The Xiaomi 13 Pro
In 2023, the Xiaomi 13 Pro stands out as an impressive smartphone with hardware and software that meet the expectations of a high-end device. The pertinent question then becomes, “Why choose the Xiaomi 13 Pro over competitors like the Google Pixel or Samsung Galaxy?” There are compelling reasons to do so, such as the inclusion of three 50MP main cameras, fast 120W charging, and extended battery life. However, the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s performance is not as well-rounded as its rivals. Additionally, while it is cheaper than the £1,249 Galaxy S23 Ultra, it comes with a higher price tag of £1,099 compared to the £849 Google Pixel 7 Pro.
|Processor||8-core (3.2GHz/3GHz/1.8GHz) Qualcomm Snapdragon 8Gen 2 SoC|
|Screen||6.7in, 120Hz AMOLED screen, 1,440x 3,200 resolution|
|Connectivity||5G, Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC|
|Rear cameras||Triple 50MP|
|Battery||4,820mAh with USB-C 2 connector|
|Operating system||Android 13 with MIUI 14|
|Dimensions||75 x 8.4 x 163mm (WDH)|
Xiaomi’s Pro phone line has established a distinct style that carries over to their latest release, the 13 Pro. Like its predecessors, the phone boasts a curved 6.7-inch display with a camera block arranged in a grid-like pattern. However, the 13 Pro sets itself apart with its rounded edges, which blend seamlessly into the phone’s back and create a unique identity for the 13 series.
The phone is well-built and features Gorilla Glass Victus to protect its display. Although it would have been nice to see the latest Victus 2, the protection provided by Victus is still commendable. On the back, Xiaomi opted for a “bio-ceramic” material that comes in black or white. The black finish, which I tested, gives the phone a luxurious feel but is prone to fingerprints.
In terms of durability, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is on par with most high-end competitors with its IP68 resistance rating against dust and water. Accidental water damage is no longer a concern.
The screen boasts top-notch specifications, including a 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate and a QHD resolution of 1,440 x 3,200. During testing, I was impressed by the display’s fantastic Delta E of 0.21, indicating better-than-professional levels of color accuracy, with 113% coverage of the wide DCI-P3 gamut.
The numerical specifications of the Xiaomi phone can compete with those of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pixel 7 Pro. However, upon comparing the phone’s display with that of a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, it was evident that the colors were not as vibrant. Additionally, the Xiaomi’s screen brightness falls short of that of the Samsung, but with a maximum brightness of 1,287cd/m2, it remains easily legible even under the brightest sunlight.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro boasts superior camera capabilities, featuring a triple-camera setup consisting of 50MP sensors for main, ultrawide, and telephoto functions. Of note is the main camera, which not only has high resolution but also a massive 1-inch sensor that enables it to capture vibrant and detailed images. However, the software’s image processing is conservative in terms of brightness and sharpness adjustments, resulting in less sharp images than the iPhone 14 Pro’s output. The large sensor performs exceptionally well in low-light conditions, as demonstrated by stunning images captured at King’s Cross station with the Xiaomi 13 Pro. The images produced a subtle glow from the hanging lights on the trees, and the overall color balance was realistic. In comparison, the iPhone 14 Pro’s output was moodier and more contrasting, but neither was necessarily superior to the other.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro features a main camera with a choice of two color profiles: “Leica Vivid” and “Leica Authentic.” The former produces highly saturated images with plenty of pop, while the latter offers a more photojournalistic look.
However, the ultrawide camera is not as impressive as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, as Xiaomi’s wide images lack detail and vibrancy. The telephoto shots, on the other hand, are impressive, with 3.2x optical magnification that surpasses the iPhone 14 Pro’s 3x lens. The 50MP resolution captures more detail than the iPhone’s 12MP images, although the iPhone’s ProRAW mode offers 48MP resolution. However, Xiaomi’s zoom capabilities cannot compete with Pixel 7 Pro’s 5x zoom or Galaxy S23 Ultra’s outstanding 10x zoom. Additionally, the front-facing selfie camera with a 32MP resolution takes brighter and more natural-looking selfies than the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but it struggles with softening the background for self-portraits.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro also supports 10-bit RAW photography and 8K video recording, with optional night mode enhancement.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro is equipped with a 4,820mAh battery, which is slightly smaller than the 5,000mAh batteries found in the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Pixel 7 Pro. However, in real-world testing, the Xiaomi performed impressively, lasting for 12 hours and 24 minutes of web browsing over 4G with default refresh rate settings and 13 hours and 35 minutes when set to a 60Hz refresh rate. Surprisingly, the Xiaomi outperformed the Galaxy S23 Ultra in these tests, despite the latter having a larger battery capacity, and performed much better than the Pixel 7 Pro. While it doesn’t quite match the battery life of the iPhone 14 Pro Max or the Asus ROG Phone 6, it’s still a solid performer.
Moreover, the Xiaomi 13 Pro offers fast charging capabilities, with support for super-fast 120W wired charging and 50W wireless charging. Using the included 120W power brick, the phone charged to 64% in just 15 minutes and reached 100% in 26 minutes – significantly faster than any phone from Apple, Google or Samsung.
The Xiaomi’s user interface, MIUI, is based on Android 13 but has several design tweaks that make it both less familiar and more user-friendly. The rounded icons and well-organized menus are stylish, and MIUI allows for easy access to quick settings and notifications by swiping on different sides of the display, similar to iOS.
One downside of the Xiaomi is that it comes with many pre-installed apps, including social media apps such as Facebook, TikTok, and LinkedIn, as well as services such as Spotify and Booking.com. Although it’s possible to delete them all or hide them in the app drawer, it’s still a lot of extra software that may not be desired.
Finally, Xiaomi promises three years of full updates and an additional year of security updates, which is a decent policy but falls short of Google and Samsung’s four-year and five-year policies for their phones.