Xiaomi 13 Lite review

Like its bigger siblings, the Xiaomi 13 Lite continues to compete in a big way.
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Xiaomi 13 Lite review - W3Tekno
Our Verdict
Reasons To Buy
  • Big, sharp screen
  • Good camera performance
  • Affordable alternative to the 13 or 13 Pro
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Bloatware
  • No Leica lens here
  • After thoroughly testing the flagship-challenging Xiaomi 13 and the boundary-pushing Xiaomi 13 Pro, the Xiaomi 13 Lite is the third Xiaomi I've tried in recent months. Especially since the last two products have made a very convincing argument that the Mi company is a real alternative to Apple and Samsung phones, I was eager to see if the cheaper model would similarly disrupt the mid-range market.

    Midrange camera phones often straddle the line between the best and most affordable cameras on the market, lacking the high-end features needed for one category and costing too much for the other.

    But the 13 Lite is cheap enough to fall into the latter category, and after a few weeks of using it as both my primary camera and daily driver, I'll want it on at least one of those lists.

    Key Specs
    Chipset:Qualcomm SM7450-AB Snapdragon 7 Gen 1
    RAM:8GB
    Storage:128-256GB
    OSMIUI 14 (Android 12-based)
    Screen:6.55in AMOLED curved, 1080 x 2400px, 414ppi
    Cameras:50MP f/1.8 main, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro, 32MP front main, 8MP front depth
    Connectivity:5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, USB 2.0 Type-C, Infrared port
    Dimensions:159.2 x 72.7 x 7.2 mm
    Weight:171g
    Battery:Li-Po 4500 mAh, non-removable

    Design And Build

    The Xiaomi 13 Lite is, as its name suggests, the Xiaomi 13 in diet cola form. However, it looks nothing like its mainstream sibling; instead, it borrows design cues from the overpowered big brother, the 13 Pro. When you open the package, you're greeted with a 6.55-inch curved display with a sleek back that, unlike the more traditional 13, comes in three colors at the time of writing (Black, Lite Blue and Lite Pink). The only thing that separates the Pro from the Lite in this instance is the Pro's fancy (and almost scratch-resistant, as I've discovered, no doubt intentionally) ceramic back, while what we have here is budget-friendly plastic. It looks great, though.

    At 171 grams it's pretty light for a phone with a screen of this size, but the Gorilla glass on the screen is reassuringly strong to the touch (even if the screen and back often get smudged).

    There's a SIM card slot here, but no SD card slot, which is unsurprising given that the 13 and 13 Pro also lack this feature. At point of purchase you can choose between 128 and 256GB of internal storage, along with 8GB of RAM. The packaging includes a 67W fast charger in addition to a USB-C connector for charging.

    Like the 13 Pro, it feels comfortable in the hand, but the curved screen remains a problem for my clumsy palm. Accidentally entering the letter "p" repeatedly while typing shows that I really need to improve my phone-holding techniques in this brave new world.

    Camera

    Although the Xiaomi 13 Lite doesn't have a Leica lens, unlike the 13 and 13 Pro, its native 50MP main camera still produces clear, bright and easily manipulated images. This is made possible thanks to simple but sensible editing tools in the camera app.

    In addition, there's an 8MP ultra-wide lens for panoramas and landscapes, and to no one's surprise it does a good job. Macro provides good super close-ups that don't require a lot of post-processing and are a joy to use, at least for someone like me.

    Unfortunately, you'll need something more capable to recreate The Matrix in studio quality, but what you get here is entirely competitive against its rivals at its price point. It far exceeds the meager 1080p video offering of the Google Pixel 6, for example, and is roughly comparable to the more expensive Pixel 7. It can also shoot 4K video at 30 frames per second or 1080p video at up to 120 frames per second.

    Features And Screen

    The Xiaomi 13 Lite uses the same Android-based MIUI 14 operating system as the 13 and 13 Pro. It's essentially an Android ecosystem with some iOS interface features adopted, but like essentially every phone adjacent to Android, it also has bloatware, which it joyfully loves.

    Below the screen is an optical fingerprint sensor that can be used to unlock the device. The 67W charger it comes with also supports fast charging. As promised, it charges the phone in about 40 minutes, so I was never without power for too long.

    Being a spoiled brat, I would have liked it to charge slowly while standing at my Qi-enabled desk, but it only has NFC and an infrared port. Given its low price, this isn't too surprising.

    It is similar in size and shape to the 13 Pro's display. However, while it has a slightly lower resolution (1080x2400, the same as the standard 13), this device produces over 400 ppi at peak brightness levels of 1000 nits, making it perfectly suited for watching videos and TV on the go, even outside in all but the brightest sun rays. Since I'm a spoiled brat, I left it on my Qi-enabled desk to charge slowly.

    The integrated photo and video editing software is almost identical to that found on the 13 and 13 Pro, but the rear (and front) lens is not. The 13 Lite makes do with a more generic 50MP wide-angle lens, 8MP ultra-wide lens and my personal favorite, the 2MP Macro lens, while the others have the much-lauded (and very competent) Leica-engineered lens and sensor. However, perhaps as a tribute to the more general social media-oriented target demographic, the dual front-facing cameras outperform their big brothers up front, with one 32MP ultra-wide selfie camera and an additional 8MP depth camera.

    The device I used for testing had 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. As said before, there is no SD slot, so there is no room for expansion. Depending on how much capacity you need, you can choose between 128GB and 256GB of storage when buying.

    Performance And Battery Life

    The Xiaomi 13 Lite retains its big brother's Snapdragon CPU, even though it costs half as much as the flagship model and uses a more affordable MediaTek chip. Balancing efficiency and performance, the SM7450-AB Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 CPU has four A710 cores and four A510 cores.
    However, benchmark tests highlight the differences between the 13 and this cheaper model. In the multi-core Geekbench 6 test, the 13 achieved a score of 5,200, beating the S23 Ultra, while we could only manage a score of 2,670. To be fair, this still puts the 13 in line with devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note20 and OnePlus 7 Pro, and only slightly behind the Google Pixel 7.

    It has WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2, so it's not the latest generation of Bluetooth technology, but it did well for me in both areas of getting and maintaining a signal and pairing with devices.

    The Xiaomi 13 Lite has the same 4500 mAh battery as the Xiaomi 13, but due to the processor's slightly less capable efficiency cores, it didn't provide as much battery life as its big brother. I was able to use it for the vast majority of two days when used moderately and the lights started to dim, but constant use of resource-intensive apps would drain the battery before a day was up. Although I didn't run a dedicated endurance test like I did with the 13, other online sources report an average of 92-93 hours, which is consistent with my comparison of the 13 Lite to the 13.

    Price

    The 256GB version is available in the US for $369, but it's confusing that Mi's UK website only sells the 128GB model for £399. If you go this route, I'd recommend being careful about where you buy it from because the 256GB version is available in the UK, but it appears to be primarily through imports.

    As far as cost is concerned, this pricing puts it on par with some of our best low-cost camera phones, which I believe is reasonable given its outstanding performance.

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