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    Except for the US, the Xiaomi 14 and 14 Ultra are available everywhere.

    Xiaomi is showcasing its top smartphones, the Xiaomi 14 and 14 Ultra at MWC. The audience excludes the United States, as usual. These devices were launched in China. Now, they are grabbing attention with new designs. They focus on camera improvements. The 14 Ultra is priced at €1,499 (around $1624) while the 14 starts, at €999 ( $1082).

    The Xiaomi 14 focuses on the core features of a flagship phone. It has a 6.36 inch screen with an LTPO 120Hz display. This helps with scrolling and battery life. Its camera is more understated than the 14 Ultra. The 14 Ultra has a 6.73 inch screen with a 120Hz 1440p panel. It also has a 1 inch type primary camera. It’s all, about making choices between going for size or opting for of the line features I guess.

    The 14 Ultra was officially revealed in China a few days back. However, during its launch event, we learned insights. It seems to be a top phone for photography in 2024. The main camera has the 1 inch Sony LYT 900 sensor. This sensor was on the Oppo Find X7 Ultra. It also has the variable aperture tech from the Xiaomi 14 Pro. That phone came out with the 14 in China last October. But, this tech is not in today’s announcement.

    Xiaomi 14
    The Xiaomi 14 Ultra comes with two telephoto lenses for the price of one phone.

    Other smartphone cameras have fixed apertures. The 14 Ultras can open and close. They have 1,024 stops from f/1.63 to f/4.0. We saw a sample at a pre-launch event just outside of Barcelona, and indeed, the small aperture stops up and down. The use cases for this capability seem to be limited. Even at its widest setting, the lens acts more like an f/4.0 on a full-frame camera for focus depth. Stopping it down any further seemed stupid, but I saw the aperture move and can guarantee it works.

    The Ultra follows the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. It has not one but two telephoto lenses: 3.2x and 5x. All of them are stabilized. In addition, it features log recording, as seen on the iPhone 15 Pro. It’s a very useful function for a few people. It lets you use the phone in a multi-camera filmmaking setup. And, you can color grade the results to match the rest. You may also shoot 10-bit HDR in log for more post-processing options.

    I witnessed the aperture moving:

    The Xiaomi 14 Ultra abandons last year’s curved edges. It now has flat edges, which are the biggest trend in 2014 2024. They’re simpler to hold. The front and rear panels have a subtle bend to the flat edge. This bend makes it comfortable in your palm. You enjoy seeing it. Also in the “what’s old is new again” category. Xiaomi’s Ultra camera kit has been upgraded. Now, the grip can be used as an extra battery for the phone. I adore multi-functional accessories.

    The Xiaomi 14’s main, wide, and 3.2x telephoto cameras all have 50-megapixel sensors. These are up from the 10-megapixel chip in last year’s telephoto camera. The square camera bump looks slightly different this time. It lost the lines that split it into four parts on the 13.

    The Leica emblem has been rotated by 90 degrees to fit well on the Ultra in landscape mode. This rotation matches its appearance. The glass on the panels has a tasteful matte finish. It strikes a balance between elegance and subtle texture. The squared-off edges enhance its grip in my hand. Whatever it is, I like it.

    As usual, Xiaomi’s Ultra flagship camera phone is a standout. It’s frustrating that it won’t be available in the United States. Samsung and Google have focused on AI camera features in recent releases. But, the most exciting hardware advancements have come from Chinese phone makers. Oppo and Xiaomi lead them. These things happen in cycles. For example, flat edges are returning. So, the smartphones we see in the United States may soon see some big hardware changes.

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