Xiaomi 12S Ultra Review – 1″ Sensor Camera + Genshin 58.8 FPS Playable 8+ Gen 1 = The Best Phone of The Year

I purchased Xiaomi 12S Ultra.

Camera and CPU performance are among the strongest

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 smartphone.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 was sometimes beaten in stability by the MediaTek Dimensity 8100/9000 due to its high heat generation and low efficiency, but the 8+ Gen 1 with TSMC 4nm process is much improved, combining high efficiency, Qualcomm’s high-performance Adreno GPU and cooling technology delivers high performance at low power consumption, surpassing even the best gaming smartphones out there.

In collaboration with Leica, the main camera is a 50MP SONY IMX989 with a 1-inch sensor, and a 48MP ultra wide-angle and periscope telephoto lens for beautiful shots in any situation.

This review is done with the V13.0.3.0.SLACNXM, 12GB+256GB version.

  • Unparalleled high performance & power saving 8+ Gen 1
  • 1″ sensor camera with Leica collaboration
  • 48MP periscope telephoto lens
  • WQHD+ with 120Hz refresh rate support
  • Vivid Samsung E5 AMOLED
  • Side stereo speakers (but asymmetrical)
  • IP68 water and dust proof
  • Too heavy
  • The protrusion around the camera is too large
  • Green or other colors may come out too strongly when taking pictures
Xiaomi 12S Ultra 2203121C
OS Android 12
Storage 256GB / 512GB UFS 3.1
SoC Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
 Display 6.73inch WQHD+ 120Hz AMOLED LTPO
 Size 163.17 x 74.97 x 9.06mm
 Weight 225g
SIM nano SIM + nano SIM
 Rear Camera 50MP (OIS Sony IMX989)
+ 48MP (Ultra-wide Sony IMX586)
+ 48MP (OIS / Periscope telephoto Sony IMX586)
 Front Camera 32MP (OmniVision ov32c)
Battery 4860mAh
USB Port USB Type-C (USB 2.0)
Bands 5G:n1 / n3 / n5 / n8 / n28a / n38 / n40 / n41 / n77 / n78 / n79
4G:FDD-LTE:B1 / B2 / B3 / B4 / B5 / B7 / B8 / B12 / B17 / B18 / B19 / B26
TDD-LTE:B34 / B38 / B39 / B40 / B41 / B42
3G:WCDMA:B1 / B2 / B4 / B5 / B6 / B8 / B19
2G:GSM:B2 / B3 / B5 / B8


Accessories include a transparent protective case, 67W charger, dedicated USB Type-A to C cable, and manual.


The transparent protective case is so cheap and uncomfortable to the touch that I hesitate to put it on the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, but with the case on, a lens cap such as the Ricoh GR III fits perfectly.

If you wish to add a case, you should purchase a genuine Xiaomi protective case (JDGIZTOPAliExpress).


2K AMOLED display with gentle edges

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra has a 6.73″ WQHD+ resolution AMOLED display.

Compared to the vivo X Fold, the display looks just a bit yellowish, but this is a matter of taste.

If you want a flashy vividness, you can adjust the mode and color temperature in the settings.


There is a punch hole in the center.

Unfortunately, it is an edge display, but it has more gentle edges than the vivo X80 Pro and others, so the edges are less blackened.


It is made by Samsung and is a diamond array.


The refresh rate can be selected from 60, 90, and 120 Hz.

It is good to be able to choose 90Hz in the middle when  120Hz is too much.

Perhaps because of the superiority of the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, scrolls are generally smoother than on past 120Hz supported Xiaomi phones.


You can choose between FHD+ and WQHD+ resolutions.


The touch sampling rate is up to 240 Hz, and the touch latency measured by the WALT Latency Timer was 8.7 ms from touch to kernel, 2.5 ms from kernel to Java, and 27.9 ms for screen drawing, for a total of 39.1 ms.

The latency is small for a 240 Hz phone.


Widevine L1 allows streaming in HD quality on Amazon Prime Video (beta) and others.


It also supports MEMC, which does frame interpolation on video.

You can activate it by selecting the app in the video toolbox…but it is hidden in a very deep level (Special features -> Floating windows -> Sidebar).


You can activate MEMC by opening the sidebar in the video application you have added to the target, pressing Picture and turning on Enhanced animation.


Silicon leather for good touch

The back of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is made of silicone leather, which is said to be more resistant to deterioration than traditional leather.

Compared to the vivo X Fold’s leather, the texture is different, with a moist feel and an image that could be found on the body of a digital camera.

It is IP68 waterproof and dustproof.


The Xiaomi 12S Ultra weighs 227 grams.

It is light compared to foldable smartphones, but heavy for a phone with a 6.7″ screen.


