Xiaomi 12S Ultra first impressions: looks Leica pro

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is the first phone from the brand to feature Leica cameras and here are our first impressions of the flagship smartphone.

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is an important addition to the company’s smartphone portfolio. It reflects a culmination of the brand’s partnership with legendary camera maker Leica, which began a couple of years ago. Since the Mi 5 back in 2016, Xiaomi has been working hard to perfect its camera game. The past few flagships like the Mi 10, Mi 11 Ultra, and Xiaomi 12 Pro have only proved that Xiaomi can deliver exceptional camera phones. With the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, the company believes it has achieved something special in the smartphone photography space.

I spent some time with the Xiaomi 12S Ultra recently in Pondicherry. Before talking about my first impressions, you should know that Xiaomi has no plans to bring this particular phone to India for now. However, you can expect a Xiaomi x Leica phone in the near future and I can tell you what to look forward to with regard to this partnership.

Leica camera system on the Xiaomi 12S Ultra

The most notable aspect of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra’s design is the large, circular camera module on the back. And that’s what Xiaomi really wants to highlight here as the camera system defines the phone. It comprises a 50MP 1-inch large primary sensor with OIS and 8P lens, a 48MP 128-degree ultra-wide lens, and a 48MP telephoto lens that supports up to 120x digital zoom. The brand felt it important to offer uniformly good sensors on the back for consistency.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra

On a hardware level, the Leica partnership allows Xiaomi to use a professional lens and high-quality materials such as a refractive coating to offer cleaner pictures with better control of light and shadows. On a software level, you get some dedicated Leica modes such as Leica Vivid and Leica Natural and the option to easily toggle between 35mm, 50mm, and 90mm focal lengths.

Of course, there are plenty of other modes available in the camera app of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra that we will be exploring in our full camera review, but it’s the Leica-specific ones that Xiaomi wants to highlight. Suffice it to say, the cameras are designed to impress. Below are some shots of Pondicherry taken from the Xiaomi 12S Ultra’s Leica cameras. We’ll let you be the judge of them.

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Xiaomi 12S Ultra specifications

Leica cameras aside, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is a flagship phone through and through. The phone features a premium silicone leather-like rear panel that comes in two colours – Verdant Green and Classic Black. At the front, you get a 6.73-inch WQHD+ AMOLED display with a 1-120Hz AdaptiveSync Pro refresh rate, Dolby Vision support, and Gorilla Glass Victus protection.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra

The latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset powers the Xiaomi 12S Ultra and there’s also a new 3D cooling system under the hood to keep things cool. In my brief time using the phone, the device felt smooth and swift. We will know more about the phone’s performance and thermal efficiency in our full review.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra

There’s a 4,860mAh battery under the hood that supports 67W wired charging, 50W wireless charging, and 10W reverse wireless charging. You do get a 67W charger in the box. Other features include IP69 dust and water protection, dual speakers with sound by Harman/Kardon, NFC, IR remote control, and X-axis linear motor, among other things.