Xiaomi 13 Ultra Review: The Xiaomi 13 Ultra is no doubt one of the best smartphones of 2023. In fact, after using the Xiaomi 13 Ultra phone for a while, I can safely say this could have easily been the best phone of the year if not for one major flaw.
In this Xiaomi 13 Ultra review, I’ll point out all the best features of this phone and also share with you the one thing that makes it difficult for me to recommend. Note that this review won’t be a long one where I’ll bore you with details you don’t need. In fact, in this Xiaomi 13 Ultra review, I explained the good and bad sides of each component from the display down to the charging features.
Xiaomi 13 Ultra Review
Design and Display
The design of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is unique. There is currently no phone that has the design of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra in the market right now. The rear design of the phone is very different as the upper part pops out a little. Not annoyingly popping out but just enough to make it look really cool.
I also liked the curved screen of the smartphone and the circular rear camera module. The circular rear camera module makes the phone balance when placed on a table and wobble. The design of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is very impressive but its display is even more impressive.
When I got the phone, the first thing I tested was the 2600 nits of brightness. Boy, the screen of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is bright. I compared the brightness with the iPhone 14 Pro and Galaxy S23 Ultra and non of these phones came close. Aside from being very bright, the display of the phone is also very smooth.
The display is QHD+ and its size is about 6.73 inches. The display panel is an LTPO AMOLED that can auto-refresh between 120Hz and 1Hz. So, the screen is very smooth and responds very fast. However, by default, Xiaomi set the screen to 1080p but if you really want to enjoy using the screen, you should head over o settings and change the settings to QHD+. You’ll have to sacrifice battery for this but it’s worth it.
Camera: Photography and Videography
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra has some of the best camera sensors in a smartphone (well at least for the rear cameras). This smartphone takes some of the best photos and records some of the best videos.
The 50.3MP main camera is a Sony IMX989 1-inch sensor which takes really sharp photos. Even the 50MP telephoto lens, 50MP periscope lens, and 50MP ultra-wide lens take incredible photos. Taking night photos and videos on the Xiaomi 13Ultra is nearly excellent. In some places where the iPhone 14 Pro Max struggled, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra took some really great photos.
For example, the iPhone 14 Pro Max could not balance taking night photos in some cases and its software just made everything bright. In contrast, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra was able to maintain the night tone and also take really bright photos. Another area where the cameras of this phone impressed me is video.
Aside from the fact that it can record steady videos in 8k resolution, this phone has some really good stabilization features. One other thing I love about the cameras of this phone is that you can record 8K videos even when you zoom in 5x optical zoom (which is very surprising). But, the front camera of the phone is a disappointment.
The 32MP front camera takes some of the most awful selfies I have seen in a flagship phone in recent years. Photos from the front cameras are just too white and can not maintain your skin tone. The front camera can only record videos in 1080p resolution and for a phone that costs $1,199, this is a big letdown.
Chipset and Performance
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset in the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is a really good chipset. It equips the phone with a fast 5G MODEM, a very impressive ISP, a powerful GPU, and a powerful AI engine. This explains why during my time with the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, I really enjoyed its performance.
The performance of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is not only great but can also be sustained for a very long time. While playing games with the phone, there was no single lag and/or throttling. Games like Genshin Impact, PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty, etc can be played using the highest graphical settings without issues.
What’s more impressive is that the Xiaomi 13 Ultra did not drop frame rates and was able to maintain optimum performance for a long time. It’s important to note that the phone gets warm during intensive use. But overall, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra provides solid performance and you can play any game on the phone smoothly.
Just like every other $1,199 phone in the market, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack port. But, it has stereo speakers and supports 24-bit/192kHz audio. The speakers are placed on the top and bottom of the phone which makes the sound even when listening to it.
However, because the speakers are not in the same place, it feels like it’s not loud enough. The base and audio quality of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra are really good. It might not be as loud as some people might want it, but it gives you top-quality sound.
Battery and Charging
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra is powered by a 5,000mAh battery that supports 90W wired and 50W wireless fast charging. It took about 45 minutes for me to charge the battery from 0 to 100% using the 90W charger that comes with the phone (yes the Xiaomi 13 Ultra ships with charger in the box, sorry Apple and Samsung users).
A single charge of the phone can carry you for the whole day with an extra battery left for light users. I did a battery drain test and it took more than 10 hours of intensive use for the battery of the phone to drain. Plus, Xiaomi also implemented a feature that allows the Xiaomi 13 Ultra to automatically switch to ULTRA-SAVING mode when the phone hits 1%. This 1% can carry you for another 1 hour before the phone completely turns off.
Software and Security
Xiaomi 13 Ultra boots MIUI 14 based on Android 13 out of the box and will get up to three years of major software updates. This means the Xiaomi 13 Ultra will get updated to Android 13.
The main security sensor in the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is an optical fingerprint scanner that is under the screen. The fingerprint scanner is relatively fast but an ultra-sonic fingerprint scanner would have been better. It also supports Face Unlock but it’s not reliable and I’ll advise you to use PIN, Password, or Pattern lock instead of the Face Unlock security feature in the phone.
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra is a durable phone. It is made of Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), eco-leather back, and aluminum frame. It is also IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 min). The smartphone survived our bend test, water test, and drop test.
Xiaomi 13 Ultra Price
The price of the Xiaomi 13 Ultr starts at $1,199 for the base model with 12GB RAM and 256GB of storage. The models with 16GB + 512GB and 16GB + 1TB are priced at $1,299 and $1,399 respectively. However, you’ll get $100 off the price of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra if you buy using the details in the table below.
Buy Xiaomi 13 Ultra
|Xiaomi 13 Ultra||Price|
|Buy on Giztop||$1,099.00|
Buy Xiaomi 13 Ultra Limited Edition
|Xiaomi 13 Ultra||Price||Coupon|
|Buy on Giztop||$1,299||13UL50|
Xiaomi 13 Ulta Review Conclusion
I really like the Xiaomi 13 Ultra and I could have easily switched to using the phone as my daily driver if not for its one major flaw. In fact, this one major flaw is also the reason why although it’s a contender for the best phone of the year, I won’t recommend it ahead of other flagship phones.
The flaw is its front camera. Xiaomi got everything right with the Xiaomi 13 Ultra but somehow decided to put a front camera that takes awful photos and can’t record 4K videos. In this day and age where taking selfies is very popular, it’s hard for me to comprehend why Xiaomi will put an average front camera in a $1,199 smartphone.
However, if you feel you don’t need the front camera that much, I’ll gladly advise you to buy the Xiaomi 13 Ultra. The performance is awesome, the display is one of the best this year, the audio quality is superb, the rear cameras are the best in the game, and its design is very unique.