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xiaomi 13 pro hero cannon
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
aa2020 editors choice

Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Good omens

It'll put a spell on you.
By

Published onMarch 18, 2023

aa2020 editors choice

Xiaomi 13 Pro

There's no need for superstition with the Xiaomi 13 Pro — this flagship blends sustainable high performance with ultra-premium construction like no Xiaomi device before it. Its Leica-tuned cameras are excellent, and its battery life and charging are top-tier. As long as you can put up with MIUI and its quirks, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is a treat.

What we like

Excellent build quality
Large, eye-catching display
Sharp Leica camera system
Impressive sustained performance
Great battery life and charging
Crisp speakers

What we don't like

MIUI can be messy
No 4K or 60fps video on selfie camera
aa2020 editors choice

Xiaomi 13 Pro

There's no need for superstition with the Xiaomi 13 Pro — this flagship blends sustainable high performance with ultra-premium construction like no Xiaomi device before it. Its Leica-tuned cameras are excellent, and its battery life and charging are top-tier. As long as you can put up with MIUI and its quirks, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is a treat.

I decided to get a little spooky for the Xiaomi 13 Pro review. After all, what is 13, if not the unluckiest of numbers? So, I grabbed my black cat and Ouija board and asked the great beyond what I had to look forward to with this high-end flagship. Instead of an answer, my cat swatted the planchette off the table and ran to his food bowl, reminding me there was no need to be superstitious about Xiaomi’s best Android phone contender. Let’s find out if Xiaomi got the same message or if there’s something freaky going on after all. This is our Xiaomi 13 Pro review.

About this Xiaomi 13 Pro review: I tested the Xiaomi 13 Pro (12GB RAM/512GB storage) over 10 days. It was running Android 13 with the MIUI Global 14.0.15 skin and the January 2023 security patch. The unit was provided by Xiaomi for this review.

What you need to know about the Xiaomi 13 Pro

Xiaomi 13 Pro app drawer
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • Xiaomi 13 Pro (12GB RAM, 256GB): £1,099 / €1,399 (~$1,338)
  • Xiaomi 13 Pro (12GB RAM, 512GB): TBC

The Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro arrived in China in late 2022 before coming to Europe during Mobile World Congress 2023, following an increasingly popular — and endlessly confusing — launch schedule. It’s accompanied by the Xiaomi 13, which offers a slightly pared-down camera setup and a more portable overall footprint. Americans can all but stop here, as the Xiaomi 13 series won’t be coming to the US, nor will it have the proper band support to play nicely with any of Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile if you decide to import it. For the rest of the world, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is as premium of a package as the company has ever produced, and it starts with the hardware.

Xiaomi isn’t pulling any punches, offering top-notch materials from top to bottom, front and back. The Xiaomi 13 Pro sports an aluminum frame sandwiched between a stunning ceramic back panel and a sweeping 6.73-inch Gorilla Glass Victus display. That LTPO AMOLED panel offers a sharp WQHD Plus resolution, a crisp, dynamic 120Hz refresh rate (with 240Hz touch sampling), and 1,900 nits of peak brightness. Its buttons and ports are easy to reach, with a volume rocker and power button on the right edge and a SIM tray tucked next to the USB-C port on the bottom.

The premium touches on the Xiaomi 13 Pro run from top to bottom, with a ceramic finish, Leica cameras, and blistering fast charging.

The premium punches continue as you dive below the surface, pairing a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage. Xiaomi does offer alternative configurations with less RAM and storage, though they appear to be restricted to China at the moment. We also don’t have pricing on the 512GB variant at the time of this writing. The Xiaomi 13 Pro carries a slightly larger battery than its predecessor, the Xiaomi 12 Pro — 4,820mAh instead of 4,600mAh — with support for proprietary 120W wired charging and 50W wireless power.

Of course, we can’t offer a rundown of the Xiaomi 13 Pro without mentioning Leica. This is the second device launched since the start of Xiaomi’s partnership with the famed photography brand, and it brings some of the China-only Xiaomi 12S Ultra’s best traits to a broader audience. The Xiaomi 13 Pro packs a 1-inch 50MP primary sensor, flanked by 50MP telephoto and 50MP ultrawide options, all covered in Leica’s premium fingerprints. Around the front, you’ll find a 32MP selfie camera tucked into a central punch hole.

Xiaomi 13 Pro hero
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Our Xiaomi 13 Pro arrived running Android 13 with the MIUI 14 skin on top. It’s also set to receive three years of Android version updates and four years of security patches — a good but not great promise compared to the industry leaders in software update policies.

