Flagship phones have generally gotten bigger and bolder over the years, but the Xiaomi 12 and Samsung Galaxy S22 embody a new emerging trend.
These phones continue to pack flagship-level features and components, but they do so in surprisingly compact form factors and with slightly lower price tags.
The only question that really matters here is which pint-sized flagship phone is best. For a full verdict on each phone, check out our detailed reviews linked above, but below we can take a deep dive into their relative specs.
Xiaomi 12 vs Samsung Galaxy S22 price and availability
The Xiaomi 12 came to the Chinese home market on December 31st. A global launch was announced on March 15, and we expect the phone to appear in the UK sometime in April.
There will be no US launch for the phone, making the company’s decision to offer US pricing more than a little confusing. Prices start at $749 (about £570, AU$1,030) for what it’s worth.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 was announced on February 9, 2022. Prices start at $799 / £769 / AU$1,249 for the 128GB model, going up to $849 / £819 / AU$1,349 for the 256GB.
As you can see, the Xiaomi 12 will undercut the Samsung Galaxy S22 by around $50, although they are clearly in the same range.
Both phones are among the smallest Android flagships on the market. The Xiaomi 12 measures 152.7 x 69.9 x 8.2mm, while the Samsung Galaxy S22 measures 146 x 70.6 x 7.6mm.
So the Samsung phone is the smaller of the two overall. It’s also a bit lighter, at 168g instead of 179g.
We’d probably agree with the Galaxy S22 on the design front as well. Its “Contour Cut” camera module fits wonderfully into a slightly angular metal frame. It looks pretty distinctive unless it’s sitting alongside last year’s Galaxy S21, which pioneered it.
Anyway, it looks more special than the Xiaomi 12, which has stepped back from the attractively eye-catching design of the Xiaomi Mi 11. Sure, the matte finish and industrial camera module have a certain minimalist appeal, but the basic shape is all too familiar.
The Xiaomi 12 has a curved display rather than the Galaxy S22’s flat display, which is likely to cause disagreement. In general, we prefer flatter displays as they result in fewer misprints and visual distortions.
The Xiaomi 12’s screen measures 6.28 inches in diameter, while the Galaxy S21 has a 6.1-inch display. The Xiaomi 12 screen is then the larger of the two.
Both screens have a resolution of 2400 x 1080 (FHD+), both use OLEDs and both benefit from smooth 120Hz refresh rates.
Samsung’s screen gets a little brighter with a peak output of 1300 nits. The Xiaomi 12 can only hit 1100 nits, although that’s far from weak.
We won’t know which is the better display until we’ve spent more time with both phones. All we’re going to say for now is that Samsung has an edge in any screen competition as it makes the vast majority of mobile OLED panels on the market.
Both phones ship triple camera systems, and that’s not where the similarities end.
The main camera of the Xiaomi 12 is a 50 megapixel wide sensor with an aperture of f/1.9. The Galaxy S22 also offers a 50MP main sensor, but with a slightly wider f/1.8 aperture. Both phones use pixel binning for clearer results.
With the ultra-wide angle, the Xiaomi 12 offers you a 13-megapixel 123-degree sensor with an aperture of f/2.4, while the Samsung Galaxy S22 offers you a 12-megapixel 120-degree ultra-wide-angle with an aperture of f/ 2.2 provides. The Xiaomi’s lens is slightly wider, but the Samsung’s sensor is larger and brighter.
The real difference here is with that third sensor. The Xiaomi 12 packs a 5-megapixel “tele-macro” lens for extreme close-ups, while the Galaxy S22 comes with a proper 10-megapixel 3x telephoto lens. So Samsung wins on the Zoom front.
The Samsung Galaxy S22’s front camera is a 10-megapixel sensor, while the Xiaomi 12 goes for a more impressive-sounding 32-megapixel sensor. However, it remains to be seen whether the latter can be equated with better selfies.
specifications and performance
Both phones run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, although not every Galaxy S22 will be. As usual with Samsung, the global model of its flagship phone runs on the company’s custom Exynos chip.
In this case, it’s the Exynos 2200 that represents the first fruits of a partnership with GPU giant AMD. You might expect superior gaming performance as a result, but our early experience suggests that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is faster all around.
We’re not claiming a massive performance gap here, mind you. These are two fast flagships for 2022 and it will be difficult to make both phones sweat.
Elsewhere, the Galaxy S22 is supported by 8GB of RAM, while the Xiaomi 12 offers two options: either 8 or 12GB of RAM. Both come with either 128GB or 256GB of storage.
As you might expect given the difference in size and weight, the Xiaomi 12 packs the larger battery of the two handsets. In fact, at 4,500mAh it’s considerably more capacious than the Galaxy S22’s 3700mAh cell.
How that translates to real-world endurance remains to be seen, but it’s hard to see how the Galaxy S22 will win this one. Its screen is only slightly smaller while also getting brighter in direct sunlight.
None of the predecessors to these phones have been particularly impressive when it comes to endurance, so the jury is out on both counts.
When it comes to charging regulations, however, we can already name a winner. The Xiaomi 12 comes with a healthy 67W charger that is said to be able to charge the phone from 0 to 100% in just 39 minutes. The Samsung Galaxy S22, on the other hand, only supports up to 25W charging – and it doesn’t deliver a brick in the box.
There is a similar advantage with wireless charging, with the Xiaomi 12 supporting 50W and the Galaxy S22 only supporting 15W.
There seems little doubt that Xiaomi will take Samsung’s approach in downsizing its flagship entry point this year. The Xiaomi 12 is smaller than ever and tries to under-price the Galaxy S22.
Samsung has downsized itself a bit, and the Galaxy S22 comes in an even more compact package than its rival. However, there is this price difference.
This is partly explained by the presence of a dedicated telephoto lens in the Galaxy S22. The Xiaomi 12 sacrifices this basic flagship feature, which might prove meaningful.
Otherwise, the specs are broadly similar, and we’ve given each phone a four-star rating, so there’s not much in between.