Xiaomi 12 Lite Review – Heavier than Lite

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Earlier this month, Xiaomi Philippines teased the Xiaomi 12 Lite confirming its upcoming arrival in the Philippine market. Today marks that day as Xiaomi PH officially launches the Xiaomi 12 Lite in two configurations and three colorways. With a price of either Php 20,999 for the 6GB+128GB or 21,999 for the 8GB/128GB variant, how does the Xiaomi 12 Lite differ in the very competitive 20k peso mid-range segment? Let’s find out.

Note: A part of this review is taken from our Xiaomi 12 Lite First Impressions article. If you’ve already read our unboxing and first impressions article, skip ahead to the camera section.

Xiaomi 12 Lite Specifications

Xiaomi 12 Lite Specs
ChipsetSnapdragon 778 2.4Ghz Octacore
RAM6GB / 8GB
Storage128GB
Display6.55-inch 2400×1080 120Hz AMOLED Display
Battery4,300mAh with 67W Turbo Charging
Rear Cameras108MP f/1.88 Samsung HM2, 8MP f/2.2 120 ultra-wide angle, 2MP f2.4 macro
Front Camera32MP f/2.45 selfie camera
ConnectivityDual 5G Dual Sim, Wifi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, AGPS, GLONASS, NFC
OSMIUI 13 on Android 12
ColorwaysLite Green, Lite Pink, and Black
PricePhp 20,990(6GB+128GB) | Php 21,990(8GB+128GB)

Xiaomi 12 Lite Unboxing and First Impressions

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The Xiaomi 12 Lite comes in a white premium-looking design with its bronze font.

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Contents of the packaging are as follows:

  • Xiaomi 12 Lite Smartphone
  • 67W Charger
  • USB Type-C Charging Cable
  • Sim Ejector Tool
  • Warranty, Manual, and Safety Information
  • Transparent Silicon Case
Xiaomi 12 Lite Review 028 scaled 2

The Xiaomi 12 Lite is a premium-looking phone with an almost boxy design thanks to its symmetrical edges and surprisingly thinner chin. The Xiaomi 12 Lite sports a 6.55″120Hz AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels and uses Corning Gorilla Glass 5. Being an AMOLED display, the Xiaomi 12 Lite should support HD10+ with brightness levels of around 1000 nits for its peak.

Xiaomi 12 Lite Review 040 scaled 2

The Xiaomi 12 Lite will come in three configurations, Black, Lite Green, and Lite Pink. Our specific review sample is the Lite green variant which to us is the most appealing out of the three. The back of the phone shows a different gradient depending on the amount of light shined on the device.

All of the buttons are housed on the right side of the Xiaomi 12 Lite leaving the entire left side of the device clean. The volume rockers are positioned on the upper side where most devices have the lock button located. The lock placement feels unnatural as I often misclick when I intend to lock the device. People with smaller hands however might have a better time as they don’t have to reach as hard to use the lock button.

Xiaomi 12 Lite Review 068 scaled 2

The Xiaomi 12 Lite uses a USB Type-C port for charging. It supports 67 watts of fast charging with a 50% charge in 13 minutes according to the brand. The sim card tray is also located at the bottom. 5G band is supported on both sim cards, unlike most devices where only one of the SIM card slots supports 5G.

Xiaomi 12 Lite Camera Setup

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Xiaomi markets the Xioami 12 Lite as a photography-driven smartphone with its #MyStyleMyShot tagline. The device has a triple studio-level camera setup. It uses a 108MP f/1.88 Samsung HM2 for its main sensor paired with an 8MP-ultrawide angle and a 2MP macro camera.

Xiaomi 12 Lite Rear Camera

Main Camera – 1x, 2x, 0.6x

The 108MP main camera does a wonderful job of capturing the details of the environment. However, our initial pics show different color profiles when switching from 1x to the ultrawide 0.6x and 2x. Compared to the main camera reference, the ultrawide has a darker color profile while the zoomed-in photo is lighter. I do hope that the colors would be more uniform in a future software update.

The Xiaomi 12 Lite takes good photos regardless of the subject. The 108MP sensor is flexible enough to fit different angles, shooting styles, and subjects.

The low light performance on the 108MP f/1.88 Samsung HM2 sensor is just incredible. It captures every bit of detail with minimal to no noise. Frankly, there’s almost no reason to use the night mode feature if it can already capture stunning details out of the box. That said, the 8MP ultrawide camera does need a bit of help as the photos taken on 0.6x mode are a bit grainier although it’s still useable.

AI mode adjusts the exposure and some slight color changes when enabled. Personally, I prefer the non-AI shot as it has more color range and is overall more vibrant.

Macro Camera
Xiaomi 12 Lite Review Macro

Like most smartphones, the macro camera is just there so that brands could call it a multi-camera smartphone. It’s a nice feature to have on the Xiaomi 12 Lite but for its quality, you’re better off cropping shots taken from the 108MP sensor.

Xioami 12 Lite Front Camera

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Xiaomi equipped the 12 Lite with a 32 MP f/2.45 front camera positioned at the center top corner of the device.

Xiaomi 12 Lite Review Selfie Camera scaled 2

In poor lighting conditions, the selfie camera tends to lean towards a warmer color profile which is a downside in terms of color range. Portrait mode also exhibits the same issue as shown in the photos above. Portrait mode does a good job of separating the foreground and creating an artificial bokeh albeit seasoned photographers will immediately notice that the bokeh is made via software instead of a tighter aperture.

Xiaomi 12 Lite Benchmarks

Our benchmark run shows the performance of the Xiaomi 12 Lite performing just about what you would expect on a midrange smartphone priced around Php 20,000. During our test run, we didn’t notice any uncomfortable heating problems with the device. Its warmness is more than tolerable to play even in long gaming sessions.

Conclusion – Not as Lite as you think

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As mentioned in our first impressions article, the Xiaomi 12 Lite is a very competitive device especially if you’re into photography. It has a refreshing premium aesthetic and builds quality where it doesn’t give off the impression that it’s a midrange phone. The 108MP Samsung HM2 sensor brings the most value to the device with its great image quality in terms of sharpness, color gamut, and low light performance. That said, it’s not just a phone for photography as its overall specifications make it a great all round for daily use and even for gaming thanks to the combination of the Snapdragon 778 SoC, 120Hz OLED display, and 4300mAh battery with 67W fast charging.

Frankly, It’s hard to call it a “lite” device as it has beefed up specs and performance enough for the medium category. Joke aside, its price of Php 20,999 for the 6GB+128GB, and Php 21,999 for the 8GB+128GB variant places the Xiaomi 12 Lite in a tough spot with lots of competitors in its price segment namely the OnePlus Nord 2, Samsung Galaxy A53, realme 9 Pro+ to name a few. That said, where the Xiaomi 12 Lite shines is in photography thanks to the aforementioned 108MP sensor. So, if you’re looking for a midrange device primarily for photography without sacrificing other essential features and use-cases such as gaming and productivity, then the Xiaomi 12 Lite is a compelling device. Moreover, a Php 1,000 upgrade for 2GB more RAM is one of the cheapest 6GB to 8GB upgrades we’ve seen in a smartphone.

If you’re interested in getting the Xiaomi 12 Lite, read our launch pricing and pre-order article for more information.

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Grant is a Financial Management graduate from UST. His passion for gadgets and tech crossed him over in the industry where he could apply his knowledge as an enthusiast and in-depth analytic skills as a Finance Major. His passion allows him to earn at the same time help Gadget Pilipinas' readers in making smart, value-based decisions and purchases with his reviews and guides.

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