The Xiaomi 13 Pro launched in China back in December, but that was the Chinese model. The global variant arrived to global markets quite recently, and I received it early, and spent some time with it at this point. This is basically Xiaomi’s new flagship, as the rumored Xiaomi 13 Ultra did not launch. It may launch at some point later this year, but that’s just a wild rumor. As far as we know, at the moment, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is Xiaomi’s heavy-hitter for 2022. That being said, let’s get down to its review, let’s see what the Xiaomi 13 Pro has to offer.
This smartphone comes with truly powerful specs. It has Qualcomm’s latest flagship, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, on top of having a top-of-the-line display. The variant we got to review also has a ceramic backplate, while the phone is water and dust resistant. Leica’s lenses are included on the back, and a powerful camera setup. Does that translate into a great, smartphone, though? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out. Let’s get to it!
Table of contents
Xiaomi 13 Pro Review: Hardware / Design
The Xiaomi 13 Pro is made out of metal and ceramic. It has an aluminum frame, and a ceramic backplate, in this case. A variant with a silicon polymer backplate is also available, though, but not globally, only in China. The overall shape is exactly what you’re used to when it comes to modern smartphones. Its front and back sides curve towards the aluminum frame on the sides, proportionally. There is a curved display on the device, with a centered display camera hole. The bezels are quite thin, by the way.
It features three cameras on the back, with Leica lenses
On the back, you’ll notice a squarish camera island in the top-left corner. Leica branding is also included in there, as Leica’s lenses are used here. The Xiaomi 13 Pro includes three cameras on the back. Xiaomi’s branding can be found towards the bottom of the backplate, while all the physical buttons sit on the right-hand side. This handset even has an IR blaster at the top, which is not unusual for Xiaomi phones. So you can use it to control your TV or some other appliances, if you want.
The phone feels really good in the hand
The phone feels great in the hand, actually. It doesn’t cut into your hand, or anything of the sort. The Xiaomi 13 Pro is quite slippery, though, and this black ceramic variant that we got does attract a lot of fingerprints. It does feel undeniably premium, however. The phone does actually feel a bit smaller in the hand than it actually is, even in the silicone case that is included in the box. I’ve used similarly-sized devices lately, plenty of them, so the difference is noticeable. I didn’t feel like the phone is as large as it is, so I was surprised when I check out the dimensions.
When it comes to weight, it stands at 229 grams, at least this ceramic variant does. The polymer back model weighs less, 210 grams. Overall, Xiaomi did a really good job design-wise. The phone feels exactly as it should feel, without any crazy design ideas/implementations. Using a case may be a good idea due to its slippery nature, and the fact it attracts fingerprints like nobody’s business.
A see-through silicone case is included in the box
Xiaomi does include a case in the retail box, with the Xiaomi 13 Pro. Well, at least our variant got it, but we believe that every single model comes with this case. The case itself is nothing fancy, a regular see-through silicone/gel case. That’s somewhat standard when it comes to Chinese flagship smartphones these days, and it’s always nice to see. This case offers a good level of protection, and it’s great to have until you get something else, if you even want to do that. Many people stick with cases like these.
Xiaomi 13 Pro Review: Display
The Xiaomi 13 Pro features a 6.73-inch QHD+ (3200 x 1440) LTPO OLED panel. This display is curved, and it supports HDR10+ content. It also comes with Dolby Vision support, and can get very bright if needed, it goes all the way up to 1,900 nits of peak brightness. It can also show up to 1 billion colors, and has a centered display camera hole. All in all, Xiaomi used an excellent display, and there’s not much more you can ask for.
The display gets immensely bright when needed
This display is plenty bright, even in direct sunlight. Do note that the only way you’ll get remotely close to its top brightness is in auto mode, so don’t try to get there manually. The display is tuned to fullHD+ mode by default, and even in that mode it’s plenty sharp, so there’s really no need to go all the way up. Considering you paid so much for the device, you may want to, and that’s completely understandable.
It’s also well-optimized
This panel feels really good to use. The content is smooth, as the 120Hz refresh rate kicks in, and even the touch response is really good. Its touch sampling rate is not anything crazy, by the way, it’s 240Hz, but that’s not something many of you care about either way. The phone is great for gaming regardless. The viewing angles here are great, and the colors are vivid. You also get granular controls in the settings, so you can tweak it any way you want. It’s an outstanding panel that can stand side-by-side with the best out there. It’s also great for consuming multimedia. And yes, the blacks are very deep, as you’d expect out of a proper AMOLED panel.
Xiaomi 13 Pro Review: Performance
Xiaomi used top-of-the-line hardware here, and that includes the most performance-oriented hardware, the SoC, RAM, and storage. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC fuels the phone, Qualcomm’s most powerful processor. Xiaomi also utilizes LPDDR5X RAM in this phone, along with UFS 4.0 flash storage. The Xiaomi 13 Pro comes in a number of different flavors, but it includes up to 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and up to 512GB of UFS 4.0 flash storage. That is the variant that we got to test, by the way.
