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Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: My new favorite phone

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Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: My new favorite phone

The Xiaomi 13 Ultra was considered one of my favourite telephones of 2023; Xiaomi someway managed to ship the very best total digital camera bundle of the yr, and the remainder of the gadget wasn’t all that unhealthy both. So when Xiaomi introduced that it was able to roll out the Xiaomi 14 Ultra, I used to be instantly excited.That stated, I had my misgivings; 2024 has been a terrific yr for telephone cameras, with the Honor Magic 6 Pro and Find X7 Ultra setting a really excessive customary. I wasn’t certain how Xiaomi would match these gadgets — a lot much less beat them — however then I began utilizing the Xiaomi 14 Ultra, and it was a revelation.You want to make use of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra for just some minutes to appreciate that it’s magnificent. I used a number of telephones this yr, and the Xiaomi 14 Ultra is the one which stands out essentially the most. It simply has that little bit further that turns a terrific telephone into one thing really particular.Xiaomi 14 Ultra: Pricing and launch date(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Xiaomi unveiled the Xiaomi 14 Ultra at Mobile World Congress 2024, and the gadget made its international debut shortly at a launch occasion in India on March 7. It went on basic availability beginning March 14, and it’s now out there within the U.Okay. and different international markets.Xiaomi is promoting a single model of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra globally, and it comes with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. The telephone prices £1,299 ($1,640) within the U.Okay., and all orders embody the Xiaomi Pad 6 in addition to the Xiaomi 14 Ultra Professional Kit — a £300 worth. The Xiaomi 14 Ultra prices €1,499 ($1,620) in Germany and different elements of the area, and whereas all orders include the Xiaomi 14 Ultra Professional Kit as customary, consumers outdoors the U.Okay. do not get the Xiaomi Pad 6.Xiaomi is doing issues in another way in India, the place the Xiaomi 14 Ultra is out there for ₹99,999 ($1,199). That’s significantly decrease than what the gadget retails for in most areas, and also you get the identical 16GB/512GB model. Xiaomi India is not bundling something with the gadget, however the truth that it is so inexpensive makes it a significantly better selection than in every other area.Swipe to scroll horizontallyCategoryXiaomi 14 UltraDisplay6.73-inch 120Hz LTPO AMOLED (3200×1440), Dolby Vision, 3000 nits max, Xiaomi Shield GlassOSHyperOS 1.0.5.0, Android 14ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, Adreno 750, 4nmRAM16GB LPDDR5XStorage512GB UFS 4.0Rear digital camera 150MP f/1.63 – f/4.0 Sony LYT-900, 1-inch module, OISRear digital camera 250MP f/1.8 Sony IMX858, 1/2.51-inch module, 122-degree FoVRear digital camera 350MP f/1.8 telephoto, 3.2x optical zoom, OISRear digital camera 450MP f/2.5 telephoto, 5x optical zoom, OISFront digital camera32MP f/2.0, autofocusIngress protectionIP68 mud and water resistanceConnectivityWi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.4, international 5G bands, NFC, dual-band GPS SecurityOptical in-screen sensorAudioUSB-C, stereo sound, 24-bit/192kHz, Snapdragon Sound, AptX HD, AptX AdaptiveBattery5000mAh battery, 90W HyperCharge charging, 80W wi-fi chargingDimensions161.4 x 75.3 x 9.2mm, 224.4gColorsBlack, WhiteXiaomi 14 Ultra: Design(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)The Xiaomi 13 Ultra obtained rather a lot proper final yr, however the digital camera island was large, and it sat on a raised platform that made utilizing the telephone with out a case annoying. While Xiaomi retained the identical broad design, it made a number of tweaks that make holding and utilizing the Xiaomi 14 Ultra that a lot simpler.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Like earlier years, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra has no design similarities to the remainder of its siblings; the Xiaomi 14 has a completely completely different aesthetic, and it is not evident that each telephones are in the identical sequence. Having stated that, I believe the Xiaomi 14 Ultra is likely one of the best-looking telephones Xiaomi launched lately, and the white variant particularly is beautiful.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)You nonetheless get a leather-based again, and it now covers all the width of the telephone. Just like final yr, the mid-frame extends to the again the place it merges seamlessly with the leather-based, and it appears to be like slightly cool. Xiaomi makes use of an aluminum mid-frame in international fashions of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra, and I used to be eager on utilizing the titanium model of the gadget to see how it could maintain up in opposition to the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Galaxy S24 Ultra, however it’s restricted to China.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)The digital camera housing on the again is almost unchanged to final yr, and the one distinction is that it’s even bigger. You nonetheless get a gold accent that encircles the housing, and the sheer dimension makes it stand out visually. Having used the Xiaomi 13 Ultra extensively, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra has a significantly better in-hand really feel; the gadget is a smidgen shorter and wider than its predecessor, and that’s noticeable when utilizing each telephones subsequent to one another.