Xiaomi 13 review and specifications

The Xiaomi 13 is a strong flagship alternative to Samsung and Apple, but can it stand out from the crowd?
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Xiaomi 13 review and specifications - W3Tekno
Our Verdict
Reasons To Buy
  • Great battery life
  • Sharp, bright screen
  • Impressive main camera
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Bloatware City
  • No macro camera
  • The Xiaomi 13 joins a market that is currently in the carnage, with both newcomers and loyal competitors vying for the title of "alternative" to the two major flagship brands, Samsung and Apple. The new iPhone 14 Pro and Samsung S23 Ultra are the targets of the Xiaomi 14 Pro, which does an ambitious job as the official third-party competitor. The Xiaomi 13 is also targeting more affordable iterations of the same phones.

    It also aims to appeal to both camps of brand enthusiasts, with an iPhone-like body housing a Samsung-like Android environment and a Leica-developed camera looking to wow anyone looking for the world's best photo phone.

    As a result, I requested a loaner instance of the Xiaomi 13 and, together with a loaner instance of the Xiaomi 13 Lite, I used it as a daily phone for more than a month, taking photos, playing games, responding to emails, doing photo and video editing work and generally living with them.

    KEY SPECS

    Chipset:Qualcomm SM8550-AB Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
    RAM:8-12GB
    Storage:128-512GB
    OSMIUI 14 (Android 13-based)
    Screen:6.36in AMOLED, 1080 x 2400px, 414ppi
    Cameras:50MP f/1.8 main, 10MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide, 32MP front
    Connectivity:5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, USB 2.0 Type-C, Infrared port
    Dimensions:152.8 x 71.5 x 8.0mm
    Weight:189g
    Battery:Li-Po 4500 mAh, non-removable

    DESIGN & BUILD

    Although the 13 is the official "main" model of the Pro and Lite variations, the Xiaomi 13 has a completely different look from its siblings. With a 6.36-inch display with thin bezels on the front, a sleek aluminum frame and a glass or silicone polymer back, the shell of this device looks more like that of an iPhone than the borderless curved display of the Pro and Lite. The rounded corners make it feel more like an iPhone.

    It weighs a little more than the iPhone 14 at around 189 grams, presumably because the Leica-designed lens protruding from the top left corner of the back is slightly larger than Apple's native camera. Hopes are high because of the stunning brightness of the camera, which we covered in our Xiaomi 13 Pro review.

    Available in a wide range of colors, including [deep breath]: White, Black, Flora Green, Mountain Blue, Red, Blue, Yellow, Green and at last count Gray. The screen is made of Gorilla Glass and the back is also very glossy. This creates a strong first impression (and leaves plenty of smudges on every fingerprint afterwards). Darker shades are also available (Red looks very striking), but our sample is Flora Green, which is a very pale and subdued shade of green and I really enjoy it.

    CAMERA

    By placing the Leica logo on the lens, Xiaomi wants to make it clear that this is not a typical phone camera. Although there are slightly less impressive specs on this model, I was impressed by the camera on the 13 Pro, which was designed in collaboration with legendary photography company Leica. There's a 50MP, 23mm wide lens, a 10MP, 75mm telephoto lens and a 12MP, 15mm ultra-wide lens (120 degrees here) on the back. The selfie camera is the same 32MP, 22mm camera seen on the Pro.

    Unfortunately, there is no macro option here for one of my favorite hobbies - taking the occasional artistic close-up of bees, toys and insects. However, after experimenting with Portrait mode and various optical zooms, I was able to find a mode I liked, but it still seemed like an odd omission (unless I'm the idiot here and just couldn't find an option for it). While the preset options for novices and hobbyists are excellent enough to offer a highly successful camera recommendation, there is also a fully manual 'pro' mode here, where you can customize almost every element of your picture just like on a DSLR.

    As with the Pro, you can shoot HDR photos and 8K videos while switching between the two main Leica lens settings, 'Vivid' and 'Authentic'. Night photography here doesn't stand out as much as it did on the Pro due to the sensor's small downsizing, but it competes with some of the best currently available.

    FEATURES & SCREEN

    Inside, the Xiaomi 13 welcomes you with MIUI 13, a self-developed Android 14-based operating system. It's basically an Android environment with a few iOS-inspired UI features and a collection of standard bloatware (why three different web browsers and two chat apps? Why Mi?). Once you get past that, however, happy times begin to reign.

    With an included 67W charger and fast-charging capabilities (I also used the 120W charger I have, which charged even faster than the 38 minutes listed in the specs), this device has a fingerprint sensor on the screen and face unlocking technology. NFC, wireless Qi charging and a screen with a resolution of 414 pixels per inch (ppi) at 120 hertz are standard convenience features.

    Even if it's less curved than the Xiaomi 13 Pro's screen, the 6.36-inch is put to excellent use here. It has a screen that's crisp enough to view outside in sunlight, and plays movies, trailers and your mother-in-law's confusing TikTok stream with great clarity. Even if the speaker isn't as good as the Pro, it's more than enough for portable home music inspiration or changing the volume of a video. Plus, it's.

    As expected, the phone comes with a photo and video editing program, and when paired with the camera (discussed below) it makes for a very pleasant user experience. The options weren't as extensive as on the Pro, but it still included everything I needed to edit social media videos and review images for this website, to give just two examples.

    The device I reviewed has 256GB of storage and 12GB of RAM. Unfortunately there is no SD slot, so expanding it is not possible. But you have the choice of 128, 256 or 512GB at the time of purchase.

    PERFORMANCE AND BATTERY LIFE

    The Xiaomi 13 features an 8-core CPU, Adreno 740 GPU and Qualcomm SM8550-AB Snapdragon 8 Gen chipset. Benchmark tests on the Xiaomi 13 showed very surprising results with an average score of 5,212 points in my multi-core tests. According to the Geekbench website, the Samsung S23 Ultra averages just under 5,000 points, so in terms of pure benchmark performance, this humble iPhone clone actually outperforms a phone that costs almost twice as much.

    Gaming on this phone is generally enjoyable, although I did have to restart a couple of online games two or three times. However, this was less a speed issue than the fact that the phone has less remarkable WiFi coverage than some other phones I've tried recently. Again, the clear screen and excellent speakers helped.

    Bluetooth connectivity is also excellent; it connected to my Bluetooth headsets and other devices with ease, and even connected to my unstable Mazda more reliably than most other phones I've tested.

    With judicious use of battery-saving modes and light to moderate use, I was usually able to complete two days. Even with heavy use of the camera and power-hungry apps, the 4500 mAh battery lasted for the better part of a day before becoming critically low.

    If you want to get the most out of the battery, you can get over 100 hours of life by using the battery in battery saver and super saver modes.

    PRICE

    Before the discounts, the Xiaomi 13 5G is currently available for $765 in the US and £849 in the UK. Monthly payment options are also available; check our deal tracker below to find out more. That puts it in the flagship category, where the best products offer prices several hundred pounds/pounds lower than the Pro versions, but it's right in the middle of a pretty crowded field of competitors. Still, given the capacity of the camera and CPU you get here, it's not an unfair pricing point.

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