Yesterday, Xiaomi announced their latest flagship phones, ditching the Mi naming scheme in favour of numbers only.
Three phones were announced, the standard Xiaomi 12, then the 12 Pro and 12x.
We already knew quite a lot of details about the Xiaomi 12, including its new smaller form factor, but it is the new Pro model that will pique most peoples interest.
While both phones feature the new flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen1, there are significant differences between them, above and beyond the dimensions.
Xiaomi 12 Pro LPTO AMOLED display
The Xiaomi 12 Pro will have a 6.73-inch display running at 3200×1440 with a 120Hz LPTO AMOLED capable of 1500bits brightness. Interestingly this is smaller than last years Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro, with a lower screen to body ratio; perhaps Xiaomi has finally realised that people don't want gigantic phones?
The LPTO technology means the refresh rate can vary from 1-120Hz, depending on the task at hand. For most people, this is better than a static refresh rate, but many people have reported that this can cause eye strain due to the variations in refresh rate.
Camera Sensors: 50MP Sony IMX707 vs Samsung JN1
It is the camera specification that is particularily interesting and continues the trend of phone companies focussing on camera technology as the thing that defines a flagship phone.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro uses three 50MP cameras for each of its lenses.
The primary camera is the Sony IMX707, which on paper is not quite as good as the Samsung GN2 on the Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro as it has a smaller sensor of 1/1.28″ vs 1/1.12″. However, Sony sensors have traditionally outperformed the Samsung equivalent.
Then both the ultrawide and 2x telephoto lense use a 50MP sensor, but it is not clear precisely what sensors these are. I can't read Chinese, but it appears that the ultrawide and telephoto pixel bin to 1.28 µm vs 2.44µm of the main sensor, so the sensor size of these two cameras is quite a bit smaller.
My best guess is that the secondary and tertiary cameras are using the Samsung JN1 image sensor, which launched in June 2021 and is the industry's first 0.64-micrometre (μm)-pixel image sensor. This 50MP sensor merges four adjacent 0.64μm-pixels into one big 1.28μm-pixel to quadruple light sensitivity for brighter 12.5Mp photographs.
In comparison, the Oppo Find X3 Pro was one of the first phones that matched up the camera sensor of the primary lens with the ultrawide, using the Sony IMX 766 on both.
Battery and Charging
Xiaomi continues to be at the forefront of charging technology. The Xiaomi 12 Pro will have 120W wired charging capable of going from flat to full in just 18mins. It then has 50W wireless charging capable of a full charge in 42 mins.
The battery is a bit smaller than I'd like at 4600 mAh, but it is fractionally larger than last year.
Will the Xiaomi 12 Pro launch in the UK or the EU? What about the Xiaomi 12 Ultra?
Last year, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro did not launch in the UK or EU. We had a choice of the Mi 11 or the Mi 11 Ultra.
With Xiaomi 12 coming in a much smaller size, I can't see Xiaomi only launching a small phone in western markets. It would be madness not to launch the full-sized Xiaomi 12 Pro.
As for the Xiaomi 12 Ultra, that remains unknown. The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra wasn't announced until March 2021 and didn't come to the UK until May.
Pricing and Availability –When is the UK launch?
The Xiaomi 12 series has only been launched in China for now, and the global launch will come at a later date.
For 2021, the Xiaomi MI 11 launched in the EU at the start of February and in the UK in the middle of March.
As for pricing, the Xiaomi 12 Pro starts at an 8/128GB trim which retails for CNY 4,699 (£550/$738), the 8/256GB model is CNY 4,999(£585/$785), and the top-specced 12/256GB model is CNY 5,399 (£630/$848).
Pre-order from Giztop – Comes with Google but missing band 20
You can order the Xioami 12 and Xiaomi 12 Pro now from grey import sites such as Giztop. These phones are the Chinese edition but come with full Google Mobile Service and Google Play store installed, and OTA updating supported.
The Xiaomi 12 is $699
You will need to make sure it supports the correct network bands for your region, in this case, they support:
- 4G: B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B12/B17/B18/B19/B26.
- 5G: n1/n3/n5/n8/n28a/n38 /n40/n41/n77/n78/n79.
For UK buyers, the Xiaomi 12 series is missing band 20, which is quite a common frequency band running at 800MHz and is frequently used to provide coverage in more rural areas.