Xiaomi is showing off a trio of new smartphones today, and one of them comes with a pretty huge novelty: a 1-inch camera sensor, which is relatively giant for a smartphone.
Everything about Xiaomi’s new flagship smartphone, the Mi 12S Ultra, is big. It has a 6.73-inch OLED display, a high-end Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 system on a chip, and a camera lens-like bulge on the back that takes up about a third of the back of the phone.
Inside that fake lens are the phone’s three cameras: a 48-megapixel ultrawide, a 48-megapixel telephoto with 5x optical zoom (and a “120x” digital zoom that probably won’t look very good), and finally, the main 50-megapixel camera, which uses that 1-inch sensor.
A few different companies have installed 1-inch sensors in their phones before, but that hasn’t been very common – you’re more likely to find 1-inch sensors in higher-end point-and-shooters like the RX100 series from Sony. The larger size allows the sensor to gather more light and capture more detailed images. It won’t turn a phone into a DSLR, but it could be a step up from the typical smartphone camera; the iPhone 13 Pro, for example, has a sensor size of 1/1.65 inch, according to DPReview. (Although for reference, the actual size of a sensor’s imaging area is smaller than its stated measurement would imply.)
Xiaomi says the phone’s camera system was “co-engineered with Leica”, and the company said Engadget that it shared the cost of developing the 1-inch image sensor with Sony. Sony actually released a phone using a 1-inch sensor late last year, but it only captured part of the sensor, while Xiaomi’s phone would use the whole thing.
Camera aside, the Mi 12S Ultra otherwise has the typical specs of a flagship phone. It has IP68 water and dust resistance, a large 4,860mAh battery, 67W wired fast charging, and a 120Hz refresh rate display. The phone is also said to be the first Android device capable of filming in Dolby Vision HDR.
The 12S Ultra will be launched for the first time in China. A model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage will sell for 5,999 RMB (about $900), while a high-end version with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage will cost 6,999 RMB (about $1,050). ).
In addition to the 12S Ultra, Xiaomi is also presenting two low-end models: the 12S and the 12S Pro. Both of these phones have a primary camera sensor that is 1/1.28 inch in size, which is smaller than the Ultra but still larger than the typical smartphone sensor. The 12S has a smaller 6.28-inch 120Hz display, while the 12S Pro has a 6.73-inch 120Hz OLED display, like the Ultra. Both get the same Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip. Pricing for the 12S starts at RMB 3,999 ($600) and pricing for the 12S Pro starts at RMB 4,699 ($700).