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Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Three steps forward, one step back

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1099

The Xiaomi 13 Pro is an extremely capable and much improved flagship, with a couple of areas that could use refining


  • Extremely capable all-round camera system
  • Ample performance
  • Excellent screen


  • Bland, bulky design
  • MIUI software still needs refinement
  • Battery life is improved, but still could be better

Last year’s Xiaomi 12 Pro was a smart, well-equipped flagship phone that looked to take the fight to the iPhone 13 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus. But for a few notable shortcomings, it might have won a stronger recommendation from us.

Now the Xiaomi 13 Pro is here, and it looks as if the company has learned a few lessons. With an even more comprehensive smartphone package, the Xiaomi 13 Pro clearly means business.

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Xiaomi 13 Pro review: What you need to know

The Xiaomi 13 Pro is yet another top-specced flagship phone with cutting edge Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 power and a large 6.73in QHD+ AMOLED display.

Headlining this year’s phone is a completely refreshed camera system, with a new 1-inch main sensor and a ‘co-engineering’ partnership with camera specialist Leica. Meanwhile, the phone’s 50MP telephoto camera now extends to a much more competitive 3.2x zoom.

On the design front, Xiaomi has also added an IP68 rating, which was a glaring omission from last year’s model. At 4,820mAh, the battery is larger than before, too, and you still get rapid 120W wired charging and 50W wireless charging.

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Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Price and competition

The Xiaomi 13 Pro went on sale on March 14 at a price of £1,099. That’s a £50 bump over the Xiaomi 12 Pro, which, given the improvements and the general cost increase we’ve seen across the flagship market, isn’t too bad at all.

This is still a decidedly expensive phone, however. In that respect, it’s pitching itself up against formidable rivals such as the iPhone 14 Pro (£1,099) and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus (£1,049).

Both of those rivals offer some kind of choice when it comes to storage and colour, however, whereas there’s only one Xiaomi 13 Pro model available in the UK. You can have it in Ceramic Black with 256GB of storage, or not at all.

Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Design and key features

That being said, I really don’t like the Xiaomi 13 Pro design as much as I did the Xiaomi 12 Pro. From the front, it takes on a similar dual-curved flagship look, but the back loses the frosted finish and industrial-chic camera module of its predecessor.

In their place are a deeply shiny and smudgy Ceramic Black finish and a similarly shiny square camera module. Xiaomi has actually used ceramic in the rear material of the phone, which will likely make it more scratch resistant, but aesthetically it could be plain old glass for all that you would know.

The use of ceramic probably doesn’t help with the heaviness of the phone either, which weighs in at a considerable 229g. That’s the kind of figure you might expect to see from a bulky gaming phone, or indeed Samsung’s stylus-packing Galaxy S23 Ultra. It definitely made me think twice about which phone I wanted to take out with me – this or the lighter regular Xiaomi 13, which I was testing at the same time.

This brings me to the main criticism I have of the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s design – it’s simply not as appealing as its cheaper brother. Besides being more wieldy, the Xiaomi 13 is just plain nicer to look at and use, thanks to a neat flat-edged (and flat-screened) design. I really wish the Pro had followed suit.

While the Xiaomi 13 Pro has taken backward steps with certain design choices, it has at least supplied an IP68 rating this time around. The omission of weatherproofing in the Xiaomi 12 Pro was a glaring fault, given the asking price, so it’s good to see Xiaomi making amends here.

Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Display

Any disappointments with the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s design melt away when you come to use its 6.73in AMOLED display. With a 3,200 x 1,440 (QHD+) resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate, it’s almost everything you could want in a screen.

Each of those specs were true of the Xiaomi 12 Pro, of course, but the Xiaomi 13 Pro gets quite a bit brighter, with a stated peak brightness of 1,900cd/m² and 1,200cd/m² in high brightness mode (HBM). With autobrightness off and the brightness cranked right up, I recorded a measured luminance of around 500cd/m², with slight variances depending on the colour mode.

That colour mode affects how colour-accurate the display is, but all of them are easy on the eye, and there’s nothing off-puttingly garish here. While I found the default Vivid colour mode to be quite pleasing to use, switching to Normal yields a more accurate output in sRGB terms. I recorded an sRGB gamut coverage of 97.9% and a volume of 98.3%, and an average Delta E score of 1.05. That’s a strong result.

I didn’t notice any particularly egregious false presses when using the Xiaomi 13 Pro one-handed, but this is always going to be somewhat of an issue with these dual-curved displays. It’s another way in which the Xiaomi 13 Pro would have benefitted from switching to the Xiaomi 13’s flatter design.

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Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Performance and battery life

The Xiaomi 13 Pro is a flagship Android phone launched in 2023, so of course it gets the expected Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip upgrade. Qualcomm’s latest SoC has proved itself to be an extremely strong performer in every phone we’ve tested it in, providing bags of power whilst running relatively cool.

It’s no different in the Xiaomi 13 Pro, either. Average Geekbench 5 scores of 1,481 and 5,172 are strong, falling slightly short of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra in single-core but topping it in multi-core terms. It performed similarly well in our usual GPU-focused GFXBench tests, topping the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the iPhone 14 Pro Max in the Manhattan 3 offscreen test.

There’s a healthy 12GB of RAM as standard, which is what you expect of phones that cost in excess of £1,000. There’s just the one storage option, which is a shame, but 256GB of space should be enough for the vast majority of people.

