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Xiaomi 13 Ultra announced: The best Android camera phone?

The Xiaomi 13 Ultra could take the fight to the Galaxy S23 Ultra in the camera stakes.

Published onApril 18, 2023

Xiaomi 13 Ultra white model resize
  • Xiaomi has officially launched the 13 Ultra handset.
  • It offers an impressive, Leica-branded quad rear camera system.
  • The phone will come to global markets.

Xiaomi’s Ultra series has always focused on delivering an impressive premium experience, bringing water resistance, fantastic camera hardware, and plenty of horsepower.

Now, after plenty of leaks and teases, Xiaomi has officially launched the Xiaomi 13 Ultra. So what makes this phone an Ultra handset, then?

The best camera phone out there?

The Ultra series tends to focus on camera hardware, and the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is no different. Expect a Leica-branded, quad rear camera system here, consisting of a 50MP one-inch main camera and three 50MP IMX858 secondary shooters.

Xiaomi is using the IMX989 one-inch sensor for its 50MP main camera, so you should expect great low-light results from this giant sensor. The company is also offering adjustable aperture tech on this camera, albeit in the form of a dual aperture design rather than a truly variable aperture. This should still be handy though, allowing you to switch from f/1.9 to f/4.0.

As for the other rear cameras, you’ve got a 50MP 3.2x portrait camera, a 50MP 5x periscope lens (capable of 10x cropped zoom), and a 50MP ultrawide camera (122-degree field-of-view). This isn’t quite as far-reaching as the Galaxy S23 Ultra and its 10x 10MP periscope camera, but you should still get great shots when using long-range zoom in theory. A 32MP camera handles selfies and video calls.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra Green camera bump resize
Supplied by Xiaomi

Interestingly, the company also claimed the phone has more natural, less sharpened images than rivals such as the iPhone 14 Pro Max and HUAWEI P60 Pro. So those who hate overly processed camera snaps will want to keep this phone in mind.

The company is also touting custom photographic styles, but it’s unclear if this is as robust as Apple’s take. The feature is limited to the Pro camera mode, letting you tweak features like saturation, contrast, and dynamic range. However, it’s unclear if you can actually save profiles though. For what it’s worth, some recent Xiaomi phones indeed let you tweak saturation, contrast, and sharpness in the Pro mode but don’t let you save these settings as a profile.

Otherwise, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra also brings more Leica filters and watermarks, 4K/60fps Dolby Vision recording (in addition to 8K recording), and a Fast Shot mode that launches the camera app and takes a photo in 0.8 seconds.

What else does the Xiaomi 13 Ultra offer?

Xiaomi 13 Ultra green model resized
Supplied by Xiaomi

The new handset brings a metal frame and faux leather back with a curve below the camera bump. The back apparently has antibacterial properties and is resistant to fingerprint grease. Toss in an IP68 rating and this seems like a premium hardware experience on paper.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra: Hot or not?

455 votes

We’ve also got great core specs on paper, featuring a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, a 6.73-inch QHD+ OLED screen (120Hz, LTPO, 2,600 nits peak brightness), and a 5,000mAh battery with 90W wired or 50W wireless charging. The company says you can get a 100% charge in 35 minutes via 90W charging.

Other notable features include dual speakers, an in-display fingerprint sensor, USB 3.2 speeds, and MIUI 14 atop Android 13.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra camera grip 1

Xiaomi is also offering a camera grip accessory akin to the LG G5 and Lumia 1020 camera grips (seen above). This grip offers a physical shutter button, a zoom dial, and a 67mm snap-on adapter. The grip also ships with a lens cap and lanyard. Expect to pay an early bird price of 799 yuan (~$116) for the accessory, with a standard price of 999 yuan (~$145).

Xiaomi 13 Ultra price and availability

Xiaomi 13 Ultra color options

Xiaomi’s new Ultra phone is coming to China first, with the device landing in various global markets in the “next few months.” Expect to find the phone in black, white, and green colorways, as seen in the screenshot above.

The Xiaomi 13 Ultra starts at 5,999 yuan (~$873) for the base 12GB/256GB model, while the 16GB/512GB model costs 6,499 yuan (~$945). Want the best model? Then you’ll be spending 7,299 yuan (~$1,062) on the 16GB/1TB model. We’re expecting a healthy price bump when the device comes to Europe.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our review of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra.

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