Xiaomi 12 potential release date, specs, price and more

The Xiaomi 12  will be th4e Chinese smartphone maker’s next flagship phone and will be powered by the recently revealed Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. 

While the design of the Xiaomi 12 remains under wraps, at Qualcomm’s latest tech summit, Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun popped up on video to officially announce the phone’s name and no that it’ll “be available soon” though did not confirm any release date. 

Nevertheless, it looks like the Xiaomi 12 could be arriving either late 2021 (it’s December at the time of writing) or early 2022, very likely in the first quarter, potentially ready to nip at the heels of the rumored Samsung Galaxy S22. So with that in mind, red on for everything we know so far about the Xiaomi 12. 

As mentioned, the Xiaomi 12 should be arriving by the end of the year, or early 2022 at the latest.  

Its predecessor, the Xiaomi Mi 11, was released at the end of December 2020, so we should expect similar timing for the 12 this year. However, it may not go on sale outside of China until March 2022, since Xiaomi did this with the Mi 11. The company has a habit of launching its phones for its home market first, then globally quite a bit later.

We anticipate the Xiaomi 12 to come with a flagship-grade price. The Xiaomi Mi 11 sells for £749, which while a little cheaper than a Samsung Galaxy S21 or iPhone 13, but doesn’t make much of a difference when paid for monthly as part of a phone contract. 

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra on the other hand sells for £1,199, which is a little more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra or iPhone 13 Pro Max.

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One of the most notable potential changes to the Xiaomi 12 is that it could use an under-display selfie camera. This is still a rare feature found on only a couple of phones, but it’s not unreasonable to believe this is about to hit mainstream flagship phones.

However, we’ve also had other leaks say there’s going to be a punch-hole notch like the Mi 11 had. If Xiaomi wants to focus on overall photo quality, keeping the punch-hole is a good decision. 

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra review

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

We’d expect the display to stay large — the Mi 11 series all used 6.8-inch AMOLED panels. However, what could be new is the introduction of an LTPO display (via MyDrivers), which would give the 12 series a fully variable 120Hz refresh rate like the Galaxy S21 Ultra or OnePlus 9 Pro, rather than the adaptive pre-set refresh rates the Mi 11 series used.

On the back of the phone, there’s the possibility of Xiaomi fitting the 12, with a huge 200MP camera, at least according to Weibo leaker Digital Chat Station. This sensor may even be the Samsung ISOCELL HP1 that was recently announced. This could end up reserved just for the 12 Ultra (as DCS later claimed), or for the basic or Pro models while the Ultra gets something entirely different.

The reason we’re expecting a two-tier system is because another rumor from the same source claims there could be a 12 series model with three 50MP sensors, one of which will be a periscope telephoto camera. This roughly matches the camera specs of the Mi 11 Ultra, so we might expect this model to be the 12 Ultra. 

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One the inside, the Xiaomi 12 has been confirmed as one of the first smartphones that’ll use the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, formally thought to be called the Snapdragon 888. Built on a 4-nanometer process node, compared to the Snapdragon 888’s 5nmn process, we expect to see improvements in performance and efficiency. But more significantly, we’re expecting to see enhanced features facilitated by the new slice of silicon, such as 80W charging, 8K HDR video capture, and better gaming mode attributes.

Joining that chip could be the latest in smartphone memory: LPDDR5X RAM. A report from MyDrivers claims this faster memory will be fitted in the 12 series. 

We should expect rapid charging of some kind for the Xiaomi 12, although exactly how fast remains to be seen. The current Mi 11 line charges at 55W wired and 50W wireless, while the Mi 11 Ultra charges at 67W wired and wirelessly. This is already pretty fast, but it could get faster.

Xiaomi’s Mix 4, currently only sold in China, charges at an impressive 120W, which fills the phone’s 4,500 mAh battery in just 15 minutes. This is much quicker than any of our fastest charging phones picks current manage. So if this appeared on the 12 series, it would be quite a selling point.

That’s of course assuming that Xiaomi doesn’t try to go even faster. Xiaomi HyperCharge is the company’s latest charging tech which powers up phones with a 200W wired adapter or a 120W wireless charging pad. This probably won’t be production-ready by the time the 12 series is expected to launch, but it would cement Xiaomi’s status when it came to fast charging. 

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Xiaomi 12 outlook

Going by the tidbits of information so far the Xiaomi 12 could be a rather impressive piece of phone hardware. The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra impressed up, so we’d expect it’s successor to do the same. 

And it’ll have to. As we’ve seen with the likes of the Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12, some flagship phones are back to below the $1,000 mark, meaning those that want to compete with the tow big brands will need to offer some serious hardware or smart features. But so far it looks like the Xiaomi 12 has a lot of potential. 

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