They are perhaps the first two phones that come to mind if you are looking to buy a premium Android flagship today — a far cry from their arrival in 2014, when their predecessors were the first that came to mind if you were looking for a budget Android flagship. Xiaomi and OnePlus have come a long way from those early days in the Indian market. Although the brands generally target different segments of the market, they have been often crossing swords in the premium segment over the past few years. The OnePlus 8 Pro had to contend with the Mi 10, and the OnePlus 9 Pro had to deal with the shadow of the Mi 11 Ultra. And this year, it is the turn of the OnePlus 10 Pro to take on the Xiaomi 12 Pro. Both phones come with striking designs and top-notch hardware, making them among the best options for anyone looking for a top-end smartphone for under Rs 70,000 (they would even challenge the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S22 series and the iPhone 13 series).
But if you had to choose between a OnePlus 10 Pro and a Xiaomi 12 Pro, which one would you go for? Let us try and work that out for you:
Design and appearance
This is literally a battle between edgy and elegant. Although both phones use glass on the front and the back, have curved displays, curved sides (not straight ones as per the iPhone fashion) and have metal frames, their backs mark them out as very different from each other. This is mainly due to the camera units. Whereas Xiaomi (above) has gone for a slightly more conventional vertical rectangle for its camera enclosure with the same colour as the phone although with fine lines etched on it, OnePlus (below) has opted for a rather radical square shape made of black ceramic which makes it stand out prominently (and more so in the Emerald Forest green variant).
The Xiaomi 12 Pro has the more interesting colours with Opera Mauve, Couture Blue and Noir Black, while the OnePlus 10 Pro has Emerald Forest green and Volcano Black. Both have smooth, matte finishes that will not attract fingerprints easily. Both phones are about the same size – the Xiaomi 12 Pro is 163.6mm tall, while the OnePlus 10 Pro is 163mm; the 12 Pro is 74.6mm wide while the 10 Pro is 73.9mm, and finally the 12 Pro is 8.1mm slim while the 10 Pro is 8.5mm. The difference in weight is marginal too – the Xiaomi 12 Pro is 205 grams, while the OnePlus 10 Pro is 200.5 grams. Which one you prefer is really going to boil down to your preferences – the OnePlus 10 Pro is more distinct, but the Xiaomi 12 Pro is more classy in an understated manner. It is like choosing between a denim jacket and a suit. Both work, but for different people. We cannot make up our minds so we are calling this one a tie.
Both phones are very similar in the display department. They have 6.7-inch AMOLED displays (the Xiaomi 12 Pro is marginally bigger at 6.73-inches) with quad HD resolution and 120Hz refresh rates. Both displays are curved and have refresh rates that can change according to the content being shown on them. We felt that the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s display was a little bit brighter and more colourful, but there will be those who will prefer the slightly more “natural” colours of the OnePlus 10 Pro. We were hard-pressed to find a significant difference between the two. Both displays are wonderfully sharp and bright and great for watching content or viewing content. So we are calling this a tie.
Processor, RAM and storage
Both phones are exactly the same in terms of processor, RAM and storage. You get a Qualcomm SnapDragon 8 Generation 1 processor, with 8B / 128 GB and 12GB / 256GB RAM and storage variants. RAM is LPDDR5 and storage is UFS 3.1. The series of ties continues.
Cameras – front and back
This is perhaps the round that defines the differences between the two phones most distinctly. The two phones come with very formidable rear camera lineups. The OnePlus 10 Pro has a 48-megapixel main sensor with OIS, a 50-megapixel ultrawide sensor, and an 8-megapixel telephoto with OIS. The Xiaomi 12 Pro keeps the megapixels consistent across all three cameras – you get a 50-megapixel main sensor with OIS, a 50-megapixel ultrawide and 50-megapixel telephoto. Interestingly, neither phone has a macro sensor. In terms of specs, the OnePlus might have a slight edge — its telephoto has OIS and gets 3.3x optical zoom as compared to 2x optical zoom on the Xiaomi 12 Pro, and its ultrawide can go to a 150-degree field of view as compared to 115 on the Xiaomi 12 Pro.
In terms of performance, however, the Xiaomi 12 Pro has a clear edge over the OnePlus 10 Pro. In both videos and stills and low and normal light conditions, we got a far more consistent performance from the Xiaomi device. The OnePlus 10 Pro could pull out brilliant shots sometimes, but the Xiaomi 12 Pro churned out exceptional snaps almost on a routine, near iPhone-like basis. Those who like slightly brighter colours will also prefer the Xiaomi 12 Pro, as the OnePlus 10 Pro goes for a slightly more natural colour tone. The OnePlus does come with some special Hasselblad filters and the very innovative XPan shooting mode and in fact, is a very good performer, but if you are looking to do serious photography with your phone, the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s fifty-fifty-fifty combination wins.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro also has a clear edge in the selfie camera department. Both phones have 32-megapixel selfie cameras, but the Xiaomi 12 Pro gave us better results in terms of colour and detail. A point to be kept in mind, however, is that given OnePlus’ track record, it is a fair chance that the OnePlus 10 Pro’s cameras will get better with time and updates! As of now, however, the Xiaomi 12 Pro has a clear edge over it.
