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Xiaomi 12T Pro review: Closing in on the flagships

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £699
inc VAT

Another strong almost-flagship, the Xiaomi 12T Pro will suit a niche budgetary range


  • Top-notch performance
  • Sharp, accurate display
  • Super-fast 120W charging


  • Mid-range design with only IP53 rating
  • 200MP camera not quite as impressive as it seems
  • No wireless charging

Last year’s Xiaomi 11T Pro (£592) was one of the best-value phones of 2021, offering a flagship-adjacent feature set for an upper-mid-range price tag. The Xiaomi 12T Pro shifts things up a notch, both in terms of specs and pricing.

In a year that’s supplied more than its fair share of classy mid-rangers, it’s a dangerous game to play. So has Xiaomi managed to strike almost-flagship gold for a second year running, or has that precarious balance been thrown out of whack?

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Xiaomi 12T Pro review: What you need to know

As we’ve come to expect from Xiaomi’s T-series, the 12T Pro offers several stand-out flagship specs at a relatively attainable price. Those specs include the latest Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor and 256GB of internal storage as standard.

The headline feature here is the 200MP main camera, while your eye might also be drawn to the provision of a 120W charger in the box.

All this is wrapped in a more modest, dare we say mid-range, design than the Xiaomi 12 Pro presented earlier this year. Meanwhile, the 12T Pro’s flat 6.67in AMOLED display isn’t quite as big, sharp or bright as the aforementioned flagship phone’s equivalent panel.

This carefully calibrated suite of compromises results in a phone that’s capable of top-end feats at a price that’s several hundred pounds less than a genuine Android flagship. But is that still enough?

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Xiaomi 12T Pro review: Price and competition

At £699, it might appear as if the Xiaomi 12T Pro is a return to more moderate pricing after the Xiaomi 12 Pro hiked things way up past the £1,000 mark. However, the true yardstick by which to measure the 12T Pro’s price is its direct predecessor, the Xiaomi 11T Pro (£592). That phone launched for £599 in late 2021.

Before you start grumbling about inflation and rising costs, it’s worth noting that while the Xiaomi 11T Pro shipped with 128GB of internal storage, the sole Xiaomi 12T Pro model available here in the UK comes with 256GB. That doesn’t quite justify the £100 price hike on its own, but it helps soften the blow.

Elsewhere, the Xiaomi 12T Pro finds itself in direct competition with some compelling alternatives. Its pricing falls in the middle of the Pixel 7 (£599) and the Pixel 7 Pro (£849), for example, while it’s £70 more expensive than the similarly pitched OnePlus 10T (£629).

Xiaomi 12T Pro review: Design and key features

The Xiaomi 12T Pro might perform like a flagship phone, but it doesn’t look like one. Its dimensions are fairly typical, with a thickness of 8.6mm and a weight of 205g. But countless little details hint at a mid-range grounding.

It’s right there in the flat display with its thick plastic frame, and the slightly generic silky-shiny finish to the black glass rear. The 12T Pro is also available in silver and blue, both of which look a little more interesting to my eye.

The industrial-looking camera module is the main design feature carried across from the Xiaomi 12 Pro, though the 12T Pro’s huge 200MP main camera adds yet another layer. It’s rather unsightly, and is the most obvious differentiator between this phone and the normal Xiaomi 12T.

This mid-range approach to design runs deeper than how the phone looks. Take the use of Gorilla Glass 5 for the display rather than Gorilla Glass Victus, or the provision of an IP53 dust- and water-resistance rating over the usual IP68.

On the top edge of the phone you’ll find written evidence that Xiaomi has stuck with its Harman Kardon partnership. The US audio specialist has tuned the 12T Pro’s stereo speakers, just as it did with the Xiaomi 12 Pro. They offer strong separation and a decent high end, though they lack depth and a fair amount of low-end punch when played side by side with the iPhone 13 Pro.

Another feature of that top edge is Xiaomi’s customary IR blaster, which lets you use the 12T Pro as a stand-in for all of your remote controls via the included Mi Remote app.

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Xiaomi 12T Pro review: Display

The Xiaomi 12T Pro packs a 6.67in AMOLED display with a curious 1,220 x 2,712 resolution. That’s neither FHD+ nor QHD+, but rather something in between. If anything, it’s closer to the resolution you’ll find in Apple’s iPhone line, making for a pleasingly sharp picture that doesn’t hit the battery life too hard.

You also get a 120Hz refresh rate here, though this isn’t an LTPO panel like the Xiaomi 12 Pro, so it can only scale in increments of 30Hz rather than dipping right down to 1Hz.

The screen doesn’t get as bright as the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s either, though its output is hardly lacking. I recorded a top brightness (with auto brightness switched off) of between 490 and 520 nits, depending on the screen mode. Xiaomi claims that it can hit a peak brightness, with auto-brightness on and in direct sunlight, of 900cd/m², which is some way short of the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s 1,500cd/m².

It’s a well-tuned AMOLED panel with Dolby Vision support, which is something the normal Xiaomi 12T lacks. Switching away from the gaudy default Vivid mode to Original, I recorded an average Delta E of 0.75, which is excellent. It also covered 99.3% of the sRGB colour gamut, with a total volume of 101.4%.

