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Xiaomi 13 Pro Review: Top-shelf photography

Xiaomi 13 Pro

The Xiaomi 13 Pro is the brand’s flagship in India, till the 13 Ultra arrives on our shores that is. It packs in a seriously good camera system co-developed with Leica, uber-premium construction, and all the hardware you’d expect from a flagship in 2023. Does it deliver on all the expectations that come with the price tag? We spent some time with it to find out.

The 13 Pro looks and feels premium. There is absolutely no doubt about it. It is a heftier than some other smartphones at 229g, but a lot of that weight is down to the expensive materials used. The curved ceramic back looks neat (especially in white) and with the placement of the camara array on the top left, the 13 Pro looks very different from all other smartphone flagships this year. The curved display looks great and makes it a little easier to hold, but it is still susceptible to unintentional inputs. The haptic motor on the 13 Pro is easily among the best on an Android smartphone today and things like unlocking the phone, clicking pictures and the like are met with some lovely haptic feedback. Also, it gets IP68 dust and water resistance, something that was surprisingly absent from the 12.

The display is a 6.73-inch, 120Hz OLED panel (3200 x 1400) with 552ppi. The display is among the brightest on a smartphone and can go up to 1900nits in peak brightness. The colors feel natural and Xiaomi’s UI also seems to make great use of the screen’s abilities with a bright, colorful layout. Powered by the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor with 12GB LPDDR5X RAM and 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage, the phone feels quick and handles everything you throw its way. More importantly, it stays cooler through sustained use.

Battery life is good (I was able to get through a typical day with more than 20% battery left) even with the relatively smaller 4820mAh battery on board. If you are running out, Xiaomi’s fast charging can get you back up to 100% in less than 20 minutes.

The camera is the most exciting aspect of the Xiaomi 13 Pro with a triple array that includes the 50MP Sony IMX989 sensor – the largest smartphone sensor yet. It is supported by a 50MP telephoto and a 50MP ultrawide. All three cameras, along with the camera software, have been co-engineered with Leica and that shows in the sheer quality that the images have to offer. One thing that was a bit of a surprise to me is the lack of any shutter lag – something that plagues a number of high-end Android smartphone cameras.

The primary 1-inch IMX989 sensor is the star here, and it consistently delivers exceptional optical bokeh, with ample sharpness. The color science too stands out and it is hard to fault the images produced by this sensor.  The telephoto lens has 3.2x optical zoom and it can focus on objects up to 10cm away, making it good for those macro shots. The ultrawide also produces sharp images, but it does have slightly different colors to the main and telephoto lens. The 32MP selfie camera has an interesting feature that allows it to zoom out and capture more of the frame when you are taking a selfie with someone else.

At Rs. 79,999/- for the solitary 12GB/256GB variant, the 13 Pro significantly undercuts the competition when it comes to the hardware on offer. Add to it the premium build and the software that has improved drastically from previous Xiaomi flagships, and there’s not much of a reason to not look at the Xiaomi 13 Pro especially if you are looking for a top-shelf camera phone.

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