Monday, July 4, 2022

Xiaomi 12 Pro Review: Premium Flagship at the Right Price

Xiaomi’s Mi 11 Ultra (Review) was introduced only with big figures and bravado, but still the phone managed to deliver a decent Android experience with a few shortcomings. In the form of Xiaomi 12 Pro, the company has introduced its most premium handset of this year of 2022. Instead of showing big figures for specifications, the company has tried to make the phone durable, as well as trying to offer features according to the price. Its quad speaker setup is quite unique and such a setup is not seen in flagship phones in India.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro is also lower in price as compared to the Mi 11 Ultra, as it may not be a direct replacement for that phone. Rumors have it that an even more premium device may hit the market called the 12 Ultra which will have the faster Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1+ SoC. At the moment, I used Xiaomi 12 Pro for a week and found this phone to be really good. But, is it better than the flagship phones of OnePlus and iQoo?

Xiaomi 12 Pro price in India

Xiaomi 12 Pro The 8GB RAM + 256GB storage model comes for Rs 62,999. Its 12GB RAM + 256GB storage model is available for Rs 66,999. I had its 12GB RAM variant for review. The phone comes in three finishes, including Couture Blue, Noir Black, and Opera Mauve.

Xiaomi 12 Pro design

Xiaomi 12 Pro looks quite glossy and premium. On the right and left sides of the phone, where the front and back glasses meet, it is quite thin. The frame and rear Corning Gorilla Glass 5 panels come with a matte finish, which makes the phone quite sleek. The rear camera module is made of metal and looks modern. A few fine lines separate the sensors from the module. The port and cutouts in the metal frame are well sculpted, without any sharp corners.

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Xiaomi 12 Pro is a top end smartphone, yet it does not have any IP rating to protect it from dust and water. Gadgets 360 has confirmed to the company that it has all the necessary seals as compared to the IP rating, which is equivalent to the IP53 rating. Still, it seems low as the IP rating to be expected on a phone at this price should at least be an IP68 rating. Companies have started doing this nowadays to save on cost. If you look at a budget phone like Redmi Note 11S (Review), it also gets an IP53 rating.

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The phone has a 6.73-inch AMOLED display with the protection of Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus. Fingerprints do not fall easily on it. Speaker grills have been provided at the top and bottom and an infrared emitter is also installed on the top.

Xiaomi 12 Pro specifications and software

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC has been given in Xiaomi 12 Pro. Internal storage is not expandable. Two Nano SIM can be used in the phone. The phone supports dual 5G standby. For connectivity, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC and multiple satellite navigation system are available in it.

The refresh rate of the display is 120Hz and the touch sampling rate is 480Hz. It supports LTPO 2.0, which brings the refresh rate down to 1Hz to save power. An embedded fingerprint scanner has been given in the phone. The resolution of the display is WQHD+ (3200 x 1400 pixels) with 522ppi pixel density.

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The phone comes with a 4,600mAh battery and 120W charger in the box. Apart from this, there is support for 50W wireless charging and 10W reverse wireless charging as well.

Xiaomi 12 Pro runs on Android 12 based Xiaomi MIUI 13. Features like new widgets, permissions manager and privacy dashboard have been provided in the phone. The bloatware commonly found in MIUI 13 is from Xiaomi apps and some third party apps. From the GetApps store, I kept getting notifications for updating apps.

The interface for widgets now looks different and is visible across the screen. Widgets can be added to the home screen by a long press, after which three options are available at the bottom for Wallpaper, Widget and Home screen settings. Resizing widgets is a bit cumbersome as it requires a slight movement of the widget, which takes up a step. Like other manufacturers, the company has provided a theme engine that changes the color of the interface, widgets, and keyboard based on the color of the wallpaper.

Xiaomi 12 Pro performance

Xiaomi 12 Pro performed as expected in the benchmark test. The phone scored 9,82,727 points in AnTuTu and 1,237 and 3,654 points in Geekbench’s single and multi-core tests respectively, which is at par with the market competition. The phone performed smoothly with daily usage.

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The display looks bright outdoors and delivers accurate colors in ‘Original Colour’ mode. There is also an ‘Adaptive Colours’ toggle in the Settings app that adjusts the colors of the display based on the ambient light. Content looks sharp on the display, which is also Dolby Vision and HDR10+ certified. Supported content was good on Netflix. HDR videos streamed on Amazon Prime Video looked a bit dim. Dolby Vision HDR support is not what we see on many Android phones.

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The in-display fingerprint reader is fast and reliable to unlock the phone. During the test, the screen refresh rate of the Xiaomi 12 Pro was changing as expected during different types of content. It typically ran at 60Hz when playing games, 120Hz when scrolling through apps or the feed in the interface. When I was not doing any activity it was locked at 10Hz. I expected the refresh rate to drop to 1Hz when using the Kindle app, but it didn’t.

My gaming experience on Xiaomi 12 Pro was quite good. The phone got hot while playing games for a long time, but the performance did not decrease. I played Call of Duty: Mobile which was running smooth on the highest settings. Asphalt 9: Legends played almost like a console and was running at 60fps by default, but the phone got hot after a while. After tweaking the game space app of the phone, the touch sampling rate was found on.

