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Xiaomi 12 launch live: catch up on Xiaomi's new phones, watches and earbuds

The Xiaomi launch has finished

Xiaomi 12 launch
(Image: © Xiaomi)

The Xiaomi 12 series launch event has wrapped up, after nearly an hour of discussion on the three new smartphones, two new smartwatches and new earbuds.

You can find our Xiaomi 12 review here and our Xiaomi 12 Pro review here - it's been a busy day - and will aim to give you initial reviews of all the other products as soon as humanly possible.

This launch event followed an initial debut for the smartphones in December, but that was a China-only launch, and the wearables and headphones didn't show up either.

You can watch a recap of the event on YouTube here, but skimming through this live blog is an easier way to keep on top of all the news and analysis

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Welcome to our Xiaomi 12 live blog. We’ve got a few hours to go until it kicks off, but we can use this time to look through all our expectations.

Here's the usual schedule for one of these things:

We'll share some expectations and analysis for a few hours.

Just before the event starts, the brand will likely kick of some pre-show sizzle reel footage that might tease what's coming - or it could just be a load of adverts for existing products.

The show will likely go on for 60 to 90 minutes, unless Xiaomi wows us with loads of tech. That's unlikely though - even Apple's event last week lasted less than an hour, and there was loads there.

Once the event finishes, we'll share any extra analysis, especially on extra tech they show off that surprises us. If we get any reviews, we'll also share them here.

Xiaomi 12

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Let’s look first at the Xiaomi 12, the ‘vanilla’ phone in the series.

This has a 6.3-inch FHD+ 120Hz screen, three rear cameras with a 50MP main, 13MP ultra-wide and 5MP telemacro snapper, a 4,500mAh battery, 67W wired and 50W wireless charging, and a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset.

So it sounds like a feature-packed flagship phone, though one that’s surprisingly small given Xiaomi’s usually-giant mobiles. That’s if the international version is the same as the global variant, a fact we’ll have to see about.

We like the design, especially of the pastel-looking colors. It looks relatively understated compared to some other Xiaomi mobiles we’ve seen.

The Xiaomi 12 is an interesting one, because it's a lot more compact than previous main-series Xiaomi phones we've seen.

If we had to make a guess, we'd say Xiaomi is trying to rival the Galaxy S22 series here. The vanilla phone in Samsung's S line is always quite compact at around 6.1-inches, while the Plus model is bigger (and the Ultra model has top specs).

The smaller, spec-heavy option is great for people who want a top-end phone but don't have huge mitts.

That is, of course, if the Xiaomi 12 does launch in the West - there's an outside chance Xiaomi could opt to release an odd combination of phones, like the 12X and 12 Pro, but not the vanilla one.

Before you recoil, thinking that's weird and unlikely, there is a history of Chinese brands releasing Pro phones but not standard ones. That's happening with the OnePlus 10 Pro, for example.

It'd be a weird choice though, so we hope it's not the case.

Xiaomi 12X

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Next up the Xiaomi 12X.

This is very similar to the standard Xiaomi 12, and we expect that’s why this isn’t called the 12 Lite - that implies it’s a more budget alternative than it actually is.

In most ways the specs are the same, and the two variants are that the edges of the screen aren’t curved, and the chipset is only the Snapdragon 870 (which is powerful, but not as powerful as the 8 Gen 1).

In China it’s a little bit cheaper than the Xiaomi 12, but not by a dramatic margin - it’s more like a mid-range alternative than a genuinely cheap version. Also, we don’t really see X variants launch globally, so we’re not sure if this one will or not.

This isn’t fully a ‘Lite’ version of the Xiaomi 12, because its specs have too much in common with the main phone to be a real budget alternative.

But for people who don’t like curved-edge screens, or don’t need the top-top-top processing power (which, honestly, is most people) this will be a better phone.

Oh - we might see a Xiaomi 12 Lite too. It's not likely, but not impossible.

Finally, the Xiaomi 12 Pro.

This is a big flashy flagship phone, and it looks like the true successor to the Xiaomi Mi 11. It has three 50MP rear cameras, a 6.7-inch 2K 120Hz screen, a 4,600mAh battery with 120W wired and 50W wireless powering, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset and a 32MP front camera.

So it sounds like a super-spec extravaganza, which likely won’t be cheap - in fact, it sounds as much like a successor to the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra in the camera department.

We hope this launches, as that camera combination sounds incredible, but if it does it definitely won’t be cheap.

Xiaomi 12 Pro

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

We’re most excited to test out the Xiaomi 12 Pro - we enjoyed the cameras of the Mi 11 Ultra and these sound even better. Plus, it doesn’t have that phone’s silly camera bump.

Most interesting could be the price - if this launches for a sub-$1,000 / £1,000 price, it could be an incredible rival to similar handsets from OnePlus, Oppo and Samsung.

