Xiaomi 12 review

GSMArena Team, 16 March 2022.

Compact and bright 120Hz OLED

Even though the Xiaomi 12 isn't the company's top flagship model from the series, it doesn't cut corners when it comes to display quality.

The compact 6.28-inch OLED panel offers a standard 1080 x 2400px resolution, 120Hz adjustable refresh rate, 480Hz touch sampling rate, 360-degree ambient light sensor and 12-bit color depth. That makes the Xiaomi 12 and 12X the first smartphones to market with 12-bit panels and with the right content they should be able of displaying up to 68 billion colors. HDR10+ is supported, but most importantly, Netflix is happy to stream Dolby Vision-enabled content to the phone. Even though Dolby Vision is supported on 10-bit displays as well, one of its benefits is the 12-bit color support, something which HDR10 and HDR10+ lack.

Xiaomi 12 review

Of course, we ran our usual tests on this screen too, and we are happy to report high brightness values. With the slider set to a maximum in manual mode, the panel peaks at 494 nits. Setting the brightness mode to automatic can boost that to a whopping 896 nits, which is an excellent result suitable for a flagship phone. Content consumption under bright sunlight shouldn't be an issue. We didn't reach the advertised 1100 nits with our 75% APL, though, at lower APL, the panel might as well go above that mark.

Display test 100% brightness
Black,cd/m2 White,cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Xiaomi 12 Pro 0 506
Xiaomi 12 Pro (Max Auto) 0 1050
Xiaomi 12X 0 504
Xiaomi 12X (Max Auto) 0 925
Xiaomi 12 0 494
Xiaomi 12 (Max Auto) 0 896
Samsung Galaxy S22+ 0 468
Samsung Galaxy S22+ (Extra brightness) 0 782
Samsung Galaxy S22+ (Max Auto) 0 1214
Xiaomi Mi 11 0 498
Xiaomi Mi 11 (Max Auto) 0 926
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G 0 416
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Max Auto) 0 856
Apple iPhone 13 mini 0 831
Realme GT2 Pro 0 482
Realme GT2 Pro (Max Auto) 0 778
Sony Xperia 5 III 0 327
Sony Xperia 5 III (Max Auto, Creator mode) 0 590

Moreover, we found the 360-degree ambient light sensor to be quite responsive in all scenarios. Have you noticed that the auto-brightness won't budge on some phones if there is a bright light source behind the device? Well, there's no such issue with the Xiaomi 12. The device can adjust its brightness no matter where the light source is.

Color accuracy with the default Vivid mode isn't exemplary since the whites and grays all have that typical blue-ish tinge. The rest of the colors are also a bit saturated, yet look quite nice.

Going for the so-called Original preset will give you superb color accuracy. The average dE2000 is just 1.1, while the maximum dE2000 is 2.3. Both are exceptional results, and the Original mode also nails the whites and grays. And in case you want to adjust the color temperature to your liking, Xiaomi provides a color wheel with the Advanced color mode.

HRR control

The HRR control is simple and effective in most cases. The software offers just two refresh rate settings - Automatic and Custom. The latter lets you force either 60 or 120Hz, while the auto mode prioritizes the maximum 120Hz refresh rate whenever needed. It seems to be working in almost all of the apps we've tried - that includes system and third-party ones. The system will only dial down to 60Hz if you are not interacting with the display or when watching videos on Netflix, YouTube and in the default Gallery app.

Since the phone doesn't use an LTPO display like the Xiaomi 12 Pro, we found only two refresh rate steps here - 60Hz and 120Hz. Sadly, we were unable to go past 60Hz in almost all of the games we tried, with only Sky Force: Reloaded and Dead Trigger being the exceptions we could verify.

Battery life

The Xiaomi 12 offers just about average battery capacity compared to competing flagship solutions, although the small 6.28-inch diagonal really puts the large 4,500 mAh into context, and it's borderline impressive if you ask us. Unfortunately, though, the overall battery endurance is far from impressive. Flagship SoCs are famous for their relatively high power consumption, so we weren't expecting great runtimes to begin with.

Yet, the 3G talk and standby times are pretty underwhelming, while the web browsing score is just as disappointing. The handset's video playback is possibly the only satisfactory component of the 82 hours overall score.

Xiaomi 12 review

Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSerDevice app. The endurance rating denotes how long the battery charge will last you if you use the device for an hour of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. More details can be found here.

