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Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Leica photography at a tempting price

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £699
inc VAT

For those who can’t quite stretch to full flagship prices, the Xiaomi 13T Pro offers a lot of phone for just £700


  • Strong performance
  • Very fast 120W charging
  • Decent camera


  • Generic design
  • Issues with battery life
  • Clumsy MIUI software

Don’t let the name fool you: the Xiaomi 13T Pro is no half-generational update to the premium-priced Xiaomi 13 Pro launched earlier this year. Rather, it’s a much more affordable alternative to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S23 and iPhone 15.

And like the Xiaomi 12T Pro before it, this is an almost-flagship with a number of high-end specs at a tempting price. This time around, Xiaomi has brought out the photographic big guns, adding a dash of Leica branding into the mix.

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Xiaomi 13T Pro review: What you need to know

The headline addition this year is the Xiaomi 13T Pro’s much-improved camera system. That’s fronted by a new 50MP Leica-branded camera, which replaces the rather underwhelming 200MP sensor from the Xiaomi 12T Pro, while also adding a new 50MP 2x telephoto zoom camera.

Xiaomi has changed tack with the 13T Pro’s processor provision as well, forgoing the cutting edge Snapdragon route and adopting a MediaTek solution in its place. Presumably, this was a way of improving performance year-on-year performance while saving a little on the bill of materials.

While the design of the Xiaomi 13T Pro remains rather plain, Xiaomi has improved build quality with full IP68 certification, meaning it’s more water and dust resistant than previous models.

Besides this, you get the same 5,000mAh battery and the same astonishingly rapid 120W charger bundled in.

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Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Price and competition

Unlike so many of its rivals – and indeed, unlike the non-T models released earlier in the year – Xiaomi has resisted the temptation to bump up the price of the Xiaomi 13T Pro. It costs the same £699 as the Xiaomi 12T Pro before it.

This places the phone firmly in the murky borderland between mid-range and flagship. It also means that the Xiaomi 13T Pro can count the Pixel 8 for company, albeit a lower spec of Google’s latest phone with just a quarter of the storage.

Perhaps a more like-for-like comparison here would be the Nothing Phone (2), which offers exactly the same RAM and storage specifications (12/512GB) for exactly the same asking price.

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Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Design and key features

Opinion on the use of so-called vegan leather in smartphones tends to vary. Personally, I would have much preferred to have tested the Alpine Blue model of the Xiaomi 13T Pro with its faux leather silicone polymer finish than the shiny black glass of the model I was sent.

I can’t vouch for how the more colourful alternative looks or feels in person, but at least it’s something a little outside of the ordinary. The Black model seems rather generic by contrast, and its glossy back is extremely prone to fingerprints.

It doesn’t feel as premium as other phones at this price either, thanks to the plastic frame. However, one notable improvement is the provision of IP68 certification, which supplies a flagship level of water and dust resistance. The Xiaomi 12T Pro notably lacked this, so props to Xiaomi for moving things in the right direction.

At 8.49mm thick and 206g (8.6mm and 200g for the fake leather model), it’s another fairly hefty phone, though at least it’s nowhere near the weight of the Xiaomi 13 Pro. Gorilla Glass 5 makes a return for the front of the phone, meaning it’s not quite as tough as Gorilla Glass Victus-equipped phones such as the Pixel 8.

I’m glad that Xiaomi has moved away from the rather cheap-looking stepped camera module design of the 12T Pro, though the 13T Pro’s squarer and more angular replacement still doesn’t exactly scream ‘flagship quality’. It looks a little clumsy, in fact.

The lack of Harman Kardon branding on the edges of the phone suggests that Xiaomi has saved a little money in not getting the US audio specialist to tune its stereo speakers. Not that this is an issue – the sound output is strong and clear, if lacking the nuance of a genuine flagship handset.

One thing the top edge does retain is Xiaomi’s signature IR blaster, which means you can use the preinstalled Mi Remote app to control your Hi-Fi or TV. It’s always a nice little bonus with these phones, if hardly a key feature.

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Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Display

Xiaomi has turned out another 6.67in AMOLED display, much like last year’s Xiaomi 12T Pro. Once again, there’s an unusual 2,712 x 1,220 resolution, which is a little bit more than the usual FHD+, but still way short of the QHD+ panels of the ultra flagship brigade.

We’ve seen Honor go with a similar resolution for the Honor Magic 5 Pro and the Honor 90, and it’s also similar to Apple’s approach with the iPhone range. It makes for a pleasantly sharp picture without hitting the battery too hard.

New to the 13T Pro is an increased 144Hz maximum refresh rate. As is the case whenever Motorola pulls the same stunt, it’s a bit of a gimmick, with little discernible difference to the 120Hz standard and few games supporting it. It’s still not a truly flexible LTPO panel either, so you can only flip between 60Hz and the full 144Hz. Still, when it’s cranked to full, there’s no denying it’s mighty smooth.

Potentially a more meaningful improvement is to the brightness of the panel, with Xiaomi boosting things from 500cd/m² to 1,200cd/m² in high brightness mode (HBM). With autobrightness turned off, I recorded a solid peak brightness of 493cd/m², which is about the same as the Xiaomi 12T Pro achieved. You also get a rapid touch sampling rate of 480Hz, which should be music to the ears of mobile gamers.

