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 lie in two of the most important parts – the main camera’s sensor and also the chipset. The latter is one of the most interesting – so we’ll put that at the end.
So, why should you buy one phone over the other? Remember, there is a humongous price gap between the 12T and the 12T Pro. Let’s go through our usual 6 points and compare both of these phones.
Specs police – this may anger you
I want to start off by telling you guys that I know many of you who are eyeing on the new Xiaomi 12T series of smartphones just look at the specs on GSM Arena and will immediately say 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. Those specs are most likely provided by the manufacturer and they just copied and pasted it into their database for us to see. Don’t get me wrong – GSM Arena is handy, but they’re not always accurate.
So, why do I bring this up? If we look at the specs comparison between 12T and 12T Pro, the dimensions are the same. Technically, depending on where you measure, they’re not exactly the same. The main camera on the 12T Pro has a prominent double bump when compared to the 12T’s single bump.
The design is something that GSM Arena can’t list out since specs can’t describe the look of phone. These two phones uses 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 there, Xiaomi.
There is one difference though, and that is the printing on the camera bump.
This is a straightforward one. Both the 12T and 12T Pro are using the exact same screen and features Xiaomi’s new “CrystalRes” branding. They’re AMOLED screens with the resolution of 2712×1220 and 120Hz refresh rate.
The color accuracy is also identical across both the 12T and 12T Pro. They’re pretty great, so no complaints overall.
However, going back to GSM Arena’s specs list, I think this is something that the specs police will get riled up about. See the “900 nits peak brightness”? Yeah, that is something that we can never measure. Peak brightness is mostly very specific situations and cherry-picked brightness value that is used for marketing purposes. That 500 nits of typical brightness though, is accurate as our colorimeter also reports 500 nits of maximum brightness.
I think smartphone brands’ spec list and sites like GSM Arena could have done better to help users understand what is the true brightness level that we are going to see with our own two eyes.
The software remains the same – so just watch our review of the Xiaomi 12T Pro here to know more. In summary, it’s still the same MIUI that we’ve tried.
Surprisingly, that 5,000mAh battery in the 12T will get us quite a long battery life when tested using the PCMark battery life test.
While the result isn’t that far off from the Xiaomi 12T Pro, the idle time is actually not that good in comparison.
For the charging time, we did the same 3 tests as the Xiaomi 12T Pro. First, using the stock 120W charger, we did the charging test with its default settings – and that is “boost charging” mode disabled. Takes about 35 minutes to charge from 0 to 100% – pretty standard.
Then, we headed into the settings menu and enabled the “boost charging” mode. Here, we charge from 0 to 100% in about 20 minutes – which is fantastic but also nothing out of the ordinary.
Finally, we used our Ugreen 100W GaN charger. This is the exact same 100W GaN charger we used to test the Xiaomi 12T Pro – and surprisingly, it actually took in about 45W of power. That means the Xiaomi 12T actually supports up to 45W via USB-PD – and that is surprising.
I don’t know who actually controls the charging speeds – could be Xiaomi themselves or the chipset maker – in this case, MediaTek. Whichever the case may be, the Xiaomi 12T’s fast charging compatibility is better than the 12T Pro.
Now, this is a weird one. The biggest difference between these two phones is the main camera’s sensor. The 12T is using a 108MP which we have seen many times in the past, and it can only capture images at either 12MP or 108MP. There is no intermediate 50MP or anything else.
To have a look at all the pictures taken with the Xiaomi 12T, watch our video at the top of this review.
Since the chipset is different, the ISP is different – and hence the end product of the picture will differ for all cameras.
Let’s talk about performance then. The 12T is using the MediaTek Dimensity 8100-Ultra. I think in your mind, you’d think it performs better than the base version MediaTek 8100, right? In reality, no it doesn’t. The 8100-Ultra is still just the same 8100.
However, the 12T is still a very competent chipset when it comes to gaming. As shown in our gaming test, the chipset wouldn’t get us a consistent frame rate when playing Genshin Impact at the highest graphical settings. It fluctuates from about 35 to 50fps, but can be improved when we enable the performance mode.
Granted, we should be getting consistent 60fps if we play the game in medium settings instead.
Other things to mention
Oh, this 12T, just like the 12T Pro, still uses USB 2.0 and it does not have HDMI output. And also, no microSD card slot.
And that leads us to the price. The 12T is at RM1,999. I’d say that 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 is actually good enough for many use cases.
The inclusion of a proper OIS system makes the price tag even more appealing to take pics and vids, too. As a whole package, the 12T is fantastic.
Compared to the 12T Pro’s starting price of RM2,699 that price gap of RM700 becomes the highlight. If you shell out 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, is up to how you use your device. Just don’t buy the 12GB RAM version because 8GB is clearly enough – watch this video to know why.