The Xiaomi 12 Pro is a brand new contender 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 spending much of the past year battling Apple for second place smartphone maker, Xiaomi seems poised to step up the fight in 2022.
How do the two high-end phones compare? Which noble smartphone is worth four digits? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
iPhone 13 Pro vs Xiaomi 12 Pro price and availability
The Xiaomi 12 Pro will go on sale on April 15, 2022. Prices start at $999 for 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Note, however, that this phone does not ship in the US. In the UK there will only be a model with 12GB RAM and 256GB 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.
So these two phones are very similarly priced. However, the iPhone 13 Pro wins in pure availability and price options.
They may be similarly priced, but physically the Xiaomi 12 Pro is the larger phone.
At 163.6 x 74.6 x 8.2mm, it dwarfs the iPhone 13 Pro, which measures just 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.65mm. Interestingly, however, the two phones share an identical weight of 204g.
The reason for this is likely due to the use of higher quality materials on the iPhone 13 Pro, at least when it comes to the stainless steel body. Xiaomi uses inferior aluminum.
Aside from the weight, there’s very little in common between the designs of these two phones. The iPhone 13 Pro is a boxy device with square sides, while the Xiaomi 12 Pro features curves on both the front and back edges.
We’re big fans of the silky, velvety finish on the back of the Xiaomi 12 Pro. Even the gray model (it’s also available in purple and blue) has a matte, mottled sheen, while the iPhone 13 Pro opts for a sleek, smooth finish (in a wider range of Graphite, Gold, Silver, Sierra Blue, and Alpine ). Green).
Both phones are remarkably fingerprint-resistant, and both look decidedly mature in their own way.
One area where the iPhone 13 Pro clearly wins 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 for such a premium smartphone.
The two handsets take very different approaches to biometric authentication. The iPhone 13 Pro has that slightly unsightly Face ID notch that allows face recognition. The Xiaomi has a fast under-display fingerprint sensor and a more subtle punch-hole cutout.
The key point about the size is that the Xiaomi 12 Pro has a significantly larger display than the iPhone 13 Pro. The Xiaomi is 6.73 inches, while the iPhone 13 Pro is relatively small at 6.1 inches.
Both are LTPO AMOLED displays with 120Hz refresh rates, although the iPhone can drop to 10Hz depending on the task, the Xiaomi can drop to as low as 1Hz. Not that this makes a huge difference in terms of battery performance, as we’ll discuss further.
Xiaomi’s screen is a real treat, peaking at 1500 nits in sunny conditions. The display of the iPhone 13 Pro reaches less than 1200 nits.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro’s screen is also sharper at 3200 x 1440. Apple’s flagship can only go up to 2532 x 1170, although in practical terms we resist anyone telling the difference – especially with that size difference.
In addition, the display of the iPhone 13 Pro impresses with its flatness. The Xiaomi 12 Pro’s screen curves around the edges, which can lead to occasional incorrect inputs, and also creates an imperfect canvas when viewing content in landscape mode in full screen.
All in all, the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s screen is just bigger, brighter and sharper than the iPhone 13 Pro.
What these two camera systems have in common is their unusual balance. The iPhone 13 Pro features a triple 12-megapixel setup, while the Xiaomi 12 Pro features a triple 50-megapixel setup.
That’s fairly unusual, even on flagship phones, where one or both of the telephoto and ultra-wide sensors are usually at a different resolution than the main sensor.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro is the first phone to use the 1/1.28-inch Sony IMX707 sensor for its wide-angle camera, which uses 1.22 µm pixels and 2.44 µm fusion pixels (Xiaomi’s term for pixel -binning). It has an aperture of f/1.9 and is supported by OIS.
The iPhone 13 Pro’s main sensor is smaller at 1/1.65-inch, but it’s still the largest in an iPhone to date. It also captures larger 1.9µm pixels without pixel binning and is accompanied by a larger f/1.5 aperture. Apple’s phone features a more advanced 5-axis stabilization system that keeps night shots and videos supernaturally steady.
