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Xiaomi 13 review : excellent hardware, but the price…

Xiaomi’s next-generation phones have arrived, kicking off a new wave of devices at MWC 2023. The regular Xiaomi 13 reviewed here is the midpoint between the Xiaomi 13 Pro and the Xiaomi 13 Lite. However, make no mistake – this is still a premium phone, with a high-end construction and some excellent cameras.

The Xiaomi 13, like the previous version, is slightly smaller than the Pro variant, making it perfect for anyone who does not require a massive phone. Is it, however, a signature knockout? I’ve had some time with the Xiaomi 13; here’s my take on it.

Design & build

  • Only black version available in UK
  • Stunning glass build
  • IP68 rating

Make no mistake, the Xiaomi 13 has a stunning design. It is available in three colors: black, white, and green, which I tried.

Despite my preference for pastel green and blue phones, the Xiaomi 13 received numerous accolades during my time trying it. It has a 2.5D glass rear with a beautiful sheen, but it does readily gather up fingerprints. A blue aluminum alloy frame completes the look.

Unfortunately, only the black variant is available in the UK, which is a pity given this one-of-a-kind colorway.

Xiaomi 13 review

The phone is 7.9mm thick and 189g in weight. This isn’t the thinnest top phone I’ve seen, but I’ll accept it for the high-quality build. The curved sides also make it a pleasure to handle.

With a length of only 152mm, it is one of the more compact flagships on the market right now. This is a great reprieve for someone with smaller hands, and it’s good not to have to think about my phone half-hanging out of my jean pocket.

The Xiaomi 13 has an IP68 classification, which means it can endure being submerged in water and is dust-resistant on the inside. This is a significant improvement over the Xiaomi 12, which has no IP classification at all.

The phone has a USB-C charging port but no 3.5mm headphone jack, which is a common theme in flagship phones. There is only one SIM port and no micro-SD card slot.

no mistakes, the Xiaomi 13 has an amazing build

Screen & speakers

  • 6.36in AMOLED display
  • FHD+ resolution
  • Dual speakers with Dolby Atmos

Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protects the 6.36in AMOLED touchscreen on the Xiaomi 13. It has a resolution of 2400 x 1080 and supports Dolby Vision and HDR10+.

It has superb clarity and is ideal for viewing YouTube videos and streaming Netflix programs. If you need a higher resolution than the FHD+ available here, try the 13 Pro, which has a WQHD+ screen.

The colors are vibrant and eye-catching, and Xiaomi says that the phone has a high brightness of 1900 nits. In practice, I was able to use it in direct sunlight with low glare and still see everything plainly.

Xiaomi 13 review

The phone sets to a dynamic refresh rate out of the package, but you can set it to either 60Hz or 120Hz permanently. You can also choose which applications use a faster update rate.

The Xiaomi 13 has a designated Game Space mode that allows you to choose between different configurations based on your tastes, such as a power-saving mode, a balance mode, a high-quality mode, or a personalized one.

The phone’s haptics are brief and clipped, with good input and minimal noise. For biometrics, there is an under-display thumbprint reader, and I had no problems with it. You can also use face detection, a conventional password, or a combination of the two.

The phone has dual speakers that enable Dolby Atmos. The sound is strong and punchy, which makes it ideal for audio and movies. There is plenty of depth and bass for audio, but it isn’t as remarkable as some more costly devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Xiaomi 13 review

Specs & performance

  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
  • 8GB/12GB RAM
  • 128GB/256GB storage

A premium phone gets a flagship processor, which is why the Xiaomi 12 is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. This is coupled with 8GB/12GB Memory and 128GB/256GB storage. Only the 8GB/128GB version is available to UK customers.

As you might imagine, phone functionality is excellent. I multitasked between video, social media, and phone conversations with no stuttering. It is quick and seamless, and it should be quite future-proof for most jobs, including heavy-duty ones.

This is mirrored in our testing results, with the phone beating all other Android versions tested so far on Geekbench 5 (including the Xiaomi 13 Pro), and only being surpassed by the monster numbers made by Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro’s A16 CPU. Obviously, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has been well optimized for this phone.

 

In terms of gaming, I was able to perform the demanding Genshin Impact on medium levels without overclocking or stuttering. That was the same option I used on the specialized gaming phone, the Vivo iQoo 9 Pro Legend.

The Xiaomi 13 only grew mildly warm during the gameplay session, thanks to the vapour cooling heat dissipation sink that spans nearly half of the phone’s frame.

In terms of connectivity, the Xiaomi 13 supports Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.3.

Obviously, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has been well optimized for this phone.

Xiaomi 13 review

Camera & video

  • Strong 50Mp main lens
  • Up to 3.2x optical zoom
  • No so impressive wide-angle camera

Xiaomi has chosen a 50Mp primary camera once again, but this time it has collaborated with Leica. It has the same Sony IMX800 camera as the Honor 70, as well as an f/1.8 lens and optical image stabilisation (OIS).

As a consequence, the pictures are clear, crisp, and detailed. It is simple to take a good-looking photograph both indoors and outdoors. Textures like clothing and animal hair appear lifelike, and tones are vibrant without being washed out or oversaturated.

With the inclusion of Leica picture processing, you can select between Vibrant and Authentic styles. The former has a broader dynamic range and brighter tones, whereas the latter is marginally duller. This is particularly noticeable in night photos. – see the comparison between the two filters below:

I liked the Vibrant choice because it made features stand out more on the screen, but this is a personal preference.

The automated bokeh effect in portrait mode is a little too intense for my taste, but it can be modified before shooting. Despite the amount of fuzz, it did a good job of not fogging up stray pieces of hair, as some inferior phone cameras do.

