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  • Fitri Aiyub

Xiaomi 12T Pro Review : Why 200MP?

So let's get things straight.. How does a 200MP camera, as enticing as it sounds, really hold up in the real world? Numbers don't lie here. You get some serious detail in almost every photo, alongside a very vivid and bright 6.67" AMOLED display showing you up to 68 Billion colours in the Xiaomi 12T Pro. Even in the case of chipset performance, Snapdragon's latest 8+ Gen 1 should alleviate your worries on some measure of future proofing, with internals that stays up-to-date with most flagships out there.

But where our curiosity tends to simmer is how it relates to its predecessor, the 11T Pro, which already came with a 108MP camera and some other decent features such as 8K recording that was more technically impressive than practical. Do those same faults still show up here?


Design


In our opinion, this really looks all too similar to the 11T Pro which was released about a full year ago. It doesn't take a keen eye to see how most of the design elements here were brought from the 11T Pro with relatively the same build as before. Although there are some improvements in the way it actually feels in the hands with a matte finish instead of the glossy brush steel, which was pretty much a fingerprint magnet and had a far cheaper feel to it.

It is however slightly thinner than before, measuring 8.6mm and weighing approx. 205g, while also moving the side-mounted fingerprint reader to an optical under-display fingerprint reader, which we found is really accurate and snappy.

Main Display

While it may not feel as premium as a Xiaomi 12 Pro, a notable improvement lies within the AMOLED screen, reaching up to 900 nits peak brightness and producing way more colours. (Over 68 Billion to be exact) and definitely the first thing you’ll take notice of on this phone. A huge step up from the previous AMOLED display that didn't quite conjure the same impression as it does here.

It supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, so watching most videos and movies on this display is enjoyable, while the 120Hz refresh rate settings are also now adaptive and really does feel fluid when jumping from different apps or just scrolling endlessly on Instagram.

There's also an AI Image Engine within the display settings and should elevate your viewing experience just a tad bit further with Super Resolution, as well as AI Image and HDR enhancement toggles, but this is only limited to viewing images within the Gallery app.

In effect, this screen is reasonably one the best we’ve seen in this price range and flawlessly integrates itself with Xiaomi’s MIUI 13. But it’s fair to say it still wouldn’t exactly hold a candle to a Galaxy S22 Ultra which comes with a Dynamic AMOLED 2X display.

Performance

It does make quite a statement when it comes to chipset performance, coming with 8GB RAM, Snapdragon’s 8+ Gen 1 and Adreno 730. Our Geekbench test scores were 1293 for Single-core and 4143 for Multi-core, which is impressive compared to most top-of-the-line flagships running just a few numbers shy from this mid-range phone. The graphics department makes quite a decent run for its money too. Our 3D Mark Wild Life Extreme test came up with an overall score of 2969 and manages an average frame rate of 16.10fps.

Performance monitoring on the other hand does show some increase in temperature and did get warm to the touch after a few rounds of more demanding graphics games such as CarX Drift Racing 2, Real Racing 3 and Call Of Duty. But in case graphics aren’t cutting it for you and some toasty hands are worth the sacrifice, there is still an option for you to boost frame rates all the way up to 120Hz and maximise power consumption for the best gaming experience via Xiaomi’s Game Speed Booster. This is accessible at the corner of the screen, with all of your necessary toggles for online gaming available on the sidebar.

Speakers

The horizontal speaker placements got very loud with dual speakers tuned by Harmon Kardon and while it minimises most hand placements, gaming situations would still ultimately block either cutout. For most viewing experiences it should do just fine, but maybe front facing speakers could be something Xiaomi could take into consideration in their next iterations.

Cameras Making a huge leap from the previous 108MP to now a 200MP main camera plus a new 20MP front facing camera, we’ve gotta ask - is resolution the main priority here? Or is this a way of Xiaomi saying "We can't afford to have complex image computations for the T series, so we’re gonna hit you with resolutions instead”

Still Images : Make no mistake, resolutions do pay off in this case, resulting in very sharp-tactile images in that 200MP mode. Even when zooming in at 300 - 400%, clarity in most of an image is still retained before it remotely gets pixelated. In some way, it’s an efficient method to just snap photos without having to use a telephoto lens and probably a reason why the 12T Pro doesn’t come with a periscope/telephoto camera and only comes with an additional 8MP ultra-wide and 2MP macro camera.

Whether there's still an Image Engine found on the 50MP Xiaomi 12 & 12 Pro in this phone is uncertain, but results shown here does seem like some of those computations were brought over. Vibrance and saturations don’t exactly differ too far off from the previous 11T Pro or most Xiaomi phones, yet highlights and shadows do feel as though there has been some improvements for an overall image.

In short, fitting a 200MP camera in a phone while previous builds that came with a 50MP did just fine doesn’t really make sense in our books, as higher megapixel counts do tend to struggle more when it comes to shutter speeds in lower-light conditions as well as video performance —

Video : — as shown in these video examples. It's not exactly unusable in any measure as it still comes with an f/1.69 aperture yet shows quite a bit more noise than preferred and lacks that magic touch seen in the Xiaomi 12 & 12 Pro. Alternatively, there's still Ultra Night Video mode to combat over-exposure or noise but would only take full effect in Pro mode and may take a more literate user to know how to use such features.

Daylight conditions in 8K however make a great impression and also now comes with optical image stabilisation which wasn’t available in the previous model. But our biggest fault with 8K resolutions in the 11T Pro over everything else was heat management as it got unbearable to the touch after just a few minutes of recording time, especially in warmer climates like Malaysia.

Thankfully this time around, it seems like those issues were addressed coming with a newly super-sized vapour chamber which is 65% larger and uses 27% more heat dissipation materials than before.

In more ways than one, maybe the 12T Pro was intended for actual “Pros” who could truly take advantage of a 200MP camera and all of the Pro features available in this phone for both photo and video capture. While it's not as analog as some Sony Xperia Pro phones, there would be quite a lot of users looking for something simpler as a point and shoot. In short, this phone does have a few perks over the Xiaomi 12 Pro for having better cooling, CPU & GPU performance and a much larger 5000mAh battery which is advertised to last you all-day or 13.5 hours of screen time. It comes with a 120W Fast Charger which should get you 0-100% under 20 minutes.

Price

The Xiaomi 12T Pro comes with Android 12, options of 8GB or 12GB RAM, 256GB of internal storage and starts at RM2,699 or S$1,039.Quite the build Xiaomi has made here, with significant improvements addressing almost all of the issues found in the previous 11T Pro, while holding some actual “Pro” attributes, an overused label that has lost some significance in today’s world

Final Thoughts

Our main question to this very decent update of the Xiaomi 12T Pro still remains on why cramming as many megapixels in a sensor is even necessary. We can’t say for sure why Xiaomi went this route - when recent base models like the 12 and 12 Pro, which utilised both good software and hardware, gave us a far better experience in our opinion. But regardless, perhaps the T series remains the specced out version of what could be considered a flagship contender, albeit with a less premium feel overall. You might fall in that category of respecting internals over everything else and huge numbers like 200MP is far more important than image quality philosophy. But then again prices will vary to those points we've made as this Xiaomi 12T Pro is justified in where it sits amongst the rest of Xiaomi's lineup.…. Maybe just design it a little differently next time, Xiaomi.

 

Written by Fitri Aiyub

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