Xiaomi 12S Ultra First Look: The camera phone like no other

Xiaomi 12S Ultra is presented as an upside-down flagship device. But its signature look is the company’s first collaboration with German camera maker Leica, which flows into the device’s standout feature – a one-inch camera sensor on the back. . Yes, the camera’s large sensor is great for taking better photos, especially in low light. But it’s on paper. How good is this new camera in real life? I took the Xiaomi 12S Ultra camera to the city of Pondicherry, and here are my first impressions of the phone.

No compromise on performance

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is a spec phone, something obvious from the moment you start using it. From Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 to a QHD LTPO 2.0 AMOLED display, you’ve got all the specs you’d expect from a flagship here and it’s nice to see that Xiaomi hasn’t compromised on others aspects of the phone, in pursuit of a supreme camera experience.

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is primarily a camera phone, but it doesn’t skip the rest of the flagship checklist. (Image source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

Here is an overview of the main features of the phone:

Specifications of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra: 6.73-inch LTPO 2.0 QHD display with 120Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision, 1500 nits peak brightness | Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, up to 12GB RAM, 512GB UFS 3.1 storage | 50.3MP + 48MP + 48MP rear camera + 32MP selfie camera | 4860mAh battery + 67W charging | IP68 dust, water resistance |

The phone also comes with stereo speakers, an under-display optical fingerprint sensor, and Xiaomi’s signature infrared blaster. You don’t get the fastest wired charging at 67W, but the phone also supports 50W wireless charging, as well as USB Power Delivery 3.0 and Qualcomm Quick Charge 4 support, so that’s Something.

Premium look and feel

I was skeptical about the design of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra when the first leaks started appearing on the web, but holding the phone in hand the feeling quickly faded away. The device is big, and yes, it’s also heavier, but the premium design somehow works here. Instead of feeling like an outsized smartphone, it felt like a phone with a specific purpose and design to match.

xiaomi 12s ultra, xiaomi 12s ultra review, xiaomi 12s ultra first look, xiaomi 12s ultra first impression, The two color variants of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra (Image source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

That said, the phone as a whole doesn’t feel much bigger than other phones in its class. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra comes in two colorways and while I can see most people gravitating toward the classier black variant, I took a liking to the olive green hue of the other variant. Design is subjective, after all.

xiaomi 12s ultra, xiaomi 12s ultra review, xiaomi 12s ultra first look, xiaomi 12s ultra first impression, The 12S Ultra is placed next to the Xiaomi 12 Pro. (Image source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

Everything about this Leica camera

The Xiaomi 12S camera is awesome and packed with features. It starts with two shooting modes, one that sticks to keeping the colors natural, and another that brings out the colors and shows a bit more. During the day, the photos I took looked colorful and vibrant almost always and images between the main, telephoto and ultrawide cameras had a lot of consistency.

xiaomi 12s ultra, xiaomi 12s ultra review, xiaomi 12s ultra first look, xiaomi 12s ultra first impression, The Xiaomi 12S Ultra’s camera island is probably the biggest you’ve seen lately, and yes, it sticks out quite a bit. (Image source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

It’s a bit difficult to take a bad photo with the 12S Ultra, especially if you know how to deal with the settings you get, including a full Pro mode (manual mode) and RAW support, although the camera mode normal auto should suffice for most.

xiaomi 12s ultra, xiaomi 12s ultra review, xiaomi 12s ultra first look, xiaomi 12s ultra first impression, The facial expressions of a Kathakali performer. (Image source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

However, macro shots didn’t resonate with the rest of the UI’s macro mode experience, and I ended up shooting closer subjects using the prime lens with a zoom at the square.

xiaomi 12s ultra, xiaomi 12s ultra review, xiaomi 12s ultra first look, xiaomi 12s ultra first impression, An ant jumping from the leaves on a plant. (Image source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

Leica’s new monochrome filters also produce truly pleasing monochrome photos in almost any environment, including after sunset.

xiaomi 12s ultra, xiaomi 12s ultra review, xiaomi 12s ultra first look, xiaomi 12s ultra first impression, A dog taking a nap in the afternoon. (Image source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

xiaomi 12s ultra, xiaomi 12s ultra review, xiaomi 12s ultra first look, xiaomi 12s ultra first impression, A locked door in the streets of Pondicherry. (Image source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

Low light is where the Xiaomi 12S Ultra stands out much more than other phones I’ve used recently. A lot more light results in less grainy photos, with lots of detail. The phone encourages you to play around with the settings if you want to take more creative photos even at night, instead of limiting yourself to the optimal settings for the least noise and smoothness.

xiaomi 12s ultra, xiaomi 12s ultra review, xiaomi 12s ultra first look, xiaomi 12s ultra first impression, Pondicherry beach after sunset. (Image source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)
xiaomi 12s ultra, xiaomi 12s ultra review, xiaomi 12s ultra first look, xiaomi 12s ultra first impression, A man enjoying the pier lights at night. (Image source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

The result is great low-light shots, even in extreme darkness. While you still can’t compare the 12S Ultra’s low-light performance with pro cameras, put the effort behind a night or portrait shot and you might be surprised at what you end up capturing with this phoen.

But, will you get the 12S Ultra?

The launch of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is not yet confirmed in markets outside of China, including India. However, some recent leaks suggest Xiaomi may be considering the same. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra costs 5,999 yuan (around Rs 70,188), which seems like a fair price for the specs and camera you’re getting here. However, if Xiaomi decides not to bring the phone to India, the only way to get the phone would be to ship it from China, which would cost you more and also get you a phone with the Chinese version of the MIUI software. and no Google service. (including the Play Store).

Disclaimer: Xiaomi sponsored the correspondent’s tickets and hotel stay in Pondicherry

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