Watch first images from the 1-inch phone camera menace that promises to destroy iPhone and Galaxy S23 Ultra
If there is one phone that has the advanced camera technology, the hardware chops and the marketing clout to actually beat the Galaxy S23 Ultra, iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Google Pixel 7 Pro, this has got to be it.
The upcoming Xiaomi 13 Pro has just made its official appearance and the camera samples show it holds back no punches.
Published by company CEO Lei Jun just on the eve of the launch event for the Xiaomi 13 series, the photos you see below speak louder than words about the capabilities of this new camera.
So what is this mysterious new flagship all about? The highlight of the system is a massive, 1-inch type main camera sensor. And yes, this is the same Sony IMX 989 image sensor that first appeared in the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, but that has been polished and perfected in the Xiaomi 13 Pro.
Alongside this main shooter, you have another ground-breaking new camera: a 75mm telephoto shooter. It innovates with a built-in floating focusing lens system, derived from the SLR camera world. This system divides the lenses into two groups, one of which can move. Move it forward and you get infinity focus; move it back and you can focus much closer than a typical telephoto lens at a distance of just 4 inches (10cm focus). This enables stunning close-up photo opportunities.
Last but not least, you also have an ultra-wide lens, and all of these cameras are covered by Vario-Summicron branding by Leica, where the Vario part signifies a zoom lens and the Summicron part signifies that this is the best possible lens quality.
Xiaomi 13 Pro Main Camera Samples
These official samples shot on the Xiaomi 13 Pro suggest this camera goes a step beyond the current mainstream flagships like the iPhone 14 Pro Max, the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Pixel 7 Pro.
This powerful 1-inch type sensor impresses in various conditions, but photos just stand out in low light. The 23mm f/1.9 lens has a fast enough aperture and a wide look that makes it very versatile.
The first picture actually depicts the bartender making a firework cocktail. This effect is achieved by sprinkling cinnamon powder and is captured beautifully by the Xiaomi 13 Pro.
But the rest of the shots are no less impressive. Of course, keep in mind that these are photos captured by the Xiaomi team of experienced photographers who know how to make the best out of this camera, but at the end of the day... this is a phone, there is not too much science to using its camera and we imagine most people will be able to get similarly majestic shots.
Xiaomi 13 Pro 75mm Telephoto Shots
It's interesting that the Xiaomi 13 Pro goes with a 75mm focusing distance for its telephoto camera, which is about 3.3X zoom over the main shooter.
And it's not the only one: the majority of phone makers in China switch their flagships to telephoto lenses with 2X to 3.5X zoom, which seems to be the sweet spot and the trend for 2023.
For Xiaomi, this is a change from the 12S Ultra which was equipped with a 5X zoom telephoto camera. We imagine this new shorter zoom range is just more versatile as people are just more often using zoom levels in that range, plus we imagine it can be used for portrait mode shots as well, unlike a long-range 5X or 10X zoom cam.
It's no coincidence that we start the gallery above with this night time barbershop shot. One advantage of such a zoom lens is that it can actually be used in low light conditions. Some zoom cameras like the 10X zoom shooter on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, for example, simply cannot be used in dim conditions, as they require more light.
Xiaomi 13 Pro: Close-up Photos with new Telephoto Lens
And here is a demonstration of that incredible 4-inch zoom capability of this new telephoto lens.
You can really get some photos that few people would guess are coming from a smartphone.
You have an excellent amount of detail and with this zoom lens, you inevitably get some separation with a creamy, blurred background that adds to the artistic value of the photos.
Xiaomi 13 Pro: Design and Specs
Okay, we've talked cameras, but what is the Xiaomi 13 Pro all about?
It's a flagship phone of course and here is a quick summary of the specs:
- 6.7-inch screen with latest E6 Samsung OLED LTPO panel, 120Hz dynamic refresh rate
- Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip
- LPDDR5x RAM, UFS 4.0 storage
- Triple camera system with 1-inch type Sony IMX989 main cam sensor
- 4,820mAh battery
- 100W wired and 50W wireless fast charging
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is the first Qualcomm chip to support LPDDR5X RAM and UFS 4.0 storage, and the storage alone will deliver a marked improvement in speed. UFS 4.0 is quoted to bring a huge leap in read/write speeds, plus it allows the actual chips used to be smaller. Expect double the speeds compared to UFS 3.1, with UFS 4.0 reaching up to 4,200MB/s for read and 2,800MB/s for write. This type of flash memory is said to be the biggest upgrade in the field in the last three years.
The build quality on the Xiaomi 13 Pro also seems exquisite. This blue version that you see above features a new innovative nano-coating that gives it a pleasing to touch texture, but also makes it incredibly dirt resistant and easy to clean. Xiaomi released a separate demo of staining the phone with paint and graffiti, and still being able to clean it up to mint condition easily. Impressive stuff.
Additionally, Xiaomi CEO confirms there will be a ceramic model, pictured above. It is a beautiful "field green" color and ceramic has the advantage of being more scratch resistant than regular glass. It is a rarity to see anything different from glass in mainstream flagships, so this is one extra feature that shows just the level of care that went into making this product.
Finally, this white model is expected to feature toughened glass, if you prefer this more classic design choice. We love the clean white color, gives the phone a very pleasing esthetic.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro release date is scheduled for Sunday, December 11th at 7pm Beijing time (early morning in the US). This launch window happens to be just before the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations and good news is that unlike the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, this new model is expected to make its way to the UK and Europe later in 2023.
Xiaomi does not sell its phones in the US, and we doubt that will change any time soon, but of course it will be possible to import the phone for those who are extra curious.