There’s also a 10Mp telephoto camera with an f/2.2 lens and an optical magnification range of up to 3.2x. This produces exceptionally clear images without sacrificing color or clarity. Digital zooming can be done up to 30x, but the pictures become much blurrier.

The 12Mp wide-angle camera lacks the wow element of the others, which have an f/2.0 lens and a 120-degree field of view. Colors become duller, and shadows lose their intensity. This camera can cause some objects to appear distorted at certain positions.

Xiaomi 13 review

Night setting effectively lifts objects, allowing features to be seen even in low-light situations. The sky, on the other hand, takes on an artificial blue tint that I don’t see on other phones like the Vivo X70 Pro.

A 32Mp front-facing camera with an f/2.0 lens is available. This camera’s blur effect is less precise than the primary camera’s, with some clusters and strands of hair smudging into the backdrop. Nonetheless, I was able to take some acceptable photos with this phone, including one snapped at night.

The face camera performs best outside, including at twilight. Some of the worst photos were taken inside with low illumination, resulting in softer details and shadows.

The Xiaomi 13 can capture footage in 8K at 24fps, 4K at up to 60fps, 1080p at up to 60fps, and 720p at 30fps. You can activate either steady video or ultra-steady video, though the latter has an unnaturally powerful impact.

Xiaomi 13 review

Battery & charging

  • One-day battery life on average
  • 37W fast-charging
  • Wireless and reverse wireless charging available

The Xiaomi 13 has a 4500mAh battery, which is the same size as the prior model Xiaomi 12.

The battery was one of the Xiaomi 12’s weak spots, and unfortunately, it is the same here. On average, I’d use the phone for about a day, viewing videos, listening to podcasts, browsing through Twitter, and making contacts.

If I increased the refresh rate to 120Hz and used the phone extensively (for example, by playing a broadcast for hours on end), it would deplete even faster. Having said that, it did outlast the Xiaomi 12 in our formal PCMark 10 battery test, lasting 11 hours and 40 minutes.

Xiaomi 13 review

Software & updates

  • MIUI 14
  • Software bloat
  • Some apps not optimised for the OS

The Xiaomi 13 uses MIUI 14, which is built on Android 13, the most recent version of this software. If you’ve never used a Xiaomi device before, the System is one of the most noticeable features.

The program bloat isn’t as awful as I’ve seen on other phones, such as the low-cost Poco X5. Nonetheless, there are numerous browser apps, Xiaomi-specific calendars, calculators, and other apps, and more room taken up than is required right out of the box.

The navigation isn’t quite as good as it is on standard Android, and looking for items in the settings can be difficult. Apple users will recognize shortcuts, as fast settings are reached by swiping down from the upper right, and alerts are displayed by dragging down from the left.

Also, the Instagram program isn’t correctly optimized for MIUI. On several instances, the stories section was blacked out, which meant that the identities of individuals did not appear (though the icons did). According to online communities, this is a frequent issue with Xiaomi phones.

If you’ve never used a Xiaomi device before, then the OS is one of the most jarring elements

In general, MIUI isn’t the most user-friendly Android skin available, and problems with famous applications may irritate some users.

Xiaomi usually guarantees three years of operating system upgrades and four years of security patches. While this is better than some makers’ offerings, it is not as comprehensive as Samsung’s four-year software update guarantee.

Price & availability

The Xiaomi 13 costs $999and will be available in the UK on March 14, 2023, through Xiaomi’s main shop, as well as Currys and Argos.

This is a $100 price increase over the previous generation. Taking inflation into consideration, this places it on par with the iPhone 14, the Samsung Galaxy S23, and the Google Pixel 7 Pro.

These are not only more popular names, but they also provide more user-friendly applications. Furthermore, both the iPhone and the Pixel had significantly longer battery lifetimes in our evaluations.

If you can’t decide between the Xiaomi 13 and the Xiaomi 13 Pro, the latter has a more distinctive 1in Sony IMX989 camera, which is the largest available at the time of writing.

Verdict

The Xiaomi 13 is a sturdy piece of technology. It’s more durable and well-built than the prior version. Even in low-light situations, the primary camera captures clear, crisp images, and its ability cannot be overlooked.

However, the price increase from the previous version places it in direct competition with some of the year’s top smartphones, and unfortunately, it falls short of the iPhone 14 or the Google Pixel 7 Pro, particularly with the bloated and perplexing MIUI software.

If you’re dead bent on getting a Xiaomi, the 13 Pro has a superior camera and better specifications. Otherwise, for this price, there are superior options on the market.

Specs

  • Android 13 w/ MIUI 14
  • 6.36in FHD+ AMOLED 120Hz display, 20:9, 240Hz touch sampling, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
  • In-display fingerprint sensor
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 5 front
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
  • 8/12GB RAM LPDDR5X
  • 128GB/256GB non-expandable storage
  • 50Mp, f/1.88, main camera with OIS
  • 12Mp, f/2.2 wide-angle camera
  • 10Mp, f/2.2 telephoto camera
  • 32Mp, f/2.0 front-facing camera
  • Dual speakers with Dolby Atmos
  • 5G
  • WiFi 7 (market dependent)
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • USB-C port
  • 4500mAh battery
  • 67W fast charging
  • 50W wireless charging
  • 10W reverse wireless charging
  • 152.8 x 71.5 x 7.98mm
  • 180g
  • Launch colours: Black, White, Green
Achraf Grini
Achraf Grini
Hello This is AG. I am a Tech lover and I have long been a promoter and editor for a shopping company, I have followed smartphones and headphones and others. I covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews.
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