Announced a few weeks ago, we just spent a week with it. Here is our test of the photographic part of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, in collaboration with Leica.
It was at the beginning of last month that Xiaomi struck a very strong blow by formalizing its Xiaomi 12S ultra in China, a photography-oriented smartphone, developed in partnership with not only Leica but also Sony, as the Chinese smartphone incorporates a thumb-sized main photosensor.
As a result, we had the opportunity to get our hands on this new Xiaomi flagship smartphone and this, for a whole week. Because it was the Chinese version, we focused mainly on its photographic capabilities, since that is really what changes compared to the Xiami 12 Pro that we were able to test at the beginning of the second quarter of this year.
To date, not a word of xiaomi for a possible premiere in France. But since the cadence of Xiaomi’s announcements is relatively strong, the field of possibilities remains enormous. In short, we are on the lookout and we will not fail to warn you if this Xiaomi 12S Ultra is to be launched in France.
After a week with this new photophone, we can already tell you that it has impressed us in many ways. Here our opinion on the new Xiaomi 12S Ultra and its photo mode.
Features of Xiaomi 12S Ultra
As a reminder of the features, the new xiaomi 12S ultra offer you :
|Xiaomi 12S ultra|
|Screen||– 6.73″ AMOLED screen in 20:9 format
– QuadHD+ definition (1440×3200)
– Density 521dpi
– Gorilla Glass Victus
– HDR10+ certificate
– Always on display
-sRGB and DCI-P3
– 480 Hz touch sampling rate
– 1500 nits of brightness
|SoCs and GPUs||-Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
|Memory||– 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM
– 256 GB or 512 GB of UFS 3.1 storage
– No memory expansion
|Colors||– Aluminium frame
– Vegan leather back
|Camera||– Three cameras on the back:
– Main camera: Sony IMX989 in 1-inch format, 50.3 Megapixels, 23mm, F1.9, Dual Pixel PDAF, Laser AF, OIS
– Ultra wide angle camera: Sony IMX586 48 Megapixels, 128°, F2.2, Dual Pixel PDAF
– Camera: Sony IMX586 48 Megapixels, 120mm, F4.1, 5x optical zoom, PDAF, OIS
– 3D TOF sensor
– Leica lenses
– Record videos in Full HD 1080p, Ultra HD 2160p at 30fps or 60fps and 8K at 24fps
– Front camera with 32 Megapixel sensor
|Audio||– Four stereo speakers
– Harman Kardon sound
– Fast charge 67W
– 50W fast wireless charging
– 10W reverse charge
– Overvoltage G1 and Overvoltage P1
– Quick Charge 4+
|connectivities||– Optical fingerprint reader under the screen
– WiFi 6E
– 2x nano SIM
– A-GPS+GLONASS, DNLA, Miracast (WiFi Direct), Google Cast
– USB 2.0, USB Type-C port
– Barometer, Gyroscope, Accelerometer
– Proximity and light sensor
|Height and weight||– 163.2x75x9.1mm
|Available date||– July 2022 in China|
On the packaging side, nothing very surprising as we find a black box with the smartphone, of course, a USB-C cable and the 67W charger. On the other hand, what a disappointment to discover that the USB-C port is only USB 2.0, like its little brother, the Xiaomi 12 Pro…
Available around 1000 euros in China. There are no announcements for France to date.
The design, the screen and the audio.
While the Xiaomi 12 Pro played pretty classic in design, the Xiaomi 12S ultra is totally different and we immediately felt that the Chinese manufacturer wanted to mark the occasion with its first Leica stamped smartphone, partner of choice and that we know too well in the world of photography but also in the world of smartphones since the former partner of the German brand was none other than Huawei.
If the front part is classic in itself, a black vegan leather back with the most beautiful effect cannot be missing. If the leather attracts too much dust for our liking, when it is clean, the effect is guaranteed. And what about the huge photo block on the back. Small quirk as the main camera is not in the center as one might have thought. with a weight of 225g, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is not particularly light, especially since its weight is not very well distributed and it will be understood, the weight is concentrated at the level of the photographic unit. You will have to be careful during the first grips.
