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Xiaomi 12 series: Everything we know so far (Updated: Dec. 7)
Update: December 7, 2021 (1:07 AM ET): New details relating to the Xiaomi 12 Pro models have appeared in a TENAA listing, confirming the device’s charging speed. Read on for more.
Original article: It feels like the Xiaomi Mi 11 series arrived just a few weeks ago, but time moves quickly in smartphone land. Its successor, the Xiaomi 12, will soon debut with the latest flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset and a fresh feature set. But what else do we know about Xiaomi’s upcoming pinnacle line? Below, we round up everything we know about the series so far.
Xiaomi 12 series: Name and release date
There’s no doubt that Xiaomi’s next flagship series will bear a simple numerical moniker after the company dropped the Mi prefix from its devices in August. The firm effectively confirmed the Xiaomi 12’s title once again on December 1, when it claimed it’d be the first phone to launch with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC.
We aren’t too sure about the Xiaomi 12 series lineup models. Based on the latest leak from China, we expect at least three devices to debut, possibly bearing the Xiaomi 12, Xiaomi 12 Pro, and Xiaomi 12 Ultra titles. That said, it’s unclear if the Pro model would once again be a Chinese exclusive like the Mi 11 Pro. There’s also no evidence that Mi 11 Lite or Mi 11i successors will also appear, but there’s concrete proof of a Xiaomi 12X in the works. This would seemingly land as a smaller, affordable option for budget-conscious buyers.
As for the series’ launch date, a leak in late November pointed to a December 12 arrival. There’s some precedent for a December debut, too, as Xiaomi outed the Mi 11 series on December 28.
See also: The best Xiaomi phones you can buy
The Xiaomi 12 series’ design is the biggest unknown at this point. We’ve yet to see high-quality, official-looking renders of the phones, so it’s unclear which design direction Xiaomi will take its new flagships.
With the Xiaomi Mi 11 series launch, only the Mi 11 Ultra featured exaggerated aesthetic differences to set it apart. That said, it remains a mystery if its key traits — such as the sizeable rear camera array and secondary screen — will carry over to the Xiaomi 12 Ultra.
Tipster Digital Chat Station shed some light on the phone’s possible rear camera layout. A group of three asymmetric lenses joins what appears to be two flashes and an additional sensor in the leaked shot. It’s unclear if all Xiaomi 12 models will sport this arrangement.
Notably, DCS also suggested that the front of the phones will remain the same, complete with a centrally-mounted punch hole camera. In-display fingerprint sensors could also feature.
See also: The best camera phones you can get
Specs and features
We do expect the Xiaomi 12 models to share some common traits. For the Xiaomi Mi 11 series, these included the display, chipset, selfie camera, and RAM type.
Notably, at least one Xiaomi 12 model could gain much faster charging. Per Digital Chat Station, the series could feature 100W support for the first time. This addition would likely debut on the Xiaomi 12 Ultra. It would be a sizeable upgrade from its predecessor’s 67W limit and even more so from the 50W offered by the vanilla Mi 11 model.
The phones’ camera hardware could see a considerable upgrade, too. In August, Digital Chat Station claimed that Xiaomi could drop the Mi 11’s 108+13+5MP camera layout. Instead, the new model could go for a trio of 50MP primary, ultra-wide, and 5x telephoto snappers. It’s unclear if this will be the same 50MP sensor used on the Mi 11 Ultra, which delivered crisp but oversaturated shots in our review.
A long-running rumor suggested that a future Xiaomi phone could sport a 200MP sensor from Samsung. Samsung’s new Isocell HP1 sensor offers new pixel-binning tech that can shoot 50MP or 12.5MP shots depending on requirement or mode. However, a more recent update suggests that Motorola is more likely to use this sensor before Xiaomi. It’s believed that Xiaomi is still testing the sensor on a phone that could launch in H2 2022.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro was spotted passing through TENAA on December 7, dropping confirmation of its charging specs (h/t 91Mobiles). According to the listing, the phone bears model number 2201122C and will support 120W charging.
There are more spec details for the rumored Xiaomi 12X, too. It’s understood to bear the model number 2112123AG, which recently passed through TENAA (h/t Digital Chat Station). According to a separate rumor from tipster Kacper Skrzypek, the phone won’t use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 but may settle for the Snapdragon 870. A 120Hz OLED screen and a 50MP primary camera are also in line to feature.
Perhaps the biggest reveal is the potential size of the Xiaomi 12X. It could measure 145.4mm long and 65.4mm wide, suggesting a more compact flagship Xiaomi phone in the offing.
We expect all Xiaomi 12 phones to gain MIUI 13, but a peek into the UI’s code suggests the Xiaomi 12X will not launch with Android 12 initially. Will other Xiaomi 12 models also launch with Android 11? That remains to be seen.
See also: The best small Android phones available
Xiaomi 12 series: Price and availability
Finally, let’s talk price. The Xiaomi 12 series will likely pack plenty of high-level specs, so expect a pricing structure to match. As a baseline, the Mi 11 started at 3,999 yuan (~$628), topping out at 6,999 yuan (~$1,099) for the top Mi 11 Ultra. We imagine Xiaomi will try to stay within these bounds with the 12 series.
You may want to budget a little more if you live in Europe, as the Mi 11 series was notably pricier in the north. The Mi 11 and Mi 11 Ultra were priced at €749 (~$847) and €1,149 (~$1,356), respectively.
Concerning availability, we expect the phones to be limited to China at first. They should then spread to Europe and India in the weeks or even months after their debuts. The Xiaomi Mi 11 series hit global markets in March 2021 after it launched in China in December 2020. Hopefully, this was just an anomaly. But there are considerable distribution challenges facing smartphone companies in 2021 that’ll likely continue into 2022.
Only the Mi 11 Ultra and Mi 11X made their way to India, tackling the very top and mid-range segments. That said, tipster Kacper Skrzypek believes Xiaomi won’t offer the 12X on the subcontinent this time around. This doesn’t rule out a rebrand, though.