Home Technology Xiaomi 12S Ultra has a Leica camera with a huge 1-inch sensor

Xiaomi 12S Ultra has a Leica camera with a huge 1-inch sensor

Just six months after the flagship’s previous launch, Xiaomi today announced a trio of familiar-looking smartphones to mark the start of its partnership with Leica. The new 12S series features MIUI 13 based on Android 12 and runs on Qualcomm’s supposedly more efficient Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 flagship processor, with the 12S Ultra headlining featuring a massive 1-inch, 50.3-megapixel Sony IMX989 main sensor. . This translates into a generous 1.6um pixel size, which then doubles to 3.2um via pixel binning for supposedly improved color accuracy and low light performance. And unlike the Sony Xperia Pro-I, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra apparently uses all of its 1-inch sensor.

According to CEO Lei Jun, Xiaomi took part in the development of the Sony IMX989 and the cost of $15 million was also shared equally between the two companies. Interestingly, the sensor is not exclusive to Xiaomi; Lei added that it will be made available to its local competitors after the launch of the 12S Ultra, in order to “join the advancement of mobile imaging together”.

A close-up of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra's rear camera module, developed in collaboration with Leica.
Xiaomi 12S Ultra

Xiaomi

As for Leica’s share on the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, you get a “Leica Summicron 1:1.9-4.1 / 13-120 ASPH camera system” that includes all three rear cameras: the aforementioned 50.3-megapixel main camera (23mm, f /1.9), along with the 48-megapixel ultra-wide camera (13mm, f/2.2) and the 48-megapixel periscopic camera (120mm, f/4.1). Both 48-megapixel cameras use a 1/2-inch Sony IMX586 sensor. The all-round camera island — now with “Leica” co-branding — benefits from some coating magic to reduce lens glare and improve image consistency across each lens. Oh, and there’s a 23K gold rim here too.

In addition to some Leica filters, users can switch between two photographic styles: “Leica Authentic Look” for natural-looking shots with stronger three-dimensional depth, and “Leica Vibrant Look”, which adds Xiaomi’s input on vibrancy while maintaining authenticity (on one or the other hand). other way). You can also toggle the watermark banner at the bottom of your photos, which will add Leica’s iconic red logo, photo metadata and location coordinates to the right, along with the phone model and timestamp to the left.

An example shot taken with the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, showing a cyclist on a riverbank in the early morning before sunrise.

Xiaomi

On the other side of the phone is a 32-megapixel selfie camera powered by an unknown RGBW sensor. Most of these cameras are capable of Dolby Vision HDR video recording (up to [email protected]) and playback, making the 12S Ultra the first Android device with these features. Some also use the engine-based “HyperOIS” for more stable footage. As for photos, the entire 12S series supports the 10-bit RAW format calibrated by Adobe Labs, with color correction metadata embedded in the files for easier post-production with the likes of Adobe Lightroom.

The 12S Ultra also happens to have two proprietary Xiaomi Surge chips: a Surge P1 chipset for fast charging and a Surge G1 chipset for battery management. These support 67W wired fast charging, 50W wireless fast charging and 10W reverse charging for the 4,860mAh single cell silicon oxygen anode battery. Note that some fast charging solutions use a dual-cell battery instead to split the current load. So it’s a good thing that the Surge P1 can handle an output current of up to 16A here, and apparently with a conversion efficiency of 96.8%. Like the recent handsets from Oppo and ASUS, the 12S Ultra also offers adaptive charging, which reportedly increases the number of charge cycles by 25 percent.

Keeping the phone cool is also the key to a healthier battery, not to mention more stable performance while gaming. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is equipped with a “three-dimensional cooling pump” that moves coolant over hot surfaces using a capillary mechanism similar to that found on leaves. This apparently significantly improves thermal conductivity compared to conventional vapor cooling modules.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra

Xiaomi

The rest of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is a standard flagship. For the display, you get a 6.73-inch Samsung E5 AMOLED panel (3,200 x 1,440, 522ppi; LTPO 2.0), with peak brightness up to 1,500 nits, a 1-120Hz AdaptiveSync Pro refresh rate, native 10-bit color depth, and support for P3 color gamut. As you can see from the camera features, the screen can handle Dolby Vision, as well as HDR10+, HDR10 and HLG; these pair well with the Harman Kardon speakers that also support Dolby Atmos audio. The device has an IP68 rating, which means it should survive accidental dives into sinks and pools. At the top you will also find an infrared remote control port for controlling home appliances.

Options include up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, up to 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage – featuring Xiaomi’s proprietary FBO (File-Based Optimization) storage refresh technology, which supposedly maintains the same read/write performance for at least four years (and Lei added that FBO is already written in the next-generation UFS 4.0 storage specification). Buyers can choose between a “Classic Black” and a “Verdant Green,” both wrapped in vegan leather.

A close-up of the Xiaomi 12S Pro's Leica Vario-Summicron 1:1.9-2.4/14-50 ASPH camera system, with all three cameras featuring a 50-megapixel sensor.
Xiaomi 12S Pro

Xiaomi

The lesser Xiaomi 12S Pro shares the same 6.73-inch display and Surge P1 fast charging chipset as the 12S Ultra, though it supports a whopping 120W wired charging for its smaller 4,600mAh battery, but lacks 10W reverse charging. . It features a more mainstream (but apparently still pricey) 1/1.28-inch, 50-megapixel Sony IMX707 main sensor, a variant of the IMX700 previously found on Huawei’s Mate 40 Pro series. This still offers a good pixel size of 1.22 um (or 2.44 um after pixel binning), and it matches the resolution of its ultra-wide camera (14 mm) and telephoto camera (50 mm) – all also refined by Leica, of Course.

As for the “basic” Xiaomi 12S, it has the same main camera as the 12S Pro and the same fast charging features as the 12S Ultra, but with a smaller 4,500mAh battery in a palm-friendly housing below the 6.28-inch 120Hz display. Apparently, according to Lei, there is still a high demand for small flagship phones.

The Xiaomi 12S series is now available for pre-order in China ahead of its retail launch on July 6. The 12S Ultra is priced from 5,999 yuan (8GB RAM, 256GB storage; about $900) to 6,999 yuan (12GB RAM, 512GB storage; about $1,000). The 12S Pro is cheaper and costs 4,699 yuan (8 GB RAM, 128 GB storage; about $700) to 5,899 yuan (12 GB RAM, 512 GB storage; about $880). The 12S is the most affordable option here, starting at 3,999 Yuan (8 GB RAM, 128 GB storage; approximately $600) and maxing out at 5,199 Yuan (12 GB RAM, 512 GB storage; approximately $780). We’ll keep an eye on international availability later.

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