It’s the year of the flagship killer, with yet another hardware packed smartphone at ₹62,999

We’re used to thinking of Xiaomi as the king of budget smartphones. Now, like so many other companies, Xiaomi is extending its range upward without disturbing the standard affordable options. It has launched high-end smartphones in India before, but let’s see whether they become a regular feature starting with the Xiaomi 12 Pro. Not Mi, not Redmi, but straight up Xiaomi. 

The 12 Pro is a sleek device owing to the metallic rounded sides. It is on the slim side but, to me, it feels heavy and definitely apt to slip through the hands unless popped into a case. The back is glass with a silky smooth matte finish that looks very elegant. I have the ‘Noir Black’ colour variant and it strikes me that Noir means black in French anyway so I have the black black version. There’s a blue and a mauve that are reported to be really nice when seen in person. 

Speed charge

The phone has a specially neat arrangement of camera lenses on the back and just the Xiaomi logo, looking quite subtle. Buttons have a prominent tactile feel and are where you jolly well expect them to be. You don’t get earphones in the box but you do get an enormous charger that’s heavier than the phone. This is a 120W fat brick that takes the 4,600mAh battery from start to finish in about 20 minutes and would cost a pretty penny if it hadn’t been included. Wired charging is at 120W, wireless at 50W, and reverse charging at 10W. You can speed up charging with a Boost setting. I did think, however, that the phone would have a 5,000mAh battery. 

This phone has an extra feature for music lovers — there are quad stereo speakers with woofers, tweeters, Dolby Atmos and tuning by Harmon Kardon. Hi-res music is supported. The speakers do sound loud, though I can’t detect anything unusual with the sound.

A bright sight

The display is a 2K 6.7 inch E5-AMOLED with a bunch of awards from DisplayMate. It gets really bright, peaking at 1500 nits and, of course, has adaptive 120Hz refresh. On top of that, the touch sampling rate is especially high at 480Hz to make gamers happy. So that’s one fast, great looking display, with support for HDR-10 Dolby Vision. Happy movie watching!

It has Gorilla Glass Victus protection but no IP rating, so keep the water aside. 

The Xiaomi 12 Pro runs on the 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. As we’ve already seen with all the new phones coming out with this chip, there is some heating up; though this will only be noticeable with intensive tasks and not everyday stuff. The very busy MIUI 13 with Android 12 forms the software on this phone and is a few shades better than on the budget phones. There’s 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, so the device is predictably, blazing fast. 

The 12 Pro has three 50MP cameras on the rear. The primary uses the Sony IMX707 sensor which is 1/1.28-inches and larger than the one in the S22 Ultra and even the iPhone 13 Max. This camera uses optical image stabilisation and takes great detailed photos, with adequate sharpness and good dynamic range. It can record video in 4k at 60fps and 8k videos.

The ultra-wide doesn’t have auto focus. This lens takes nice-ish photos but seems to enhance the darkness if light isn’t adequate, even with night mode active. The 50MP telephoto lens has 2x optical zoom (only) after which it transitions to digital. The cameras handle bokeh very well and can even be adjusted after the fact.

The selfie camera — that does a good job of making one look good yet natural — is a 32MP. All the cameras use pixel binning and software smarts to improve the image. There are plenty of features and tricks to play around with too. For example, video can be set to keep a person in focus as he moves about. 

At ₹62,999, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is definitely in flagship territory and maintains its tried and tested formula of giving plenty of bang for the buck. What remains to be seen is whether it will be as accepted in the Indian market as affordable phones from Xiaomi are. 

Published on May 10, 2022