As they say, first impressions do stick. I still remember the first time looking at the Xiaomi 12S Ultra and going wow. Well, the phone never made it to India, but Xiaomi has pulled off something extraordinary by bringing the Xiaomi 13 Pro. While the basic premise remains similar to that of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, a camera-oriented package brought to you in partnership with legendary camera maker Leica. But, this time, there are differences.
From the design to under-the-hood prowess, the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s appeal extends to the premium segment, all thanks to the exclusive Leica partnership on the camera front, which we will get to in a bit.
With a price tag of Rs 79,900, Xiaomi has bravely positioned itself in the premium space in India. Mind you, pricing-wise, the 13 Pro is the most premium smartphone ever in India from the house of Xiaomi. However, I’m still curious how they managed to price it so low when compared to the European variant, which is priced at EUR 1,299 (roughly Rs 114,000).
The highlight of the package has to be the camera system which saw both Leica and Xiaomi working together. But Xiaomi has ensured that they make the entire package worth every penny. So, does the Xiaomi 13 Pro, despite a price tag that puts it against the iPhone 14 and Samsung Galaxy S23, manages to leave a mark in this price segment? Let me break it down for you in the review.
Table of Contents
Xiaomi 13 Pro Review: Leica-velous camera
Cameras on Xiaomi phones have come a long way, but you may have never seen such splendid results that Xiaomi 13 Pro manages to offer. All thanks to the Leica partnership that makes a massive difference.
On paper, the phone comes with triple 50-megapixel cameras. First, there’s the 50-megapixel 1-inch Sony IMX989 sensor, the same one that I used on the 12S Ultra last year, and it is an excellent sensor which I will talk more about in a bit. Then, there’s the unique 50-megapixel 75mm Floating telephoto lens and the 50-megapixel ultra-wide camera. Indeed, Xiaomi has packed the 13 Pro to the gills.
Starting with the primary camera, which packs in Xiaomi’s biggest camera sensor and is co-engineered with Leica. It is the soul of the entire package. The camera samples during the day have tremendous detail, excellent dynamic range, and contrast. This is the best I have seen from Xiaomi (of course, after the Xiaomi 12S Ultra). You can see the samples below. Right from true sky colours to texture, everything is on point.
The telephoto camera is another star of the show. It is capable and can come out with some great shots. The ultra-wide camera is also excellent, though colours are not as accurate as we see on the primary or telephoto camera.
The star of the entire package has to be the Leica-tuned modes. I liked the 35mm Classic black and white lens; it just transcends you into a new dimension (more like Marvel’s Doctor Strange character can do). It offers natural black-and-white portraits, and the results are stunning. There are also 50mm, 75mm and 90mm lenses for the Classic portrait swivel lens, Classic portraits, and Classic Portrait soft focus lens, respectively. Each one is unique, and users can try as much as they need.
Xiaomi 13 Pro packs a camera setup that pushes you to experiment with different modes and settings. However, the results are mostly consistent.
There are some inbuilt filters in the Portrait mode, like Leica Natural for natural portraits, Leica BW Natural for clicking natural black and white portraits, Leica BW High Contrast for clicking street photography with a strong composition, and Leica Vivid for vibrant, colourful pictures. Each of them looks excellent and may motivate you to try more.
The phone is equally capable when it comes to low-light photography. The samples we got at night and in the low-light show the camera’s versatile character.
Selfies have to be one department that seems to have been totally missed, especially considering the rear got so much Leica tuning. Nevertheless, the selfie is decent though we do miss additional features. For selfie lovers, movie frame, voice shutter, and palm shutter features work well. However, compared to the competition, the 13 Pro’s selfie performance isn’t as comparable.
Zoom performance is another department where Xiaomi 13 Pro impressed. We tried different locations to see how well the phone could handle zooming, and it didn’t disappoint us. You can see yourself.
Videos is another department where Xiaomi has thrown in a lot of weightage, and the device can appeal to content creators. It can record videos at 8K resolution, which is fantastic.
Xiaomi has put a lot of effort into the camera department, with Leica joining the club. And the Xiaomi 13 Pro delivers a camera marvel.
