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Xiaomi 14 review: Neck and neck with Samsung

Our Rating :
£899.00 from
Price when reviewed : £899
inc VAT

With phenomenal performance and versatile cameras, the pocket-sized Xiaomi 14 is a serious threat to Samsung’s Galaxy S24


  • Mighty performance in a compact frame
  • Great battery life and charging speeds
  • Gorgeous colour-accurate display


  • Some overheating issues
  • Rivals offer cheaper variants
  • HyperOS is a lateral move

Despite a relatively small footprint, the Xiaomi 14 has some big shoes to fill. Its predecessor, the Xiaomi 13, has ranked among the best smartphones as our favourite compact option since launching back in 2023. Now that the cycle has started anew, can the Xiaomi 14 keep the streak going, or has it fallen behind?

As a generational leap, the Xiaomi 14 is an easy recommendation. It keeps what worked about the 13 while making improvements to performance, battery life, cameras and the display. The problem is that rivals haven’t stood still, either, and while the Xiaomi 14 is an excellent compact flagship in its own right, the Samsung Galaxy S24 offers a little more bang for slightly fewer bucks.

Xiaomi 14 review: What you need to know

Echoing the jump from the Xiaomi 12 to the Xiaomi 13, the Xiaomi 14 initially appears to be more expensive than its predecessor, but a closer look reveals that this higher premium is to account for the extra on-board storage (512GB up from 256GB).

Alongside this is 12GB of RAM and the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset. There’s technically a 12GB/256GB variant listed on Xiaomi’s own website, but it’s been out of stock the whole time I’ve been writing this review, so for all intents and purposes, this is the sole model available in the UK.

The battery is a slightly bigger 4,610mAh unit and wired charging now supports up to 90W, alongside the same 50W wireless offered by the Xiaomi 13. The 6.36in display has a higher 2,670 x 1,200 resolution and adds LTPO technology for dynamic refresh rates. Finally, the camera suite again offers a main, wide and telephoto lens, but all three are now 50MP sensors.

Xiaomi 14 review: Price and competition

The Xiaomi 14 retails for £899, landing it in direct competition with the biggest brands in the game. The nearest threat is the Samsung Galaxy S24, which is £799 for the 128GB model or £859 for the 256GB. There’s no 512GB equivalent on offer here, but the downgrade in storage size is balanced out by the inclusion of Samsung’s useful Galaxy AI features.

Over at Apple, the iPhone 15 is currently £799 for the 256GB model or £999 for 512GB. While the Google Pixel 8 is physically similar to the Xiaomi 14, the bigger Pixel 8 Pro is a more direct rival – the 256GB model is on sale for £909 at the time of writing, but for 512GB you’re looking at a whopping £1,179.

READ NEXT: Best Samsung phones

Xiaomi 14 review: Design and key features

The lack of storage configurations may have carried over from the Xiaomi 13 but at least the brand has rectified last year’s lack of colour options, adding jade green and white variants alongside the standard black.

Design-wise, the Xiaomi 14 errs closely to its predecessor, with the same rounded corners, flat sides and mirrored aluminium trim on all four edges. It’s still a nicely compact handset, with a slightly more rounded rear nestling comfortably in the hand. Dimensions are nearly identical to the 13 (153 x 72 x 8.2mm) – though it’s marginally heavier, at 193g.

While the robust IP68 rating is in line with other flagships, the Xiaomi 14 falls behind on scratch protection. After a brief downgrade to Gorilla Glass 5 with the Xiaomi 13, the 14 returns to Gorilla Glass Victus. The problem is that competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S24 have moved on to the newer and stronger Gorilla Glass Victus 2. The S24 also has front and back protection, whereas the Xiaomi 14 only has Gorilla Glass covering the display.

Nestled beneath said screen is an optical fingerprint sensor and selfie camera, which also offers an effective face unlocking feature. The Leica-branded rear cameras are again arranged into a rounded square module in the top-left corner. Around the edges, the power and volume buttons are located on the right, while the bottom is home to the USB-C port and SIM tray. The latter can take up to two nano SIMs, but there’s still no microSD card support.

Xiaomi 14 review: Display

The display is another 6.36in OLED panel, but the resolution has been bumped up to 2,670 x 1,200, producing a higher pixel density of 460ppi. It’s also an LTPO panel this time around, meaning that the display can dynamically adjust the refresh rate between 1 and 120Hz, conserving battery life when you don’t need the full whack.

There are three colour modes: Saturated and Vivid offer punchier shades for streaming, while Original strives for authenticity. On the latter profile, I recorded an sRGB coverage of 95.1% and a volume of 96.9%, with an average Delta E colour variance score of 0.98. That’s not quite as accurate as the Xiaomi 13 (0.78), but anything under 1 is still a terrific result.

In testing, manual brightness topped out at 497cd/m2, while turning on adaptive brightness and shining a torch on the light sensor pushed it up to an impressive 1,070cd/m2. Things get even better when viewing HDR content, hitting a peak of 1,432cd/m2.

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Xiaomi 14 review: Performance and battery life

We’ve been impressed with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in every phone it’s cropped up in thus far, and things are no different with the Xiaomi 14. Clocked up to 3.3GHz, this octa-core processor dwarfs the Xiaomi 13, with gains of 54% in the single-core Geekbench 6 benchmarks and 27% in the multi-core.

