I can say that the Xiaomi 12S Ultra has one of the best cameras in the market. As mobile photography technology is evolving so fast, it now feels like the need for having a proper digital camera might end soon.
- Xiaomi finally showed off its new 12S Ultra smartphone in India.
- The flagship smartphone isn’t coming to global markets, including India.
- The Xiaomi 12S Ultra will remain exclusive to China.
But, the bad news is the device isn’t coming to India or other global markets. It will remain exclusive to China. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is the first smartphone from Xiaomi that comes with Leica branding. In the past, other big tech giants like Huawei have worked with Leica, which is one of the leading camera companies and known for offering great image processing and quality. But, Xiaomi will likely launch its next generation of flagship with Leica goodies. This will likely be the Xiaomi 13 series, which is tipped to arrive in November this year. I used the Xiaomi 12S Ultra for a couple of days and here are my first impressions of it.
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: First Impressions
The Xiaomi 12S Ultra isn’t just an upgrade over the Xiaomi 11 Ultra smartphone. It is more than that. The company has made a lot of changes, even in the design department. The new one mimics Leica’s digital cameras. It has a vegan leather back and a large circular camera module at the back, which one might give a feel of using digital cameras. Though, the camera bump is very prominent. I was fearing that the rear camera could get scratches, but a back case fixed this.
The use of vegan leather makes the device feel premium, and luxurious. I got the grey-green colour variant, but the black one looks classier. The device is a bit heavy, but it is pretty much easy to use with one hand. There is also an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance. It has dual speakers that are tuned by Harman Kardon. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra also has certification for Dolby Atmos and the stereo speakers sound just great.
Since this is a flagship smartphone, Xiaomi has made sure to add all the goodies to justify premium pricing. It has a high-end E5 display that is about 6.73-inches in size. The AMOLED screen is of great quality with 2K resolution support. The LTPO tech does help save some battery too. The colours and contrast are rich. The screen is visible enough in direct sunlight. The top of the phone has a coating of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus to offer protection against damage. Overall, Xiaomi has done a good job in designing the Xiaomi 12S Ultra.
It features an under-display fingerprint scanner and it can quickly unlock the phone. The haptic feedback of the smartphone is pretty strong and feels good. Under the hood is a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset. We got the Chinese unit, so we couldn’t test the performance. But this one is a tried and tested chip, which is powering most of the flagship phones in 2022.
The camera is one of the most intriguing parts of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra. It has a triple rear camera setup, including a 50-megapixel Sony IMX989 sensor, which is pretty big in size compared to the competition. Having a bigger camera sensor means that the device will be able to capture more light and render more detailed and quality images.
Of course, camera software, photo processing, and other things also play a big role. I can say that Xiaomi has done an excellent job in this department and partnering with Leica, in my opinion, was a good decision. I have taken a lot of shots using this smartphone and I feel that it can offer users images similar to DSLRs. The main camera has support for Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), an f/1.9 aperture, an aspheric lens that has about eight elements, and phase detection autofocus (PDAF). There is also a 48-megapixel 1/2-inch ultra-wide-angle sensor and a 48-megapixel telephoto camera with a 120mm focal length. It has a 5x optical zoom too.
You can check out some of the camera samples below. I’m in love with the portraits captured using the Xiaomi 12S Ultra. Someone who has not used this phone’s camera won’t be able to believe that the shots have been taken using a smartphone, and not a DSLR. The level of details, and sharpness it has captured is just remarkable. The dynamic range and exposure levels are on point. The post-processing of the image is really good. The level of blur, textures all over the photo and colour contrast are just perfect. The same is true for the daylight photos as well. The video too turned out well with almost zero shakiness. The stabilisation is really good and colours are retained well. I now feel that there is no need to buy a DSLR as the level of output one is getting with a smartphone is just unbelievable and mesmerizing.