Xiaomi puts the focus on the camera with 12 Pro smartphone launch



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 Mobile tech giant Xiaomi has given smartphone photography a boost with the launch of the 12 Pro flagship, which sports a significant bump at the back that’s home to three 50-MP cameras – the main module being built around Sony’s large IMX707 sensor for the promise of improved low-light snaps.

The 1/1.28-inch sensor at the heart of the main camera makes use of 2.44-µm 4-in-1 pixels, which Xiaomi says should offer a 49 percent improvement in light capturing prowess compared to the previous generation. That performance is given a further boost from the company’s own Night Mode algorithm, making the leader of the 50-megapixel triple camera pack something of a low-light beast.

The remaining cameras in the array make use of a JN1 image sensor – one being an ultra-wide with a 115-degree field of view and the other offering 2x telephoto capabilities. The Night Mode algorithm is available for use with these modules too. And a dual-LED flash completes the picture.

The 12 Pro is powered by Qualcomm’s latest mobile processing platform, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which comes with a 3-GHz Kryo processor, a 7th-gen AI engine, a new GPU for much improved rendering of graphics, and a 5G modem claimed to top out at 10 Gbps.

To help with system stability, Xiaomi has included a cooling system featuring a 2,900-mm2 vapor chamber soaking plate and three large graphite sheets to dissipate heat.

The smartphone can be had with up to 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256 GB of onboard storage, it sports a 6.73-inch display using Samsung’s E5 LTPO OLED technology at 3,200 x 1,440 pixels, with a 120-Hz refresh rate and 1,500 nits of peak brightness, as well as support for HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. The handset also features dual speakers with custom mid-woofers and tweeters, sound tuned by Harman Kardon and support for Dolby Atmos.

The 12 Pro is reported to boast the industry’s first single-cell 4,600-mAh battery for more capacity compared to dual-cell designs without increasing overall battery size, and is capable of 120-W fast charging and 50-W wireless charging too.

The Xiaomi 12 Pro runs Xiaomi’s new MIUI 13 operating system and goes on sale in China from today for a starting price of RMB 4,699 (which converts to about US$740, though there’s no word at present on global availability).

A standard version Xiaomi 12 is also up for grabs, which is built around the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, can be had with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, comes with a 6.28-inch, 120-Hz OLED display at 2,400 x 1,080 pixels and 1,100 nits of peak brightness, and a triple camera setup comprising a 50-MP main, 13-MP ultra-wide and a 5-MP telemacro. Pricing for this handset starts at RMB 3,699.

And in a bumper launch, Xiaomi added a new smartwatch and a pair of wireless earphones to the release pot.

The Watch S1 has a starting price of RMB 1,099, and features a stainless steel frame and 1.43-inch AMOLED display beneath sapphire glass. In addition to notifications and mobile apps, the wearable supports up to 117 fitness modes. The battery is reported good for up to 12 days of regular use or 24 days on standby, and the smartwatch is water-resistant to 5ATM.

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