Xiaomi has done a great job of delivering immersive sound with the new quad-speaker setup of the 12 Pro. The speakers are tuned by Harman Kardon and you get a tweeter and a woofer at each end of the phone. The audio quality was excellent as all four speakers delivered a balanced sound with a focus on the bass and mid-range. The phone supports several Dolby Atmos audio presets and equalizers so that you can get the sound of your choice.

The phone’s speakers are very good, but the placement of the speaker grille on top of the phone felt quite strange. It is located in the bottom left corner of the frame, which becomes a problem when playing games, as holding the phone horizontally will cover the speakers with the hand and suppress the sound. The bottom grill also faces diagonally on the opposite side. So no matter which way you hold the phone horizontally, a grille is bound to get blocked.

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The battery life of Xiaomi 12 Pro proved to be quite good. However, it did not give very good backup in the HD video loop test. It lasted for 12 hours and 18 minutes in this. The phone easily lasted a day and a half with my regular usage, which included an hour of gaming and little camera usage and video streaming. The 120W charger fully charged the 12 Pro in just 27 minutes using Boost Mode. The phone heats up when charging in this mode, and it also shows a notification on the screen to alert you that this will happen and this is normal.

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Xiaomi 12 Pro cameras

The Xiaomi 12 Pro has three rear-facing cameras and all have 50-megapixel resolution. The primary camera has OIS, the ultra-wide-angle camera has a 115-degree field of view, and the telephoto camera comes with 2X optical zoom (48 mm). Front-facing 32-megapixel camera has been given for selfie. The primary camera is equipped with Sony’s new 1/1.28-inch IMX707 sensor. This is much larger than the Sony IMX766 (1/1.56-inch) sensor that we’ve seen on many Android flagships from 2022.

Xiaomi

If you have used any Xiaomi phone recently, then the camera app is easily understood. The phone can record HDR videos at up to 4K 30fps with its main and telephoto cameras. At the same time, HDR10+ videos can be recorded only with the main and selfie camera. The primary camera can shoot video up to 8K 24fps.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro also has some “pro” features that are quite useful. It can record video by turning off the screen for power saving. It also has a Live In-Ear Monitor feature that you can use to listen to the sound being recorded. Pro Video mode lets you shoot video in log format (flat color profile) so that it can be color graded in post-production. Focus peaking and exposure verification can be of use to professionals.

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Photos taken in daylight with the primary camera had a lot of detail and good dynamic range. The telephoto camera was taking close shots with mostly details of the subject, the photos were sharp and detailed even in auto or portrait mode. Edge detection was also very good in portrait mode. If you are able to place the subject correctly, the large sensor of the primary camera gives you a soft, natural background blur that is only available with a DSLR. The skin tone could have been better, which looks quite red.

The ultra wide camera shoots landscape well and the details are also quite good. However, it is not as good as the primary camera. Software correction does a good job of correcting barrel distortion, but things look drawn to the edge. The difference between the photos of the main camera and the ultrawide camera can be easily detected.

Like the iQoo 9 Pro (Review), the ultra-wide camera on the Xiaomi 12 Pro doesn’t get autofocus, which means it may not function as a macro camera. With the help of the primary and telephoto cameras, I took some good close-up shots.

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Auto mode in low-light takes a little longer for exposure as seen on the Xiaomi 11T Pro. But, it took good shots in low-light with the primary camera. Ultrawide and telephoto cameras also gave decent results. In Night mode, the noise reduced a bit and the photos came clear.

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In low-light, the primary camera did an amazing job in detail and dynamic range in addition to colors. Apart from reducing noise, it didn’t do as well for ultrawide. The telephoto camera had trouble focusing in low-light. The photos were very blurry and soft.

The selfie camera worked well in daylight. However, the background became brighter in portrait mode in high-light areas. Photo quality was average in low-light.

Coming to the video, the camera performed well in all resolutions. Stabilization is good, autofocus is also good and exposure is maintained even during panning. However, I did notice some yellowness in the video footage during the day and the exposure was a bit high. The HDR mode was correcting exposure in high-light areas and creating darkness in shadowy areas. Overall the output did not look more realistic.

HDR 10 Plus videos came out much better. Colors looked rich and dynamic range was also good. But it won’t look so good on a display without HDR10+. Motion tracking, eye tracking and motion capture focus worked as expected. The phone did get quite hot while shooting videos outdoors, but the camera app never stopped recording. In low light, the phone captures good quality videos, with low noise and good dynamic range.

Verdict

With Xiaomi 12 Pro, the company has focused on performance and quality. The phone still leaves room for some improvement in terms of the rear camera, which I believe will be fixed with a software update. Additionally, it has good image quality and video quality which make the phone a strong contender in the premium smartphone segment. The phone gives a very good value at the starting price of Rs 62,999. It only lacks the IP rating.

Those who do not want Android OS with heavy skin Moto Edge 30 Pro You can see which comes at a lower price (Rs 49,999) than this. iQoo 9 Pro There is also a good option that has a unique design and a good gimbal camera system. Other than this, OnePlus 10 Pro (Review) which has good camera system, big battery but charging is slow. If you don’t need wireless charging then you can Realme GT 2 Pro (Review) which comes for Rs 49,999. It has core hardware like Xiaomi 12 Pro and also has a special kind of micro lens.

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