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Xiaomi 12 series buyer's guide: Everything you need to know

Update: The Xiaomi 12 Pro is now available in India.
By
August 29, 2022
Xiaomi 12 series rear panel angled
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Xiaomi 12 series may have landed a little late in global markets, but the phones bring a slew of notable upgrades over the previous Mi 11 line. The batch of 2022 devices includes the Xiaomi 12, Xiaomi 12 Pro, and Xiaomi 12X. There is no Xiaomi 12 Ultra model in the mix, but one is rumored to launch later in the year.

This year, the Xiaomi 12 and 12 Pro are the true-blue Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 flagships. The Pro model, specifically, brings a buffed-up camera setup and almost double the charging speed compared to last year’s Mi 11 Ultra. The Xiaomi 12X is also a powerful device with the same hardware as the Xiaomi 12, albeit with a Snapdragon 870 chip at the helm.

Read on for everything you need to know about the Xiaomi 12 series phones.

See also: The best Android phones you can buy right now


Xiaomi 12 series: At a glance

Xiaomi 12 Pro display in hand
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
Xiaomi 12 Pro screen

The Xiaomi 12 family is a part of the Chinese manufacturer’s flagship phone series that launches in the first quarter of each year. Offering premium hardware at affordable prices has always been Xiaomi’s modus operandi. However, the company has started charging as much as the competition over the last couple of years.

Xiaomi usually sells its flagship phones in Europe, China, and India. The Xiaomi 12 series will be no different. If you’re in the US and want to get your hands on one of the 12-series flagships, you would have to import an international variant.

Also read: Xiaomi 12 and Xiaomi 12 Pro hands-on

All the Xiaomi 12 series devices get a 50MP primary camera. The vanilla model and the Xiaomi 12X get the Sony IMX766 camera sensor also found on other flagships from Oppo, OnePlus, and Realme. Meanwhile, the Xiaomi 12 Pro debuts Sony’s new IMX707 sensor. The company claims it improves light capture by 120% compared to the Mi 11 generation.

Fast charging is another standout feature of the Xiaomi 12 series. The Xiaomi 12 Pro tops up with the manufacturer’s 120W HyperCharge solution. The standard 12 and 12X models borrow 67W wired charging from 2021’s Mi 11 Ultra.

Add 120Hz AMOLED displays and sizeable batteries to the mix, and you’ve got three full-featured phones asking for your attention.


Is the Xiaomi 12 series worth buying?

Xiaomi 12 series on table cascaded
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Xiaomi 12 series is meant for those who don’t want to spend upwards of $1,000 on a flagship phone. At about $749, the Xiaomi 12 is way below the four-figure price tag. It’s also a bit cheaper than the Mi 11 from last year and undercuts the Samsung Galaxy S22, which starts at $799. If you were expecting an affordable flagship, that’s precisely what you get with the Xiaomi 12.

Meanwhile, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is the best phone the company offers right now. At $999, it’s aimed straight at the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus. The phone’s specs can also go shoulder-to-shoulder with other Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 flagships out there. If a full-featured, high-end phone is what you’re after, the Xiaomi 12 Pro should not disappoint. However, we will reserve our final judgment for when we review the phone and thoroughly test its performance, cameras, and other aspects.

If a value-for-money phone is what you're looking for, the Xiaomi 12X might not be the best you can get.

At $649, the Xiaomi 12X is the most budget-focussed handset in the line. You will have to compromise with a less powerful Snapdragon 870 chip. However, it still carries the same fast charging speeds, camera hardware, battery capacity, and high refresh rate display as the Xiaomi 12. That said, the Pixel 6 comes in cheaper at $599 and brings with it a no-nonsense Android experience, great cameras, a newer chip, as well as the promise of longer software updates. So if a value-for-money phone is what you’re looking for, the Xiaomi 12X might not be the best you can get.

Moreover, none of the Xiaomi 12 series phones carry an official IP rating for water and dust protection. The 12 Pro also tops out at 256GB of storage which is not expandable, pushing it way behind the 512GB and 1TB options offered by competitors. These and some more factors may make it hard for the new Xiaomi flagships to compete with other high-end devices in the market.