Gaming is a piece of cake for the Xiaomi 13 Pro
The Xiaomi 13 Pro is one of the best-performing devices out there, there’s no doubt about that. Its powerful hardware internals are backed by really good software provided by Xiaomi. I never felt like I was waiting on the phone to catch up, regardless of what I was doing. Multitasking was a breeze, as was launching apps, consuming multimedia, taking pictures, and so on. Even if you run graphically-intensive games, that’s not a problem at all. Xiaomi also implemented VC liquid cooling, on a rather large surface, so the phone is really good at dissipating heat as well. It will get warm, as all flagships do under heavy load, but it’ll never get too warm, nor will that affect the performance. At least it did not for us.
There are no performance-related oddities to report. Well, I did stumble upon a few software-related ones, but I’ll leave that for the software section. It’s nothing serious though, some minor things that are barely worth mentioning.
Xiaomi 13 Pro Review: Battery
The Xiaomi 13 Pro includes a 4,820mAh battery on the inside. In addition to that, it supports immensely fast wired and wireless charging. 120W wired charging is supported, in addition to 50W wireless charging, and 10W reverse wireless charging. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, the charger is included in the box, with the phone. You do not need to buy it separately, you do get a 120W charger here.
You can fully charge this phone in 19 minutes
In case you’re wondering how fast its charging is, well, it’s truly blazing fast. You can fully charge the phone via a wire in about 19-20 minutes, while Xiaomi says you can do the same via wireless charging in 36 minutes. I could not test wireless charging via an official wireless charger, so I’m not going to comment on that.
The battery life is excellent
That being said, let’s talk about battery life, shall we? Let’s just say you’ll be happy with its battery life, even if you’re a power user. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 handles power consumption like a champ, while Xiaomi also used a decent battery size here, and optimized the phone well. I was regularly getting over 7 hours of screen-on-time with plenty of juice left in the tank. You can really go the distance with this phone, especially if you’re not gaming a lot on it. The point is, the Xiaomi 13 Pro battery life should not worry you, at all.
Xiaomi 13 Pro Review: Camera
Xiaomi spared no expense when it comes to camera hardware on the Xiaomi 13 Pro. The phone comes with three 50-megapixel cameras, including a 1-inch sensor on the main camera. What it doesn’t have is a periscope camera, but we’ll come to that. The Xiaomi is using Sony’s IMX989 sensor, the same on that it used in the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, and the same one Vivo implemented. That That 50.3-megapixel main camera has a 1.6um pixel size, OIS support, and an f/1.9 aperture. There is also a 50-megapixel ultrawide camera (115-degree FoV), and a 50-megapixel telephoto unit (f/2.0 aperture, 75mm telephoto lens, 3.2x optical zoom). Leica lenses are included on all these cameras, by the way.
Great camera hardware, but no periscope camera
As I said, there is no periscope telephoto camera here, which is a shame. The Vivo X90 Pro doesn’t have it either, only the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, as far as newer flagship phones are concerned. What’s interesting is that the Vivo X90 Pro+ has it, but it only launched in China. Now that we cleared that up, let’s talk about the cameras themselves. The hardware itself is not really all that useful without great software, is it. Well, Xiaomi did a good job here, but not the level I expected, to be quite blunt. I reviewed the Vivo X90 Pro just before the Xiaomi 13 Pro, which is ideal, as I already had a great starting point for this review.
When it hits the shot just right, the results are outstanding
Just to be clear, the camera performance of this phone is really, really good, but in some situations, it needs optimizing. When the phone nails a shot, you’ll be amazed. It’ll be crisp, with that creamy bokeh effect that makes it look like it was taken with a DSLR. The shutter if quite fast, even in low light, and overall the images are well-balanced. When you get into more demanding situations, however, it’s obvious further tweaking is needed. You’ll see all that in the camera samples I’ll include below. Before we start, please do note that most shots I took with the phone were with auto HDR (base setting), and with ‘Leica Authentic’ option, as ‘Leica Vibrant’ looked a bit too saturated to be, in some shots. I preferred the look of ‘Leica Authentic’ more of then than not.
Xiaomi needs to optimize HDR performance
Those specific cases include some HDR situations, and some low light situations. The phone struggles, at times, to balance out images in HDR situations, and yes, HDR was on (auto mode), and I tried retaking almost every shot with tap to focus. In any case, what I said here especially goes for indoor shots when the sun is the brightest. If you check out the two examples below, you’ll see what I’m talking about. The Vivo X90 Pro did a much better job at balancing out the two images than the Xiaomi 13 Pro did. That goes for both the bright light on the Android figurine, and the colors on the display of the OPPO Find N2 (plus the figure in the back).
