Xiaomi’s new flagship Ultra is finally here. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra brings a hugely improved camera with the help of Leica and the latest Snapdragon powerhouse.
The auxilary camera parameters are similar to the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra with a pair of half-inch sensors for the focusing ultrawide and periscope zoom cameras. But the main camera is new and easily lays claim to being the most impressive smartphone camera in the world.
The 50.3MP 23mm wide-angle camera pioneers Sony’s flagship 1-inch IMX989 sensor. This is the largest imager on any smartphone and it brings the largest individual pixels at 3.2µm in its 4-in-1 binned 12.5MP mode.
Leica is bringing its imaging expertise to the Xiaomi 12S Ultra both in terms of the optics design, and the imaging software. The lens in front of the 1-inch sensor is an 8P element lens, addressing issues like flare, chromatic aberration, and ghosting. Additionally, there’s lens edge ink coating, as well as cyclic olefin copolymer material, and infrared light filter with spin coating technology. Leica has adorned the whole rear camera module with its iconic Summicron label
Software-wise there are two photographic styles – “Leica Authentic Look” and e “Leica Vibrant Look”. The authentic look aims for a natural image, focusing on light and shadow contrast, adding depth to photos. The vibrant look leverages Xiaomi’s computational photography smarts with Leica’s aesthetic. Additionally, there are Leica filters – Leica Vivid, Leica Natural, Leica BW Natural, and Leica BW High Contrast.
The other two cameras on the back of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra carry over the trusty 48MP Sony IMX586 1/2.0-inch sensor, used in the Mi 11 Ultra. The ultrawide is a 13mm f/2.2 with autofocus and macro abilities. The telephoto camera has a 120mm f/4.1 periscope. Both capture 12MP stills with 1.6µm pixels after binning.
The Xiaomi 12S Ultra can capture JPEG or high-efficiency HEIF in 8-bit, as well as 10-bit DNG RAW files with an embedded profile for Adobe’s Lightroom.
On the video side, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is the first Android phone to support Dolby Vision HDR recording. The 10-bit h.265 videos are captured in HLG with the Rec.2020 color space in both 4K and FullHD. In 4K, you get 30fps and 60fps at up to 80Mbps, while at 1080p you have 60fps at 55Mbps and 30fps at 35Mbps.
Now for the smartphone bits of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra. Up front, there’s a 6.73-inch E5 Super AMOLED of 3,200 x 1,440px resolution with AdaptiveSync Pro support, which can variably refresh from 1Hz to 120Hz. The 4,860mAh battery supports 67W wired and 50W wireless charging (10W reverse wireless charging).
Xiaomi has two custom Surge chips for battery management – the Xiaomi Surge P1 Charging chip protects the battery from overcharging and prolongs its life, while the Xiaomi Surge G1 manages battery use, prolonging endurance.
Powering the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is the new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage. The new Snapdragon claims a 10% improvement in GPU and CPU performance and a 30% in power efficiency compared to the 8 Gen 1.
Xiaomi boasts that the 12S Ultra features an innovative new 3D liquid cooling mechanism, which uses a capillary network to pump cooling liquid condensed at the side opposite of warm area.
Like the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, the 12S Ultra brings stereo speakers tuned by Harman Kardon, with support for Dolby Atmos. The software at the helm is MIUI 13 over Android 12.
The Xiaomi 12S Ultra weighs in at 225g and is IP68 water and dust-resistant. It comes in Classic Black and Verdant Green with a Leather-like rear finish. Unfortunately, Xiaomi has confirmed that it’s not going to be available outside China.