The smartphone market feels saturated and lack of innovation is cited as the reason sales are falling. Global shipments peaked in 2016 at 1 473 million devices and since then it’s been on the decline.

The Covid-19 pandemic, a global chip shortage and subsequent rising costs have also affected consumer behaviour and spend, which means holding onto devices beyond the two-year upgrade cycle.

And, in a timely move, Xiaomi used Huawei’s disadvantage in the South African market by bringing in its flagship devices. Before Huawei lost access to Google Mobile Services and the Play Store, Xiaomi sold entry-level and mid-level smartphones here but that changed in October 2021 when it launched the 11T Pro.

This year though, it released the Xiaomi 12, and not the 12 Pro, which the Mail & Guardian had a chance to test for a week only. The inconsistency in model variants could be confusing to consumers, and feel as if Xiaomi is still testing the waters and things could change for better or worse.

Xiaomi South Africa tells the M&G it brings products to each market based on a “variety of internal and external factors” and aims to offer products that are “beneficial to fans and most suited to their lifestyles”.

The Xiaomi 12 is a 6.28-inch slim, elongated device that fits comfortably in your hand. It is lightweight at 180g and comes in purple, blue and grey.

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