None of this would mean very much if the display was gaudy and unbalanced, but thankfully it’s not. In the ‘Original’ colour setting (the default Vivid mode is a little too punchy), I recorded an excellent average Delta E of 0.84, as well as 99.4% sRGB colour gamut coverage against a total volume of 103.6%. That’s broadly in line with last year’s Xiaomi 12T Pro.

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Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Performance and battery life

On that note, last year’s Xiaomi 12T Pro went all in on the performance front, packing in a then-cutting-edge Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip. For the Xiaomi 13T Pro, the company has taken a step forward, but it’s a slightly diagonal one.

Rather than going with a like-for-like upgrade, which would be the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, Xiaomi has gone with MediaTek’s Dimensity 9200+. This is a less common 4nm chip that tops the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, and competes with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in certain regards.

That’s supported by our benchmarks tests, where the 13T Pro generally beats its predecessor, and more or less ties with the Xiaomi 13 and the Samsung Galaxy S23 with their Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chips – except in Geekbench 6, where it falls slightly behind.

Even so, I think this was a smart move from Xiaomi, as it means that it’s using a cheaper component with no discernible shortfall in performance. This doubtless freed up resources to spend on things like that improved camera system or the full IP68 certification.

With advanced games like Genshin Impact running at a solid 60fps on top graphical settings, there really isn’t anything to be lost from moving over to MediaTek’s provision – except for possibly one thing.

While the Xiaomi 12T Pro managed to last around 18 hours in our regular looping video test, the Xiaomi 13T Pro and its 5,000mAh battery lasted an hour and a quarter less. Of course, this may simply come down to the display refreshing at a faster (and thus more power-hungry) 144Hz. Either way, the Xiaomi 13T Pro is obliterated by the Nothing Phone (2), which lasted a staggering 31hrs 28mins, while all of Samsung’s latest flagship phones burst past the 22-hour mark.

Video performance aside, I could generally get through a long day of regular usage with between 40 and 55% left in the tank, even with the screen set to 144Hz. That’s reassuringly solid.

It also helps that you get a rapid 120W charger in the box, which was able to get my test model from empty to 68% in just 15 minutes, and to 100% in less than 25 minutes. You still don’t get wireless charging though, which feels like a bit of an omission when both the Pixel 8 and the Nothing Phone (2) support such a thing.

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Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Software

From the Xiaomi 14 onwards the company will be going back to the drawing board with a brand new OS, HyperOS. This presumably means that the Xiaomi 13T Pro will be the last flagship Xiaomi phone to run on MIUI.

Hopefully, then, this is the last time I have to say something like this: the biggest drawback of this Xiaomi phone isn’t its hardware, but rather its software.

MIUI is well past due a replacement. With Android 13 underpinning it, MIUI 14 is a perfectly functional mobile OS, with access to the Google Play Store, Google Feed positioned to the left of the homescreen, and plenty of personalisation options. But it’s also somewhat fussy and chintzy, with a notification pane, menus, and icons that seem to come from a different era to Google’s stylish stock Android or Apple’s sharp iOS.

It also suffers from a familiar bloatware problem, with two duplicate web browser apps, a couple of extraneous storefronts, and unprompted third party installations for LinkedIn,, Facebook and more.

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Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Cameras

Xiaomi has upped the game in the camera stakes after the Xiaomi 12T Pro’s somewhat disappointing contribution. Out goes the latter’s deceptively lower-order 200MP main sensor, and in comes a 1/1.28” Sony IMX707 sensor.

This is the sensor that debuted with the Xiaomi 12 Pro in early 2022, so while it’s not the newest component on the block, it is of a good quality. As with that prior phone, the Xiaomi 13T Pro’s main camera is capable of grabbing strong, vibrant shots with impressive dynamic range in all lighting conditions, and a level of sharpness that’s aided by a 7P lens configuration.

Indeed, in some ways this main sensor has been enhanced since the 12T Pro’s days by the subsequent addition of Leica’s colour-tuning expertise. As with the rest of the Xiaomi 13 family, you have the choice of two colour modes: Leica Authentic for a more natural look, or Leica Vibrant for a bit more pop.

Night shots are strong, too, though they can take on that uncannily bright look that you’ll either love or find a little disconcerting.

The main sensor might be of the same order as the Xiaomi 12 Pro, but the 12MP ultrawide isn’t quite there. It’s still a credible effort though, particularly in the way that it matches the colour temperature of the main sensor.

Even more impressive is the provision of a 50MP telephoto camera. True, it only hits a 2x zoom length, but the shots are sharp and vivid, and again match the tone of the main sensor quite nicely. A 20MP front-facing camera around front captures relatively sharp, well-balanced selfies with natural colour tones.

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Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Verdict

Xiaomi has done it again, offering a broadly flagship-level smartphone at a less-than-premium price. It’s perhaps the best in the business at exploiting these little niches – or at least the most prolific.

The Xiaomi 13T Pro offers strong performance, a decent display, solid battery life, and rapid 120W wired charging whilst dropping about £100 short of flagship pricing. Its revamped Leica-branded camera system, meanwhile, captures images with plenty of pop and impressive clarity.

For all its qualities, though, the Xiaomi 13T Pro still falls a little short of an unqualified recommendation. It’s pretty dull to look at and hold, it still lacks wireless charging, and MIUI continues to provide a rather charmless and workmanlike front for the Android OS.

The Xiaomi 13T Pro gives you a lot of phone for £700, but then, so does the Pixel 8 and the Nothing Phone (2), and you don’t have to accept quite the same compromises with those classy competitors.

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