So too should the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s battery life. At 4,820mAh, it’s a welcome upgrade from the 4,600mAh Xiaomi 12 Pro battery, though it’s smaller than the Galaxy S23 Ultra and the OnePlus 11. Sure enough, while it’ll get you through a full day without too much issue, it’s not the strongest performer. I found that a long day of fairly intensive usage, with 4hrs 40mins of screen-on time, left me with 32% left in the tank.

In our usual looping video test, the Xiaomi 13 Pro lasted 20hrs 32mins. That’s a major improvement on the Xiaomi 12 Pro, which lasted six hours fewer. With that said, both the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the OnePlus 11 cracked the 28-hour mark. The Xiaomi 13 Pro’s battery life has clearly gone from ‘acceptable’ to ‘decent’, but there’s still room for improvement.

Thankfully, it’s pretty quick to recharge. In my experience, 15 minutes of charging sent the Pro from empty to 73%, while a full charge was achieved in less than 25 minutes. 50W wireless charging is also supported, though you’ll need a special compatible charger to hit that mark.

Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Software

Reviewing high-end Xiaomi phones tends to take on a familiar pattern: praise the hardware, bemoan the mediocre software. I’d love to take a different tack with the Xiaomi 13 Pro, but that’s a pretty accurate summation of my feelings about MIUI 14.

It might be a new version of Xiaomi’s custom UI, sat atop Android 13, but the comments I made about the previous iteration on last year’s Xiaomi 12 Pro pretty much all apply here. Xiaomi still seems to be enamoured with iOS, with a number of familiar elements such as the split Notification/Control Centre menus, the Settings menu, and the default omission of an app tray.

The best thing about MIUI 14, as ever, is the ability to customise it to your liking, including one of the most comprehensive Themes stores around. The worst thing, however, is the sheer amount of needless bloatware that comes pre-installed, including three web browsers and two messaging apps. Why, Xiaomi?

Xiaomi is promising three major Android updates and five years of security updates. Which is good, if not quite as good as Samsung’s guarantee of four major Android updates.

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Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Cameras

Xiaomi has taken a big step forward with the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s camera system. Yes, it’s another triple 50MP setup, but there have been some real improvements here.

The first thing you’re likely to notice is the new Leica branding on the camera module. It’s difficult to know exactly what this “co-engineered with Leica” agreement entails, but it seems the German specialist has had a hand in the design of the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s optics.

Just as consequential is Xiaomi’s use of a huge 1-inch Sony IMX989 image sensor. We’ve seen this component before in the Xiaomi 12S Ultra and the Vivo X90 Pro, with the main beneficiary seeming to be strong low-light performance.

I noticed this most in situations with lesser lighting rather than in extreme dark scenarios, which could still betray hints of graininess. That larger sensor often meant that I didn’t even need to select Night mode, however, with the phone compensating well enough and producing a slightly shadier shot that was sometimes preferable to a deliberate Night shot.


In general shooting, the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s main shooter is a strong performer, with excellent HDR compensation and decent detail. Shooting on a drab, overcast day, the camera never succumbed to overexposing the bleached out skies, which lesser cameras often do. Again, I was impressed at how natural and restrained the results were, though some will prefer the processed pop of a Google or Samsung phone.

Also impressive here is a new 50MP telephoto, which can now zoom to 3.2x. I criticised the 12 Pro for only managing to zoom to 2x, so props to Xiaomi, though there’s scope to go even further for the money (the cheaper Pixel 7 Pro extends to 5x). With OIS assistance, these 3.2x shots are sharp and relatively consistent in tone with those from the main sensor. It also aids with portrait shots, which give pleasingly natural bokeh and a sharp subject.

The 50MP ultrawide is the least impressive lens here, with less dynamic range and detail. But it still does a decent job creating shots that are broadly in line with that natural colour tuning, and there isn’t too much distortion at the edges.

Leica also appears to have provided some help with the Xiaomi 13 Pro camera’s colour science. When you first fire the Camera app up, you’ll be greeted by a choice of two modes: Leica Authentic or Leica Vibrant, and you can switch between these freely from the main viewfinder.

Leica Authentic gives a pleasingly ‘as seen’ look to your shots, with more natural colours. Leica Vibrant provides a little more pop, though I’m pleased to note that they never looked too fake or garish during my time with the phone. It really is a matter of preference.

The 32MP selfie cam still felt slightly soft to me, but it seemed to do a better job at balancing things out in HDR scenarios.

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Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Verdict

The Xiaomi 13 Pro continues the promising work from 2022’s Xiaomi 12 Pro, addressing our main criticisms and improving in key areas.

Silly faults like the lack an IP68 rating, a limited telephoto camera, and a relatively tiny battery have all been corrected. Meanwhile, the 13 Pro’s Leica-branded 1-inch main camera is a big step forward, especially in lesser lighting conditions.

Performance is strong and battery life is far more respectable than before, even if it’s not among the very best of the early 2023 crowd. It helps that Xiaomi’s charging provision – 120W wired, 50W wireless – is so strong, too.

All of which makes it more of a shame that Xiaomi has taken a backward step with the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s bland, unwieldy design. Especially when, in the Xiaomi 13, it already had a natural way forward for the range. MIUI 14, meanwhile, continues to be a less than ideal interface with too much bloatware.

The Xiaomi 13 Pro is another excellent flagship phone from the brand. With a more focused design and a proper software overhaul, it would be in contention for the big awards come the end of 2023. Even as things stand, it’s more than capable of keeping the Samsungs and Apples of this world honest.

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