The Xiaomi 13 Ultra has been revealed in China and is anticipated to be released worldwide in the next few months. The main feature of this phone is its four rear cameras, all with 50 megapixels each. Its predecessor, the 12s Ultra, had the biggest camera sensor ever used on a smartphone, and the 13 Ultra now includes an adjustable aperture, as well as enhanced wide and telephoto lenses.
Xiaomi has not only improved the camera system but also enhanced all the other features of the phone, including the design and the screen. Additionally, they have introduced a new power-saving mode that can provide an additional hour of battery life when the battery is at one percent.
Although the price of the 13 Ultra in the UK has not been announced yet, after spending a few hours with the phone, it seems to be a strong contender for the best Android phone of 2023.
Build & Design
Xiaomi drew inspiration from Leica’s M1 camera when designing the 13 Ultra, evident from the vegan leather strip on the back that provides a camera-like feel. The metal unibody frame is color-matched to the back panel, and the phone is available in Black, Olive Green, and White. The green variant, which we tested, feels and looks premium.
Although the 13 Ultra weighs 227g, it’s not too heavy compared to the 240g iPhone 14 Pro Max. According to official figures, the phone is 9.06mm thick, but it’s chunkier when you factor in the camera bump, which is about 1.5cm thick. The gold metal frame around the camera bump adds a luxurious touch.
Despite being a camera-centric phone, the 13 Ultra’s buttons and ports are conventional, with a USB-C port at the base and volume and power buttons on the right.
Aside from being fancy, the phone is also durable, with IP68 water and dust resistance and Gorilla Glass Victus on the front. The Chinese version includes a hard plastic case in the box, which has a textured surface for added grip, making it one of the best-bundled cases.
An optional camera grip case accessory is also available, which includes a zoom toggle and two-stage shutter release button, making it easier to use with one hand. The grip component can be removed to convert it into a slimline case and has a vegan leather finish that matches the phone’s back.
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra is powered by the 11th Generation Intel Core i7-11370H processor, which is a quad-core processor with a clock speed of up to 4.8GHz. This powerful processor makes the laptop suitable for heavy workloads and demanding applications.
The laptop comes with an Intel Iris Xe Graphics card, which offers impressive graphics performance for gaming and multimedia consumption. The graphics card also supports 4K video playback, which makes it ideal for watching high-resolution videos.
Memory and Storage
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra comes with 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM, which ensures smooth multitasking and fast performance. The laptop also has a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, which provides ample storage space for your files, documents, and multimedia.
The laptop features Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity, which makes it easy to connect to the internet and other devices. It also has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a USB-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, which offers multiple connectivity options.
Battery The Xiaomi 13 Ultra has a 56Wh battery, which offers up to 11 hours of battery life on a single charge. The laptop also supports fast charging, which can charge the laptop up to 50% in just 35 minutes.
The 6.7-inch AMOLED screen on the 13 Ultra is extremely bright and can reach up to 2600 nits when playing Dolby Vision content. In high brightness mode, it can peak at 1300 nits, which is impressive. The screen uses LTPO technology and has a variable refresh rate that ranges from 1Hz to 120Hz, making it look incredibly smooth. It has a WQHD+ resolution of 3200 x 1440 pixels and a pixel density of 522 pixels-per-inch, making it sharp and vibrant.
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra has four 50MP cameras on the back, but only the primary camera has a 1-inch sensor with dual aperture. It uses the same IMX989 sensor as the Xiaomi 13 Pro and Vivo X90 Pro, but the aperture can be manually switched between f/1.9 and f/4.0.
Compared to the 12s Ultra, the ultra-wide and telephoto cameras on the 13 Ultra have been improved. The 13 Ultra has an additional focal length, and all four cameras use 50MP Sony IMX858 sensors. This includes a 12mm ultra-wide, a 70mm telephoto, and a 120mm zoom lens.
The 13 Ultra is geared towards photography enthusiasts, as all four cameras can capture 8K and 10-bit LOG video, and 14-bit RAW photos. Additionally, the new USB-C 3.2 port supports 4K, 60Hz output.
The camera UI makes it easy to switch the main camera’s aperture with an on-screen toggle, and the aperture remains on display even when using the other lenses. For selfies, the phone has a 32MP front camera with an f/2 lens, which is not particularly groundbreaking.
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra is built for power users, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 flagship chip and a new liquid cooling system developed by Xiaomi. It comes with a choice of 12GB or 16GB RAM and storage options ranging from 256GB to 1TB, although it lacks an SD card slot.
The model tested by the reviewer runs on the Chinese version of MIUI 14, which comes pre-loaded with Chinese apps and no Google services. However, installing the Play Store can make it feel more familiar to Western users. One thing to note is that Chinese phones may not be compatible with services like Android Auto or Google’s Nearby Share if imported.
The phone is equipped with a 5000mAh battery that offers 90W wired and 50W wireless fast charging. In addition, it has an extreme power saving mode that can extend standby time by 60 minutes on the last percentage of power.
The Final Verdict
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra comes at a starting price of 5,999 Chinese Yuan, which is roughly £700 and may sound like a great deal when compared to other high-end phones in the West. However, it’s important to note that historically, there has been a markup on China exports, so it’s likely that when the phone is launched outside China, it will cost at least as much as the Xiaomi 13 Pro, which starts at £1,099.
Unlike the Oppo Find X6 Pro, which was not released globally, Xiaomi has confirmed wider availability for the 13 Ultra, which is good news. From what we have seen so far, the phone appears to be one of the best smartphones, particularly in terms of the camera, that we have ever tested. Additionally, when paired with the camera grip accessory, it’s a serious gadget that should satisfy the needs of photography enthusiasts like no other phone.
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