Xiaomi 12S Ultra photo test, is it the new king of photography?

Announced a few weeks ago, we just spent a week with it. Here is our test of the photo part of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, in partnership with Leica.

It was at the beginning of last month that Xiaomi had struck a very big blow by formalizing its Xiaomi 12S Ultra in China, a photo-oriented smartphone, developed in partnership with not only Leica but also Sony since the Chinese smartphone has a thumb-sized main photo sensor.

As a result, we had the chance to get our hands on this new flagship smartphone from Xiaomi and this, for a whole week. Because it was the Chinese version, we mainly focused on its photo capabilities since that’s really what changes compared to the Xiami 12 Pro that we were able to test at the start of the second quarter of this year.

To date, not a word from Xiaomi for a possible release in France. But as the cadence of Xiaomi’s announcements is relatively strong, the field of possibilities remains enormous. In short, we are on the lookout and we will not fail to warn you if this Xiaomi 12S Ultra should be released in France.

After a week with this new photophone, we can already tell you that it has impressed us in many ways. Here is our opinion on the new Xiaomi 12S Ultra and its photo mode.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra

Xiaomi 12S Ultra Features

As a reminder of the characteristics, the new Xiaomi 12S Ultra offer you :

Xiaomi 12S Ultra
Screen – 6.73″ AMOLED display in 20:9 format
– QuadHD+ definition (1440×3200)
– Density 521dpi
– Gorilla Glass Victus
– HDR10+ certified
-Dolby Vision
– LPTO 1-120Hz
– Always On Display
– sRGB and DCI-P3
– 480Hz touch sampling rate
– 1500 nits brightness
– Punch
SoCs and GPUs – Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
– Adreno 730
Memory – 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM
– 256GB or 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage
– No memory expansion
Colors – Aluminum frame
– Vegan leather back
– IP68
Camera – Three cameras on the back:
– Main camera: Sony IMX989 in 1 inch format, 50.3 Megapixels, 23mm, F1.9, Dual Pixel PDAF, Laser AF, OIS
– Ultra wide-angle camera: Sony IMX586 48 Megapixels, 128°, F2.2, Dual Pixel PDAF
– Camera: Sony IMX586 48 Megapixels, 120mm, F4.1, 5x optical zoom, PDAF, OIS
– 3D TOF sensor

– Leica Lenses
– Xiaomi ProFocus
– Optical stabilization on the main sensor
– Ultra Night Photo
– Night Portrait Mode
– HDR Portrait mode

– Record videos in Full HD 1080p, Ultra HD 2160p at 30fps or 60fps and 8K at 24fps
– Video Capture in HDR10+
– Slow motion mode in 1080p at 240fps or in 720p at 480fps
– 1080p Ultra Stabilization Video Mode
– Ultra Night Video
– One Click AI Cinema
– Motion Tracking Focus / Eye Tracking Focus / Motion Capture

– Front camera with a 32 Megapixel sensor
– 25mm wide-angle lens and F/2.4 aperture
– Front-end video recording in 1080p or 720p at 30fps
– Video capture in HDR10+
– Video Portrait Mode
– Night Selfie

Audio – Four stereo speakers
– Sound by Harman Kardon
-Dolby Atmos
Battery – 4860mAh
– Fast Charging 67W
– Fast Wireless Charging 50W
– 10W reverse charging
– Surge G1 and Surge P1
– PowerDelivery 3.0
– Quick Charge 4+
Connectivities – Optical fingerprint reader under the screen
-Bluetooth 5.2
– Wi-Fi 6E
– 5G
– 2x nano-SIM
– A-GPS+GLONASS, DNLA, Miracast (WiFi Direct), Google Cast
– USB 2.0, USB Type-C port
– Barometer, Gyroscope, Accelerometer
– Proximity and light sensor
Software -Android 12
– MIUI 13
Height and weight – 163.2 x 75 x 9.1mm
– 225g
Starting price – N / A
Availability date – July 2022 in China

On the packaging side, nothing very surprising since we find a black box with the smartphone of course, a USB-C cable and the 67W charger! On the other hand, what a disappointment to discover that the USB-C port is only USB 2.0, like its little brother, the Xiaomi 12 Pro…

Available around 1000 euros in China. No announcement for France to date.

The design, the screen and the audio

While the Xiaomi 12 Pro played it rather classic on the design, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is totally different and we immediately feel that the Chinese manufacturer wanted to mark the occasion with its first smartphone stamped Leica, partner of choice and that we know only too well in the world of photography but also in the world of smartphones since the former partner of the German brand was none other than Huawei.

