It’s almost become a routine every time I’ve tested a smartphone this year. I see how The Batman trailer plays out on the display, as it’s full of blacks and challenging colour contrasts and there’s an assortment of sounds. I have to say that I was floored with the results on the 6.73-inch 2K+ AMOLED display of the Xiaomi 12 Pro. We were at the launch of this device a week ago and were quite impressed with our first brush with it, but now it’s time to take a deep dive and validate those opinions. Does the 12 Pro have what it takes to be a serious flagship contender that can take on pricier devices?

Looks the part 

There was a déjà vu moment of sorts when I first checked out the 12 Pro at the launch event. I was reminded of the first look of the Xiaomi 5 back in 2016; not so much in terms of design but it was the first Xiaomi device that had a premium vibe; one that looked good enough to compete with premium Android flagships of that time, like the Samsung Galaxy S7. The Xiaomi 12 Pro looks the part too. We dig the velvet matte finish; it’s sort of shiny and yet doesn’t attract smudges. While we checked out the Couture Blue – a pleasing version of sky blue – our favourite colour is the Opera Mauve, a mild shade of lavender. There are some other design elements that caught our attention like the waveform speaker grille. It doesn’t feel to clunky in your hand despite a 204gm footprint, and in terms of ‘hand feel,’ it reminded us of the OnePlus 10 Pro with similar dimensions and heft. 

Does it live up to the hype?

A big part of Xiaomi’s pitch for the 12 Pro is around the rear cam. It combines three 50MP lenses (all with night mode) that include the all-new Sony IMX 707 sensor (the primary lens), an ultra-wide lens and a telephoto lens. On paper that seems like a formidable trio of lenses. Results were good with the primary lens that also snapped sharped images in lowlight. We liked the Portraits shot on the rear cam and the 32MP selfie cam. It’s the zoom lens and the ultra-wide lens that don’t quite measure up to some of it’s rivals. You get a 2x zoom option but stretching it beyond that doesn’t always produce great results. It’s still a versatile camera package that doesn’t disappoint at this price tag. 

Performance rating?

We’re huge fans of curved displays and the Xiaomi 12 Pro scores well with its 6.73-inch 2K+ AMOLED display. It’s one of the brightest out there with a peak brightness of 1500 nits and the 120Hz refresh rate keeps things mighty smooth. I checked out a bunch of HD trailers like Top Gun: Maverick and also indulged in a spot of gaming (Asphalt 9, our default test game), and the display aced it all. At the heart of the device is the flagship processor of the season, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Generation 1. Our Xiaomi 12 Pro test version came with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal memory; there’s also a 8GB/256GB variant. The 12 Pro registered a score of 3579 in our Geekbench (multi-core) benchmark test. That’s impressive and in the same league as the OnePlus 10 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Holds its own

The Xiaomi 12 Pro 5G walks the talk and delivers value at its asking price. We like the form factor, the vibrant display and the dependable 4600 mAh battery that should cover you for a day. There’s also a 120W (Xiaomi’s HyperCharge) charger in the box takes the battery from 0 to 100 oercent in 18 minutes flat. Can the 12 Pro help Xiaomi break more ground in the hallowed flagship space? We’ll find out soon enough. 

The Xiaomi 12 Pro 5G  comes in Noir Black, Couture Blue and Opera Mauve. It costs Rs 62,999 (8GB/256GB) or Rs 66,999 (12GB/256GB). There’s an additional discount of Rs 6,000 on HDFC credit cards