One of the contenders for the best Android phones title has just debuted, though U.S. phone shoppers are unlikely to ever lay their hands on it. Still, it's worth paying attention to the Xiaomi 13 and Xiaomi 13 Pro even if they never make it to these shores, as the two phones introduce new features that other Android phone makers could stand to adopt.
As reported by our friends at Tech Radar, the Xiaomi 13 models officially launched in China, with a global launch expected to come sometime in 2013. That's likely to mean a European release for both the Xiaomi 13 and Xiaomi 13 Pro even if Xiaomi phones don't make it to the U.S.
The Xiaomi 13 will start at CNY3,999 for the 8GB RAM/128GB storage model — that's around $575 / £465 / AU$845 based on current exchange rates. There's also a 12GB/512GB model for CNY4,999 ($715 / £585 / AU$1,060). As for the Xiaomi 13 Pro, it will start at CNY4,999 ($715/£585/AU$1,060) for a phone with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There's a 12GB/512GB version, too.
There may still be another phone coming. The rumored Xiaomi 13 Ultra was noticeably missing from Xiaomi’s launch announcement and could bring a massive quad-lens setup to the rear camera. So photographers may want to hold out for that one when — or if — it comes.
Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro: Flagship phones on a next-generation chipset
Even if you don't live in a country that's going to see the Xiaomi 13 models, it's worth paying attention to these new devices. That's because these are the first phones to run on the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, which we expect to power many of the leading Android devices in 2023.
We've had a chance to run some Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 benchmarks using a reference device supplied by Qualcomm, and the results impressed us. Our Gen 2-powered device scored 1,500 in single-core performance and 5,249 in multi-core performance, which not only bests Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-powered devices but also challenges the iPhone 14 and its A15 Bionic processor. (The iPhone 14 Pro models fare better, given their more powerful A16 chipset.)
We don't know how Xiaomi's latest phones will compare until we can conduct our own testing, but the most recent leaked scores for the Xiaomi 13 are 1,477 and 5,178 respectively, which tracks with what we saw in our Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 testing. Those same leaked numbers show the Xiaomi 13 Pro doing a bit better in single-core performance and a bit worse in multi-core performance, scoring 1,494 and 5,087 respectively.
If those numbers hold out, it's encouraging for other devices running the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 — and that's likely to include the latest Samsung Galaxy S23 models, including the Galaxy S23 Ultra. We're expecting the new Samsung flagships to appear in February 2023.
Xiaomi 13 Pro: Gorgeous curved display and incredible cameras
The Xiaomi 13 Pro really shines once you get past its shared features with the Xiaomi 13. The display is a larger 6.73-inch OLED display compared to the 6.36-inch OLED on the Xiaomi 13, and the 13 Pro’s screen is curved rather than flat.
The battery also gets an upgrade on the Pro model, with an increased capacity of 4,820 mAh compared to the Xiaomi 13’s 4,500 mAh. The 13 Pro also gets a charging speed boost with 120W wired charging compared to the 67W max on the Xiaomi 13. Both phones handle 50W wireless charging and feature 10W reverse wireless charging.
Then there are the cameras. Both phones have a three-camera setup that some have compared to the iPhone 14 Pro. They can also shoot video in 8K at 24fps and have a 32MP f/2.0 selfie camera.
The Xiaomi 13’s camera specs are respectable. It features a 50MP f/1.8 main camera, a 10MP f/2.0 telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, and a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera.
But the Xiaomi 13 Pro gets a serious camera upgrade. Its 50MP primary camera sports a boosted f/1.9 aperture and a massive one-inch sensor size that should take incredibly high-quality shots. You'll also find a 50MP f/2.0 telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom and a 50MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera that dwarf their counterparts on the Xiaomi 13.
The ultra-wide camera on the 13 Pro can take macro shots and has a 115-degree field of view. This may now be the bar for camera phones to clear, but it’s impossible to say without head-to-head testing with devices like the Google Pixel 7 Pro, currently our favorite camera phone for Android. We'd be especially interested to see if Xiaomi's photo-processing software can match what Google does with computational photography.
Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro: Can you get it in the US?
As noted above, you can’t buy the Xiaomi 13 or Xiaomi 13 Pro in the U.S. Our friends at AndroidCentral do a great job explaining why, so we recommend reading that for more detail. But in short, if you want a Xiaomi phone you’ll need to import one and check to see if it works on your network — which it might not.
So if you need an Android phone now and don’t want to risk it, make sure to check out our Android phones buying guide to choose the best one for you. Or, if you’re a budding smartphone photographer, check out our guide to the best camera phones. Then head over to our phone deals coverage to make sure you get your phone at the best price.