In its new Mi 12S Ultra flagship smartphone, Xiaomi put a huge sensor in the camera

If you click on a Verge link and make a purchase, Vox Media may receive a commission. Our ethics statement can be found here. Among the new smartphones, Xiaomi is introducing today is a smartphone with a huge new feature: a 1-inch camera sensor. Compared with most smartphones, this is an impressive size.

As for Xiaomi's new flagship smartphone, the Mi 12S Ultra, it is not just the size of the device but how it is built as well. On the back of the phone, there is a large camera-lens-shaped bulge that takes up about a third of the back surface area of the device, and it has a 6.73-inch OLED display.

The phone features three cameras: an ultra-wide 48-megapixel, a telephoto 48-megapixel, and a 50-megapixel main camera that uses that 1-inch sensor and has 5-x optical zoom (but not 120x digital zoom).

While a few companies have introduced 1-inch sensors into their phones in the past, it hasn't been very common - you're more likely to find 1-inch sensors in high-end point-and-shoot cameras like Sony's RX100 series, which come with 1-inch sensors.

This larger sensor allows for more light to be captured and better quality images to be captured due to the greater size. In terms of the size of the sensor, the iPhone 13 Pro, for example, has a sensor size of 1/1.65-inch, according to DPReview,

But it will not transform a phone into a DSLR camera, but it could be a step up from the typical smartphone camera. (Although for reference, it would be more accurate to say that the size of the actual imaging area on a sensor is smaller than what its stated measurements suggest.)

In an interview with Engadget, Xiaomi said the phone's camera system was 'co-engineered with Leica,' as well as splitting the cost of developing the 1-inch sensor with Sony. The Sony phone released late last year used a 1-inch sensor, but it only captured part of it, unlike Xiaomi's phone, which is said to use the entire sensor.

Except for its camera, the Mi 12S Ultra does everything a flagship phone should. With IP68 water and dust resistance, 4,860 mAh battery capacity, 67W wired fast charging, and 120Hz refresh rate, the device has a lot to offer. A Dolby Vision HDR camera is also supposed to be included with the phone.

Chinese consumers will be able to purchase the 12S Ultra first. A model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage costs RMB 5,999 (around $900 USD), while a high-end version with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage costs RMB 6,999 (around $1,050 USD).

Xiaomi is also introducing two lower-end models: the 12S and 12S Pro, alongside the 12S Ultra. There is a 1/1.28-inch sensor on those two phones, which is smaller than the Ultra but still larger than a typical smartphone sensor.

A small 6.28-inch 120Hz display can be found on the 12S, while a 6.73-inch 120Hz OLED display can be found on the 12S Pro. There is no difference in the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip between the two. RMB 3,999 (USD 600) is the starting price for the 12S, while RMB 4,699 (USD 700) is the starting price for the 12S Pro.

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