OnePlus 10 Pro vs Xiaomi 12 Pro: Which Android flagship is better?
Every year around spring time we get a slew of new Android flagships running on the newest Qualcomm chip, and while Samsung’s S series get the bulk of the attention early on, there are several other brands that put out excellent, polished handsets. Sure, Xiaomi may not be a non-entity in North America, but smartphone enthusiasts in Asia and Europe know Xiaomi has been making some of the most premium Android flagships for a couple of years now. OnePlus, meanwhile, has had a rocky last 12 months due to backstage brouhaha over its relationship with OPPO, but strip away all the noise, and OnePlus is still making very capable phones that are a shade more affordable than the Apple/Samsung fare. Today we’re going to take a look at the two most recent flagships from these two upstart Chinese brands: the OnePlus 10 Pro and the Xiaomi 12 Pro.
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OnePlus 10 Pro vs Xiaomi 12 Pro: Specifications
|Specifications||OnePlus 10 Pro||Xiaomi 12 Pro|
|Dimensions & Weight||
|RAM & Storage||
|Battery & Charging||
|Security||Optical in-display fingerprint scanner||Optical in-display fingerprint scanner|
|Front Camera(s)||32MP, Sony IMX615||32MP, f/2.45 selfie camera|
|Audio||Stereo speakers||Stereo speakers tuned by Harmon Kardon|
||MIUI 13 based on Android 12|
OnePlus 10 Pro vs Xiaomi 12 Pro: Hardware and Design
OnePlus and Xiaomi’s 2022 flagships may look different from the back, but in terms of in-hand feel and overall shape, they’re very, very similar. Both are glass-metal sandwich slabs with the same gentle curves along with a frosted back coating that gives off a silky, slithery feel. In terms of dimensions or weight, only a few millimeters or grams separate them, so they have virtually the same overall form factor.
Flip the phones around and it’s more deja vu, as both devices use 6.7-inch 120Hz LTPO 2.0 OLED display panels with the same rounded corners, bezel sizes, and curved edges. The only differentiating factor is the OnePlus 10 Pro’s hole punch is located in the upper left corner to the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s upper-middle positioning. Heck, both hole punches house similar 32MP selfie cameras too.
These are absolutely top-tier display panels, better than virtually 99% of screens you will come across in your daily lives, and only topped by the Galaxy S22 Ultra‘s display panel in maximum brightness, and even that’s an area that’s hardly noticeable most of the time. The point is, these screens look identical, yes, but they’re also the best of the best. Other than personal preferences like “I don’t like curved screens” or “I don’t like the hole-punch” there’s almost nothing one can say negatively about these screens.
While 6.7-inch screens can be considered large by some, I think most adult phone enthusiasts will have no problem here — I find both phones comfortable to hold and easy to use even with one hand thanks to the phones’ curvatures and Android’s free homescreen grid (so I can place apps closer to bottom of the screen).
Design aesthetics are subjective, but for me, I like the look and style of the OnePlus 10 Pro’s large camera module with one side blending into the side frame compared to the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s somewhat vanilla upper left corner camera module.
Xiaomi takes a slight win in camera hardware though, with a triple 50MP camera system headlined by a main camera using Sony’s relatively new IMX707 sensor, while OnePlus sticks with an older 48MP IMX789 sensor. With a 1/1.28-inch sensor size, Xiaomi 12 Pro’s main camera has a larger image sensor than OnePlus’ which allows superior light intake ability. You can see in the low-light images below that OnePlus’ images are slightly noisier than Xiaomi’s. The OnePlus’ main camera is still really good — Xiaomi’s is just great.
Moving to the ultra-wide lens, the Xiaomi 12 Pro packs a 50MP, 112-degree ultra-wide to OnePlus’ 50MP ultra-wide with a whopping 150-degree field-of-view. Such a sweeping wide lens can bring new perspectives and interesting fisheye-type shots (see sample below), but in return, image sharpness is lost. OnePlus even crops in on the sensor by default, producing a more standard ultra-wide shot (not using the full 150-degree FoV), as can be seen in the second sample below.
Xiaomi’s ultra-wide is more consistent day and night, even if it doesn’t get nearly as wide.
Where the OnePlus 10 Pro finally picks up a win is in the zoom lens — an 8MP 3.3x optical zoom compared to Xiaomi’s 50MP 2x optical zoom. Xiaomi’s zoom lens actually benefits from pixel binning technology, but 2x optical zoom in 2022 just feels weak. A 3.3x zoom is more useful in real-life settings. And because the OnePlus 10 Pro has a stronger starting optical base (3.3x), it can get up to 10x digital zoom and still produce a sharp image.
Xiaomi’s 2x telephoto instead is better suited as a portrait lens, and even at 10x zoom, the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s images are already seeing a major loss of detail.
Video performance and selfie photos are both good, with stable 4k videos and selfies that are well lit and focuses well on faces day and night. Overall, both camera systems are 2022 flagship levels, but if I must pick a winner I’d give a slight edge to Xiaomi for the superior ultra-wide sensor and main camera.
Both phones run on Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but the OnePlus 10 Pro has noticeably better thermals. During my review of the Xiaomi 12 Pro, I ran a 20-minute long graphically intensive test (Wild Life Extreme) in the benchmark app 3D Mark, and the Xiaomi 12 Pro could not finish the 20-minute test due to the phone overheating. The OnePlus Pro had no such issues, though it, too, got pretty hot.
