Xiaomi has officially launched its new Xiaomi 12S series and it aims to take its photography game to the next level through a strategic collaboration with Leica. The Xiaomi 12S series comes in three models and the top-of-the-line option is the Xiaomi 12S Ultra which gets a massive 1″ image sensor.
Xiaomi 12S Ultra
Xiaomi wants to make it obvious that the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is their best photography-centric smartphone yet. It gets a huge aluminium-alloy camera bump with a single large glass lens surrounded by a 23K gold lens-rim. To top it off, it gets a leather-like back in either Classic Black or Verdant Green.
Before going through its camera credentials, the Xiaomi 12S is also one of the most powerful flagship smartphones at the moment. Upfront, it gets a 6.73″ WQHD+ AMOLED display that supports an adaptive 1-120Hz refresh rate, 8,000,000:1 contrast ratio and a peak brightness of 1500 nits.
Powering the device is Qualcomm’s latest 4nm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip that’s paired with up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage. Compared to the previous Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, the new platform offers 10% better performance and 30% improvement in power efficiency.
Over at the rear, the 12S Ultra features a 50MP 23mm main camera that uses Sony’s 1″ IMX989 image sensor with Octa-PD autofocus. It has a pixel size of 1.6-micron and it can achieve an even larger 3.2-micron pixel size with Quad-Bayer pixel array (12MP) to reduce noise, increase dynamic range and light for better performance in challenging low light situations.
For greater versatility, it also features two 48MP 1/2.0″ Sony IMX586 cameras with Dual-PD autofocus for its ultra-wide and telephoto shooters. The telephoto camera supports 5x optical zoom and up to 120x zoom in digital. Both the main and telephoto cameras have optical image stabilisation and Xiaomi is making video recording even smoother with its HyperOIS feature.
As seen around the camera bump, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra gets a “Leica Summicron” label and it adopts an 8P aspheric lens to address flare, ghosting and chromatic aberration. There’s also an anti-glare lens coating, lens edge ink coating and infrared light filter to provide a clearer overall picture consistently across the lens.
Hardware aside, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra offers two “Leica Image Look” on a smartphone. For natural looking photos as Leica intended, there’s the Leica Authentic Look which claims to add a sense of three-dimensional depth to photos with Leica’s characteristics of light and shadow aesthetics. Meanwhile, the “Leica Vibrant Look” features input from both Xiaomi and Leica that’s described as capturing the emotion of the moment and to set “a new classic in smartphone photography”.
The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is capable of recording videos in 8K (7680×4320 pixels) in 24fps as well as Dolby Vision HDR video recording in 4K (3840×2160 pixels) at 60fps in 80Mbps VBR. The device is also able to record slow-mo videos up to 480fps in Full HD resolution. Upfront, the device has a 32MP RGBW front camera that sits in a tiny punch-hole for selfie duties.
Besides being a highly capable camera smartphone, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra also gets your usual flagship bells and whistles. The device gets a pair of symmetrical stereo speakers tuned by Harmon Kardon and it also gets IP68-rated dust and water resistance. In addition to 5G, it also supports WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC and an IR blaster.
Powering the device is a 4,860mAh battery which doesn’t sound much but it is claimed to be the first flagship model to feature Xiaomi Surge P1 and G1 fast-charging and battery management chips. These chipsets support up to 16A output current with greater conversion efficiency and it has built-in algorithms that’s designed to increase the number of charge cycles by 25%.
Unlike previous Xiaomi flagships that can push 120W fast charging, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra settles for 67W fast wired charging and 50W fast wireless charging. If you need to charge other devices, it also supports reverse wireless charging at 10W. Out of the box, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra runs on Android 12 with MIUI 13 skin on top.
Xiaomi 12S and 12S Pro
The Xiaomi 12S and 12S Pro are essentially refreshed models of the current Xiaomi 12 and 12 Pro with Leica co-engineered cameras and a refreshed Qualcomm chip. The Xiaomi 12S remains their compact flagship option with a 6.28″ Full HD+ AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate.
The Xiaomi 12 gets a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip mated with up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 512Gb of UFS 3.1 storage. For cameras, the 50MP main shooter is now upgraded from a 1/1.56″ Sony IMX766 sensor to a larger 1/1.28″ Sony IMX707 unit. It still retains a 13MP ultra-wide-angle camera and a 5MP macro shooter.
The only way to tell that this is the newer device is the LEICA branding on the camera bump. You can also expect Leica touches on the camera interface and algorithm including Leica’s photography styles and filters, as well as the classic Leica shutter sound and watermark.
The rest of the hardware remains unchanged including a 4,500mAh battery that supports 67W wired charging, 50W wireless charging, and 10W reverse wireless charging.
The difference between the Xiaomi 12S Pro and 12 Pro is even harder to spot as the only upgrade is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ gen 1 and the extra photography enhancements by Leica. The rest of the hardware is the same including a 6.73″ QuadHD+ 120Hz AMOLED display and a similar triple-camera setup with a 50MP main camera, 50MP ultra-wide-angle lens and a 50MP telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom.
The Xiaomi 12S and 12S Pro come in 4 colours – Black, Purple, Green and White.
Xiaomi 12S series pricing
At the moment, the Xiaomi 12S series is only available in China. Below is the official pricing for the Xiaomi 12S, 12S Pro and 12S Ultra:
- Xiaomi 12S Ultra 8GB RAM + 256GB storage – CNY 5,999 (about RM3,951)
- Xiaomi 12S Ultra 12GB RAM + 256GB storage – CNY 6,499 (about RM4,280)
- Xiaomi 12S Ultra 12GB RAM + 512GB storage – CNY 6,999 (about RM4,610)
- Xiaomi 12S Pro 8GB RAM + 128GB storage – CNY 4,699 (about RM3,095)
- Xiaomi 12S Pro 8GB RAM + 256GB storage – CNY 4,999 (about RM3,292)
- Xiaomi 12S Pro 12GB RAM + 256GB storage – CNY 5,399 (about RM3,556)
- Xiaomi 12S Pro 12GB RAM + 512GB storage – CNY 5,899 (about RM3,885)
- Xiaomi 12S 8GB RAM + 128GB storage – CNY 3,999 (about RM2,634)
- Xiaomi 12S 8GB RAM + 256GB storage – CNY 4,299 (about RM2,831)
- Xiaomi 12S 12GB RAM + 256GB storage – CNY 4,699 (about RM3,095)
- Xiaomi 12S 12GB RAM + 512GB storage – CNY 5,199 (about RM3,424)
In terms of pricing, the Xiaomi 12S costs CNY 300 (about RM200) more than the Xiaomi 12. However, the Xiaomi 12S Pro retains the same pricing as the current Xiaomi 12 Pro. In Malaysia, the Xiaomi 12 is officially priced from RM2,899 for the 128GB model, while the Xiaomi 12 Pro is going from RM3,899 for the 256GB version.