While most OEMs are slimming boxes and stripping contents, Xiaomi still gives you the whole nine yards. The Xiaomi 13 Pro comes bundled with a clear silicone case, a 120W charger (with European connection pins), a USB-A to USB-C cable, SIM ejector tool, and some essential paperwork — not a bad haul.

As mentioned, the Xiaomi 13 Pro won’t come to the United States. However, it is available to buy in selected markets in Europe including the UK. While other colors are available in China, in Europe you get the choice of a single color: Ceramic Black.

What’s good?

Xiaomi 13 Pro with charger and cable
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Xiaomi 13 Pro is less a witch’s cat than it is a mighty black panther (they sent me the black ceramic version, after all). It’s large, in charge, and it came to claw faces, not bat a ball of yarn around the room. The ceramic finish, slightly rounded side rails, and expansive display felt premium from the moment I took it out of the box. Some might not love Xiaomi’s massive new camera bump, but I like how it bleeds into the sweeping ceramic expanse. For comparison, it’s not as seamless as the OPPO Find X5 Pro’s elegant camera module, but not as detached as the OnePlus 11’s chunky bump, either. Also, props to Xiaomi for finally bringing a full IP68 rating after leaving the Xiaomi 12 Pro high and dry — literally.

That excellent build quality extends to the front of the Xiaomi 13 Pro, too. Its WQHD Plus panel is crisp, and the 1,900 nits of peak brightness shine through, even in direct sunlight. I never noticed any issues with the 120Hz refresh rate, whether I was swiping through a long Spotify playlist or searching Google News for a positive headline. Xiaomi’s flagship might — might — just rival the Galaxy S23 Ultra with its speakers, too. It achieves excellent volume through the stereo setup, combining a down-firing unit with the earpiece and adding Dolby Atmos tuning. I blasted a loud trailer for the Total War: Warhammer 3 video game through it and didn’t notice any distortion, even with the sounds of battle and soundtrack competing against each other.

Battery life is a bright spot for the Xiaomi 13 Pro, unlike its predecessor. We felt that the Xiaomi 12 Pro came up short with its combination of a 4,600mAh cell and thermal-hogging Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, and this version rights both wrongs. The 4,820mAh cell is slightly bigger and lasts significantly longer, thanks in no small part to the much more efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor. While my battery results don’t reflect perfect performance — I couldn’t see how passive cellular data hurts the chipset due to US compatibility — the Xiaomi 13 Pro was a star while gaming and streaming music over Wi-Fi (which Xiaomi soon be future-proofed to Wi-Fi 7 via a software update).

The Xiaomi 13 Pro rights its predecessor's wrongs with a more efficient chipset, much better battery life, and official water resistance.

I put it through over an hour of Asphalt 9 racing and Railbound puzzling without noticeable heat buildup. The Xiaomi 13 Pro’s powerful speakers also became my shower companion, turning Spotify to the max and letting it play with minimal battery impact. For an average day (remember, sans cellular connectivity), I hit about four and a half hours of screen-on time with around 45% of the battery remaining. You should have no problems reaching lunchtime or later on a second day of usage.

When you do dwindle the battery down to nothing, Xiaomi is ready to reward you with some very fast charging. The Xiaomi 13 Pro supports 120W HyperCharge wired power and comes with a proprietary charger in the box. I don’t have a converter for the European pins, but Xiaomi boasts you can fill the cell in just 19 minutes. 50W wireless charging is no slouch, proving that you don’t have to sacrifice wireless capability to push your wired speeds to new heights (looking at you, OnePlus). Unfortunately, you’ll have to track down Xiaomi’s proprietary pad (priced at £59.99) for any wireless charging support — basic Qi isn’t an option. You do get 10W reverse wireless charging to top-up accessories, though.

Qualcomm might have struck gold with its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, as the Xiaomi 13 Pro lives up to some increasingly lofty expectations. Each Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 phone we’ve tested so far has returned solid improvements over its predecessor, and the Xiaomi 13 Pro was no exception. The Xiaomi 13 Pro blitzes everyday tasks, meeting little resistance with gaming or bouncing between social media platforms.

Yes, the Xiaomi 13 Pro has the power to handle everyday tasks with ease, though it returns some very interesting benchmarking results. Its single-core Geekbench 6 performance is nothing to scoff at in Balanced mode, coming in well behind the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and OnePlus 11, but when toggled to Performance mode, the Xiaomi 13 Pro becomes an all-new beast. It jumps just beyond a single-core score of 2,000, a mark that only Apple’s chipsets have achieved otherwise. Interestingly, the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s multi-core score sits right around the Galaxy S23 Ultra, whether set to Performance Mode or not.

