Launching its latest flagship at Rs 79,999, Xiaomi has made its ambitions clear. It is here to play with the big boys. But, this isn’t something that came out of the blue. Xiaomi has been putting out good flagship devices for the last few years, which some may even consider the best value-for-money phones out there. With the Xiaomi 13 Pro, the smartphone manufacturer has thrown down the gauntlet to the needle movers in this category – Samsung and Apple.
On paper, the Xiaomi 13 Pro has good things going for it. The smartphone gets the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, a brilliant LTPO AMOLED curved display, 120W fast charging, and the highly popular 1-inch primary sensor for the rear camera. If that isn’t enough, the Leica partnership for the rear camera module would certainly attract a lot of photography enthusiasts. But is this enough for Xiaomi to make a space for itself in a segment where Apple and Samsung have created a legacy over the last decade? Find out in our Xiaomi 13 Pro review.
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Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Design and Display
The Xiaomi 13 Pro comes in a bulky rectangular black box with Mi and Leica branding on it. Unboxing the package, you will find the smartphone, a 120W power adapter, a USB Type-A to Type-C charging cable, a clear plastic case, a SIM ejector tool, and some reading material inside. Xiaomi 13 Pro is one of the few smartphones in this price range that still comes with a power adapter in the box.
The key to being a successful flagship is a unique identity in design. A lot of brands have struggled with this in the past and some are finding their feet. The idea is that you want your device to be recognised at the first glance. Apple and Samsung have nailed this down with unique design language for their flagships that make them impossible to confuse with any other smartphone. With the 13 Pro, Xiaomi has crafted a look that has a flair of its own.
The ceramic glass back of the Xiaomi 13 Pro has a nice, glossy feel to it. It is actually similar to holding a ceramic tile in your hand. We used the Ceramic White variant and it did not attract a lot of fingerprints during our time of use, despite its glossiness. The Xiaomi branding can be found in the bottom left corner of the phone. The camera panel is positioned on the top left section of the glass back.
This squarish camera panel brings a lot of personality to an otherwise minimal back design. The bump is pretty significant, which we don’t mind all that much. The curved corners of the camera array mimic the ones on the frame. The Leica branding can be found within this array. We also really liked the all-black look of this camera module against the white back. The glass back is curved, of course. The grip of the smartphone is optimum and despite the glossy back, it doesn’t feel particularly slippery. You can slap a protective case, but you’d be missing out on the brilliant in-hand feel of the device.
The aluminium frame is thin and curved along the sides and flattens out as it reaches the vertical extremities. At the top of the frame, you will find two microphones, an IR blaster, and an outlet for the speaker. The left edge houses the volume rocker key and the power button. The SIM tray, primary microphone, USB port, and primary speaker grille have been housed at the bottom edge of the frame.
Xiaomi has retained the 6.73-inch curved LTPO AMOLED display from the 12 Pro. But this time, the peak brightness has been bumped up to 1,900 nits, making the display brighter and clearer under direct sunlight. The bezels around the display are very thin and the smartphone offers a screen-to-body ratio of 89.6%. The under-display optical scanner is positioned in the appropriate spot and works really fast.
The 120Hz refresh rate of the display contributes to a very pleasant scrolling experience. The fluidity and smoothness in scrolling are similar to what you will find in other premium flagships. The touch response offered by the display is exquisite too. Due to its curved nature, the display is prone to registering some accidental touches, but that is something you expect from every smartphone with this form factor.
The viewing experience on Xiaomi 13 Pro is exemplary. The LTPO AMOLED screen has Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support. The richness in colours is very distinct, and the AMOLED display brings out the best in those deep blacks. The viewing angles are optimum as well, you can place the phone in just about any position and watch content on it. You can change the resolution from FHD+ (3200 x 1080) to WQHD+ (3200 x 1440) from Settings. There are a bunch of colour schemes to choose from as well. Using Advanced Settings you can customise the colour gamut options. This is a very useful feature if you like having a lot of control over how the display behaves.
Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Performance and Cameras
The Xiaomi 13 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC. In India, the smartphone is available in a single storage and RAM variant of 256GB + 12GB. OS duties are handled by Android 13 skinned with MIUI 14.
The smartphone doesn’t run into any trouble while handling daily routine tasks. There is no drop in performance even with a dozen apps running in the background. Pushing the phone to its limits, we did notice some slight heating along the back panel, but thankfully there was no throttling. The haptics motor on the Xiaomi 13 Pro provides wonderful feedback and makes the smartphone more fun to use.
