Placing that 1-inch Leica digital camera to the take a look at

The Xiaomi 12 Pro debuting four months ago is a very good thing Android’s Top 2022 received a positive reception on every tech site, including this one. However, if you read my review carefully, you may notice that I am more critical than others, and may even sound a bit disappointed. The reason is that I know Xiaomi 12 Pro is not Xiaomi’s best, that there will be an Ultra device that will eventually be Xiaomi’s real alpha dog phone. It took a little longer than expected, but it’s finally here: here is the Xiaomi 12S Ultra.

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I only have about 11 hours with the phone at the time of this writing, so this is by no means a complete review. But in theory, this phone is a monster with the overkill hardware we’ve come to expect from the two most recent Xiaomi Ultra phones, and from my testing it’s fit the board so far. Those gaudy specs.


Xiaomi 12S Ultra: Specifications

Specifying Xiaomi 12S Ultra
Build
  • Dust and water resistant IP68
  • Color:
    • Classic Black
    • Green
Dimensions & Weight
  • 163.17 x 74.92 x 9.06mm
  • 225g
Display
  • Samsung E5 AMOLED 6.73 inch
  • Dolby Vision TrueColor Display
  • 3200 x 1440 resolution, 522PPI
  • Adaptive refresh rate 1-120Hz
  • 1,500nits . maximum brightness
  • 360 degree ambient light sensor
  • Natural 10-bit color depth
  • 100% DCI-P3 coverage
  • HDR10+, HDR10, HLG
SoC 1st generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus”
RAM & Memory
  • 8GB LPDDR5 RAM + 256GB UFS 3.1 . Memory
  • 12GB + 256GB
  • 12GB + 512GB
Rechargeable batteries
  • 4,860mAh
  • Supports 67W . wired fast charging
  • Supports 50W . wireless fast charging
  • Support 10W . reverse wireless charging
  • Xiaomi Surge P1 charging chip
  • Xiaomi Surge G1 battery management chip
Guard In-display fingerprint scanner
Rear camera(s)
  • Main: 50.3MP IMX989, f/1.9, 8P aspherical lens, octa-PD autofocus
  • Ultra-wide: 48MP IMX586, f/2.2, Leica Summicron 1: 1.9-4.1/13-120 aspherical lens, PD dual autofocus, macro mode support
  • Tele: 48MP IMX586, f/4.1, 120x periscope zoom, HyperOIS
  • Leica Authentic Look and Leica Vibrant look photography styles
  • Leica Vivid, Natural, BW Natural, BW High Contrast filters
Front camera 32MP RGBW . image sensor
port(s) USB Type
Sound
  • Symmetrical stereo speakers
  • Modified by Harman Kardon
  • Certified Dolby Atmos
Connection
  • Dual 5G
  • 4G LTE
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.2
    • BLE audio support
    • Snapdragon Audio Support
    • AAC / LDAC / LHDC / aptX Adaptive
  • Multi-function NFC
Software MIUI 13 based on Android 12
Other features
  • X . axis linear vibration motor
  • 3D . cooling system

About this practice: Xiaomi sent me a Xiaomi 12S Ultra for testing. Xiaomi has no input in this article.


Xiaomi 12S Ultra: Price and Availability

First, the elephant in the room and bad news for some readers: Xiaomi 12S Ultra is so far scheduled for release only in China, although an international release is possible later. Xiaomi 12S Ultra has three configurations:

  • 8GB + 256GB: CNY 5,999 (~$896)
  • 12GB + 256GB: CNY 6,499 (~$970)
  • 12GB + 512GB: CNY 6,999 (~$1045)

Xiaomi is yet to share details about the device’s availability. We will update this section as more information becomes available.


Xiaomi 12s Ultra design and hardware: It’s like a camera with a phone attached

Xiaomi 12S Ultra

The camera modules on smartphones have gotten bigger and bigger over the years, but the Xiaomi 12S Ultra really dominates. I mean, look at this. It also protrudes slightly from the back, so if you lay this phone flat on a table, it will lie on its side as if you were supporting the keyboard.


Xiaomi 12S Ultra camera module

As if this camera module weren’t attractive enough, there’s also a 24k gold ring surrounding the module. However, despite its top-heavy design, the phone can still stand on its own thanks to its flat bottom and top.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra camera module with gold ring

However, this means that the display of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra loses the curved four-sided design seen in the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra and Mi 11 Ultra (By the way, there is no Mi branding for this year’s phone).

Xiaomi 12s Ultra stands upright.

We’ll be back with those cameras soon, let’s take a look at other hardware. Around the front is a 6.73-inch OLED display that Xiaomi officially calls the “Dolby Vision TrueColor Display”. It’s a Samsung-sourced LTPO, with a 3200 x 1440 resolution and a variable refresh rate from 1Hz to 120Hz. It gets a lot of brightness at 1,500 nits peak brightness, supports 10-bit color depth, and content looks great on it.


Xiaomi 12S Ultra screen.