If the front is classic in itself, you can’t miss a black vegan leather back with the most beautiful effect. If the leather attracts a little too much dust for our taste, when it’s clean, the effect is guaranteed. And what about the huge photo block on the back. Small peculiarity since the main camera is not in the center as one might have thought. With a weight of 225g, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is not particularly light, especially since its weight is not very well distributed and it will be understood, the weight is concentrated at the level of the photo unit. It will be necessary to be careful during the first grips.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra

On the front, it’s super classic and we find a beautiful curved screen and a punch at the top center of the screen. All the physical buttons are on the right edge of the smartphone and the optical-type fingerprint sensor is under the screen. During our tests, we did not note any particular problems. Apart from the weight a little too oriented on the top of the smartphone, the smartphone holds rather well in hand and will not slip, thanks to the vegan leather.

For the screen itself, we find that of the Xiaomi 12 Pro with a slab AMOLED with a diagonal of 6.73 inches and with a Gorilla Glass Victus coating. We obviously find a variable refresh rate from 1Hz to 120Hz and a definition Quad HD+. The edges of the screen are thin, especially on the sides since it is a curved screen. On the other hand, the bottom edge is still particularly thick for our taste. It’s a Samsung panel, Xiaomi has never hidden it and as you can imagine, it’s one of the best panels on the market.

Finally, on the audio side, we find once again what the Xiaomi 12 Pro offered with not two but four speakers. This makes it possible to better distribute the sound and thus not to saturate it with a slightly more immersive rendering than the competition. Obviously, we are talking about smartphone speakers and the uses that result from them. Still, we haven’t had any particular problems with the consumption of short or even longer content. Finally, note the support for Dolby Atmos.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra

MIUI 13, Performance and Autonomy

Side androidno surprise in itself, we obviously find Android 12 with the overlay MIUI 13. No surprises, we find everything that can annoy us on a MIUI overlay such as excess applications, ads after application installations or even dialog boxes that are a little too untimely for our taste. Afterwards, it was the Chinese version and it may be different, but to remember the Xiaomi 12 Pro, we don’t have too many illusions.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra

On the performance side, without surprises, it is a premium smartphone and we find the SoC of the moment, namely the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. No need to beat around the bush, it’s a premium SoC and we’re starting to know its performance since it equips recent smartphones like the Asus ROG Phone 6 or the RedMagic 7S Pro. Also, we didn’t bother with the usual benchmarks that would have given similar results.

the Xiaomi 12S Ultra finally offers a battery of 4860mAh, which is normal for this type of smartphone. We haven’t specifically tested the battery since we couldn’t use it as we usually would have, but we suspect that with such a battery, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra should easily offer a day of autonomy. full.

Photo and Video

Xiaomi had already innovated with the 12 Pro and pushes the cap even further since we find on the main camera a Sony IMX989 sensor of 50.3 Megapixels. It was developed in partnership with Sony but above all, it offers a size of one inch. This is not the first time that we have found a sensor of such size. Panasonic had already tried it with the CM1 and more recently, Sony offered the Xperia PRO-I with a one-inch sensor but trimmed to 12 Megapixels.

With the Xiaomi 12 Pro, we take advantage of the entire 50.3 Megapixel sensor which will output 12.5 Megapixel photos thanks to 4-in-1 Pixel-Bining technology. But that’s not all since the ultra wide-angle and the phone offer a Sony IMX586 sensor which, as we recall, was fitted to the main cameras of premium smartphones barely two years ago.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra

Needless to say that in ideal light conditions, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra does as well as the competition and apart from the colorimetry specific to each, we will not necessarily see the difference. On the other hand, as soon as the light becomes more difficult, it is there that we will see a real difference between the main camera and the ultra wide-angle or the telephoto. And that may be where the shoe pinches since we end up with an inconsistency between the cameras of the same phone.

Just look at these examples between the main camera with its natural bokeh and the ultra wide-angle to see a clear difference :

On the other hand, when we use only the main camera, we can only be impressed by the results that the Xiaomi 12S Ultra offers. It’s really crazy when you think about it since it’s not an expert compact that we have in our hands but a smartphone. If Leica must have participated from afar, or closely, in the design of the photo block of the 12S Ultra, it is materialized above all by two filters: Leica Authentic Where Leica Vibrant. To our surprise, the Vibrant filter remains reasonable compared to what Xiaomi tends to offer by default in terms of contrast. As a result, we loved the Authentic filter, which is more neutral and close to reality, especially in low light conditions where the camera is not going to try to “create” light. We love.

In fact, the thing that impressed us the most is this depth effect that we obtain with the main camera of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra. The natural bokeh is super impressive. Just look at this portrait of Roman lemon squeezer to see that we didn’t even need to go through Portrait mode.

In short, better than words, photos to get an idea in real life :

Photo gallery

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