We can't quite believe the design of the limited-edition Xiaomi 12T Pro

Image of a special edition Xiaomi 12T Pro smartphone
(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Just when we complain that smart phone designs all look the same, along comes something... different. Most phone brands tend to aim for a device that looks sleek, elegant.. or at least new and clean. But Xiaomi's taken a very unusual approach with the launch of a limited-edition version of the Xiaomi 12T Pro.

The phone manufacturer has brought in the New York-based sculptor Daniel Arsham  to reimagine its flagship phone through the lens of his "fictional archaeology" aesthetic. The result is the phone that looks like it's been resting at the bottom of the sea for the past century (for other phone options, see our pick of the best camera phones available).

You may know of Arsham from the crystallised Pokémon sculptures he unleashed in Tokyo earlier this year. Now he's given a smartphone a similar treatment, replicating the kind of textures we've seen him use to comment on obsolescence and natural erosion in his sculpture. The Xiaomi 12T Pro Daniel Arsham Edition has a patina that shines when the device is tilted against the light, looking rusty and eroded. 

The software has a matching theme with a shifting live wallpaper that follows the movement of the device to create a neat 3D illusion. On the inside, the phone packs  Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It has the Xiaomi 12T Pro's other standout features, which include a 200-megapixel main camera.

Image of a special edition Xiaomi 12T Pro smartphone

The special edition Xiaomi 12T Pro has a matching graphic that shifts with the phone's movement (Image credit: Xiaomi)

The design actually looks pretty awesome, and I think many people will be disappointed that it's not getting a wider release. Xiaomi says it's only producing 2,000 units of the device and only for Europe. 

The price? €899 euros, so about $930 / £780. Preorders open on 5 December, only via Xiaomi and Highsnobiety, although there will be a pop-up store in Berlin. Shipping will begin on 16 December. On the other hand, if you have a new iPhone and don't want it to look like this, see our pick of the best iPhone 14 cases.

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.