Powering the phone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, Qualcomm’s brand new 4nm chip that is said to offer a 10% improvement in CPU and GPU over the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and more importantly if true an increase. 30% energy efficiency. This is necessary, as the 12S Ultra actually has a smaller battery than last year’s Mi 11 Ultra, at 4,860 mAh.

I ran some benchmarks and the new chip scored well. In particular, on Geekbench, the numbers are quite a bit better than what is equipped with my Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Galaxy S22 Ultra scored. In fact, the 12S Ultra’s Geekbench count is close to that of Apple’s A15 Bionic.

xiaomi iphone samsung benchmark score

Xiaomi 12S Ultra (left); Galaxy S22 Ultra (center); iPhone 13 Pro Max (right).

More importantly, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra successfully completed the 20-minute “Wild Life Extreme Stress Test” in the 3D Mark application, which the Xiaomi 12 Pro failed to do when I tested it a few months ago due to too much work. hot. So we know the Xiaomi 12S Ultra has at least better temperatures (but more importantly, a processor that doesn’t get as hot).

Elsewhere, the phone has the symmetrical stereo speaker system seen in a few recent Xiaomi flagships, but the 12S Ultra is also wrapped in a vegan leather finish that I absolutely love.

On hand Xiaomi 12S Ultra.

You can find all the highlights of the other flagships you’re familiar with here: IP68 water and dust resistance, wireless charging (up to 50W) and fast wired charging (67W, kit) charger included with the product package). And there are two proprietary chips inside the phone – Surge P1 and Surge G1 – which Xiaomi says will handle charging and battery management separately. Okay, back to this phone’s main selling point, the optics.


Xiaomi 12S Ultra camera: Big sensor magic

Close-up of the camera setup of Xiaomi 12S Ultra.

The main camera system of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra consists of three cameras, the highlight of which is the new 50MP Sony IMX989 camera with a 1-inch sensor with a Leica lens. Xiaomi says the 1-inch Sony IMX sensor was custom-built by Sony for Xiaomi, and the optical lens covering the camera was co-designed by Leica and Xiaomi. The camera also uses pixel binning technology to produce a super-small pixel size of 3.2μm. These numbers are madness.

The 48MP ultra-wide camera and the periscope zoom camera are both 1/2 inch sensors from Sony, and they also use binning technology to produce 12MP photos. The periscope zoom lens still offers a 5X optical zoom range, but from initial testing it appears to be much improved over last year’s Mi 11 Ultra zoom lenses.

Keep in mind that I haven’t had enough time to really push the camera up yet, but these samples should give you an early idea of ​​the Xiaomi 12S camera price. We can see from the samples that the 5x zoom lens produces very sharp images, the ultra-wide lens doesn’t lose too much detail and the colors are mostly consistent with other lenses.

But really, most readers are interested in what the 1-inch main camera can do – so let’s dig into it. Yes, the 1-inch sensor produces a very shallow depth of field, resulting in natural bokeh in stills and videos.

And when compared with the Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro Max, we can see that Xiaomi’s photos also have a significantly stronger bokeh effect.

One concern I have with such a large sensor is that the camera will constantly turn off the lights, something Samsung and Apple flagships often do from time to time (and those sensors are small compared to the 12S Ultra). Whether it’s Leica optics or Xiaomi’s software algorithms, the image retains a good balance. The sample set below was taken when it was starting to get dark (7:20pm), but it’s still not dark enough for these phones to turn on the night mode and we can see the Xiaomi’s image is clearly capturing a lot of light. brightest (bottom third of the shot). The 12S Ultra was also the only camera that exposed my computer screen properly, while Samsung and Apple blew those away.

Note that Xiaomi’s colors are slightly exaggerated. It’s part of a new Leica image tweak that seems to do a similar job to what Vivo’s X flagships have done recently by adding a bit of extra contrast for more effect. There is an option to switch between this mode, named “Leica Vibrant” and the more natural color, “Leica Authentic”.

If we switch to a proper low-light shot, like the one taken at the park at night below, we can see the superiority in Xiaomi’s shots: less noise, sharper details and light. better around. And here’s the starting point – the 12S Ultra doesn’t need night mode for this shot, while Apple and Samsung phones need a two-second night mode.

I’ll definitely be testing out more of this camera in the coming days as I head towards a full review, which includes a head-to-head against our current camera king, the Vivo X80 Pro, plus tripod photography. dung.


Xiaomi 12S Ultra: Initial thoughts

There’s a lot more about the Xiaomi 12S Ultra that I haven’t mentioned yet, including video recording, Leica portrait mode, battery life (and whether the two proprietary chips help) as well as gaming and usage. phone use in general. But so far, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra looks like it’s easily been a contender for phone of the year so far. And while there’s no international release date yet, China’s relatively low starting price of around $900 means that consumers in the West can import the device, and even after paying for it. payment, will not have to pay an excessive amount. If you’re wondering – Google apps don’t come with the phone, but they can be installed easily. Xiaomi’s own app store has a Google Play Store for download.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra

Even for a die-hard phone enthusiast like me, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra seems to tick most of the boxes that I would like to have in a phone right. I guess other than the fact that it doesn’t fold. But in terms of glass panels with good cameras, this good camera also has a glass phone on it.


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