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Xiaomi 12S Ultra may be the most impressive phone this year, but you won’t be able to buy it

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Xiaomi 12S Ultra camera Source: Xiaomi

Xiaomi unveiled the 12S Ultra flagship, alongside the Xiaomi 12S Pro, Xiaomi 12S, and Xiaomi 12 Pro Dimensity Edition high-end devices. The new 12S Ultra is the most impressive smartphone from the company yet, and it packs a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, 1-inch sensor, and Leica optics.

Xiaomi 12S series: Availability & Pricing

Xiaomi 12S Ultra colors Source: Xiaomi

Before we talk about the good news and the impressive technologies and specifications, let’s start with the bad news. Xiaomi officially confirmed that the new Xiaomi 12S series would not be available outside China. We’re sad to see the company keep some of the most impressive and high-end Android devices locked away from the international community, and we hope to see future devices launch globally.

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For those living in China, they’ll have to spend CNY 5,999 (~$895) for the 8/256GB variant, CNY 6,499 (~$970) for the 12/256GB model, and CNY 6,999 (~$1,044) for the highest-end with 12/512GB variant. The Xiaomi 12S Pro will be available from CNY 4,699 (~$700) for the 8/128GB variant, while the Xiaomi 12S will launch at CNY 3,999 (~$596). The Xiaomi 12 Pro Dimensity Edition will retail for CNY 3,999 (~$600) for the 8/128GB model.

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Xiaomi 12S Ultra Specifications

The new Xiaomi 12S Ultra weighs 225grams, and it’s one of the heavier phones on the market, although it lines up against other competitive devices, such as the Galaxy S22 Ultra which weighs 228 grams. The 12S Ultra also has an IP68 certificate against dust and water.

The 12S Ultra packs a large 6.73-inch LTPO 2 AMOLED display with 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate and 2K (1,440 x 3,200) resolution. The panel also boasts a peak brightness of 1,500 nits, making it excellent for consuming HDR10+ content. The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus.

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is powered by the latest Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset with 8/12GB of RAM and 256/512GB of UFS 3.1 storage. The new chipset brings 10% improvement to CPU and GPU performance and is 30% more power-efficient. With great power comes great cooling responsibility, and the 12S Ultra features a 3D liquid cooling mechanism that helps remove the heat from the hot components.

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The device also packs Harman Kardon stereo speakers, supporting Dolby Atmos. Software-wise, the phone runs Xiaomi’s MIUI 13, based on Android 12.

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra comes with a 4,860mAh battery. The phone supports 67W wired, and 50W wireless charging out of the box, which is weird, considering the Xiaomi 12S Pro supports 120W wired charging. Fortunately, the device still supports 10W reverse wireless charging. We would’ve loved to see a faster-wired charging technology, but we can’t complain about the current speeds as they’re still faster than some of the competition.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra Camera

Xiaomi 12S Ultra camera Source: Xiaomi

And now, let’s talk about the camera. Xiaomi teamed up with Leica to improve the camera capability, and upon first inspection, it looks like it’s more than just slapping a logo and branding on the back of the device.

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra has three sensors on the massive circular camera bump on the back. The primary shooter is a Sony IMX989 1-inch sensor, and it’s a 50MP unit with f/1.9. It’s the largest sensor on a smartphone today, and it has 3.2µm. The sensor also has OIS, laser autofocus, and PDAF.

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The secondary sensor is a periscope telephoto unit. It features a 48MP sensor with f/4.1, and it’s capable of 5x optical zoom. It also features OIS and PDAF to keep objects clear and in focus. The third sensor is a 48MP unit with f/2.2 aperture. The selfie shooter features a 32MP camera with f/2.5.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra-Green Source: Xiaomi

Leica isn’t only bringing the optics to the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, but also a lot of software functionality. The 12S Ultra adopts an 8P aspheric lens, which helps resolve lens flare, ghosting, and chromatic aberration. As you would expect, the phone also features two modes in the camera app: “Leica Authentic Look” and “Leica Vibrant Look”. The former allows for more natural-looking images, while the latter uses Xiaomi’s computational power while applying Leica’s looks.

Photo-wise, the 12S Ultra can even capture 10-bit DNG RAW files, giving users more power when editing images. Xiaomi also says that Adobe Lightroom will use the metadata embedded in the files to speed up editing images, and to further optimize it in post.

You might think that the 12S Ultra is aimed at photographers and amateurs, but it’s also great for videography, as the phone support Dolby Vision and HDR recording. It can capture 10-bit h.265 videos in 4K and FHD at 30/60 fps at up to 80Mbps.

We’re impressed with the specifications, especially the camera hardware and software features. We would’ve loved to see the Xiaomi 12S series launch globally, and we’re hopeful that Xiaomi will release future devices globally to all users in Europe and North America. In the meantime, let us know your favorite features about the new Xioami 12S Ultra in the comments below!

