The Xiaomi 12 Lite smartphone was a major surprise. There are countless phones released each year marketed at the mid-range market. While they often feel almost as good as what you could find with a flagship device, something always feels missing. With the 12 Lite, Xiaomi managed to release an impressive smartphone packed with features that still feels modern, stylish, and fun to use.
The Xiaomi 12 Lite feels very different from the other smartphones in the 12 range. Boasting colourful options and a light build, the 12 Lite feels tailor-made for the young professional looking to be trendy with their tech. The phone is one of the more lightweight devices I have used in quite a while, clocking in at only 173 grams. On the size front, the 159 x 74 x 7.3 mm measurements feel great in the hands, while giving enough screen real estate to do anything you could want while on the go.
Phone Design & Build
The look of the Xiaomi 12 Lite smartphone is industrial and mixed up by the splash of colour on offer with the devices. Coming in either pink, black, or green colour versions, Xiaomi has outdone themselves with the simple clean lines and a fogged glass back that makes the 12 Lite stand out among a sea of devices all looking the same. The buttons on the right-hand side of the phone are easy to push and find, even when out and about, with the camera bump on the back giving a clear look at the triple camera array. You will also find a single USB-C charging port at the bottom of the phone.
The screen on the Xiaomi 12 Lite smartphone is a bright 6.55-inch AMOLED panel with a punch selfie camera right at the top of the display. The phone also features an in-screen fingerprint sensor that works very well, especially for a mid-range style device. It features Corning Gorilla Glass 5 that should keep your phone mostly scratch free as you use the phone out and about. Sadly, there is no IP rating on the 12 Lite, so it is better kept away from water, extreme dust, or any major dirt to ensure the phone stays working for as long as you need it.
“With the 12 Lite, Xiaomi managed to release an impressive smartphone packed with features that still feels modern, stylish, and fun to use.”
Looking back to the display, the screen is a 6.55in AMOLED Full HD+ panel that looks crisp, clear, and bright, and works on everything from productivity to gaming and also makes for a great media viewing experience. Things get even more interesting when you look at the fact it can work at either 60HZ or 120Hz refresh rates, something I did not expect for a mid-range device of this nature. To round things off, the display supports HDR10+, Dolby Vision, as well Xiaomi calls TrueColor making the 12 Lite a fantastic phone for media consumption.
Since we love gaming here at CGMagazine, I wanted to test out some gaming features on the phone, and the 240Hz touch sampling rate was a fantastic surprise when diving into the features of the Xiaomi 12 Lite smartphone. This is something I normally expect on a more flagship-level device, but it was a welcome addition to the phone, and made gaming much more responsive. I did have some minor issues with the palm cancellation on the 12 Lite, but there was never anything that got in the way of a good session of Diablo Immortal.
The audio on the Xiaomi 12 Lite was far better than I expected and delivered some clear, loud sound from the stereo speakers. They will not win over any audiophiles in the audience, but for a quick song while in the bathroom or to watch a YouTube video, they are more than capable. With there being no 3.5 mm headphone jack, for anyone wanting more capable audio will need to trust in the Bluetooth 5.2 capabilities for some wireless audio that will do your gaming or media justice.
Xiaomi 12 Lite Specs & Gaming
On the performance side of things, the Xiaomi 12 Lite smartphone features a Snapdragon 778G processor along with 8 GB Ram. Compared to the eye-watering specs seen on many of the latest flagship phones like the OnePlus 10T or the Xiaomi 12 Pro, the specs may be a little bit underwhelming, but for most people’s needs, the power under the hood should be more than capable.
Productively and social media work very well on the 12 Lite. Even when running a range of different applications at the same time, I did not notice any slowdown or lag. It was quick to switch between with only gaming showing any real slowdown on the overall feel of the phone.
“I did have some minor issues with the palm cancellation on the 12 Lite, but there was never anything that got in the way of a good session of Diablo Immortal.”
Partially this is thanks to the 8 GB RAM, but Xiaomi has managed to give enough to make most things run smoothly. Compared to the Qualcomm 8 Gen 1 processor found in the flagship variants of the Xiaomi 12 range, the Snapdragon 778G does leave a little to be desired, but honestly, for most people the difference will not be noticeable.