What reviewers are saying about the Xiaomi 12 series

Xiaomi 12 series stacked
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Our own Eric Zeman only reviewed the Xiaomi 12 Pro, but he found that the device wasn’t as well-rounded as it needed to be at this price point.

Android Authority's own Eric Zeman felt that the Pro model was a good phone in a field of great phones.

More specifically, Eric praised the screen, performance, fast charging, and “solid” main camera. However, he took issue with the lack of water resistance, disappointing zoom capabilities, ho-hum battery life, and bloated software. Our reviewer concluded by noting that the Xiaomi 12 Pro was a good phone but that you could get great phones at the same price or even cheaper.

What reviewers around the web are saying about the Xiaomi 12 series

  • Notebookcheck: The outlet reckoned that the build quality of the Xiaomi 12 Pro is very good and the choice of materials is premium. However, the lack of IP certification is disappointing. The publication also notes that Xiaomi exaggerates both contrast and sharpness on the main camera, which leads to dim pictures with an unnecessarily limited dynamic range. The telephoto camera’s 20x digital zoom is also not impressive and produces low-quality results. However, the outlet found that the ultrawide camera works well. Elsewhere, the outlet says that the cooling of the smartphone warrants criticism: Overheating is an issue during demanding stress tests and while gaming.
  • Techradar: The long-running website gave the Pro model four stars out of five, praising the fingerprint-resistant finish, fast charging, and screen quality. In saying so, the outlet took issue with the zoom capabilities, software bloat, and lack of water resistance.
  • GSMArena: GSMArena reviewed the standard Xiaomi 12, giving it 4.3 stars out of five. The outlet heaped praise on the compact form factor, slick screen, and good camera performance. However, it also criticized the battery life, zoom quality, and lack of water resistance.

What AA readers think of the Xiaomi 12 series

We ran a poll when the Xiaomi 12 series was unveiled for the first time in China, and our readers cast nearly 1,000 votes. Here’s how they voted.

86% of the polled readers thought that the Xiaomi 12 series is hot, compared to 14% of the readers who didn’t like what Xiaomi has to offer. The poll occurred before the international launch of the phones when their global prices weren’t known.


Xiaomi 12 series specs

SpecsXiaomi 12XXiaomi 12Xiaomi 12 Pro
Specs
Display
Xiaomi 12X
6.28-inch AMOLED display
FHD+, 2,400 x 1,080
120Hz refresh rate
480Hz touch sampling rate
Dolby Vision, HDR 10+ support
Xiaomi 12
6.28-inch AMOLED display
FHD+, 2,400 x 1,080
120Hz refresh rate
480Hz touch sampling rate
Dolby Vision, HDR 10+ support
Xiaomi 12 Pro
6.73-inch AMOLED display
WQHD+, 3,200 x 1,080
120Hz refresh rate
480Hz touch sampling rate
Dolby Vision, HDR 10+ support
Specs
Processor
Xiaomi 12X
Qualcomm Snapdragon 870
Xiaomi 12
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Xiaomi 12 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Specs
Memory
Xiaomi 12X
8GB
Xiaomi 12
8GB
12GB
Xiaomi 12 Pro
8GB
12GB
Specs
Storage
Xiaomi 12X
256GB
Xiaomi 12
128GB
256GB
Xiaomi 12 Pro
256GB
Specs
Battery
Xiaomi 12X
4,500mAh
67W wired turbo charging
50W wireless turbo charging
10W reverse wireless charging
Xiaomi 12
4,500mAh
67W wired turbo charging
50W wireless turbo charging
10W reverse wireless charging
Xiaomi 12 Pro
4,600mAh
120W wired turbo charging
50W wireless turbo charging
10W reverse wireless charging
Specs
Camera
Xiaomi 12X
Rear:
-50MP main camera f/1.88, 6P lens, 2µm 4-in-1 Super Pixel
-13 MP ultra-wide camera
123˚ FOV, f/2.4
-5MP telemacro camera
50mm equivalent focal length, Auto Focus

Front:
-32MP selfie camera
f/2.45, 1.4µm 4-in-1 Super Pixel
Xiaomi 12
Rear:
-50MP main camera f/1.88, 6P lens, 2µm 4-in-1 Super Pixel
-13 MP ultrawide camera
123˚ FOV, f/2.4
-5MP telemacro camera
50mm equivalent focal length, Auto Focus

