Xiaomi’s latest flagship phones have finally made their way outside of China, and they’re packing some promising hardware and attractive designs.
We’ve been spending some time with the Xiaomi 13, the more affordable and petite of the two new models.
As one of the smaller flagships on the market, it immediately caught our attention, and with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside, it should be a serious performer.
With a smaller form factor, lovely design, loads of power and a decent camera – there’s loads to love about the Xiaomi 13. If you’re looking for a smaller flagship, this is the one to beat.
- Bright and vibrant flat display
- premium design
- Good battery life
- Speedy performance
- Great main and selfie cameras
- MIUI has some quirks to overcome
- The wide-angle and tele cameras are a little weak
- Dimensions: 152.8 x 71.5 x 7.98mm
- Weight: 189 grams
- Available in Black, White or Flora Green
- IP68 rated, Gorilla Glass 5 front, flat design
As we mentioned in the intro, the Xiaomi 13 is fairly small, by modern flagship standards at least. We moved to this phone straight from the mammoth Vivo X90 Pro, and were delighted at how the phone felt in our hands and pockets.
The design is heavily Apple-influenced, with a flat front and rear, and a flat glossy metallic bumper around the edges. While it won’t be winning any prizes for originality, it’s an attractive look and feels great in the hand.
We’ve been testing the Flora Green colourway, which we think looks lovely, and it has already fetched a few compliments from friends and family. It’s very pale in the flesh, closer to an ivory color than green, and the metallic bumper has a subtle hue to match.
The power button and volume rocker are on the right-hand side, and the flat edge allows them to be wider and more tactile than on curved-edge phones. On the base, there’s a USB-C port and sim tray, along with a speaker grille.
There’s a bit of a camera bump, around 2mm or so, but it’s much smaller than the one on the Pro variant. And it’s small enough that the phone can sit on your desk without wobbling about like a rocking horse.
Display and speakers
- 6.36-inch 120Hz AMOLED display, 1900 nits peak brightness
- 2400 x 1080 FHD+ resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio
- Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and HLG support
- Dual stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support
We love the display on the Xiaomi 13, it’s flat, which means no distracting reflections or distortion, and it’s extremely bright. Able to output 1900 nits at peak, it’s one of the brightest Android displays on the market, only bested by the Apple 14 Pro and its 2000 nits display.
The resolution is lower than the display of the Xiaomi 13 Pro, but we think this is a great decision on Xiaomi’s part. Smaller handsets have less room for battery packs, and high-resolution displays can really suck up the juice. The FHD+ resolution here is plenty sharp enough for the 6.36-inch display, and the battery life is great (but more on that later).
MIUI allows for much more granular control of color reproduction than the majority of Android skins, so if you’re sensitive to such things, you’ll be pleased with the level of configuration on offer here. You can switch between sRGB, P3 and standard color gamuts, as well as adjust the hue, saturation, gamma and contrast of each.
The display supports a multitude of HDR formats, including Dolby Vision, which makes it a decent choice for watching your favorite shows and movies. However, if that’s a high priority, you might want to look toward a device with a larger display.
The speakers are quite good on this model, with a decent amount of bass response and plenty of clarity. They’re not going to blow your mind, but we’d say they’re above average and will do the job nicely for watching YouTube and Netflix around the house.
Performance and software
- Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
- 12GB LPDDR5X and 256GB UFS 4.0
- 4500 mAh battery, 67W wired charging, 50W wireless
- MIUI 14 based on Android 13
The Xiaomi 13 is powered by Qualcomm’s top SoC, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Every phone we’ve tried with this chipset so far has impressed when it comes to gaming, as well as being power efficient and snappy in day-to-day use .
We were a little nervous that the smaller chassis of the Xiaomi 13 might cause overheating or throttling, but thankfully, that did not prove to be the case at all.
We maxed out the settings on Genshin Impact and played for hours without any noticeable slowdown, and the phone remained at a comfortable temperature throughout.
The only thing that we didn’t like, on the gaming front, was the size of the display. We found it to be great for most of our daily activities, but it was a little cramped for extended gaming sessions. We should note that we have fairly large hands, though, so this may not present an issue for everyone.
