The Xiaomi 12 Pro is a brand new competitor at the top of the smartphone food chain. And make no mistake, it’s worth taking on flagship royalties, including the iPhone 13 Pro.
After scrapping with Apple for much of the past year over the number two spot among smartphone makers, Xiaomi looks poised to step up the fight in 2022.
So how do the two high-end handsets compare? Which stylish smartphone is worth four figures? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
iPhone 13 Pro vs Xiaomi 12 Pro price and availability
The Xiaomi 12 Pro goes on sale on April 15, 2022. Prices start at $999 for 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but keep in mind that this phone won’t actually ship in the US. Only one model is available in the UK, with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage for £1,049 (about £1,385).
The iPhone 13 Pro arrived on September 24, 2021, with prices starting at $999 / £949 / AU$1,699 for 128GB, $1,099 / £1,049 / AU$1,869 for 256GB and $1,299 / £1,249 / AU$2,219 for 512 GB. There’s also a 1TB model for $1,499 / £1,449 / AU$2,569.
These two phones are therefore very similarly priced. However, the iPhone 13 Pro wins on sheer availability and pricing options.
They may be priced similarly, but physically the Xiaomi 12 Pro is the bigger phone.
At 163.6 x 74.6 x 8.2mm, it’s smaller than the iPhone 13 Pro, which measures just 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.65mm. Interestingly though, the two phones share an identical weight of 204g.
The reason for this can probably be attributed to the iPhone 13 Pro’s use of more premium materials, at least when it comes to the stainless steel chassis. Xiaomi uses lower quality aluminum.
Weight aside, there is little common ground between the designs of these two phones. The iPhone 13 Pro is a rectangular device with square sides, while the Xiaomi 12 Pro has curves on both the front and back.
We’re big fans of the silky, velvety finish on the back of the Xiaomi 12 Pro. Even the gray model has a matte, speckled shimmer (it’s also available in purple and blue), while the iPhone 13 Pro opts for a solid, smooth finish (in a wider choice of Graphite, Gold, Silver, Sierra Blue, and Alpine Vegetable). ).
Both phones are remarkably resistant to fingerprints, and both look decidedly mature in their own way.
One area where the iPhone 13 Pro takes a clear win is water and dust resistance. While the iPhone 13 Pro is IP68 certified, the Xiaomi 12 Pro lacks an IP rating, which is almost unforgivable in such a premium smartphone.
The two handsets have very different approaches to biometric authentication. The iPhone 13 Pro has that somewhat ugly Face ID notch that allows for facial recognition. The Xiaomi has a fast fingerprint sensor under the screen and a more subtle perforation.
The crucial point to being bigger is that the Xiaomi 12 Pro has a significantly larger screen than the iPhone 13 Pro. The Xiaomi is 6.73 inches, while the iPhone 13 Pro is a relatively small 6.1 inches.
Both are LTPO AMOLED displays with a refresh rate of 120 Hz, although the iPhone can drop to 10 Hz depending on the task, but the Xiaomi can drop to 1 Hz. Not that this makes much of a difference when it comes to battery performance, as we’ll discuss.
Xiaomi’s display is a real treat, with a maximum brightness of 1500 nits in sunny conditions. The screen of the iPhone 13 Pro achieves a lesser 1200 nits.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro’s screen is sharper too, with a tune of 3200 x 1440. Apple’s flagship can only hit 2532 x 1170, although in practice we challenge anyone to tell the difference, especially with that size difference.
In addition, the screen of the iPhone 13 Pro wins from flatness. The Xiaomi 12 Pro’s screen bends at the edges, which can lead to some strange false input, and also creates an imperfect canvas when viewing landscape content in full screen.
All in all, the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s screen is simply bigger, brighter and sharper than that of the iPhone 13 Pro.
The only thing these two camera systems have in common is their unusual balance. The iPhone 13 Pro has a triple 12-megapixel configuration, while the Xiaomi 12 Pro has a triple 50-megapixel configuration.
That’s quite unusual, even on flagship phones, where one or both of the telephoto and ultra-wide sensors usually have a different resolution than the main sensor.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro is the first phone to use the 1/1.28″ Sony IMX707 sensor for its wide camera, which captures 1.22µm pixels and 2.44um fusion pixels (Xiaomi’s term for pixel binning). f/1.9 aperture and is supported by OIS.
The iPhone 13 Pro’s main sensor is smaller at 1/1.65″, but it’s still the largest yet in an iPhone. It also captures larger pixels at 1.9 µm without pixel binning, and is accompanied by a wider aperture of f/1.5 Apple’s phone has a more advanced 5-axis stabilization system, which keeps night shots and videos supernaturally stable.
