Xiaomi’s latest flagship phones launched in Europe in February, and both models impressed, picking up Recommended Awards from the Pocket-lint team. Then, a couple of months later, the flagship Xiaomi 13 Ultra joined the party.
All of the devices have their benefits, the Pro model has some serious photographic abilities while the regular Xiaomi 13 has a more pocketable form factor and a more attractive price. The Ultra is a photographic beast, with one of the best camera systems of any smartphone, but it comes with a hefty price tag to match.
If you’re trying to decide between these excellent handsets, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve done a deep dive to find out where each device excels.
Packing the latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, an attractive Apple-inspired design, and a decent price point. The Xiaomi 13 looks like a great option.
Xiaomi 13 Pro
Xiaomi’s flagship 13 Pro sports an impressive main camera with a 1-inch sensor, a larger and higher resolution display, speedy charging, and a luxurious curved design.
Xiaomi 13 Ultra
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra hit the scene a bit later than the other two models, but it was worth the wait. Sporting a quad 50MP rear camera array, it’s all about photography.
Specs, availability and pricing
The Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro were released internationally during MWC in February 2023. In the UK, the standard model retails for £849 and the Pro costs £1099.
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra launched separately in China in April 2023, where it seemed it might remain, until Xiaomi surprised everyone by bringing it to Western Europe. Unfortunately, that excludes the UK, but if you’re in a supported region, it has been available since June 12 2023.
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra starts at €1,499 ($1,600) in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Xiaomi 13 Xiaomi 13 Pro Xiaomi 13 Ultra SoC Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Display FHD+ 6.36-inch 120Hz AMOLED WQHD+ 6.73-inch 120Hz AMOLED WQHD+ 6.73-inch 120Hz AMOLED RAM 8GB / 12GB 12GB 12GB / 16GB Storage 256GB 256GB / 512GB 256GB / 512GB / 1TB Battery 4500 mAh 4820 mAh 5000 mAh Front camera 32MP 32MP 32MP Rear cameras 50MP + 12MP + 10MP 50MP (1 inch) + 50MP + 50MP 50MP (1 inch) + 50MP + 50MP + 50MP Dimensions 152.8 x 71.5 x 7.98 mm 162.9 x 74.6 x 8.38 mm 163.18 x 74.64 x 9.06mm Display type FHD+ 6.36-inch 120Hz AMOLED display WQHD+ 6.73-inch 120Hz AMOLED display WQHD+ 6.73-inch 120Hz AMOLED Weight 189 grams 229 grams 227 grams Charging 67W wired / 50W wireless 120W wired / 50W wireless 90W wired / 50W wireless
When it comes to specs, all of the models have the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC at their core, but elsewhere things differ quite significantly. Not only is the design quite different on each model, but so is the camera hardware, physical size, battery capacity and charging speed. Read on if you want to learn more.
The Xiaomi 13 has a very iPhone-esque design, with a flat front and rear and a glossy metallic bumper around the edges. It’s not a small phone, but it’s smaller than the majority of modern flagships, and a touch lighter, too. This means that it feels great in the hand, and fits easier in your pocket.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro has a design that’s more reminiscent of the 12 series, with curved edges on the display and the rear panel. It’s a much bigger phone, but the curved edges make it feel slimmer and more manageable.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro has a much more pronounced camera bump, in order to house its main camera with a mammoth 1-inch sensor. The standard 13 has a bump too, but it’s more in line with a standard flagship and can sit on your desk with minimal rocking.
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra is similar in size to the Pro, but it has a very distinct design. The camera array is circular, massive and centrally placed, while the back panel is covered in a synthetic leather material that reinforces the photographic aesthetic.
The Xiaomi 13 is available in the widest range of colours, the Pro sticks to just white and black options and the Ultra offers black, white and olive green. All of the phones are IP68 rated for dust and water resistance.
All of these phones feature 120Hz AMOLED panels that enable smooth scrolling and high performance for gaming. The standard and Pro models peak at 1900 nits brightness, so they’re well equipped to compete with bright sunny days.
The Ultra takes this one step further, though, peaking at a whopping 2600 nits, which might be the brightest panel we’ve seen on a phone to date.
