The Xiaomi 12S series is only for China, but we wish it wasn’t

Xiaomi today launched its latest Android smartphone in the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, but this phone is exclusive to the Chinese market.

The Xiaomi 12S lineup consists of three devices, the Xiaomi 12S, 12S Pro and 12S Ultra.

All three devices share a camera partnership with Leica, a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, and an overall high-end package. But every device is a little different.

Looking at the base model, the Xiaomi 12S has a 6.28-inch FHD+ display, 8 GB or 12 GB of RAM and 128/256/512 GB of storage. The phone is powered by a 4,500mAh battery with fast wired charging of up to 67W and wireless charging of up to 50W. The camera array consists of a 50MP primary sensor backed by a 13MP telephoto lens and a 5MP telephoto lens.

Moving on to the “Pro” model, there’s a slightly larger 6.73-inch screen, a 4,600mAh battery (120W wired and 50W wireless), and it also includes a camera upgrade. There are three 50MP sensors for standard, ultra-wide, and zoom focal lengths. Both phones also have a 32MP selfie camera.

Both are also co-branded by Leica, a well-established camera brand that previously gave its name to Huawei. Xiaomi says the cameras on these phones were “co-designed” with Leica.

The screen also jumps to a LPTO AMOLED panel at 120Hz, as opposed to the standard 120Hz AMOLED on the lower model.

There is also a version of the Xiaomi 12S Pro that uses MediaTek’s Dimensity 9000+ chipset instead of Qualcomm.

xiaomi 12s pro

But the real attraction here is the Xiaomi 12S Ultra flagship. This top-notch smartphone mainly focuses on being the ultimate piece of portable camera hardware.

Besides the base specs — Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, 8/12GB RAM, 256/512GB storage, 6.73-inch QHD+ AMOLED display, 67W charging, and IP68 water resistance — Xiaomi uses its massive IMX989 50.3MP camera sensor, a 1-inch sensor. Sony just announced the IMX989 last month, and it’s one of the largest mobile camera sensors ever produced. Of course, this isn’t the first either, as we’ve seen 1-inch sensors on a few previous devices. The big benefit of such a large physical sensor is better bokeh and light capture. The results usually look closer to what a conventional point-and-shoot camera can – Sony itself uses a 1-inch sensor in the RX100 series.

Lecia steps in to reinforce the sensor with the 8P lens and its coating. There are also special options “Leica Authentic Look” and “Leica Vibrant Look” in the program.

In addition to this primary sensor, though, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra also has a 48MP telephoto lens and a 48MP sensor used for ultra-fast shots.

xiaomi 12s ultra

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is also the first Android phone to support Dolby Vision HDR recording with h.265 10-bit videos that can be captured in HLG.

All three devices come with Android 12 and Xiaomi’s MIUI 13.

But the real catch here for people outside of China is that Xiaomi has no plans to release the phone globally. Usually Xiaomi releases an international version of its flagship smartphones in Europe and other parts of Asia, but this time it will not be the case, as Richard Lee did Engadget China Reports.

The price of the Xiaomi 12S family starts at CNY 4,000 for the 12S, CNY 4,700 for the Pro and CNY 5,999 for the Ultra.

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