But it’s the GPU stress testing in 3DMark that offers the most unexpected results. In the Wild Life Stress Test, Xiaomi’s flagship starts at a lower point than any other Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 phone we’ve tested so far, though it still tops the iPhone 14 Pro. That might sound like cause for concern, but what’s impressive is the fact that it stays there. In the default performance profile, the Xiaomi 13 Pro doesn’t seem to need to throttle its performance as the loops go on, tailing off only slightly to around 10,200 with an incredible 98.4% stability score overall. It may start behind its peers, but it ends well ahead of them, indicating that Xiaomi is gunning for sustained performance over peak power. Considering its starting point is already more than enough for anything you can throw at it, that’s a smart trade-off.

The Xiaomi 13 Pro is a sustained performance champion.

And the peaks are there if you want them. I could not complete all 20 loops of the Wild Life Stress Test without the Xiaomi 13 Pro completely overheating, forcing the test to an end. Likewise, a single run maxed the test out. The Wild Life Extreme test did return a score of 3,748, however, which is within touching distance of the results we’ve seen from the overclocked Galaxy S23 series. Impressive.

We’ll return to the cameras in a much bigger way in a moment, but Xiaomi deserves some praise for letting Leica sink its teeth into every aspect of the experience. There are quirks, like the unusual portrait mode options, but the Leica optics are excellent, and the Authentic color profile has quickly become one of my favorites. If that concept device with an attachable Leica lens became reality, I’d almost consider it — other than the fact that the lens would cost nine times what the phone would.

What’s not so good?

xiaomi 13 pro themes app
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

While I’ve decided that most of the superstition around the number 13 is for naught, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is not without its quirks. For starters, this is one hefty cat. Weighing in at 229g (~8oz), it’s in the same neighborhood as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max — two phones you’ll never forget are in your pocket. On top of that, the huge camera bump gives the Xiaomi 13 Pro a slightly top-heavy feel.

Although the single black ceramic finish looks great and feels premium in hand, you’re going to leave traces of your hand all over it. This phone is an absolute fingerprint magnet, as many high-gloss designs are. I found myself wiping smudges from the Xiaomi 13 Pro the entire time I tried to take photos of it, only to have them come back with a vengeance. Thankfully, the included silicone case offers an easy way to keep fingerprints off, even if it does add some bulk to the overall package.

The Xiaomi 13 Pro picks up more fingerprints than a crystal ball.

For as easy as it is to clear your fingerprints and smudges from the outside of the Xiaomi 13 Pro, cleaning some of Xiaomi’s fingerprints off the software is much tougher. MIUI 14 isn’t a light skin, loading you with endless menus of settings and several duplicate apps that you can’t always uninstall. Xiaomi sticks you with a Mi Browser, Mi Video, and a Xiaomi Community app, none of which you’re likely to need with Chrome and the Google Play Store within reach. Also, the Play Store and Mi Video icons are nearly identical, and I’ve tapped the wrong one more than a few times in my usage. MIUI separates your notifications from your quick settings, just like iOS, and I often open the wrong menu here, too.

xiaomi 13 pro community app
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

We knocked OnePlus and Vivo for including USB-A chargers with the OnePlus 11 and Vivo X90 Pro, so Xiaomi must suffer a similar fate, even if it’s a fairly minor complaint. Its included 120W GaN charger offers excellent recharge speeds (Quick Charge and Power Delivery support are also there as a backup) but is an inconvenient connection option if you should forget the block itself as the cable won’t fit USB-C chargers. The included USB-A to USB-C cable also means you may have trouble quickly transferring files or photos to USB-C-free laptops without a dongle.

We can’t run through the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s drawbacks without one more reminder that this isn’t an option for US buyers. It won’t officially be made available for sale in the States, the included charger features European-style connectors, and the network band support will leave you without full 5G compatibility on Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. The Xiaomi 13 Pro is also expensive enough in the markets where it is available, meaning that you’ll be spending over the odds to import the device.

Xiaomi 13 Pro camera review

xiaomi 13 pro camera hero
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

If you’ve seen any recent Xiaomi marketing, there’s almost no chance you’ve missed out on hearing about its new partnership with Leica, but if you did, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is a perfect reminder. The famed German camera brand’s name is emblazoned on the triple camera bump, a la OnePlus or Oppo with Hasselblad. However, this partnership goes much deeper than some fancy color science or photo styles (though both are present), much like we saw with Leica and Huawei up until their recent split. In fact, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is the first international product with Leica optical lenses, bringing a new punch to the 1-inch Sony IMX989 sensor. It’s equivalent to a 23mm focal length with a wide f/1.9 aperture and plenty of Leica-inspired photography features.

