At the end of 2021, the Chi­nese com­pa­ny intro­duced the new flag­ship smart­phones of the Xiao­mi 12 series. These gad­gets sur­passed their pre­de­ces­sors in many ways. More­over, they are often com­pared with com­peti­tors from Apple — iPhone 13 smart­phones.

In terms of shoot­ing qual­i­ty, Chi­nese gad­gets real­ly came close to them, and in some scenes they even took over. Let’s com­pare the cam­eras, but first, let’s deal with the “Chi­nese” mod­el range and take a brief review of Xiao­mi 12.

Xiao­mi 12 has three cam­era mod­ules — main, tele­pho­to and ultra wide-angle. Source: gizchina.it

Xiaomi 12 models and the difference between them

When com­par­ing Xiao­mi 12, it turns out that there are not many dif­fer­ences between them. The line­up includes four smart­phones at once: Xiao­mi 12, 12X and 12 Pro and 12 Ultra.

The base ver­sion is equipped with a 6.28-inch AMOLED dis­play with a max­i­mum fre­quen­cy of 120 Hz and HDR10 + (high dynam­ic range). The top-end Snap­drag­on 8 Gen 1 proces­sor was cho­sen as the hard­ware plat­form. Its per­for­mance com­pared to its pre­de­ces­sor Snap­drag­on 888 increased by 30% accord­ing to the AnTu­Tu test results.

Xiao­mi 12 installed Har­man / Kar­don speak­ers with sup­port for Dol­by Atmos tech­nol­o­gy for sur­round sound. The phone holds a charge well, it has a 4500 mAh bat­tery with fast charg­ing func­tion. With 67W of pow­er from 0 to 100%, the bat­tery recov­ers in 38 min­utes. There is also sup­port for wire­less charg­ing up to 50W, which restores the bat­tery to 100% in less than an hour.

There are three lens­es in the main cam­era unit:

  • the main Sony IMX766 at 50 megapix­els;
  • 5 MP tele­pho­to lens;
  • ultra wide-angle mod­ule with a view­ing angle of 123 ° at 13 MP.

The self­ie cam­era has a res­o­lu­tion of 32 megapix­els.

What makes Xiaomi 12X different

The devel­op­ers posi­tion this mod­el as a bud­get ver­sion of the base Xiao­mi 12. A less pow­er­ful Snap­drag­on 870 5G proces­sor was installed in the smart­phone. It proved to be a reli­able chip that can han­dle mod­ern games and demand­ing appli­ca­tions. Xiao­mi 12X does not sup­port wire­less charg­ing.

In oth­er respects, the device is almost iden­ti­cal to the basic ver­sion. When com­par­ing Xiao­mi 12 and 12X cam­eras, it turns out that there is no dif­fer­ence between them — the mod­ules are sim­i­lar. Thanks to this, the more afford­able Xiao­mi 12X smart­phone allows you to cre­ate high-qual­i­ty frames and videos.

Xiaomi flagship 12 Pro differences

The main dif­fer­ence between Xiao­mi 12 Pro and the basic ver­sion is the dis­play size. It is much larg­er, 6.73” matrix. This is a 120Hz Sam­sung E5 AMOLED screen. Micro-Lens tech­nol­o­gy, which adjusts this para­me­ter based on the dis­played con­tent, pro­vides good ener­gy sav­ings. The fre­quen­cy can range from 1 to 120 Hz.

Xiao­mi has removed the name of the Mi series from the name of the new flag­ship, leav­ing only a dig­i­tal des­ig­na­tion. Source: sparrowsnews.com

In the device, as in the basic ver­sion, the Snap­drag­on 8 Gen 1 chip is installed. It con­fi­dent­ly copes with the most dif­fi­cult tasks: demand­ing games and appli­ca­tions.

The rear cam­era of Xiao­mi 12 Pro has three mod­ules:

  • the main Sony IMX707 at 50 megapix­els;
  • 50 MP Sam­sung JN1 cam­era;
  • 50 MP Sam­sung JN1 Ultra Wide.

There is sup­port for videos in 4K res­o­lu­tion at 30 frames per sec­ond on each of the lens­es.

