Xiaomi 12 Pro review: Flagship but not quite

Xiaomi 12 Pro is the latest flagship smartphone from the Chinese tech giant. And it has been packed with the latest technologies available, such as Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, a 120Hz LTPO display and rear triple 50-megapixel (MP) cameras.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro has a gorgeous display. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

But all these flagship goodies come at a price. Retailing at S$1,349, the 12 Pro is not as affordable as some of its other smartphones. Something Xiaomi has made its name for.

  • Price: S$1,349, get it at Lazada and Shopee
  • Display: 6.73-inch AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • Storage/RAM: 256GB/12GB
  • Camera: 50MP (wide), 50MP (ultra-wide), 50MP (2x telephoto); 32MP selfie
  • Battery: 4,600mAh
  • Weight: 205g

In addition, the 12 Pro does not come with any official water resistance rating. So, one can only assume it is not as water resistant as the likes of Apple iPhone 13 or Samsung Galaxy S22.

Design wise though, the 12 Pro is as flagship as it gets. It has a frosted glass rear that is nice to hold and does not pick up much fingerprints and smudges. It looks sleek with only the rear camera bulge disrupting an otherwise clean design.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro is nice to hold. (Photo: Xiaomi)

In front, the large 6.73-inch WQHD+ LTPO display is gorgeous and any content on it will look extra lovely. It is also able to automatically adjust its refresh rate from 1Hz to 120Hz based on content. For example, the display’s refresh rate will go down to 1Hz when browsing text, and up to 120Hz when playing games.

Nice designNot cheap
Gorgeous displayBattery life can be better
Fast performanceCamera lacks more optical zoom
Ultra-fast chargingNo water resistance rating

With its flagship processor, the 12 Pro’s operation is swift with applications starting quickly and games performing superbly. In the Geekbench 5 benchmarking test, the 12 Pro scored 1,204 (single-core) and 3,551 (multi-core). This is better than the 1,197 (single-core) and 3,183 (multi-core) scores from Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S22 Ultra.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro. (Photo: Xiaomi)

Camera performance is pretty good with sharp images and nice details on its main wide-angle camera. However, the images look more saturated and contrasty than the actual scenes. Some might prefer it this way, as it means less post-processing.

The rear 50MP triple camera of Xiaomi 12 Pro. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

However, the ultra-wide images tend to suffer from a little bit of purple fringing. The 2x optical zoom of the telephoto camera produces great images. But the optical zoom could have been longer, considering even Apple has extended its telephoto camera’s optical zoom to 3x.

Night photography performance is on par with the flagship smartphones, like iPhone 13 Pro, across all its focal lengths. The night shots are sharp with good dynamic range. Light sources are not overexposed with little noticeable noise artefacts.

Battery life is not bad but could be better. In my usual video-loop battery test, the 12 Pro lasted 10 hours 55 minutes. By comparison, the S22 Ultra clocked 14 hours and 16 minutes. In real life use, the 12 Pro can easily last you through a day.

However, the 12 Pro supports the blazing fast 120W Xiaomi HyperCharge. With its 4,600mAh battery, it can be fully charged in just 18 minutes. So, you do not have to worry about not charging the phone when going to bed. You can have it charged before you even finish your morning coffee.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro supports 120W Xiaomi HyperCharge. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

VERDICT: The Xiaomi 12 Pro is a mixed bag. There is a lot to like about it but it has equal quirks as well. It offers fast performance, ultra-quick charging and a gorgeous display. Yet, its battery life can be better and its camera needs more zoom. Plus, having no water resistance rating really does not really inspire confidence. Given its pricing, you might be better off getting the Samsung Galaxy S22 or Google Pixel 6 Pro instead.