Leica collaboration for atmospheric photography

Xiaomi 12S Ultra has

  • 50MP (OIS Sony IMX989)
  • 48MP (Ultra-wide Sony IMX586)
  • 48MP (OIS Periscope telephoto Sony IMX586)

triple cameras.

The camera protrusion is quite large, about the size of 6 SIM cards.


You have to choose between Leica Vibrant, which is more vivid, and Leica Authentic, which is closer to realistic tints.

It does not appear to be possible to turn them off.


You can add Leica’s signature watermark in normal and portrait mode.

The watermark alone gives the impression of a professional work of art.


The night mode is available separately from the normal photo mode, but it is also possible to have the camera automatically shoot in night mode while in normal photo mode.


All handheld, photos taken with the Leica Authentic in auto are stored here, and photos taken with the Leica Vibrant are stored here.

The Authentic tends to produce shadows like vignetting, while the Vibrant tends to pull up the shadows.

The left is Leica Vibrant and the right is Leica Authentic, both of which are highly saturated.

I took some photos and found that there seems to be an adjustment error that increases the saturation too much under some conditions, and regardless of the Vibrant or Authentic, the saturation is sometimes higher than it actually is.

Xiaomi phones are often not well adjusted when they first come out, so I expect this area to improve with updates.


In nightscape mode, Authentic is more prone to white-out, so if you want to shoot bright, non-white-out nightscapes, you may want to shoot in Vibrant mode.

On the other hand, if you want to take pictures of atmospheric nightscapes with low brightness, Authentic is a better choice.

Vibrant on the left and Authentic on the right.

夜景Vibrant on the left and authentic on the right, showing that the shadows are lifted more in the vibrant.


It can also capture the starry sky in handheld mode.

Vibrant can take pictures in pitch-dark conditions with the naked eye and it is quite bright with Vibrant. It’s quite good at night scenes.


It gives a nice bokeh effect even if you just take a quick shot.

However, due to the nature of the 1-inch sensor, it is sometimes difficult to focus on objects close by.

The 2x zoom is quite beautiful, and you can also zoom in a little further to take a shot.


Portrait mode allows you to always shoot with a blurred background.


I tried shooting at 1x, 0.5x (0.6x), and 5x in that order.

At 5x, there is an adjustment error that increases the saturation of the greens too much, making them much more vivid than they actually are.

Zooming is possible up to 120x, but is only practical up to 50x at most.




Stereo speakers but not strong bass

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra features Harman Kardon-tuned stereo speakers.

Although the speaker holes are placed on the sides, they are asymmetrical, unfortunately.

When held horizontally, one speaker hole is easily covered by the hand.

Compared to the POCO F4 GT and other models, the bass does not seem to be very strong.


With the Xiaomi MIX 4, it was Harman Kardon sound instead of Dolby Atmos, but with the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, you can only choose Dolby Atmos.


The audio output latency was 34.0 ms when measured with the WALT Latency Timer.


Buttons are concentrated on the right side

The power and volume buttons are lined up on the right side.

There is nothing on the left side.


VoLTE activation with a single command

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is powered by a 4860mAh second generation silicon oxygen anode battery and is capable of 67W fast charging.

Unfortunately, it was not compatible with 120W fast charging.

USB Type-C

Supported bands are

  • 5G:n1 / n3 / n5 / n8 / n28a / n38 / n40 / n41 / n77 / n78 / n79
  • 4G:FDD-LTE:B1 / B2 / B3 / B4 / B5 / B7 / B8 / B12 / B17 / B18 / B19 / B26
  • TDD-LTE:B34 / B38 / B39 / B40 / B41 / B42
  • 3G:WCDMA:B1 / B2 / B4 / B5 / B6 / B8 / B19
  • 2G:GSM:B2 / B3 / B5 / B8
  • CDMA 1X:BC0

and VoLTE is disabled by default, but can be activated by dialing *#*#86583#*#*#* in the phone app.


8+ Gen 1 to make all 8 Gen 1 phones a thing of the past

The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 that the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is powered by has a level of performance improvement that cannot be contained by a “+”.

Originally, Qualcomm often had a strong GPU and optimized for each game, so the combination of the Adreno 730 GPU with the TSMC 4nm process CPU, and the leaf vein cold pump cooling technology on the 12S Ultra, even surpasses the MediaTek Dimensity 9000.


The Xiaomi 12S Ultra has two modes: the balance mode used by default and the performance mode. Since results in normal use are more important in everyday use, the benchmark is measured in balanced mode.

In Geekbench 5, single-core is 1294 and multi-core is 4253.

Both single-core and multi-core exceed Dimensity 9000.

Since there is no significant difference even in the version with the package name disguised as Genshin, it appears that the system has been changed so that throttling is not performed based on the package name determination.


In the 3DMark Wild Life Stress Test, the score was 10389, with a temperature increase from 32°C to 44°C (12°C increase) and 22 to 77 FPS.