Front:
-32MP selfie camera
f/2.45, 1.4µm 4-in-1 Super Pixel
Xiaomi 12 Pro
Rear:
-50MP main camera
f/1.9
1/1.28-inch 7P lens
2.44 μm 4-in-1 Super Pixel
-50MP ultrawide camera
115° FOV, f/2.2
-50MP telephoto camera
48mm equivalent focal length, f/1.9

Front:
-32MP selfie camera
f/2.45, 1.4µm 4-in-1 Super Pixel
Specs
Video
Xiaomi 12X
4K recording
8K recording
Xiaomi 12
4K HDR 10+ recording
8K recording
Xiaomi 12 Pro
4K HDR 10+ recording
8K recording
Specs
Connectivity
Xiaomi 12X
Dual SIM
Dual 5G standby
NFC
Bluetooth 5.1
Wi-Fi 6
Xiaomi 12
Dual SIM
Dual 5G standby
NFC
Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 6/Wi-Fi 6E (Based on regions)
Xiaomi 12 Pro
Dual SIM
Dual 5G standby
NFC
Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 6/Wi-Fi 6E (Based on regions)
Specs
Ports
Xiaomi 12X
USB-C
Xiaomi 12
USB-C
Xiaomi 12 Pro
USB-C
Specs
Durability
Xiaomi 12X
Gorilla Glass Victus
Xiaomi 12
Gorilla Glass Victus
Xiaomi 12 Pro
Gorilla Glass Victus
Specs
Operating system
Xiaomi 12X
MIUI 13 with Android 11
Xiaomi 12
MIUI 13 with Android 12
Xiaomi 12 Pro
MIUI 13 with Android 12
Specs
Dimensions
Xiaomi 12X
152.70mm x 69.90mm x 8.16mm
Xiaomi 12
152.70mm x 69.90mm x 8.16mm
Xiaomi 12 Pro
163.60mm x 74.60mm x 8.16mm
Specs
Weight
Xiaomi 12X
176g
Xiaomi 12
180g
Xiaomi 12 Pro
205g
Specs
Colors
Xiaomi 12X
Gray
Purple
Blue
Xiaomi 12
Gray
Purple
Blue
Xiaomi 12 Pro
Gray
Purple
Blue

How are the cameras on the Xiaomi 12 series?

Xiaomi 12 series camera modules closeup
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Xiaomi 12 Pro is king amongst the trio when it comes to photography. It accommodates three 50MP camera sensors in a traditional wide, ultrawide, and telephoto arrangement. Xiaomi calls it the “pro-grade triple camera array.”

The main 50MP sensor is the one to talk about here. It is the new Sony IMX707 and the Xiaomi 12 Pro is the only phone that has it right now. The sensor is a minor upgrade to the existing Sony IMX700. It has the same 1/1.28-inches size and 50MP output with individual pixels sized at 1.22-microns. The sensor also uses pixel binning to get results equivalent to 2.44-micron pixels, apparently increasing the light intake by 49% compared to the older sensor. Xiaomi claims a 120% improvement in light capture compared to its previous flagships.

More reading: Want a phone with a great camera? Here’s what to look for

Meanwhile, the other two 50MP cameras use the much smaller Samsung ISOCELL JN1 sensor that delivers a 1/2.76-inch size combined with 0.64-micron pixels. It’s a step down from the Mi 11 Ultra’s 48MP telephoto and ultrawide cameras, let alone the 50MP GN2 main camera sensor.

Eric felt that the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s camera experience was good but fell short of devices from Samsung, Google, and Apple. More specifically, he noted that rival devices offered better zoom, better color reproduction, and less noise when the sun goes down. Still, he noted that it was a “competent enough shooter.”


How is the battery life on the Xiaomi 12 series phones?

Xiaomi 12 series bottom edges
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Xiaomi 12 Pro packs a 4,600mAh battery, while the Xiaomi 12 and 12X both get 4,500mAh cells. The Pro model is also the only one in the line that gets 120W wired fast charging. Xiaomi claims that it can fully charge the phone in just 18 minutes using the Boost Mode.

