Sunday, December 4

The Xiaomi 12 series has me excited and worried: here’s why

You may have missed it, but the Xiaomi 12 series was officially unveiled in China over the holidays. However, after reviewing the specs and comparing them to the most anticipated phones, I can’t help but think that Xiaomi has dropped some features and forgotten to add others, which would give the 12 series the same advantages that the Xiaomi Mi did. 11. good series.

The announcement revealed to us the Xiaomi 12, Xiaomi 12 Pro, and the lower-spec Xiaomi 12X. So that’s a rank of three, or at least until the seemingly inevitable 12 Ultra arrives. That’s a good number of phones to choose from at least, but I don’t like what Xiaomi did with the base phone.

At first glance, the 120Hz FHD resolution display, 67W wired charging, and rear array of 50MP / 13MP ultrawide / 5MP main telephoto cameras offer good compromises in terms of breadth and quality for such a phone. price. This is still the phone in the range I’m least sure of though, as Xiaomi made the decision to make a major change, downsizing the 12 (and 12X) to 6.3 inches.

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

When I reviewed the Xiaomi Mi 11 last year (and then named it my personal favorite phone of the year in December), part of my praise was for the phone’s 6.8-inch QHD display with a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. Not only was it good for a basic flagship phone, it was good enough to basically beat or match all of its rivals in quality, even those that cost hundreds of dollars or pounds more, like the OnePlus 9 Pro or the Galaxy S21 Ultra. And now that murderous edge has been taken away.

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A smaller screen can be a good thing for users who want smaller phones if given the option, plus it gives the 12 Pro a stronger claim to its Pro title with its larger screen. But its new reduced size and resolution, the Xiaomi 12 will have to fight on a more even playing field with phones like the upcoming Galaxy S22, which is rumored to offer superior cameras, as well as a more familiar name to UK buyers.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro is armed with a 6.8-inch QHD / 120Hz panel, but its weakness may lie in its cameras instead. It seems to inherit the camera settings from the Mi 11 Ultra; three main 50MP sensors covering main, ultrawide and 2x telephoto functions. That’s a lower maximum magnification and two fewer sensors than the S21 Ultra has and the Galaxy S22 Ultra is rumored to have. That didn’t matter last year, as the Mi 11 Ultra offered a secondary display alongside those cameras to allow you to take selfies with them or help your subjects frame themselves. There is no such trick in the 12 Pro.

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

It is a similar story with software. Aside from Xiaomi’s details on how it has improved its existing photography algorithms, there doesn’t seem to be any new photo or video app toys to play with. The OnePlus 10 Pro, the Google Pixel 6 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro, which also offer three rear cameras, have invested heavily in their special features, such as special “movie” modes or advanced editing. The Xiaomi 12 Pro is better to take impressive images and videos, otherwise it seems that it could be left behind in all aspects of photography.

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Xiaomi has equipped the Pro model with another selling point that could more easily win over buyers: its 120W wired charging capacity. I tested this feature briefly with the Xiaomi 11T Pro and was completely impressed. It puts the 12 Pro in a good position to beat the S22 series (rumored to only have a 45W load), as well as the oneplud, which has just officially confirmed its 80W load. That is why, despite the apparent disadvantage of the camera on paper, I believe that the Xiaomi 12 Pro is still a stronger competitor in its class than the Xiaomi base 12 itself.

There are a few other minor things that could give the Xiaomi 12 and 12 Pro an edge. Both will use LPDDR5X RAM, the fastest standard for mobile device memory currently offered, and will again feature Harmon-Kardon-tuned stereo speakers, which provided the Mi 11 with an excellent wide soundstage effect. The whole Xiaomi 12 series also seems more attractive to me this year, with a more cohesive camera block design.

The latest member of Xiaomi’s new lineup is the 12X, which offers an interesting new idea to make a cheaper version of the phone. It shares the same specifications as the Xiaomi 12, except that it uses a less powerful Snapdragon 870 chipset and does not offer wireless charging. I think it’s a great entry point into the range as you can still have everything else that makes 12 good.

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

You don’t have to give up cameras, display, 5G compatibility, or fast charging just because you’re not interested in getting the maximum amount of performance or wireless charging capability that you might never use. Despite being a much more compact phone than the Mi 11, this is perhaps my favorite of the three if priced appropriately, taking the Mi 11’s place as the best phone deal of the year.

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I think it’s a safe bet that one or more of these phones will be one of the best phones in the UK once they arrive. However, I am not sure if they will outperform the competition this year. Perhaps Xiaomi put more effort into their smaller phones with fewer cameras than it sounds, allowing them to compete more directly on quality than just specs. But at the moment I am concerned that the Xiaomi 12 will not be able to take on the main flagships.

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