Unboxing the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, with a five day review of the camera tech, gaming performance, battery life and beyond. Vs the Pro model, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra boasts an overhauled camera with upgraded zoom tech and a variable aperture primary lens. You also have a snazzy new design and some of the other specs have been boosted. So is this one of the best smartphones of 2023?
What do you get when you open this mysterious black box? You now have a Xiaomi 13 Ultra in your possession. A surprisingly small 90-watt fast charger, a USB Type-C cable, and a protective cover are also included. However, putting this cover on the Xiaomi 13 Ultra would be a hate crime because it is so beautiful without it. And, yes, if we put this on, it looks like a terrible plastic toy. Finally, there’s something in Chinese that I’m not sure what it says. Everything is crammed inside the box. Now comes the exciting part: I’m going to insert my SIM card and begin properly testing the Xiaomi 13 Ultra. and in case you’re wondering, it’s a double-sided SIM tray with no room for micro SD memory cards.
Read Also: Xiaomi 13 vs Xiaomi 13 Pro Comparison
Xiaomi 13 Ultra Design
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra is a monstrous smartphone. The Xiaomi 13 Pro features a 6.73-inch screen, but the Godzilla title belongs to Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra, which is the same size as the Xiaomi 13 Pro. The Ultra, on the other hand, features a thicker frame and a larger camera bump, similar to Samsung’s flagship. The screen has a little curved border, however it is far more subtle than prior flagships. In a gentle bend, the glass joins the metal frame. Thankfully, even when grasping the Xiaomi 13 Ultra tightly, I haven’t had any response concerns. This Ultra model, like the Xiaomi 13 Pro, is a large smartphone, weighing in at just under 230 grammes. If you’re worried about someone snatching your phone from your pocket, this is the device for you since if it was lifted out of your pants, you’d notice it right away, like someone attempting to steal Sisyphus’ boulder.
The Ultra, like the Pro, has Gorilla Glass Victus up front and a metal frame. However, flip it around and it couldn’t be more dissimilar. The Pro features a ceramic back in black or white, while the Ultra has seductive nanotech silicon leather with a soft touch textured finish that feels extremely luxurious against your palm. The textured surface does not span the entire width of the back end, but it covers a large section of it. The Xiaomi 13 Ultra is available in white or black, but the stunning olive green colour is a no-brainer. As was widely reported before to the debut of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, As you approach the camera bump, the back end rises. When you consider the camera bump, this is one girthy beast, a clear winner of the girth awards.
But I must admit that I adore Xiaomi’s design. I like how the camera bump looks, and the gold ring that surrounds it gives it a nice halo effect. I also love some of the finer elements that Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra lacked. The Xiaomi 13 Ultra, like the Xiaomi 13 Pro, is water and dust resistant to IP68 standards. So you’re safe whether you drop it in the washbasin, bath or hot tub. Of course, I’m not sure what effect water and other liquids will have on that nice, gorgeous automobile in the back in the long run.
MiUI 14 and Features
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra’s software experience is quite similar to that of the Xiaomi 13 Pro. It’s Android 13 with MIUI 14 on top once more. However, my Ultra model was imported from China and did not come with any Google services pre-installed. This means I had to spend several hours obtaining an APK for the Play Store from APK Mirror and installing all of my other apps. There were still a lot of original Chinese apps on the phone, most of which I had no idea what they did.
Xiaomi’s phones are bloated with bloatware, but unlike last year’s Ultra model, Xiaomi has guaranteed a full global launch for the Xiaomi 13 Ultra. So, fingers crossed that when it comes, it will come pre-installed with all of those Google services. After that, it was just like any other MIUI experience, with features like the control centre and a useful video toolbox in media apps like YouTube.
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra comes with a number of extra MIUI features, including as game mode and upscaling for low-quality content. It also includes three years of Android OS updates and five years of security updates, ensuring that it will not become obsolete in a matter of months. The Ultra has a storage capacity of up to 1TB, which can be expanded from 512GB. There’s no Micro SD card slot, but that shouldn’t be an issue unless you’re shooting a lot of 8K video or downloading a lot of huge games.
