October 4, 2022

When is a phone no longer a phone, but a camera with a phone connected to it? Xiaomi may have an answer.

On Monday, the company launched the new Xiaomi 12S Ultra, a powerful flagship designed to showcase Xiaomi’s new partnership with imaging specialist Leica. And it will show, as every conversation about that phone will begin, “Holy crap, look at that camera!”

The 12S Ultra has a triple rear camera – a 50MP main unit with a 1-inch Sony sensor, an IMX989 sensor, a 48MP ultra-wide camera, and a 48MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom and 120x max zoom. Everything is equipped with Leica lenses and housed in a very massive camera bump on the back, which makes even those on the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra pale in comparison.

See also:

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra review: a smartphone with a camera

All this equipment should make your photos less noisy in the dark, with greater dynamic range and more light captured, although we’ll judge the actual results when we test the phone. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is also the first phone, Xiaomi says, to capture Dolby Vision HDR video.

Now, take a moment and observe the camera in detail.

The star of this show is the Sony IMX989 1-inch sensor.
Credit: Xiaomi

After you soak in it, here are the other specs of this phone: It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip with Xiaomi’s new “3D Cooling System”, a 4860mAh battery with 67W wired charging, 50W wireless charging, and 10W reverse wireless charging.

At the front, you’ll find a 6.73-inch AMOLED display with an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate, and a 32MP punch-hole selfie camera. The phone is available with 8/12 GB of RAM and 256/512 GB of storage. Other specs of note include dual Harman Kardon-branded speakers and IP68 dust and water resistance.

Three Xiaomi 12S Ultra smartphones side by side.

Two colors are available: black and green.
Credit: Xiaomi

Another important piece of information: The phone weighs 225 grams. We hope that this weight is more evenly distributed than on the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, which was very heavy and difficult to carry due to the huge camera module.

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra will be available in two colors: classic black and green.

Xiaomi also launched the more natural looking Xiaomi 12S Pro as well as the Xiaomi 12S. The 12S Pro is exactly the same up front, and also has a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, but it has a slightly less powerful triple rear camera with a smaller main sensor and only 2x optical zoom on the telephoto module. It also has a smaller 4600mAh battery, weighs a bit less at 204g, and has a 128GB storage option.

Four Xiaomi 12S Pro smartphones in a row.

It doesn’t make such a bold statement, but it’s 21 grams lighter.
Credit: Xiaomi

The Xiaomi 12S is also powered by the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, but it’s smaller at 6.28 inches, has a 50/13/5 MP rear camera, and a slightly smaller 4,500mAh battery.

All phones are running Android 12 with Xiaomi’s MIUI 13 on top.

All four devices are on sale in China. Xiaomi 12S Ultra starts at CNY 5,999 ($896); The Xiaomi 12S Pro starts at 4,699 yuan ($702), and the Xiaomi 12S starts at 3,999 yuan ($598). There is no information on global availability yet.

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