Meanwhile, the Xiaomi 12 and 12X support 67W wired charging. All the phones get 50W wireless charging and 10W reverse charging. The good news is that all the phones ship with their fast chargers in the box — something rare to find in premium phones these days.

So what about real-world usage? Eric said battery life was the most concerning shortcoming on the Xiaomi 12 Pro. He specifically said he had less than a quarter of battery life left at the end of the day with typical usage. Those hoping for longer endurance with heavier usage might need to look elsewhere. At least 120W charging can get you from 10% to a full charge in 20 minutes in our experience.


How is the performance of the Xiaomi 12 series?

Xiaomi 12 Pro rear panel right profile
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Xiaomi 12 and 12 Pro feature the latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. While parallels can be drawn to other flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S22 series or the Oppo Find X5 Pro that have the same processor, the actual performance of the phones depends on other factors like software optimization.

Fortunately, our testing revealed that the Xiaomi 12 Pro generally outperformed other Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 flagship phones in benchmarks, such as the Oppo Find X5 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Eric did however caution that the phone got hotter than other Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 flagships he previously tested.

Coming to the Xiaomi 12X, the phone comes bearing the Snapdragon 870 chip. The octa-core processor was announced last year and powered the Mi 11X amongst other phones like the OnePlus 9R, Motorola Edge 20 Pro, and more. With the 870, you essentially get a slightly faster SoC than the Snapdragon 865 Plus. It’s not the best performing chip on the market, but it’s still plenty fast to get you through the day without issues.


Phone software and updates

Xiaomi 12x display on orange
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Xiaomi 12 and 12 Pro bring MIUI 13 based on Android 12 out of the box. That means you get all the latest software features Xiaomi has to offer, including Liquid Storage, Atomized Memory, Smart Balance, and more. You can read about all those in detail via the aforementioned MIUI 13 link.

While the Xiaomi 12X launched with Android 11 out of the box, it’s now gaining an upgrade to Android 12 across Europe.

Xiaomi recently extended its Android update policy to three major OS upgrades and four years of security updates. The Xiaomi 12 and 12 Pro will benefit from that approach.


Xiaomi 12 series vs. Mi 11 series: What’s new?

Xiaomi 12 Pro and Xiaomi 12 front panels
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Xiaomi has swapped out almost all of the old hardware for new digs in the Xiaomi 12 series. The design of the three phones has completely changed, especially the main camera module. However, if you put all the three Xiaomi 12 series models together, they look alike and are difficult to tell apart.

Specs of the Xiaomi 12 and 12 Pro are also brand new, including Qualcomm’s top processor, updated camera sensors, the latest software, and more. One notable change in the vanilla Xiaomi 12 is the smaller screen size. Xiaomi’s standard flagship is now more compact with a 6.28-inch footprint compared to the Mi 11’s 6.8-inch screen.

Meanwhile, the Xiaomi 12X is not a big leap away from last year’s Mi 11X. The two phones have the same processor at heart, so the core experience of using them should be pretty much the same. They also feature Android 11, even though the 12X comes with the new MIUI 13 build compared to MIUI 12 on the Mi 11X. The cameras get a bump up, though. The Mi 11X got a 48MP + 8MP + 5MP setup, while the 12X upgrades to a 50MP + 13MP + 5MP configuration. That said, it’s still a wide + ultrawide + macro camera arrangement.


What is the Xiaomi 12S series?

Xiaomi 12S Pro
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

In July 2022, Xiaomi announced the 12S series. Exclusive to China, this series is the company’s first to pack Leica-branded cameras.

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is the stand-out, packing a massive rear camera array with a 1-inch 50MP Sony IMX989 sensor. It’s joined by 48MP ultrawide and periscope cameras with a 32MP sensor up front. There’s also a 6.73-inch LTPO display with a 4,860mAh battery powering a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 SoC. That chipset features in all three phones.

The Xiaomi 12S Pro features the same screen but a smaller 4,600mAh battery, with a trio of 50MP cameras on its back.

Finally, the Xiaomi 12S caters to smaller phone enthusiasts, with a 6.28-inch OLED panel, a 4,500mAh battery, and a 50MP/13MP/5MP camera arrangement.

