Xiaomi 12S Ultra | RIP Samsung

Xiaomi 12S Ultra | RIP Samsung

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  • Post last modified:April 26, 2023
  • Post category:Tech
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Xiaomi 12S Ultra

During their release event sometime last year, Xiaomi unveiled their new Xiaomi 12S lineup. Among the devices announced, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is the one that caught most people’s attention. It is the successor to last year’s flagship; the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra and it packs tons of features and improvements. For starters, Xiaomi is finally dropping ‘Mi’ in their naming convention. The company stated that it was necessary in order to maintain brand uniformity globally.

Prior to this, Xiaomi phones in the Western market had the ‘Mi’ naming convention while in China, this naming convention never caught on hence the need for brand uniformity.

Aside from that, this new Xiaomi flagship features a better and improved camera system more so in the main camera. The main camera now features a 1-inch Sony IMX989 camera sensor. More on this later. The camera layout is now more interesting and different than ever. Xiaomi really outdid themselves here. But can the Xiaomi 12S Ultra beat the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra which is currently considered the king of Android phones?

Xiaomi 12S Ultra

Stick around to find out. In this article, we are going to discuss its design language, the newer and better performing Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, the superior cameras, the display technology and I will finally give you my final verdict.


  • Material – Glass Front, Aluminum Frame, eco leather black
  • Display – 6.73” AMOLED
  • Refresh rate – 120Hz
  • Brightness – 1500nits (peak)
  • OS – Android 12
  • Skin – MIUI 13
  • Chip – Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ gen 1
  • RAM – 8GB/ 12GB
  • Storage – 256GB/ 512GB
  • Main Camera – 50.3MP(Wide), 48MP (Periscope telephoto), 48MP(Ultra-wide)
  • Video – 8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps, 720p@3840fps
  • Selfie Camera – 32MP(Wide)
  • Video – Yes
  • Headphone jack – No
  • Ports – USB Type C
  • Battery Capacity – 4860mAh
  • Infrared Port – Yes
  • Fingerprint sensor – Yes (Under display)
  • NFC – Yes
  • Fast charging – 67W, 100% in 41 min
  • Fast Wireless charging – 50W
  • Reverse Wireless Charging – 10W
  • Colors – Black, Dark Green
  • Starting Price –$1199

Design language.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra comes with a new redesign, unlike anything in the past. The glossy Ceramic back from last year has now been replaced with a new material that Xiaomi is referring to as Eco Leather. It is firm to the touch while being a non-fingerprint magnet which phone manufacturers can’t seem to resist nowadays. The frame is made of Aluminum giving the phone a more premium feeling.

At the front, this phone features a 6.73-inch display with a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. What’s even more interesting about this display, is that it uses Samsung’s E5 Panel technology. Since the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra uses this display, they are more or less the same which is a good thing.

This display is LTPO enabled meaning it supports adaptive refresh rate which aids a great deal in terms of battery life. In addition to this, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra features one of the brightest AMOLED displays in the market thanks to the Samsung E5 Panel technology. At 1500 nits, it is plenty enough to use even in bright outdoor environment. In contrast, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has a peak brightness of 1750 nits.

Fingerprint sensor.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra comes with an under display optical fingerprint sensor. As compared to most phones in this price range, the optical sensor is not a solid move. Don’t get me wrong, it works great but it comes with a few disadvantages. More on this below. A great alternative to this would be an under display ultrasonic sensor. But the real question is, how does it differ from an optical sensor.

Well, an Ultra sonic sensor works by transmitting Ultra sonic pulses to your finger once you place it on top of the sensor. The pulse then maps out the ridges and pores in your finger and bounced back to the sensor. If the fingerprint is correct the phone will unlock.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra

In contrast, an optical fingerprint sensor works by reflecting light to your finger which is why it lights up when you place your finger to unlock the phone. It uses a high-resolution image of your fingerprint to determine if it is the correct one. The LED that lights up is used to illuminate your finger allowing the sensor to detect the fingerprint image by using light and dark areas that are created by your fingerprint ridges rather than scanning the ridges themselves.

Pros of an Ultrasonic sensor.

  • Very Fast.
  • Very Precise.
  • Foolproof meaning it is almost impossible to bypass it.

Cons of an Ultrasonic Sensor.

  • The only con to an ultrasonic sensor is that it is very sensitive to the type of screen protector that you use. As a side tip, when placing the screen protector, ensure that there are no air gaps.

Pros of an Optical Sensor.

  • Cheap to develop and use.

Cons of an Optical Sensor.

