Xiaomi 13 Ultra hands-on review: Sony RX100 Lite?

A variable-aperture and 1-inch sensor help Xiaomi’s 13 Ultra close the gap between phones and dedicated cameras

Xiaomi 13 Ultra hands on photo
(Image: © Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

Early Verdict

There’s no doubt about it, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra looks set to be the best camera phone around if we’re going by specs alone. Alongside the mighty Oppo Find X6 Pro, its emphasis on a quality secondary camera system helps it edge ahead, and the pioneering combination of a 1-inch main sensor with a variable aperture is incredibly exciting for photo and video enthusiasts alike. To call it an RX100 lite might seem like a stretch, but with a comparably sized sensor and now, aperture control, the Ultra really does represent smartphones edging ever closer to becoming as powerful as premium compact cameras.


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    1-inch camera sensor

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    Variable aperture lens

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    Latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor with liquid cooling

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    Awesome camera case accessory


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    Large camera bump

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    Limited availability outside of China

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The Xiaomi 13 Ultra has been announced in China, with a global release expected later in the year, and it could be the most exciting smartphone launch ever for photography and video enthusiasts. 

Beyond photography, there’s plenty to get excited about with the Xiaomi 13 Ultra. It’s got the best 2023 internals you could ask for, a stunning display, and super-rich styling. But so do a lot of other phones out now, from the excellent Vivo X90 Pro 5G to the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

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Basil Kronfli

Basil Kronfli is a freelance technology journalist, consultant, and content creator. He trained in graphic design and started his career at Canon Europe before moving into journalism. Basil is also experienced in video production, independently running the YouTube channel TechEdit, and during his time at Future, he worked alongside the Digital Camera World team as a senior video producer.