Xiaomi’s latest flagship series consists of three phones: The Xiaomi 12 Pro, the Xiaomi 12, and the Xiaomi 12X. While the difference between the Xiaomi 12 and the 12X is marginal, the X variant still stands out as the most affordable of the bunch — if you want to call $650 affordable. However, the 12X cuts a few corners too many, launching with an outdated Android version and processor, making it feel like an unnecessary entry to the lineup, just existing to hit that price spot.
The Xiaomi 12X is a sleek-looking phone with great battery life, but it cuts too many corners to be worth considering over the Xiaomi 12.
- Storage: 128/256GB, no microSD card slot
- CPU: Snapdragon 870 5G
- Memory: 8GB
- Operating System: Android 11 / MIUI 13
- Battery: 4500mAh
- Ports: USB-C
- Camera (Front): 32MP f/2.45 wide
- Cameras (Rear): 50MP f/1.88 wide, 13MP f/2.4 ultrawide, 5MP f/2.4 telemacro
- Price: $650/€700
- Connectivity: 5G, dual-band Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
- Others: Under-display optical fingerprint scanner, dual SIM support, infrared, NFC
- Dimensions: 152.7 x 69.9 x 8.16mm, 176g
- Colors: Gray, purple, blue
- Display: 6.28 120Hz OLED, 1080×2400, 20:9
- Charging: 4,500mAh battery, 67W charging
- Fits the hand perfectly thanks to its narrow form factor
- Excellent battery life paired with 67W fast-charging support
- Fast and performant, despite the slightly older processor
- Ships with Android 11 in 2022
- Doesn’t get the same update commitment as the Xiaomi 12 and 12 Pro
- Obnoxious notifications from pre-installed apps, particularly the lock screen wallpaper app
- Edge touch rejection is the worst
- Mediocre camera
Buy This Product
Design, hardware, what’s in the box
The Xiaomi 12X is a beautiful phone, period, featuring the same design as the rest of the Xiaomi 12 lineup. The dark gray glass back of my review unit is understated, cleverly playing with light reflections. It feels smooth to the touch, with a matte finish that’s similar to older generations of the Pixel series, like the matte version of the Pixel 4. The Xiaomi 12X has a sizable camera bump that consists of three lenses, sitting on the top left corner. The big main camera protrudes even further than the smaller other two. This setup does lead to substantial wobble when resting flat on a table, but we’ve probably all gotten used to that. The sides are gently curved, meeting the slim, dark aluminum frame. Overall, it’s a sleek device with premium materials that feels like a proper small flagship in your hands.
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On the front, you’ll find a curved 120Hz 6.28-inch curved OLED display, featuring a resolution of 1080×2400 pixels and coming in a 20:9 ratio. Thanks to this curved design front and back, the Xiaomi 12X feels much narrower than phones with similarly sized displays, like the Pixel 6. It definitely helps with one-handed usability and grip, with the phone comfortably fitting in my hand even when I use it with its included case. Unfortunately, accidental touch rejection seems to be almost non-existent on this phone. I’ve had so many buttons in the bottom left and right corners pressed on accident while picking up the Xiaomi 12X that I’m surprised I haven’t accidentally called or texted anybody yet. This is a problem that seems to be limited to the 12X, as we haven’t experienced the same problem when we reviewed the Xiaomi 12 Pro.
In contrast to the regular 12, the Xiaomi 12X comes with last year’s high-end Snapdragon 870 processor and doesn’t support wireless charging, but that’s about all the hardware differences. Like the 12, the 12X has a 4,500mAh battery, up to 256GB of storage, up to 12GB of RAM, and even an infrared port.
In the box, you’ll find the usual accessories Xiaomi includes. There’s a transparent case, a 67W fast charger with a USB-A to C cable, a quick start guide, and a SIM card ejector tool. The phone also comes with a pre-applied screen protector.
Software, performance, and battery
While the Xiaomi 12 and 12 Pro are launching with Android 12, the 12X is stuck with Android 11 — an Android version first introduced in 2020. And while the other two phones also come with a three-year update promise, Xiaomi doesn’t offer anything like it for the 12X. Considering how other manufacturers are stepping up their game in this department, that’s unacceptable at the €700/$650 price point. It’s more expensive than the Pixel 6 at that point.
Since MIUI version numbers don’t correspond to Android versions, the Xiaomi 12X still gets the latest and greatest MIUI 13 like its siblings. The new version is said to include optimized file and RAM management solutions that are supposed to keep phones running for longer and improved processor priority. There aren’t too many user-facing changes, though. If you’ve used MIUI 11 or 12, you should feel right at home. But if you’re coming from a different Android skin, you’ll need some getting used to.
