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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

With the Mi 11 Ultra, Xiaomi wants to become a champion of the photo

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With the Mi 11 Ultra, Xiaomi presents its first ambitious terminal in terms of photography. A smartphone is at the forefront of the point of view of components but whose technical sheet “image” seems without real weakness.

We will have to wait for a field test to determine the actual photo qualities of the Mi 11 Ultra. On paper, Xiaomi’s new (remarkably) high-end terminal seems to be flawless. A revolution for the Chinese which aims to abandon its image of a manufacturer “with low margins,” championing the quality/price ratio in favor of a more upscale positioning.

Used to variegated camera modules with more or less random qualities, Xiaomi has indeed put “heavy” in its new flagship. On the one hand, the main module with the new Samsung GN2, the largest sensor on the market. With the late Nokia 808 in 2013, the second-largest image sensor in the smartphone world. Behind the Panasonic CM1, the only terminal in history to see a 1-inch sensor on board.

This 50 Mpix sensor, which offers 12.5 Mpix images as output, incorporates the new evolution of Samsung’s ultra-fast focusing mechanism, the Dual Pixel Pro, which adds a new dimension of evaluating the precision of the focusing. Point – previously in the “left-right” comparison, the phase correlation mechanism between two adjacent photosites adds the “top-bottom” dimension.

If the optics are there (and the algorithms!), The main module’s sensor would be the one that collects the most light in the entire industry and, potentially, the fastest to focus.

If this priority of a super sensor makes sense for the main camera module, Xiaomi has also and above all taken care of its two other modules. Not only is the angular coverage of the ultra-wide-angle (12 mm eq.) Comprehensive and the telephoto (120 mm eq.) Powerful and these two modules are equipped with a large sensor, the IMX 586 of Sony, a 48 Mpix model in 1 / 2.0 ” format. This sensor is not only much more significant than those of the ultra-wide-angle and telephoto modules of the competition (usually equipped with 1 / 3.x ” sensors), but it is significantly larger than many main camera modules, like that of the ‘iPhone 11 Pro (1 / 2.5’ ‘)!

As for the choice of focal lengths – 12mm, 24mm, and 120mm equivalents – this appears to us, on paper, as an ideal mix. Very wide side ultra is wide-angle and powerful but not too much in terms of telephoto. The 240mm equivalent modules from Oppo, Huawei, and other Samsung have proven the weaknesses of such a low angular coverage – unusable at night.

Suppose Xiaomi has successfully interconnected the powerful ISP of the Snapdragon 888 and its camera modules’ robust sensors. In that case, the Chinese company has enough to put in its hands a cutting-edge terminal in terms of photography. Xiaomi would be a 1st for the brand and a new welcome to the world of Android, “bereaved” by the loss of ground of the champion Huawei. A Huawei still valiant in r & d and by far the most innovative in terms of photography before the series of blacklisting of the US government came to bring down its smartphone division.

Will Xiaomi be able to stand up to the rise of Oppo and the return of Samsung? Will it be able to offer a user experience at the level of Apple’s? See you in a few weeks, as soon as we have got our hands on and tested what could be the first big box for a Chinese brand full of ambitions. And who does not count on somewhat hazy marketing partnerships (cuckoo,  OnePlus, and Hasselblad  !) To justify their skills.

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