Unfortunately like the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, the phone is only available to Chinese users
Xiaomi officially unveiled the Leica-equipped flagship phones Xiaomi 12S, 12S Pro, and 12S Ultra yesterday. Of course, the main highlight is the Xiaomi 12S Ultra because it comprises several camera-centric features such as a 1″ Sony IMX989 sensor and Leica lenses.
Before we get to the camera work, let’s dissect first the main specs. It’s a flagship and the true definition of the word. It has a 6.73″ WQHD+ (3200x1440px) LTPO Samsung E5 AMOLED display with a variable 1-120Hz refresh rate. Like many flagships, it has several display enhancements which include Dolby Vision TrueColor, HDR10/HDR10+ support, 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut, native 10-bit colour depth, and 1500nits peak brightness
The phone uses the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset with 8 or 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and either 256 or 512GB UFS 3.1 internal storage, you decide. Also, there’s no MicroSD card slot which is disappointingly very common among flagships.
Xiaomi has also added extra emphasis to the battery. It is a 4680mAh juice that comes with 67W fast charging, 50W fast wireless charging, and 10W reverse wireless charging. Xiaomi also brought back the Xiaomi Surge P1 charging chip previously seen on the Mi 11 Ultra and has also added a new Xiaomi Surge G1 battery management chip to help the battery go through its most pristine conditions.
It has a USB-C port, no 3.5mm jack, an optical in-display fingerprint scanner, stereo speakers tuned by Harman-Kardon, and Dolby Atmos. The phone is IP68 certified so you can drop it for about 30 minutes and it will still survive. The screen is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus as well. The phone also has an innovative cooling system that uses a capillary network to pump cool liquid at the opposite where the warm area is. It has 5G services, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity.
Now that we let that out of the way, let’s actually dive into the rabbit hole that’s the camera groundwork. All of its lenses are from Leica. Thanks to Xiaomi’s partnership with them, the company got access to extra Leica features such as Leica Authentic Look and Leica Vibrant Look. The former takes coloured shots that Leica is known for, just the Leica way. The Leica Vibrant look takes advantage of Xiaomi’s computational photography with Leica artifacts dusted over.
As mentioned, it uses a 50MP Sony IMX989 1″ sensor with OIS for its primary camera. It’s very rare to see this on smartphones, with most of them being exclusives. Sadly, the 12S Ultra also falls in that category as it is only available in China. The second camera is the trusty 48MP IMX586 ultrawide, and ultrawide it is. Unlike most sensors, this one has a 128° field of view. The third and last camera is another 48MP Sony IMX586, but it’s a telephoto this time. Like the primary camera, this has OIS built-in and has 5x optical zoom. The front camera is 32MP in resolution. The cameras at the back are protected inside a 24-karat gold-plated ring.
We already mentioned the Leica Authentic and Vibrant Look, but we also did not mention yet other Leica features such as the Leica Vivid, Leica Natural, Leica BW, and Leica BW High Contrast filters. As the phone is camera-centric, it has support for DNG RAW image capture as well as JPEG and high-efficiency HEIF images in 8-bit or 10-bit depth. The former has colour profiles for Adobe Lightroom so you can easily edit your image with little to no post-processing involved from the phone.
On the video side of things, the phone supports Dolby Vision HDR recording, the first Android phone to do so. It can record in 4K@30 or 60fps with bitrates of up to 80Mbps. In addition, 1080p video can be recorded at 60fps at 55Mbps, and 30fps at 35Mbps bitrate. Users can also take 10-bit videos using H.265 format. If you’re using older video editors, this format might not be supported. This 10-bit video is captured in HLG colours with Rec.2020 colour space.
The 1″ Sony IMX989 sensor delivers the largest individual pixel space in any smartphone released with 3.2µm pixels that greatly help in capturing light information. As mentioned, it has OIS. The photos taken here are binned 4-in-1, so it takes a single 12.5MP image and then copies them into four to make a single 50MP shot.
The Leica sensors use 8P elements and help address issues common on smartphones such as glare, ghosting, and chromatic aberration. How the camera performs is up to debate with tech reviewers so we’ll have to wait and see. Additionally, the lenses are ink-coated and are made with a cyclic olefin copolymer material and infrared light filter. All phones in the 12S series have Leica’s iconic Summicron label.
It comes in Classic Black and Verdant Green colours. Unfortunately, the phone is going to be China-only, so we global users will need to import it if we want the full Leica-Xiaomi experience. It starts at CNY 5,999 (~Php 49.3K) for the 8/256 configuration, CNY 6,499 (~Php 53.4K) for the 12/256 configuration, and at the highest tier, CNY 6,999 (~Php 57.6K) for the 12/512 configuration
- 6.73in. WQHD+ (3200x1440px) LTPO Samsung E5 AMOLED, 120Hz variable refresh rate
- Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
- 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut
- Dolby Vision TrueColor
- IP68 water/dust resistance
- 1500nits peak brightness
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 (4nm)
- 50mp (main), 1in. Sony IMX989, f/1.9, 23mm, 3.2µm, 8P aspherical lens, OIS, multi-directional and Laser PDAF, Octa-PD autofocus, 4-in-1 pixel binning (takes a single 12.5MP shot)
- 48mp (ultrawide), 1/2.0in. Sony IMX586, 13mm, 128°, 0.8µm, Dual-Pixel PDAF
- 48mp (telephoto), 1/2.0in. Sony IMX586, 5x optical zoom, 120mm, 0.8µm, OIS, PDAF
- Time-of-Flight 3D depth sensor
- FRONT: 32mp, f/2.5, 26mm, 0.7µm
- Leica lenses, Leica Filters, Leica Natural and Authentic Look
- 4K@30 or 60fps (up to 80Mbps bitrate), 1080p@60fps, 55Mbps bitrate, 1080p@30fps, 35Mbps bitrate
- 4680mAh battery
- 67W fast wired charging
- 50W fast wireless charging
- 10W reverse charging
- Xiaomi Surge P1 charging chip
- Xiaomi Surge G1 battery management chip
- MIUI 13 based on Android 12
- 5G services, Wi-Fi 6/6E, Dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, IR blaster
- Harman-Kardon Stereo Speakers, no 3.5mm jack
- Optical In-display fingerprint scanner, Liquid Cooling, Face Unlock
- Classic Black, Verdant Green
- 8/256: CNY 5,999 (~Php 49.3K)
- 12/256: CNY 6,499 (~Php 53.4K)
- 12/512: CNY 6,999 (~Php 57.6K)