The first 144MP camera smartphone could come from Xiaomi

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

We might have arguably reached a point of saturation with smartphone specifications, charging and display tech, but aspects such as cameras still seem to have a lot of room for improvement. Or at least that’s what Xiaomi thinks if this tip is to be believed.

Leakster Sudhanshu Ambhore took to Twitter to talk about how is already working on a phone with a 144MP camera and suggested that it might be the Mi CC10 Pro or the Mi 10S Pro, two models that we have heard nothing about till now. This news comes just days after we heard that Samsung is developing a successor to its 108MP ISOCELL Bright HMX image sensor, which will have a resolution of 150MP. 

(Image credit: Future)

We believe that this will end up being the same image sensor and might just be a case of rounding off the figures. While a higher resolution camera does not necessarily mean better images, it does bring a few technical benefits. For starters, it will be able to resort to 9 or 16-pixel binning without having to lose a lot of the resolution, and thus, detail. Combining pixels for a larger pixel size helps improve a camera’s low light sensitivity along with generally more vibrant and brighter images. For context, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra employs Nonacell pixel binning to create pictures with a resultant resolution of 12MP with a pixel size of 2.4um.

It also puts less strain on the sensor to light up each pixel, as smartphone sensors as already very small. The 108MP HMX image sensor, which is one of the biggest currently available, is also just 1/1.33-inches diagonally. The upcoming 144MP sensor is said to be almost 1-inch in size, which is comparable to point and shoot cameras. If we follow the same math, it will spew images at 16MP after Nonacell pixel binning.

Xiaomi is already reported to be one of the first customers for this new image sensor and is targetting Q4 to bring it to the market. Last year’s Mi CC9 Pro was the first smartphone to sport Samsung’s 108MP camera, and it was announced in November. Taking that into account, it could be that the Mi CC10 Pro will continue that legacy in bringing the 144MP camera to the market.

A report from the Korean website states that Vivo and Oppo will also bring smartphones to the market with the same sensor, but those will be Snapdragon 875-powered flagships for early 2021.

Aakash Jhaveri

Aakash is the engine that keeps TechRadar India running, using his experience and ideas to help consumers get to the right products via reviews, buying guides and explainers. Apart from phones, computers and cameras, he is obsessed with electric vehicles.