Xiaomi 13 Pro Review: Subtle design and stunning display
One of the first things I liked about the Xiaomi 13 Pro is its subtle design. Unlike the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, this doesn’t boast its camera superiority with a prominent circular camera placement. While the design is subjective, and some might love to flaunt devices with hefty camera housing, this one may help you blend. For someone who has used multiple Xiaomi phones over the years, the look of the 13 Pro fits in perfectly with the company’s design ethos. The camera placement on the top left corner has a slight bump, which we all have learned to live with.
The premium finish at the back is enough to tell you that it’s a high-end device. In addition, the 3D bio-ceramic back feels stunning during daily usage. I liked the 13 Pro without the case during the review because it was less slippery.
The Corning Gorilla Glass Victus at the front is solid, and I didn’t see the device picking minor scratches while in the pocket during regular use. Of course, at 229 grams, the Xiaomi 13 Pro isn’t lightweight, and you will have to give it a few days to settle. But trust me, the hefty weight of the device after a few days starts reassuring you with sturdiness as you keep using it as your daily driver. It comes in Ceramic Black and Ceramic White colours. We got the latter for our review, and we love it. The White is easy to shoot, pov of a reviewer purely. But, looking at the sheen, I’m sure Black would feel good too.
The curved display sits well in palms, and the device’s overall size is perfect for daily use – be it for multimedia, gaming or shooting, the primary focus of the smartphone.
Xiaomi 13 Pro packs a 6.73-inch AMOLED WQHD+ (1440×3200 pixels) display with a 20:9 aspect ratio and 522PPI pixel density. It uses an E6 panel and supports an adaptive refresh rate of 1-120Hz, giving a smooth animation experience throughout the device. The best is Xiaomi 13 Pro supports a peak brightness of 1900 nits which is mind-boggling, and you will love it more when using it under direct sunlight.
Coming to real-world usage, the 13 Pro sports a stunning display and is just one of those panels where you will love to do all your multimedia consumption. The viewing angles are excellent, and sunlight legibility is also top-notch. I had a great time streaming shows and even playing games on the device. I can confidently say that this is the best Xiaomi display we have ever seen (or used) in India.
Overall, the Xiaomi 13 Pro leaves a subtle mark in design with its premium and top-notch hand feel. The aesthetics are outstanding as well. The display, on the other hand, adds to the overall user experience.
Xiaomi 13 Pro Review: A reliable performer
Xiaomi hasn’t really limited the 13 Pro to be the only favourite in terms of the camera in its entire line-up. Under the hood, the phone packs the flagship 4nm-based Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, making it comparable to any rival premium Android device in India. The surprise for me was the addition of an ultra-large vapour chamber for managing thermals during gaming and most graphically demanding tasks.
Talking purely in terms of performance, it is quite the firecracker. Multitasking, gaming, image editing and anything else, the Xiaomi 13 Pro lunges forward without dropping a beat. Adding to the overall fun is the ultra-wideband motor that enhances the gaming experience on the device. So even if you are not a gamer, typing on chat apps or long emails on the phone will be fun with a vibrant vibration motor.
Even during gaming, the phone handles COD Mobile smoothly, and the haptic motor makes the gaming experience pleasant.
I, however, noticed that the 13 Pro does get warm, not to the extent where you can’t hold it, while extensively shooting using the cameras. During the review, after 20 minutes of regular camera use, the phone did heat up, but it also went back to its normal temperature when left for 2 minutes. Extensive camera use also takes a toll on the battery, and I could notice the battery dropping from 80% to 55% when continuously shooting, which is expected considering the massive camera setup and post-processing play.
Coming to benchmarks, the 13 Pro delivered 112,0778 on AnTuTu while 1208 in single-core and 4987 in multi-core GeekBench tests. Furthermore, in the 3DMark Wild Life Extreme tests, the 13 Pro delivered a decent score of 3765. Long thing short, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside the Xiaomi 13 Pro perform as expected.
Enhancing the overall multimedia experience are the dual stereo speakers powered by Dolby Atmos that deliver powerful audio output. The best thing is that they are loud enough to fill a medium-sized room. Xiaomi has done a tremendous job with the speakers on the 13 Pro.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro support all 5G bands, and I could use the 5G network via both Airtel and Jio SIMs—no issues at all on that front. Moreover, calls on the 13 Pro are clear, and you can notice that the device is pretty good at latching on to cellular and Wi-Fi networks at the weakest spots or dark zones.
Lately, I have seen some confusion around IP rating not being mentioned on the India site. But, the company has been smart enough to acknowledge all such questions on social media, so, much like the global model, the 13 Pro packs all bells and whistles.
