|Good battery life||No telephoto camera|
|Lots of power||No IP rating|
|Strong main and macro cameras||Can get sharper screens for the money|
The Xiaomi 12 is a strong all-round flagship which doesn't disappoint in any significant way and impresses in quite a few, including its battery life and power.
After all, it has many of the great things offered by the Xiaomi 12 Pro at a lower price, and while lots of details also differ, you might find it strikes a better balance between price and performance.
Then again, that all depends on what you want from your phone, so read on to see if the Xiaomi 12 is the right fit for you.
The Xiaomi 12 has a 6.28-inch 1080 x 2400 AMOLED screen with 419 pixels per inch, a 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support, and a peak brightness of 1,100 nits.
Those then are some decent specs. The use of AMOLED and a 120Hz refresh rate puts the Xiaomi 12 in line with top-tier flagships, and it can get plenty bright too.
The resolution is a little lower than some phones, such as the Xiaomi 12 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra – both of which have a QHD+ resolution rather than an FHD+ one – but you’ll be hard pressed to notice too much difference.
The Xiaomi 12’s display is also curved, which is neither good nor bad, it’s simply a matter of preference. Similarly, its 6.28-inch size makes it slightly smaller than most modern phones, which could be a good or bad point depending on what you’re looking for. Though notably it’s marginally larger than the 6.1-inch Samsung Galaxy S22.
All in all the Xiaomi 12 has a very good screen, and one that’s in line with other phones of this sort of price, but not really any better.
Thanks to its relatively small screen, the Xiaomi 12 is also a relatively small phone at 152.7 x 69.9 x 8.2mm, which makes it ideal for those with smaller hands or pockets. It’s not overly heavy either at 179g.
But it’s well built, with very tough Gorilla Glass Victus protecting the screen, and slightly less tough (but still durable) Gorilla Glass 5 on the back.
It’s a slightly curvy phone, and it looks good if fairly conventional, with a sizeable camera bump in the top left corner of the rear, and hardly any bezel around the screen.
It’s available in grey, blue, purple and green shades, so there are a handful of colour choices, note though that there’s no IP rating, so there’s no official water resistance, which is a shame at this price.
We have no complaints about the power or performance of the Xiaomi 12, as with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset it matches the Xiaomi 12 Pro – and the very best Android flagships from other brands – for power.
You can get it with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM, with the latter also being in line with the most powerful phones on the market – aside from a few gaming phones and other specialist models, which on occasion push the RAM up to an unnecessary 16GB.
So on the core specs side the Xiaomi 12 ticks all the boxes for power, and it doesn’t disappoint in practice either, with the sort of performance you’d expect from a 2022 flagship – meaning it can handle any app or game with ease.
There’s a triple-lens camera on the Xiaomi 12 – a 50MP f/1.9 wide snapper, a 13MP f/2.4 ultrawide, and a 5MP f/2.4 telemacro one.
That last lens is a particularly interesting one, as it’s a macro camera that can get incredibly close to the action, and capture brilliant close-up shots. Usually dedicated macro lenses on phones don’t work well, but this one is a great example of how to do it right.
That said, it’s probably the camera you’ll use least, with the wide and ultrawide snappers being more conventional and versatile.
These cameras perform well too, particularly the main 50MP sensor. While we wouldn’t say it’s class-leading it certainly holds its own, capturing pleasing, detailed images. The ultrawide camera isn’t quite as impressive, with colours looking at a little less natural and vibrant, but it gets the job done.
Low light performance with the Xiaomi 12 is reasonable too, so it’s a competent camera setup all in all, though it’s notably lacking a telephoto sensor. As much as we like the telemacro one, we’d rather be able to zoom.
The phone also has a 32MP camera on the front, and the ability to record video in up to 8K quality – two features which also keep it in line with similarly priced competitors.
On the features front, the Xiaomi 12 has an under-display fingerprint scanner, like most high-end handsets, and this performs reasonably well.
It runs Android 12 overlaid with the company’s MIUI 13 interface, which is busier than most, with a bunch of pre-installed apps and numerous features of varying usefulness. It’s not bad but it’s a bit of an acquired taste. That said, even if you don’t like it you should quickly get used to it.
There’s a 4,500mAh battery in the Xiaomi 12, which is a fairly conventional size. If anything, that’s slightly smaller than average these days, though the screen here is too.
This results in life of over a day in general, and even if you use the phone heavily you should still get a day out of it. You’re unlikely to get two days, but we’d say battery life here is slightly above average.
Charging is decent too. While it’s slower than the 120W charging of the Xiaomi 12 Pro, you can still juice the Xiaomi 12 up fully in just 39 minutes if you use a 67W charger. It also supports 50W wireless charging, which can power it up fully in 53 minutes.
For memory, there’s a choice of 128GB or 256GB. Those are decent amounts but there’s no microSD card slot. Finally, connectivity options include 5G, Bluetooth 5.2 and NFC.
The Xiaomi 12 is a high-end flagship rather than a top-end one, which in practical terms basically means you don’t get a telephoto camera or a QHD+ screen here, and in comparison to the Xiaomi 12 Pro it notably has slower charging.
But in most other areas this looks, feels and performs like a truly top-tier handset. So if you can live without those things – and without water resistance – then the Xiaomi 12 is a great, relatively affordable option – though one that doesn’t necessarily have rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S22 or the iPhone 13 beat.