There is one curse among the best Xiaomi phones, and that is that many of them are not sold globally, with the company choosing to only release them in their home country. This is the case with the brand’s newest series, which includes a flashy-looking rival Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
This is the Xiaomi 12S series, made up of a standard model, Pro and Ultra – as you can imagine, it’s the Ultra that we’re considering to rival Samsung’s best camera phone. These are the first handsets created from Xiaomi’s partnership with camera brand Leica, so you know they’ll be great for photography.
The Xiaomi 12S Ultra comes with ‘only’ three rear cameras, but what it lacks in snappers (compared to the Samsung) it makes up for in megapixels. There’s a main camera with a 1-inch 50MP sensor and an ultra-wide camera with a 48MP camera – both with aspherical lenses – and a 48MP telephoto camera with a 120mm focal length.
The camera also comes with a new stabilization technology called HyperOIS and a new AI image processing technology.
Additionally, the phone has a 6.73-inch 2K 120Hz display, a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, a 4,860mAh battery, 67W wired and 50W wireless charging, and a design that – well, you can see above . The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra’s rear screen is gone, it seems.
Review: a quiet year for Xiaomi
Xiaomi has confirmed that the 12S Ultra isn’t launching in most other regions of the world like its two siblings – in fact, it’s been pretty quiet for the brand (not including its sub-brands like Redmi and Pocophone).
We saw the Xiaomi 12 and 12 Pro earlier in the year, but there wasn’t an Ultra version or even a Lite alternative. We still expect to see a Xiaomi 12T later in the year, but we still don’t have confirmation of that.
It’s a shame Xiaomi isn’t releasing its 12S phones worldwide, as the Ultra in particular looks impressive, but there’s still a chipset shortage after Covid, and it’s also possible that the Ultra’s impressive sound hardware is difficult to manufacture in large quantities.
Hopefully, we’ll see similar technology in future phones from the company, including those released outside of China – in which case we could see more Xiaomi handsets making their way onto our list of the best smartphones.