Xiaomi 12S Ultra: Unboxing and Hands-On!
A while back, we featured the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, one of the most powerful smartphones released by the Chinese tech giant this year. It comes with the new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip from Qualcomm, as well as a powerful camera set-up.
With that said, we finally managed to get our hands on it – a lengthy process considering that the phone is not available globally. Nevertheless, we finally have it here for a quick hands-on, and overview of the device’s hardware features.
So, what’s it like meeting Xiaomi’s latest portable powerhouse in the flesh? Let’s take a look.
Packaging and Unboxing
The Xiaomi 12S Ultra comes packed in a minimalist-looking (but premium-feeling) box. It comes with several accessories which include a transparent TPU case, paperwork with a manual and warranty, as well as a 67W fast-charger, cable, and SIM ejection tool. The TPU case in particular does seem like it will be protective, although it’s very basic and might turn yellow over time.
In a world full of smartphones that have mostly stopped including accessories alongside the device, it’s nice to see Xiaomi continue to pack a charging brick and cable with the 12S Ultra.
Design and Display
Up front, we are greeted by the 6.73 AMOLED display, which is bright and responsive. The display also comes with a layer of Gorilla Glass Victus, and houses the phone’s fingerprint scanner, which proved to be fast and accurate (especially when compared to the Pixel 6 Pro’s scanner). It does feature curved sides though, which is something that might not appeal to everyone. Nevertheless, it is a great-looking display and certainly conveys a “premium” feel.
There’s a lot of aluminum that goes around the sides of the phone, which adds to the premium feel. The right-hand side features a power button as well as the volume rocker, while the bottom houses a loudspeaker (one of two on the device), USB-C charging port, and sim card tray.
The back panel is made out of a material that Xiaomi refers to as “environmentally-friendly silicone leather,” which is supposedly water and dirt-resistant. There’s very minimal branding on the rear, which only displays the Xiaomi and Leica logos, the latter of which is placed near the large, circular camera module.
Software, Internal Specs
The 12S Ultra comes with Android 12 on board, although this is customized with Xiaomi’s MIUI (version 13) skin on top. For those unfamiliar with MIUI, it is essentially Xiaomi’s custom Android skin which comes pre-installed on the company’s phones, much like Samsung’s One UI, and OnePlus’ Oxygen OS. This means that the handset comes pre-loaded with a ton of Xiaomi’exclusive apps and software features, as well as added customizability.
Now, while the handset was imported all the way from China, it does have support for English language settings which is nice, and means that the phone will be usable in the UK. However, there are some built-in apps, ads and software which occasionally display Chinese characters and text.
Inside the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, its new and most powerful smartphone chipset to date. The unit we have comes with 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of internal storage. Additionally, the phone runs on a 4,860 mAh battery, which supports 67W wired fast-charging, and 50W wireless fast-charging.
Mobile gamers will be pleased to know that the 12S Ultra comes with a liquid cooling system, which should help a lot with heat dissipation not only with gaming, but other CPU-intensive tasks like video editing and whatnot.
As for camera hardware, there’s a large module on the rear panel which houses a 50.3 MP camera, a 48 MP periscope telephoto lens, and a 48 MP ultrawide sensor, which Xiaomi collectively brands as a “Leica Professional Optical Lens.” This officially marks the beginning of the Xiaomi and Leica partnership, which was revealed earlier this year (the Leica branding partnership was formerly used by Huawei for its phones).
In terms of video capture, the phone will be able to record up to a maximum of 8K video in 24fps, 4K video in 30/60fps, in addition to the usual array of video recording modes. The camera software will offer several photographic features, which include Leica “Authentic Look” and “Vibrant Look” modes, HyperOIS, Dolby Vision HDR Recording, as well as built-in AI camera modes. You can check out our early camera samples here.
As far as flagship smartphones go, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is certainly an impressive device, with a premium design, good-looking display, as well as powerful camera hardware. Other features such as fast-charging support and the latest and greatest Snapdragon chipset are no joke either and make us wonder why Xiaomi didn’t just release the phone globally.
With that said, we have a lot more coverage on this device, so be sure to visit our official YouTube channel where we review and go hands-on with different kinds of tech, as well as more Xiaomi 12S Ultra videos.