Just six months after its previous flagship launch, Xiaomi today announced a trio of familiar-looking smartphones to mark the start of its partnership with Leica. The new 12S series features MIUI 13 based on Android 12, and it runs on Qualcomm’s supposedly more efficient flagship Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, with the 12S Ultra headliner packing a massive 1-inch Sony IMX989 main sensor and 50 .3 megapixels. This results in a generous pixel size of 1.6um, which then doubles to 3.2um via pixel binning for supposedly improved color accuracy and low-light performance. And unlike the Sony Xperia Pro-I, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra apparently uses the full portion of its 1-inch sensor.

According to CEO Lei Jun, Xiaomi was involved in the development of the Sony IMX989, and the $15 million cost was also split evenly between the two companies. Interestingly, the sensor won’t be exclusive to Xiaomi; Lei added that it will be made available to local competitors after the launch of the 12S Ultra, to “together promote the advancement of mobile imaging.”

Xiaomi 12S Ultra


As for Leica’s part on the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, you get a “Leica Summicron 1:1.9-4.1/13-120 ASPH camera system” covering all three rear cameras: the aforementioned 50.3-megapixel main camera ( 23mm, f/1.9), as well as the 48-megapixel (13mm, f/2.2) ultra-wide camera and the 48-megapixel (120mm, f/4.1) periscope camera. Both 48-megapixel cameras use a 1/2-inch Sony IMX586 sensor. The entire circular camera island – now with “Leica” co-branding – benefits from a magic coating to reduce lens glare and improve image consistency across every lens. Oh, and there’s also a 23K gold rim here.

In addition to some Leica filters, users will be able to switch between two photographic styles: “Leica Authentic Look” for natural shots with stronger three-dimensional depth, and “Leica Vibrant Look” which adds Xiaomi’s contribution to the dynamism while preserving authenticity (sort of). You can also toggle the watermark banner at the bottom of your photos, which will add Leica’s iconic red logo, photo metadata and location coordinates on the right, and phone model and timestamp on the left.

An example shot taken with the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, featuring a cyclist by a river in the early morning before sunrise.


On the other side of the phone, there’s a 32-megapixel selfie camera powered by an unknown RGBW sensor. Most of these cameras are capable of recording and playing back Dolby Vision HDR video (up to [email protected]), making the 12S Ultra the first Android device to sport these features. Some also use the engine-based “HyperOIS” for more stable images. As for stills, the entire 12S series supports Adobe Labs-calibrated 10-bit RAW format, with color correction metadata embedded in files for easy post-production with Adobe Lightroom.

The 12S Ultra also features two proprietary Xiaomi Surge chips: a Surge P1 fast-charging chipset and a Surge G1 battery management chipset. These support 67W wired fast charging, 50W wireless fast charging, and 10W reverse charging for the 4860mAh single-cell silicon oxygen anode battery. Note that some fast charging solutions use a two-cell battery instead to split the current charge, which is why it’s a good thing the Surge P1 can handle up to 16A output current here, and apparently with a conversion efficiency of 96.8%. Like recent handsets from Oppo and ASUS, the 12S Ultra also offers adaptive charging, which is said to increase the number of charge cycles by 25%.

Keeping the phone cool is also essential for a healthier battery, not to mention more stable performance while gaming. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is equipped with a “three-dimensional coolant pump” that moves coolant over hot surfaces using a capillary mechanism similar to that of leaves. This apparently significantly improves thermal conductivity compared to conventional vapor cooling modules.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra


The rest of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is a standard flagship affair. For the display, you get a 6.73-inch Samsung E5 AMOLED panel (3,200 x 1,440, 522ppi; LTPO 2.0), with peak brightness of up to 1,500 nits, AdaptiveSync Pro refresh rate of 1 at 120Hz, 10-bit native color depth and P3 color gamut support. As you can tell from the camera features, the display can handle Dolby Vision, as well as HDR10+, HDR10 and HLG; these will go well with Harman Kardon speakers which also support Dolby Atmos audio. The device is IP68 rated, which means it should survive accidental dives into sinks and pools. You’ll also find an infrared remote port at the top for controlling home appliances.

Options include up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, up to 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage – with Xiaomi-developed File-Based Optimization (FBO) storage refresh technology, which is said to maintain the same playback performance /write for at least four years (and Lei added that FBO has already been written in the next-generation UFS 4.0 storage specification). Shoppers can choose between a “Classic Black” and a “Verdant Green,” both wrapped in vegan leather.

A close-up of the Xiaomi 12S Pro's Leica Vario-Summicron 1:1.9-2.4/14-50 ASPH camera system, with all three cameras featuring a 50-megapixel sensor.
Xiaomi 12S Pro


The smaller Xiaomi 12S Pro shares the same 6.73-inch display and Surge P1 fast-charging chipset as the 12S Ultra, though it supports a whopping 120W wired charge for its smaller battery 4,600mAh, but lacks 10W reverse charging. It has a more regular (but apparently still expensive) 1/1.28-inch, 50-megapixel Sony IMX707 main sensor, which is a variant of the IMX700 previously found on Huawei’s Mate 40 Pro series. This still offers a good pixel size of 1.22um (or 2.44um after pixel binning), and it matches the resolution of its ultra-wide (14mm) and telephoto (50mm) camera. ) – all refined by Leica as well, of course.

As for the “basic” Xiaomi 12S, it has the same main camera as the 12S Pro and the same fast charging features as the 12S Ultra, but with a smaller 4,500mAh battery in a more palm-friendly body. under the 6.28 inch 120Hz display. Apparently, there’s still a big demand for smaller flagship phones, according to Lei.

The Xiaomi 12S series is now available for pre-order in China ahead of the retail launch on July 6. The 12S Ultra is priced between 5,999 yuan (8GB RAM, 256GB storage; around $900) and 6,999 yuan (12GB RAM, 512GB storage; around $1,000). The 12S Pro is cheaper, asking for 4,699 yuan (8GB RAM, 128GB storage; around $700) to 5,899 yuan (12GB RAM, 512GB storage; around $880). The 12S is the more affordable option here, starting at 3,999 yuan (8GB RAM, 128GB storage; around $600) and capping out at 5,199 yuan (12GB RAM, 512GB storage; around $780). We’ll keep an eye on international availability later.

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