Although the Xiaomi 12 is a relatively compact phone compared to its Mi 11 predecessor, with a display just 6.28 inches diagonally, we've actually been hearing about an even smaller member of the family called the Xiaomi 12 Mini.
The latest information on this device comes from a leaker called @Shadow_leak (opens in new tab), who has an admittedly dubious track record - they shared an image labeled 'Xiaomi 12 Mini', though a watermark at the bottom of the picture suggests it originated from Chinese social media network Weibo.
Xiaomi 12 Mini First Look 👀 pic.twitter.com/9rW5jSAYSmJanuary 31, 2022
This is the second time we've heard about this device, but a specs list and render from November 2021 show a totally different device, with a camera bump that's notably different. Since that leak suggests the phone has a 6.28-inch screen, the same as the Xiaomi 12 actually has, we're not going to pay it much heed.
We're pretty confident that more Xiaomi 12 phones are on their way besides the standard, 12 Pro and 12X that have already been launched, with a 12 Ultra and 12 Lite expected at the very least.
But a Xiaomi 12 Mini? Despite this new leak, we're not so sure.
Analysis: a Xiaomi 12 Mini seems unlikely
As we've already mentioned, the Xiaomi 12 is a surprisingly 'Mini' phone compared to its predecessor - and if the company is already slicing the size of its main phone, we don't imagine it'll then produce an even smaller device, as fans of compact mobiles are already being catered for.
Sure, there are smaller screen sizes Xiaomi could opt for - some of the littlest phones have sub-6-inch displays - but Xiaomi has never been one to make petite mobiles.
In fact, the mobile industry generally stays away from small phones. Other than the iPhone Mini line - which rumors say Apple is dropping due to poor sales - and the iPhone SE (2020), we don't see any companies using small phone sizes as a selling point. Even the Sony Xperia 5 III and Samsung Galaxy S21, which are relatively small compared to big-body siblings, aren't actually that little compared to older phones.
So it doesn't seem like there's much of an audience for Mini mobiles.
We're also hesitant to believe this leak in particular. It seems to come from Weibo, a hugely popular Chinese social media network, but we often see information come from the site that turns out to be totally bogus - anyone can post, after all.
On top of that, the image looks pretty rough, like a quick Photoshop job, and it doesn't seem to have much in common design-wise with the other members of the Xiaomi 12 line.
The history of Xiaomi 12 Mini leaks isn't exactly stellar either. It's possible that unproven leakers are using the device as an easy way to build up an audience, without the specter of prominent leakers who could contradict and disprove the information.
It's impossible to say the Xiaomi 12 Mini isn't coming, as we just don't know about the secretive goings-on at the company. But so far, the leaks haven't made us confident it's on its way, and we'll await more concrete information before we get excited.