This also exceeds Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Dimensity 9000, but the change is smaller than the CPU.

The change in CPU from Samsung to TSMC had the biggest impact.


PCMark Work 3.0, which measures performance in everyday use such as document manipulation, scored 13276.


With LPDDR5 memory and UFS 3.1 storage, sequential writes are particularly fast.


The performance varies considerably between Balance and Performance modes.

First, I played Genshin in balanced mode at the highest quality and 60 FPS setting and measured with WeTest PerfDog, the average power consumption was 89.4 mW per FPS at 45.8 FPS.

The battery temperature only rose to about 38°C at maximum, and the side frames did not get so hot that they were comfortable.

If you want to play for a long time without raising the temperature while maintaining a reasonable FPS, the balanced mode seems to be a good choice.


Next, I played Genshin in performance mode at the highest quality and 60FPS setting and measured it with WeTest PerfDog, and to my surprise, it averaged 58.8FPS and consumed 82.5mW per FPS.

Even a phone with MediaTek Dimensity 9000 could not maintain this level of FPS, and even the vivo X80, which was the most efficient among the measured devices, averaged 50.9FPS and 108.42mW, so the results exceed Dimensity 9000 in both drawing performance and power savings.

Of course, there is also a big gap with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which is inferior to the Dimensity 9000 in frame rate stability, and anyone who says that “a gaming smartphone with the 8 Gen 1 is the most powerful smartphone” any longer is a whack job.

Android smartphone Benchmark Charts; CPU, GPU, memory & storage performance, and touch latency – AndroPlus
Here’s my benchmark results for each SoC and device. List of Benchmark Results AnTuTu benchmark is a popular Android benchmark app, but often falls victim…
Android smartphone Benchmark Charts; CPU, GPU, memory & storage performance, and touch latency - AndroPlus

The temperature was not so hot that I could not hold it, with a maximum of about 41°C. If anything, the display surface was hotter than the back. (This may be due to the thermal conductivity of the leather)

The results were obtained in a room with a room temperature of about 29°C, so this is a great result in harsher conditions than other 8 Gen 1-equipped smartphones measured in the winter season.


The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is not only performed well for Genshin.

In the European-made game World of Tanks Blitz, playing at 120FPS setting and all graphics settings at their highest values, the average was 121.3 FPS (!?). and power consumption was 45.33mW per FPS.

With the exception of the 30FPS fixed menu, there were very few occasions where the graph dropped from the 120FPS level, and the game was played with an incredibly smooth display.

The smoothness, which is better the lower the better, was a whopping 0.0, with zero junk, a result not seen on the 8 Gen 1 or Dimensity 9000 phones.

This means that it is not optimized only for Chinese games like the Dimensity 9000, but can perform well in all kinds of games.

When playing at 120 FPS, which is a big load, the maximum temperature was 41°C.


OS is only available in English

Unfortunately, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is not scheduled for official sale outside of China.

Therefore, in the Chinese version, only Chinese or English can be selected from the menu.


You can set other languages by hitting the MIUI version 7 times in a row to bring up the Developer options, open it in the Additional settings, enable USB debugging and USB debugging (Security), and then run adb shell settings put system system_locales ja-JP (change ja-JP to your language code) and reboot.

The system will remain in English except for camera apps, etc., but apps installed from the Play Store will be in the language you set.

You need to download the Google Play Store from APKMirror or other sources, but you can start using it simply by installing it with a file application without any troublesome settings.


  • Unparalleled high performance & power saving 8+ Gen 1
  • 1″ sensor camera with Leica collaboration
  • 48MP periscope telephoto lens
  • WQHD+ with 120Hz refresh rate support
  • Vivid Samsung E5 AMOLED
  • Side stereo speakers (but asymmetrical)
  • IP68 water and dust proof
  • Too heavy
  • The protrusion around the camera is too large
  • Green or other colors may come out too strongly when taking pictures


The Xiaomi 12S Ultra delivers higher performance at lower power consumption than even the 8 Gen 1 gaming smartphones currently on the market.

The weakness of the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 that it could only demonstrate performance in a few games, has also been resolved in the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 era has dawned.

It is a little disappointing that the camera has not yet caught up with the adjustments for its collaboration with Leica, but you can basically just shoot on auto for atmospheric photography, and thanks to the periscope telephoto lens, even distant objects can be clearly captured.

If you have trouble choosing a high-end smartphone, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is the best choice.

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is priced from 5999CNY.

Buy at JD


Buy at AliExpress

If you are not looking for that much camera performance, I recommend the Xiaomi 12S and Xiaomi 12S Pro.

The Xiaomi 12S in particular is relatively compact and lightweight.

Buy 12S at JD

Buy 12S Pro at JD

Pocket Mastodon
Posted in