Another way the iPhone 13 Pro’s camera outperforms the Xiaomi 12 Pro is with the 3x optical zoom, which gets closer to the action than the 2x Xiaomi equivalent. Apple’s ultra-wide can also shoot macro, while Xiaomi’s autofocus is absent.
Aside from the hardware, the main difference here concerns the color science. Apple’s algorithms result in famously balanced, natural-looking shots, while Xiaomi’s goes for a punchier and more vibrant look.
Apple’s trump card here is the A15 Bionic chip, which drives improvements like Smart HDR 4 and Photographic Styles, the latter of which lets you change the complexion of your shots.
On the video front, the iPhone continues to be number one. This time you get support for the advanced ProRes codec, which contains much more information for richer footage. In Cinema mode, you can change the focus point after production and even automatically adjust focus between subjects.
For its part, the Xiaomi 12 Pro can handle 8K videos at 24 fps. The iPhone can only handle 4K at 60fps, 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-of-the-line 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), just like most other 2022 Android flagships. It’s fast, but the iPhone 13 Pro’s A15 Bionic is faster.
In terms of CPU benchmarks, the A15 Bionic beats its Android opponent, although to its credit the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 manages to regain a few rounds in GPU use.
You won’t notice these differences in everyday use. These are easily two of the fastest phones money can buy and no app or game is going to make either phone blink.
In terms of storage, the Xiaomi 12 Pro gets 12GB, while the iPhone 13 Pro comes with 6GB. However, due to the different way iOS and Android handle storage, there is no benefit to be gained either way.
In terms of storage, Xiaomi delivers either 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 no matter where you are in the world.
Xiaomi has packed its phone with quad speakers that feature Harman Kardon tuning and support for Dolby Atmos, sounding suitably spacious and loud. However, our reviewer noted that it still “falls short of the iPhone 13 Pro… when it comes to rounded audio and depth in the bass notes.”
Choosing between iOS and Android is usually a matter of preference. However, we’re talking about the exact same iOS as always, just as Apple intended. With the Xiaomi 12 Pro, it’s Xiaomi’s custom version of Android, dubbed MIUI.
MIUI 13 is reasonably smooth, but quite cluttered, contains a bit too much bloatware, and doesn’t take advantage of Android 12’s Material You smart customization system for the home screen.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro comes with a 4600mAh battery, which is much larger than the iPhone 13 Pro’s 3095mAh cell. It’s not huge in Android terms, however, as Google’s operating system typically uses more system resources.
We described the iPhone 13 Pro as having “remarkably better battery life than the iPhone 12 Pro and other Pro phones before it,” meaning it’s “capable of surviving a full day of normal use.”
As for the Xiaomi 12 Pro, we found it “got us from dawn to dusk easily… although it’s definitely not a two-day smartphone.”
There doesn’t seem to be much of a difference when it comes to endurance.
However, Xiaomi flashes Apple when it comes to charging. Not only does it support 120W fast charging, but it bundles the necessary charger in the box to get you from 0 to 100% in just around 20 minutes. That’s the fastest charge of any widely used smartphone here in the west.
In contrast, the iPhone 13 Pro only supports 20W wired charging, and you need to provide this charging brick yourself.
Both phones support wireless charging, but while the Xiaomi tops out at an impressive 50W, the iPhone 13 Pro only offers 15W (with the appropriate MagSafe charger).
We found the Xiaomi 12 Pro to be “one of the most balanced phones out there”, while the iPhone 13 Pro is “one of the best smartphones of 2021” and manages to maintain that status into early 2022.
We gave the Xiaomi 12 Pro a slightly better rating in our review, but the two phones are so different that it’s difficult to pick an outright winner.
The Xiaomi wins in terms of its larger, sharper and brighter display and its phenomenally fast and generous charging capability. The iPhone, on the other hand, prevails with its more flexible and sophisticated camera system and its more robust IP68 certification.
If those categories don’t decide it for you either way, it’s likely going to boil down to those age-old design and operating system preferences. Either way, we don’t think you will be disappointed with your choice.