Another way the iPhone 13 Pro camera outperforms the Xiaomi 12 Pro is with its 3x optical zoom, which gets closer to the action than the 2x Xiaomi equivalent. Apple’s ultra-wide-angle lens can also take macro shots, while the Xiaomi doesn’t have autofocus.
Hardware aside, the main difference here relates to color science. Apple’s algorithms lead to famously balanced, natural-looking photos, while Xiaomi goes for a punchier and more vibrant look.
Apple’s trump card here is the A15 Bionic chip, which powers improvements like Smart HDR 4 and Photographic Styles, the latter letting you change the complexion of your photos.
On the video front, the iPhone continues to reign supreme. This time you get support for the advanced ProRes codec, which contains much more information for richer footage. In movie mode you can change the focus point after production and even automatically adjust the focus to the different subjects.
For its part, the Xiaomi 12 Pro can manage 8K video at 24 fps. The iPhone can only handle 4K at 60 fps, although we still think 8K video is a feature with extremely limited appeal.
In our review, we said that the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s main camera “produces slightly sharper photos than a top-end iPhone”, although we’d still give the iPhone 13 Pro’s camera the overall win for its balance and flexibility.
Specifications and Features
The Xiaomi 12 Pro runs on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (4nm), like most other Android flagships from 2022. It’s fast, but the iPhone 13 Pro’s A15 Bionic is faster.
In terms of CPU benchmark, the A15 Bionic beats its Android opponent, although to the credit of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 it manages to win back a few rounds in the GPU stake.
You will not notice these differences for daily use. These are simply two of the fastest phones money can buy, and no app or game makes both phones blink.
In terms of memory, the Xiaomi 12 Pro gets 12 GB, while the iPhone 13 Pro gets 6 GB. However, due to the different ways iOS and Android handle memory, there’s no advantage that can be pulled either way.
When it comes to storage, Xiaomi offers 128 GB or 256 GB of internal storage depending on the region. Apple, meanwhile, offers a choice of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of storage space wherever you are in the world.
Xiaomi has packed its phone with quad speakers with Harman Kardon tuning and support for Dolby Atmos, and they sound sufficiently expansive and loud. However, our reviewer found that it still “falls behind the iPhone 13 Pro… when it comes to rounded audio and bass depth”.
Choosing between iOS and Android is mostly a matter of preference. However, we’re talking about exactly the same iOS as always, and that’s exactly how Apple intended it. With the Xiaomi 12 Pro, it is Xiaomi’s modified version of Android called MIUI.
MIUI 13 is fairly fluid, but it’s rather cluttered, contains a bit too much bloatware, and doesn’t take advantage of Android 12’s clever ‘Material You’ home screen customization system.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro comes with a 4600 mAh battery, which is much larger than the 3095 mAh cell of the iPhone 13 Pro. It’s not huge in Android terms though, with Google’s operating system typically using more system resources.
We described the iPhone 13 Pro as having “remarkably better battery life than we’ve seen on the iPhone 12 Pro and other Pro handsets before that,” meaning it’s “capable of lasting a full day of normal use.” “.
As for the Xiaomi 12 Pro, we found it to be us “easy from morning to night … although it is certainly not a two-day smartphone.”
There isn’t much of a difference when it comes to staying power, it seems.
However, Xiaomi beats Apple when it comes to charging. Not only does it support 120W fast charging, it bundles the necessary charger in the box, to get you from 0 to 100% in just 20 minutes or so. That’s the fastest charging of all commonly available smartphones here in the West.
The iPhone 13 Pro, on the other hand, only supports 20W wired charging, and you have to provide that charging stone yourself.
Both phones support wireless charging, but while the Xiaomi stretches out to an impressive 50W, the iPhone 13 Pro only offers 15W (with the correct MagSafe charger).
To take off
We found the Xiaomi 12 Pro “one of the most balanced phones out there”, while the iPhone 13 Pro is “one of the best smartphones of 2021”, managing to maintain that status until early 2022.
We scored the Xiaomi 12 Pro a tad higher in our review, but the two phones are different enough that it’s hard to name an outright winner.
The Xiaomi wins in terms of its bigger, sharper and brighter screen and its phenomenally fast and generous charging facility. The iPhone, on the other hand, is moving forward with its more flexible and sophisticated camera system and its more robust IP68 certification.
If these categories don’t decide it for you anyway, it probably comes down to those age-old design and operating system preferences. Either way, we don’t think you’ll be disappointed with your choice.