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)The energy and quantity buttons are on the best, and the fingerprint sensor is optimally situated on the display the place it may be simply accessed by your thumb when utilizing the telephone one-handed. A whole lot of producers place the module decrease on the display, however that fortunately is not a problem on this telephone.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Talking about non-issues, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra has IP68 ingress safety, giving it the identical stage of resilience as the very best Samsung telephones — it is good to see Xiaomi persevering with to supply this function as customary on its high-end gadgets.Xiaomi 14 Ultra: Display(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)The Xiaomi 14 Ultra has the identical 6.73-inch AMOLED panel as final yr, and it retains Dolby Vision and HDR10+. The solely significant distinction on this space is that the display goes as much as 3,000 nits in HDR content material, and whereas it tends to get marginally brighter than its predecessor in day by day use, it is not noticeable until you are utilizing each gadgets side-by-side.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)While there is not a lot of the best way of an improve, the display has a lot going for it; the LTPO tech ensures the dynamic refresh goes right down to 1Hz when viewing static content material, you get a terrific collection of always-on kinds, and there is a number of customizability normally. You can alter the colour stability, change shade gamut, and tweak nearly every little thing to do with the panel.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Xiaomi does a terrific job with shade calibration normally, and whereas the Xiaomi 14 Ultra does not fairly hit the insane brightness ranges posted by the Magic 6 Pro, the AMOLED panel has standout colours and distinction ranges, and is excellent in day by day use. I did not see any points whereas streaming content material or enjoying video games on the gadget, and the stereo sound is among the many greatest telephone of any telephone I examined in 2024.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)The one space the place issues are completely different is display safety; Xiaomi is utilizing its personal in-house glass layer in lieu of Corning’s Gorilla Glass, with the model noting that it affords significantly better shatter resistance. I put that to the check (unwittingly, as at all times) when the gadget slid down the nightstand and fell to the ground, and fortunately there was no injury.Xiaomi 14 Ultra: Hardware(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Like its rivals, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, and it has all the extra options you’d need in a high-end gadget. Xiaomi is making a single variant of the telephone out there in international markets, and it comes with 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 512GB of UFS 4.0 storage. I’d have appreciated to see the 1TB mannequin making its international debut, however like different Chinese manufacturers, Xiaomi is limiting that variant to its house market.The telephone has no slowdowns or lag in anyway in day by day use, and whereas Xiaomi did not introduce many new software program options, it made system stability a precedence.Swipe to scroll horizontallyCategoryXiaomi 14 UltraHonor Magic 6 ProOPPO Find X7 UltraGeekbench 6 (single-core)212919081254Geekbench 6 (multi-core)6506681650323DMark Wild Life Extreme (rating)4519512149673DMark Wild Life Extreme (FPS)27.0730.6729.753DMark Solar Bay (rating)8129862384093DMark Solar Bay (FPS)30.9132.7931.97Xiaomi deliberately blocks entry to 3DMark on its gadgets, however surprisingly sufficient, that is not the case on the Xiaomi 14 Ultra — I used to be capable of launch the utility and run the same old assessments. It’s clear that Xiaomi set conservative thermal limits on the gadget, because it did not get near the likes of the Zenfone 11 and Magic 6 Pro in a number of artificial workloads.Also, whereas working the 3DMark Solar Bay stress check, the gadget obtained so scorching that it successfully shut down. A big Device Overheated message confirmed up on the display, and it shut down the radios and went into hibernation. I did not run into this specific challenge on any gadget in a number of years — Sony’s telephones have been liable to hit their thermal restrict usually — nevertheless it’s no marvel that Xiaomi is being aggressive.