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Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G review: Struggling to keep up with the competition

Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G review
Our Rating :
£159.00 from
Price when reviewed : £279
inc VAT

In isolation, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G is a great phone – but with so many superb handsets at this price point, you can do better


  • Superb screen
  • Solid specs
  • Expandable storage


  • So-so cameras
  • Similarly priced handsets perform better
  • Relatively weak battery life

At first glance, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G is a great example of just how much smartphone bang you can get for your buck these days. This budget handset provides a number of features that an iPhone nearly three times the price doesn’t, including a 120Hz screen, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, a triple camera and that all-important headphone jack.

But, inevitably, corners have to be cut to offer all this for less than £300, so what are they, and will you even notice? Let’s find out.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G review: What you need to know

We didn’t review 2022’s Redmi Note 12, but its successor makes some interesting changes. Gone is the budget Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 chipset, replaced here by the MediaTek Dimensity 6080. RAM is also bumped up from 4GB to 8GB.

Rounding out the internal specs are 256GB of expandable internal storage and a 5,000mAh battery. The latter supports up to 33W charging and you get a compatible charger bundled in the box.

On the camera front, you’re looking at a generous 108MP (f/1.7) main camera, which on paper should be a step up from the 48MP (f/1.8) lens on its predecessor. The 8MP ultrawide camera remains unchanged, but the 2MP macro lens is bafflingly replaced by a 2MP depth sensor.

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Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G review: Price and competition

The Redmi Note 13 5G will set you back £277. There’s also a 4G version available at £199, but as this uses a completely different chipset (the Qualcomm Snapdragon 685), 2GB less RAM and half the storage, you shouldn’t expect otherwise identical performance.

Also slightly undercutting the Note 13 5G are the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite (£265) and the Honor Magic 5 Lite (£250). If you’re happy to pay a little more, then the freshly released Nothing Phone (2a) is worth a look at £319, as is the Pixel 6a – which can often be picked up for around £399 as it approaches its second birthday.

Finally, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G has a couple of ‘Pro’ older siblings, selling for £339 and £449 respectively. Here’s a bit more about them:

Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G vs Note 13 Pro vs Note 13 Pro Plus: What’s the difference?

Despite being separated by only a suffix or two, these three Redmi devices are surprisingly different from one another.

Redmi Note 13 5GRedmi Note 13 5G ProRedmi Note 13 5G Pro Plus
Screen120Hz, 6.67in, 1,080 x 2,400120Hz, 6.67in, 1,220 x 2,712120Hz, 6.67in, 1,220 x 2,712
ProcessorMediatek Dimensity 6080 (6nm)Qualcomm Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 (4 nm)Mediatek Dimensity 7200 Ultra (4 nm)
Storage (UK)256GB256GB512GB
Cameras108MP (f/1.7); 8MP (f/2.2) ultrawide; 2MP (f/2.4) depth200MP (f/1.7); 8MP (f/2.2) ultrawide; 2MP (f/2.4) macro200MP (f/1.7); 8MP (f/2.2) ultrawide; 2MP (f/2.4) macro
Battery capacity5,000mAh5,100mAh5,000mAh

So, three different processors, RAM and storage configurations, and then a camera and screen division between the Pro and non-Pro models. A total price divide between the three models of £170 (and it’s worth noting that Note 13 5G is the only model to support expandable storage via microSD card).

Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G review: Design and key features

While it’s undoubtedly less premium looking than its Pro brothers, the Redmi Note 13 5G is still a pretty handsome handset. Its plastic casing certainly feels cheaper, but its angular design feels more comfortable in the hand than the curved Pro Plus, and the bezel is impressively thin all the way around the 6.67in screen.

Unlike its siblings, there’s no under-screen fingerprint reader here, with that feature instead relegated to the power button. It’s on the right-hand side, just underneath the volume rocker, and proved efficient and conveniently placed during testing.

The rear cameras are housed in a raised plastic square. This is my main quibble with the design, as the several-millimetre protrusion means the phone will wobble when placed on its back.

Our review handset is in ‘Arctic White’, which has an interesting marbling effect near the bottom. If that sounds too exotic, the Ocean Teal and Graphite Black versions seem to be without such fancy decals.

It’s largely a nice, budget design, and Xiaomi has included several consumer-friendly features that are far from guaranteed these days. The phone has a 3.5mm headphone jack and the SIM-tray supports either a second SIM or a microSD card up to 1TB in capacity.

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Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G review: Display

Despite sharing the same screen size and AMOLED tech as its Pro siblings, the Redmi Note 13 has a slightly lower resolution. Here, it’s 2,400 x 1,080, meaning it has slightly fewer pixels per inch: 395 against the Pro models’ 446.

