the king of photography with Leica optics


Xiaomi 12S Ultra is much more than a high-end Android smartphone: with its 1-inch sensor, Leica optics and powerful Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, it aims to replace real cameras.

Smartphones follow and look alike. So much so that the global market is collapsing, as indicated by a recent study by the specialized company Counterpoint Research, which records sales down 10% in a year in May 2022 and slow down since 2016. Even Samsung, still number one in the sector just before Apple, it would be left with around 50 million copies in hand this year according to The Elec. Faced with this recession-like darkness, Xiaomi has decided to stand out to remain in the top three by re-motivating consumers. And if the Chinese manufacturer has built its reputation on value for money with well-balanced entry-level models, this time it is betting on the top and even the top of the basket with its brand new 12S family. And more specifically with the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, which was unveiled in China on July 4th, and which aims to redefine gaming in mobile photography. An approach that joins that of Vivo with its X80 Plus, a premium smartphone also photo-oriented, produced with the assistance of Zeiss, another great specialist in optics.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra: a sensor and optics cut out for the photo

Without even reading its – impressive – technical data sheet, we immediately understand the vocation of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra by looking at it. dressed in an imitation leather coating, in the manner of film cameras, the caseback of its case is in fact surmounted by an imposing optical group, thick and circular, stamped with the Leica logo, legendary lens manufacturer, much appreciated by experts. Fun detail, the names of the two brands – Xiaomi and Leica – are written vertically, so as to be easily readable when the phone is positioned horizontally, in landscape mode… like a traditional camera.

© Xiaomi

Of course, the interest of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is not limited to its design, however attractive it is. His photographic score benefits from two important assets. First, its main competitor stabilized sensor, the brand new Sony IMX989. A large model, in 1-inch format – or 13.2 x 8×8 mm -, as found in many SLR-type cameras. It is the second smartphone to integrate such a large sensor after the Sony Xperia Pro-I. In addition to its very high definition of 50 megapixels (Mpx), this format allows you to benefit from larger photosites – the photosensitive elements – and therefore to recover more light, the essence of photography. This format promises, on paper at least, much better shots in low light than the tiny sensors that equip most smartphones, regardless of their displayed definition, which is often just a simple advertising argument to lure the customer with impressive numbers. .. In practice, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is even satisfied with photographing by default at 12.5 Mpx, associating the photosites in groups of four, to gain even more sensitivity: a broadly sufficient definition, even for professional use. With a focal length of 23mm (f / 1.9), this module is completed by a 48 Mpx sensor (IMX586) decorated with an ultra wide angle and a third 48 Mpx sensor also associated with a periscopic lens equivalent to a 120 mm (f / 4.1) and equipped with a magnification factor of 5. The second advantage lies precisely in the optics and image processing, which were designed in collaboration with Leica. Among the various optimizations carried out by the German specialist, we point out the presence of an aspherical lens for better image quality on the edges.

A word on the front photographic module, equipped with a 32 Mpx sensor: just enough to take selfies in very high definition, for lovers of self-portraits, many on Instagram and other social networks.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra: a very high-end smartphone

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra doesn’t just rely on its photographic capabilities: it is also, and above all, a high-end Android smartphone, with features that allow it to compete with its premium competitors from Samsung, Oppo, OnePlus or Vivo. It is therefore equipped with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, Qualcomm’s new ultra-high-performance all-in-one chip, which promises excellent power management according to its designer. The kind of next-generation processor that should logically perform all tasks, even the heaviest ones, without batting an eye, whether it’s video processing or gaming.

And everything else is up to date. The 6.73-inch diagonal Amoled LTPO 2.0 screen displays a definition of 3,200 x 1,440 pixels (QHD +) with an adaptive refresh rate from 1 Hz to 120 Hz, with a maximum brightness of 1500 nits. Enough to ensure good fluidity and excellent brightness in all circumstances, especially because it is compatible with Dolby Vision and HDR10 +, with 10-bit color depth. The sound is entrusted to a pair of speakers, to benefit from the stereo, with once again the Dolby Atmos label making marketers so happy – one wonders the interest of this trendy mode on a phone …

As for energy, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra relies on a 4,860mAh battery that accepts 67W fast charging and 50W wireless charging. A very decent, but not great, capacity that will have to rely on a optimization system to offer autonomy worthy of the name. On the communication side – which remains the primary function of a phone… – Xiaomi 12S Ultra takes advantage of the best of current technology being compatible with 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2. Finally, note the IP68 certification which guarantees good protection against water and dust.

Available in two colors (black and green), Xiaomi 12S Ultra will be available in three versions with different combinations of RAM and storage: 8-256 GB, 12-256 GB and 12-512 GB available only in China, will be sold respectively at prices of 6,000, 6,500 and 7,000 yuan, or the equivalent of approximately 860, 930 and 1,000 euros, in simple conversion. But it is more than likely that prices will rise by several hundred euros when these models arrive in Europe. An ambitious high-end move, dangerous friends in this delicate period, especially in front of the emperors Samsung and Apple …


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