Flanking the 50MP primary sensor, you’ll find a 50MP telephoto lens — the equivalent of a 75mm focal length — and a 50MP ultrawide shooter, offering a 115-degree field-of-view. Both peripheral lenses also carry Leica tuning throughout, and all three support two distinct photographic styles: Leica Authentic and Leica Vibrant. If this were a Leica drinking game, we’d have to stop here for everyone’s safety. Anyway, Authentic and Vibrant are just as the names would suggest. Authentic offers a more accurate depiction of the scene, while Vibrant cranks the saturation to get closer to the famed “Leica look.”

Xiaomi 13 Pro camera app
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

I tried to split my time evenly between all three of the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s lenses, though I found myself landing on the primary and telephoto shooters most often. Both perform exceptionally well in bright lighting, and the Leica Authentic color profile is one of the most pleasing I’ve used for quite some time (and I’ve tested a lot of phones recently). It’s not necessarily spot on — the chimineas and the bicycle wheel seen in some of the shots below are a bit more saturated than reality, but the results look attractive.

The Philadelphia Union logo (top left, below) also shows bold colors that contrast nicely against the background with pleasing natural fall-off. Xiaomi’s natural bokeh is also good in lower-light situations, such as my hand holding the jar in the bottom right corner. Xiaomi’s low-light results are good as well, capturing plenty of detail with a Night Mode timer that rarely required more than two seconds. I did, however, find that the Xiaomi 13 Pro gave into shaky hands pretty quickly, meaning I had to retake a few of my low-light tests.

While the Xiaomi 13 Pro has no shortage of portrait power, this is one lens with a bit of a learning curve. For starters, there is no 1x option — all portraits default to the telephoto lens. That can make framing your subject tough, as you might find yourself far too close for the standard portrait effect. If you want to fit more in your shot, you’ll have to turn to one of Xiaomi’s Leica lens profiles. The Xiaomi 13 Pro offers 35mm Black & White, 50mm Swirly Bokeh, 75mm Portrait, and 90mm Soft Focus options — each with a distinct look.

The two shots of the James Buchanan statue below show the differences between Xiaomi’s default portrait mode and the 75mm Portrait profile. You may want the more extreme bokeh and pronounced vignette effect, but it won’t be to everyone’s liking. I also found that the Xiaomi 13 Pro regularly missed small edge details, like that of the pig’s left ear or the bottom of the light post.

Results are generally pretty good across the standard, 3x zoom, and 5x zoom images (the three to the left), with even the 10x zoom offering good detail. However, the shift in the color profile is noticeable, with the gray sky and white bell tower appearing to be four different shades as you go across. The 3x optical zoom limit can’t match the Pixel 7 Pro let alone the zoom king — the Galaxy S23 Ultra — but it does match the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.

Just because a phone supports up to 70x zoom doesn’t mean you must use it. It’s okay for the detail of the bell tower — a bit soft and fuzzy, perhaps — but you can still tell what you’re looking at. As for the soccer players, not so much. The drop in detail from the image to the left to the one on the right is extreme, with faces becoming blobs and the Chicago Fire’s chevron-style design becoming all but invisible. This is pretty much par for the course for any zoom lens at this range though, so stick to static objects if you really want those super-long-range snaps.

I didn’t use the ultrawide camera too much, though it’s more of a personal preference than a quality issue. The Xiaomi 13 Pro is capable of dramatic images like the one to the bottom right, which easily establishes the scale of the building, but you have to put up with a bit of distortion. There’s a slight curve to the ordinarily straight brick wall, and some details, like the railroad crossing sign, are a bit stretched.

Finally, the 32MP selfie camera. There’s no shortage of detail from Xiaomi’s punch hole shooter. In fact, the opposite might be true. My face shows every last detail, down to individual pores on my nose (please don’t crop in). Portrait detection is also excellent from the selfie camera, perhaps even better than the primary sensor. It accurately detailed the pom pom on top of my hat and where my hair overlapped the sculpture behind me. My face is perhaps slightly brighter in the portrait sample, though the difference isn’t extreme.

Sticking to the premium camera theme, the Xiaomi 13 Pro has no shortage of video features to explore. It can go up to 8K recording at 24fps from the primary sensor or 4K at up to 60fps. Video samples at both resolutions are great, but the selfie camera leaves something to be desired. It’s only capable of 1080p video at 30fps whereas all of the phone’s main rivals offer front-facing 4K/60fps in some capacity. 1080p is fine for a quick TikTok or Instagram Reel, but the lack of 60fps support will mean your clips are a lot less smooth.

You can check out full-resolution versions of these images (and several more) at this Google Drive link.