Xiaomi 13 Pro vs Vivo X90 Pro (indoor HDR) sample 1:
Xiaomi 13 Pro vs Vivo X90 Pro (indoor HDR) sample 2:
That doesn’t happen always, though, not at all. The Xiaomi 13 Pro can truly do a great job in most cases, even with HDR. That’s why I mentioned optimization several times thus far. This phone needs a camera update that will work out the kinks in that aspect, and it’ll do a much better job, even in such demanding situations.
Low light performance is great, but high dynamic range can be an issue
Another problematic aspect is low light, but only in certain situations. If you take a look at the gallery below, you’ll see some examples. In one of those, the Xiaomi 13 Pro failed to balanced out the shot of a tree, which sits next to a tree light. The light is way too harsh, and it doesn’t look all that great, the same goes for the chandelier image. The same goes for the image of a car wash, where plenty of light sources are included (it wasn’t nearly as bright). It usually does a good job with noise, while details in low light are hit and miss, it all depends on the scene. Most of the time, however, they’re really good.
Most of the time, the phone did a really good job camera-wise
Up to this point, it seems like things aren’t that great, but I just wanted to highlight some pain points before we get down to the good. I had, generally, a good experience with the camera. If you check out the gallery below, you’ll see camera samples from various situations in which the phone did a great job. Some of those are tricky HDR shots, so, as you can see, the phone can nail a shot. It can actually do an outstanding job. It does great during the day, as it offers plenty of details, and balances shots out nicely. It does great with macro shots too. The same goes for low light, as long as you’re not facing very demanding high dynamic range situations. If Xiaomi manages to improve HDR camera processing… well, the Xiaomi 13 Pro will be a force to be reckoned with.
The ultrawide and telephoto cameras do a good job. The quality does slip a bit in low light, but that’s the case with all cameras out there. The main camera is the one to use in low light situations, and there’s no way around it. The selfie camera is really good, whether you want a realistic shot, or a highly processed one, it’s up to you. The video recording is also quite good, but not to the level of the iPhone 14 Pro (Max) or the Galaxy S23 Ultra. When there’s challenging light in the scene, some distortion is noticeable.
Xiaomi 13 Pro Review: Software
Android 13 comes pre-installed on the Xiaomi 13 Pro, and on top of it you’re getting Xiaomi’s MIUI 14 skin. If you’ve used MIUI 13, you know exactly what to expect here. There’s really not that much different about it in terms of functionality and looks. Xiaomi did issue many optimizations here, cut down on some bloat, and more. As a result, the company promised up to 60% better performance compared to MIUI 13. Is that something we’re getting here? Well, there’s no way to measure it, but the phone is fast, immensely fast.
MIUI 14 is smooth and very responsive
Its overall great performance definitely has much to do with the hardware, but Xiaomi apparently did a good job optimizing the software. MIUI 14 is very functional, and packed with tons of features. Ranging from the company’s themes and wallpapers, various gestures that you can utilize, and floating windows option, to a number of pre-installed apps from the company that you can use. One of those apps is dedicated to security, the other to customization, there’s also one for Xiaomi’s official forums, and so on. Some apps you can uninstall, others not so much. The point is, the OS works really well. I did stumble upon a couple of small bugs during my testing, but it’s really nothing major.
I barely had issues with it
At one point, the OS simply froze up, and I had to wait a couple of seconds before it decided to take my input. I’ve also seen a couple of app crashes, and at one point I had to wait for the fingerprint scanner to appear on the screen (a couple of seconds). Other than that, everything ran really smoothly, and I really don’t have any major complaints here. If stock Android is your thing, you probably don’t really like MIUI to begin with. If you don’t care all that much and want a customizable OS that works really, really well… MIUI is a good choice. It also has a really good image and video editor baked in, and it allows you to duplicate apps via the ‘Dual apps’ feature. It also doesn’t really kill off apps in the background nearly as aggressively as before, though that habit is still there.
Xiaomi 13 Pro Review: Should you buy it?
The Xiaomi 13 Pro is, without a doubt, a true flagship. It’s a great smartphone in many ways, though it’s not perfect. The camera performance still needs tweaking on the software side of things, while MIUI 14 will need another update or two to squash a couple of bugs. Other than that, this phone is outstanding. The display is bright, vivid, and quite responsive. The design is great, the phone not only looks premium, but it feels great in the hand. It offers really good battery life with blazing fast wired and wireless charging, and more. It really doesn’t miss in a lot of ways, and it will certainly be appealing to many people.
You should buy the Xiaomi 13 Pro if:
You appreciate premium build materials
You want the latest and greatest specifications
You want a 1-inch camera sensor in a smartphone
You are a heavy user, and need good battery life
You need some of the fastest wired & wireless charging options on the market
You hate OEMs who don’t include chargers with their phones
You appreciate software customizability
You shouldn’t buy the Xiaomi 13 Pro if:
You require an outstanding ultrawide camera
Your camera expectations are too high
You appreciate minimalistic software
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