After what seemed like an eternity, Xiaomi is finally launching its latest flagship line, the Xiaomi 13 series, to international markets. Based on my initial experience with the Xiaomi 13 Pro, the greatest phones in the global arena, such as the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, now have a new competitor to worry about; one that doesn’t mess about.
Although it is designed to be a straight successor to the Xiaomi 12 Pro, one of the 13 Pro’s main selling features (the new Leica-branded camera system) is really a direct continuation of the technology originally seen in the China-exclusive Xiaomi 12S Ultra, which we encountered in August of 2022.
Our first taste of the company’s newly formed partnership with the optical geniuses at Leica, combined with Sony’s huge 1-inch IMX989 sensor and Xiaomi’s own picture processing, proved to be a winning combination.
Xiaomi 13 Singapore Price And Availability
Both the Xiaomi 13 and Xiaomi 13 Pro were first revealed to the Chinese market on December 11, 2022, but fans worldwide had to wait until the Mobile World Congress trade expo in Barcelona, Spain, where the phones were sold globally on February 26, along with the inclusion of the Xiaomi 13 Lite.
The Xiaomi 13 series (13 and 13 Pro) will be available for pre-order from March 4 to March 10, 2023, through Xiaomi Stores and other affiliated retailers. The Xiaomi 13 comes in three colour options (Black, White, and Flora Green), while the Xiaomi 13 Pro comes in Ceramic White and Ceramic Black. Their official prices are as follows:
- Xiaomi 13: S$1,199 (12GB RAM, 256GB storage)
- Xiaomi 13 Pro: S$1,599 (12GB RAM, 256GB storage)
- Xiaomi 13 Pro: S$1,699 (12GB RAM, 512GB storage)
While supplies last, pre-ordering the Xiaomi 13 earns you a free Xiaomi Watch S1 worth S$299. When you pre-order the Xiaomi 13 Pro, you will receive the same watch as well as a complimentary Redmi Buds 4 Pro worth S$129, while supplies last.
There’s also a Lazada exclusive in which Xiaomi 13 purchasers receive a S$150 discount voucher (T&Cs apply), while Xiaomi 13 Pro buyers receive a S$200 voucher.
Who is the target consumer?
Xiaomi hopes that customers who want to buy a Leica camera may consider purchasing this. It is, nevertheless, less expensive than a full-fledged Leica camera and provides more flexibility. More crucially, Xiaomi is exercising some muscle in the smartphone camera game, where it has yet to command the awe and reverence that a Samsung or a Google Pixel do. The Leica brand can help to modify that view. In my experience, Xiaomi and Redmi phones provide superb photography performance across a wide range of pricing ranges. Curiously, because Xiaomi is importing it into India, this phone will likewise have a limited run. Therefore don’t be surprised if it runs out of supply in a few months.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro is available with 12GB of RAM, 256GB or 512GB of storage, with ceramic white or black finishes.
|74.6 x 162.9 x 8.38mm
|6.73-inch 20:9 WQHD+ (3200 x 1440) 120Hz LTPO E6 AMOLED, protected by Gorilla Glass Victus
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
|256GB / 512GB (UFS 4.0)
|Android 13 w/ MIUI 14
|50MP, f/1.9, 23mm 1-inch sensor w/ OIS (Sony IMX989)
|50MP, f/2.2, 14mm, 115° FoV
|50MP, f/2.0, 75mm, 3.2x optical zoom w/ OIS
|32MP, f/2.0, 1mm, 89.6° FoV
|Stereo speakers w/ Dolby Atmos
|120W wired, 50W wireless, 10W reverse wireless
|Ceramic Black, Ceramic White
In comparison to prior generations, the Xiaomi 13 series isn’t as uniform in terms of design among models.
Both the 13 and 13 Pro have a pillowed back (made of Gorilla Glass in the 13 and ceramic in the Pro), as well as a conspicuous squircle Leica-branded camera bump. And what a bump it is; the Pro’s, in particular, must make room for that massive 1-inch sensor and two OIS systems, so it rises high off the rear of the phone.
