Xiaomi is back with an intense new photography phone, this time pairing up with camera giant, Leica.
Who hasn’t heard of Leica and if you’re a photography fiend, I’m pretty sure you would have come across Leica or used their cameras. But for those people who aren’t particularly passionate about cameras but love to take pictures using their phones, how about giving this phone a try?
What is so special about XIAOMI 13 Pro?
Xiaomi 13 Pro is the first international product that features Leica’s professional optical lenses. This means that the Xiaomi 13 Pro comes with a pro-grade 50MP camera system that covers focal lengths ranging from ultra-wide angle, wide-angle to telephoto.
Here you might ask: but, don’t all phones come with those range nowadays? Aside from the brand-name ‘Leica‘, what makes Xiaomi 13 Pro so special???
Good question I might say. With the integration of Leica’s professional lens, what you are now getting is DSLR-level internal focusing technology. This particular smartphone new 75mm lens utilizes a floating lens design to achieve a focal range from 10cm to infinity. It also features the ultra-large 1″ IMX989 sensor from the Xiaomi 12S Ultra . Xiaomi 13 Pro is also able to capture true relationships between light and dark aesthetic images.
Xiaomi 13 Pro also comes with the Leica Vario-Summicron. For the uninitiated, aka me, the summicron lens is one of Leica’s best-selling lenses. It’s also super expensive! A quick Google search showed me that a version of the summicron sells for SGD$3,700.
In addition to the hardware, Xiaomi 13 Pro has the strongest computational photography capability among all Xiaomi’s flagships. Please make sure you read that clearly ok! So don’t go comparing to other phones’ photography now. We’re talking about Xiaomi itself.
Xiaomi 13 Pro – the details
So, I’ve gone into the deep end of Xiaomi’s collaboration with Leica and what it means for the phone. Let’s get down and dirty with the nitty-gritty details.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro comes in two colours – Ceramic White and Ceramic Black. I have my hands on the Ceramic Black and, well, it’s pretty much your standard reflective black. Something to note, due to the camera lens, the phone will not lay flat. It will be slightly propped up.
- Processor: Snapdragon®8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform
- Storage & RAM: 12GB+256GB | 12GB+512GB
- Dimensions: 162.9mm (h) x 74.5mm (w) x 8.28mm (thickness) + 229g (weight)
- Display: WQHD+ 6.73″ AMOLED Display
- Rear Camera: Leica Professional Optical Lens
- (LEICA VARIO-WUMMICRON 1:1.9-2.2/14.75 ASPH)
- Front Camera: 32MP in-display selfie camera
- Battery & Charging: Xiaomi Surge Battery Management System
Xiaomi 13 Pro is retailing at SGD$1,699.00 on Lazada. If you’re not willing to shell out that price in on sweeping drop, you might consider buying with our telcos.
Now, on to the stress test. *cue foreboding music*
We started with the battery life and it basically states that the phone could last you almost 13 hours. That’s basically your full working day and pretty much the norm for most of the smartphones.
In addition to the PCMark test, one claim from Xiaomi that intrigued me the most the fast charging. According to them, the are able to charge to 100% within 19mins. However this claim was done based on the Xiaomi Internal Labs. But I just had to try it out with my Samsung S20+.
The video is about 10 minutes long so, a summary!
S20+ started off with 8% and was charging using Samsung’s original charger.
Xiaomi 13 Pro started at 0% and was charging using it’s original charger too.
Since the claim was for 19 minutes, I rounded it up to 20 minutes. At the end of the 20 minutes, Samsung S20+ ended with 45% battery charge while Xiaomi 13 Pro ended with a 55% battery charge. It’s a difference of 10% but we have to remember that the S20+ started with 8% and increased only 37% whereas the Xiaomi 13 Pro started from 0% and increased to 55%.
While it did not really live up to the claim of 100% in 19 minutes, we can make a guess that if you were to charge at 50% or maybe even at 40%, you could get to a full charge in that 19 minutes.
Next is the performance score. Again, it’s pretty comparable to most of the phones I have previously reviewed.
Next up is the 3DMark. We started off with the Sling Shot Extreme. It was maxed out and recommended that we use the Wild Life instead. So, Wild Life next.
Same thing for Wild Life, maxed out as well.
Testing out the camera
Disclaimer: I am not a photographer. I don’t know how to take good photos. I particularly don’t focus much on the camera whenever I buy new phones since I’ve always been a Samsung girl. So it was intriguing to know what exactly makes Leica such a popular camera brand.
So I went out to my neighborhood library with my son and husband to test the camera out and, color me impressed.
First, I tried the focal range of the camera. There’s the 23mm, the 14mm and the 75mm. When taking the photos, I didn’t move from the position I was in and did my best not to shift as well.
Then, I tried the 75mm using the Leica Authentic and the Leica Vibrant. The 75mm honestly looks better in portrait shots but as my son was the subject, I’m not putting his picture up.
Leica has two ‘filters’; the Leica Authentic and the Leica Vibrant. The Leica Authentic ensures that the colors are truer to life and preserves the light and dark contrast in the image. The Leica Vibrant has a brighter tone and has a higher colour saturation.
This is a comparison between the Leica Vibrant and the Leica Authentic. There was a storm cloud and I immediately took the chance to see the difference in the colors between the blue sky and the dark sky.
The Leica Vibrant (on the left) faded the dark sky and punched up the blueness of the sky . The Leica Vibrant (on the right) looks more closer to how it looked like in real life.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro also comes with 4 in-built Leica filters; Vivid, Natural, Black and White Natural (highlight) and Black and White Contrast (highlight). However I did not test these filters out.
Overall though, the camera really did produce some amazing images. I was impressed with the colors and the ease of taking photos. In the hands of a great photographer, I’m sure the images would turn out fantastic. But in the hands of this amateur, I’d say it’s still pretty decent.
I have tried Xiaomi’s phones before and I have been impressed by them. Impressed enough to jump ship? The thought has crossed my mind a couple of times but, as a person who uses phones mostly for calls, social media and reading books (lol!), this is a solid phone that pretty much ticks all the required boxes with the addition of a high quality camera lens.
Personally, if I have friends who love taking photos using their phones, I would recommend them getting this phone. I’m pretty sure they’ll do the Leica lens justice.
I think the only con that I find is the fact that it doesn’t lie flat. But, that’s because clumsy me could possibly damage it. There are probably cases that could support and ensure that the phone could lie flat though.
So, photographer friends, go for it. Non-photographer friends, put this in your possible list!
- Incredible camera
- Great all-rounder.
- Phone doesn’t really lie flat.