The Xiaomi 12s Ultra is the best camera phone I’ve used, but it’s missing one thing

There is so much to love about the Xiaomi 12s Ultra. It has a huge 1-inch camera sensor that captures nuanced, rich photos. It performs incredibly well, day or night, and even its videos look superb, held together by lock-tight stabilization at up to 8K resolution. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s the best camera phone I’ve ever used, and after testing every major flagship smartphone for over a decade, that’s a mighty accolade – but it’s still lacking.

Notably, the Xiaomi 12s Ultra is missing a feature that Samsung introduced on the Galaxy S9, brought back to the S10 and then scrapped for the S20 series. The feature was pretty much useless back then, so why would the world’s most powerful camera phone need a once-useless feature? I’ll explain everything, but first it’s worth a quick recap that runs through what the 12s Ultra is and why it’s not launching outside of China.

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