The smart­phone has four Harman/Kardon speak­ers that pro­vide first-class sound qual­i­ty. The devel­op­ers have installed a bat­tery with a capac­i­ty of 4600 mAh, there is a fast charg­ing func­tion up to 120 watts. The phone can be charged up to 100% in just 18 min­utes. There is also 50-watt wire­less charg­ing.

Xiaomi 12 Ultra is the expected top flagship

Xiao­mi 12 Ultra is expect­ed to be avail­able in the Chi­nese mar­ket from May 2022. After some time, it will be brought to oth­er coun­tries.

There are no exact tech­ni­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics of the gad­get yet. Accord­ing to experts’ fore­casts, it will receive a num­ber of soft­ware and hard­ware improve­ments. Prob­a­bly, it will install the Snap­drag­on 898 chipset, and the main cam­era will get x120 zoom.

Comparison of Xiaomi 12 and iPhone 13 smartphone cameras

So we come to the main thing — com­par­ing the cam­era capa­bil­i­ties of top-end smart­phones: Xiao­mi 12 vs iPhone 13. Recall that Xiao­mi 12 Pro has more advanced mod­ules than the basic ver­sion. There­fore, for com­par­i­son, we decid­ed to take it. It is like­ly that Xiao­mi 12 Ultra will receive some improve­ments, but they have not yet been announced.

We will com­pare the Chi­nese smart­phone with the iPhone 13 Pro. It was this gad­get from Apple that was cit­ed by the CEO of the Chi­nese com­pa­ny Lei Jun as an exam­ple in the pre­sen­ta­tion of the 12th series of Xiao­mi. We decid­ed to make a real com­par­i­son of the cam­eras of these smart­phones.

It makes no sense to take the old­est mod­el of the line for com­par­i­son — in the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the cam­era is exact­ly the same as in the iPhone 13 Pro.

Primary Lens

The main pho­to­sen­sor installed in Xiao­mi 12 Pro has already been seen in cam­era phones of oth­er brands and has proven itself well. Xiao­mi algo­rithms raise the con­trast, cre­at­ing a slight over­sharp — the pic­tures lack light and the dynam­ic range suf­fers. Per­haps this will be fixed with soft­ware updates, but now the prob­lem is solved using the GCam appli­ca­tion. It can be down­loaded from Google Play. Many Xiao­mi users know that GCam allows you to get bet­ter and rich­er frames than the built-in cam­era appli­ca­tion.

The pho­to on the iPhone 13 Pro (right) shows a wider dynam­ic range. Source: www.gizmochina.com

In terms of detail, the shots tak­en on the Xiao­mi 12 Pro are supe­ri­or to the shots from the iPhone 13 Pro cam­era. This is espe­cial­ly clear­ly seen when zoom­ing in on the area of ​​the pho­to with a bush or sky­scrap­ers. This is due to the high­er res­o­lu­tion — 50 megapix­els ver­sus 12 megapix­els. In terms of dynam­ic range, the shots from the iPhone win — the sun­set in the sky looks more nat­ur­al, while the pho­to from Xiao­mi turned out to be desat­u­rat­ed, in cold tones.

Wide camera

This mod­ule in Xiao­mi 12 Pro shoots very well. Algo­rithms com­pen­sate for opti­cal dis­tor­tions, and there are no chro­mat­ic aber­ra­tions at the edges of frames. High res­o­lu­tion pro­vides good detail — the pic­tures look great.

In the iPhone pho­to (right), some parts of the com­po­si­tion are heav­i­ly dark­ened. Source: www.gizmochina.com

As for the wide-angle mod­ule of the iPhone, it does not cope with back­light and ren­ders shad­ows worse. At the same time, it has a wider view­ing angle, that is, more details get into the lens at the same angle.

telephoto lens

It is impos­si­ble to make a direct com­par­i­son between the cam­eras of the iPhone 13 Pro and Xiao­mi 12 Pro, since they have dif­fer­ent opti­cal dis­tances — 2x for Xiao­mi and 3x for iPhone. This does not mean that the gad­get from Apple does not allow you to dou­ble the image in the lens. It’s just that this will be done not at the expense of optics, but by soft­ware. The sit­u­a­tion is sim­i­lar with Xiao­mi, if you use 3x zoom on it, it will be imple­ment­ed in soft­ware.

