Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra is the first smartphone with 120x zoom

  • The Chinese tech company one-ups Samsung’s S20 100x zoom and also promises 50W wireless charging
  • New flagship will not run stock Android and instead have the MIUI version of Google’s operating system
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The Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra will feature fast 120W charging and a monster 120x zoom.

Xiaomi’s answer to the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra appears to be all about one number: 120.

With a spec sheet that lists the best-of-the-best in smartphone tech, the Chinese brand’s new flagship, the Mi 10 Ultra, which launched on Tuesday, has turned the numbers on the camera, battery and screen up to 120, so to speak.

First there’s the 6.67-inch OLED display’s 120-Hz refresh rate for silky-smooth animations. Then there’s a 120-W charger that can run circles around Samsung and Apple devices in terms of charging speeds.

But perhaps the most impressive number is the zoom magnification: The Mi 10 Ultra has a mind-boggling 120x digital zoom that can read the time on your watch from across the street.

Brands like Samsung, Huawei and Oppo have recently bragged about the unnecessarily - and somewhat scarily - big zooms on their new smartphone cameras. And yet many testers have noted that the current best, Samsung’s so-called Space Zoom on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, maxes out in a blur of pixels at 100x.

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Who needs that much zoom? Good question. Another good question is: Will photos even be usable at 120x? Xiaomi’s “AI super zoom” is essentially cropping off a high-resolution image and using software to reduce the noise.

But even if shots turn out decent at half that zoom distance, it may help users pick out faraway landmarks from across a city.

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In terms of charging, the Mi 10 Ultra needs just 23 minutes to fully charge its ample 4,500 mAh battery. Things slow down to 50 W when wirelessly charging, but even this is more than double the wattage of Apple and Samsung chargers.

The Mi 10 Ultra is set to first go on sale in China on August 16 and depending on your choice of RAM (8 GB, 12 GB or 16 GB) and storage space (128 GB, 256 GB or 512 GB), it will cost between 5,299 and 6,999 yuan (US$760-1,000, HK5,900-7,800).

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