Update: A new batch of claimed leaked renders show off how the standard Xiaomi 12 will look more understated than its Ultra sibling.
The Xiaomi 12 Ultra could be the first Android super-flagship phone of 2022, and going by the latest information to trickle out about the device, it certainly seems to have the camera gear to support such a claim.
What you see on this page are renders published by LetsGoDigital, with the art supplied by Technizo Concept. These in turn are based on supposed leaks by RODENT950, who showed off two images of alleged phone cases for the 12 Ultra on Twitter.
Note, these are unofficial renders based off a case for the alleged Xiaomi 12 handset, so it's good to be a tad skeptical.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is the current top dog of Xiaomi's flagship phones (excluding the alternatively spec'd Xiaomi 11T Pro). It offers not only the largest camera by area on any current smartphone, but also a second mini display on the back camera bump for notifications and mirroring the camera app's viewfinder.
The 12 Ultra doesn't seem to have this display. Instead, there are a ridiculous eight openings on the back, based on supposed cases shown off by RODENT950. Not all of these will be cameras, but that's still an indication of a well-equipped rig. The Mi 11 Ultra only featured three cameras on the back: a 50MP main camera, a 48MP ultrawide camera and a 48MP 5x optical zoom camera, making this looks like a substantial upgrade if true.
Assuming the smallest hole is for a microphone, and that the long skinny sensor in the bottom center will be the flash, that leaves us with six possible sensors. The center opening is believed by LGD and RODENT950 to contain the main camera, potentially a 50MP GN5 sensor from Samsung. It's probably fair to assume that there will be an ultrawide and telephoto lenses, bringing the total camera slots up to three. It begs the question: what could the others be?
The fourth camera (housed at the 12 o'clock position on the bump), will possibly be a second telephoto camera, like we had on the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra or the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Having two optical zoom cameras allows for greater versatility when trying to get mid-ranged objects to fill the frame, such as when taking portrait shots.
Adding this lower-powered telephoto camera back to the Xiaomi 12 Ultra would be useful, but that still leaves two more cameras. We would guess that one of these will be a time-of-flight or depth sensor, for more effective AR or portrait photo mode shots. As for the other, we'd imagine it'll be some other kind of specialized sensor, perhaps for macro or video. LGD also suggests that a color temperature sensor could be an option.
On LGD's renders, you can see a red Leica logo also on the camera bump. That's present because of a rumor claiming that Xiaomi and Leica are the latest phone-maker/camera-maker partnership in the smartphone world. These team-ups can have some great effects on photo quality, like we saw with Hasselblad's involvement with the OnePlus 9 series. We'll have to wait and see exactly what Leica's involvement entails before we get too excited about the potential.
Beyond cameras, we'd expect Xiaomi to equip the 12 series, including the 12 Ultra, with a 6.8-inch QHD display capable of 120Hz refresh rate, as it's been using on the past few generations of flagships. Powering up the 12 Ultra may be the job of an included 120W charger, the same one used on the Xiaomi 11T Pro. The charging system for the standard Xiaomi 12 is instead rumored to be the 67W system used on the Mi 11 Ultra and the basic Xiaomi 11T
What we know for sure is that the Xiaomi 12 will feature the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset. That's already been announced, so you can expect top performance for this device, at least when compared to other Android phones.
Xiaomi is expected to release the 12 series before the end of December. However, that's likely to only be a domestic Chinese release. We'll probably see a global release in March 2022, although that won't include the U.S., where the brand has yet to sell its phones.