In truth, it’s unapologetic, which I appreciate, and although it may not be as sleek as the camera modules on the Xiaomi 12 series, it’s an irrefutable statement, symbolising the phone’s power and photographic prowess.
The 13 Pro’s ceramic black back is pleasant to the touch, and its rounded shape allows this fairly large phone to fit comfortably in the hand; yet, that polished finish is no less prone to fingerprints and smudges than glass (even the included flexible transparent case holds onto them too).
The Xiaomi 13 Pro, at 229 grams, is also a weighty device – even for its size. Admittedly, it’s not as heavy as the S23 Ultra (234 grams) or the latest Pro Max iPhone (240 grams), but it’s close. Its circular shape is also IP68 dust and water-resistant, which is a plus.
Brightness was one of the main gains for the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s display, particularly during video playback, and it’s what’s seen the most improvement. The screen on the Xiaomi 13 Pro now has a maximum brightness of 1,900nits, up from 1,500 earlier.
While the screen’s brightness is clearly amazing, I was also taken aback by its exceptional viewing angles, which appear to display negligible brightness drop-off or colour distortion even at extreme angles.
Aside from these distinguishing features, the 13 Pro offers a viewing experience comparable to its predecessor, protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass Victus.
The 6.73-inch 20:9 E6 AMOLED ‘AdaptiveSync Pro’ display features a dynamic 1Hz to 120Hz refresh rate, as well as a 240Hz touch sampling rate, making it excellent for gaming. With a pixel density of 522ppi, the WQHD+ resolution at this size assures that it is sharper than most competitors’ panels.
Xiaomi’s MIUI software also provides a lot of control over the viewing experience, which is adaptable enough to handle a wide range of display standards, from Dolby Vision to HDR10+. Furthermore, it has SGS Eye Care certification, which implies the 13 Pro’s screen is designed to reduce eye fatigue compared to some competitors’ displays (likely possible through included technologies like its 1920PWM dimming and adaptive reading mode).
Xiaomi’s MIUI has long distanced itself from the established Android user experience found on phones like Google’s Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, with a layout and behaviour that appears to be more evocative of Apple’s iOS.
Swiping down from the top right exposes the fast settings menu while pulling down from the top left reveals your notifications. By default, there is no app drawer, and three-button navigation is the norm. Both of these interface options, however, may be reverted by changing settings to restore the drawer and favour gestures instead.
In reality, MIUI 14 running atop Android 13, as found on the Xiaomi 13 Pro, is rife with personalization, with a theme store that allows you to alter everything from the wallpaper to app icons, as well as the ability to swap out UI animations and more.
There is also a slew of third- and first-party apps available alongside the standard Google offerings, like Chrome, Google Photos, Google Maps, and so on. The third-party items, for the most part, feel like spam, but they can be eliminated gratefully.
While there are a lot of duplicate products to Google’s pre-installed suite of services, Xiaomi does aim to provide a little extra value. Xiaomi’s web browser, for example, includes a variety of useful extra functions not accessible in Chrome, such as a built-in video downloader.
There are also quirky components that liven up what might otherwise be a mundane user experience, such as how storage is represented by a virtual liquid that sloshes around on-screen and reacts to how you move and twist the phone in your palm.
Xiaomi is also maintaining its admirable dedication to software support for its flagship handsets, with both the Xiaomi 13 and Xiaomi 13 Pro including up to three years of future OS release updates and five years of security patches. In terms of OS support, that’s on pace with the Google Pixel and a year less than Samsung and OnePlus, but it’s still fairly decent.
If you’re prepared to accept the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s hefty camera upgrade, you’ll acquire what appears to be a strong trio of 50MP sensors adjusted in collaboration with the photography masters at Leica.
While the Xiaomi 12S Ultra was the first phone to benefit from Xiaomi’s Leica alliance after the camera company’s previous association with Huawei ended, the Xiaomi 13 series is the company’s first handset to launch globally with Leica-supported camera tech.
