Xiaomi 12S Ultra Flagship Phone Reviewed by Great Lobbyist

Xiaomi 12S Ultra is the latest flagship smartphone from the brand, which features some of the latest and best internal components available in the market.

Snapdragon Processors, One Inch Camera Sensor, Smartphones

Tue Jul 19, 2022 - 23:58

Xiaomi 12S Ultra Review

Featuring A One Inch Camera Sensor

Xiaomi started as a company that offered budget-friendly smartphones with some of the latest and best internal components available in the market. They made this possible by buying components in bulk and being pretty aggressive with their pricing, which often follows a notoriously low 5% profit cap, to offer the most ROI to customers. While this certainly made them become one of the top smartphone manufacturers in the world against tough competition from established brands like Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, and others. It also earned them a reputation for being a company that also cuts corners in the software experience and other key metrics.

Xiaomi-12S-Ultra

They have tried to cover this gap between perceived value and real-world usability by instead focusing on the marketing hype of being the first company in the market to offer certain features and tech, thus, earning them the first movers’ advantage. Such is the case with the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, the company's latest flagship device, which has the distinction of being the first smartphone to offer Sony's new IMX989 1.0" sensor.

They have also partnered with Leica to develop the ultra-wide-angle camera, which boasts a unique colour science and various other optical technologies. It is also one of the first phones to offer Snapdragon's 8+ Gen 1 processor, so the perceived value is already pretty high. The company is touting it as 'The New Era', which in itself is a significant endorsement. But does the device live up to the hype? Let's take a deeper look to see if it's true.

Display & Build Quality

The display is arguably the core aspect of any smartphone experience, so it is vital to ensure that you offer the best that you can, which, thankfully, the company has done. You get a brilliant 6.73-inch LTPO2 AMOLED panel sourced from Samsung, which supports a 120Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+ for up to 1000nits average brightness, with 1500nits as the peak. It wraps around the aluminium frame nicely and has a small hole punch in the top centre for the selfie camera. It is easily the USP of the device, despite the company's claims about the camera system.

On the rear, you get an eco-leather back panel with a retro texture that pays homage to Leica professional cameras. It is nice to look at but would certainly hinder heat management in warmer areas like the Middle East and Asia, where temperatures are often known to soar above 40 degrees on average.

The camera array also continues with the theme of old-school camera lenses, with a massive glass cover that resembles a DSLR lens and features a gold ring around it. The aesthetic is very old-school, but the sheer size of the whole thing throws off the weight balance and makes it prone to fingerprints and possible scratches.

Camera System

The cameras offer a mixed bunch of different imaging technologies and colour sciences, with no attempt to integrate them into a cohesive photography/cinematography experience. In fact, the presence of the Sony IMX989 sensor actually serves to worsen this contrast as soon as you switch to any of the other sensors. Let us take a look at everything on the table so you have a better idea of what we mean.

Firstly, the main camera you see in the centre of the stack isn't actually the flagship 50.3MP Sony sensor; it is, in fact, the 48MP ultra-wide that the company developed with Leica. It features unique Leica optical components, as well as specific shooting modes with special colour and contrast calibrations. This means that the camera offers a completely different look and final result than the primary Sony sensor, which is actually on the left side of the array.

The new one-inch sensor offers exceptional light input, rapid shutter speeds, naturally enhanced bokeh, and good low-light performance. It even features a handful of Leica software filters to enhance the HDR and colour contrast. However, you still don't get the authentic Leica optics and colour science that are restricted to the ultra-wide camera. Similarly, the 48MP ultra-wide and periscope telephoto cameras don't get the same amount of light input that is restricted to the one-inch camera.

This means that the moment you switch between the different lenses, you will have completely different results. While this is still manageable in photography, by forcing yourself to only shoot with any one camera, you can't avoid the issue while taking videos, which often combine the input of all different sensors into one single clip. This makes video-taking essentially useless unless you're sticking to the default settings for everything, with no pan and zooms or anything else too dramatic.

The sad thing is; that even sticking to defaults doesn't help in many cases where the lack of software optimization raises its ugly head. For example, even with the extra light and exposure, Xiaomi's contrast and HDR tweaks feel amateurish and pretty aggressive, especially when compared to what brands like Apple, Samsung, Vivo, and others have accomplished when it comes to natural edge detection, skin colours, landscape colour reproduction and other facets.

This means that depending on ambient settings, your shooting experience will be filled with a lot of hits and misses. The same experience repeats itself in the 32MP wide-angle selfie camera, which is nothing to write home about. While this is on par with what Xiaomi has been known for in the camera department, it is not something you should have to contend with in a smartphone that claims to be the 'New Era' in cinematography.

Performance & Connectivity

On the inside, the whole setup is powered by the much-hyped Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset. It can be paired with up to 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage and 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM. This is more than enough power to handle anything you throw at it. It pairs pretty well with the superfast display to offer a great day-to-day user experience. We can't say the same for extended gaming sessions, as the chipset is still untested in terms of thermal throttling and other issues, which are bound to be enhanced with the leather back; that is certainly not as thermally efficient as plastic or glass.

