Thu. Aug 18th, 2022
Xiaomi's new smartphone is big, but its camera is amazing

Announced on July 4 in China, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is the Chinese manufacturer’s first smartphone designed in collaboration with Leica. It is not surprising in the photo that it puts, with an exceptional camera module.

Hate the camera module sticking out of the back of your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy? Wait until you discover the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, the new photographic reference of the famous Chinese manufacturer. To make you understand that its smartphone is designed to replace cameras, Xiaomi had the subtle idea of ​​giving it… a camera look. It is not the first (LG, Huawei or Honor have already done it), but rarely have we seen a block protrude so much from the back of a smartphone. The good news is that at least the photo quality should be there. This is also the first Xiaomi smartphone designed in collaboration with Leica.

Leica, Xiaomi’s new partner

Between 2016 and 2021, Huawei and Leica reigned in the world of “photophones”. By joining forces with the German company, Huawei has not only bought credibility, but has also strengthened its knowledge. Little by little, their smartphones have become the most innovative in photography thanks to formidable night sensors, zooms that ridicule the competition and modules that are very practical on a day-to-day basis, such as the ultra wide angle that does not distort. Although Samsung, Apple and Google have also advanced, Huawei has been the best in photos for several years.

Unfortunately for Huawei, its blacklisting in the US has made it rare. Several of its partners left, including Leica on March 31, 2022. Worse yet, Leica opted to join one of its main competitors, Xiaomi. This is what, at least in theory, allows the 12S Ultra to exist. This is Xiaomi’s first “co-developed” device with Leica.

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The Huawei Mate 40 Pro. // Source: Frandroid

Xiaomi 12S ultra
The Leica logo appears on the back of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra. // Source: Xiaomi

Of course, one can legitimately wonder what is really going on. Could Leica really change everything about the new Xiaomi in such a short time? If we were to bet, we’d say Leica hasn’t done much on this 12S Ultra, which mostly serves as an introduction to this partnership for Xiaomi. His name is written on the back of the device, the smartphone has Leica lenses, but it is hard to imagine that the engineers of the two groups have had time to work as closely as at the time of Huawei. However, in the future, it is very likely that such a rapprochement will occur. The R&D teams of the two groups could be merged, at least partially.

An ultra intriguing camera module

Even if we doubt Leica’s work on the 12S Ultra, the smartphone’s technical data sheet is enough to make any photography enthusiast salivate. Xiaomi has simply decided to equip its smartphone with all the best on the market, including sensors never seen before. In the large round block of the 12S Ultra there are three modules:

  • Main camera: 50 Mpix sensor (Sony IMX989), 1-inch record size, f/1.9 aperture, 23mm equivalent.
  • Ultra wide angle module: 48 Mpix sensor, 1/2 inch size, f/2.2 aperture, 12 mm equivalent.
  • Telephoto : 48 Mpix sensor, 1/2 inch size, optical zoom x5, digital zoom up to x120, aperture f/4.1.

The first appreciable thing, Xiaomi has not put 4, 5 or 6 sensors to look good, as it has done in the past. He preferred three really useful modules, which makes his device much more versatile. So what can impress is the cohesion between the three sensors. They all exceed 48 Mpix, while most brands have us used to favoring only their main sensor. We can expect the ultra wide angle and x5 zoom to be really very good quality. Finally, Xiaomi’s main sensor measures 1 inch, something that has not happened for almost a decade. This behemoth size for a smartphone sensor should allow it to excel in low-light conditions and will likely start a trend. It’s hard to imagine Samsung, Oppo and the others not also moving towards giant sensors, especially if Xiaomi’s gamble pays off.

The association with Leica obliges, two special filters are also offered on the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, which promises reflections reduced to a minimum thanks to the knowledge of German. In video, 8K is, unsurprisingly, there. Xiaomi also becomes the second manufacturer after Apple to offer Dolby Vision recordings. In short, in photo, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra has everything killer.

Xiaomi Leica
Leica would help Xiaomi with the lenses. // Source: Xiaomi

Xiaomi continues to advance in the luxury market

If Xiaomi only sells very few high-end smartphones (most of its sales are models under 200 euros), the brand continues to show us that its R&D department is not limited to copying and pasting what the competition does. . The 12S Ultra looks great in everything (6.73-inch LTPO OLED display, 4860mAh battery, 67W charging, Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor) and breaks new ground in a few ways, like with its two homemade fries (one for autonomy management, another for recharging). The latter can make us believe that Xiaomi, a bit like Apple, secretly dreams of designing its own chips and is advancing little by little.

In China it is possible to order a Xiaomi 12S Ultra for 5,999 Yuan, which is €870 in direct conversion. When this phone launches in France, the price may not be the same. It’s hard to imagine the device going for less than €1,000.


This article was translated from this source written by


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