All of the phones support Dolby Vision playback as well as HDR10+, so if you’re hoping to enjoy some Netflix on the go, you can be sure it’ll be looking its best.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro and Ultra have larger displays, at 6.73 inches, and they have a higher resolution, too. So if the display performance is high on your priorities, then you might want to spring for one of the more expensive models.
However, as we mentioned, the smaller size of the Xiaomi 13 means that it feels great in your pocket, and that’s something we value quite highly. It also has a flat display, which we tend to prefer, as there are no distracting reflections at the edges.
Hardware and performance
The Xiaomi 13 lineup all share the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, and at this point, we’re well aware of its abilities in gaming, productivity and efficiency.
The Xiaomi 13 can be configured with 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR5X memory and has 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage. The Xiaomi 13 Pro is only available with 12GB LPDDR5X, but you can choose between 256GB and 512GB of UFS 4.0 storage.
If you opt for the Ultra, this can be boosted to 16GB of RAM and a massive 1TB of storage. It’s likely to cost you a pretty penny if you purchase the fully specced-out model, though.
With all of these devices, you can expect to be able to run graphically intensive games at maximum settings, run plenty of apps in parallel with no slowdown and still maintain all-day battery life.
When you need to charge, the Xiaomi 13 Pro kicks things up a notch with its included 120W HyperCharge adapter. This will take you from flat to full in just 19 minutes.
The standard Xiaomi 13 comes with a 67W wall adapter, which is no slouch either, giving you a full charge in under 40 minutes.
Interestingly, the flagship Xiaomi 13 Ultra isn’t the fastest charging device of the bunch. It sits in the middle, offering 90W wired charging with its included adapter.
All of the phones support 50W wireless charging as well as 10W reverse wireless charging.
Possibly the biggest differentiator between these devices is the camera system.
The Xiaomi 13 has fairly similar photographic hardware to last year’s Xiaomi 12. The ultra-wide has, interestingly, lost a megapixel, while the telephoto has been bumped up from 5MP to 12MP. All in all, it’s a pretty standard camera array, with the main camera being the standout performer.
If mobile photography is of high priority, then you’ll likely want to look towards the Xiaomi 13 Pro or Ultra. The main sensor is the highlight on both, utilising the same impressive Sony IMX989 that wowed us on the Vivo X90 Pro.
This camera is inherited from last year’s Xiaomi 12S Ultra, and it’s a serious performer. The large sensor offers gorgeous natural bokeh, better low-light performance and excellent detail.
On the Pro, the main shooter is backed up by dual 50MP auxiliary cameras, a 75mm equivalent telephoto with OIS and a 14mm equivalent ultra-wide. This makes for a very well-rounded camera setup.
The Ultra, however, takes things to the next level. It adds an additional 50MP camera, in the form of a 120mm equivalent telephoto with an f/3.0 aperture and OIS. The ultra-wide and 75mm are slightly tweaked, too, both offering a wider f/1.8 aperture.
But, it’s the main camera that steals the show again. Xiaomi has added a variable aperture to its 50MP 1-inch sensor-touting main snapper. This means that you can achieve a more appropriate depth of field, or natural motion blur, depending on the lighting conditions.
For selfie snaps, all of the phones feature a 32MP punch-hole camera. It’s a great camera, and the only thing that lets it down is the lack of autofocus, but that’s something that’s still very rare to find in front-facing cameras.
From the two original models, it’s quite clear that the Xiaomi 13 Pro is the superior device. It has a larger, higher resolution display, charges faster and has a vastly superior camera selection.
However, the Xiaomi 13 has strengths of its own. It’s more compact and lightweight, has a lovely flat display, has more colour options and is available at a lower price.
When it comes to gaming and performance, the devices pack almost identical hardware, so if that’s where your priorities lie, then you can’t go wrong with either option.
If you’re more of a mobile photography enthusiast, then the Xiaomi 13 Ultra might be the way to go, so long as it’s available in your region. It has a serious price tag, but the 13 Ultra takes the already impressive photographic performance to the next level, by adding additional focal lengths, an adjustable aperture on the main lens and superior optics.
Whichever phone you opt for, we think you’ll be delighted with your choice, all of these handsets are excellent performers and packed with top-notch hardware.