Xiaomi has been extremely active. Its 12S line of devices was recently announced, and now comes the mid-range 12 Lite model, which promises the classic Xiaomi experience at a low price. Can the Chinese model compete in a fiercely competitive market segment? The full review of the Xiaomi 12 Lite is available here. If the 12 Lite has one flaw, it’s most likely the software. Don’t get me wrong: MIUI 13 is a perfectly serviceable system with a plethora of features, but it does require some getting used to.
Despite the lack of a US launch, the Xiaomi 12 Lite is available worldwide in three RAM and storage variants, and the price in US dollars is:
- 6GB/128GB – $399
- 8GB/128GB – $449/£419/€449
- 8GB/256GB – $499
|Chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G|
|No of cores||8 (octa core)|
|Colours||Black, Lite Green, Lite Pink|
|Resolution||1080 x 2400 pixels|
|Display Type||AMOLED, Dolby Vision, HDR 10+|
|Colour Reproduction||16M Colours|
|TouchScreen||Yes, Capacitive, Multi-Touch|
|Rear camera setup||Triple|
|Rear Camera||108MP(Primary), 8MP(Secondary), 2MP(Tertiary)|
|Front camera||32 MP Resolution|
|Flash||LED Rear flash|
|Video Resolution||3840×2160 @ 30 fps|
|Camera Features||Auto FlashAuto FocusFace detectionTouch to focus|
|Battery Type and capacity||Li-Polymer, 4300 mAh|
|Fast Charging||Yes 67W|
|Internal memory type||128 GB, UFS 2.2|
|Operating System||Android v12|
|SIM Configuration||Dual SIM|
|GPS||Yes with A-GPS, Glonass|
|Fingerprint sensor||Yes, Side|
|Other Sensor||Light SensorProximity SensorAccelerometerCompassGyroscope|
Design and Build
Normally, the Lite suffix on a smartphone denotes a reduced spec sheet, but with the Xiaomi 12 Lite, this appears to apply more accurately to the chassis. It’s a nice device to hold for extended periods of time, weighing in at a very comfortable 173g, and the 159 x 74 x 7.3mm dimensions fit well in the hand, making a great change from the bulky, 200g frames that are becoming the norm in the last year or so.
The colour scheme is also new, with my review model available in Pink, Black, or Green. The glass back panel is graduated, so as you tilt it in the light, the colour changes in a pleasing way. A raised rectangular area in the top left corner of the panel houses the triple camera array. The glass is clear with a light blue/green tint that looks stylish.
Display and Speakers
The 12. Lite’s 6.55in AMOLED Full HD+ panel is well balanced and offers plenty of colour and definition. You can select between 60Hz and 120Hz refresh rates, with the former preserving battery life and the latter providing smooth scrolling. The 60Hz option isn’t bad, but once you’ve activated the 120Hz setting, you’ll probably want to keep it there because it feels great.
All of this is complemented by the display’s support for HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and something Xiaomi calls TrueColor, which expands the panel’s colour palette. The Xiaomi 12 Lite doesn’t have the brightest screen on the market, with my measurements indicating a maximum brightness of around 450 nits, but it’s bright enough to handle bright sunlight for the most part when turned up to full. Indoors or on cloudy days, you’ll have no trouble seeing what’s on display.
Surprisingly, Xiaomi has equipped the 12 Lite with the same Snapdragon 778G processor found in the 11 Lite 5G from the previous generation. It’s unclear whether this is due to the global processor shortage that has been going on for the last year or so, but the performance of the 12 Lite for most things people do with their smartphones is spot on.
Opening apps and navigating through screens and menus is quick and responsive. When using the device, there is no noticeable lag, and even in the cameras, you get a quick launch with the cameras ready to go: essential if that ‘decisive moment’ appears before your eyes. The Xiaomi 12 and Xiaomi 12 Pro do have the flagship Qualcomm 8 Gen 1 processor, so this is a significant difference. Storage is a standard 128GB of UFS 2.2, but you can upgrade to 256GB if you think this will be insufficient.
Cameras are often the lifeblood of mid-range devices. In that case, the Xiaomi 12 Lite is in excellent condition and should live comfortably into old age. The triple camera setup of 108Mp f/1.88 main, 8Mp f/2.2 ultra-wide, and 2Mp f/2.4 macro produces some truly stunning results.
Focusing is quick and usually tracks the intended subject matter (though this is not always the case with the phones I’ve tested). I got some great shots in good lighting, whether it was close-ups of flowers, capturing my dog in a heroic pose (waiting for a treat), landscape images, or general everyday shots. On the front, there’s a 32Mp selfie camera that can take some decent photos. The maximum video resolution is 4K/30fps, with the default being 1080p/30fps. The camera can capture some good footage, though the sound is a little thin.
Battery Life and Charging
The Xiaomi 12 Lite has excellent battery life. Using the phone extensively throughout the day – watching some YouTube videos, doing a lot of web browsing, emailing, using social media apps, and even making the occasional phone call – left me with around 30% of the tank full at bedtime.
By reducing my screen time, I was able to get through two days on a single charge. It’s not like getting the device back to 100% is a big deal. The 12 Lite charged from empty to full in 41 minutes when using the included 67W charger. So, even if you spend hours each day staring at the screen, you’ll be able to recharge the entire battery in less time than it takes to eat lunch.
The Xiaomi 12 Lite is an excellent mid-range smartphone. The lightweight construction is a welcome change from the heavier alternatives available at this price point, and the square-edged design is both modern and comfortable to hold. Again, performance is excellent, as are the cameras if you need something for social media platforms.
|Warranty||1 Year Manufacturer Warranty|
|Extended Warranty||2 years Extended Warranty from the GoWarranty for the Xiaomi 12 Lite phones|