That's how I see it. The Xiaomis of this year are, in a certain sense, very different from those I have experienced in recent years. Xiaomi 12 is one of the most compact and manageable top of the range on the market, and its older brother is as if it were an example of the maturity of the Chinese brand over time.
But then came the three Xiaomi 12s. Three devices with which, in a certain sense, the company showed that it understood what the problem was, and which could be considered the brand's definitive entry into the world of adults.
And not only in the aspect which, let's face it, has become less flashy and more elegant, but also for a question of balance, or rather, of coexistence between different factors: the Xiaomi 12 Pro is a smartphone in which the technical characteristics of the card technique and the user experience go. arm in arm, and they also do it in the Chinese ROM installed in the device we are testing.
Unboxing - Xiaomi 12 Pro
The packaging of the Xiaomi 12 Pro is in line with those seen in all the other models of the brand. Given the size of the smartphone, it is a rather large box, inside which there are all the accessories necessary to be able to take advantage of the smartphone right away, including the 120w charger. Inside we find:
1. Xiaomi Mi 12;
2. TPU cover;
3. 120w charger
Design and materials
Large 163,5 × 74,6 × 8,16 mm and weighing 205 grams, the design of the Xiaomi 12 Pro it is practically identical to that of the more compact version. Indeed, it could be said that from an aesthetic point of view the two smartphones are practically identical (except, of course, for the size).
And as well as the little one of the family, too Xiaomi 12 Pro it is available in a version in which the back cover is made with a biological skin, the device we are testing however is the "standard" black one: the back back cover has a matte finish that even if it might seem rather "anonymous" (incredible to say it of a Xiaomi),
I particularly liked it also thanks to its matte finish that is able to handle fingerprints and dust well.
It is no longer a novelty then, that this year Xiaomi has made a further change of style with regard to the camera bump: also on the Xiaomi 12 Pro it is a vertically positioned rectangle,
divided into several sections, in which the large main camera has been positioned above, and the other two cameras (together with the LED flash) below.
We have already discussed a lot on the aesthetic question and the "recognizability" factor, so I won't dwell too much on repeating the same concepts, but one thing must be said: it is certainly not as original as that of the OnePlus 10 Pro , but I like it. And all in all I am quite satisfied with this "change of style" carried out by Xiaomi, which with these new 12 has become more elegant than in the past.
The power button and the volume rocker have been positioned on the right side, although the dimensions of the device are quite easy to reach, at the bottom there is the input for the USB-C cable,
next to the SIM tray, it has been integrated the IR blaster that transforms the smartphone into a universal remote control and there is a big news for the speakers: unlike what we have seen in the smaller model,
the Xiaomi 12 Pro integrates 4 speakers (2 for the high tones and 2 for the low ones) which, however, have been positioned in a rather convoluted way. But we get to that.
The whole front is occupied by a curved display at the two side edges protected by a Gorilla Glass Victus that integrates the fingerprint sensor.
The screen is one of the main protagonists of this Xiaomi 12 Pro. And if in the Mi 11 the display was one of the best around, with the new generation the Chinese brand has managed to take other steps forward: the screen of the Xiaomi 12 Pro not only does it continue to maintain the 1440p resolution,
120Hz max refresh rate and 480Hz touch refresh rate that we saw in the previous generation but, this time around, it uses Samsung's new E5 panel, aided by technology Micro-Lens and second generation LTPO. In a nutshell it is one of the displays with the best visual quality, and the lowest energy consumption.
As we have seen with the OnePlus 10 Pro however, also in the Xiaomi 12 Pro the management of LTPO 2.0 technology is quite controversial.
Ok, that it is a technology that depends on the settings chosen by each brand and that it is dependent on brightness is now an established thing, but in this Xiaomi 12 Pro I have noticed several details that, in a sense, could affect the user experience.
Although LTPO 2.0 technology is capable of handling refresh rates ranging from 1Hz to 120Hz, with the Xiaomi 12 Pro in my tests I never managed to go below 10 Hz (the OnePlus 10 Pro,
on the other hand, stopped at 5 Hz), moreover, unlike what we have seen in the new OnePlus top of the range, the issue of brightness is managed otherwise: to get 5Hz in the Xiaomi 12 Pro, the brightness must be set to maximum, otherwise with a minimum brightness it returns to 60 Hz.
