Xiaomi 12S Ultra to sport a massive 1-inch camera sensor built with Sony

Xiaomi compares the Sony IMX989 sensor
(Image credit: Xiaomi)

What you need to know

  • Xiaomi is set to launch its latest top-tier smartphone on July 4.
  • The Xiaomi 12S will feature a new 1-inch IMX989 camera sensor from Sony.
  • The sensor will apparently not be cropped like other smartphones touting the same size.

Xiaomi is set to launch its next flagship smartphone soon and is wasting no time teasing the phone ahead of next week's full reveal. The Xiaomi 12S series has already teased a Leica partnership, however, now we're learning more about the camera sensor the company plans to include on the premium Xiaomi 12S Ultra.

Xiaomi revealed on a Weibo post (via Android Authority) that its upcoming premium smartphone will sport a new Sony IMX989 for a massive 1-inch primary sensor. Xiaomi did not mention the resolution, but it's said to feature a 50MP resolution with 1.15µm pixels, giving it a major leg up over some of the best Android phones.

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While a 1-inch camera sensor isn't unheard of, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra will seemingly be a step up from other smartphones touting the same size. This is because the phone will apparently have access to the full sensor size instead of a cropped version like Sony's own Xperia Pro-I.

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun also notes that the IMX989 sensor was developed by Xiaomi and Sony, spending a total of $15 million equally between them.

While the new sensor doesn't boast the massive 200MP resolution found in Samsung's latest ISOCELL HP3, the large sensor size and pixels will grant the upcoming phone impressive low-light and nighttime images, especially when taking pixel binning into account. Xiaomi claims this will improve light capture by 76% when compared to the latest iPhone, with better image quality and improved startup speed.

The company also revealed that its cameras would be powered by Leica, showing that the company is taking its new flagship seriously.

Meanwhile, the Xiaomi 12S and 12S Pro will feature a Sony IMX707 sensor which should improve light intake by up to 49% compared to the IMX766.

The Xiaomi 12S series will be fully unveiled on July 4, meaning there's only a short wait to see just how Xiaomi plans to take advantage of its latest imaging investment. With any luck, Sony can eventually follow suit with its own smartphones.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.