The Xiaomi 13, the latest flagship phone of the company, was launched in China in December of the previous year. However, it is now being released worldwide, making it a new addition to the global market. In this Xiaomi 13 review, we will explore what this phone offers.
This phone offers several improvements over its predecessor. It boasts a larger and brighter AMOLED display, an updated chipset, and a reimagined camera setup. The display delivers around 510 nits with a manual slider, but it can reach a remarkable 1250 nits in auto mode.
In bright conditions, the screen appears pleasing with excellent contrast and sharpness. The color accuracy is fantastic, depending on the color mode you select, and it supports all the major HDR video standards, including HDR 10 Plus and Dolby Vision.
I have been using the Xiaomi 13 smartphone for the past 30 days or more, and I am excited to share with you all the important findings from my experience. In fact, I have been using this smartphone since the day before the Mobile World Congress, as Xiaomi unveiled the three models of the Xiaomi 13 family on that day: the Xiaomi 13 which we’ll cover in this review, and Xiaomi 13 Lite, and Xiaomi 13 Pro.
After using it for a month, let’s see if the Xiaomi 13 has what it takes to compete in the market. Skipping over the unboxing experience, I’ll just mention that the package comes with a protective case and charger.
In terms of design, I think this is one of the most visually stunning smartphones of the year. It’s very different from the previous Xiaomi 12 series and shows that the company is establishing its own identity. The rectangular shape has some resemblance to the iPhone series, but the overall finish is quite elegant.”
However, the glass back and front make the phone very slippery, especially when your hands are moist. Personally, I wouldn’t dare to use it without a case, but if you do, I recommend getting insurance right away, because repairing OLED displays can be costly.
Many people seem to agree that out of the 13 series, the regular model looks better than the pro, and the camera bump has an iPhone-like design. The volume buttons are on the side, which makes the phone comfortable to hold while gaming. The speaker, USB-C charging port, and microphone hole are all located at the bottom, creating a symmetrical appearance. Xiaomi has also retained their famous infrared blaster.
The display is one of the highlights of the phone, with very high peak brightness, accurate colors, and a 120Hz refresh rate that will please mobile gamers. It’s protected by Gorilla Glass 5, making it harder to scratch.
Currently, there are many discussions about whether the Victis is a better choice, and it may very well be, especially when used with the Pro model. In my experience with smartphones this year, the Xiaomi 13’s display is not as bright or sharp as the Pixel 7’s, and of course, it is not on par with the Galaxy S23, which, in my opinion, will outperform even some of next year’s flagships.
In terms of responsiveness, I think it’s mostly down to the software, but Xiaomi 13 has a lot of catching up to do with the competition because the software doesn’t feel properly optimized yet, which is surprising given that Xiaomi 13 has been out in China for a few months already.
Under the hood, you’ve probably seen a lot of reports about the hardware specifications of this smartphone, so I’ll try to stay away from those and focus on what is beyond these numbers. The performance, as a starter, is true flagship performance.
The implementation of the Snapdragon 8 generation 2 is remarkable, and the software is also excellent. You’ll have a great time playing games, even though this smartphone is not really marketed as a gaming phone, and yes, some online sources may try to convince you that MIUI is not well adopting the chipset, but it has never failed to deliver good results, and the performance is very consistent.
However, there is one thing that Xiaomi has been doing for years, and I’ll show you now. Let’s launch Real Racing 3 and pay attention to the refresh rate. Exactly, it goes down to 60Hz. So, what’s the point of using a 120Hz refresh rate display when the performance is being limited?
The next aspect to delve into is the camera, and it’s unclear who has been working harder in the past year: Xiaomi’s marketing team or the camera development team. There have been many changes to both the look and feel of the cameras, as well as brand-new hardware inside.
The Leica branding is the major highlight here, as until recently Leica had been partnering with Huawei, and now Xiaomi is in the spotlight. The expectations are high for the cameras. The primary camera of the Xiaomi 13 has an IMX 800 sensor, along with a professional 23 millimeter F by 1.8 Leica lens.
This lens has seven aspherical lenses, an ultra-low reflective coating, and the new cyclic olefin material to produce crystal-clear images. Image stabilization is known as Hyper OIS, and it’s safe to say that image stabilization is very good. Leica also had input on the color science, with the choice between Leica Vibrant and Leica Authentic.
This is the first Xiaomi smartphone where I can truly praise the white balance, skin tones, and basically everything related to the major components needed for taking the best photos. It also has 24 frames per second in 4K video recording, making it feel like a dream come true.
While the primary camera is almost perfect, there are still areas for improvement. Portrait mode is often a struggle, as it makes miscalculations and can’t capture the non-blurry faces of moving subjects, which is a drawback if you’re looking to take a lot of portrait shots of a baby, for example.
Despite the superior hardware of the Xiaomi 13, I don’t believe it takes any better photos than the Galaxy S23 or Google Pixel 7. This is why I have high hopes for future software updates, as there is more potential that Xiaomi could extract from the camera, especially for low-light photography.
The ultra-wide camera performs well in daytime photos, but it is not exceptional. It provides a nice action camera feel. The telephoto camera is almost identical to the one in the Galaxy S23, but it has better optical image stabilization and provides 3.2 times zoom.
However, it does not support 4K video recording and has a maximum supported resolution of 1080p. The selfie shooter has electronic image stabilization but is modest and insufficient for a good 2023 front-facing camera with only 1080p resolution.
Overall, the hardware has great potential but requires some improvement. The Xiaomi 13 boasts 67-watt charging, which can fully recharge your smartphone in less than 40 minutes. The battery life is also a lot better due to the new Snapdragon 8 generation 2. By clearing most apps from memory, you can improve battery life significantly with MIUI. While the battery life may decrease over time, it is still better than the Google Pixel 7 and somewhat worse than the Galaxy S23.
MIUI 14, based on Android 13, is the operating system. It is highly customizable, and the theme’s engine allows you to tune it to your liking. However, there are some bugs, such as the absence of the new lock screen control bar for audio and issues with opening the Quick Settings after exiting a game.
Nonetheless, the operating system is still very capable, and you can count on all the awesome goodies that you’re used to with MIUI-based devices, such as the capable control center and additional customizations.
The Xiaomi 13 has many great features, including advanced battery tweaking per app, customizable notifications, and perfect integration with other Xiaomi ecosystem devices. Pairing new devices is effortless and wireless speeds are fantastic, with support for Wi-Fi 6 and 5G.
However, the USB port at the bottom is only USB 2.0, which is a strange decision for a 2023 flagship. While the wireless speeds are great, transferring files via USB cable will take considerably longer compared to other modern flagships.
There are some drawbacks to the Xiaomi 13, such as its high price and sub-optimal camera portrait mode. The speakers are also not the best quality. It’s up to the individual to decide if the price is worth it, especially when compared to the Galaxy s23, which costs $200 less and has better camera hardware. Additionally, the MIUI software is not quite there yet, but it’s highly customizable with a capable control center and many additional customizations.
Overall, the Xiaomi 13 could be a reasonable alternative to the Google Pixel 7 and other flagships at a similar or lower price point, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a purchase. The price in China may be tempting, but it’s worth considering the features and drawbacks before buying.
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