On the front it’s super classic and we find a beautiful curved screen and a bump at the top center of the screen. All the physical buttons are on the right edge of the smartphone and the optical type fingerprint sensor is under the screen. During our tests, we did not notice any particular problems. Apart from the slightly too much oriented weight on the top of the smartphone, the smartphone holds quite well in the hand and does not slip, thanks to the vegan leather.
For the screen itself, we find that of the Xiaomi 12 Pro with slab AMOLED with a diagonal of 6.73 inches and with a Gorilla Glass Victus coating. obviously we found a variable refresh rate from 1 Hz to 120 Hz and a definition Quad HD+. The edges of the screen are thin, especially on the sides since it is a curved screen. On the other hand, the bottom edge is still particularly thick for our liking. It is a Samsung panel, Xiaomi has never hidden it and as you can imagine, it is one of the best panels on the market.
Finally, on the audio side, we find ourselves once again with what the Xiaomi 12 Pro offered with not two but four speakers. This allows the sound to be better distributed and therefore not cluttered with a slightly more immersive rendering than the competition. Obviously, we are talking about smartphone speakers and the uses that derive from them. Still, we haven’t had any particular problems with consuming short or even longer content. Finally, note the support for Dolby Atmos.
MIUI 13, Performance and Autonomy
Side androidnot a surprise in itself, obviously we find Android 12 with the overlay MIUI 13. No surprises, we find everything that can annoy us in a MIUI overlay, such as excessive apps, ads after installing apps, or even dialogs that are too inconvenient for our liking. Then it was the Chinese version and it may be different, but to remember the Xiaomi 12 Pro, let’s not have too many illusions.
On the performance side, without surprises, it is a premium smartphone and we find the SoC of the moment, specifically the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. No need to beat around the bush, it’s a premium SoC and we’re starting to get a feel for its performance as it powers recent smartphones like the Asus ROG Phone 6 or RedMagic 7S Pro. Also, we didn’t bother with the usual benchmarks that would have delivered results. Similar.
the Xiaomi 12S ultra finally offers a battery of 4860mAh, which is normal for this type of smartphone. We haven’t specifically tested the battery as we couldn’t use it as we normally would, but we suspect that with such a battery, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra should easily offer a full day of battery life.
Photo and video
Xiaomi had already innovated with the 12 Pro and pushes the limit even further as we find a 50.3 Megapixel Sony IMX989 sensor in the main camera. It was developed in collaboration with Sony but, above all, it offers a size of one inch. It is not the first time that we have found a sensor of such size. Panasonic had already tried this with the CM1, and more recently Sony offered the Xperia PRO-I with a one-inch sensor but trimmed down to 12 megapixels.
With the Xiaomi 12 Pro we take advantage of the entire 50.3 megapixel sensor that will take 12.5 megapixel photos thanks to 4 in 1 Pixel-Bining technology. But that’s not all since the ultra wide angle and the phone offer a Sony IMX586 sensor that, as we remember, was installed in the main cameras of premium smartphones just two years ago.
It goes without saying that in ideal light conditions, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra performs just as well as the competition and, apart from the specific colorimetry of each, we will not necessarily notice the difference. Instead, as soon as the light gets harder, this is where we’ll see a real difference between the main camera and the ultra-wide or telephoto. And that may be where the shoe pinches as we end up with an inconsistency between the cameras on the same phone.
Just look at these examples between the main camera with its natural bokeh and the ultra wide angle to see a clear difference :
On the other hand, when we use only the main camera, we can only be impressed by the results that the Xiaomi 12S ultra Offers It is really crazy when you think about it, since it is not an expert compact that we have in our hands but a smartphone. If Leica must have participated from afar, or from up close, in the design of the 12S Ultra photoblock, it materializes above all in two filters: authentic leica Where vibrating leica. To our surprise, the Vibrant filter is still reasonable compared to what Xiaomi usually offers by default in terms of contrast. As a result, we loved the Authentic filter, which is more neutral and closer to reality, especially in low-light conditions where the camera isn’t going to try to “create” light. We love.
In fact, what impressed us the most is this depth effect that we get with the main camera of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra. The natural bokeh is super impressive. Just look at this portrait of Roman of lemon squeezer to see we didn’t even need to go through Portrait mode.
In short, better than words, photos to get an idea in real life :