I often hesitate to jump on smartphone reviews, as was the case with the Xiaomi 13 Pro. Most smartphone users can agree that we all have our go-to brands, be they Samsung, OnePlus, Apple or something else entirely. The transition to a new device can be daunting between learning new apps, the setup process itself or even simple things like muscle memory, making the experience frustrating. I am glad to say that the transition to the Xiaomi 13 Pro smartphone wasn’t only a simple one but one I would recommend to fans of other brands as well.
Unboxing the device, I did have some minor complaints about the design. Of course, the Leica camera is bulky, meaning the phone sits offset, and I’m always concerned about damaging it, but this seems to be the case for smartphones that are really exploring the photography space. Additionally, the phone weighs 7.41 oz, and coming from the Samsung Galaxy S22+, which sits at 6.88 oz, the weight increase was surprisingly noticeable.
The finish on the Xiaomi 13 Pro smartphone comes in Ceramic White or Ceramic Black, which is stunning to look at, but the black version is very prone to smudging. I am constantly polishing everything, my monitor, phones, glasses etc. I can’t stand fingerprints, and there was never a time when the Xiaomi 13 Pro didn’t look messy. Cases can always be bought, but if you’re as picky as I am in this department, don’t opt for the Ceramic Black.
“Xiaomi has taken the time to make so many things on the 13 Pro customizable that making the jump from any other brand can feel seamless.”
With my complaints out of the way, I was genuinely pleased with the Xiaomi 13 Pro smartphone. In the days after receiving it, a friend pointed out that I hadn’t constantly been complaining about the switch in phones, meaning something good had to be happening. Xiaomi has taken the time to make so many things on the 13 Pro customizable that making the jump from any other brand can feel seamless.
The display had a few options I could change that saved me from having to adjust my muscle memory in order to use this phone, showing me that Xiaomi is really taking users into account when they design their devices, giving us the freedom to choose how the device should look and function.
The App Drawer (swiping up to find your apps) is my go-to for organization, and I was happy to see it included along with Classic (apps across several pages) and Lite Mode (fewer icons on the screen). I also loved that within the App Drawer, there were categories like Entertainment, Communication and Photography along the top to sort through them quickly—a great quality-of-life addition.
Now down to the nitty-gritty. The Xiaomi 13 Pro features a 120 Hz WQHD+ 6.73-inch AMOLED display with a 3200 x 1440 resolution and 522 ppi density. For reference, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra sits at 3088 x 1440 and 500 ppi density, and the iPhone 14 Pro is 2796 x 1290 and 460 ppi density. Needless to say, the screen is beautiful.
Though I don’t game or binge-watch a lot of things on my phone, it really is beautiful to look at. I dove into several different themes on the Xiaomi 13 Pro, and they put what this phone can do on display. Vibrant purples, blues and pinks packed a bunch with the device’s TrueColor display featuring over 1 billion colours.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro also features a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, keeping it current and competitive against other flagship devices like the new OnePlus 11. The device also runs MIUI 14 based on Android 13 with a Qualcomm Adreno GPU, 12 GB+3 RAM and 512GB of storage. The Xiaomi 13 Pro smartphone is fast, crystal clear and hits hard with its Dolby Atmos dual speakers. I brought it from room to room blasting music and never found the tinny sound I have found in past smartphones.
“The Xiaomi 13 Pro smartphone is fast, crystal clear and hits hard with its Dolby Atmos dual speakers.”
The storage is nothing to be scoffed at, that is for sure. When transferring everything over, I hummed and hawed over whether I should bring all my apps and photos etc. Once I did, after over 3000 photos and 250 videos and hundreds of apps, I’m only using 89.8 GB of storage, including the 12.88 GB from the system itself and 15.13 GB of system files. It would take some serious effort to fill this thing up.
Cleaning up the memory, if you do run out of space, is also a breeze. Of course, there is the regular “clean up space” that clears your cache etc. After that, however, there is a second screen that can make recommendations on saving space, like uninstalling apps that haven’t been used in ages (apparently, I have 77) and Deep Clean, which will find things like redundant or duplicate photos and specific app data.
Tips and suggestions that help simplify any process when it comes to our devices help to make the experience more user-friendly. The same can be said for filters or AI in photography, which make taking photos easy for anyone who picks up the device. Xiaomi teamed up with Leica—a massive name in cameras and photography—bringing their Master-lens system filters, making Leica more accessible.
The Master-lens system includes a 35mm Black and White lens, 50mm Swirly Bokeh lens, 90mm Soft Focus lens, and 75mm Portrait lens. The Xiaomi 13 Pro smartphone also features two photographic styles, Leica Authentic and Leica Vibrant, leaving more options for camera users to tinker with. In the last week with the phone, I’ve noticed that these will come in handy for plenty of people who love photography.
Leica being one of the top names in lenses means that this partnership and these new features will mean big things for those who are looking for the best from their smartphone cameras. However, it also means that those of us who aren’t professionals also stand a chance at taking some truly breathtaking photos without the need for a masterclass, just a Master-lens.
For those that want the official specs, the Xiaomi 13 Pro smartphone’s rear camera has a 50.3 MP, f/1.9, 23mm wide lens with a 1-inch sensor, a 50 MP, f/2.0, 75mm telephoto lens, and a 50 MP, f/2.2, 14mm, 115˚ ultrawide lens. It can record 8K at 24 FPS, 4K at up to 60 FPS and 1080p all the way up to 1920 FPS in slow-mo. The front-facing camera is a 32 MP wide lens, recording 1080p at 30 FPS.
The photos the Xiaomi 13 Pro can take vary dramatically between filters and settings, especially when you dive into the pro settings. The colour and clarity were always vibrant and crisp during the day, but in my testing, I found closer night shots to be faded or fuzzy, even while in night mode. I also came across an issue where any exposed lighting at night would create a lens flare, ruining many of my night shots.
However, another person testing the Xiaomi 13 Pro took identical photos in identical conditions with identical settings and never came across the issue. The problem looks like it was unique to me, but I have yet to hear word on what may be wrong.
Where the Xiaomi 13 Pro smartphone flawlessly blew me away, though, is its battery capabilities. Lately, brands are hyper-focus on fast charging, which is amazing, especially in a pinch. Brands like OnePlus boast an amazing jump in power after 10 minutes of charging. Xiaomi has a similar claim, with 19 minutes to 100% battery life with the included 120W charger. It can absolutely meet that expectation, but it will do you one better.
“Killing the battery on the Xiaomi 13 Pro smartphone will be a challenge.”
Killing the battery on the Xiaomi 13 Pro smartphone will be a challenge. Normally I will charge my device several times a day and still end up under 40% by early evening. With the 12 Pro, I actively tried to run out the battery in a day and found myself hard-pressed to do so. After a full day of answering emails, light browsing and photography, plus a lot of TikTok, I would still be sitting above 50% before bed.
After charging to 100% before dinner, heading to eat with friends, and changing locations between events with plenty of texting and emails, The Xiaomi 13 Pro still sat at 100%. By the end of the night, after over an hour roaming the city to take photos-lots of photos-by the time I got back in about 6 hours later, the phone had only lost about 14% battery. If this phone does not make it to its bedtime charger, I would be impressed.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro smartphone is the device that makes switching brands, photography and battery life more digestible than any flagship before it. It is the phone I would recommend to anyone looking to jump ship from the big-box brands, regardless of experience or technical know-how. It has enough bells and whistles to please the most technically inclined but brings simplicity to its interface and customization that makes the Xiaomi 13 Pro smartphone a great fit for any type of user.