This is also a dead flat display, unlike the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s dual-curved panel. It might not look as flashy, but the 12T Pro screen is much better when it comes to eliminating false inputs and hosting distortion-free media playback.

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Xiaomi 12T Pro review: Performance and battery life

Where the Xiaomi 12T Pro manages to overtake the Xiaomi 12 Pro is with its performance, courtesy of an up-to-date Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor.It’s no surprise that the phone is as fast as non-gaming Android phones get in late 2022. We’re talking Geekbench 5 multicore scores of around 4,269, which is around 600 points higher than the Xiaomi 12 Pro and its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. In GPU terms, our GFXBench scores show another advantage for the Xiaomi 12T Pro and its newer processor over the Xiaomi 12 Pro and the rest of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 brigade.Xiaomi has managed to save a little money by only giving us 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM. There are 12GB variants out there, but not here in the UK.

The Xiaomi 12T Pro comes with a 5,000mAh battery. That’s 400mAh bigger than the Xiaomi 12 Pro, and 200mAh bigger than the OnePlus 10T, which is a direct rival.

Despite that size advantage, the Xiaomi 12T Pro didn’t perform phenomenally in our usual looping video test, lasting a massive six hours less than the OnePlus 10T. This would appear to be a Xiaomi software issue, as the Xiaomi 12 Pro lasted almost four hours less than the 12T Pro earlier in the year.There isn’t too much to worry about in real-world usage, however. I was routinely able to get through 15 or 16 hours of light to moderate usage with around 50% charge left. Heavier days should still see it lasting through to bedtime.

If you do hit the 12T Pro hard enough to require a quick top-up, Xiaomi has packed a 120W charger into the box. In my experience, it’s capable of getting the 12T Pro from 0 to 100% in just 23 minutes, which is incredibly swift.

One other sign that the Xiaomi 12T Pro isn’t quite aiming for true flagship status is the lack of wireless charging. I would have hoped to have seen this in a £700 phone, so it’s a bit of a disappointment.

Xiaomi 12T Pro review: Software

The Xiaomi 12T Pro runs on MIUI 13 out of the box, which sits on top of Android 12. It’s essentially the same setup as the Xiaomi 12 Pro before it.

As always, Xiaomi has taken its UI cues from Apple as much as Google, though it’s a somewhat clumsy approximation. By default you drag down from the top left for notifications and from the top right for the Control Centre toggles.

You can switch back to an integrated notification menu in the Settings menu, and the strongest aspect of MIUI 13 is indeed its high degree of customisation potential. Nowhere is that more apparent than Xiaomi’s Themes app, which provides access to a dizzying number of bespoke wallpapers and matching icon packs to download and utilise.

I could have done without all the usual Xiaomi bloatware, though. Do we really need the Opera web browser and Xiaomi’s own Mi Browser in addition to Chrome?

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Xiaomi 12T Pro review: Cameras

The Xiaomi 12T Pro has a curiously lopsided camera system. On the one hand you get a headline-grabbing 1/1.22in 200MP main sensor. On the other hand, there’s a meagre 8MP ultrawide and a 2MP depth sensor. There’s no telephoto camera at all.

Still, let’s focus on that main camera, as it really is the main event here. Using 16-in-1 pixel binning, it produces 12.5MP shots of some considerable detail, as you might expect.What it doesn’t do, despite that surfeit of pixels, is provide image quality that rivals the best that Apple and Google have to offer. It’s good, but not that good.

There’s an AI assistant mode, but you’ll need to activate this manually should you desire further assistance with shot selection. I found that while this could lift otherwise flat or murky shots, it generally gave scenes an unnaturally blueish tint, so I generally left it off in favour of the more naturalistic default mode.One thing this huge sensor didn’t do outstandingly well, in my experience, is capture convincing Night mode shots. It’s perfectly adequate on this front, but I observed signs of pronounced grain and a general lack of clarity. The Xiaomi 12 Pro’s 50MP camera certainly captured clearer shots in similar conditions.As suspected, the 8MP ultrawide isn’t particularly impressive, with a massive drop in detail, particularly towards the edge of the image. Elsewhere, the pixel-packed main sensor does a reasonable shot cropping in for 2x shots, though it’s still no replacement for a decent telephoto.The 20MP selfie camera does a reasonable job with skin tones, provided you deactivate Xiaomi’s horrible beautifying slider.

Xiaomi 12T Pro review: Verdict

The Xiaomi 12T Pro is another strong almost-flagship from the brand, offering some seriously compelling specs for a price just south of the genuine top contenders. It’s not quite as convincing a package as last year’s Xiaomi 11T Pro (£592), however, for a couple of reasons.

Most obviously, the Xiaomi 12T Pro is £100 more expensive than its predecessor. While it’s still good value for what you’re getting, the phone is now priced that much closer to flat-out flagships, and well in excess of the latest breed of compelling mid-rangers, which means its compromises are cast in a slightly harsher light.

It’s a little trickier to ignore the mid-range design, the lack of wireless charging and the poor secondary camera offering. Indeed, while the phone’s 200MP main camera certainly grabs your attention and is capable of capturing detailed, nicely balanced shots, it’s not among the very best in the business.

If you have a strict £700 budget, the Xiaomi 12T Pro is a fine choice. But with the likes of the Google Pixel 7 on the market for less money, it’s far from the only one.

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