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Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra packs in world's largest sensor for a mobile phone

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
(Image credit: Xiaomi )

Launched yesterday, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra sets a new record for the size of its sensor. The new super smartphone boasts a 50 megapixel sensor that measures 1/1.2 inches across its diagonal (or 22.7mm if you prefer it without the fractions). This is substantially larger than other contenders for the best camera phone currently around. It takes the record from the Huawei P40 Pro Plus which has a  1/1.28 inch sensor (19.8mm). Other leading phones are smaller still - the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max makes do with a 1/1.8 inch (14.1mm) chip, and the Samsung S21 Ultra sports a 1/1.33 inch (19.1mm).

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is the first phone to us the newly-developed Samsung GN2 sensor that will undoubtedly be seen on other handsets in the coming months. The 50MP chip has large photosites arranged in a 4-in-1 2.8µm Super Pixel arrangement  which promises great lowlight performance. The sensor has already taking top honors in the DXO Mark charts from the Huawei Mate 40 Pro+.

Interestingly, however, this is not the largest sensor ever seen in a mobile phone - just the largest today. The historical record goes to the Panasonic Lumix CM1 from 2014, which was a compact camera with a Android phone bolted on the back, which boasted a 1 inch sensor.

Smartphone sensor sizes compared
Main sensor size (in)Main sensor size (mm)
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra1/1.12 inch22.7mm
Huawei P40 Pro Plus1/1.28 inch19.8mm
Huawei Mate 40 Pro+1/1.28 inch19.8mm
Samsung S21 Ultra1/1.33 inch19.1mm
Xiaomi Mi 111/1.33 inch19.1mm
Oppo X3 Pro1/1.56 inch16.3mm
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max1/1.8 inch14.1mm

  (Image credit: Xiaomi )

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, of course, has more than the one camera. In addition to the 50MP f/1.8 main wideangle lens, there is a 48MP f/2 128° ultrawide lens, and a 48MP f/4.1 telephoto lens with a 5x optical zoom. All three rear cameras offer 8K video recording at 24fps.

Other key features of the Mi 11 Ultra include:

• a small 126x294 pixel 120MHz LCD panel on the rear

• 6.81in Amoled main display

• 20 megapixel f/2.2 front camera

• 120x digital zoom

• Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor

• Harman Kardon sound 

• 5G connectivity

• 5000mAh battery with 67W turbo wireless charging and 10W reverse charging

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra will be available in Ceramic Black in a 12GB+256GB storage combination and will go on sale in the UK in late April - but the price has yet to be announced. Sadly, it is unlikely this handset will be released in North America.

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