dies on me. Multitasking and switching between app is fast, navigation is smooth without any jerking, gaming and videography does heat up the phone quite a bit, but it cools down as fast as it heats up.

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Xiaomi 12 Review: Newfound Power Meets Familiar Compact Form Factor 11

Take a look at the Xiaomi 12’s benchmark scores for yourself here:

3DMark + PCMark


Xiaomi 12 Review

The Xiaomi 12 has a 2-step camera bump on the back of the device, with the 50MP main sensor protruding a bit more than the rest of the sensors. As you may have noticed, the Xiaomi 11 had a 108MP main sensor while the Xiaomi 12 has a 50MP main sensor instead. There’s also the 13MP ultrawide angle sensor, a 5MP telemacro sensor on the back, as well as a 32MP selfie sensor on the front.

If you want a bit more resolution and pixels, you can look at the Pro variant which has three 50MP sensors, a better IMX707 sensor for the main camera, along with an ultrawide angle and 2x telephoto lens.

In terms of camera quality, the Xiaomi 12 takes really nice shots in both well and poorly lit environments. It handles exposure and colour accuracy like a champ, and even in dark environments, it captures little noise. What surprised me was the Night Shot mode, which turned “pitch black” photos into “mid-day indoor” shots. When it comes to portraits, edge detection for bokeh is a bit off at times. To make the photos more manageable, the phone pixel bins images down to 12MP. However, if you want to use the full 50MP, there is a 50MP mode for that. In this mode, images are clearer and retains more details for when you zoom in on them.

When it comes to video, the Xiaomi 12 takes great video at both 1080p and 4K resolutions. To top it all off, the OIS helps provide gimbal-level smoothness for when you need to move around more, especially running.

Here are some sample shots we took with the Xiaomi 12:


Xiaomi 12 Review

For the Xiaomi 12’s dual stereo speakers, they are tuned by Harman Kardon complete with support for Dolby Atmos. Do note that there is no 3.5mm audio jack on the device, nor is there a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter provided in the box.

Sound quality wise, the speakers offer decent audio performance, with very bright highs, and a decent mid for vocals. As for bass, it lacks a little in the low frequencies department. Despite so, the volume levels of the device could easily fill up a small room.


Xiaomi 12 Review

Where battery is concerned, the Xiaomi 12’s small compact body is able to fit a 4,500mAh battery. For perspective, the Pro variant only has 100mAh extra, so you’re not missing out on much if you think the Pro could contain a bigger battery.

On a full charge, the device can offer a full day’s use with plenty of battery left at the end of the day. And that is when I’m on 60Hz refresh rate, and using it on a casual basis. Cranking the refresh rate up to 120Hz and adding a 2-hour gaming session to the daily routine mix, the phone barely made it till 10pm.

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Xiaomi 12 Review: Newfound Power Meets Familiar Compact Form Factor 11

While the battery life may seem short at first, it makes up for it in the charging department. Supporting 67W wired charging, the device charges from 10% to full in just 25 minutes, which is insane. If you’re the type to use wireless charging, the device supports 50W wireless charging. Although, you might need a wireless charger that supports 50W output.


Xiaomi 12 Review

The Xiaomi 12 is a smartphone that retains a timeless design, but refreshed with new-gen performance with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. There isn’t much to shout about with the phone’s design, but we’re really fond of how compact it is and how it easily fits into the pocket and the hand. Reliability isn’t an issue, and you can depend on the Xiaomi 12 to deliver smooth operation with lasting endurance. Even when you’re low on battery, getting the device back up to speed is no issue as it can be done within minutes. For those who prefer a smaller phone, the Xiaomi 12 is a worthy device to consider, as its size doesn’t compromise the performance it could offer.

Written By

Chief Content Developer at The AXO

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