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Xiaomi 12 series launched: What do 2022's first flagships bring?

Xiaomi's new top-end smartphone line brings performance, camera, and aesthetic improvements.
December 28, 2021
xiaomi 12 image 1
  • Xiaomi has officially launched the Xiaomi 12 series in China.
  • The phones bring several buffs over their predecessors, including more innovative camera tech, better displays, and faster charging.
  • Pricing starts at under $600 for the base Xiaomi 12.

Xiaomi today debuted its new Xiaomi 12 flagship series in China, which brings sweeping changes over the outgoing Mi 11 line. The Xiaomi 12 and Xiaomi 12 Pro include notable buffs to the camera hardware and charging experience, but that’s only a portion of what’s on offer.

Aesthetically, there are several welcome design changes to the new line. For starters, both Xiaomi 12 models feature centered punch-hole selfie cameras, much like the 11T series. The rear panels pack camera islands portioned in the top-left but feature a simplified, rectangular design with distinct lenses. Adding to the Xiaomi 12’s uniqueness is an optional textured rear finish reminiscent of the Oppo Find X2 Pro. Arguably, the Xiaomi 12’s shell is far more attractive and consistent than the Mi 11 series.

While the vanilla and Pro models feature different spec sheets, there are shared traits. Most notably is the chipset. Both models pack the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC with sprightlier cores and the X65 integrated 5G modem. This should provide a noticeable performance buff over the already competent Snapdragon 888-powered Mi 11 range.

See also: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra review

Xiaomi 12

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According to Xiaomi, the vanilla 12 is a “small” flagship, and that’s probably accurate compared to its contemporaries. It’s 69.9mm wide, making it narrower than the iPhone 13 and Samsung Galaxy S21. It weighs in at a relatively slim 180 grams, too.

Keeping things relatively compact, the phone also packs a 6.28-inch AMOLED screen with a 2,400 x 1,080 resolution, 12-bit color support, a 120Hz refresh rate, and 1,100 nits of maximum brightness. Gorilla Glass Victus provides protection.

Xiaomi’s taking cooling a little more seriously on the Xiaomi 12, too. The phone features a much larger cooling plate to wick away heat from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. A 4,500mAh battery powers the chipset, supporting 67W wired, 50W wireless, and 10W reverse charging. Top-ups via a cable should take less than 40 minutes, according to Xiaomi.

As for imaging, the Xiaomi 12’s primary shooter uses the 50MP Sony IMX766 with OIS. A 13MP ultrawide camera with a 123-degree FOV and an unspecified macro sensor completes the offering. Xiaomi also talks up the phone’s improved continuous shooting speed and CyberFocus feature, which is effectively more sensitive focus-locking and tracking technology. Notably, this tech was derived from Xiaomi’s CyberDog. A 32MP selfie shooter also features.

Xiaomi 12 Pro

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Xiaomi didn’t unveil an Ultra model, so the Pro is the de facto range-topper for the time being. It features a smaller screen than its predecessor, but it’s still decidedly larger than the vanilla 12. It packs a 6.73-inch 3,200 x 1,440 AMOLED panel, with a 120Hz variable refresh rate, 10-bit color support, and a 1,500 nit peak brightness rating. The in-display fingerprint sensor makes a return, while Gorilla Glass Victus makes another appearance.

Keeping that display ticking over is a 4,600mAh battery, supporting 120W wired charging. The Xiaomi 12 Pro also benefits from 50W wireless charging and 10W reverse charging for those adverse to wires.

Around the back, there’s a trio of 50MP sensors, with the Sony IMX707 used behind the primary shooter. This camera system also includes Xiaomi’s CyberFocus tech. Ultrawide and telephoto shooters also feature, while the 32MP sensor is used up front.

Other niceties include dual speakers tuned by Harman/Kardon, while the device will also launch with MIUI 13 out of the box.

Xiaomi 12 Pro: Hot or not?

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Xiaomi 12X

The surprise addition to the lineup packs a 6.28-inch 120Hz AMOLED, a 50MP primary camera, a 32MP selfie shooter, and a 4,500mAh battery with 67W charging support.

The big difference is the chipset. The Xiaomi 12X swaps the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 for the Snapdragon 870 SoC. Ostensibly, that’s the only marked change over the Xiaomi 12.

Pricing and availability

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The Xiaomi 12 series is currently limited to China, but we’d imagine at least one of these devices will land in global markets in due course. That said, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro didn’t make that journey, though. It’s unclear if the Xiaomi 12 Pro will.

Nevertheless, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is available in China from 4,699 yuan (~$738) for the 8GB/128GB model, 4,999 yuan (~$785) for the 8GB/256GB option, and 5,399 yuan (~$848) for the range-topoping 12GB/256GB variant.

Pricing for the standard Xiaomi 12 starts at 3,699 yuan (~$581) for the 8GB/128GB model and 3,999 yuan (~$628) for the 8GB/256GB option. This jumps to 4,399 yuan (~$691) for the 12GB/256GB variant.

Both phones come in four colors: black, blue, purple, and a textured wild green option.

Finally, the Xiaomi 12X starts at 3,199 yuan (~$502) for the 8GB/128GB option, jumping to 3,799 yuan (~$596) for the 12GB/256GB flavor.

In China, pre-orders kick off on December 30, 2021, with general sales commencing in 2022.