The Xiaomi 13 Pro has arrived on Irish shores (via Harvey Norman) and it’s here to take on the likes of Samsung’s flagship S series, Google’s Pixel Line, the latest OnePlus 11 and even Apple’s iPhone. At first glance, when unpackaging the phone and assessing its overall design, it left me a bit underwhelmed, but after using it for a week, I was surprised by some of its features. We’ll delve into the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s design, battery, and camera capabilities in this review while assessing where it stands when compared to recent flagships from the likes of OnePlus and Samsung.
Design & Build Quality
If you’re expecting a radical Android redesign from Xiaomi, you will most definitely be disappointed. The 13 Pro’s design is uninspired; and from the front, it looks no different from the OnePlus 11 5G or any other Android device in the flagship price range. The only thing separating the Xiaomi 13 Pro from its competitors is the camera tie-up with Leica, which we’ll talk about later.
With dimensions of 162.99mm x 74.6mm x 8.38mm and weight of 229 grams, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is a joy to hold… if you have a case on. Without the case, the Ceramic Black back of the model we reviewed made the device prone to slippage. If you’re one with sweaty palms, you might want to skip this phone.
This issue may be fixed by slipping on a case but just something to be aware of. I just wish Xiaomi were doing more to separate itself from what its sister brands are doing with their flagships in terms of design, and may be some more interesting colour offerings might help.
The front screen is beautiful for browsing, watching films, and multitasking. No complaints there – the WQHD+ dynamic display is supported by the flagship standard 120Hz refresh rate to deliver a smooth and highly responsive experience.
In terms of performance, the Xiaomi 13 Pro gives you the proper flagship experience and feels premium to use, thanks to its flagship processor under the hood. Over there duration of our review period, there was zero lag throughout the experience, which is a big deal considering I didn’t manually close any apps during my review. You can jump from games to social media to the camera quite quickly, once you get used to the MIUI experience, of course. When I first started using MIUI 14, I was frustrated by the two app stores constantly fighting for updates – to Xiaomi’s credit, even Samsung does that, albeit not as persistently.
For instance, searching for an app is painless. If you use an app for everything, this will come in very handy. As opposed to most Android UIs that prefer to keep the search bar on the top, the MIUI has it at the bottom, just like in iOS – and I absolutely love the speed it adds to my multitasking needs.
Just like most flagships, the triple camera system on the Xiaomi 13 Pro from Leica can cover a series of focal lengths – be it ultra-wide angle (14mm), wide-angle (23mm), and telephoto shots (75mm).
Enter, the much-awaited Leica camera. When I first started using it after spending time with the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, I set myself up for disappointment. But the camera is extremely smart – and delivers not only in terms of quality but also when it comes to shutter speed, processing, and its ability to retain the “pop” in colours.
The 13 Pro also uses its telephoto lens for any macro shots so these also appear extremely detailed whilst giving you better usability in terms of lining up the shot and not fearing you’re going to block too much light or distort the image seeing as you’re not using the much more ‘fish-eye lens’ found on the ultra wide sensor.
Xiaomi also includes its own camera magic, similar to the Pixel’s ‘Magic Eraser‘ tool, which lets you remove people and objects from images. They also have a few additional variations of the tech, such as the ability to remove shadows from over-top food shots and power lines.
While their implementation of the tech is admirable, it’s capabilities still needs some refinement to compete with what Google offers. If you happen to be a Google One subscriber, you can actually use Google’s tool via the Google Photos app so you won’t be left without the ability to remove unwanted guests in any photos you like!
Thanks to its giant 1″ sensor on its main camera, its low light capabilities are fantastic and, because it’s able to pull in so much light naturally, noise in these low light shots is basically non-existent, when compare to other devices, even the impressive Pixel 7 Pro and its ‘Night Sight’ capabilities.
The 13 Pro also does a fantastic job with portrait shots from the Selfie camera with great edge detection and are much better than what’s capable on the OnePlus 11 5G and compare favourably to the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra as well. It’s just a shame that, even for a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 device, it’s still only capable of recording video in 1080p.
With 120w fast-charging capabilities and a 4,820mAh battery, the phone can last you an entire day with moderate to somewhat heavy use. If you’re glued to your device and game a lot, you might have to juice it up for the second time, which is not really an issue with Xiaomi’s phenomenal 120W charging speeds that fully charge the device in less than 25 minutes.
Xiaomi recommends using the charger-in-the-box to get the maximum out of this device’s charging capabilities. Mind you, the phone will heat up during fast-charging, as expected. But this heat doesn’t replicate during usage.
If you’re looking for an extremely versatile and high-performance smartphone with one of the best camera systems on the market, this might just be the phone for you. Fast-charging capabilities and top-notch specs make the Xiaomi 13 Pro a formidable flagship this year but a part of me just kept wanting more, maybe from flagship smartphones in general, if not from the Xiaomi 13 Pro – especially in terms of design. With the latest offerings from Samsung and (somewhat) OnePlus also carrying a similarly great camera experience, choosing a phone based primarily on camera needs just got harder for 2023 buyers.
Xiaomi 13 Pro Pricing & Availability
The Xiaomi 13 Pro (12/256GB) is available for €1,199 from Harvey Norman SIM free with info on carrier options said to be coming soon.
REVIEW: Xiaomi 13 Pro - A Very 'Leica'-ble Phone
- Design & Build Quality
If you’re looking for an extremely versatile and high-performance smartphone with one of the best camera systems on the market, this might just be the phone for you.