A few years back, getting the best Android phone in India, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series inevitably meant a high price tag. The phone that changed this was the OnePlus One in 2014, followed by the forgettable OnePlus Two in 2015 and the successful OnePlus 3 in 2016. But what many may not remember is that Xiaomi had tried something similar too. The Mi 5 was supposed to be the ‘affordable’ flagship starting at Rs 24,999 designed to take on the OnePlus 3. It didn’t quite succeed.
Cut to 2022, OnePlus and Xiaomi have come a long way. While OnePlus is now a serious player in India’s ultra premium segment, Xiaomi is still waiting for a big break in this segment. The Xiaomi 12 Pro is its latest and perhaps most refined attempt at a flagship. Here’s my review.
Design & display
The Xiaomi 12 Pro has a much more polished design compared to last year’s Mi 11 Ultra, which had a huge camera island. This time, the camera island is tucked away at one corner, though the main 50MP wide-angle lens stands out prominently. It has quad speakers, one set placed at the top and the other at the bottom next to the USB-C port.
The phone’s 6.73-inch 2K display is a delight to use, and you will no doubt enjoy watching your TV shows, etc., on this. You are advised to keep the resolution at full HD+ for better battery life, though I cranked it to full for the purpose of the review.
Performance & battery
Performance issues are not expected at this price, and this was largely the case. What did concern me was the thermal management of the device. The phone got very warm during the gaming sessions. The 4600 mAh battery might be enough for a moderate day provided you are not maxing out the settings. The advantage is the 120W fast-charging, though.
If there’s one aspect that Xiaomi is focussing on, it is the camera. This is a 50MP+50MP+50MP setup with a wide-angle, ultra-wide and telephoto lens. All three cameras support night mode, There’s also a lot of software magic at hand, with Xiaomi adding features such as motion tracking, motion capture and eye tracking focus. The camera delivers well no matter the subject or lighting. My only complaint would be the saturation level on some of the photos, especially with pinks, reds, etc.
There’s no doubt that the Xiaomi 12 Pro is a very capable device. It has all the specs and features to be considered ‘premium’. But Xiaomi knows that isn’t enough. It is competing against serious players. The top target is the OnePlus 10 Pro, which packs a very unique camera setup with Hasselblad branding. Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Plus and the iPhone 13 also sport very capable cameras, and are potential rivals.
So has Xiaomi done enough to take on them? In some sense, yes. The design, camera, and performance are what a premium user expects. The battery seems to be the weak point, but the 120W fast-charging helps replenish this quickly.