MIUI introduces a lot of changes for the sake of change, making a few core Android features harder to use. Notifications, in particular, are harder to deal with, and it doesn’t help that Xiaomi’s pre-installed apps keep bugging you until you forcibly silence them. The Wallpaper Carousel is the bane of my existence on this phone, periodically interfering with the unlock process to ask me to “keep my lockscreen fresh” with its selection of wallpapers. No, I just want to unlock my phone and get on with my day, thank you. I also don’t love that Xiaomi’s built-in tools suggest that you need to remove cached data from your apps to save storage days after taking the phone out of its box. You’ll go on for months, if not years, until measures like these are ever needed, especially given that the phone comes with at least 128GB of storage.
Despite last year’s Snapdragon 870 processor, performance has been stellar for me. While I don’t love MIUI’s animations, none of them were ever jittery or slow to respond, and the phone remained cool and responsive in almost all circumstances. I’ve only experienced slowdowns when multitasking during video calls, with some dropped frames and some extra milliseconds needed for processing.
I came away very impressed with the 4,500mAh battery on this phone. During the review period, I’ve only ever charged the Xiaomi 12X in the morning, and it’s always fully charged by the time I finish my breakfast thanks to its included 67W charger. I also haven’t been able to run down the battery completely in a 24 hour window, even on days where I was out and about taking images and videos and navigating public transit. The Xiaomi 12X is a champ when it comes to extensive video streaming and video calling on Wi-Fi at home, too.
The cameras are the same across both the Xiaomi 12 and 12X, with a triple camera array on the back consisting of a 50MP primary, a 13MP ultrawide, a 5MP macro. On the front, there’s a 32MP selfie camera.
Xiaomi makes clear that it wants to dominate the smartphone photography and videography market. Its launch events always put emphasis on how Xiaomi smartphones could basically replace cinema cameras. While this claim is best taken with a healthy dose of skepticism, Xiaomi cameras have improved over the years, but there’s still work left to do. I’ve ran into an instance of image stacking issues, which led to a double exposure look. I also don’t love how the processing tends to overly smooth out textures in nature, like walkways, grass, and trees. The primary camera also exhibits lens flare issues. This definitely doesn’t feel like a $650 flagship phone camera setup.
First: Image stacking problems. Others: Lens flare.
It’s a shame that you can’t rely on the camera, because if you don’t run into any issues, it usually provides decently realistic images that often feel less overprocessed than those you get on a Pixel. This does lead to a few shots where you would probably prefer hit that edit button to win back some details or tweak the brightness, but it’s a pleasant experience overall.
The camera experience leaves me with a few questions, too. It offers a live preview for portrait shots with blurred backgrounds, but it’s not possible to zoom when in this mode. This is a function that’s available on all other manufacturers’ phones. The 5MP macro also feels tacked on to get three lenses on the back of the phone. You explicitly need to enter a mode hidden in the camera’s menu to access it, with no automatic switch based on distance to the subject in sight. Some photography enthusiasts might use it, but regular folks who just want to post videos and images on Instagram or Snapchat? Probably not so much.
The macro camera isn’t too terrible, but who is going to use it?
Should you buy it?
Rather not. The company is using the $650 12X to upsell you to the more expensive models, with some arbitrary limitations on the processor, wireless charging capabilities, and software update promises to serve as a reason to entice you to get the $750 Xiaomi 12 instead. If you don’t care for these or absolutely need to save that $100, then the Xiaomi 12X might be the top-of-the-line Xiaomi phone for you, though.
Luckily for Xiaomi, the company is mostly catering towards markets that don’t offer the Google Pixel lineup, so the obvious conclusion — just get a Pixel 6 instead — might not be an option. Instead, the Xiaomi 12X should make you think really hard about what you value in a smartphone. Are you content with a petite, easy-to-hold smartphone with excellent battery life? Or would you rather pay just a little more for a phone that will offer software and security updates for the foreseeable future, if you’ve got your eyes set on a Xiaomi phone?
Buy it if…
- You want the most affordable Xiaomi 12 flagship phone
- You don’t care much about software updates on your phone
Don’t buy if…
- You want a future-proof device that will keep you and your data safe for the next three years
- You want an affordable phone with high-end specs
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About The Author
Manuel Vonau (1618 Articles Published)
Manuel is a tech enthusiast and Android fan based in Berlin. When he’s not writing articles for Android Police, he’s probably out and about as a videographer.
This article originally appeared on https://www.androidpolice.com/xiaomi-12x-review/