Xiaomi 12 series kicks off 2022 flagship race in style with bargain pricing

Xiaomi has just introduced two high-end smartphones that draw power from Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, setting the ball rolling for 2022 Android flagships. Say hello to the Xiaomi 12 and its Pro sibling. The two phones are packed to the gills with top-of-the-line hardware, and despite the Pro model winning the specs race, the vanilla Xiaomi 12 is the more interesting package.

The standard Xiaomi 12 makes an impression courtesy of its compact factor and aesthetics, with the green leather variant truly standing out for its looks. Over at the front is a 6.3-inch FHD+ OLED display offering a smooth 120Hz refresh rate, 1,100 nits of peak brightness, and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus on top for protection. Accompanying the top-tier Qualcomm chip is up to 12GB of fast LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of onboard UFS 3.1 storage.

The imaging department includes an optically stabilized 50-megapixel main snapper, a 13-megapixel sensor for wide-angle photography, and a modest 5-megapixel lens for macro shooting. Camera tricks include support for 8K HDR10 video capture at 24 fps and up to 960 fps slo-mo video recording.

Selfie and video calling responsibilities fall in the kitty of a 32-megapixel front snapper. A 4,500mAh battery keeps the lights on, and it is ready for 67W wired fast charging, 50W wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging at a peak 10W output.

No fancy zoom camera though

Coming to the Xiaomi 12 Pro, it ups the ante with a 6.7-inch 2K (3200 x 1440 pixels) display offering a variable refresh rate of up to 120Hz and an impressive 1,500 nits of peak brightness. MIUI 13 handles things on the software side, while Wi-Fi 6E, 5G, and Bluetooth v5.2 round up the connectivity package. The memory configurations on the table are the same as the standard Xiaomi 12, but things truly take the upgrade route in the camera and battery departments.

The camera hardware is highlighted by a 50-megapixel primary shooter that relies on the Sony IMX707 sensor. It can shoot 4K videos at up to 60 fps and slo-mo videos at a cool 1920 fps frame rate. It sits alongside a 50-megapixel wide-angle camera and a 50-megapixel telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom output. The lack of a periscope-style telephoto camera is quite evident here, as the zoom output is nowhere in the same ballpark as the Mi 11 Ultra or the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

A 4,600mAh battery with a single-cell design runs the show, while its fast charging capabilities are supported by the in-house Surge P1 chip. The Xiaomi 12 Pro supports an impressive 120W wired fast charging, 50W wireless charging, and 10W reverse wireless charging. Color options that are up for grabs are black, blue, purple, and green vegan leather.

The Xiaomi 12 starts at 3,699 Chinese yuan, which translates to around $580 based on the current conversion rates. Xiaomi 12 Pro, on the other hand, will ask buyers to pay a minimum 4,699 Chinese yuan (about $740) for the base model with 8GB of RAM. If one were to take this pricing at face value, the Xiaomi offerings unsurprisingly race ahead of value champions like the Google Pixel 6 series and the iPhone 13 lineup as well.

Both the devices are currently limited to the China market, but Xiaomi chief Lei Jun has signaled that the two phones will hit the international markets as well. But given Xiaomi’s track record, an official launch in the United States seems unlikely.

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