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12S Ultra: Xiaomi's latest top-end smartphone costs more than US$500 per unit to produce

12S Ultra: all of this cost how much? (Source: WekiHome via YouTube)
12S Ultra: all of this cost how much? (Source: WekiHome via YouTube)
The 12S Ultra can be described as Xiaomi's new camera behemoth in more ways than one. The OEM has also sourced the highest-end display for its latest flagship, driven by the fastest processor Qualcomm can provide. Now, the cost of packing all of this and more into the same device at the factory has been revealed.

Xiaomi introduced its new 12S Ultra Android smartphone as a super-flagship in many, many senses of the term - yet started it at a nearly reasonable 5,999 yuan (~US$888) for an 8GB RAM base model. Now, according to Counterpoint Research, the OEM may have thrown caution to the wind with that pricing scheme.

To say Xiaomi put the 12S Ultra together with the same unbridled enthusiasm for top-end specs as it had for its predecessor the Mi 11 Ultra would be an understatement. Now, Counterpoint Research has announced that it estimates the cost of doing so at no less than US$516 per unit.

As a bill of materials (BoM), that figure is arguably astronomical, even though it still fails to take Samsung's crown in this respect for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Unsurprisingly, a decent proportion of this 12S Ultra BoM goes to its new cameras and sensors, headlined as they are by the new and massive Sony IMX989. They cost $79, or 15% of the total cost, per unit; however, even that price is dwarfed by the $128 (~25%) levy per Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1-powered processing solution.

Apart from that, it seems Xiaomi has made an outlay of $89 (~17% of the total BoM) and $58 (~11%) for each new 12S Ultra display and storage system respectively. The next most expensive components are those of its up-to-5G mobile data system, at $24 (~5%) per unit.

Accordingly, it seems Xiaomi has already spent up to 60% of what it can make on each 12S Ultra it sells at retail. Furthermore, this BoM analysis does not take other costs, such as those of the new flagship's development, packaging or shipping, into account.

Therefore, the OEM is probably banking on those blockbuster takings from the Chinese market to make its ostensible gamble on the 12S Ultra and its premium appeal pay off in the long run.

The 12S Ultra's BoM, broken down by component. (Source: Counterpoint Research)
The 12S Ultra's BoM, broken down by component. (Source: Counterpoint Research)
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 07 > 12S Ultra: Xiaomi's latest top-end smartphone costs more than US$500 per unit to produce
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2022-07-16 (Update: 2022-07-16)