Xiaomi 13 Ultra could be the camera phone of the year — there's just one problem

Xiaomi 13 Ultra camera
(Image credit: Xiaomi)

If you’re looking for a flagship-tier phone, but don’t fancy the likes of the iPhone 14 Pro Max or Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, Xiaomi might have an alternative for you. The Xiaomi 13 Ultra just got announced, alongside some exceptional-sounding hardware.

The phone seemingly has it all, on paper at least. A large QHD display, adaptive 120Hz refresh rate, a powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, and a Leica-tuned camera system that clearly wants a place on our list of the best camera phones. The only major downside is that it may not go on sale in the U.S, and U.K. availability is rather unclear right now.

But, despite those unknowns, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra may have exactly the kind of hardware that appeals to you. Here’s everything we know so far.

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Xiaomi 13 Ultra specs
Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1
OS Android 13 (MIUI 14)
Screen 6.73 inches OLED (2,600 nits, 3200 x 1440)
Refresh rate1-120Hz
CPU Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Rear cameras50.3 MP main (f/1.9), 50MP periscope telephoto (f/3.0, 5x optical zoom), 50MP telephoto (f/1.8, 3.2x zoom), 50MP f/1.8 ultrawide
Front camera32MP f/2.0
Video 8K @ 24 fps
Battery 5,000 mAh
Charging 90 Wired / 50 Wireless
Colors Black, Olive Green, White
Size 163.2 x 74.6 x 9.1 mm / 6.43 x 2.94 x 0.36 inches
Weight 227 grams / 8.01 ounces

Xiaomi 13 Ultra price and availability 

xiaomi 13 ultra press shots

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

So far Xiaomi has only announced availability for the Chinese market. The 13 Ultra will be going on sale on April 21 with prices starting at RMB 5,999 ($873) for the 12GB/256GB variant. The 16GB/512GB model will cost RMB 6,499 ($945) whole a 16GB/1TB model will cost RMB 7,299 ($1,062)

Xiaomi has confirmed that an international release will be happening, but hasn't specified any dates or pricing details. It’s likely, given recent history, that the phone will not be going on sale in the United States.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra design and display 

xiaomi 13 ultra press shots

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

The Xiaomi 13 Ultra features a 6.73-inch AMOLED display with WQHD+ resolution and a 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate. That display supports Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and HLG, as well as an in-display heart rate monitor.  The screen itself is made from Gorilla Glass Victus (not to be confused with the Galaxy S23’s Gorilla Glass Victus 2), and features an antibacterial nanotech silicone leather back.

That back also features a circular camera array, with a very prominent camera bump, that takes up a large section of the phone’s top half. We haven’t seen the front of the phone, but Xiaomi says it’s an in-display camera. Whether that means it’s under the display, or uses a hole-punch design, isn’t entirely clear right now.

The phone itself is 6.42 in x 2.97 in x 0.35 inches, weighs 8 ounces, and has been rated for IP68 dust and water resistance. It’s available in black, white and olive green.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra cameras

xiaomi 13 ultra press shots

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

According to Xiaomi the 13 Ultra is equipped with a quad camera Leica camera system. That system is very prominent along the back of the phone, and comes packing a 50MP wide angle lens, complete with a variable aperture (f/1.9 to f/4.0) and HyperOIS. 

Also along for the ride is a 50MP ultra-wide angle lens (f/1.8) capable of macro photography, a 50MP telephoto lens with a 3.2x optical zoom (f/1.8), a 50MP “super-telephoto” lens with a 5x optical zoom (f/3.0). There's also a 32MP selfie camera with a hole-punch design.

Other camera features include 8K video recording (at 24fps), Dolby Vision recording at 4K/60fps, 14-bit Ultra Raw photography, and a range of Leica filters. Xiaomi has also included a new “Fast Shot” mode, which lets you take focus-free photographs and manually set the focus point later. That will apparently improve photo-capture speed to as little as 0.8 seconds.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra performance

xiaomi 13 ultra press shots

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Like most recent Android flagships, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset — the most powerful Android chip available right now. Other chips include a Qualcomm Adreno GPU, the Snapdragon x70 5G modem and both LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 4.0 storage.

UFS 4.0 storage promises to have significantly faster read/write speeds than UFS 3.1, while also using much less power in the process. There are three separate RAM/storage variants on offer: 12GB with 256GB storage, 16GB with 512GB of storage and 16GB with 1TB of storage.

We won’t know just how well the device performs until we can get our hands on one and do the necessary benchmarking tests.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra battery and charging

Xiaomi 13 Ultra with Leica cameras

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

The 13 Ultra comes with a 5,000 mAh battery. While there has been no mention of how long that battery will last, the phone maker has announced a new battery management chip. Apparently this means the phone can estimate the battery life “at extremely granular levels”. 

There’s also a Hibernation mode, which will automatically trigger when the battery is low — offering up to 60 more minutes in standby mode.

The 13 Ultra is capable of charging at up to 90W speeds. While Xiaomi hasn’t mentioned how long a charging session will take, those speeds mean it’s not likely to take very long. The Xiaomi 12 Ultra, which offered 67W charging, was able to hit 50% in 15 minutes and 88% in half an hour — so expect the 13 Ultra to be even faster than that.

There’s also 50W wireless charging and reverse wireless charging at an unspecified speed.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra: Outlook

xiaomi 13 ultra press shots

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

There are still some things we don't know about the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, and likely won't until we get to test the phone for ourselves. Still, everything that's been revealed so far paints a very positive picture. From the cameras and the display to the recharging speed, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra seemingly has everything you need.

But it unfortunately comes down to the topic of availability. It can take a lot for phone makers to release their devices outside China, and even then U.S. availability is often practically non-existant. Which is obviously a huge shame. 

Still, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra might be a handset to keep an eye on going forward. Especially if it ends up being as good in practice as it looks on paper. Stay tuned for our hands-on impressions and full Xiaomi 13 Ultra review. 

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.