I also noticed another thing that is perhaps too conservative: when you choose the management of the automatic refresh rate, some applications are not displayed at 120 Hz (and they are apps that would benefit from it). To ensure that the system always uses the maximum screen refresh rate, you need to go to the Display Settings and manually set the 120 Hz.
That said, the screen of the Xiaomi 12 Pro it has beautifully balanced colors and whites, very deep blacks, a good contrast ratio, in short, it is useless to go around it: it is one of the best displays around, if not the best.
Hardware and Performance
After seeing the video review of the Xiaomi 12, many on "InProof con Giz" have asked us if it is Xiaomi 12 Pro suffered from the same overheating problems that we noticed in his younger brother. Why yes, even in the Xiaomi 12 Pro The new first generation Snapdragon 8 was used which,
in our sample, is flanked by 8 GB of LPDDR5 RAM memory and 128 GB of UFS 3.1 internal memory. A super top of the range configuration, which allows you to carry out practically all the operations possible with a smartphone, and does so at maximum power.
But by now we all know that the Snap 8 Gen 1, as powerful as it is, suffers from a problem that should not be underestimated: overheating. Well, I'll be concise: also Xiaomi 12 Pro it gets quite hot, but not as hot as the smaller model.
If you remember, with the Xiaomi 12 I tried several times to complete the AnTuTu stress test, but without success because the device overheated so much, that the system went into protection block. Well,
with it Xiaomi 12 Pro things have improved slightly: in reality, I was unable to run a 30 minute stress test, as I usually do, because the temperature of the device even exceeded 55 degrees, but a 15 minute test was successful.
So basically yes, Xiaomi 12 Pro suffers from the usual overheating problem, but less than its younger brother and there's more: even if the clock frequencies of the CPU cores are less stable than what we have seen in the OnePlus 10 Pro, in reality the overall performance of the processor has generated less marked negative peaks than we saw on OnePlus.
It must be said, however, that this is not always the case. Ok, generally speaking the smartphone always overheats in the upper section of the back cover, but in reality the temperature management in less complex operations than a stress test is not so bad: I tried to carry on a session of about one 'time of gaming with Call Of Duty Mobile and even if the temperature has risen a lot, it has never exceeded that threshold of "annoyance" while holding the smartphone.
Also Xiaomi 12 Pro uses the new sensor manufactured by Goodix which, yes, improves things slightly but continues to be optical. In a nutshell, this sensor not only manages the "proximity" factor, but also the color balance of the display based on ambient light etc.
This means that even in this device the proximity sensor is activated only when the smartphone is positioned in a vertical position or slightly inclined: when you call while standing or sitting, the system is activated, but if, for example, you are bed with one ear resting on the pillow, the first problems would begin.
I must admit, however, that I have never encountered the usual annoyances when I tried to call with him Xiaomi 12 Pro even if, and this is an equally annoying thing, going to listen to voice messages on Telegram or WhatsApp, several times I found myself with the notification curtain down, or in some particular screen of the operating system.
Going back to simple things, the audio in the capsule is excellent, as well as the reception of the cellular signal and WiFi 6. The audio effect obtained by the 4 speakers produced in collaboration with Harman Kardon is among the best in the category, but suffers from one problem: the placement of the speakers.
The point is that yes, the right speaker and the left speaker are completely independent from the ear capsule, but they are not symmetrical: in short, holding the smartphone in landscape mode, one speaker will be high and one low. Which means that, willy-nilly, one way or another one of the two speakers could be covered by the hand.
Camera - Xiaomi 12 Pro
With the lineup 12 then, Xiaomi has made a further change of direction as regards the sensors: instead of those of Samsung, the Chinese brand has decided to rely on Sony. And in the Xiaomi 12 Pro he even inserted three sensors with the same resolution (ie 50 megapixels), albeit different from them. The result is photos with deeper colors, stronger contrast and better dynamic range management than previous generations.
The main camera, however, is the only one to really flex its muscles: it uses the new Sony IMX707 sensor, and is flanked by an ultra-wide angle and a 2x zoom both with a JN1 sensor.
The photographs taken with the main camera are among the best in their class. The details are numerous, the white and color balance is done to perfection and the noise is almost absent. And we also find the same performance in the night mode, a mode in which it is Xiaomi 12 Pro it has substantially the same performance as the Mi 11 Ultra, with the difference that the problem of "greenish" photos that, in some cases, could occur with the Ultra will no longer arise.