In practice, that’s minimal, and while the Redmi Note 13’s screen is slightly weaker than the Pro Plus’, there’s really nothing to complain about at this price point. It’s a 120Hz panel, for a start, ensuring buttery smooth animations and transitions – and that’s not something you can go back from once you’ve experienced it.

Our colourimeter recorded brilliant scores, too. It measured 100% in the sRGB gamut coverage, with a sRGB gamut volume of 104.4%, meaning it’s not far behind the superb colour accuracy of the Pro Plus model. It also gets slightly brighter, measuring 483cd/m2 in our test – a small increase of 8cd/m2 – and because it’s AMOLED, contrast is infinite.

It’s a great screen for the price – or indeed, a much higher one. No complaints here.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G review: Performance and battery life

So, how does the Redmi Note 13 5G’s MediaTek Dimensity 6080 perform compared to the competition? It largely holds its own.

As you can see, there’s really not much between the Note 13, the Nothing Phone (2a), the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite and Honor Magic 5 Lite. Only the more expensive Redmi Note 13 Pro and Pixel 6a stand out here, and then mainly on multi-core tasks.

But things take a bit of a turn when we move onto the graphical tests. Gamers beware:

Now, to be clear, these tests are deliberately graphically intense, and if you just play card and puzzle games (or don’t game at all), then you can ignore it. All the same, the Redmi Note 13 is comfortably last here – and while the disparity with the Honor and OnePlus handsets is nominal, Nothing and Google both offer a lot more bang for not that much more buck.

Despite packing a 5,000mAh battery, the Note 13’s stamina is actually a little disappointing, comparatively speaking.

In fairness, a battery life closing in on 16 hours is nothing to be sneezed at, but it’s still the weakest stamina of all the handsets included here. Realistically, it won’t be a problem, but if you’re looking for the best for your money, this is not the one.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the MIUI skin included on top of Android 13 isn’t particularly pleasant to use. It’s also packed with bloatware which you’ll spend a lot of time uninstalling.

This is a mix of unnecessary duplicates with three web browsers (Chrome, Mi Browser and Opera) as well as sponsored apps. For the latter, Xiaomi does at least have the decency of putting the likes of AliExpress, and in a folder labelled “More apps”, but it still feels quite intrusive and unwelcome.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G review: Cameras

The camera setup is the main point at which the Redmi Note 13 diverges from its Pro siblings. Here, a 200MP main camera is replaced by a still-quite-substantial sounding 108MP snapper. The 8MP ultrawide camera remains the same, while the gimmicky 2MP macro lens is replaced by an even more gimmicky depth sensor for the kind of bokeh shots that were all the rage about ten years ago.

So how do they fare? In good lighting conditions, the 108MP main camera does a reasonable job, at a glance.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G review

Zoom in, however, and things begin to deteriorate, with a severe loss of detail and aggressive processing brought in to compensate.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G review

This is helped by using the 108MP camera at full resolution, rather than the default, where images are reduced in size and save on storage. But be warned: at 108MP, they take around six times as much space.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G review

In low light, things are substantially worse, as you would expect. Without much light getting into the sensors, things take on a grainy quality – and the plants here have an almost plastic sheen that wasn’t obvious with the Pro models.

To be clear, low-light shots are tricky, and this isn’t bad at all for the price. Nonetheless, if photography is all important to you, we’d advise paying a bit more for the Pixel 6a. On paper, the 12.2MP camera should be worse, but Google phones always punch above their weight in terms of photography, and this one is no exception.

That’s especially true as neither the 8MP ultrawide nor the 2MP depth cameras on the Redmi Note 13 are really worth using. The former is adequate enough but loses even more detail than the main shooter, meaning that it will rarely be the one you’ll want to use.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G review

And the latter just feels pointless. To be clear, I’m not expecting a telephoto lens for this price, but I’d far rather have one or two really good cameras than three average ones, and Google has proved that’s possible.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G review

The 16MP front-facing selfie camera is perfectly passable and Xiaomi has resisted the temptation to go overboard on the beautification settings – there’s not that much difference between beautification off (left), the default middle ground (centre) and beautification maxed (right).

Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G review

In terms of video, the Redmi Note 13 is capable of shooting in 720p or 1080p at 30fps. With no optical image stabilisation, however, you’re in for a bumpy ride, so this isn’t one for videographers.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G review: Verdict

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 5G is proof of how good budget phones have gotten recently. Go back in time just a few short years, and you couldn’t get anything near this much value for the price.

The trouble is that Xiaomi’s rivals haven’t stood still, either. And that makes the Redmi Note 13 5G a tougher sell. If you can spend just a little more money, both the Nothing Phone (2a) and the Google Pixel 6a offer substantially better performance and, especially in the case of the latter, better photography.

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