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra’s in-display fingerprint sensor is only an optical sensor, not an ultrasonic one like the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s. However, it is responsive and has never let me down, even when my thumbs were wet. Face unlock is also quick and sensitive, although it is not as secure as the fingerprint sensor.
Xiaomi 13 Ultra Display
There is no noticeable difference in display technology between the Xiaomi 13 Ultra and the Pro variant. The Xiaomi 13 Ultra features a 6.73-inch OLED display with a Quad HD Plus panel that offers 3200 by 1440 pixel images. Because it is an OLED, the colours are vivid and lush, with superb contrast, making the visuals feel more immersive. It also supports Dolby Vision and HDR 10 Plus, and the display can scale from one Hertz to 120 hertz depending on the software. The sole difference between the ultra and the tiny Wii selfie cam aperture up top is that the ultra’s display can be brightened to 2600 nits.
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra also sports a robust and crisp stereo speaker arrangement, even at maximum volume. There is, however, no headphone jack and only Bluetooth 5.3 and LDAC support. Overall, the audio quality is excellent, with high-resolution audio and Dolby Atmos support, as well as graphics equaliser action.
Performance and Gaming
In terms of performance, and unexpectedly, like pretty much every other flagship smartphone in 2023, Xiaomi has chosen a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor to power this enormous behemoth. Yes, that is the same chipset that powers the Xiaomi 13 Pro. However, while sharing the same Snapdragon 8 N2 chipset, the Ultra has higher Geekbench 6 results. That’s most likely because my Ultra model has 16 GB of RAM against the 12 gigs in the Pro.
So, like the Pro, the Ultra model can literally blaze through any game out there, including Genshin Impact at 60 frames per second on the maximum graphic settings. The Xiaomi 13 Ultra is an amazing muller. Even when the action gets intense, and even after you’ve been gaming for a while, the frame rate remains consistent.
Even after an hour of gameplay, I noticed that the back ends of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra were getting a touch hot, especially around the top end. That leathery ass was getting a little warm under my fingertips, but not to the point where it was bothering me, and certainly not enough to interfere with my job. That’s thanks to Xiaomi’s Liquid Cool Tech, which includes a huge Vapour chamber, a system that’s remarkably similar to the Pro.
As with the Pro, you have a terrific gaming mode that is jam-packed with brilliant features to help you get the best possible performance, capture the action, and do whatever you want while being attacked.
Xiaomi 13 Utlra Battery Life
Moving on to the battery, the Ultra features a little larger battery than the Pro, with a capacity of 5,000 milliamp-hours. The battery life has been fairly decent throughout the first few days of testing, offering roughly six hours of screen-on time before switching to battery saver mode. When the camera is used extensively, such as recording 4K films or capturing several images, the battery drains much faster. A complete review will require additional testing, but it appears that demanding users will be happy. When it comes to charging, the Ultra is slightly slower than the Pro, with 90-watt broad charging versus 120-watt wide charging. It is preferable to charge it in the morning rather than at night. There’s also 50-watt wireless charging, but I couldn’t get it to work with my own charging stand, maybe because to its size. If you intend to use wireless charging, keep this in mind.
Xiaomi 13 Ultra Camera Test
Let’s wrap up this unboxing and 5D review with a camera squint, and this is one area where Xiaomi has really switched things up for the Ultra over the Xiaomi 13 Pro. The Ultra now has the same 50-megapixel primary camera as the Pro. It features Sony’s large one-inch IMX 989 sensor with hyper Optical image stabilisation to assist prevent handshakes from damaging your shot. The Ultra, on the other hand, features a dual aperture system, which is a significant distinction. The aperture photo option can be found by dragging down the camera settings. Give this little tappy a tap, and you can choose between F 1.9 and F 4.0. Otherwise, if you don’t want to think about it, just leave it on auto.