Battery life has been solid throughout our testing, and we have rarely gone to bed with less than thirty per cent left in the tank, even on days with fairly heavy usage.
The phone comes with a 67W wall adapter in the box, which might not sound too impressive in a world of 120W+ chargers, but we think it’s quick enough for the vast majority of people. A full charge will only take around 40 minutes.
If you prefer to ditch the wires, the Xiaomi 13 supports up to 50W wireless charging, which is also very quick, if you have a charging pad that supports such wattages. There’s also 10W reverse wireless charging, which can be handy for topping up your earbuds on the go.
The phone runs Xiaomi’s MIUI 14 skin, built on Android 13. If you’re familiar with MIUI, then you’ll have a good idea of what to expect with the latest version. It’s one of the heavier Android skins, and it takes some adjusting to if you’re new to the platform.
For the most part, we had a good experience with MIUI 14. There’s less bloatware than a lot of competitors, but of course, we’d be happier if there were none at all. It performed well overall, with no major bugs, but it’s a little heavy-handed with the battery-saving measures. This means you’ll have to fiddle with settings a bit to ensure you’re getting all of your important notifications.
- Main: 23mm equivalent 50MP f/1.8 with OIS
- Wide: 15mm equivalent 12MP f/2.2
- Tele: 75mm equivalent 10MP f2.0 with OIS
- Selfies: 32MP f/2.0
The cameras on the Xiaomi 13 don’t have the same high-end appeal as the Xiaomi 13 Pro, but it’s still a very capable set-up. The main 50MP shooter and the 32MP selfie camera are the highlights, but the auxiliary lenses are useful in their own right.
The system as a whole benefits from Xiaomi’s partnership with Leica, and you can choose between a Leica Authentic Look and Leica Vibrant Look as the default color mode for your photos. We chose Authentic, and the images that we captured had very accurate colors across the board.
If you’re an enthusiast, the Xiaomi 13’s Pro mode allows you to adjust settings manually, as well as capture 10-bit RAW DNG images with Adobe Color Profiles. Perfect if you’ll be editing your photos in Lightroom or Photoshop after the fact.
The main camera performs its best when the lighting is in its favour, but Xiaomi’s night mode does a decent job of brightening up nighttime scenes, too. You lose some sharpness at night, and you’ll get the best results with a static subject and a steady hand.
One of the highlights, for us, is Leica’s digital lens simulations in portrait mode. We’re fond of the 50mm Swirly Bokeh option in particular. This adds a vignette and a smooth artificial bokeh that just looks great.
The subject detection in portrait mode is fairly reliable, but there are a few things that caught it out. For some reason, it can’t seem to deal with my headphones properly, but it does a good job with my glasses frames, and Google Pixel phones tend to struggle with those. We’d say it performs just above average.
We’re happy to see a telephoto lens on this phone, it’s one of the very few compact handsets to feature one. It’s only 3.5x, and can’t compare to the clarity of the main shooter, but it’s much better than digital zoom. The wide angle is unremarkable, but it’s definitely useful for certain scenarios.
The selfie camera has a whopping 32MP resolution and takes excellent sharp photos. We’d like to have seen autofocus, rather than a fixed focal plane, but that’s still a rarity on selfie snappers. It also maxes out at 1080p 30fps for video recording, which is decent, but 4K would have been better.
One of the most underrated features of the Xiaomi 13 is its ability to record stabilized 8K video. We’ve seen 8K recording on plenty of phones now, but it’s almost always completely unstabilised, rendering it pretty useless unless you have a tripod handy.
The Xiaomi 13, meanwhile, can capture impressively smooth 8K video with EIS and OIS. There are some limitations, though, the max record time is just 6 minutes, and you can only shoot at 24fps.
If you prefer a more compact phone, but don’t want to sacrifice performance or features, then the Xiaomi 13 is one of the best options available today.
There are smaller phones, sure, but they can’t match the horsepower on offer here, and few can match the photographic chops, either.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Xiaomi 13, the only thing we aren’t so keen on is MIUI 14. It’s not a bad OS, it’s just very different to what we’re used to, and some of the design choices are puzzling . It’s nothing that can’t be overcome with a little learning and tweaking, though.
If you can do without the professional camera setup offered by its larger sibling, we think you’ll be delighted with this petite performer.