Pricing ranges from 6,999 yuan (~$1,045) for the priciest 12GB/512GB Ultra model, to 3,999 yuan (~$600) for the cheapest 8GB/128GB 12S variant.


What are some good Xiaomi 12 series alternatives?

Xiaomi 12 series on table spread
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Check out some alternatives to the Xiaomi 12, 12 Pro, and 12X below.

  • Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus ($699 — $999): The Xiaomi 12 Pro goes head-to-head with Samsung’s S22 Plus, while the vanilla Xiaomi 12 competes with the Galaxy S22. Samsung offers solid flagships with great cameras and the most reliable software updates in the business. The Galaxy phones are also more premium and get IP68 certifications for protection against dust and water. The price difference is also negligible, making the Galaxies tough competition for Xiaomi’s phones.
  • Pixel 6 and 6 Pro ($599 — $899): At $599 and $899, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are also excellent devices to consider. As mentioned before, Google’s phone will give you a great camera experience, Android updates for years, and speedy performance. They also have a more striking design compared to Xiaomi’s conservative 12 series devices.
  • Realme GT 2 and GT 2 Pro (€449 — €849): The Realme GT 2 Pro starts at €649 (~$712) and also offers premium hardware, including the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, a 120Hz OLED display, the same 50MP main camera as the Xiaomi 12, a 150-degree FoV ultrawide camera, up to 512GB of storage, and a bigger 5,000mAh battery. If you want something cheaper, you should consider the standard GT 2, which starts at €449 (~$501) and gets the more recent Snapdragon 888 processor compared to the Xiaomi 12X’ Snapdragon 870 chip.
  • Oppo Find X5 (€999 — €1,299): The Oppo Find X5 and Find X5 Pro are slightly more expensive but feature an elegant design, flagship processors, 120Hz displays, custom cameras great for low-light images, and fast wired as well as wireless charging.

Where to buy the Xiaomi 12 series

Xiaomi 12 Pro display profile
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro (8/256GB): $999 / €999 / Rs 62,999
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro (12/256GB): £1,049 / €1,099 / Rs 66,999
  • Xiaomi 12 (8/128GB): $749 / £749 / €799
  • Xiaomi 12 (8/256GB): £849 / €899
  • Xiaomi 12X (8/128GB): $649 / €699

Xiaomi 12 series customers will receive up to three months of YouTube Premium free of charge.

The phones will be available in Xiaomi’s international markets, including but not limited to Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

Xiaomi 12 Pro camera module closeup
Xiaomi 12 Pro
Xiaomi 12 Pro
The Xiaomi 12 Pro packs top specs into a stylish chassis complete with a large display, top specs, and one of the fastest charging batteries in the market.

Xiaomi has also announced pricing and availability in the UK and Europe, with pre-orders starting from April 1 and general sales from April 15. In the UK, the Xiaomi 12 is available in 8GB + 128GB and 8GB + 256GB variants, while the Xiaomi 12 Pro is only available in a 12GB + 256GB variant in the UK.

Xiaomi 12 rear panel in hand
Xiaomi 12
Smaller and slightly more affordable than the Pro version
The Xiaomi 12 comes with a low price point, but specs include a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, up to 12GB of RAM, and as much as 256GB of storage.

In Europe, the Xiaomi 12 is also available in 8GB + 128GB and 8GB + 256GB guises. The Xiaomi 12 Pro can be had in 8GB + 256GB and 12GB + 256GB varieties. Additionally, the Xiaomi 12X is also listed on Amazon Germany, starting at €699. You can view launch pricing in the list above.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro launched in India on April 27, being available in 8GB/256GB and 12GB/256GB flavors.


Top Xiaomi 12 series questions and answers

No, none of the Xiaomi 12 series flagships have an official IP rating.

No, the Xiaomi 12 series is not available in the US, but you can import the devices through third-party websites.

All three Xiaomi 12 series phones come in Gray, Purple, and Blue colorways.

No, the Xiaomi 12, 12 Pro, and 12X come with fixed, non-expandable storage.

No, none of the Xiaomi 12 series phones have a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Yes, you’re getting a 120W charger in the Xiaomi 12 Pro box, while the Xiaomi 12 and 12X get a 67W charger in the box.


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