Hands-on with the Xiaomi 12T Pro

MyBroadband recently had the opportunity to play with a Xiaomi 12T Pro at the company’s official South African launch event.

After debuting in Europe two months earlier, Xiaomi officially rolled out the 12T Series locally on Monday, 21 November 2022.

The higher-end Xiaomi 12T Pro boasts solid specifications — including a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, 6.67-inch 2,712 x 1,220 OLED display with 120Hz refresh rate, and a triple camera headlined by a 200MP Samsung Isocell sensor.

With a recommended retail price of R16,999 and early sale prices below R14,000, this model looks shaped to take the fight to entry-level flagships from Apple, Huawei, and Samsung.

Our first impressions of the 12T Pro were very positive.

At its price point, it’s impressive that it featured a back panel made from glass, a material typically reserved for premium smartphones that sell for around R20,000.

Although the frame’s plastic material felt and looked a bit cheaper than the steel frames one often finds on flagships, it did not detract much from the overall feel in hand.

The 12T Pro felt well-balanced and comfortable to hold, even though it was slightly larger than the smartphone size I’m used to.

As someone used to his Samsung Galaxy S22, the Xiaomi 12T Pro did not feel like a downgrade despite costing much less than modern flagships.

The Xiaomi 12T Pro ranks 21st on DxOMark’s smartphone camera rankings, a commendable achievement when considering it placed above flagships like the iPhone 12 Pro, Galaxy S22 Plus, and Pixel 6.

Key to this is one of its most-punted features — a 200MP main camera — which was one of the first things we wanted to put through its paces.

By default, the 12T Pro does not shoot using all 200MP in its primary camera mode.

The reason for this is simple — 200MP photos are huge and can quickly fill up your smartphone’s storage.

With a resolution of 16,384 x 12,288, a single image has around 24 times as many pixels as a 4K video still.

One of the pictures we took in 200MP mode took up an astounding 52.72MB.

It would take less than 5,120 photos at such sizes to fill up a 256GB device.

We found the 200MP shooting mode after fiddling through the various camera settings, and the eventual results were well worth the effort.

The original photo size was too large to upload to our website, and we didn’t want to consume people’s mobile data unnecessarily, so the copy below had to be substantially compressed.

Compressed version of the original image. Note that lighting conditions were not ideal, and the smartphone was fixed to a stand.

As an illustration of how much data the camera captured, we included some zoomed-in parts of the original photo below.

The potted plant in this image was around 10 metres from where we took the photo and still showed quite a lot of detail and accurate colours.
Although the small text on these water bottles was hard to make out, the quality in the original image was sufficient to deduce they were from Valpré without having to get up close.

The operating system of the Xiaomi 12T — Android 12-based MIUI 13 — is easy to navigate for reasonably experienced  Android users.

At first glance, Xiaomi’s interface felt closer to the vanilla Android 12, which Google provides on its Pixel smartphones, than Samsung’s One UI skin.

However, there did appear to be quite a few Xiaomi stock apps, which might irritate some users.

While it’s tough to give a final verdict on the software given the short time we had with the phone, our initial impressions of quick system responsiveness and seamless navigation were good signs.

In terms of everyday use, Xiaomi claims the phone’s large 5,000mAh could provide a typical screen time of around 13.5 hours on a single charge.

By comparison, it said its “Ultra” rival smartphones could only reach around 10 hours.

In addition, the battery supports 120W wired charging, which can safely take it from empty to full in approximately 19 minutes.

Below are some of the pictures we took of the Xiaomi 12T Pro in our initial hands-on.


Now read: How much data the average smartphone on Vodacom uses

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Hands-on with the Xiaomi 12T Pro