Xiaomi 13 Ultra Global Version is Here: Is it the Best Flagship of 2023?
After a few months of Chinese release, we have the Global version of Xiaomi 13 Ultra. It is the second time Mi has launched the Ultra version of their flagship lineup. The first one was the Mi 11 Ultra; we are now reviewing the latest one. The Mi 11 Ultra has top-of-the-line hardware with excellent software and delivers exceptional performance. Xiaomi 13 Ultra also has the best hardware parts, but how does it perform?
So here is a comprehensive review covering every aspect of the smartphone.
- Beautiful design
- Robust camera setup
- Stunning screen
- Latest and fastest processor
- 90W quick charging
- Ample Storage and Memory
- Infrequent Updates
- Front camera limited to 1080p
- Camera app needs some improvement
Xiaomi 13 Ultra – Price
13 Ultra is competing against the big names like Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The smartphone starts at 1299€, which is almost the same as these flagships. So, Xiaomi has to perform exceptionally well to compete because top-notch hardware is not the only thing you need to build a flagship smartphone.
Xiaomi 13 Ultra – Unboxing
Unlike other flagships, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra does not arrive in a slim box. It is a bulky and big box like other Xiaomi smartphones. The box feels premium and has a black exterior with a minimalist design. First, we have a small box with all the papers, a SIM ejection tool, and a smartphone case. It does not feel solid and has a straightforward appearance. But still, it is better than the transparent silicon cases that we usually get with other smartphones.
Then we have the beautiful smartphone and a 90W fast charger to get your mobile topped up in just 35 minutes.
The unboxing feels excellent, and the Xiaomi 13 Ultra comes with all the essential accessories, which is pretty good for a flagship smartphone.
- Body: Gorilla Glass Victus front, Aluminum frame, plastic back with eco-leather finish
- Weight: 228 grams
- Screen: 6.73-inches, 1300nits peak brightness, 1440×3200 pixels
- Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm SM8550-AB Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
- Memory: 256GB/512GB + 12GB, 512GB/1TB + 16GB
- OS: Android 13 with MIUI 14 skin
- Rear Cameras: Main Camera: 50MP, f/1.9, OIS; Periscope Telephoto 50MP f/3.0, OIS, 5x optical zoom; Telephoto 50MP, f/1.8, OIS, 3.2xoptical zoom, Ultrawide 50MP, f/1.8, 122° field of view
- Front Camera: 32MP, f/2.0
- Battery: 5000mAh battery with 90Watt Quick Charging
- Speakers: Stereo Speakers
- Sensors: Under Display Fingerprint Sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Gyroscope, Compass, Color Spectrum, Barometer
- NFC: Yes
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11, Bluetooth 5.3, USB Type-C 3.2, GPS
Design and Construction
Xiaomi 13 Ultra has one of the most unusual designs. The first thing you will notice is the massive camera bump. The disk on the back holds four cameras and two flashlights, along with the LEICA logo in the center. The back is made from plastic with a nice eco-leather finish. It is grippy and feels great in hands. Moreover, the back is not flat; it has a slight curve on the bottom, and it raises a couple of millimeters when the camera bump starts.
13 Ultra is a thick smartphone at 9.1mm and 228 grams. It is among the thickest and heaviest smartphones in the market. The ports, speakers, and buttons orientation is very similar. We have a speaker, mic, and IR blaster on top, volume rocker and power button on the right, and the Type-C port, SIM tray, mic, and speaker on the bottom. The SIM tray is a single SIM with no SD card slot, while the Chinese version supports dual SIM standby.
We really love the bulkiness and thickness the smartphone has brought. It feels great in hand and provides an excellent experience.
Xiaomi 13 Ultra – Display
Xiaomi has gone with a new display called C7. Cocreated with TCL, the panel has higher peak brightness, better viewing angles, and optimal power consumption. The display has stunning colors and comes with a few modes, so you can adjust it according to your preference.
The display is excellent, but I think Xiaomi is limiting its potential with software tuning. Because I still feel more comfortable with the Galaxy S23 Ultra screen over TCL C7. Moreover, the power consumption is not good as well. Despite being a solid 120Hz panel, most games are limited to 60Hz, which is not good for a flagship smartphone.
Xiaomi 13 Ultra – Camera
Xiaomi went absolutely bonkers with the camera selection. 13 Ultra has the most robust camera setup. It has four 50MP cameras that can shoot 0.5 x to 9 x optical zoom. None of the smartphones have this ability. Exceptional sensors paired with LEICA color science are bound to deliver greatness.
It has two modes, LEICA vibrant and LEICA authentic; the first has eye-pleasing exposure and contrast, while the second mode has more natural colors. All four cameras on Xiaomi 13 Ultra are made by Sony, and the groundbreaking features make it great in daylight and night photography is a class apart.
No matter how much you zoom in, the quality is immaculate. Another hidden feature behind the camera bump is the accessory sold separately that converts the Xiaomi 13 Ultra into a pocket camera, where you can attach ND filters and other accessories to make your shots professional.
Videography with smartphones is also on another level; Xiaomi has also added 24FPS recording, which makes it even more versatile.
There is a 32MP selfie camera with the ability to record 1080p. It looks good with HDR, but not having 4K recording on a flagship is not a good feeling.
I also have some reservations about the camera app. The MIUI app is completely revamped, and I like the new version, but some things need fixing. Automatic camera switching: 13 Ultra automatically switches the camera as we move closer to the object, and there is no way of stopping it except using the pro mode and manually selecting the camera. The second thing is the zoomed portrait. The natural bokeh is admirable, but the primary camera automatically zooms the portraits.
Watch our YouTube video to learn more.
Performance and User Experience
Xiaomi 13 Ultra is one of the best-performing smartphones in the market. I don’t want to bother you much with artificial benchmarks. In my testing, the smartphone has stayed remarkably consistent. Thanks to the best processor and GPU, it can handle every task while keeping everything fast and cool.
Android 13 and MIUI 14 are very stable, highly customizable, and beautiful, but some things need fixing to make it as good as Samsung and Google phones. I am sure Mi 13 Ultra will be on priority updates, so we can hope for the best.
Xiaomi 13 Ultra – Connectivity
Connectivity-wise, Xiaomi 13 Ultra has all the latest and fastest protocols. Whether it’s Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or 5G, it has the best numbers. Moreover, with USE Type-C 3.2, the data transfer is super-fast and can be used as a display port. It also has NFC.
Xiaomi is known for its excellent battery and quick charging. This time, Xiaomi 13 Ultra has a 5000mAh battery with 90W fast charging. It fully charges in just 35 minutes. The smartphone has wireless charging and also supports reverse wireless charging. You will not believe that the reverse wireless charging of Xiaomi 13 Ultra is faster than the wireless charging of Pixel 7A.
Despite having a big battery, the performance is very average. I think the software and screen are extracting too much power, giving less standby and screen on time than Galaxy S23 Ultra.
A cool smartphone feature is an emergency saving mode that turns on when the battery hits 1%, giving a few extra minutes to reach the charging station.
- The front camera cannot shoot 4K
- Infrequent software updates
- Rather higher price tag
So, is it the best Android smartphone in the market? Indeed, it has the best camera hardware, but in terms of software, it’s not better than mid-range Xiaomi, Redmi, and POCO phones. So, yes, it is a premium device and can get better with updates, but right now Galaxy S23 Ultra and Google Pixel 7 are better.