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Xiaomi 12 Pro review: ultra-fast-charging Android phone | Xiaomi

Xiaomi’s new top phone for the start of 2022 is the 12 Pro featuring high-end specs, svelte design and triple 50-megapixel cameras but at a decidedly premium price.

“China’s Apple” as Xiaomi was once called, is more frequently known for top-spec phones that undercut the competition on price. But the 12 Pro is different – a direct challenger to Apple and Samsung costing £1,049, which is as much if not more than rivals.

The back of the Xiaomi 12 Pro sparkling in sunlight.
The frosted grey back repels messy fingerprints and has a subtle sparkle that shines in direct sunlight. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

It certainly looks the part. The 6.73in OLED screen is super bright, vibrant and pin-sharp with a 120Hz refresh rate to keep everything smooth. The sides curve to a metal frame and a smooth frosted glass back with a protruding camera lump in the top left corner. The 12 Pro a large phone but feels great, is slightly lighter than some rivals and comparatively easy to grip.

There’s a set of four speakers in the top and bottom of the phone, which are surprisingly good for a smartphone and not as easy to block with your hand when holding as some rivals.

Specifications

  • Screen: 6.73in QHD+ OLED (522ppi) 120Hz

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

  • RAM: 12GB of RAM

  • Storage: 256GB

  • Operating system: Miui 13 based on Android 12

  • Camera: Triple 50MP rear camera: wide, ultra-wide, 2x telephoto; 32MP selfie camera

  • Connectivity: 5G, USB-C, wifi 6E, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2 and location

  • Water resistance: none

  • Dimensions: 163.6 x 74.6 x 8.2mm

  • Weight: 205g

Exceptionally fast charging but short battery life

The USB-C port in the bottom of the Xiaomi 12 Pro.
The phone fully charges in a little over 20 minutes with its 120W power adaptor and special ‘boost mode’, but gets very hot doing so. Its regular fast charge mode takes about 30 minutes, which is still rapid. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The 12 Pro has the same top Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip as the Oppo Find X5 Pro, OnePlus 10 Pro and most high-end Android phones launched in 2022 and performs similarly, capable of handling demanding tasks and games with aplomb.

The battery life is a bit short compared with rivals. The 12 Pro lasted only 30 hours between charges, while most phones last at least 35 hours. That included about two hours on 5G and having actively using the screen for about four hours for mostly light tasks such as messaging, browsing, music and taking a couple of photos.

Sustainability

The in-display fingerprint scanner of the Xiaomi 12 Pro.
The in-display fingerprint scanner is good but not quite the fastest available on a smartphone. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Xiaomi rates the battery for at least 800 full-charge cycles while maintaining at least 80% of its original capacity and can be replaced for about £12 plus labour.

The phone is generally repairable, with screen fixes costing about £180 plus labour. Its predecessor scored only four out of 10 on iFixit’s repairability ranking.

Xiaomi does not publish environmental impact assessments or offer trade-in or recycling schemes in the UK. The phone is not made of recycled materials.

Miui 13

The sidebar feature of Miui 13 on the Xiaomi 12 Pro.
Miui 13 has many features and little additions such as the app sidebar that can be enabled, disabled or customised to your liking. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Miui 13 is Xiaomi’s customised version of Android 12. It is still a work in progress for western markets, full of little differences and oddities compared with Samsung, Google and other common brands, and certainly not the best version of Android available.

It is highly customisable with options to change the way it looks and operates beyond what most rivals offer, from making it look and work like an iPhone to the more traditional Android way. But it took some digging through menus and tweaking settings to get it to work to my liking, after which it was fairly fast and attractive.

Xiaomi will support the 12 Pro, with software updates including three big Android version upgrades and a total four years of security updates from the phone’s release. That is a year longer than last year’s model but behind Samsung’s five and Apple’s six-plus years of support.

Camera

The camera app of the Xiaomi 12 Pro
The Xiaomi camera app is fairly simple to use with plenty of automatic, creative or manual modes preloaded and more available as downloads. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The phone has three 50-megapixel cameras on the back and a very capable 32MP selfie camera, which produces detailed photos but defaults to some degree of artificial skin-smoothing unless you turn it off manually.

The main camera is the best of the bunch, producing sharp, well-detailed images with excellent colour balance and exposure, even in high-contrast scenes. Low-light performance is strong and video is excellent too. But the ultra-wide and 2x telephoto cameras are also good with consistent colour and exposure as you switch between the three cameras. The 2x zoom is weak compared with rivals, however, which often have 3, 5 or even 10x optical zooms. Extending beyond 2x with digital zoom quickly becomes full of artefacts.

Overall, the 12 Pro’s camera is generally very good but let down by the limited optical zoom.

Price

The Xiaomi 12 Pro costs £1,049.

For comparison, the Google Pixel 6 Pro costs £849, the OnePlus 10 Pro costs £799, the Samsung Galaxy S21+ costs £949, the Oppo Find X5 Pro costs £1,049, the Galaxy S21 Ultra costs £1,149 and the iPhone 13 Pro Max costs £1,049.

Verdict

The 12 Pro is Xiaomi’s latest attempt to take on the best of Samsung and Apple at the top of the premium market, which delivers in some areas while falling short in others.

It certainly looks the part, feels great, performs well and has the fastest charging currently available. The camera is pretty good too but lacks extended optical zoom, limited only to 2x magnification where others offer 3x or 4x for the same price.

Xiaomi’s Miui software is improving but still feels geared towards enthusiasts. The biggest problems for the 12 Pro are relatively weak battery life and high cost. The buyer is simply getting less with the Xiaomi than with similar phones from OnePlus, Google, Samsung or Apple.

Pros: good screen, top performance, super-fast charging, nice design, good camera, good speakers, decent in-screen fingerprint scanner.

Cons: expensive, relatively short battery life, lack of extended optical zoom for the camera, only four years of software support guaranteed, no official water resistance rating.

The camera lump on the back of the Xiaomi 12 Pro
The camera lump protrudes slightly from the back but makes for a fairly interesting feature in an otherwise smooth design. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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Culture

Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.


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