Xiaomi 13 Pro Review: Comes with MIUI 14 freshness
Xiaomi 13 Pro is the first smartphone launching in India with MIUI 14 based on Android 13. MIUI 14 brings more refinements for Xiaomi users, like an all-new home screen customisation menu that’s refreshed and has a new colour palette. In true MIUI ways, the new 14 is as fluid as expected.
The home screen folders now highlight the apps better, so they are just one tap away. MIUI 14 also has a special focus on one-hand use. The new Android 13 media player is also part of the overall interface, and it looks neat on the 13 Pro.
The new gallery app is capable and has some nice edit tricks, like one that lets you remove shadows from the photo.
MIUI 14 brings an all-new card-style design to the display that helps present the information more efficiently. The back-end optimisations have made transitions on MIUI 14 seem quicker than what we saw on the previous version. Xiaomi can now auto-compress apps that are rarely used on the phone, which is something we couldn’t notice in a limited time. This may be more noticeable after a few weeks of use.
While MIUI 14 brings a lot of hits in its user interface, there are definitely some misses too. I couldn’t understand why Xiaomi hasn’t implemented a dynamic theme and themed icons to sync with the dominant colour of the wallpaper. A feature that has been most loved on Android 13. And, lastly, the bloatware apps. The Xiaomi 13 Pro is the company’s most premium device in India, and yet there are apps like GetApps, Music, Services and feedback, Xiaomi Service+, and more. During the day, out of the blue, the Themes app will send you a bunch of app notifications to change the wallpaper or try a new theme pack. These are unnecessary and hamper the overall user experience. The phone comes with 3 years of Android updates and 5 years of security updates.
Xiaomi 13 Pro Review: Decent battery with 120W goodness
Xiaomi 13 Pro packs a 4820mAh battery which initially seems less for this type of device. But then, while using it in the last few days, this was more than enough for everyday usage. Of course, the reliable 120W HyperCharge support saves the day, and the 13 Pro can fully charge in under 20 minutes.
During the review, we got around 16 hours of usage with heavy usage, and because we were using the camera more than anything else, we noticed that the battery dropped quicker when the camera app was used. With medium to low camera usage, the overall battery experience jumps to over 24 hours which wasn’t surprising for me.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro easily manages close to 5.5 hours of screen-on-time, which is alright. The device also comes with 50W wireless charging support, and to make the entire package even sweeter, Xiaomi has added 10W reverse wireless charge too. In addition, the company has also added the Surge Charging Chipset on the 13 Pro, which is a neat addition. Overall, the Xiaomi 13 Pro offers a decent battery life, and thanks to 120W fast charging support, you are mostly sorted for long hauls.
Xiaomi 13 Pro Review: Verdict
It’s impossible to ignore the price of the Xiaomi 13 Pro, and this statement depends on how you look at it. For me, the pricing has rocked the market, and there’s no way you can go wrong with the Xiaomi 13 Pro. Even so, when you consider the launch offers, it comes down to Rs 69,999 in India.
2023 is Xiaomi’s ninth year in India, and Xiaomi 13 Pro is the company’s bravest launch yet. Yes, this is the most pricey Xiaomi phone you will see this year, but that’s because of the Leica advances it gets.
Like in cars, users driving a hatchback usually look for a compact SUV or a sedan as their next upgrade. In contrast, an SUV user looks at a more premium car. Similarly, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is for users who have already taken that leap of faith and are currently using a premium smartphone (phones around 50K price) but want more from their devices.
Of course, the 13 Pro makes more sense for camera enthusiasts who want to avoid carrying a point-and-shoot camera whenever they leave their house. Xiaomi 13 Pro is the perfect alternative for your small camera, even more so when considering the bells and whistles the phone offers. So the Xiaomi 13 Pro clearly hits the target, with that pricing, and delivers a very strong overall product.
At that price, there are alternatives from Samsung and Apple, but none offer Leica-like camera prowess.
Xiaomi 13 Pro79,999
DESIGN & BUILD9.0/10
VALUE FOR MONEY8.5/10
What Is Good?
- Amazing primary camera
- Leica custom modes and colour science is remarkable
- Gorgeous display
- Performance beast
- Aggressive pricing (considering in Europe it's priced over Rs 1 lakh)
What Is Bad?
- Selfie camera could have been better