Hands on: Xiaomi 13 review – a sleek and sophisticated iPhone alternative

The Xiaomi 13 makes (almost) all the right moves

What is a hands on review?
Xiaomi 13 review back angled handheld 21:9
(Image: © Future | Axel Metz)

Early Verdict

At first glance, the Xiaomi 13 looks to have improved upon its predecessor in several areas. The phone’s straight-edged design is sleek, its display is exceptionally bright and the Snapdragon chipset means the Xiaomi 13 more than keeps pace with premium rivals. The Leica-branded camera setup looks exciting, though it may not be the groundbreaking innovation we’d hoped for.


  • +

    Smart-looking design

  • +

    Impressively bright display

  • +

    Speedy Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor


  • -

    Lacks originality

  • -

    Disappointingly few memory options internationally

Why you can trust TechRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Xiaomi 13: Two-minute preview

The Xiaomi 13 arrives as the successor to the company’s 2022 flagship, the Xiaomi 12, and stays true to its predecessor’s philosophy: premium performance in a compact package. 

Beyond a marginal size increase, the phone’s display is largely unchanged, but Xiaomi’s knack for brightness and vivid colors is delivered in a much sleeker, almost iPhone-like design, that looks smarter than many of the best Android phone designs so far in 2023. 

The Xiaomi 13’s impressive speeds are made possible by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset – similar to the processor you’ll find powering Samsung’s newly released Samsung Galaxy S23 line – and the device is offered in two memory variations: 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM, paired with 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage. 

The phone’s 4500mAh battery remains unchanged from the Xiaomi 12, and the latter’s 67W wired charging, 50W wireless charging and 10W reverse wireless charging capabilities are carried over, too. 

Xiaomi 13 review with Xiaomi 13 Pro front straight

The Xiaomi 13 (left) launched alongside the Xiaomi 13 Pro (right) at MWC 2023 (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

On paper, the biggest difference between the Xiaomi 13 and its predecessor is the former’s Leica-branded camera array. Comprising a 50Mp f/1.8 main shooter with OIS, a 10MP f/2.0 telephoto camera with 3.2x optical zoom, and a 12Mp f/2.2 ultrawide sensor, the Xiaomi 13’s sensor setup looks to have made the phone a much more versatile beast for photographers – though Xiaomi’s partnership with Leica doesn’t seem to have resulted in too many brand-specific benefits, as far as we can tell.

Naturally, we’ll have to spend more time testing all elements of the Xiaomi 13 to deliver our final verdict on this premium flagship, but our first impressions suggest it could be a real contender for Android fans with a soft spot for Apple’s design philosophy. 

For those looking to spend a little more money, our hands-on Xiaomi 13 Pro review may shed some light on whether the jump up to Xiaomi’s even-more premium handset is worth it.

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Price and availability

The Xiaomi 13 was first announced alongside the Xiaomi 13 Pro in China on December 11, but both devices launched globally on February 26 at MWC Barcelona.

The Xiaomi 13 series is unlikely to officially launch in the US or Australia, as neither is a key international market for the brand, however, the phone will arrive in the UK on March 14, available directly from Xiaomi and via 'official retail channels' including local retailers, such as Currys and Argos.

Despite multiple memory configurations being made available internationally, in the UK the Xiaomi 13 will only be available in black and come with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, priced at £849 (approximately $1,015 / AU$1,510). That's £100 more than its predecessor's starting price but the base Xiaomi 12 sported only 128GB of storage. You're actually paying the same as last year's 256GB Xiaomi 12, and both storage and RAM are faster and more power efficient on this year's model.

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Specs

Xiaomi 13 review front twisted handheld

(Image credit: Future | Axel Metz)

As mentioned above, the Xiaomi 13 comes in two memory variations – 8GB or 12GB of RAM with 256GB of storage.

It’s worth flagging that, in China, the phone is available in three storage variations – 128GB, 256GB and 512GB – with 8GB RAM offered on the 128GB model and 12GB RAM on the 512GB model. The 256GB model is offered overseas with a choice between 8GB and 12GB of RAM.

