Xiaomi has teamed up with Leica to launch the Xiaomi 12S Series of Android phones and, after taking just one look, it's clear to see why Samsung, Sony, Google and more smartphone makers should be taking note.
The Leica and Xiaomi partnership, which was announced (opens in new tab) at an event in China on Monday, has led to a truly astounding looking new camera system being brought to the Android phone market. The flagship Xiaomi 12S Ultra, which will go on sale for around $900, demonstrates the fruits of the Leica partnership perfectly.
The 12S Ultra includes a state-of-the-art one-inch camera sensor from Sony, the IMX989, which is simply gigantic in smartphone imaging sensor terms. The phone's primary camera also uses a stunning 8P aspheric lens, which helps eradicate flare, ghosting and chromatic aberration, while the camera module itself also boasts an anti-glare lens coating, lens edge ink coating, cyclic olefin copolymer material, and infrared light filter with spin coating technology.
Leica have also built specialised Leica imaging profiles that have been designed to specifically make use of the incredible senor and lens on the 12S Ultra.
Simply put, Xiaomi appears to have taken smartphone camera technology to an entire new level with this new camera system.
"The entire series features different imaging systems jointly developed by Xiaomi and Leica, containing Leica Summicron lenses, and supports Leica imaging profiles, all of which aim to empower individual creators to express their creativity, while retaining the authentic style of Leica imagery," says the company.
So, what about the Android phone competition
So is Xiaomi's new Leica partnership camera system really unchecked as the best in the world for Android phones?
Well, Samsung is rumoured to be working on a 200MP sensor that may or may not make it into next year's Samsung Galaxy S23 series, and specifically the Galaxy S23 Ultra, while big camera upgrades are expected to be incoming in the Google Pixel 7 series.
Sony has been quietly kicking ass this year with a series of phone releases with great camera systems, so it likely closest to Xiaomi in terms of competition, but at least on paper it is still hard to look past the new system coming out of China.
The truth is it seems that Xiaomi has now beaten these Android phone makers to the punch in terms of being top dog in terms of Android phone camera systems, so it will be interesting to see how their systems stack up.
Of course, the proof will be in the pudding so to speak with the new Xiaomi / Leica camera system, as stellar specs don't always lead to stellar photos in the real world. But, we tell you what, they really do help!
Where rival Android phone makers can breathe a little sigh of relief is in the fact that this new Xiaomi phone series is not getting a launch in the West right now, with it being a China exclusive.
In terms of non-camera specs, Xiaomi 12S users can expect the latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, a 6.73-inch AMOLED display, IP68 water resistance, fast charging support, a 4,600 mAh battery, and much more.
So, in all ways the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is a flagship release, but where it seems to move the bar notable is in the camera department.