  • Relatively slow.
  • Easier to fool as it uses a high-resolution image of your fingerprint to work.
  • Unreliable more so when your finger is a bit oily or dirty.


Xiaomi 12S Ultra Camera

The camera system in this phone is easily one of its upsides especially when compared to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. This year, they managed to fit a 1-inch sensor to the main camera. This translates to an amazing picture quality even in low lighting. In addition to this, Xiaomi has partnered with Leica to make camera systems for their phones. This is not unheard of as most phone companies have been doing this for years. A good example of such a collaboration is Oneplus and Hasselblad.

Such partnerships bring the expertise of the camera companies in phones. For example, in the Xiaomi camera interface you can find high quality Leica filters. Furthermore, they are mindful to the tiniest of details such as Leica’s shutter sound which enhances the brand’s authenticity.

Quality wise, the main camera produces crisp images and in low lighting according to some tests, it out performs the beast of a phone that the S22 Ultra already is. In addition to the 50.3MP main camera, it also features a 48MP telephoto camera and a 48MP Ultra-wide camera.

All these rear cameras are superb, no complains here. The problem starts when you flip to the 32MP Selfie camera. The quality is fine due to the superior image processing of this phone. My only issue with this camera, is that it supports a maximum output of 1080P which is unacceptable at this price point. Even the lower spec Samsung Galaxy S22 outputs a maximum resolution of 4K/60fps. Xiaomi really needs to take the selfie camera a bit serious.

Aside from that, Xiaomi’s OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) is rock solid. This simply means that if ever find yourself filming while running or in an unstable situation the OIS will iron out any ‘creases’ giving you a very stable video.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra image comparison

It is also worth noting that the rear screen from last year’s Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is now gone. This rear screen had a lot of potential and it is such a shame it was discontinued before we ever got to see its full potential. Function wise, most people used it to take selfies as the rear cameras produce a much crispier image quality as compared to the relatively inferior selfie camera.


Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra comes with the latest chip from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. It was announced in May and its main selling point from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is efficiency. Both chips are more or less the same with the main difference being the manufacturing process.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 was based off Samsung 4nm process while the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is based off TSMC’s 4nm process. TSMC’s 4nm node is more advanced and more power efficient as compared to the latter. This results in better thermal management and sustained performance over a long period of time without thermal throttling. Qualcomm claims that this chip produces up to 30% reduced GPU power consumption while having better GPU clock speeds of up to 10% when compared to the Snapdragon 8 gen 1.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 gen 1 performance upgrades

In addition to this, both chips feature Qualcomm’s 7th Gen AI engine. In a report, Qualcomm claims that the AI engine in the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 offers 20% better performance per watt when compared to the Snapdragon 8 gen 1 chip.

Performance wise, Xiaomi takes the clear win against the S22 Ultra mainly due to the upgraded chip. It is no secret that Samsung has been struggling with Exynos chips. Recent reports claim that Samsung is working on an in-house chip which is scheduled to come out in 2025 alongside the S25 lineup. It is still unclear whether it will be an Exynos chip or whether it will be rebranded. Either way, it is about time for Samsung to join Apple and Google in manufacturing their own custom chipsets.

Battery life.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra charging speeds

With this phone, you can easily get over a day of battery life. It has a relatively large 4680mAh battery which is more than enough to power this device. Part of the reason this phone has a good battery life, is thanks to the efficiency of the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip.

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra offers fast charging of up to 67W. This simply translates to 0-100% in 41 minutes as advertised by Xiaomi. In contrast the S22 Ultra has a maximum charging of 45W. This phone also supports 50W Wireless charging which is miles ahead of the S22 Ultra at a mere 15W. Reverse wireless charging is also available at 10W as compared to 4.5W in the S22 Ultra. In terms of charging and battery life Xiaomi takes the clear win.

Final thoughts.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra camera System

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is easily one of the best phones of the year. It challenges the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra while taking the lead in some categories. The only cons to this phone is the inferior selfie camera and perhaps the heavily bloated MIUI13. Other than that, it ticks the box for the perfect flagship phone in 2022. When compared to the S22 Ultra, they are both great and it would be a disservice to claim that one is better than the other.

Personally, I would go for the S22 Ultra mainly for the OneUI and regular software updates over a long period of time. Would you choose the Xiaomi 12S Ultra over the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Drop a comment below.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Carson Anekeya

    For me, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra stands out due to its renowned OneUI and the promise of consistent software updates over an extended period. The user-friendly interface and the assurance of regular updates ensure a smooth and reliable user experience over time.

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