Xiaomi Mi 12 might beat Samsung Galaxy S22 to the punch for one premium feature

Xiaomi Mi 11
(Image credit: Future)

While Samsung Galaxy S22 rumors have already cropped up a few times already, we've heard relatively little about a close rival that will likely launch at the same time, the Xiaomi Mi 12. However, some early information has given us an idea as to what to expect for that anticipated premium device.

Chinese news site MyDrivers has shared some renders of the Mi 12. While these are fan-made pictures, they're based on actual leaks that are swirling around social media platform Weibo, so they do give us a rough idea of what to expect in the anticipated Xiaomi Mi 11 successor.

The pictures show a phone that shares a clear design bone with the Mi 11 and Mi 11 Ultra, including a curved screen, and apparently the display will have similar specs to the Mi 11 range. The camera bump shows one extra snapper over the number the Mi 11 phones had, and looks a lot like the one on the Mi 11 Pro which only launched in China.

We had to look at the pictures for quite a while before we noticed the biggest change from the Mi 11. It's a feature certain phones have been rumored to come with, but only the ZTE Axon 20 5G has actually come with it so far – an under-display camera.

The under-display camera contest

An under-display front camera is exactly what it sounds – it's a snapper for selfies that doesn't require a segment of the screen to be cut out to house it (and doesn't therefore result in an ugly circular mark, or 'tear-drop' segment, to be missing from the display).

We've heard quite a few phones will come with an under-display camera, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 or Galaxy Z Fold 3, but the former might be totally canceled and the second could be a pretty niche device (as it's a foldable phone).

One rumor suggested the Galaxy S22 Ultra could have the feature (though this has been disputed). However if the Xiaomi Mi 12 does have a camera under the display, it'll probably beat the Galaxy S22 series to have the feature, as Xiaomi's flagship series will likely launch December 2021 or January 2022, ahead of Samsung's probably February 2022 launch.

If that turn of events did happen, it wouldn't be the first time Xiaomi had swooped in to stop Samsung's Galaxy S series from getting the title of 'first to do X'. The Mi 11 beat the Galaxy S21 to be the first phone with the Snapdragon 888 chipset, for example, as Xiaomi surprised everyone by shifting the launch to December 2020, instead of February 2021 like everyone expected.

At this point we don't actually know either smartphone series will boast a phone with an under-display camera, and neither will be the first to use the feature anyway. But the phones are likely to be highly competitive in loads of departments, as some of the biggest phones of 2022, so they'll definitely compete in myriad other ways. As we hear more about both, we'll bring you all the reputable leaks and rumors.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.