In fact, with the 4860mAh single-cell battery being charged at up to 67W, the whole setup is certainly expected to output a lot more heat, leaving the relatively straightforward cooling system to contend with both. Only time will tell whether this will prove adequate for heavy-duty usage in hotter climates, where batteries exploding due to overheating is still a big concern. There is support for 50W wireless fast charging as well, but you will have a hard time finding an affordable charger that can actually deliver that output.

Everything else is just a list of things on which the company saved some money. For example, while the USB Type-C port does support fast charging, it is also just USB Type-C 2.0, which means the transfer rate maxes out at just 480Mbps, instead of up to 20Gbps in the latest gen 3.2. You miss out on the 3.5mm jack as well, which is sacrificed for the IP68 rating. Even an under-display fingerprint sensor is just an optical unit, which is a lot less accurate and slow when compared to the latest ultrasonic sensors. The software side is handled by MIUI, which as usual, is bloated with lots of pre-installed apps and animations.

In the end, this device promises a lot and delivers some of it. We can't say whether the experience will improve with time, as Xiaomi has been notorious for forgetting its older smartphones when it comes to releasing software and security updates. We are sure the whole experience could've been a lot better had the company spent enough time refining the product as much as they have done with the aesthetics. But, at the end of the day, what mattered to them most; was being the first company to release a smartphone with the new one-inch sensor, and at that, they certainly succeeded. Whether the device's value remains once that novelty wears off, and other smartphones get released with the same camera is a conversation for another day, one that we are very much looking forward to.

Share

Related Articles

Realme 12 Pro+ 5G Launched In The UAE

The release of the Realme 12 Pro Series 5G, which includes the Realme 12 Pro 5G and Realme 12 Pro+ 5G, was recently announced by Realme, one of the fastest-growing smartphone brands in the world. The series is about to premiere in the United Arab Emirates after making waves in th...

Read More about Realme 12 Pro+ 5G Launched In The UAE

Xiaomi 14 Ultra Arrives in the UAE for the First Time

Ahead of the Mobile World Congress 2024 (MWC), Xiaomi proudly announced the worldwide launch of its flagship Xiaomi 14 Series at an exclusive event in Barcelona, Spain. This launch demonstrates the commitment of Xiaomi to providing outstanding experiences to customers all over th...

Read More about Xiaomi 14 Ultra Arrives in the UAE for the First Time

Nothing Confirms Phone (2a) Through New Community Update

The new smartphone, called Phone (2a), has been officially named by London-based technology company Nothing. As part of the most recent quarterly Community Update by Nothing, the name was recently revealed. With a focus on growing its engineering expertise across seven offices gl...

Read More about Nothing Confirms Phone (2a) Through New Community Update

Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro 4G Detailed Review

Xiaomi recently launched its Redmi Note 12 and 13 series in Dubai. The launch event was held at the W Hotel as part of the vision of Xiaomi to bring innovative products to the region, and it was attended by more than 200 people. The Redmi Note 12 series smartphones were unveiled ...

Read More about Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro 4G Detailed Review

Respected calligrapher Mattar Bin Lahej collaborates with HONOR

In honour of the debut of HONOR Magic V2 in the United Arab Emirates, the international technology brand HONOR collaborated with renowned Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej, a painter, photographer, and sculptor located in Dubai. Dubai-born Mattar Bin Lahej is an Emirati artist, des...

Read More about Respected calligrapher Mattar Bin Lahej collaborates with HONOR

HONOR Vs 2 Unveiled by HONOR

The HONOR Magic Vs 2 foldable smartphone was introduced today in China by the international technology brand HONOR. The HONOR Magic Vs 2 establishes a new record for being the lightest inside a folding smartphone, shattering the weight barrier between foldable devices and standar...

Read More about HONOR Vs 2 Unveiled by HONOR

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Review

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is a device that defies categorization. It is not just a smartphone, but a testament to the unwavering commitment of the brand to pushing the boundaries of what mobile technology can be. This fifth-generation foldable phone from Samsung is more than ju...

Read More about Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Review

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Review

As we stand on the threshold of a new era in smartphone technology, Samsung has once again demonstrated its innovative prowess with the launch of the Galaxy Z Flip 5. This device is not just a smartphone; it is a statement. It boldly challenges the status quo, offering users a ta...

Read More about Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Review

Realme 11 5G Unveiled in the United Arab Emirates

The unveiling of the groundbreaking Realme 11 5G smartphone by Realme heralds both the introduction of this device and its official entry into the UAE market. The Realme 11 5G is equipped with a flagship-level 108MP camera with 3x in-sensor zoom, a spectacular 67W SUPERVOOC Charg...

Read More about Realme 11 5G Unveiled in the United Arab Emirates

HONOR releases the HONOR V Purse in China

In Shanghai, China, HONOR, a leading global technology brand, today unveiled the HONOR V Purse. The out-warding folding smartphone, which is designed to be incredibly thin and stylish, is just 8.6 mm when folded and 4.3 mm when unfurled, breaking the previous record for the thinn...

Read More about HONOR releases the HONOR V Purse in China


Leave a Comment

By clicking the submit button below, I hereby agree to and accept the following Terms and Conditions