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)That stated, the gadget does not overheat in common use, and whereas it tends to get scorching after prolonged gaming classes, it is not uncomfortable to carry.Xiaomi is understood to ship {hardware} bundle, and it did not depart something out right here; the Xiaomi 14 Ultra contains Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.4, international Sub-6 5G bands, NFC, all the suite of AptX audio codecs, and USB-C 3.2 with DisplayPort, permitting you to reflect the gadget to an exterior monitor.The vibration motor is improbable as effectively, delivering beautiful suggestions when utilizing the keyboard and navigating the interface. I did not see any points with connectivity or the remainder of the radios, and the Xiaomi 14 Ultra is likely one of the most feature-rich telephones you may get at this time.Xiaomi 14 Ultra: Battery life(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Xiaomi is not altering something across the battery, and the Xiaomi 14 Ultra has the identical 5,000mAh battery as its predecessor. You get the identical 90W charging tech as effectively, and it takes simply over 35 minutes to cost the battery. What I like about Xiaomi’s charging tech is that it makes use of the USB PD 3.0 customary, and the bundled 90W charger is nice at charging an entire host of different gadgets along with the telephone.Xiaomi additionally affords wi-fi charging on the gadget, and it goes as much as 80W. That stated, the model does not promote its wi-fi charger in most nations, and it goes right down to 15W when utilizing an everyday Qi charging mat.Thanks to the big battery, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra manages to final effectively over a day with none points in anyway. It lasts just a little longer than its predecessor, and even with heavy use, it delivers over a day’s price of energy persistently. To be sincere, battery anxiousness actually is not a factor in 2024, and with most high-end telephones providing 5000mAh or bigger batteries, you are assured to get a day’s price of use with none trouble.Xiaomi 14 Ultra: Cameras(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)The Xiaomi 13 Ultra had the very best cameras of any telephone I examined in 2023, so I used to be eager on having a look at what the Xiaomi 14 Ultra has to supply on this space. Thankfully, Xiaomi hasn’t made too many adjustments on this space — the telephone has quad 50MP cameras this time as effectively — and the Xiaomi 14 Ultra retains a number of the identical nice options that made its predecessor stand out.The primary digital camera is a 1-inch 50MP Sony LYT-900 module, and the important thing speaking level is that it makes use of variable aperture, going from f/1.6 all the best way to f/4.0. There’s restricted adjustability in auto mode, however the Pro mode unlocks the complete potential of the module. You get a 50MP wide-angle lens that makes use of a Sony IMX858 module, and two 50MP telephoto lenses, one which goes as much as 3.2x optical zoom and the opposite as much as 5x.Xiaomi is not the one producer providing two telephoto modules, with the Find X7 Ultra additionally going this route. There’s OIS on three of the lenses (the wide-angle misses out), and on the entrance Xiaomi affords a 32MP digital camera — equivalent to final yr.The Leica partnership brings a slate of capturing modes and results, and you may want to choose between Leica Vibrant and Leica Authentic modes for stills — I want to make use of the Vibrant mode because it delivers higher colours. There are extra capturing modes than you may find yourself utilizing, and Xiaomi did not depart something out. Image 1 of 9(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)The Xiaomi 14 Ultra takes improbable images in daylight situations, delivering glorious dynamic vary, shade vibrancy, and rendition. I haven’t got something to fault with the digital camera in daylight situations, and the wide-angle lens does job serving up an identical caliber of photographs as the primary lens.Where the telephone really comes into its personal is portrait photographs; I obtained higher pictures out of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra than my mirrorless, and that is the largest purpose why I exploit the gadget. It additionally does a terrific job with transferring topics; now we have a nine-month-old who does not sit nonetheless for various seconds, and the Xiaomi 14 Ultra is ready to sustain along with her.I have never used the telephoto lenses all that a lot, however they’re higher than final yr — although Xiaomi is utilizing the identical digital camera modules. Tweaks to its digital camera tuning means you get higher element at 3.2x and 5x, and what’s evident this yr is how good the photographs are at as much as 10x and even past.The Xiaomi 14 Ultra excels in low-light situations, and even with little to no ambient gentle, the telephone someway manages to ship usable photographs. I’ve at all times maintained that Google makes the very best cameras, however that hasn’t been the case for over a yr now, and the Xiaomi 14 Ultra extends Xiaomi’s lead on this space.The Xiaomi 14 Ultra is leagues forward of the Galaxy S24 Ultra and even edges out the Honor Magic 6 Pro in most situations. I believe its largest rival is the Find X7 Ultra, however with that telephone restricted to China, Xiaomi does not actually have a contender that delivers the identical caliber of images and movies. If you’re taking a number of images and movies, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra is the very best telephone of 2024.Xiaomi 14 Ultra: Software(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Xiaomi made a giant deal of its software program overhaul, and on the outset, there is not something noticeably completely different. HyperOS 1.0 relies on Android 14, and in a number of methods, it’s just about indistinguishable to MIUI 14. In truth, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra does not have any significant new additions on the software program aspect of issues.While the software program could not have any groundbreaking options, it’s fluid like no different Xiaomi telephone. This is true with the usual Xiaomi 14 as effectively, and the model deserves credit score for lastly optimizing its software program in order that it runs fluidly on Qualcomm’s high-end {hardware}. The distinction is noticeable in opposition to the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, and it makes utilizing the gadget that rather more fulfilling.