There­fore, if you set 2x zoom on both smart­phones, you will get bet­ter qual­i­ty pic­tures on Xiao­mi — the image on it is clean­er and clear­er, with­out noise and blur. But at 3x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion, the iPhone comes out on top. It wins in col­or repro­duc­tion and detail.

There is no opti­cal sta­bi­liza­tion, there­fore, in low light con­di­tions, the qual­i­ty of frames decreas­es — blur­ring appears.

The 5x zoom pho­to on the Xiao­mi is more detailed but lacks expo­sure. Source: www.gizmochina.com

At 5x zoom, both smart­phones shoot well, but shots from the iPhone have bet­ter detail. If you pre­fer to shoot por­traits, 2x zoom on Xiao­mi 12 will be enough for you.


When tak­ing self­ies, Xiao­mi wins. The pho­tos are more detailed thanks to the mod­ule’s res­o­lu­tion of 32 megapix­els, while the iPhone has only 12 megapix­els.

The col­ors in the pic­tures tak­en on Xiao­mi look more sat­u­rat­ed. When choos­ing por­trait mode, the Chi­nese smart­phone blurs the back­ground more than the iPhone.

In the pho­to on Xiao­mi 12 Pro (left), the col­ors are more sat­u­rat­ed and the back­ground is more blurred. Source: www.gizmochina.com

Night mode

In this Xiao­mi 12 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro com­par­i­son, it is not dif­fi­cult to deter­mine the clear win­ner. The lat­est iPhone mod­els are infe­ri­or in night shoot­ing qual­i­ty to the top Android flag­ships. Xiao­mi shows the best results thanks to auto­mat­ic frame cor­rec­tion due to AI algo­rithms.

To get a qual­i­ty frame on the iPhone 13 Pro in low light con­di­tions, you need to play with the set­tings. In the case of Xiao­mi, sim­ply switch the cam­era to night mode.

Apple smart­phones have nev­er been famous for high-qual­i­ty night pho­tos. Source: www.gizmochina.com

The iPhone los­es a lot of detail in the dark and the footage becomes blur­ry. The pic­tures tak­en on Xiao­mi 12 have a bal­anced expo­sure and a high degree of image puri­ty, with­out unnec­es­sary noise.

Shooting video

In this iPhone 13 vs Xiao­mi com­par­i­son, Apple’s device becomes the undis­put­ed leader. Apple smart­phones have always been famous for cap­tur­ing high qual­i­ty videos. The cin­e­mat­ic mode on the iPhone is espe­cial­ly impres­sive — with a blur effect and por­trait focus.

Devel­op­ers from Xiao­mi have imple­ment­ed a new focus­ing fea­ture Cyber-focus, which caus­es fast and accu­rate aut­o­fo­cus when shoot­ing video. The mode is not avail­able with a wide-angle lens.

As for col­or repro­duc­tion, the iPhone tra­di­tion­al­ly leads in this para­me­ter. It sur­pass­es the flag­ships of all man­u­fac­tur­ers. Also, the Apple smart­phone has bet­ter video sta­bi­liza­tion than Xiao­mi 12. You can eval­u­ate the qual­i­ty of shoot­ing on the iPhone 13 Pro in the fol­low­ing video:

It clear­ly shows the oper­a­tion of the cam­era in stan­dard mode, in Cin­e­mat­ic Mode and in ProRes. Cin­e­mat­ic Mode or “Cin­e­ma Effect” allows you to shoot videos with a shal­low­er depth of field, as well as smooth­ly move the focus. This cre­ates a cin­e­mat­ic effect. ProRes is Apple’s video for­mat that opens up more edit­ing options.

Summing up

The Xiao­mi 12 line has become anoth­er break­through for the Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­er in the flag­ship smart­phone seg­ment. The com­pa­ny has set a new bench­mark for direct com­peti­tors in the face of Apple and Sam­sung. There are no ques­tions about the qual­i­ty of shoot­ing pho­tos, but in terms of video qual­i­ty, the gad­get is still infe­ri­or to the iPhone 13 Pro.

Smart­phones of both brands deserve the atten­tion of users, but if shoot­ing video is a pri­or­i­ty, the choice should be made in favor of the iPhone. In all oth­er respects, Xiao­mi wins.