Suffice to say, it's frustrating to see Xiaomi limiting the storage options on the Xiaomi 13 outside of China, and it means the otherwise impressive phone is far less flexible than, say, the Samsung Galaxy S23 on the global market. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Xiaomi 13 specs
Header Cell - Column 1
Dimensions:71.5 x 152.8 x 8 mm
Weight:185g / 189g
OS:Android 13 with MIUI 14
Screen size:6.36 inches
Resolution:1080 × 2400 pixels
CPU:Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Rear Cameras:50MP (wide), 10MP (telephoto), 12MP (ultrawide)
Front Camera:32MP

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Design

Xiaomi 13 review side handheld

(Image credit: Future | Axel Metz)
  • iPhone 14-like straight-sided design is a great size
  • Corning Gorilla Glass Victus protection
  • Nice color options

Xiaomi has opted for a decidedly iPhone 14-like design with the Xiaomi 13, which is by no means a criticism (if you’re an iPhone fan, that is). 

Coming in at 71.5 x 152.8 x 8 mm and weighing 185g, the phone sports a glossy, straight-edged aluminum body that’s more conservative than boundary-pushing, but it feels great in the hand and its size – for me, at least – hits a rare sweet spot between being comfortable to navigate and large enough to look impressive. For reference, the Xiaomi 13 sits halfway between the Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus (and therefore the S22 and S22 Plus) in terms of size, almost to the millimeter.

Internationally, the Xiaomi 13 is available in three standard colors: Black, White and Flora Green. In China, the company has also produced a gray and a light blue version, as well as limited edition iterations in more eye-catching red, green, yellow and blue designs. Every variant comes with a glass back, save for the vegan leather-equipped light blue model which, for obvious reasons, weighs a little more than the rest (you’re looking at 189g rather than 185g). 

Xiaomi 13 review back angled handheld

(Image credit: Future | Axel Metz)

My Flora Green model looks great, with the visible divisions between the rear camera sensors (more on these later) a particularly nice touch, in my opinion. 

The phone’s glass back may seem a little glossy to some, but the upside there is that the Xiaomi 13 doesn’t feel like a device that’ll smash into a million pieces if you drop it. It is an absolute fingerprint magnet, mind you. 

As we’ve come to expect from handsets in this price range, the Xiaomi 13 also boasts an IP68 rating for dust and water protection. I haven’t had a chance to properly test out either resistance just yet, but we’ll be updating this review in due course. 

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Display

Xiaomi 13 review front angled handheld

(Image credit: Future | Axel Metz)
  • 6.36-inch E6 OLED display is suitably bright
  • Gorilla Glass 5 front
  • Larger, brighter display compared to predecessor

The Xiaomi 13’s 6.36-inch OLED display is a touch bigger than its predecessor’s, though the phone’s 1080 x 2400 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate and support for a range of HDR standards are in keeping with the Xiaomi 12. 

Like the 12, you’re also getting a flat screen with a punch-hole camera at the top, and the bezels are similarly (and thankfully) small. 

In my brief time with the Xiaomi 13 so far, I’ve found the phone to be exceptionally bright and responsive, with its 120Hz refresh rate making motion (from gaming or scrolling through social media) a smooth experience. 

A peak brightness of 1,900nits means the Xiaomi 13’s display is sufficiently visible whether you’re indoors or in direct sunlight, too (though, being in London, I haven’t spent too much time using the phone in environments that aren’t covered by gray skies). This also marks a significant bump over its predecessor’s display, which topped out at 1,100nits.

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Cameras

Xiaomi 13 review camera closeup

(Image credit: Future | Axel Metz)
  • Smart-looking Leica-branded triple rear camera setup
  • 3.2x 10MP f/2.0 telephoto lens w/ OIS

The Xiaomi 13 boasts a Leica-branded triple rear camera setup that comprises a 50MP f/1.8 main shooter with OIS, a 10MP f/2.0 telephoto camera with 3.2x optical zoom and OIS, and a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide sensor. 

The latter camera represents the biggest difference between the Xiaomi 13 and its predecessor, which limped along with an underwhelming 5MP ‘telemacro’ sensor. Xiaomi’s partnership with Leica has also brought with it an ALD lens coating that supposedly improves their quality, and the overall appearance of the phone’s camera setup is much smarter than that of the Xiaomi 12.