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Phones

Here’s why I’d buy the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 over the Galaxy Fold 4

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Xiaomi Mix Fold 2
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Xiaomi Mix Fold 2
Source: Pocketnow

Smartphone companies are announcing their new foldable flagship devices left and right. On August 10, Samsung unveiled the new Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4. Motorola also unveiled the new RAZR 2022 flip phone, and Xiaomi revealed its latest Mix Fold 2 foldable device.

In my last post, I explained why I can justify spending $1,799.99 on the latest Galaxy Z Fold 4. However, suppose you’ve seen the specifications and the technology inside the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2. In that case, you may have been tempted to pick that up instead, as it seems to be better than Samsung’s latest offering.

Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 device dimensions Source: Xiaomi

Before we get ahead of ourselves, here’s a quick summary of the specifications of the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2. The device features the same foldable form factor as the Galaxy Z Fold 4, and it has a 6.52-inch AMOLED cover display with 120Hz refresh rate and a comfortable 21:9 aspect ratio – which is even closer to a traditional smartphone than the Fold 4. The inner screen measures at 8.02-inches, and it’s an LTPO 2.0 OLED display, supporting 120Hz adaptive refresh rate with HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and 1,300 nits peak brightness. The screen also features UTG (Ultra Thin Glass) technology, like previous foldables, and it can fold flat, unlike the Galaxy Fold 4.

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Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 dimensions Source: Xiaomi

The phone measures 5.4mm when unfolded, and just 11.2mm when folded. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Fold 4 measured 6.3mm and 15.8mm respectively. The Mix Fold 2 is much closer to a traditional smartphone with a beefy battery, while the Galaxy is still somewhat of a brick.

The phone is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, coupled with 12GB of RAM and 256/512GB and 1TB storage, the same as the Fold 4. The camera department is also rather familiar, as the Mix Fold 2 packs a similar 50MP, IMX766, f/1.8 sensor, alongside an 8MP f/2.6 telephoto with 2x optical zoom, and a 13MP f/2.4 ultrawide. On top of that, Xiaomi also partnered up with Leica to optimize the camera sensors, and there are additional filters to achieve a complete Leica look when taking photos. The device doesn’t have an under-display camera, or any selfie camera on the inner display, instead, it has a 20MP selfie camera on the cover display.

Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 cameras Source: Xiaomi

The last, but notable difference is in the battery department. The Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 has 100 mAh more than the Fold 4, which is relatively small at 4,500 mAh. However, the Xiaomi device supports 67W fast wired charging, which can top up the device from 0 to 100% in just 40 minutes. The Fold 4 can only go from 0-50% in 30 minutes using the 25W charging technology. The downside is that the Mix Fold 2 doesn’t support wireless charging or reverse wireless charging, which could be a dealbreaker for many, including myself.

Why I would buy, or at least consider buying the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2

Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 in black color showing the front and back Source: Xiaomi

As a foldable smartphone enthusiast, the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 is very appealing. It has a larger cover display and inner screen and the latest and greatest chip on the market. Hopefully, it has a decent camera setup and a long-lasting and fast-charging battery. All of this can be yours for around CNY 8,999 (~1,335) for the 12/256GB model, which is significantly less than what Samsung is asking. For reference, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 starts at $1,799.99.

I can see the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 appeal to a lot of people, and the price alone makes it a worthy competitor, although it remains to be seen how much it’ll cost outside of China with the included fees and taxes.

The main reason I would buy the Mix Fold 2 over the Galaxy Fold 4 is to save money and space in my pocket. I’ve used the Galaxy Z Fold 3 over the past year, and while I love the device, it’s fair to say it’s a large brick, and if you’re not used to the heavy weight and bulky form factor, it could quickly become painful to carry it around.

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Assuming that the wireless charging and water-resistant features aren’t important to me, I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 immediately. It packs everything that most users want, and I could see myself enjoying it. Xiaomi is also great at taking photos and getting the most out of the battery, thanks to their optimization techniques, which makes me confident that I’d be a happy Mix Fold 2 user.

Reasons against buying the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 outside of Asia

Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 in gold color showing the front and back Source: Xiaomi

The primary reason for deciding against the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 comes down to a few features that the company had to sacrifice to save space and money on manufacturing the device. The foldable doesn’t have an IP rating. While it may be able to survive a bit of splash water damage, it’s unlikely to survive a full submersion – this isn’t a dealbreaker for me, as I don’t use my devices at the beach or pool. Still, it’s essential for safeguarding and protecting a rather expensive investment.

Secondly, the fact that it doesn’t support wireless charging is a deal breaker for me since I always charge my devices at my desk during daytime, and also while driving and navigating around.

