Review of Xiaomi 12, a new high-end Chinese brand 5G phone

Although Xiaomi has expanded significantly in Latin America since 2017, its devices in Brazil have become famous for the nasty gray market: they shipped directly from China to importers here to sell cheaply here. As a result, it became a “good but clandestine cell phone.”

Currently installed in Brazil, Xiaomi is struggling to transform this image by focusing on higher-end versions and devices. And the last champion of this crusade is Xiaomi 12, his last at the top of the lineIt also promises to compete with big names in the category, such as the Samsung Galaxy S22 and the iPhone 13.

And to see how much it can take in this comparison, bend He spent a few weeks testing the phone, seeing what Xiaomi is capable of:


Forces

  • Excellent performance, even with many applications open
  • Full battery charge in one hour
  • Convenient design for long-term use

Negative points

  • A smaller set of cameras compared to rivals
  • MIUI is never the most intuitive operating system
  • It heats up a lot in more intense game sessions

Judgment

In the end, it’s a matter of priority: if you’re already a fan of the iPhone or Galaxy S series, this phone is unlikely to change your mind. Now, if you’re willing to take a high-end one at a good price, Xiaomi 12 is more than a trick.

Out of the box, the first thing that strikes you is the weight. It is a light mobile phone, weighing 180 g. Rounded edges Rounded edges make the device comfortable to hold in your hand, even if it sometimes prevents you from clicking on an output icon. It’s not very big — it’s 6.28 inches (16 cm) —but it doesn’t fit in your pocket.

On the back, the brushed steel texture has an interesting shine effect: sometimes it looks gray, other times it highlights some shades of pink. Overall, this gives the device a sleek look that comes with a transparent case.

Xiaomi Version 12 - Gabriel Daros / Tilt - Gabriel Daros / Tilt
Image: Gabriel Daros / Tilt

The front camera of the Xiaomi 12 is a pure dot at the top, rather than a beveled (drop-shaped) tip. Although it does not interfere at all, it is a design element that can be divided into priorities.

The screen, which has a frequency of 120 Hz, is also highly sensitive and captures subtle movements well. Those who type “more” may lose the key more often. Even for those who are not very specific when it comes to gameplay. On the other hand, the speed of response is impressive.

Resistance, unfortunately, leaves much to be desired. He was quickly stained by the scratches on the screen keys, coins and even the zipper on his wallet.

Xiaomi 12 screen shows some scratches after touching pocket keys - Gabriel Daros / Tilt - Gabriel Daros / Tilt

The Xiaomi 12 screen showed some scratches after being in contact with the pocket keys

Image: Gabriel Daros / Tilt

In general use, it is very bright: the screen adapts easily to any situation and emits good light even in bright sunlight.

Operating system

This whole set of screens, added to the visual effects of MIUI 13 (the Android version modified by Xiaomi), usually has a nice interface. And a nice start: moving from one screen to another is strangely relaxing.

By the way, the operating system itself is a point worth paying attention to: although it may seem very “familiar” at first glance, the menus do not behave the same.

Icons and important tasks (such as saving battery, signal router, and so on) are hidden in a scrollbar that is only accessible by dragging to the top right corner of the screen, almost to the battery icon. For notifications, the same applies only in the left corner.

But not everything is a thorn. The system itself offers, for example, a hidden folder tool, as well as a Google digital wallet. The company anticipates three updates to the Android system (i.e., up to MIUI 16), and anticipates four-year security updates, so the duration will be reasonable.

Finally, for Android users, MIUI 13 may seem very popular, but it can cause confusion. With patience (and a little practice), it soon becomes a natural use.

The main one

Xiaomi’s top features a set of three cameras – the main one is 50 MP, one is 13 MP ultra-wide and the other is 2x zoom for macro photos. All of them, vertically aligned, in a rectangle highlighted in the upper left.

The set, in fact, offers less of a camera. Typically, mid-range and high-end smartphones come with four, either for contrast only or with a dedicated lens for photo zoom.

Instead, Xiaomi 12 follows the philosophy of “doing well with what you already have” by taking advantage of hardware, for example, to take very fast-focused photos. The main set records some very colorful photos, even if this is less visible to the naked eye on stage. This effect is further enhanced with camera AI. Photos have a touch of Instagram filter.

By the way, Xiaomi has built some interesting filters and features in its photo app. For example, “Clone” mode for photo montages; or “Vlog”, which allows you to make short recordings in sequence, perfect for a Reels or TikTok. The downside is that all of these features need to be downloaded.

Front

The 16 MP front camera offers three aspect ratios: standard 3: 4, 9:16 and full version. Options such as movie frames and palms are also available.

The sensor captures photos very well, even in low light scenarios. The front camera also applies effects to the wing, which allows for a precise adjustment before clicking. Overall, AI is non-intrusive. The whole set is welcome, especially if you want to take that selfie before (or during) a party, for example.

The only catch is that, no matter what the mode, the focus of the front camera didn’t always play where I clicked. I was a little annoyed that I had to press again and again until the sensor understood the proper distance.

In order to compete with other tops in the line, Xiaomi needed a good engine under its body. Not surprisingly, the Chinese company’s flagship is a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, one of the most powerful 5G-supported chip systems today.

In practice, it is this turbocharged engine that makes the Xiaomi 12 so powerful, and gives it a pleasant and lightweight experience. While we use Tilt, no bottlenecks have been found in everyday use, although several applications have been opened at once.

Speaking of which, it’s clear that Chinese company’s devices come with bloatware — apps you didn’t ask for and often weigh only on your mobile phone — that offer the same functionality as YouTube or Netflix (already installed). Xiaomi 12 doesn’t have many of them, and some of them, like optimizing usage, are welcome.

However, the device is available in a single version, 256 GB, with the support of a memory card. Even if you do not intend to use an SD card, it will take a long time to complete all of its original storage.

Performance remained strong as the game began to play out. All the experiences happened without fail and with fast loads. There was one exception when there were some delays in loading an interactive ad on Unity (something not everyone will see).

However, in longer gaming sessions – more than half an hour – the mobile phone gets very hot, which is not comfortable or pleasant.

The battery is one of the best features of the Xiaomi 12. Equipped with 4,500 mAHz, it can last about a day and a half outside the charger at a moderate usage time. In more intense activities, such as playing games or playing videos, the performance lasted four to five hours without interruption, which is not a bad thing at all.

Even though he had to go back to the goalkeeper, he didn’t need much time there either. Accompanied by a 65 W Dart charger, the charge went from 5% to 100% in one hour. The phone also supports wireless charging at 50 W stations.

Generally, it breathes a lot of activity before the battery runs out, and even if the battery runs out or eventually runs out of cycle and becomes “addictive,” charging is fast enough to complete that.

Putting your hands on top of it usually means spending a lot. In part, this was the case with Xiaomi 12, which came in at a starting price of BRL 9,499.00 – the same as its direct competitor, the Galaxy S22 Ultra, with the same storage.

However, it is now possible to find the same mobile phone for almost half the retail price – a value that is cheaper than direct competitors, and which tends to go down. In practice, it means a high-end device with a long service life, good performance and a long time away from the plug. All this while adapting a new interface and a mobile with some bloatware.

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