This is a fantastic little feature. Obviously, you can go to F 1.9 for low-light images and switch between the two to acquire a variable depth of field. You can also experiment with various camera settings, such as the Leica style, in addition to altering the aperture. I prefer to leave this on authentic for a more natural look, but you may go to vibrant if you really want to increase those images and have more poppy colours.
And here are a couple of the sample images I took with the Xiaomi 13 Ultra during the previous few days. I discovered that it works beautifully at any time of day, whether you’re shooting into bright lights, dealing with stark contrast, or photographing more natural settings. The focus is quick to respond, and the shutter speed is very quick, so shooting live subjects on a phone is as painless as it can be. And, as previously stated, you can experiment with the depth of field to create some wonderful bokeh-style activity in your images, and you’ll always have that educated portrait mode to fall back on.
And those night images appear to be on par with Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra. Those tones are slightly enhanced, but there is still enough of detail packed in despite the absence of light. So far, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is right up there with Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra in my opinion. But, stay tuned, because I’ll be doing a side-by-side comparison of the two next week.
The camera specs on the Xiaomi 13 Ultra are quite excellent. It captures 12-megapixel photos using four-in-one pixel binning when set to auto mode. You do, however, have a 50-megapixel high-resolution mode if you want some of that. The Xiaomi 13 Ultra sports not one, but two telephoto lenses. The Xiaomi 13 Pro had a 50-meg Samsung GN1 sensor, however the Ultra used a Sony IMX 858 sensor. It’s a 75mm telephoto lens with an F/1.8 aperture for better low-light performance and optical image stabilisation.
When you focus even closer, the Ultra switches to a 120mm telephoto lens, which again uses a 50-meg IMX 898 sensor, this time with an F/3.0 aperture and some OIS action. The Xiaomi 13 Ultra’s zoom images are gorgeous. From such a crazy distance, you can see a staggering amount of detail. The maximum zoom on this device is 120 times, exceeding the powerful 100 times periscope zoom on a Samsung. Once you reach those levels, everything start to become rather blotchy, fuzzy, and strange, which is understandable.
You do, in fact, have a 50-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, much as the Pro model. It really works if you want to cram a lot of things into the frame or utilise it for a dramatic photo. It doesn’t give those tonnes much thought. Even so, you feel really natural. Additionally, 8K resolution video can be recorded if you want to make some scary movies. However, you’re limited to 24 frames per second. Otherwise, you can increase the frame rate to 60 FPS by lowering the resolution to something like 4K. And as long as you’re using the primary lens, you can play around with that aperture once more.
I shot the following sample video during the past few days. I’m overjoyed with the outcomes. It ranks right up there with the current Samsungs and Apples, in my opinion. Yes, the 8K footage is extremely wonderful if you have the equipment to view and enjoy it. Otherwise, I discovered that every frame of my 4K film contained a wealth of discoveries. Once more, the colours looked quite lovely and authentic. Even at those higher levels, stabilisation was excellent. The only time the audio was truly muffled was when I was, for example, crossing a particularly windy London Bridge. Other than that, you are free to move around and shoot as you choose. Along with its Oppo counterparts, this Xiaomi blower also does admirably for some nighttime video. Those images don’t become too blurry and soft unless it is truly completely dark.
You’ll enjoy the Xiaomi 13 Ultra’s capable 32-megapixel front-facing camera if you enjoy taking selfies. You’ll still obtain plenty of good detail and a well-balanced photo even in challenging lighting. The front-facing camera, however, has a maximum resolution of 1080p Full HD and cannot record video at 4K resolution. The phone is suitable for Skype and Zoom calls because the video quality is still clear enough to view on a laptop and the audio pickup is excellent.
I’ve been using the Xiaomi 13 Ultra as my primary smartphone for just over five days, and overall, I like it. It effortlessly completes every task, whether it be recording memories, taking pictures and videos, or streaming content. It also has a stylish appearance. Stay soon for a thorough review; in the meantime, let me know what you all think about the Xiaomi 13 Ultra.
It effortlessly completes every task, whether it be recording memories, taking pictures and videos, or streaming content. It also has a stylish appearance. Stay soon for a thorough review