Winner: Xiaomi 12 Pro
Gaming and multimedia
This is literally a neck and neck battle as both devices come with brilliant displays, great speakers, powerful processors and plenty of RAM. Although both phones can handle pretty much anything you throw at them in the gaming department from Genshin Impact to Call of Duty, the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s quad-speaker arrangement definitely makes gaming and watching shows a more immersive experience. It is a very close call but those quad speakers tuned by Harmon Kardon win the day for the Xiaomi device.
Winner: Xiaomi 12 Pro
Battery life and charging
This is a battle between a fast-charging large battery and a faster charging slightly smaller battery. Whereas the OnePlus 10 Pro comes with a 5,000mAh battery with support for SUPERVOOC 80W charging, the Xiaomi 12 Pro comes with a 4,600mAh battery with support for 120W HyperCharge. And for once, the numbers tell the story. Although both phones will basically last a day on a single charge if you keep them at their highest display resolutions, the OnePlus 10 Pro lasts just a little longer. Get those resolutions to full HD+ and the OnePlus 10 Pro’s lead widens even more. That said, the 120W charging means that the Xiaomi 12 Pro can get charged from 0 to 100 in about twenty minutes, while the OnePlus 12 Pro takes about half an hour. It is a tough call between these two, but we think the extra couple of hours the OnePlus 10 Pro delivers are more important than the few minutes of charging the Xiaomi 12 Pro saves. We are giving this round to the Never Settler, by a wafer-thin margin. Incidentally, both phones also support 50W wireless charging.
Winner: OnePlus 12 Pro
Both phones come with Android 12, with their brand’s UI on top of it — MIUI in the case of the Xiaomi 12 Pro, and OxygenOS in the case of the OnePlus 10 Pro. A couple of years ago, this round would have been a breeze for OnePlus, but Xiaomi’s cleaning up of its MIUI and OnePlus’ recent software update woes have eroded the edge OnePlus had in the software department. Truth be told, we could notice no discernible difference in performance of the two devices in software terms. Some might prefer the more minimalist approach of OxygenOS, but we can see others liking the additional on-board features of MIUI, especially in image editing. We are calling this one a tie.
With largely similar hardware, it is not surprising that both phones broadly match each other in everyday performance. Whether it is browsing the Web or hanging messages or switching between social networks, both phones work with effortless smoothness. In terms of call quality, they are both evenly matched too, and come with support for 5G. We are calling this one a tie. Some might say that the infrared port on the Xiaomi 12 Pro and its better speakers give it an edge, but then we found the OnePlus 10 Pro’s fingerprint scanner being more responsive than the one on the Xiaomi 12 Pro (both phones have in-display fingerprint scanners). It is just too close to call and neither phone has a clear edge over the other.
Value for money
The financial Force is clearly with the Xiaomi 12 Pro. The Xiaomi 12 Pro starts at Rs 62,999 for its 8GB / 128GB variant, and its 12GB / 256GB variant is available for Rs 66,999. On the other hand, the OnePlus 10 Pro starts at Rs 66,999 for its 8GB / 128GB variant, while the 12GB / 256GB variant comes for Rs 71,999. In simple terms, you can buy the top variant of the Xiaomi 12 Pro for the price of the lower specced base variant of the OnePlus 10 Pro. There is only one winner here.
Winner: Xiaomi 12 Pro
Which one to go for?
We have seldom had a comparison with so many tied rounds. Which just shows how closely matched these two phones are. So which of the two phones should you be going for? If money is tight, the decision is largely a no-brainer — the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s slightly lower price tag gives it a clear edge. Step away from money matters and the battle becomes a much closer one, and almost becomes one of cultures.
Those who like OnePlus’ approach to phones in general and OxygenOS in particular might prefer the OnePlus 10 Pro. But in terms of general overall performance across all parameters, the Xiaomi 12 Pro seems to have a lot going for it — it has the more consistent cameras (although not the crazy 150-degree ultrawide view and Hasselblad filters of the OnePlus 10 Pro), way better sound quality and now has a much cleaner interface than in the past. The better battery life, slightly more edgy design and the minimalistic UI approach of the OnePlus 10 Pro might appeal to many, but we think the Xiaomi 12 Pro wins this confrontation on sheer overall performance. You will not regret investing in either device, but in our opinion, you will get more in terms of imaging and audio from the Xiaomi 12 Pro.
With inputs from Akriti Rana