Xiaomi 12 Pro Review: The Most Refined Xiaomi Smarptone Till Date

The Xiaomi 12 Pro is the company’s most refined smartphone to date. The Xiaomi 12 Pro has three 50MP cameras, 120W fast charging and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip paired with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It’s all packed into an all-new minimalist design
Image Courtesy: Sahil Bhalla
Image Courtesy: Sahil Bhalla

It’s mid-way through 2022 and we’ve already been blessed with excellent flagships from Samsung (Galaxy S22 Ultra), Oppo (FInd X5 Pro) & Vivo (X80 Pro). The Xiaomi 12 Pro, from the house of the world's third-largest phone manufacturer, is bringing us all the goodness - a 120Hz OLED display, top-of-the-line cameras, the most powerful processor & much more -  at a lower price range.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro is the company’s most refined smartphone to date. The Xiaomi 12 Pro has three 50MP cameras, 120W fast charging and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip paired with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It’s all packed into an all-new minimalist design.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro is being sold in two variants. There’s the 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage model that is currently retailing for ₹62,999 on the Xiaomi India website. The 12GB/256GB variant is currently priced at ₹66,999.

A good, clean design

Xiaomi is a brand that likes to experiment with their smartphones, especially in the design department. The major design element this year is the camera setup on the back. There’s the huge camera bump (which means that the smartphone will wobble on any flat surface) as well as having the primary lens housed in a gigantic ring. Looking at the three lenses and you wouldn’t have guessed that they’re all 50MP cameras with the very same sensor. 

The design, apart from the camera setup, is quite simple. It’s got the Xiaomi logo on the bottom left and clean finish otherwise. 

There’s quad speakers, an IR blaster, power and volume buttons and much more in a package that weighs just 204g. It’s not much heavier than competing devices in the segment.

The weight distribution is absolutely fantastic and the one-hand usage is a delight. The only downside is that the phone is a little bit slippery without a case.

There’s certainly a lot to like

The Xiaomi 12 Pro features a 6.73-inch QHD+ 120Hz AMOLED display that is vibrant and gets super bright. It’s got a 120Hz refresh rate to keep things as smooth as possible. The max brightness is 1,500 nits, which is plenty bright for any sunny day. The screen is protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass Victus (though it didn’t seem as strong as other flagships with the same protection).

Thanks to the LTPO 2.0 tech, the screen can scale from 120Hz to 1Hz based on what content is being viewed on the screen.

With a nearly bezel-less look, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is an excellent smartphone for media consumption or even a day out and about on a bright and sunny day. The AMOLED panel is absolutely dazzling. 

I mentioned above that the smartphone comes with a quad-speaker setup. It’s got two tweeters and two woofers, delivering one of the best-sounding speakers on any smartphone. It’s loud, detailed, and doesn’t crackle at high volumes. Playing games or consuming YouTube videos on the Xiaomi 12 Pro is a pure delight.

With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset under the hood and a vastly improved MIUI Android fork (now MIUI 13), the Xiaomi 12 Pro breezes through daily tasks. MIUI is very familiar to a lot of customers in India it has some very useful features such as an in-built screen recorder, secure folder, app switcher (where one can see four open apps at a time), and better storage management and much more. I’ve criticised MIUI in the past but it is now extremely well optimised for the hardware that accompanies it. 

Immediately after setting up the smartphone I switched to QHD+ and 120Hz and noticed absolutely no lag. Whether I was browsing YouTube, playing games or room scrolling through Instagram and Twitter, the smartphone never for a second slowed down.

Where’s the shortcomings?

The Xiaomi 12 Pro may be one of my favourite smartphones of 2022 but that doesn’t mean it is perfect. Xiaomi’s MIUI feels a touch heavier than other Android forks but, over the years, it has gotten a lot more snappier. One big downside is the fact that MIUI 13 ships with a load of bloatware. Most of these apps - video player, social network and much more - can only be disapled and not uninstalled. Furthermore, it doesn’t seem like Xiaomi has adopted Android 12’s Material You theming, which is a shame. One last shortcoming with respect to MIUI is the fact that it doesn’t support third-party icon packs.

The company may have doubled down on their charging technology with the 11i Hypercharge, but it comes at the expense of battery life. Yes, with the Xiaomi 12 Pro, I struggled to get through a full day without having to fend for the charging brick. I had the display set to 120Hz refresh rate and had the device in performance mode. The good thing is, with a 120W charger (included in the box), I could fully charge the phone in 20 minutes flat. You just need to go into the settings and enable the fast charging feature. To sum it up; weak battery but extremely fast charging to save the day. Just remember to carry the charging brick with you.

It’s a shame that Xiaomi had to cut some corners to get to the price point it is selling at. One of those is the lack of an IP68 dust and water resistance. It’s one of the only flagship smartphones to have omitted it.

Let’s talk photography

The Showstopper, as Xiaomi has been calling the Xiaomi 12 Pro has three 50-megapixel cameras on the back and a very capable 32MP selfie camera. The main sensor is by far the best camera of the trio. The Xiaomi 12 Pro has by far the best camera on any Xiaomi smartphone till date. I haven’t used the Xiaomi 11 Ultra extensively, but I’ve used pretty much every other Xiaomi phone in the past. 

The images from the main senor come out sharp and are well-detailed. They’ve got excellent colour balance. Low-light performance has also vastly improved with little-to-no noise and plenty of details being retained. The natural bokeh produced by the main sensor is most excellent.

A nifty feature that comes with the Xiaomi 12 Pro is a new motion tracking mode. Enable this and you can maintain focus on any moving object. The Xiaomi 12 Pro also focuses insanely fast. Boot up the camera, lick on to a subject, and click away.

Where I was disappointed was with the 2x telephoto camera. They’ve got consistent colour and exposure but the 2x zoom is far weaker than its rivals. Anything over 2x zoom and it becomes blocky.

The wide-angle did a decent job, on par with the FInd X5 Pro from Oppo that I recently reviewed. The wide-angle offers much the same colour consistency as the main sensor and that’s a testament to the work XIaomi has put in with respect to the cameras. 

Videos, taken with the main sensor, have great stabalisation, good lighting, natural bokeh, and some excellent audio output.

Xiaomi really has upped their A-game with respect to the cameras on the Xiaomi 12 Pro. While, I haven’t tested the Vivo X80 Pro yet, the XIaomi 12 Pro holds its own against the Oppo Find X5 Pro and other rivals such as the iQOO 9 Pro.

Is it worthy of your hard-earned money?

The Xiaomi 12 Pro has all the right moving parts to compete with the best in the smartphone business. It’s got a stunning display with a fantastic quad-speaker setup, one of the fastest charging currently available, an absolutely superb main sensor, a top-of-the-line chipset and a clean design to boot.

In my book, for just Rs 62,999 (cheaper than many of its rivals), it’s an excellent package. It’s just that, in certain areas, it is a letdown in some way or the other. There’s the limited optical zoom, underwhelming battery, lack of any water and dust resistance, and that the handset runs hot in certain situations. Then there’s MIUI 13, while vastly improved, still has far fewer customisation options than something like the ColorOS that is on the Oppo Find X5 Pro.

With the Xiaomi 12 Ultra coming, one hopes that some of these shortcomings are fixed, especially the lack of much zoom.

Until then, the XIaomi 12 Pro should be considered high up on your list, if you’re in the market for a 2022 flagship. 

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