The only area of performance I saw any issue with the specs on offer was when I dove into gaming. Most games I tested ran very well, with only minor slowdowns during particularly intensive moments. Games like Genshin Impact looked fantastic on the 6.55-inch screen, showing only minor frame rate drops while playing. Fortnite was the only game I saw any real issues, and even then, it was minor and still very impressive for a mid-range phone looking to tap a completely different market compared to the 12 Pro or 12S devices that were recently launched.
On the storage side of things, the 12 Lite features 128 GB of UFS 2.2 storage, with a 256 GB option also available. Sadly, there is no ability to increase the storage capacity after purchase with there only being a dual sim slot on the 12 Lite with no place for an SD card for increased capacity. This is something I am sad to not see, especially with past offerings giving more flexibility should you need more space in the future.
Photo & Video
Featuring a triple camera array with a 108Mp f/1.88 main, 8Mp f/2.2 ultra-wide and 2Mp f/2.4 macro, the Xiaomi 12 Lite smartphone comes out of the gate swinging when it comes to photography. I am used to mid-range phones out of China giving a little extra when it comes to the camera, but Xiaomi outdid themselves here, boasting a phone that outdoes many flagship devices, delivering some truly stunning still and action shots. The phone also features a 32 MP selfie camera that, while not amazing, managed to capture some great photos worthy of Instagram.
Shots from the Xiaomi 12 Lite feel good, giving fantastic colour representation, clear images, with an autofocus that follows the intended target very well. I found some colour during bright days a little overly vibrant, but this is a personal preference with most of the shots well suited for social media or to share with friends and family. Even the night mode was something that delivered well above its paygrade, managing some clear shots that out-classed many phones from the past few years. Even just wandering around Toronto at night I managed to get some photos I was excited to share, something I honestly did not expect when I first picked up the 12 Lite for review.
“…for people that love to experiment with their cameras, the Xiaomi 12 Lite smartphone is bursting with settings that should really get your creative juices flowing.”
The Xiaomi camera app includes various modes to express your artist vision, along with many in-camera filters to beautify and adjust to your heart’s content. I was amazed at the level of adjustments on offer just in the standard photo modes, and for people that love to experiment with their cameras, the Xiaomi 12 Lite smartphone is bursting with settings that should really get your creative juices flowing. The camera also allows for video at 4K/30fps, with the default being 1080p/30fps, and while I don’t feel it is quite on par with many devices on the sound front, it should be more than enough for TikTok or other social media.
Battery & MIUI
The 4300mAh battery on the Xiaomi 12 Lite was very capable. While testing the phone, using it heavily during the day with some gaming and productivity apps, the phone managed to last from around 7AM to 10PM with 20-percent battery to spare at the end of the day. It was a solid showing that should last for most people throughout the day with ease.
While it delivers solid battery life, if there is ever a worry, the Xiaomi 12 Lite supports fast charging, and with the included 65W brick in the box, the phone can go from empty to 100% in only 40 minutes. So as long as you have time to relax near a plug, you should be able to make it to your late-night party with ease. Sadly, the 12 Lite does not support wireless charging, so you will need to ensure to bring your power cord with you, or you could be in for a bit of a surprise.
“The lightweight eye-popping design makes the Xiaomi 12 Lite an attractive option for people wanting an exciting new smartphone, and the price seals the deal.”
Running Android 12 under the MIUI 13 skin, the Xiaomi 12 Lite feels fast and fluid. I am not a huge fan of Android skins, but with a solid level of flexibility, I never had any issue using the included OS. There are options to make MIUI 13 look similar to what people expect on Android, but you can also give it a more iOS feel with no app drawer should you feel the need.
There is a bit of bloat wear, and software that could be redundant should you already have solutions you have paid for or just used on other devices. Thankfully, most of these apps can be uninstalled if not needed, and only provide a minor annoyance should you need to go down this route.
Xiaomi has outdone themselves with the Xiaomi 12 Lite smartphone, boasting a great look and specs that help it perform well above other phones in a similar price range. Clocking in at $449 USD for the model tested, with it going up to $499 for the 256 GB model, the 12 Lite is an attractive offering, one that young professionals should take advantage of.
The lightweight eye-popping design makes the Xiaomi 12 Lite an attractive option for people wanting an exciting new smartphone, and the price seals the deal. For people wanting a mid-range device that delivers features and a modern design, few phones compare to what the Xiaomi 12 Lite brings to the table.