Despite the logo on the rear and the elaborately called ‘Vario-Summicron ASPH’ lens configuration, Leica’s participation extends to the software as well. You may shoot in either ‘Leica Vibrant’ or ‘Leica Authentic,’ with Vibrant increasing contrast and colour saturation and Authentic meant to provide more true-to-life photos, which I’ll put to the test in the entire review.
The ‘master-lens system,’ as Xiaomi calls it, makes selecting the right lens for the intended result easier and more akin to rifling through a bag of physical lenses, while the ‘Xiaomi Image Engine’ is in place to deliver less shutter lag than previous entries and faster autofocus on subjects, even when they’re in motion.
There’s also the option to shoot in Pro mode, which enables 10-bit RAW DNG capture with Adobe-created colour profiles.
When shooting the same scenario with all three of the phone’s rear lenses, 50MP across the board ensures a higher level of consistency; however, that huge one-inch Sony sensor’s ability to combine four pixels into one larger 3.2m binned-pixel should make for some excellent low light shooting, supported by an OIS (optical image stabilisation) system called ‘HyperOIS’ and an 8P lens configuration for greater clarity and reduced reflectivity.
The 50MP telephoto sensor, with its 3.2x optical zoom, also sounds excellent, thanks to its floating lens architecture, which should be especially useful for portrait photography.
There’s also 8K video capture at 24fps and Dolby Vision-compliant 4K video capture at 30fps, with promised night recording enhancements.
It’s also worth noting that the display includes a 32MP front-facing punch-hole camera that supports HDR and portrait shooting.
If it isn’t already clear, the cameras are a big part of what defines the Xiaomi 13 Pro experience, and there’s a lot to look into, which is why I’ll be providing camera samples and a comprehensive evaluation when the full review comes out.
Performance And Audio
Both the Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro are powered by Qualcomm’s most recent mobile Processor, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. While it is not the tweaked edition exclusive to Samsung’s Galaxy S23 series, it has already demonstrated its potential as one of the top pieces of silicon on the market, with considerable advances in performance, graphics and gaming, and AI computing.
As previously stated, the worldwide 13 Pro is available with 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and up to 512GB of UFS 4.0 storage, all of which boast faster read and write speeds and increased power efficiency when compared to the RAM and storage in last year’s Xiaomi 12 Pro.
5G connectivity, dual SIM compatibility, NFC, and support for the latest Wi-Fi 7 standard and speeds are all available.
On the audio front, Xiaomi introduced the Xiaomi 13 Pro alongside the Buds 4 Pro truly wireless buds, which can connect via the phone’s Bluetooth 5.3 connection, while inbuilt stereo speakers support Dolby Atmos. In practice, there is a clear preference for the down-firing speaker, although loudness and overall clarity appear to be great, based on my initial observations.
Most of the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s size and weight are apparently due to the larger, high-capacity, higher-density 4,820mAh battery it must accommodate.
Xiaomi, like its predecessor, has graced the 13 Pro with an impressive set of charging numbers: 120W ‘HyperCharge’ fast wired charging, as well as rapid 50W wireless charging and 10W, reverse wireless charging (compatibility permitting), which is collectively faster than pretty much any other phone that supports all three technologies.
Xiaomi claims a rapid recharge time of only 19 minutes to 100% over wired charging, and the Surge charging processor onboard monitors the recharge process to ensure things stay cool, stable, and secure, and battery health remains as excellent as it can be over time.
This is a phone whose fate is strongly tied to its camera. Is this a good enough substitute for individuals who want a Leica camera but can’t afford one? I can’t answer that because I’ve never used a Leica. Nonetheless, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is without a doubt one of the greatest Android camera phones I’ve used recently. The trouble is that most other top flagship Android phones with decent cameras are, too, including the S23 Ultra, OnePlus 11, and Pixel 7 Pro.