Xiaomi 13 Ultra review

GSMArena Team, 28 April 2023.


The Xiaomi 13 Ultra's rivals should be easy to pick out - only the best of cameraphones can be an alternative. In that sense, the fact that we don't yet have international pricing for it doesn't really matter all that much - it will cost a lot, but so do the others that bring comparable levels of camera prowess.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra review

Having said that, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is now running for around €1100, and that's looking like a sweet deal next to what we imagine the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is going to cost. Obviously, these are so good on the fundamentals that this can't be settled over mundane things like display and battery life. But since we're here for the cameraphone side of things, if we were to choose based on photo and video quality alone, we'd go for the Xiaomi (unless you're into selfies in particular). As an overall package, though, perhaps the Galaxy has an edge, especially if you find value in its stylus.

What the Galaxy doesn't have is a 1-inch sensor main camera, but the vivo X90 Pro does. Compared to the Xiaomi, it's challenged on the long end of the zoom range, maxing out at just 2x - and the Xiaomi does solid 2x with its main camera, making you wonder why vivo had to install a dedicated one. An even smaller ultrawide than the Xiaomi's small-ish ultrawide doesn't help vivo's case either.

The comparison has the potential to turn in vivo's favor if you add a plus at the end of its name. That will get you a 3.5x telephoto and a different ultrawide, both with larger sensors than Xiaomi's counterparts. One small problem, though - the vivo X90 Pro+ is only available in China, and getting one will require going through hoops and living with China-tailored software.

The Oppo Find X6 Pro is in a similar boat - you can't easily have one outside of its home market. That's a bummer, because it's got a couple of solid arguments in its favor, comparing against the Xiaomi. Those would be the large-sensor telephoto and ultrawide cameras that give it a minor edge in certain (darker) conditions. Then again, the Xiaomi remains the one with a longer reach, which is a bit more of a tangible advantage.

If you're willing to give up some reach, however, there's another Xiaomi that's almost as good as the 13 Ultra - the 13 Pro. It gets bonus points for being more affordable and actually being available right now, unlike the Ultra that you still need to wait for outside China. Somewhat niche, but appealing to the right crowd, is the the 13 Pro's close-focusing telephoto - it's possibly the best close-up camera on the market, and we're at least a little disappointed that the Ultra doesn't have it.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vivo X90 Pro vivo X90 Pro+ Oppo Find X6 Pro Xiaomi 13 Pro
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra • vivo X90 Pro • vivo X90 Pro+ • Oppo Find X6 Pro • Xiaomi 13 Pro


The Xiaomi 13 Ultra is a very competent smartphone. It's got a top-class display. Excellent battery life, fast charging. Powerful chipset, of course. Great speakers, too. All in a good-looking and water-resistant body. But you'd expect all of the above - we'd argue they don't make for selling points at this level.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra review

It's the camera system that is the real attraction here, and the promising specsheet translates into real-life performance that, as a whole, is almost unrivaled. Perhaps it does a few missteps that can be exploited by one phone or another to score single-category victories - like the meh selfies, or the dark videos at night, or the drop in sharpness when shooting in 60fps. But you can't find a cameraphone package as complete as the Xiaomi 13 Ultra.

Now, when's that global version coming out, again?


  • One-of-a-kind design, IP68 rating.
  • Excellent OLED display with QHD resolution, dynamic 120Hz refresh rate, 1B colors.
  • Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support.
  • Excellent battery life.
  • Loud stereo speakers, very good audio quality.
  • Top-notch performance and thermal handling, impressive stability.
  • The most versatile smartphone camera money can buy (well, except for selfies).


  • Selfie camera takes average quality stills, lacks AF and 4K video.
  • Somewhat underexposed low-light video, softer than ideal 60fps footage.
Current prices

Reader comments

  • Aku
  • 15 May 2024
  • tZ0

Go custom dude.. So. Easy

The 50Mp option for the still pictures is, as seen here, very good. I am hoping you post corrected samples from the RAW file options, and information about the Raw files qualities themselves as there are phones that in software edits appear devoid of...

  • ILFforever
  • 26 Dec 2023
  • YQu

I believe there's a setting for it in camera>Audio settings>Smart noise reduction.