The phone can shoot video in up to 8K quality at 24fps, and it also sticks with its predecessor’s 32MP selfie camera (though adds a wider f/2.0 aperture). 

We’ll be putting the Xiaomi 13’s various cameras through their paces for our full review, but my first impressions are pretty good. Early pictures taken on the main camera appear vibrant and detailed, if a little dark on occasion (owing to the high contrast), while the ultrawide lens offers impressive depth of field. 

Incidentally, Leica offers two shooting modes on the Xiaomi 13: Vibrant and Authentic. The former makes colors look brighter and more saturated, while the latter is meant to replicate the original Leica look by encouraging bolder contrast and a greater dynamic range. I haven’t had a chance to compare both modes just yet, but we’ll be updating this review soon. 

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Performance and audio

Xiaomi 13 review USB-C

The Xiaomi 13 uses USB-C (Image credit: Future | Axel Metz)
  • Super-fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset
  • Wi-Fi 7
  • Powerful speakers

The Xiaomi 13 packs the best mobile SoC Qualcomm has to offer in 2023: the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. There’s no bespoke version of the chipset here (which you’ll find in Samsung’s Galaxy S23 line), but from a practical point of view, the Xiaomi 13 still boasts the fastest silicon around (the Xiaomi 13 Pro uses the same processor, too). 

Beyond the chipset, the phone comes in two memory variants, internationally: 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM, accompanied by 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage. 

As mentioned in the display section of this hands-on, the Xiaomi 13 has felt suitably speedy in my limited time spent with the device, so far. Neither gaming nor general browsing has caused the phone to noticeably heat up, though I’ll be trying out some more demanding tasks for our full review. Naturally, we’ll be running benchmark tests, too. 

The Xiaomi 13 is a 5G phone, so you’ll be able to connect to the faster mobile network if it’s offered where you live, but as with all phones, your speeds will depend more on your network and area than the phone you’re using. Wi-Fi 7 is also an impressively new networking technology that, if you can connect to a supported network, will support up to 3.6Gbps.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the Xiaomi 13’s audio credentials so far. The phone’s dual speakers are Dolby Atmos-tuned, and though they don’t provide a true spatial audio experience, they do offer an exceptionally loud sound with decent bass. 

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Software

Xiaomi 13 review with Xiaomi 13 Pro front angled

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Runs Android 13 on top of Xiaomi MIUI 14
  • 3 years OS updates + 5 years security updates

The Xiaomi 13 runs Android 13 with Xiaomi’s MIUI 14 interface, which will be familiar to anyone who’s ever used a Xiaomi phone.

Personally, I find Xiaomi's default preference for three-button navigation at the bottom of the screen annoying, so I immediately switched my Xiaomi 13 over to gesture-based navigation (which, yes, made the experience of using the device decidedly more iPhone-like). 

MIUI does have its perks over the stock Android experience. Floating apps and the range of vibrant wallpapers are great, and the left/right separation of top-screen menus (one for notifications, one for quick settings) keeps clutter to a minimum on the Xiaomi 13.

There are only a handful of pre-loaded apps – some of them annoying (Booking.com), some of them useful (YouTube) – but downloading your favorites from the Google Play store is as quick and easy as you’d expect, and the third-party bloatware is removable

I haven’t yet spent enough time with the phone to encounter any bugs, though our experience with the Xiaomi 12 (which seemed to close apps whenever it felt like it) suggests there may well be a few to come. 

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Battery life

Xiaomi 13 review front angled screen off

(Image credit: Future | Axel Metz)
  • 4500mAh battery is the same as predecessor
  • 67W wired fast charging (charger in box)

The Xiaomi 13 has a 4500mAh battery that supports 67W wired charging, 50W wireless charging and 10W reverse wireless charging. That’s the same battery tech as you’ll find in its predecessor, the Xiaomi 12 and seems plenty fast enough for most users. 

Naturally, we haven’t been able to test the phone’s battery life just yet, but Xiaomi says its latest flagship can reach full charge within just 38 minutes. If true, that’s quicker than the Samsung Galaxy S23 and iPhone 14 – arguably this phone’s closest competitors. 

First tested February 2023

Axel Metz
Staff Writer

Axel is a London-based staff writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the newest movies to latest Apple developments as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned a gold standard NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme. 

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.