All smartphone manufacturers these days are competing in the ever-increasing race for camera megapixels, but there are some like Xiaomi and Sony who are upping the sensor size for more significant image quality gains. Xiaomi hit the mark with its flagship 12S Ultra, a phone that comes equipped with a 1-inch camera sensor. Now a sibling with even more outrageous camera capabilities has debuted, but you’ll pay quite a bit for the privilege.
Xiaomi has detailed the 12S Ultra Concept today, which looks nearly identical to the flagship version currently on shelves. However, the Concept version comes equipped with not one, but two 1-inch camera sensors.
— Agatha Tang (@aggasaurus) November 2, 2022
To place those sensors inside the phone. Xiaomi had to sacrifice the periscope-style telephoto zoom camera. The second sensor that Xiaomi installed inside the 12S Ultra concept looks like the sensor assembly of a dedicated camera.
The company’s engineers got rid of the lens array in front of the 1-inch sensor, instead covering the entire array on top with a huge piece of sapphire crystal to protect it from scratches and dust. Xiaomi claims that despite the heavy modifications, the Concept model still retains its IP68 certified resistance against the elements.
Just above the center-mounted 1-inch sensor is a metal ring that relies on a twist-and-click system to fit Leica M-series camera lenses. Xiaomi’s official unveiling video shared on video shows the phone attached to a variety of professional Leica M-series lens kits.
The idea here is that the 1-inch secondary camera sensor with its own set of lenses will deliver great results when using the device like a regular phone. However, when you need those granular photography controls and advanced portrait effects, just mount a Leica lens and you’re good to go.
The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is an impressive specimen of smartphone engineering and gives a glimpse of the future ahead. On a side note, it’s also an infuriating revelation that engineers can fit an entire 1-inch camera array inside a phone’s chassis, yet brands have removed essentials like a microSD card and headphone jack. .
Rants aside, the 12S Ultra Concept would have cost around $41,000 to make, which is unprecedented for a phone. Even Caviar doesn’t charge that much for its over-the-top luxury custom iPhones.
According to reportsXiaomi made only a few units of the 12S Ultra Concept, and apart from giving a few lucky souls a brief hands-on time, it has no intention of putting them up for sale.
Meanwhile, if you want to try the other side of camera innovation, Xiaomi has just released the 12T Pro, a phone that offers a 200-megapixel main camera and costs $750. No Leica collaboration on this phone though the whispers in line indicate that the Xiaomi 13 Pro will be the next global Xiaomi phone with Leica expertise involved.
That said, if you’ve got your mind set on experiencing all the hoopla around 1-inch camera sensors, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra can be yours for around the same price as an iPhone 14 Pro, but with a lot more features in tow. . The Sony Xperia Pro-I is the only other mainstream option, but it costs $1,800 in the US.