In use, I had no problems with the performance. Scrolling was smooth, apps were quick to open and even when I had multiple programs running at the same time, there was no hint of lagging or stuttering.

Xiaomi 14 review. Bar chart comparing CPU performance in Geekbench 6 of different phones

Things look even better in the GPU tests. Here, the iPhone 15 falls behind, leaving the Xiaomi 14 and Galaxy S24 neck and neck at the head of the pack.

We touched on overheating in our S24 review and the same unfortunately holds true here as you can run graphically intensive games smoothly at max settings but the handset quickly grows uncomfortably warm. I found that opting for middle-of-the-road settings kept things at a more reasonable temperature during extended gaming sessions.

Xiaomi 14 review. Bar chart comparing the results of different phones in GFXBench test

Stamina gets the biggest improvement, with the Xiaomi 14 lasting for an exceptional 26hrs 12mins in our looping video test. Not only is that nearly 10 hours better than the Xiaomi 13, but it comfortably lands the Xiaomi 14 on our best phone battery life ranking. Here, it only falls marginally short of the equally impressive results achieved by the Galaxy S24.

Xiaomi 14 review. Bar chart comparing the battery life of different phones

Where the Xiaomi 14 pulls ahead of the Galaxy S24 is in its charging speeds. The latter tops out at a measly 25W but the Xiaomi 14 supports wired charging up to 90W and wireless up to 50W. Xiaomi states that a compatible charger can take the phone from empty to 100% in only 31 minutes. I don’t have a 90W charger, but my 67W block got the job done in around 45 minutes – the Galaxy S24 took over an hour when we tested it.

Xiaomi 14 review: Software

While news that Xiaomi was replacing the dreaded MIUI software with the new HyperOS launcher initially piqued my interest, it quickly became apparent that this supposed revamp was a sideways move at best. And it may, in fact, be worse.

For starters, it’s still riddled with obnoxious bloatware, with Xiaomi’s own Google clones and third-party apps like clogging up the home screen. The convoluted split notification bar also carries over from MIUI, and it’s managed to get even messier.

Swiping down on the right side of the screen (the left shows notifications) opens the control centre, which offers up a dozen or so quick-launch tiles. Many of these are obvious ones like Bluetooth and the torch, but they’re all unlabeled, so it can take a minute to get used to which button does what.

Even with that unnecessary confusion in play, my biggest problem is that General Settings, which is traditionally separate for swift identification, is buried in the pile. Sure you can move it to the top row or a corner to make it easier to spot, but this bizarre choice just feels like yet another step away from the kind of streamlined, user-friendly software that Xiaomi seems determined not to deliver.

There is, at least, a silver lining to all this: the Xiaomi 14 will receive four years of OS updates and five of security patches. That’s not at the same level as Samsung and Google, both of whom offer seven years apiece, but it’s still above average.

READ NEXT: Best Android phones

Xiaomi 14 review: Cameras

The main camera brings a couple of upgrades over the Xiaomi 13’s, including a new Light Fusion 900 image sensor and a slightly wider f/1.6 aperture. While not a dramatic improvement, this is still a terrific camera.

Open the camera app and you’re offered two Leica colour profiles: Vibrant’s punchier colours are well-suited to social media posts, but I generally prefer Authentic. On this profile, the images I shot were bright, naturally coloured and packed with detail.

Xiaomi 14 review. Sample photo taken with the phone camera shows palm trees along a path

I was happy with the results in low light, as well. There’s a little too much bloom from those lights but the colour reproduction is great and the darkest areas are relatively free from visual noise.

Xiaomi 14 review. Sample photo taken using the night mode of the phone camera. Shows a street with shops

Between the main lens and the 50MP (f/2.0) 3.2x telephoto shooter, the Xiaomi 14 can achieve a hybrid zoom up to 30x. 10x is as far as I’d push it, however – you can see in the image below that this magnification maintains a good deal of detail and contrast, whereas the 30x is quite blurry and smudged.

Xiaomi 14 review. Four photos taken using the different zoom settings placed in grid for comparison

The 50MP (f/2.2) ultrawide camera isn’t as impressive as the others but it’s still perfectly serviceable. The overall tone is slightly washed out but the colours in the bus and cars pop nicely and there’s plenty of detail maintained in the buildings’ windows.

Xiaomi 14 review. Sample photo taken using the phone's ultrawide camera setting. Shows road with monument and buildings in background

The front-facing camera is again a 32MP (f/2.0) unit and performs about the same as the Xiaomi 13, producing sharp selfies with well-defined skin tones. I have no complaints about the video offering, either – the footage was detailed and relatively stable, with smooth exposure balancing when moving between differently lit areas.

Xiaomi 14 review: Verdict

In just about every way, the Xiaomi 14 proves itself the equal of Samsung’s Galaxy S24. Both are powerful compact handsets that offer exceptional battery life and strong cameras, with the only differences coming down to personal preference. Would you rather pay less or get more storage? Do you prefer better scratch protection or faster charging? Both need to do better with their software design, so that’s a tie, as well.

For me, the Samsung just about tips it, with the Galaxy AI features and an additional three years of OS updates making the Galaxy S24 better value for money overall. If you’d rather the faster charging or the cavernous storage, however, the Xiaomi 14 will not disappoint. It may not have clung onto the best compact flagship crown, but it’s a hell of a runner-up.

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