Xiaomi has also improved the Night mode: if you remember well, with the Ultra the exposure time was 5 seconds, while with the Xiaomi 12 Pro drops to about 2. The result is taken slightly less bright (and more natural), but totally devoid of any micro-blur, a phenomenon that instead influenced the night photos taken with the Mi 11 Ultra precisely because of the excessive exposure time.
And there have also been improvements in the ultra-wide-angle camera which, although it does not have a wide Field of View like that of the Mi 11 Ultra, produces much better shots in terms of dynamic range management and management of chromatic aberrations along the edges of the Images. And even with this perspective, the performance in night mode is absolutely not bad, even if the qualitative gap with the main camera is definitely notable.
Things change though when using the 2x optical zoom. Let's be clear, in conditions of good brightness even the telephoto lens is able to generate pretty good shots, but I see it like this: the advantages of using an optical zoom compared to the digital one (born from the 108 megapixel crop) of previous generations are not tangible. And it will be that the only optically stabilized camera is the main one,
it will be that the optics used in the telephoto lens is an f / 2.2 (unlike the f / 1.9 used in the other two), but the photos in night mode taken with the optical zoom of this Xiaomi 12 Pro they did not convince me very much: the handling of the dynamic range is poor, they could suffer from micro-shakes if you do not stand with a motionless hand when shooting and, in some cases, the images could be battered.
Good shots taken with the 32 megapixel front camera, as well as photos with portrait effect, and also good videos that can be recorded at the maximum resolution of 8k at 24 fps. All lenses are capable of recording in 4K at 60fps, and if you set a resolution of 4k at 30fps or lower, you can also freely switch cameras while recording.
However, it is true that once again the main camera is the best in terms of video recording, precisely because it is the only one to use an optical stabilization system.
As with the Xiaomi 12, at the time of the review it was Xiaomi 12 Pro that we have in test is animated by Android 12 customized with MIUI 13. I will not dwell too much on the software of our sample for the simple reason that it is the Chinese version of the device: when we will have the opportunity to install the official Italian ROM, we will publish a dedicated study.
The battery that drives it Xiaomi 12 Pro it is a 4600 mAh. And yes, despite the 400 mAh less than those seen in the Mi 11 Pro, but honestly more than on autonomy (which guaranteed me poco less than 7 hours of display on with automatic brightness and fixed screen on 120 Hz),
what I would like to talk about is the charging technology and the structure of the battery itself, because it is these two factors that highlight how the Chinese brand is light years ahead of all competitors in these technologies.
Until before Xiaomi 12 Pro, smartphones with 120w fast charging had to be equipped with a two-cell battery. In addition, 120w fast charging was supported by batteries with capacities greater than 4500 mAh. Not for nothing the Mi 11 Ultra, with a 5000 mAh battery, was equipped with fast charging at 67w.
Well, Xiaomi 12 Pro not only is it the first smartphone with 120w charging to use a single cell battery, but it is also the first smartphone with this charging speed to use a larger battery, albeit of only 100 mAh.
Everything is made possible thanks to the Surge P1, a new proprietary chip that Xiaomi has developed precisely to overcome all the limits relating to fast charging.
In our tests, for a full charge from 0 to 100% with the 120w charger included in the package it took about 20 minutes, and in just 5 minutes the Xiaomi 12 Pro it went from 0 to 39%. Then there is the 50w wireless charging, which can also be used in reverse charging mode.
Price and conclusions
To date, the date of sale of the Xiaomi 12 e is still unknown Xiaomi 12 Pro in Italy, but there are rumors that they would see them arrive in the Bel Paese around March 2022.
However, it is already possible to buy them on Trading Shenzen, with shipping without customs duties but animated by the same software as the sample we received in the test: that is, with Chinese Rom, in English but with GMS and PlayStore installed.
The price starts from 697 euros for the 8/128 version, and reaches 837 euros for the 8/256 version and 897 euros for the 12/256 version. And the point is this: even if in some segments it might seem that the company has taken small steps backwards,
such as in the size of the main camera sensor, the battery capacity and even the power of wireless charging, in reality they are of the idea that especially with this one Xiaomi 12 Pro the brand has focused a lot on the user experience and not just on mere technical specifications.
Apple has been teaching this for years, and Xiaomi seems to have understood it: the technical characteristics are useless if there is no good optimization and it is precisely on the general optimization that those of Xiaomi have made great strides forward. On the other hand, power is nothing without control, right?