Xiaomi 12S Ultra Smartphone Review in 2022

4.3/5 - (18 votes)

Xiaomi 12S Ultra Smartphone Review in 2022

This is the xiaomi 12s ultra it’s basically what happens when you try to cram all the most extreme tech that 2022 has to offer into one phone and I’ve been using it for almost a month now so let’s find out if it’s enough to dethrone Samson’s s22 ultra which is arguably the king of android right now the very first thing that occurred to me as i opened up the package for the first time

with absolutely no idea of what this was going to look like was wow the 12s ultra is the best design phone xiaomi has ever made it’s a really rounded seamless body that actually feels like it was designed with your hands in mind they finally dropped that line of text that they used to have on the mi 11s which makes the newer phone cleaner they’ve swapped out the glossy finish for this matte leather-like one and i think it’s perfect i genuinely think this is the one type of finish that can feel both premium and practical it’s got a hint of softness zero fingerprints plus it’s really grippe it feels like the body of a professional camera and speaking of cameras for me this is the biggest design improvement is how xiaomi

has presented them here you know that scattered complexity that top end phone cameras have started to exude like the vivo x80 pro and even xiaomi’s last old phone where there’s just so many distinct elements i really think this central uniform circle is the antidote to that it doesn’t make the protrusion any less but it’s so much neater and so when compared to Samsung when you factor in that the symmetry of the xiaomi practically eliminates all table wobbling how its curved corners are less gabby how the texture on its back is less slippery and as a bonus how it’s easier to clean the dust build up around one big ring as opposed to five smaller rings i think xiaomi’s made enough sensible decisions for me to give this design

  • category to them so then you flip the phone around and you’re greeted with a familiar sight on first glance this is pretty much the cookie cutter format of how 90 of android phones now look from the front the screen has been updated to fit the 2022 spec it’s now based on funnily enough Samsung’s e5 panel technology for better battery efficiency and it’s also now able to match the s22 ultra’s extreme levels of brightness i’m actually

in a huge park in the middle of Greenville north Carolina right now and this is still very usable even in like the middle of the hot American summer but it’s nothing you haven’t seen before and bizarrely since the company’s last me 11 ultra the screen bezels have actually gotten thicker and the viewing angles worse which i can’t help but be disappointed by and it’s enough for me to air towards Samsung

in the screen category but then i started properly using the phone and i was just shocked at how fast the 12s is it absolutely flies and when you pair that speed with the lively animated MIUI 13 software skin it’s a visual spectacle i mean don’t get me wrong MIUI is not perfect it’s notoriously a little bloated with pre-installed apps and it seems quite aggressive in restricting the use of third-party launchers which is kind of a shame

because that freedom is one of my favorite things about android but i like its style i like how it’s not as corporate feeling as Samsung’s one ui it’s a little less utilitarian and it’s just more color and more personality it doesn’t take itself seriously and for me that’s just more fun i spent so much time in the personalization section making sure my icons are just the size that i like them choosing my favorite fingerprint scanning

animation and even how my phone behaves when it receives a notification and this whole software experience is catalyzed by the fact that this xiaomi is not powered by the same snapdragon 8gen 1 chip that the Samsung is but in fact the new 8 plus gen 1. it’s not a complete generational gap in performance between the two but it’s enough

that i can notice it when I’m deep into a prolonged gaming session it does creep out ahead which kind of makes sense because the key thing it was designed to do was to be more efficient to get less hot and therefore be better at sustaining performance over a longer period shout out to the speakers by the way really loud and crisp and very much on par with Samsung’s best and the 12s ultra does also come right out of the box with twice as much storage as Samsung’s

phone does starting at 256 gigs so i’m giving the performance category to the xiaomi with the exception of its fingerprint scanner which is not fast xiaomi does have this really cool feature where as you’re holding your finger on the fingerprint scanner you can you can kind of feel the intensity of the vibration rising up until the point where it kind of clicks in place and the phone unlocks it’s very satisfying but the fact that you have to hold your finger there for a noticeable period of time it is starting to

feel a bit slow in 2022 and it’s also quite easy to miss the scanner now i do have to caveat this review with something last year i voted the me 11 ultra as my phone of the year and that’s simply because in my testing period of a couple of months it did perform better than any other but in the even longer term i think this phone has been let down by late and a lack of software updates now whether this is just where xiaomi’s priorities generally

lie or whether it’s just because this device in particular didn’t sell in huge numbers i don’t know but i just got the strong feeling that after the initial honeymoon phase that this wasn’t getting the same care that my equivalent Samsung phone was from the same year there were simple features like being able to use the full rear camera feature set while taking selfish by using the second screen on the back of the phone that i was under the impression were just a very quick update away but still over a year after launch haven’t arrived that might change this year but i’m just saying that i haven’t seen anything from xiaomi

that confirms it and given that Samsung has just recently upped their software update promise to four full years i feel pretty confident saying that you will get better update support right now on a Samsung phone so that’s two points to each phone so far this is a proper competition and it’s all led us to the battle of the cameras can you tell us my favorite bit so the very first thing you notice about the 12s ultra camera is that much like the rest of the software it is rapid it opens in a split second thanks