Don’t panic, potential Xiaomi 12 Pro buyers — this overheating issue is really only noticeable if you are a really heavy gamer, and Xiaomi does claim that they fixed this in software updates since our review (but we couldn’t verify this claim). For all other daily tasks, the phone performed fine. Still, this is a win for OnePlus.
Battery and Memory
The OnePlus 10 Pro packs a sizable 5,000 mAh battery that can power the phone all day under most circumstances, while the Xiaomi 12 Pro runs on a 4,600 mAh cell — this is still an acceptable battery size, but it is a bit behind compared to other 2022 flagships. And yes, the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s battery life suffers as a result — it can still go all day on light usage days, but any day where you’re out and about and using the phone regularly, expect the phone to run out of juice by hour 10 or 11.
The silver lining is the Xiaomi 12 Pro charges faster than just about any other phone in the world, with a 120W charging brick included with the package that can top up the phone from 0 to 100 in 25 minutes. The OnePlus 10 Pro is no slouch here either, offering an 80W or 65W charging brick (depending on region) that can top up the phone from 0-100 in a bit over 32 minutes or 34 minutes. The point is, if you have time to even plug the phone in for 10 minutes in the middle of the afternoon, you will have solved potential battery anxiety later in the night.
In terms of RAM and ROM, both phones offer the same 8GB or 12GB variant, and 128GB or 256GB of storage. The OnePlus 10 Pro does offer a 512GB variant, but this is for the China region only so most readers won’t be able to get this model anyway.
Other hardware bits
The OnePlus 10 Pro continues the OnePlus trend of offering an “alert slider,” a toggle switch that allows you to quickly mute or set a phone to vibrate. Xiaomi 12 Pro, on the other hand, offers a true stereo speaker system with symmetrical speaker grilles on the top and bottom of the phone’s chassis (so they’re left- and right-firing when the phone is in landscape orientation) that pumps out full, lively audio. Xiaomi 12 Pro also has a stronger haptic engine that can be felt all over the phone, including unlocking the in-display fingerprint scanner.
Both phones have IP68 water- and dust-resistance rating so you won’t have to stress if it’s raining or you accidentally drop one of them in the toilet.
OnePlus 10 Pro vs Xiaomi 12 Pro: Software
Both the OnePlus 10 Pro and Xiaomi 12 Pro run Android 12 with each company’s respective Android skin on top. For the OnePlus 10 Pro, that’d be OxygenOS in most parts of the world or ColorOS in China; for the Xiaomi 12 Pro, the software is MIUI 13. Both Android skins are colorful and zippy, with buttery smooth animations that zip around seemingly faster than Samsung’s OneUI or Google’s own Pixel Launcher.
While MIUI is perfectly fine, I like OxygenOS better, because it’s more customizable, with the ability to change everything from UI theme color to animations of unlocking the phone. The OnePlus 10 Pro also allows off-screen actions like triggering the camera or music playback by scribbling on a sleeping screen. Xiaomi’s MIUI also has a complicated settings page with some odd decisions, like separating display settings into three sections (Display, Always-on display, and Full screen display). OxygenOS is just closer to things the way Google envisions it.
One area MIUI wins for me is multi-tasking, because not only can I split-screen two apps at once on the Xiaomi 12 Pro, I can also open apps in a floating window. OxygenOS only offers the former for now, without the ability to open apps in a smaller resizable window.
OnePlus 10 Pro vs Xiaomi 12 Pro: General Performance
A lot of this has already been covered in the hardware section, and the two phones trade wins: the OnePlus 10 Pro has superior thermals, the Xiaomi 12 Pro has better haptics and speakers, but the OnePlus 10 Pro has longer-lasting battery life. Xiaomi 12 Pro’s tendency to run hot is perhaps a major issue for gamers, however.
Still, for most normal people, both phones will perform all the tasks you’d need without issues. There’s nothing here that’s frustratingly bad, like the Pixel 6’s crazy slow fingerprint scanner, or broken push notifications as seen in Chinese variants of these phones.
OnePlus 10 Pro vs Xiaomi 12 Pro: Which one should you buy?
Both the OnePlus 10 Pro and Xiaomi 12 Pro are very good 2022 flagships that also feel a bit like iterative updates over their 2021 predecessors, and while they are a virtual tie in display brilliance, in-hand feel, and even overall casual performance, those who play games heavily will notice the superior thermals of the OnePlus 10 Pro, just like those who care about ultra-wide photography will be let down by the OnePlus 10 Pro’s sub-par ultra-wide sensor. It really comes to what you want, as both phones are close.
However, the OnePlus 10 Pro has one major advantage — it’s more affordable and more widely available. The OnePlus 10 Pro starts at $899 and sells worldwide including the major market that is North America. The Xiaomi 12 Pro does not sell officially in North America, and its European pricing is closer to the equivalent of $1,100. In Asia, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is a much more reasonable equivalent of $950-ish, which closes the gap. In India, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is cheaper than the OnePlus 10 Pro, in which case, it comes off as the better value option even as both remain excellent choices. But overall, considering that the OnePlus 10 Pro is priced lower, available wider, and considering the only major clear win for Xiaomi 12 Pro is ultra-wide photography and speaker performance, then the OnePlus 10 Pro edges ahead in this comparison in my opinion.