Review – Xiaomi 12T: more differences than meets the eye

Review – Xiaomi 12T: more differences than meets the eye

Let’s not beat around the bush. There are many aspects of the Xiaomi 12T that are identical to the Xiaomi 12T Pro. However, the biggest differences are in two of the most important parts: the main camera sensor and also the chipset. This last one is one of the most interesting, so we will put it last.

So why should you buy one phone over the other? Remember, there is a huge price difference between the 12T and 12T Pro. Let’s go through our usual 6 points and compare both phones.

Spec Police: This Might Make You Angry

I want to start by saying that I know many of you who are looking at the new Xiaomi 12T series of smartphones, just look at the specifications in GSM Arena and you will immediately say that the Xiaomi 12T Pro is better because of this and this: and no, a phone is more than just specs.

Also, GSM Arena is not 100% accurate. Most likely those specs were provided by the manufacturer and they just copied and pasted them into their database for us to look at. Don’t get me wrong: GSM Arena is useful, but it’s not always accurate.

Design

So why do I mention this? If we look at the spec comparison between 12T and 12T Pro, the dimensions are the same. Technically, depending on where you measure, they are not exactly the same. The main camera on the 12T Pro has a prominent double bump compared to the single bump on the 12T.

Xiaomi 12T Review
It’s very obvious.

Design is something that GSM Arena cannot list as the specs cannot describe what the phone looks like. These two phones use the same design language and the exact same colors and matte finish, by the way. I like how it looks and how it feels to the touch, so good job Xiaomi.

Xiaomi 12T Review

There is one difference though, and that is the print on the camera bump.

Screen

This one is simple. Both the 12T and 12T Pro use the exact same screen and feature Xiaomi’s new “CrystalRes” branding. They are AMOLED screens with a resolution of 2712 × 1220 and a refresh rate of 120Hz.

Xiaomi 12T Review

Color accuracy is also identical on both the 12T and 12T Pro. They’re pretty good, so no complaints overall.

Xiaomi 12T review

However, going back to the GSM Arena spec list, I think this is something that will irritate the spec police. Do you see the “900 nits max brightness”? Yes, that is something we will never be able to measure. Peak brightness is primarily very specific situations and a selected brightness value used for marketing purposes. However, that 500 nits of typical brightness is accurate as our colorimeter also reports 500 nits of maximum brightness.

Xiaomi 12T review

I think the list of specifications from smartphone brands and sites like GSM Arena could have done better to help users understand what is the true level of brightness that we are going to see with our own eyes.

Xiaomi 12T review

Software

The software remains the same: so check out our Xiaomi 12T Pro review here to find out more. In short, it is still the same MIUI that we have tested.

Xiaomi 12T review

Battery duration

Surprisingly, that 5,000mAh battery in the 12T will give us a pretty long run when tested with the PCMark battery life test.

Xiaomi 12T review

While the result is not that far from the Xiaomi 12T Pro, the idle time is actually not that great in comparison.

Loading time

For charging time, we ran the same 3 tests as the Xiaomi 12T Pro. First, using the standard 120W charger, we ran the charging test with its default settings, and that is “accelerated charging” mode disabled. It takes about 35 minutes to charge from 0 to 100%, which is pretty standard.

Xiaomi 12T review

Next, we go to the settings menu and enable the “accelerated charging” mode. Here, we charge from 0 to 100% in about 20 minutes, which is great but nothing out of the ordinary either.

Xiaomi 12T review

Finally, we use our Ugreen 100W GaN charger. This is the exact same 100W GaN charger that we used to test the Xiaomi 12T Pro and surprisingly, it actually consumed around 45W of power. That means the Xiaomi 12T actually supports up to 45W via USB-PD, and that’s amazing.

I don’t know who actually controls the charging speeds, it could be Xiaomi itself or the chipset manufacturer, in this case MediaTek. Whatever the case, the Xiaomi 12T fast charging compatibility is better than 12T Pro.

Camera

Now this is weird. The biggest difference between these two phones is the main camera sensor. The 12T uses 108MP which we’ve seen many times in the past, and can only capture images at 12MP or 108MP. There is no intermediate 50MP or anything else.

Xiaomi 12T review

To see all the photos taken with the Xiaomi 12T, check out our video at the top of this review.

Since the chipset is different, the ISP is different, and therefore the final image product will be different for all cameras.

Performance

So let’s talk about performance. The 12T is using MediaTek Dimensity 8100-Ultra. I think in your mind you would think that it works better than the MediaTek 8100 base version, right? Actually, no, it doesn’t. The 8100-Ultra is still the same 8100.

Xiaomi 12T review

However, the 12T is still a very competent chipset when it comes to gaming. As shown in our gaming test, the chipset would not get a consistent frame rate when we played Genshin Impact on the highest graphics settings. It fluctuates between about 35 and 50 fps, but it can be improved when we enable the performance mode.

Of course, we should get a consistent 60fps if we play on medium settings.

Other things to mention

Oh, this 12T, just like the 12T Pro, still uses USB 2.0 and doesn’t have an HDMI output. And also, no microSD card slot.

Xiaomi 12T review

Price

And that brings us to the price. The 12T is at RM1,999. I’d say the 12T offers great value for those who want to play games on their phones. It offers great performance and while it’s not the best, it’s actually good enough for many use cases.

The inclusion of a proper OIS system makes the price even more attractive for taking photos and videos. As a complete package, the 12T is fantastic.

Xiaomi 12T Pro

Compared to the 12T Pro’s RM2699 starting price, that RM700 price difference becomes the highlight. If you pay RM700 more, you get a much better camera for night shots and better performance for those who want to push their device to the limit, but that’s about it.

Whether or not that extra RM700 is worth it depends on how you use your device. Just don’t buy the 12GB RAM version because 8GB is clearly enough – watch this video to find out why.

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