Xiaomi 12 first impressions, hands-on review

Xiaomi launched its flagship 12 series in the Philippines last March. Composed of the Xiaomi 12 and 12 Pro, the two feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 with a 120Hz AMOLED display, and other top-of-the-line specs.

We have the smaller Xiaomi 12 on hand for review. Priced at Php 39,999, it offers an unbelievable value. As we continue our evaluation of the device, here is our initial review.

Box and Accessories

The Xiaomi 12 comes in an unassuming white box. There’s nothing special about it, but it does look better than other Xiaomi packages.

Inside, you have the usual set of accessories, including a 67W fast charger. Unfortunately, there’s no USB-C to headphone jack dongle. Aside from that, everything else checks out.

Xiaomi 12 review

In the box

  • Xiaomi 12
  • Pre-installed screen protector
  • Silicone case
  • 67W fast charger
  • USB-C cable
  • SIM eject tool
  • Documentation

Specs and Features Roundup

As a flagship phone, Xiaomi 12 offers unbelievable value given the 40K price tag. Let’s go through some of the specs that make it so.

At the top of its list, we have the display. The smartphone comes with a 120Hz 6.28-inch AMOLED DotDisplay with a 20:9 aspect ratio, a 2400 x 1080 resolution, a DCI-P3 color gamut, and Gorilla Glass Victus protection. It also supports up to 480Hz touch sampling rate, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, and a 360-degree ambient light sensor.

DisplayMate gave it a rating of A+, the highest score they can give, getting mostly a Very Good or an Excellent on their tests. The original color scheme, in particular, earned high praise for color accuracy.

Xiaomi 12 review

Like many current flagships, the Xiaomi 12 is powered by the 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, Qualcomm’s most powerful chipset. It has eight cores with a clock speed of up to 3GHz. Our review unit has 8GB LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB UFS 3.1 storage. It also has a Memory Expansion feature which adds 3GB virtual RAM from unused storage and LiquidCool Technology to manage heat.

At the back, the phone has a triple camera setup — a 50MP main camera with a 1/1.56” sensor size, an f/1.88 lens, and OIS; a 13MP ultra-wide with a 123-degree field of view; and a 5MP telemacro with an AF from 3cm to 7cm. It also has a 32MP punch-hole selfie camera which can shoot up to 1080p at 60fps videos.

Xiaomi 12 review

The main camera features Xiaomi’s ProFocus which offers motion tracking focus, eye tracking focus, and motion capture in photography. It can also shoot 8K at 24fps and up to 4K at 60fps videos, as well as HDR and HDR10+ formats.

On the outside, the Xiaomi 12 also features a sleek body with symmetrical curves on the front and back edges. By modern standards, it is compact, despite the 6.28-inch display. It’s only 69.9mm wide and weighs only 180g.

And like any flagship, the phone also features stereo speakers with speaker grills on either side with Sound by with Harman/Kardon and Dolby Atmos support. It also has a 4500mAh battery with 67W wired and 50W wireless turbocharging.

Xiaomi 12 Hands-on review

Upon opening the box, it’s hard not to notice the Xiaomi 12’s design. It is certainly appealing. The back panel, in particular, has a soft finish that feels luxurious. It’s fingerprint-proof as well, which is a big bonus.

The top glass has a Gorilla Glass Victus, while the back one has a Gorilla Glass 5. Both sides have curved edges, which gives the phone an ergonomic shape.

At the back, the camera island has a unique look with lines that partition the lenses and the flash. It’s thick, probably because of the sensor size. And it’s wide, enough to keep the whole top half of the back panel level.

I wanted to try out the speakers first, given that each one has its own speaker grill. Most other devices use the earpiece as the secondary speaker, but the Xiaomi 12 has a dedicated speaker at the top. What’s more, is that it was advertised that each speaker has equal volume.

Xiaomi 12 review

That being said, the sound quality was impressive. Highs and vocals are placed at the forefront with added focus. Moreover, each side does sound like they have equal volume.

One thing though is that Dolby Atmos is enabled by default. Turning it off adds brings out the mids, but it does lessen the power of the highs. This is a personal preference, so test accordingly.

Xiaomi 12 review

Unfortunately for those who watch videos or play games in landscape with the USB-C port side on the right side (like me), your hand will block the speakers because of its placement. Of course, you can just hold it the other way around (with the USB-C side on the left), but doing this will have the volume rocker on the bottom which will be harder to press. It’s a minor inconvenience, but not a deal-breaker.

Also Read: Android 13: These Xiaomi phones could get the update

Another big feature is the display. And the Xiaomi 12’s AMOLED panel is great. It’s bright and colorful. Together with the speakers, watching videos is a very pleasant experience.

As for the performance, it’s what you would expect from a flagship device with a 120Hz display and a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. Everything is smooth and speedy. Apps and games open quickly with no issues.

Wrap Up

Oftentimes, the word “affordable” doesn’t go hand-in-hand with “flagship,” but so far, initial tests of the Xiaomi 12 says they do. The smartphone is looking quite a good value for its price, living up soundly as a flagship with top-end features that are hard to beat.

That’s it for our initial impressions. Stay tuned for our full review.

Price and Availability

The Xiaomi 12 is priced at Php 39,999 and is now available in stores. The Xiaomi 12 Pro is also out for Php 48,999.

Xiaomi 12 specs

Display6.28-inch FHD+ AMOLED DotDisplay, 2400 x 1080, 120Hz Refresh Rate, 480Hz Touch Sampling Rate, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, Gorilla Glass Victus
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 3GHz Octa-core
Storage128GB/256GB Storage, UFS 3.1
Rear Cameras50MP Main
13MP Ultra-wide
5MP Telemacro
Front Camera32MP In-display Selfie Camera
Network5G, 4G LTE, Dual SIM
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6/6E Dual Band, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, NFC
OthersIn-display Fingerprint Scanner, USB-C, Symmetrical Stereo Speakers, Harman Kardon, Dolby Atmos, No Headphone Jack, X-axis Linear Vibration Motor, LiquidCool
OSMIUI 13, Android 12
ColorsGray, Purple, Blue
Battery4500mAh Battery, 67W Wired Fast Charging, 50W Wireless Fast Charging, 10W Reverse Charging

Bryan is a geek at heart and a tech enthusiast by choice. He has a strong background in corporate communications, marketing services, and customer relations having worked in the telecommunications and banking sectors for over two decades. In his spare time, he enjoys watching clips on YouTube and binge watching shows on Netflix.

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