The new Xiaomi 12S series phones are the first phones to sport Leica co-branding since the partnership with Huawei ended.
The flagship Xiaomi 12S Ultra is also priced at well under £1000 (nearer £800 for the 12+256GB model), although that’s perhaps not that relevant for a phone that won’t be released here.
Like last year’s Xiaomi Mi11 Ultra, It might however be something that some people will decide to import, but bear in mind the Chinese models won’t come with Google services.
Sure, it can be side-loaded but that then makes the phone little different to the faffing about that put people off buying the most recent Huawei phones – and likely led to the ending of Huawei’s partnership with Leica.
The jewel-in-the-crown for the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is the 50.3-megapixel, 1-inch, IMX989 image sensor from Sony (giving an effective pixel size of 3.2μm), paired up with a further two Sony IMX586 48-megapixel sensors for the telephoto and ultra-wide cameras.
The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is the first Android phone to support Dolby Vision HDR for video recording and playback, with HyperOIS offering an ultra-stable performance when capturing video.
Both the Xiaomi 12S Ultra and Xiaomi 12S Pro models come with a 6.74-inch AMOLED display with HDR10+, 2K resolution, 1500 nits peak-brightness, and 1-120Hz refresh rate.
The models are all powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 – with a 30% gain in energy efficiency, and 10% performance uplift on both the CPU and GPU.
There is also an all-new heat dissipation system on the Ultra, which uses a series of channels to move cooling liquid around the phone and reduce the need for thermal throttling. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra also gets a 4,860mAh battery with 67W wired charging, 50W wireless charging, and 10W reverse wireless charging. Two new dedicated chips are included to manage both the fast-charging element, as well as day-to-day power management.
A MediaTek Dimensity chip is also available for the Xiaomi 12S Pro, with a slightly lower retail price.
While these phones may not come to the UK, it’s fair to say that the Leica partnership will continue to develop and appear on globally released models later in the year – so sit tight and look at these phones for a hint of what might be to come!