Xiaomi 13 Pro specs

Xiaomi 13 Pro
Display
6.73-inch LTPO AMOLED
Waterfall display
20:9 aspect ratio
WQHD+ resolution (3,200 x 1,440)
120Hz adaptive refresh rate
Processor
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
RAM
12GB LPDDR5X
Storage
256 or 512GB UFS 4.0
No microSD card support
Power
4,820mAh battery
120W wired HyperCharge
50W wireless charging
120W charger included
Cameras
REAR:
- 50MP wide (f/1.9, 1-inch IMX989 sensor)
- 50MP ultrawide (f/2.2)
- 50MP telephoto (f/2.0)

FRONT:
- 32MP wide (f/2.0)
Software
Android 13
MIUI 14
IP rating
IP68 certified
Weight & Dimensions
162.9 x 74.6 x 8.4mm
229g
Colors
Ceramic Black
Ceramic White
Other specs
Dual SIM
Wi-Fi 7 capable
NFC support
Bluetooth 5.3
IR blaster
Gorilla Glass Victus

Xiaomi 13 Pro review: The verdict

Xiaomi 13 Pro back in hand
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

You can put your lucky rabbit’s feet away and assuage your case of triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13) because the Xiaomi 13 Pro is anything but scary. Well, unless you’re competing against it.

Xiaomi finally has a flagship that pairs its legacy of delivering powerful performance with a high-end build, plus brilliant Leica cameras for good measure. Meanwhile, the much-improved battery life makes Xiaomi’s blistering wired and wireless charging shine that much brighter, creating a device that’s easy to recommend with just a few lingering caveats.

One of which is that MIUI won’t be to everyone’s liking. It’s not light or seamless as Google’s Pixel UI or as well-balanced as Samsung’s One UI, and it slaps you with Xiaomi’s version of apps that you can’t get rid of. Other quirks, like separate notifications and quick setting shades, feel decidedly iOS inspired, landing you with a skin that feels like our least favorite parts of several others. The Xiaomi 13 Pro is a non-starter for potential US buyers. Sure, you could import it for Europe, but questionable band support means sacrificing the fastest data connections in favor of a unique device. The 1080p/30fps cap on selfie videos is also a questionable oversight.

The Xiaomi 13 Pro marries performance and polish; no good luck charms required.

The Xiaomi 13 Pro is priced to take on the best from almost every other brand, and it’s well-equipped to do so. Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra ($1199.99 at Samsung) is the closest Android rival in terms of specs and features, offering a more capable camera setup — especially regarding zoom — and the best update commitment around. It’s also the flagship most likely to rival the Xiaomi 13 Pro in price in Europe, though the Xiaomi 13 Pro smartly undercuts it by £150 in the UK where it’s generally a much better value buy.

The Google Pixel 7 Pro ($399.99 at Woot!) remains the true value pick though, thanks to its light, smooth software that’s loaded with exclusive features and Google smarts. Google doesn’t give you the same in-depth controls as the Leica camera setup, but it’s hard to argue with the post-processing punch, or the sub-£900/€900 asking price.

Elsewhere, the OnePlus 11 ($1296 at Amazon) offers significant savings while still packing a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset and wired charging speeds that Samsung and Google can only dream of. However, you have to give up wireless charging, live with some iffy camera processing, and OnePlus’s OxygenOS skin isn’t as polished as it once was. Finally, if you are drawn to MIUI’s more iOS-like features, there’s always Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max ($999 at Amazon). Apple’s update commitment is undeniably the best around and will carry the current iPhones long after the Xiaomi 13 Pro has ridden off into the sunset, though you’ll have to live with slow charging and that pesky Lightning port.

Software quirks and limited availability aside, there’s simply no denying that the Xiaomi 13 Pro is a big step forward for Xiaomi and a good omen of what’s to come.

Xiaomi 13 ProXiaomi 13 Pro
AA Editors Choice
Xiaomi 13 Pro
Powerful sustained performance • Really fast charging • Great design
MSRP: ¥4,999.00
Power and polish
The Xiaomi 13 Pro ticks all the right boxes for a high-end flagship, including a large and vibrant high-resolution display, a 1-inch 50MP primary camera sensor, 120W charging, and Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 performance.

Top Xiaomi 13 Pro questions and answers

The Xiaomi 13 Pro packs an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance, meaning that it can be submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes.

Yes, the Xiaomi 13 Pro offers either dual nano-SIM or nano-SIM + eSIM support, depending on the region.

The Xiaomi 13 Pro offers some 4G LTE band support on the major US carriers, though it does not have the correct 5G support to receive top data speeds.

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