We've included other Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-powered smartphones for the sake of comparison, and as it turns out, most all phones running that SoC post better scores with similar battery capacities. Even the Samsung Galaxy S22+ with its 4,500 mAh battery and considerably bigger screen beats the Xiaomi 12 in all tests. Also, only the Realme GT2 Pro and the iQOO 9 Pro use the energy-efficient LTPO2 OLED panels, so this leads us to believe that the software is the culprit.

Video test carried out in 60Hz refresh rate mode. Web browsing test done at the display's highest refresh rate whenever possible. Refer to the respective reviews for specifics. To adjust the endurance rating formula to match your own usage patterns check out our all-time battery test results chart where you can also find all phones we've tested.

One would hope that Xiaomi will fix its flawed runtimes with a software update but for now, the Xiaomi 12's battery endurance is underwhelming.

Charging speed

As far as charging is concerned, the Xiaomi 12 is competitive. The provided 67W charger can restore 87% of the battery in the first 30 minutes, whereas a full charge from flat takes about 46 minutes. This is pretty close to the advertised 39 minutes, but we noticed that the battery reaches the "fully charged" state a few minutes after the 39-minute mark.

Xiaomi 12 review

The most impressive bits are the temperatures and the battery design. The phone's surface during charging remained fairly cool and this, in turn, could be due to the battery design. The Xiaomi 12 Pro uses a single-cell battery design that allows for higher density than dual-cell batteries, which tend to charge faster. Xiaomi was still able to implement 120W charging on its 12 Pro and even though the company doesn't explicitly say the same battery technology applies to the vanilla Xiaomi 12, we have a good reason to believe it's been used here as well, at 67W, though.

30min charging test (from 0%)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi 12 Pro (120W)
  • Realme GT2 Pro
  • Xiaomi 12
  • Xiaomi Mi 11
  • Samsung Galaxy S22+ (45W)
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro (65W PD)
  • Samsung Galaxy S22+ (25W)
  • Apple iPhone 13 mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (25W PD)
  • Sony Xperia 5 III

Time to full charge (from 0%)

Lower is better

  • Xiaomi 12 Pro (120W)
  • Realme GT2 Pro
  • Xiaomi 12
  • Xiaomi 12 Pro (65W PD)
  • Xiaomi Mi 11
  • Samsung Galaxy S22+ (45W)
  • Samsung Galaxy S22+ (25W)
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (25W PD)
  • Apple iPhone 13 mini
  • Sony Xperia 5 III

In addition to the 67W wired charging, the device supports 50W wireless charging when equipped with the appropriate Xiaomi charger. And, of course, the handset supports reverse wireless charging at 10W in case your TWS buds or your watch run out of juice, and this is the only way to charge them on the go.


The Xiaomi 12 uses full-fledged stereo speakers, or that's at least what the grilles suggest at first glance. Upon testing the balance between the two speakers, we found that the top one barely contributes to the overall stereo experience. The bottom speaker is considerably louder. Makes us wonder if Xiaomi did use a bigger earpiece after all and provided an additional grille for it at the top.

Another annoying design flaw is the positioning of the two speakers. If you are used to holding the bottom of the phone facing right, you will more often than not block the grilles in landscape mode. Flipping the phone around helps. Oh, and in case you think the Dolby Atmos optimization and the Harman Kardon-tuned speakers are more than just marketing gimmick, think again.

The handset comes with Dolby Atmos-enabled by default, but it made the vocals distorted at higher volumes, the bass was flat, and the highs were ringing. The mids were disproportionally boosted, too. Turning it off made the sound a lot fuller, balanced and restored the lacking bass. It's a totally different experience. So despite our frustration with the speakers' placement and the imbalanced loudness, we liked the overall sound quality with Dolby Atmos disabled. Loudness was also pretty good and the -25.3 LUFS is enough for a "Very Good" score. And for the record, we ran our audio test with Dolby Atmos turned on since that's the default state of the feature.

Use the Playback controls to listen to the phone sample recordings (best use headphones). We measure the average loudness of the speakers in LUFS. A lower absolute value means a louder sound. A look at the frequency response chart will tell you how far off the ideal "0db" flat line is the reproduction of the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. You can add more phones to compare how they differ. The scores and ratings are not comparable with our older loudspeaker test. Learn more about how we test here.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous
  • 23 May 2024
  • tZj

The Xiaomi 12 series is getting 3 years OS and 4 years security updates. The 13 and 14 series are getting 4 years OS and 5 years security updates.

  • HingeConsumer
  • 10 May 2024
  • KSY

Will this phone get 4 years major Android update and 5 years security patch?

Actually he doesnt care about camera or any apps (except fb messenger for our family group) as long as he can call or send a message on a regular network and he can play his games.