We played graphically demanding COD Mobile, Apex Legends, and Genshin Impact on the Xiaomi 13 Pro and the smartphone was able to manage them quite nicely. The level of gameplay is ideal, something that will suit serious gamers. The phone starts to heat up after 40 minutes of gaming on the highest settings, but you can easily power through without experiencing any frame drops. On the Geekbench 6 test, the Xiaomi 13 Pro attained a single-core score of 1,386 points and a muti-core score of 4,677 points.
Talking about software, the MIUI 14 isn’t all that different from its predecessor. There aren’t any radical changes to the looks or the layout. If you enjoy Xiaomi’s OS, then you’re bound to like MIUI as well. There are a few new additions that we liked on the MIUI 14. The magic eraser works well to remove small objects from the images. There is a ‘people’ remover option as well, but it only works effectively if the people are situated in the far background of your image.
The privacy and security features offered by the software were something we found ourselves using routinely. The native security scanner is powered by Avast and is effective in weeding out suspicious apps. There is bloatware to be found on this phone, which is never a good look on a flagship. The system apps send pesky notification alerts regularly, which can get annoying. You would have to go through the extra step of removing all bloatware from the device and muting all notifications from the system apps.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro is packed with a 4,820 mAh battery unit – an improvement over its predecessor. A 120W fast charger comes inside the box. Using the phone on full brightness and the refresh rate turned up to 120Hz, we got a full day’s worth of battery backup with 6-7 hours of screen on time. Our daily tasks included social media usage, shooting videos and taking pictures, an hour of gaming, watching content on Netflix and YouTube, and sometimes short periods of using navigation services. You can make use of the full 120W by boosting the charging speed from settings. With boosted charging speed, we were able to fully juice the device in just 20 minutes. The smartphone does heat up a bit on fast charging.
Xiaomi 13 Pro’s rear cameras have been designed in collaboration with Leica. The star of the show is the 1-inch primary sensor, which makes its way to India for the first time on a Xiaomi phone (the 12S Ultra was not released in India). There is also a 50MP telephoto and 50MP ultrawide lens onboard. Needless to say, we were pretty excited to take the camera on a spin.
There are two Leica profiles you can use to shoot pictures on the Xiaomi 13 Pro – Leica Vibrant and Leica Authentic. The Vibrant mode is perfect if you want your pictures to be ‘social media ready’. If you want more control over the post-processing, go for Leica Authentic. We used both profiles interchangeably and eventually settled on Leica Vibrant.
The primary 50MP camera produces great results in daylight conditions. The images are very balanced and flaunt vivid colours without any sign of overprocessing. The large size of the camera is able to let a lot of flow through it, resulting in highly detailed images and a very impressive dynamic range. The level of detail in the shadows is also commendable.
The 50MP ultrawide lens performs just as well but is a step behind in replicating the colour profile of the primary camera. The images captured are still of very high quality, and you will be using this camera lens quite often. The telephoto lens offers a 3.2x optical zoom with an option to digitally zoom up to 70x (at that point, all you get is grain and nothing more). The 3.2x optical zoom works really well, and the images come out well-composed.
Due to its 1-inch primary sensor, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is a lowlight photography champ. In challenging lighting, the primary lens was able to produce brilliant results. The difference that the size of a sensor can make is very noticeable in these images. We were very impressed by the sharpness and lack of noise in these images. You don’t need to turn on the Night Mode unless the situation really demands it.
The 32MP front camera is a bit of a letdown in an otherwise great phone. The selfies are nothing out of the ordinary, something that can be replicated by a smartphone in a segment below the Xiaomi 13 Pro. Another disappointing thing is that the selfie camera can only record in 1080p resolution. The rear camera is capable of recording in 8K at 24fps, 4K at 24/30/60fps, 1080p at 30/60fps, and 720p at 30fps. There is a very useful ‘teleprompter’ feature that displays any script you feed into it while you are recording using your phone.
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In a way, the Xiaomi 13 Pro truly marks the arrival of Xiaomi in the premium smartphone category. This device looks, feels, and performs as a flagship should. With the massive 1-inch sensor making its way for the first time in India, we could see a lot of photography enthusiasts going for the Xiaomi 13 Pro. Its low-light camera performance speaks for itself. The price tag of Rs 79,999 will certainly be a big factor in this phone’s success, but we like that Xiaomi has put a lot of faith in this device to pit it against the likes of iPhone 13 and Samsung Galaxy S23. If you’re interested in buying the smartphone, Xiaomi is currently offering a discount of Rs 10,000 on the 13 Pro as a part of its Fan Fest.
Xiaomi 13 Pro: Pros
- Great design and looks
- Very impressive rear camera setup
- Fast charging
Xiaomi 13 Pro: Cons
- Selfie camera produces average results
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