Xiaomi 12 Pro review

GSMArena Team, 15 March 2022.

Design, build quality, handling

Coming up with a standout design for a smartphone in 2022 is anything but trivial, and we'd say Xiaomi has pulled it off with the 12 series. The curved screens and backs aren't exactly unique, but they help establish a family connection, and the shared styling of that camera island makes the family unlike any other.

Xiaomi 12 Pro reviewXiaomi 12 Pro (left) next to Xiaomi 12

The main camera sits on top, the biggest sensor and lens combo getting its rightful spot. It's particularly impressive on the 12 Pro we have here, having to accommodate a 1/1.28" imager and a bright f/1.9 lens. The shiny metal-looking ring around it accentuates it further. It's no Ultra, but it doesn't go unnoticed.

Xiaomi 12 Pro review

Underneath, the smaller ultrawide and the telephoto are off to one side, freeing room for the flash and a single 50MP inscription on the other. Mind you, in this particular case, the 50 holds true for all three modules. Very subtle lines divide the island into sections, giving it an air of elegance and precision. In the end, it's simply a camera cluster like any other, only it's a thoughtfully designed one.

Xiaomi 12 Pro review

Now, we could have gone without the multiple lines of text in the bottom right portion of the back. Our favorite regulatory stamp, the crossed-out trash can, is particularly big and prominent on the 12 Pro. On the opposite side, the Xiaomi logo is way more restrained and is joined by a '5G' badge, advertising the phone's next-gen connectivity support.

Xiaomi 12 Pro review

The back panel itself is made of glass. We know from Corning that the vanilla Xiaomi 12 back is made of Gorilla Glass 5, but we have no such information on the 12 Pro. It would make sense for it to be at least as good, though.

The back's got a frosted finish that has a very interesting sparkle to it when the sun hits it but isn't nearly as flashy otherwise. In terms of practicality, this panel is very slippery, particularly if you have drier skin. On the upside, it's not prone to picking up fingerprints.

Xiaomi 12 Pro review

The rear panel curves into the aluminum frame matching the shape of the display on the front, making for very thin side rails. As usual in such cases, you can expect that picking up the 12 Pro from a table would be somewhat fiddly, with the phone offering little in the way of gripping area. There's positive spin to that as well, however, in that the curves make an already thin phone (8.2mm, Xiaomi's calipers say) feel even thinner in hand.

Xiaomi 12 Pro review

There's little of note on the 12 Pro's sides, other than the power button and volume rocker above it, both on the right. The buttons are well positioned and click positively, no complaints.

The frame thickens around the corners and into the top and bottom sections providing a more robust metal guardian against the floor in case misfortune strikes. There are two identical-looking sets of openings forming a wave, one on the bottom, the other one on the top, and the Harman/Kardon logo indicates that these are the outlets for the pair of speakers. There's also a mic on each end of the phone.

The top is home to one of Xiaomi's staple features, an infrared emitter, which you can use to operate simpler devices like TVs or air conditioners.

Down on the bottom is where the USB-C port is, as well as the card tray. The tray takes one or two nano SIMs, but isn't microSD-friendly. Essentially, other than Sony and Huawei, no one else seems to be offering a storage expansion option on a high-end device (okay, there's a Zenfone on that select list as well).

Clicky buttons on the right - Xiaomi 12 Pro review Harman/Kardon badge next to top speaker - Xiaomi 12 Pro review SIM tray on the bottom - Xiaomi 12 Pro review
Clicky buttons on the right • Harman/Kardon badge next to top speaker • SIM tray on the bottom

Saving the best for last, the 6.73" Super AMOLED display is a thing of beauty (more numbers on the next page). Gently disappearing into the sides and with minimal borders all around, the 12 Pro's business end is as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the fingertips.

Xiaomi 12 Pro review

Certainly, if you're not a fan of curved display edges, you may have a problem with the 12 Pro, in principle more so than in practice. But there are premium flat-screened alternatives - the Galaxy S22+ is the first that comes to mind.

Xiaomi 12 Pro review

A few years back, we might have complained about the punch-hole selfie camera, but we've developed punch-hole blindness over time, and now it's just a thing that we know is there but we don't see. Manufacturers share this opinion, it appears, and we're not getting pop-up selfie cameras anymore, for better or for worse.

There's a thin slit where the display glass meets the frame, and that's for directing some of the sound from the top speaker into your ear for calls. Bear in mind that some of it will still go out through the Harman/Kardon-branded wave up top.

Xiaomi 12 Pro review

For all of its achievements in design and build, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is missing one key feature, and that's extra protection against the elements. Or, rather, it hasn't had it certified - the orange gasket on the SIM card tray hints at some level of sealing, but we operate in IP ratings here, and there isn't one in the 12 Pro's specsheet.

Xiaomi 12 Pro review

The Xiaomi 12 Pro measures 163.6x74.6x8.2mm and weighs 204g (or 205g depending on the version), and that makes it a full-size smartphone. The Galaxy S22+ is a bit more compact - it may be a millimeter wider, but is 6mm shorter and 0.6mm thinner, and some 10g lighter. The iPhone 13 Pro, meanwhile, weighs just as much as the Xiaomi, but is substantially smaller - it's almost 2cm shorter. The 13 Pro Max, on the other hand, is tangibly wider and heavier, yet somehow a little shorter and thinner than the 12 Pro.

The Xiaomi 12 Series has a 'compact' flagship option, too - the vanilla 12 is about as close as we're getting these days to being labeled that way.

Xiaomi 12 Pro reviewXiaomi 12 Pro (left) next to Xiaomi 12

Reader comments

  • Anonymous
  • 30 Jun 2022
  • tDP

Sorry... >200g is just too heavy

  • ls
  • 19 Jun 2022
  • vxL

nowaday most phone specifications are more or less similar. i choose high end phone based on design. and xiaomi pro 12 is nicer than any others at the moment.

  • Pyrgiotis
  • 01 Jun 2022
  • swg

Bro the chipset is to small for any vapor chamber to dispatch its heat properly. U need a fucking fan or a water cooling system.