iPhone 13 Pro vs Xiaomi 12 Pro: premium flagship head-to-head

The Xiaomi 12 Pro is a brand new contender at the top of the smartphone food chain. And make no mistake, it’s worthy to tackle flagship royalty, including the iPhone 13 Pro.

After spending much of the last year wrestling with Apple from the number two spot among smartphone makers, Xiaomi looks set to step up the fight in 2022.

So how do the two premium handsets compare? Which stylish smartphone is worth four digits? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

Price and availability of the iPhone 13 Pro compared to the Xiaomi 12 Pro

The Xiaomi 12 Pro goes on sale April 15, 2022. Prices start at $999 for 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but note that this phone doesn’t actually ship in the US. In the UK there will only be one model available, with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage for £1,049 (about £1,385).

The iPhone 13 Pro arrived on September 24, 2021, with prices starting at $999 / £949 / AU$1,699 for 128GB, $1,099 / £1,049 / AU$1,869 for 256GB and $1,299 / £1,249 / AU$2,219 for 512GB. There’s also a 1TB model for $1,499 / £1,449 / AU$2,569.

These two phones therefore have a very similar price. However, the iPhone 13 Pro wins on pure availability and pricing options.

A Xiaomi 12 Pro from behind in someone's hand

The Xiaomi 12 Pro is less widely available (Image credit: TechRadar)

Design

They may be priced similarly, but physically the Xiaomi 12 Pro is the bigger phone.

At 163.6 x 74.6 x 8.2mm, it dwarfs the iPhone 13 Pro, which measures just 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.65mm. Interestingly, however, the two phones share an identical weight of 204g.

The reason for this can likely be attributed to the iPhone 13 Pro’s use of more premium materials, at least when it comes to the stainless steel chassis. Xiaomi uses inferior aluminum.

Aside from weight, there’s little in common about the designs of these two phones. The iPhone 13 Pro is a boxy device with square sides, while the Xiaomi 12 Pro sports curves on the front and back edges.

iPhone 13 Pro

The iPhone 13 Pro has a square design (Image credit: TechRadar)

We’re big fans of the silky, velvety finish to the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s rear surface. There’s even a frosted, speckled sheen on the gray model (it’s also available in purple and blue), while the iPhone 13 Pro opts for a plain, smooth finish (in a wider choice of graphite, gold, silver , Sierra Blue and Alpine Green).

Both phones hold up remarkably well to fingerprints, and both are decidedly adult in their own way.

One of the areas where the iPhone 13 Pro does well is in water and dust resistance. While the iPhone 13 Pro is IP68 certified, the Xiaomi 12 Pro has no IP rating, which is almost unforgivable in such a high-end smartphone.

The two handsets take very different approaches to biometric authentication. The iPhone 13 Pro has that slightly unsightly Face ID notch that enables facial recognition. The Xiaomi has a quick in-display fingerprint sensor and a more subtle cutout.

A front-facing Xiaomi 12 Pro in someone's hand

The Xiaomi 12 Pro has the biggest screen (Image credit: TechRadar)

Display

The crux of being bigger is that the Xiaomi 12 Pro has a significantly bigger screen than the iPhone 13 Pro. The Xiaomi measures 6.73 inches, while the iPhone 13 Pro is a relatively small 6.1 inches.

Both are LTPO AMOLED displays with 120Hz refresh rates, although while the iPhone can go down to 10Hz depending on the task, the Xiaomi can go down to 1Hz. Not that that makes much of a difference in when it comes to battery performance, as we’ll see later.

Xiaomi’s display is truly a treat, going all the way up to a peak brightness of 1500 nits in sunny conditions. The iPhone 13 Pro screen hits under 1200 nits.

iPhone 13 Pro

The iPhone 13 Pro screen is flat (Image credit: TechRadar)

The Xiaomi 12 Pro’s display is also sharper, coming in at 3200 x 1440. Apple’s flagship can only hit 2532 x 1170, although in practice we defy anyone to see the difference, especially with this difference. of size.

In addition, the screen of the iPhone 13 Pro gains in flatness. The Xiaomi 12 Pro’s screen curves around the edges, which can lead to weird false entry, and also creates an imperfect canvas when watching landscape content in full screen.

Overall, however, the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s display is simply bigger, brighter and sharper than the iPhone 13 Pro’s.

Camera

The one thing these two camera systems have in common is their unusual balance. The iPhone 13 Pro has a triple 12-megapixel setup, while the Xiaomi 12 Pro has a triple 50-megapixel setup.

This is quite unusual, even among flagship phones, where one or both telephoto and ultra-wide sensors usually have a different resolution than the main sensor.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro is the first phone to use the Sony IMX707 1/1.28″ sensor for its wide camera, which captures 1.22µm pixels and 2.44µm fusion pixels (Xiaomi’s term for pixel binning) It has an f/1.9 aperture and is supported by OIS.

