It was believed that Samsung would benefit the most when U.S.-imposed sanctions effectively devastated Huawei’s mobile division. After all, Huawei’s phone division was ascendant and on track to surpass Samsung as the largest manufacturer of smartphones by market share.
While Samsung has undoubtedly benefited from having competition no longer chasing after it, it appears that Xiaomi has benefited the most from this. According to its earnings report from the previous year, the Beijing-based tech behemoth expected a 69 percent increase in smartphone shipments in 2021 and a jump of 54,7% in revenue. The majority of Huawei’s former mobile clients look to be being acquired by Xiaomi.
Additionally, Xiaomi has recently acquired Huawei’s erstwhile business partner in mobile imaging. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is the first Xiaomi phone to feature the new Leica co-branding, which was introduced shortly after Huawei revealed that its association with German camera manufacturer Leica was ending earlier this year.
In actuality, Xiaomi’s Ultra phones have been favourably welcomed by consumers and tech critics for the past two years, and the new 12S model adds cutting-edge, previously unheard of camera technology—the Leica branding is merely the icing on the cake.
Xiaomi invested $15 million in the research and development of the Sony IMX989 sensor, which is the primary camera of the 12S Ultra. And at 1 inch, it has the biggest sensor ever found in a smartphone. Although it’s important to note that the IMX989 sensor’s physical size isn’t exactly one inch, Xiaomi is not to blame for this slightly deceptive marketing strategy.
Whatever the case, this visual representation of the IMX989 next to other top smartphone sensors helps put the size difference into context.
While megapixel count and aperture size can both aid with image quality in mobile photography, the most crucial technical component is sensor size because the larger the image sensor, the more light it can capture. Additionally, light is without a doubt the most crucial element in digital photography.
Due to its larger sensor than devices like the iPhone 13 Pro Max or even Samsung’s top-of-the-line S22 Ultra, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra can reliably capture more light information, including dynamic range and details. It also contributes to Xiaomi’s camera having a shallower depth of field for that expert bokeh appearance. For instance, see how Xiaomi’s image in the collage below shows a sharper focus dropoff, separating not only the 360 camera from the background wall but also the wallet and phone.
Therefore, how does Leica fit in? As a result, Xiaomi was able to perfect its colour processing, giving the device that recognisable contrasty Leica look with dark shadows and vibrant reds. By the way, the Leica watermark label at the bottom of the photographs can be removed; it is really disabled by default. For these setups, I only turned it on for testing.
The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is a premium flagship in every other way as well. The 12S Ultra has the most recent Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip, which is substantially more energy-efficient than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 standard chip. It has a 6.7-inch 120Hz OLED display with a customizable refresh rate between 1Hz and 120Hz.
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