That smartwatch we mentioned is the Xiaomi Watch S1 Active, the company itself has confirmed, though details are light on the ground.

We’ve seen some teasers which show… straps. Oh, and another which shows two crowns. Yeah, that’s not exactly a huge reveal.

Expect the launch event to bring loads more details. Or any details, for that matter. We’re expecting another sports-focused affordable smartwatch but that’s based on Xiaomi’s track record for wearables.

Xiaomi's live stream has started, but it's just a teaser video for the event which we saw earlier, that you can see below:

But we’re not exactly sure what to take from it. At time code 0:13 you can see three circles, each with a piece of information - from left to right we see two viewfinder frames out of alignment (which probably points to image stabilization), a moon and an eye (Night Mode, no doubt) and two small circles next to a large one (this is what the Xiaomi 12 camera layout looks like).

Two mintes until it starts - time for the quickest coffee in the world.

And I'm back - made the coffee in less than 90 seconds.

And we're off.

...and we're straight into the usual guff where the brand giving a presentation talks about itself for a while.

Now they're going through some of 2021's devices:

Xiaomi 12 launch

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Most of these never went on sale globally.

They've 'officially' named the phone - though the stream title 'Xiaomi 12 Series Global Launch' kinda gave it away.

They have said that there are only two phones though - we reckon it's the 12X that's been dropped.

Xiaomi 12 launch

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

We're looking at the Xiaomi 12 design first - there's a purple (pictured), black and blue version - the latter looks like the Mi 11.

They're justifying some of the design decisions of the phone like the main camera ring, wavy speaker grilles and curvy design, but most of it feels like marketing guff.

We've been watching a video that was filmed on a Xiaomi 12 model, which is a showcase for a camera focusing thing called ProFocus which recognizes subjects and tracks them when you're shooting a video.

Apparently ProFocus also works on photo, so you can blast away at that shutter button and rely on a subject staying in focus even when they're moving.

It sounds like an interesting feature for certain uses, like people who photograph sports events.

Xiaomi 12 launch

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Here are the cameras on the Xiaomi 12 - the company is going through camera samples on the phone, with lots of portrait and night shots.

We're already onto the display - this is a quick event. Apparently it has Xiaomi's most colorful in a display yet - does that mean better than the Pro? 68 billion colors apparently.

It's a 6.28-inch screen with a punch-hole cut-out.

Xiaomi has confirmed that the new phone has the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

This is a top-end Android processing which is very powerful, and we've tested it on a few phones so far.

It does heat up really easily under pressure, though.

Apparently the Xiaomi 12 can let you connect to multiple cell networks at once (and it's a 5G phone). That should be really useful for people who live in 5G areas, as they can be very hit-and-miss.

Xiaomi 12 launch

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

We're hearing some power spec: 67W wired and 50W wireless, sounds good. There's a 4,500mAh battery.

Apparently there's also a smart charging feature here that analyzes your sleep habits and alarms, to charge slowly overnight so you don't spend ages overcharging. That sounds pretty useful for ensuring the phone lasts for longer.

The Xiaomi 12 is a wrap, and we're just seeing a sizzle reel for it. Now to find out if the other handset is the Pro or X.

Oh, they've given the Xiaomi 12 price at $749. The phone likely won't go on sale in the US, so that price is likely just a reference figure.

And we've moved onto the Xiaomi 12 Pro.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro looks rather similar to the standard model, honestly. It's bigger though.

We've seen a video shot on the Xiaomi 12 Pro, and it looked good in some scenes, but a little green-screeny in others. Still, for a smartphone film it looked great.

We also had the director break down why he used the different rear cameras for different shots.

Xiaomi 12 launch

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Here are the Xiaomi 12 Pro's rear cameras. That's 150MP total, 138MP more than the new iPhone SE.

Xiaomi 12 launch

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

And here's the display specs - the handset sounds great, like a true Xiaomi Mi 11 successor. There's also a 1500 nits max brightness and 120Hz refresh rate.

Ooh - the Xiaomi 12 Pro has four surround speakers. That's novel. Music should sound great.

Xiaomi 12 launch

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

The Xiaomi 12 Pro is the company's first top-end phone with 120W charging - that's 18 minutes to power it completely full, apparenlty. 

The company said that's the time it takes to meditate but you can probably do other things in that time instead.

They didn't actually say the battery capacity though, unless we missed it.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro price is $999 - again, the phone likely won't actually sell in the US, but it's an easy reference cost.

Xiaomi 12 launch

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Xiaomi has pledged to three years of Android updates and four years of security updates to these new phones.

Oh, and they're talking about the Xiaomi 12X - it'll cost $649. Wow, they said about a single sentence about the phone - we guess it's not as important a device to Xiaomi.