The rear cameras of a Xiaomi 12 Pro

You get three 50MP cameras on the back of the Xiaomi 12 Pro (Image credit: TechRadar)

The iPhone 13 Pro’s primary sensor is smaller at 1/1.65″, but it’s still the largest yet on an iPhone. It also captures larger 1.9µm pixels without the need for a pixel binning, and comes with a wider f/1.5 aperture.The phone has a more advanced 5-axis stabilization system, which keeps night shots and videos supernaturally stable.

Another way the iPhone 13 Pro camera picks up the Xiaomi 12 Pro is with its 3x optical zoom, which gets closer to the action compared to the Xiaomi 2x equivalent. Apple’s ultra-wide can also capture macro shots, while Xiaomi’s lacks autofocus.

Hardware aside, the main difference here is in color science. Apple’s algorithms lead to perfectly balanced and natural shots, while Xiaomi opts for a punchier and more dynamic look.

Apple’s trump card here is its A15 Bionic chip, which drives enhancements like Smart HDR 4 and Photographic Styles, the latter of which lets you change the skin tone of your photos.

iPhone 13 Pro

The iPhone 13 Pro has three 12MP cameras (Image credit: TechRadar)

On the video front, the iPhone continues to reign supreme. This time you get support for the advanced ProRes codec, which packs a lot more information for richer footage. Cinematic mode lets you change the focus point in post-production and will even automatically adjust focus to suit subjects.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro, for its part, can handle 8K video at 24fps. The iPhone can only handle 4K at 60fps, although we still think 8K video is a feature with extremely limited appeal.

In our review, we said that the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s main camera “produces slightly sharper photos than a high-end iPhone”, although we still give the iPhone 13 Pro’s camera the overall victory for its balance and flexibility.

Specifications and features

The Xiaomi 12 Pro runs on Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (4nm), like most other 2022 Android flagships. It’s fast, but the A15 Bionic in the iPhone 13 Pro is faster.

In terms of CPU benchmarks, the A15 Bionic beats its Android opponent, although to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1’s credit, it does manage to claw back a few rounds in the GPU stakes.

For daily use, you will not notice these differences. They’re simply two of the fastest phones money can buy, and no app or game will beat either phone.

In terms of memory, the Xiaomi 12 Pro gets 12GB while the iPhone 13 Pro goes with 6GB. However, due to the different ways iOS and Android manage memory, there is no benefit in both ways.

A game played on a Xiaomi 12 Pro

The Xiaomi 12 Pro uses the powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset (Image credit: TechRadar)

As for storage, Xiaomi provides 128 GB or 256 GB of internal storage, depending on the region. Apple, meanwhile, offers a choice of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of storage wherever you are in the world.

Xiaomi packed its phone with quad speakers that feature Harman Kardon tuning and Dolby Atmos support, and they sound expansive and loud enough. However, our reviewer found that it “falls behind the iPhone 13 Pro…when it comes to rounded audio and deep bass notes.”

Choosing between iOS and Android is usually a matter of preference. However, we are talking about the exact same iOS as usual, which is precisely what Apple intended. With the Xiaomi 12 Pro, it’s Xiaomi’s personalized version of Android, called MIUI.

MIUI 13 is reasonably fluid, but it’s rather cluttered, has a bit too much bloatware, and doesn’t take advantage of Android 12’s smart “Material You” home screen customization system.

Battery

The Xiaomi 12 Pro comes with a 4600 mAh battery, much larger than the 3095 mAh cell of the iPhone 13 Pro. However, that’s not huge in terms of Android, with Google’s operating system typically using more system resources.

We’ve described the iPhone 13 Pro as having “significantly better battery life than we’ve seen in the iPhone 12 Pro and other Pro handsets before it”, which equates to being “able to last a day complete with normal use”.

As for the Xiaomi 12 Pro, we found that it “carried us through morning to night with ease…although it’s definitely not a two-day smartphone”.

There isn’t much of a difference when it comes to stamina, it seems.

iPhone 13 Pro

iPhone 13 Pro has decent battery life but slow charging (Image credit: TechRadar)

However, Xiaomi blitz Apple when it comes to charging. It doesn’t just support 120W fast charging, it bundles the necessary charger in the box, to get you from 0-100% in just around 20 minutes. It’s the fastest charging of any smartphone widely available here in the West.

The iPhone 13 Pro, on the other hand, only supports 20W wired charging, and you’ll have to provide that charging brick yourself.

Both phones support wireless charging, but while the Xiaomi stretches up to an impressive 50W, the iPhone 13 Pro only offers 15W (with the appropriate MagSafe charger).

Take away

We found the Xiaomi 12 Pro to be “one of the most balanced phones on the market”, while the iPhone 13 Pro is “one of the best smartphones of 2021”, managing to maintain this status until the start. of 2022.

We rated the Xiaomi 12 Pro a little higher in our review, but the two phones are different enough that it’s hard to call an outright winner.

The Xiaomi wins in terms of its bigger, sharper and brighter screen, and its incredibly fast and generous charging capacity. The iPhone, on the other hand, steps ahead with its more flexible and sophisticated camera system, and more robust IP68 certification.

If those categories don’t decide it for you anyway, it’ll probably come down to those age-old design and operating system preferences. Either way, we think you won’t be disappointed with your choice.

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