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)That stated, there are a number of frustrations — as is at all times the case with Xiaomi. The model has supplied a Control Center-style break up notification pane for over three years now, nevertheless it was at all times non-compulsory; that is not the case now. There is not any strategy to get a unified notification pane with toggles and notifications in the identical window, and that is irksome.But what notably bothers me is that the toggles part does not have any textual content labels. This makes it extremely annoying to make use of, and it at all times took rather a lot longer to drag up a setting — whether or not it is launching Tailscale, accessing Bitwarden, or simply toggling the flashlight — than on every other telephone. I do not know what Xiaomi was attempting to realize right here, but when the purpose was to make the notification pane tougher to make use of, it succeeded.(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)As for the notification part, a pull-down on a notification does not reveal further particulars — you may want to make use of the arrow down button that is situated to the best. This is completely different to how Google, Samsung, and ASUS do issues, and I do not perceive why Xiaomi could not have retained the identical system as MIUI 14.But that is my solely quibble with the software program. I nonetheless assume that Xiaomi’s software program is in want of a visible overhaul; ColorOS does a greater job integrating Material You with a singular visible aesthetic. The solely customization function that is new is the power to alter the look of the lock display, and it’s almost equivalent to what you get in One UI 6. When it involves software program updates, Xiaomi ensures 4 platform updates together with 5 years of safety updates. That’s in keeping with what different Chinese manufacturers provide, however I’m not satisfied that Xiaomi can ship software program updates on time. That could change within the coming months, however till now, Xiaomi was the final of the main Chinese producers to ship platform updates to its telephones.Xiaomi 14 Ultra: The options(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)Honor’s Magic 6 Pro comes near the Xiaomi 14 Ultra in the case of the cameras, and the telephone is out there globally. The telephone has a brighter display and lasts longer, and whereas its zoom lens is not as versatile because the Xiaomi 14 Ultra, the primary digital camera and wide-angle lenses take superb photographs in nearly any situation. And at £1,099, it’s £200 lower than what the Xiaomi 14 Ultra prices within the U.Okay.I just like the Find X7 Ultra fairly a bit as effectively, and if something, it takes barely higher portrait photographs than the Xiaomi 14 Ultra — no small feat. But the gadget is proscribed to China, and there are such a lot of points with the software program that I’m not going to advocate it.The Galaxy S24 Ultra inevitably will get a point out as a result of it’s the default selection in most nations, however Samsung has performed it too protected this yr — to the detriment of the gadget. The Galaxy S24 Ultra has all of the extras you want, and the telephone feels nice to carry and use. While the digital camera modules have not modified, Samsung made loads of tweaks to its algorithms to ship higher images, however the telephone does not measure as much as the Xiaomi 14 Ultra in difficult situations.Xiaomi 14 Ultra: Should you purchase it?(Image credit score: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)You can purchase this if:You need the very best digital camera telephone out there at this timeYou need a beautiful design that is nice to carry and useYou want standout battery lifeYou need long-term software program updatesYou should not purchase this if:Xiaomi obtained rather a lot proper with its telephone technique in 2024. The Xiaomi 14 is a improbable gadget that mixes high-end internals and standout cameras in a chassis that is smaller than its rivals, and I appreciated utilizing the gadget a lot that I did not swap out effectively previous the overview window.The Xiaomi 14 Ultra is in a league of its personal. I’m not exaggerating once I say that that is my favourite telephone of 2024; I obtained near 30 gadgets this yr — together with all of the flagships — and it has a greater in-hand really feel than simply about every other telephone. But that is not why I just like the telephone a lot — it is the cameras that actually differentiate the Xiaomi 14 Ultra from the remainder of the pack.The Find X7 Ultra and Magic 6 Pro come near what Xiaomi is providing this yr, however the Xiaomi 14 Ultra nonetheless has a slender edge in the case of images, and it handily beats the Galaxy S24 Ultra and Pixel 8 Pro. It’s nice to see Xiaomi bringing the gadget to further markets this yr, and its launch in India is a pivotal second because the model tries to alter the established order.Xiaomi has been making flagships for the higher a part of a decade now, and the Xiaomi 14 Ultra is proof that the Chinese producer can outshine the very best that this phase has to supply.