The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is much more than an advanced Android smartphone: with its 1-inch sensor, Leica optics and powerful Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, it aims to replace real cameras.
Smartphones follow and resemble each other. So much so that the global market is collapsing, as evidenced by a recent study by specialist firm Counterpoint Research, which notes sales fall 10% over a year in May 2022 and a slow decline since 2016. Even Samsung is still number one in the sector just ahead of Apple, would remain with around 50 million copies on hand this year according to The Elec. Faced with this recession-like gloom, Xiaomi has decided to stand out from the top three by remotivating consumers. And if the Chinese manufacturer has built its reputation on the quality / price ratio with well-balanced entry models, this time it is betting on the top and even at the very top of the basket with its brand new 12S family. And more specifically with the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, which was unveiled in China on July 4th and which aims to redefine the game in the field of mobile photography. An approach that joins Vivo with its X80 Plus, a premium smartphone that is also photo-oriented, produced with the help of Zeiss, another major optics specialist.
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: a sensor and optics cut to the image
Without even reading its – impressive – technical sheets, we immediately understand the Xiaomi 12S Ultras’ calling by looking at it. dressed in a coating that mimics leather, much like film cameras, the back of its case is actually lined with an impressive optical block, thick and circular, stamped with the Leica logo, a legendary optical manufacturer that is much appreciated by experts. Funny detail, the names of the two brands – Xiaomi and Leica – are written vertically so that they can be easily read when the phone is placed horizontally, in landscape mode … like a traditional camera.
Of course, interest in the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is not limited to its design, as attractive as it is. Its photo score benefits from two major benefits. First, it stabilized its main competition sensor, the all-new Sony IMX989. A large model in 1 inch format – ie 13.2 x 8 x 8 mm – which is found in many Reflex cameras. It is the second smartphone that integrates such a large sensor after the Sony Xperia Pro-I. In addition to its very high definition of 50 megapixels (Mpx), this format makes it possible to take advantage of larger photo sites – the light-sensitive elements – and thus regain more light, the essence of photography. This format promises, at least on paper, to take much better pictures in low light than with the small sensors that equip most smartphones, regardless of their displayed definition – which is often just a simple advertising argument. To attract the customer with impressive numbers … In practice, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is even by default satisfied with shooting at 12.5 Mpx by attaching the photo pages in groups of four to achieve even more sensitivity: an ample sufficient definition, even for professional use. With a focal length of 23 mm (f / 1.9), this module is completed by a 48 Mpx sensor (IMX586) adorned with an ultra-wide angle and with a third 48 Mpx sensor, which is also connected to a periscopic lens corresponding to a 120 mm (f / 4.1) and equipped with a magnification factor of 5. The second advantage lies precisely in the optics and image processing, which are designed in collaboration with Leica. Among the various optimizations made by the German specialist, we notice the presence of an aspherical lens for better image quality on the edges.
A word about the front photo module, equipped with a 32 Mpx sensor: enough to take selfies in very high resolution, for self-portrait lovers, so many on Instagram and other social networks.
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: a very advanced smartphone
Xiaomi 12S Ultra not only focuses on its photographic capabilities: it is also, and firstly, an advanced Android smartphone, with features that allow it to compete with its premium competitors signed Samsung, Oppo, OnePlus or Vivo. It is thus equipped with Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, the new all-in-one very high-performance chip from Qualcomm, which promises excellent energy management according to its designer. The kind of new generation processor that logically should perform all tasks, even the heaviest, without pinching, whether it is video processing or gaming.
And everything else is up to date. The 6.73-inch diagonal Amoled LTPO 2.0 type screen displays a definition of 3,200 x 1,440 pixels (QHD +) with an adaptive refresh rate from 1 Hz to 120 Hz, with a maximum brightness of 1500 nits. Enough to ensure good flowability and excellent brightness in any case, especially as it is compatible with Dolby Vision and HDR10 +, with 10-bit color depth. The sound is entrusted to a pair of speakers to take advantage of the stereo system, with again the Dolby Atmos brand, which makes marketers so happy – one wonders about the interest in this fashionable mode on a phone …
For power, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra relies on a 4,860 mAh battery that accepts 67 W fast charging and 50 W wireless charging. A very decent capacity, but not exceptional, which will have to rely on optimization system to offer autonomy worthy of the name. On the communications side – which remains the phone’s primary feature … – the Xiaomi 12S Ultra takes advantage of current technology by being compatible with 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2. Finally, note the IP68 certification, which provides good protection against water and dust.
Available in two colors (black and green), the Xiaomi 12S Ultra will be available in three versions with different combinations of RAM and storage: 8-256 GB, 12-256 GB and 12-512 GB. Only available in China, they will be sold for 6,000, 6,500 and 7,000 yuan, respectively, or the equivalent of approximately 860, 930 and 1,000 euros, in simple conversion. But it is more than likely that prices will be raised by several hundred euros when these models arrive in Europe. An ambitious move upmarket, dangerous friends in this delicate period, especially in front of the emperors Samsung and Apple …