Xiaomi 13 Ultra hands-on review: heroic camera hardware

Xiaomi 13 Ultra has been unveiled in China, with a global launch expected in the coming months. This phone is all about those four 50MP cameras around the back: following its predecessor, 12s ultraEquipped with the largest camera sensor ever seen in a smartphone, the 13 Ultra adds variable aperture to the mix, while also leveling up the wide and telephoto offerings.

More than just a distinctive camera system, Xiaomi has enhanced every aspect of the phone, from the screen to the styling, to a new power-saving mode that can eke out 60 minutes from just one percent battery.

We have no idea how much the 13 Ultra will cost when it launches in the UK just yet, but after a few hours with the phone, what we can say is that it’s got a competitor best android phone of 2023 So far.

Design and Build: Straight under the M1

Xiaomi drew inspiration from photography partner Leica and its M1 camera when designing the 13 Ultra. The phone looks straight home like a traditional compact shooter, with a vegan leather strip on the back that provides camera grip-like tactility. The blasted metal unibody frame is color matched to the back panel, and you can pick up the phone in either Black, Olive Green, or White. We’re testing it out in green, and it looks and feels rich.

While the 13 Ultra is heavy at 227g, it’s not unreasonable – and in fact comes in lighter at 240g iphone 14 pro max, Its profile clocks in at 9.06mm, according to Xiaomi’s official figures, but it’s actually a lot chunkier when you factor in that massive camera bump – close to 1.5cm. It’s impossible not to appreciate thanks to a gold metal frame, which adds a luxurious flourish.

It may be a camera-centric phone stylistically, but the Xiaomi 13 Ultra’s buttons and ports are predictably traditional. There’s a USB-C port on the base and volume and power buttons on the right.

As fancy as this phone is, it’s also durable with IP68 water and dust resistance, and curved Gorilla Glass Victus on the front. The Chinese variant comes with a hard plastic shell in the box, which is textured for added grip. This is one of the best bundled cases we’ve come across.

You can go one further via the optional Camera Grip Case accessory. More than just an ergonomic add-on, the Connected Case adds a zoom toggle and a two-stage shutter release button for easy one-handed use. Better still, the Grip component can slide right out, so it can also be used as a traditional, slimline case, and mirrors the vegan leather finish of the phone itself.

Screen: How Bright?

The 13 Ultra’s 6.7-inch AMOLED screen gets Retina-searly bright. When playing back Dolby Vision content, it can climb up to 2600 nits, and in high brightness mode, it hits a very respectable 1300 nits.

With LTPO screen tech and a variable refresh rate spanning 1-120Hz, the display looks super-smooth in the flesh. It’s vibrant, punchy, and also sharp thanks to its WQHD+ (3200 x 1440) resolution and pixel density of 522 pixels-per-inch.

Camera: Aperture is worth a thousand words

The four cameras around the back of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra are all of 50MP resolution, but only the main camera gets the world’s first 1-inch sensor with dual aperture. It has the same IMX989 sensor Xiaomi 13 Pro And Vivo X90 ProAlthough here you can manually switch the aperture between f/1.9 and f/4.0.

While the ultra-wide and telephoto cameras on last year’s 12s Ultra fell short compared to the main event, Xiaomi hopes its secondary cameras can hold their own this time around. It’s added an extra focal length, and at the heart of it all is the 50MP Sony IMX858 sensor. This means you get 12mm ultra-wide, 70mm telephoto and 120mm far-right zoom.

Xiaomi is clearly catering to imaging enthusiasts, with all four cameras capable of capturing 8K and 10-bit LOG videos. It can also take 14-bit Raw photos, and the new USB-C 3.2 port supports 4K, 60Hz output.

Fire up the camera UI and it’s easy to switch the main camera’s aperture with an on-screen toggle. Even when you shoot with other lenses, aperture remains on display in good consistency.

Selfie junkies – nothing revolutionary here, just a 32MP punch hole front snapper with an f/2 lens.

Display and Software: Super Supreme

Xiaomi 13 Ultra hands-on front

With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 flagship chip and the new Xiaomi-leading liquid cooling system, the 13 Ultra is ready for power users. Available with 12GB or 16GB of RAM and 256GB, 512GB or 1TB of storage, you probably won’t mind that this phone doesn’t have an SD card slot.

The Us 13 Ultra runs on the Chinese version of Xiaomi’s MIUI 14. Out of the box, there are plenty of Chinese apps pre-installed and no Google services, but a quick install of the Play Store, and we were able to make everything feel a little more like home. That said, Chinese phones won’t work with services like Android Auto or Google’s Nearby Share, so if you’re thinking of picking one up on an import, wait.

The 5000mAh battery keeps the 13 Ultra competitive till it last. With fast 90W wired and 50W wireless charging, it should power up quickly too. More noteworthy, Xiaomi has loaded an extreme power saving mode on its latest camera champ, which can eke out 60m of standby time from the last percent of power. It should be perfect when you are in trouble.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra preliminary verdict

Xiaomi 13 Ultra hands-on verdict

The Xiaomi 13 Ultra starts at 5,999 Chinese yuan (around £700), which seems like a steal compared to top-tier phones in the West now, but don’t get too excited. History dictates that China’s export markup is real, so we’d guess that when it launches here, the 13 Ultra will cost at least as much as the RRP of the 13 Pro, which starts at £1,099.

after excellent Oppo Find X6 Pro With no promise of a global release having landed on our desks, it’s nice to see that Xiaomi has confirmed wider availability for the 13 Ultra. So far, it looks like one of the best smartphone, and notably, smartphone cameras we’ve ever tested – and matched with the camera grip accessory, it’s a serious gadget that’s sure to scratch the itch of photography enthusiasts. Should be scratched like anyone else.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra Technical Specifications

Screen 6.7in, 3200×1440 AMOLED w/ 120Hz
cpu Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Memory 12/16 GB
camera 50+50+50+50MP Rear
32MP Front
storage 256/512GB/1TB
Operating System Android 13 w/ MIUI 14
Battery 5000mAh w/ 90W Wired, 50W Wireless, Reverse Wireless Charging
DIMENSIONS 163x75x9.1mm, 227g

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply