Xiaomi 13 Ultra rumoured to better Sony IMX989 offering from this year's Xiaomi 12S Ultra
The Xiaomi 13 series has not arrived yet, but plenty already appears known about Xiaomi's next flagship smartphones. According to leaker Kartikey Singh, Xiaomi will distinguish the Xiaomi 13 Ultra from its series siblings with 'new possibilities'. For reference, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is one of two devices that feature the Sony IMX989, a 50 MP sensor with a 1-inch optical format and 1.60-μm wide pixels. Currently, the only other device with the Sony IMX989 is the Sharp Aquos R7, although there are rumours that Vivo will use a custom version in the X90 Pro Plus.
Additionally, Xiaomi is thought to have equipped the Xiaomi 13 Pro with the Sony IMX989. Hence, Singh argues that Xiaomi will not use the Sony IMX989 in both the Xiaomi 13 Pro and the Xiaomi 13 Ultra. Writing on Twitter, the leaker implies that a 1-inch camera is 'not the end' and hints that 'there is something beyond as well'. Potentially, this may mean that Xiaomi plans to utilise an even larger sensor, given that the term '1-inch sensor' does not correspond to a camera sensor's dimensions. While MKBHD has since switched his video discussing this matter to private, PetaPixel has explained where the terminology originates.
Alternatively, Xiaomi could continue to use a revised 1-inch sensor but complement it with other superior optics, such as better ultra-wide-angle or telephoto cameras. In that vein, Xiaomi could take a leaf out of Sony's book by introducing a variable optical zoom camera, marketing by Sony in the Xperia 1 IV as 'true optical zoom'. You can read more details and experiences with the Xperia 1 IV and its innovative camera technology in our corresponding review. In the meantime, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is expected to arrive in China as soon as later this month. Unfortunately, a global release date is unknown at this stage.