Fri. Dec 9th, 2022
Without 12S Ultra, what does Xiaomi have left in the very high-end segment?

Xiaomi traditionally launches an Ultra model in our green regions to top off its high-end offering. We are facing a phone capable of facing the best smartphones on the market. We have just learned that the 12S Ultra will not be launched in France. What consequence for Xiaomi in the high range? We take stock.

Xiaomi 12S ultra
The Xiaomi 12S Ultra. // Source: Xiaomi

If there is something we did not expect from Xiaomi, it is its reserve when it comes to launching a billion models on the French market, since the Chinese manufacturer has accustomed us to a saturation strategy. However, we have just learned that the Xiaomi 12S will not be launched in France.

At first glance, three smartphones more or less, it does not seem very dramatic (it will never be anywhere else). But in Xiaomi’s high-end strategy, it is starting to do a lot.

No more ultra premium from May 2021

Because yes, in the Xiaomi 12S range there is a model that we expected more than the others, neither more nor less than the Xiaomi 12S Ultra. In fact, it is the first Ultra model announced by the Chinese giant this year, since the Xiaomi 12 Ultra that we expected never arrived. As a result, the latest ultra-high-end smartphone released by the group to date is… the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra released in May 2021. It’s starting to take a long time.

More informed observers will point out that there are still the Xiaomi 12 and 12 Pro that have been released since then. Certainly, but if they belong to the high-end segment, it is difficult to classify them in the ultra-premium range, where we find the most equipped smartphones of their generation. However, today, the place of Xiaomi’s highest-end phone is occupied by the Xiaomi 12 Pro, which despite its certain qualities (we gave it an 8/10), does not compete with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, I live X80 Pro or even iPhone 13 Pro in terms of photo quality.

Xiaomi 12 Pro
The Xiaomi 12 Pro from behind // Source: Frandroid – Robin Wycke

To stick the knife in the wound, let’s add that the 12S Ultra came with two big arguments in its favor. A one-inch sensor, one of the only ones on the market, as well as a new partnership with Leica. It all added a nice garnish that we wouldn’t mind. We will have to be scared.

The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is not so trivial

In more general terms, the 12S range as a whole had another mission: to offer Xiaomi smartphones with the latest Qualcomm chip, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. On the contrary, many competitors of the Chinese manufacturer are preparing to launch new models that will be equipped for the second part of the year. Of course, we are not immune to a Xiaomi 12T or a Xiaomi 12i that will be equipped with it, but at the moment it is still a bit disappointing and nothing indicates it at the moment.

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra
The Xiaomi 12S Ultra // Source: Xiaomi

Let’s add that Qualcomm’s new chip is far from being a basic iterative change, since it promises to better control heating, one of the most recurrent failures of premium and ultra-premium phones launched this year. During the presentation of the 12S, Xiaomi also dedicated a long segment to this topic of heating, acknowledging that there was a problem with the Xiaomi 12 and highlighting the progress made.

a sense of retreat

All this sometimes gives the impression that Xiaomi has abandoned the ultra-premium segment a bit in 2022 (if there are no surprises in store for us). From a purely economic point of view, this certainly makes sense, since the bulk of sales volumes are concentrated in cheaper models such as the Redmi Note 11. But it is also in the ultra-premium segment that the image of a brand and this is the strategy that had been favored until now.

We can then ask ourselves why this change of direction? Either Xiaomi still has other Ultra models in its boxes that it reserves for later in the year, or the Chinese giant begins to rationalize its launches a little more according to the markets. Linking this to its recent disappointing results in Europe (-36% in the first quarter), option 2 seems the most plausible.

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This article was translated from this source written by


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