to a new feature that allows the camera to get ready to launch before you’ve even clicked on it and then the capture time is also dramatically quicker than last year this now sits next to the iphone as one of the snappiest phone cameras out there which also has the knock-on effect of less motion blur in the end photos and we should probably talk about those end photos because one of the other key upgrades on this phone is a new one-inch sensor which makes this basically the highest end camera hardware in the entire crop of current flagships and you know what it delivers i’ve never enjoyed using


a phone camera this much i’ve never been so excited to take a photo with it and then check it to see how cinematic it’s turned out to be how crisp it would make the foreground and how naturally blurred out the background and at night time it’s been just as fun seeing how dark you can go with the phone still being able to turn that scene into something intelligible this is not the first phone i’ve used to have a one inch sensor but it’s the first one i’ve used to also combine it with high-end image processing and also some impressively intelligent focusing that can detect both eyes and faces and give priority

to them and i mean the results speak for themselves really Samsung tends to to sharpen images to a crisp which can sometimes make them look more impressive on first glance but zoom in and more often than not the detail is actually higher on the xiaomi plus the sharpening isn’t always a good thing like the other day i tried a snow cone for the first time and the Samsung sharpened the photo so much that up close it looked

kind of unappetizing the most surprising thing for me though was that this high bar that’s been set by the phone’s photo performance it also carries through to the video i would go as far as to say that the xiaomi 12s ultras video is a big step up from Samsung’s it’s slightly better at those high dynamic range scenarios and it is much cleaner looking especially at night where a phone’s ability to fight grain becomes more important than ever plus xiaomi’s

done a little bit of magic when it comes to the image stabilization they’ve got a new system in place on this phone that they’re calling hyper ois and what it means is that if i hold these two phones side by side and give them both a shake look at the difference the xiaomi is just rock solid and then finally i do also like to give extra credit to companies when they can also make the camera experience fun and xiaomi does that it has a section called movie effects which lets you recreate some very cool and also very weird Hollywood filming techniques document scanning mode is highly practical and can use ai to further

r enhance and sharpen text after the photos taken it’s very good and i don’t think i’d use this but the fact that you can see six different camera views at the same time on this multicar mode is also pretty cool there is a but though if you watch my videos for long enough you’ll probably know there’s always a but so firstly this phone is the start of xiaomi’s collaboration with camera company Leica there’s Leica branding on the handset itself there’s these moody Leica filters baked into the camera app and the shutter button now makes the iconic like a sound every time you tap it but the primary new like a feature

is that the camera now uses Leica’s color science and it’s not very good you get two choices in the camera like authentic and like a vibrant but to be honest they’re both too saturated and neither is particularly good at nailing down the richness of skin tones which is one of the strengths of Samsung’s camera not to mention that the colors change a fair bit as you move closer and further away from objects and they change majorly as you swap between the main camera and the ultra wide camera

i mean look at this look how rich and beautiful and cinematic this shot looks but then the second you get a little bit too close and the phone tries to switch to its ultra wide camera oh my gosh it just just completely falls apart and this is the other thing that i want to talk about well i know it looks like the entire camera system has been completely revamped here what’s really happened is that the main camera has had a major upgrade and the entire rest of it has just really been rearranged the ultra wide


camera is now basically the same but it’s just been moved from this position to this position the five times optical zoom camera is again practically the same but sits here now instead of here and the rear screen that we used to have well that’s just gone now it used to let you use the main rear cameras to take selfies with that’s such a cool feature but now on the 12s ultra you’re just left with

a more standard sulfide cam which is weaker than Samsung’s and for some reason still capped at 1080p video recording i’m happy to cut xiaomi a little bit of slack as i have been using this phone on pre-release software but it is very close to final so i don’t think much is going to change so on balance xiaomi wins when it comes to the main camera the most important camera that you’ll probably use most of the time the Samsung


wins when it comes to a lot of the other bits the ultra wide the zoom and the general color science which lisa said about a draw after all that’s said and done though the final key pillar that’s kind of holding everything else together is the battery experience i have been pushing both of these phones to their absolute limits over the last week we’re in the hot American summer the screens have spent most of their time on max brightness i’m testing the cameras throughout the day and in that environment both of these phones are just about breaking six hours of screen on time Samsung


does have a higher battery capacity technically but it seems to be balanced out by xiaomi’s more efficient chip that said the charging situation is pulling me slightly more towards xiaomi it charges faster when physically plugged in with 67 watts of power versus 45 it charges much faster when it comes to wireless with up to 50 watts of power versus up to 15 it can reverse charge other phones faster being able to deliver up to 10 watts of power to another device versus 4.5 and i also just really


like xiaomi’s battery software it lets you set up automations to save further battery and like two clicks and it even tells you all the different settings you could change to give you extra battery and exactly how many extra minutes they’re going to give you based on your current usage which means xiaomi does edge out the samsung points but not by enough of a gap for me to say that it’s a winner if you watch a lot of my videos you’ll know that i’m not afraid to outright say that one phone is better than another but in this case i just i just love them both and i really wish the two companies could


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