The affordable price tag is also something that’s worth considering, given that Xiaomi might not make it officially available in most regions, and support may be limited or restricted. For those living in Asia, it’s an excellent option, but for those of us living in Europe and North America, it may be better to go for a more expensive foldable that has better overall software and hardware support, and also packs the additional features.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

The latest Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 comes with the most powerful Qualcomm SoC, a wider display, a better hinge mechanism, and many significant upgrades over its predecessor. You can pre-order it now and receive the Standing Cover with S Pen, up to $1,000 off with eligible trade-in, and up to $100 Samsung Credit.

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Three reasons why I’m upgrading to the Galaxy Z Fold 4

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Source: Pocketnow

Samsung announced the Galaxy Z Fold 4 on August 10, at the Galaxy Unpacked event. At the event, the company also revealed the brand new Galaxy Z Flip 4, the latest Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro smartwatches, as well as the new Galaxy Buds 2 Pro wireless earbuds. The new devices feature significant upgrades over their predecessors, and the new phones are now powered by the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 SoC, feature a better hinge mechanism, and are also slightly more lightweight and smaller.

I have been using the Galaxy Z Fold 3 since last year August, and those who caught some of my Tweets will know it’s my favorite device. I’ve never had as much fun as I do with the Fold 3, and it has dramatically improved the quality of my life by increasing my productivity and making specific tasks easier – especially when multitasking. I understand that some might call it a gimmick, but once you wrap your head around the way you intend to use it, and you find the best practical use case for it, it instantly becomes one of the best and most fun devices you’ll ever own.

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Display size matters

Pun intended. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is slightly shorter and wider than the Galaxy Z Fold 3. The difference in the width is only about 0.3mm, but it makes all the difference. The bezels are smaller, and the aspect ratio and width are closer to a standard smartphone than the last generation.

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I can’t tell you how often I used popular and well-known applications and websites, only to discover that some UI elements are cut off. Sometimes the only way to comfortably use services, apps, and websites was to unfold the device and use the large display. It’s not the most ergonomic or user-friendly thing to do, but it’s something that I managed to get used to over the past 12 months.

The wider display should eliminate all of these problems, and typing on the keyboard will also be much easier due to the added screen estate. I loved how easy it was to use the Fold 3 with one hand, but I think that will still be possible on the Fold 4,, since it’s still narrower than most traditional smartphones.

I’m hoping to see a better battery life

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 Source: Pocketnow

The 4,400 mAh battery in the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is small, and while it gets me through a whole day, it often causes me to have battery anxiety. I always pack a portable charger with me when I go on a road trip, since I can’t trust myself not to play games to make time fly faster.

So far, early impressions indicate that the new Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 and the improved Android 12L might yield better efficiency results, but we’re yet to see the final results in our full review. I’m hoping that the Fold 4 will live up to expectations and provide a much better battery life that doesn’t require as much thinking before going out.

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Better camera on the back

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 camera
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Source: Pocketnow

Many people complained that Samsung didn’t make any significant changes to the Fold 3’s camera setup, and while I can completely agree with that statement, the results were still flagship worthy. There was some noise in low light and at night, and it wasn’t quite a Pixel 6 Pro level of quality, but it was adequate and still very good. Of course, when you factor in the high price tag, you’ll see why so many people complained, but I found the camera on the back really good for capturing moments and important memories.

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is equipped with a near identical camera setup to the one found on the Galaxy S22 Plus. So far, it shows a significant boost in the quality of photos when using the primary camera and the 3x optical telephoto sensor. The 30x Space Zoom also seems impressive looking at a few early samples, but we’re yet to comment on the images in our final review.

Conclusion

These reasons alone might not be enough for a lot of people to spend another $1,799.99 on a brand new foldable, but let’s not forget that you can trade-in your previous, or old smartphones at Samsung and receive an insane amount of credit to reduce the overall costs. Carriers are also stepping in with some ridiculously amazing deals, and the Samsung Upgrade program is also a great way to spread the cost over a two-year period, while having the option to upgrade annually.

I decided that the upgrades were enough for me to justify spending the extra money. As a Samsung Upgrade customer, I decided to upgrade to the Fold 4, given how much better the experience can be on the new generation. The Fold 3 was a small, but mighty upgrade compared to the Fold 2, and while it’s the same this time around, I think the changes are well worth the money.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

The latest Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 comes with the most powerful Qualcomm SoC, a wider display, a better hinge mechanism, and many significant upgrades over its predecessor. You can pre-order it now and receive the Standing Cover with S Pen, up to $1,000 off with eligible trade-in, and up to $100 Samsung Credit.

What are your thoughts about the Galaxy Z Fold 4? Did you buy it, upgrade, or decide it’s not for you and skip it? Let us know in the comments!

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