To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Xiaomi 13 Lite hands-on review: Shaping up to be a solid mid-ranger

The affordable entry into Xiaomi’s 13 series uses the new Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 CPU but doesn’t get Leica cameras like its siblings

Rounding out the gaggle of new smartphones Xiaomi announced ahead of MWC 2023, the Xiaomi 13 Lite slots in as the affordable entry for those whose budgets don’t extend to the heights of the Xiaomi 13 and Xiaomi 13 Pro.

This latest mid-range entry into Xiaomi’s lineup is a little more expensive than its predecessor: it retails for £449, compared to the Xiaomi 12 Lite’s original £419 price tag. Whether or not it justifies the extra cost remains to be seen, but for now, let’s dig into the specs.

Xiaomi 13 Lite hands-on review: Key specifications

  • Display: 6.55in, 120Hz, HDR10+, 2,400 x 1,080 AMOLED
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1
  • 128GB of storage
  • Rear cameras: 50MP main, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro
  • Selfie cameras: 32MP, 8MP depth sensor
  • 4,500mAh battery
  • Dimensions: 159 x 73 x 7.2mm
  • Weight: 171g
  • Release date: 26 February
  • Price: £449

Xiaomi 13 Lite hands-on review: Design, display and key features

The overall build of the Xiaomi 13 Lite is nearly identical to the 12 Lite, but aesthetically, there are a few changes of note. First of all, the 13 Lite trades in the flat edges of the 12 Lite for a design that curves on the front and back. The frame is still plastic, with glass covering the front and back, but the whole package is now rated IP53 for water and dust resistance. There are three colours available at launch: black, pink and blue.

The changes continue when you flip the phone over. The display is still a 6.55in AMOLED affair, with a FHD+ resolution and 120Hz refresh rate, but at the top, the selfie camera housing has widened into an extended oval to accommodate the two lenses. The 32MP (f/2.4) shutter is joined by an 8MP depth sensor, designed to produce better-quality portraits. Twin LEDs also sit on the bezels either side of the front-facing cameras, offering additional optional lighting to brighten up your selfies.

The rear camera module also gets a noticeable overhaul, widening the rectangular mount and rearranging the lenses, with two set in a prominent circular panel and the third just below, alongside the LED flash. The main lens is a bit of a downgrade from the 12 Lite in terms of pixels, coming down from 108MP to a 50MP (f/1.8) sensor. It’s also notably not made in partnership with Leica, like the cameras on the 13 and 13 Pro. This makes sense, with the Lite being the defacto budget option, but it’s still a bit of a shame.

The main lens is joined by the familiar duo of 8MP ultrawide and a 2MP macro shooters, which are something of a staple in this price range. The quality of these ancillary lenses can vary wildly, so further testing will be needed to tell whether or not they’re worth the inclusion.

Equally, the main camera cutting back on pixels isn’t necessarily a bad thing; we weren’t all that impressed with the 12 Lite’s camera to begin with, so Xiaomi trying something different seems like a good idea. Video offers the same selection of 4K at 30fps and 1080p at up to 120fps, but also adds a super slow-mo setting of 960fps at 720p.

Looking to the internals, the Xiaomi 13 Lite runs on a brand new Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset, so we’ll likely see a decent bump in performance capabilities, and the battery is slightly larger than the 12 Lite’s, at 4,500mAh. A 67W charger is provided with the phone, and Xiaomi claims it can bring the battery to full in around 40 minutes.

There’s only one version of the Xiaomi 13 Lite launching in the UK, offering the same combination of 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage as the 12 Lite. Like the rest of the 13 series, there’s still no microSD slot here, so that 128GB is all the storage you’ll get.

Xiaomi 13 Lite hands-on review: Early verdict

That stubbornly absent microSD card slot is, at least, the only glaring issue that’s cropped up during this hands-on. Otherwise, the Xiaomi 13 Lite makes a strong first impression, thanks to its bright, responsive display and stylishly slim design. Parts that will require more testing to judge fully look promising so far, with enough advancements in the CPU and battery departments to justify charging a little more than the 12 Lite.

It’s a shame that the Xiaomi 13 Lite doesn’t get the Leica-engineered cameras that are used on the rest of the 13 series, as this would have sold me more on its potential. We’ll be bringing you our full review in the near future, so check back in soon to see what we make of the cameras, and the Xiaomi 13 Lite as a whole.

Read more

First Look