The new Xiaomi 12S Ultra Concept Machine does something none of the best Android phones do: it lets you attach a professional Leica camera lens to your phone. As CEO Lei Jun says, it’s the first smartphone in cell phone history that can be equipped with Leica pro-spec lenses, but even without adding a super lens, the specs are really tasty.

The leak comes via Ice Universe on Twitter (opens in a new tab), which acquired photos showing the phone in action. It’s pretty massive on its own, and really huge with a lens attached.

Xiaomi Mi 12S Ultra Concept Device

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Why does the Xiaomi MI 12S Ultra Concept Machine have a massive lens?

It’s all about photo quality. Smartphone lenses can’t do much with their lenses due to their tiny dimensions; it’s one of the reasons why smartphone zooms turn so quickly into digital zooms. But by equipping a phone with a way to mount professional lenses on it, which Xiaomi worked closely with Leica on, you can get a lot more optical power.

In order to handle that power, the phone’s camera module also got a pretty major upgrade. The Concept Machine – whose name, release date and price are still unconfirmed – has two 1-inch image sensors instead of the single sensor in the Xiaomi 12S ultra, and in the Concept Machine, the second sensor is in the center of the camera module to work with these additional lenses.

If you don’t need that much camera power, Xiaomi already has a pretty impressive alternative, also developed in partnership with Leica: the Mi 12S Ultra, which was announced earlier this year, has Leica lenses. and a triple camera model with 50.3 wide telephoto cameras, 48MP periscope and 48MP ultrawide cameras. Unfortunately, this one is limited to the Chinese market, and if the Concept goes into production, that will likely be the case for this phone as well.

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So why should this worry Samsung Galaxy?

Thing is, as Ice himself put it succinctly in another Tweet visible above, while it’s clear that this Concept Machine phone won’t hit the mainstream, it’s Xiaomi right now that’s pushes the boundaries of what smartphones can do in terms of photography, not Samsung.

What we seem to be seeing in the phone industry right now is Chinese brands like Xiaomi starting to take the lead in technological progress in a number of key areas of mobile telephony, including photography and systems. of battery. This means phone enthusiasts are now turning to companies like Xiaomi for the next big thing.

And, while Samsung and other major phone makers like Apple offer their own areas of pioneering technology expertise, such as foldable phone technology for Samsung and processor silicon for Apple, things like taking pictures and charging are really important to each phone userso the fact that Xiaomi now dominates these areas should worry Samsung and other rivals, as it will make them increasingly attractive as the technology gap widens.