8.5
Score

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Curved screen makes it comfortable to hold
  • Beautiful display
  • Loud and clear speakers
  • Cameras are top notch
  • Gaming performance is great
  • Included IR blaster

Cons

  • Horrible palm rejection
  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 runs hot
  • No IP rating
  • Lacklustre battery life

We took a crack at Xiaomi’s latest flagship smartphone, the Xiaomi 12. The Xiaomi 12 is the little brother of the Xiaomi 12 Series however, its size should not be something scoffed at as it packs a surprising amount of power and performance.

Xiaomi 12 Review

Design and Build

The Xiaomi 12 is one of the more compact devices from the company and is much smaller than what you’d expect from today’s flagship smartphone. On paper, the Xiaomi 12 doesn’t really sound like a compact smartphone as it sports a 6.28-inch display though the width comes at 69.9mm which makes the device look quite slender when compared to others.

It’s interesting (to me) how a phone that size is considered a compact device nowadays.

On the back, you’ll see the three cameras that the Xiaomi 12 comes with as well as a recessed Xiaomi logo at the bottom corner which I’d say looks very nice. Xiaomi also made the back panel frosted with a texture that reminds you of sugar paper you’d use in art class. Very nice to touch.

Speaking of things that are nice to touch, the Xiaomi 12 comes with curved sides at the front and the back that harkens back to the curved sides of the Samsung Galaxy S9. I’m a huge fan of the curved sides as I find that it makes the device incredibly comfortable to hold. Shame that problems with the display forced me to use a case, more on this later.

Display

As mentioned above, the Xiaomi 12 touts a 6.28-inch display. What was not mentioned above is that the display is an FHD+ AMOLED display with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. The display’s colours are nice and vivid making the device an absolute treat to watch videos with especially with its Harman Kardon-tuned dual speakers.

Users can also customise the colour profile of the display to suit their tastes. The refresh rate of the display can also be lowered for a slightly longer battery life.

My major complaint with the Xiaomi 12’s display is that the palm rejection is quite terrible even with the sensitivity levels turned down on the phone’s settings. It got so annoying to the point where the phone is better off being used with a  phone case slapped on. Shame because the phone is very comfortable to hold naked.

Specification and Performance

The Xiaomi 12 features the sort of specifications you would expect from a flagship and despite this being the “little brother” of the Xiaomi 12 Series, the specifications are nothing to scoff at. The device features the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 gen 1 SoC, 8GB LPDDR5 RAM, 256GB UFS 3.1 internal storage and support for 67W fast charging.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 runs quite hot under intense workloads and the phone even gets noticeably warm with prolonged normal use. This is probably due to the Xiaomi 12’s petite size therefore less surface area for heat to dissipate. Gaming gets pretty uncomfortable after long periods though it is somewhat mitigated when playing with a case on.

That being said though, the Xiaomi 12 runs through games with absolute ease. I tried playing intensive heavy hitters like Genshin Impact, COD Mobile and the new Apex Legends Mobile and it was an absolute breeze. The performance definitely corroborates with the Xiaomi 12’s benchmark scores.

One minor nitpick I have is that because of the Xiaomi 12’s speaker placement and its small size, I have to rotate the device so that the speakers point at the top rather than at the bottom which makes holding the device a bit awkward when I game. I have to do this or else the speakers just sit in my hands causing the sound to get muffled when I play.

I’m also a bit disappointed that Xiaomi did not give proper water or dust resistance rating for the Xiaomi 12. While I don’t necessarily go around using my phone under torrential rain or in a swimming pool, knowing that the phone can survive at least survive an accidental drop in water is a big confidence booster, especially with how much this phone costs.

Camera

The Xiaomi 12’s cameras are probably one of the best smartphone cameras I have had the pleasure of using, for now at least. Before we go into that further, let’s see what the Xiaomi 12 hold in the camera department. The Xiaomi 12 touts a triple camera setup that includes a 50MP main camera, a 13MP ultrawide camera and a 5MP telephoto macro camera.

Pictures taken with the Xiaomi 12 look quite fantastic. Both day and night shots are incredibly crisp with good colour and contrast. Really a spectacular tool for those who like to snap around when they are out and about.

Pictures taken with Night Mode turned on are surprisingly rich with slightly raised shadows that make pictures all that brighter without overblowing them to oblivion. Macro shots are also quite good with plenty of detail.

Check out some of the photos taken with the Xiaomi 12 below:

Battery Life

The battery life of the Xiaomi 12 is pretty average I would say. It can get through a 9 to 5 kind of day well enough provided you only use the phone for normal use. If you game a lot then you’re gonna have a pretty torrid time with the device as the battery drains like water down a stream or my bank account during visits to a toy shop.

The only silver lining (probably?) I can say is that the 67W fast charging helps for fast top-ups when you’re in a pinch though it would make for a better experience if it just had better battery life plain and simple. Be prepared to carry around a powerbank wherever you go.

Conclusion

For RM2,999, the Xiaomi 12 is a hugely compelling package and something I would definitely recommend despite its shortcomings. The display is awesome, the cameras are a dream to use and it’s pretty great to game on. The compact size is also a huge plus point for those who are tired of using large smartphones.

Alternatively, if you’re somehow not convinced enough to pull the trigger on the Xiaomi 12, there are other similar devices that you can get instead.

For example, either the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE or the Samsung Galaxy S22 would be great options. They are all around a similar price threshold though the S22 will cost slightly more. You get good performing SoCs and a longer update cycle than what Xiaomi is prepared to offer with their devices.

You can find the Xiaomi 12 for RM2,999 on the official Xiaomi store on both Shopee and Lazada.