Smartphones are finally matching 2012’s Nokia 808 in camera sensor size
The Xiaomi Mi Ultra. Xiaomi The back is ceramic. This early leak from YouTuber Tech Buff still shows off the rear display better than any of Xiaomi's official shots. The top and bottom. Look at the size of that camera bump! Xiaomi Following the leak in February, Xiaomi's Mi 11 Ultra went official today. This […]

The Xiaomi Mi Ultra.

Xiaomi

The back is ceramic.

This early leak from YouTuber Tech Buff still shows off the rear display better than any of Xiaomi's official shots.

The top and bottom. Look at the size of that camera bump!

Xiaomi

Following the leak in February, Xiaomi's Mi 11 Ultra went official today. This phone's main claim-to-fame is the inclusion of a second display tucked away in the camera bump. Plus, now that the official specs are out, we can see that "world's largest camera bump" also houses one of the world's largest smartphone camera sensors, the Samsung GN2.

The base specs are on the high end for a high-end 2021 Android phone: a 120Hz, 6.81-inch, 3200×1440 front OLED display, a Snapdragon 888, 12GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, IP68 dust and water resistance, Android 11 with MIUI, and a 5000mAh battery. Xiaomi offers 67W wired and wireless charging, which, along with OnePlus, is a tier above most other phones. Xiaomi touted the 5000mAh battery as being a "silicon-oxygen" battery, although the company failed to point to any serious benefit from its new battery formula. There's also Wi-Fi 6E, which greatly expands the capacity of Wi-Fi by adding 6GHz spectrum alongside the existing 2.4Ghz and 5GHz bands.

On the back, you get a 1.1-inch, 126×294 display with touch support. Xiaomi says the rear display supports an always-on display mode showing the time, date, and notifications. It can also act as a tiny little viewfinder for rear-camera selfies. There are three rear cameras, but the big news is that the main camera features a Samsung GN2 sensor. This is a giant 50MP, 1/1.12″ sensor, with a 1.4μm pixel size and quad pixel binning. The 1/1.12″ sensor size means modern smartphones are finally starting to match the Nokia 808's hardware, a groundbreaking camera phone released all the way back in 2012. The 808 also had a 1/1.12″ sensor with a 1.4μm pixel size, and despite being 9 years old, is still able to stand up to modern devices.

Since the Nokia 808 launch, modern image stacking techniques and newer AI models mean smartphone manufacturers can squeeze more and more photo quality out of a smaller camera sensor. Those are all improvements in camera software, though, and, if phone manufacturers would give up on their obsession with thin devices, there are major advancements that could be made in camera hardware, too. There was nothing really magic about the Nokia 808—Nokia just prioritized camera hardware in the 13.9 mm thick body. Xiaomi seems to have followed a similar strategy—it lists the Mi 11 Ultra at 8.3 8mm, but it looks like that measurement is without the camera bump. With the camera bump, the phone looks to be 2 or 3 mm thicker. Samsung isn't the only company pushing bigger camera sensors—the Sony IMX800 is rumored to be a 1" sensor.

Advertisement

No phone can go out the door today without multiple rear cameras, so the phone is also packing what looks to be standard-issue 48MP wide-angle and 5x optical zoom cameras, both using the Sony IMX 586.

The camera bump isn't the only thing special about this phone. The phone features a rare ceramic back—a feature we last experienced on the Essential Phone. We can't say ceramic has any huge benefits over the usual glass back. It's often said to be more scratch-resistant, but it's just as prone to shattering. Xiaomi also says the Harman Kardon stereo speakers (a Samsung brand) are "the loudest in the industry."

The Mi 11 Ultra goes on sale internationally (Xiaomi's press release does not say when) for 1,199 euros, or about $1,411.

|0|https://arstechnica.com/?p=1752905|1|https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Screen-Shot-2021-03-29-at-7.10.01-PM-760x380.png|2|arstechnica.com|E|

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *