Ultimate phone camera: Galaxy S23 Ultra finds its match in quad-camera Xiaomi 13 Ultra with massive 1-inch sensor

Ultimate phone camera: Galaxy S23 Ultra finds its match in quad-camera phone with massive 1-inch sen
This might just be the most advanced camera system we have seen on a phone so far, and it has just leaked in perfect clarity.

Equipped with four cameras on the back, a giant, 1-inch type sensor and a next-generation Leica Summicron lens, this is the long anticipated Xiaomi 13 Ultra and it is the company's first camera phone to launch globally. Put in other words, if there was one phone to take the camera crown from the iPhone 14 Pro, Galaxy S23 Ultra and Pixel 7 Pro in 2023, this is it.

The Xiaomi 13 Ultra is not exactly a secret as we have seen blurry pictures appear in the past couple of months, but this is our first look that shows the design with all of its intricacies in perfect clarity, and considering that the images come from reliable leaker @OnLeaks via SmartPrix, we can be pretty sure this is indeed the real deal.

So let's see what this camera system is all about and why it's so exciting.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra Camera System*:

  • 50MP Wide — Sony IMX 989, 1-inch, 23mm with variable aperture (from f/1.9)
  • 50MP Ultra-wide
  • 50MP 3.2X Zoom, 75mm with f/1.8 aperture
  • 50MP 5X Zoom (Periscope), 120mm with f/3.0 aperture
  • 32MP Front Cam
*specs are based on preliminary information.

The main camera of this phone is where it all starts as it comes with the Sony IMX 989 sensor, a 1-inch type sensor that is considerably larger than what iPhone and Galaxies use. Its larger size allows for bigger individual pixels that can gather more light, which makes it more capable in low light conditions, exactly the one area where most modern phones suffer the most.

The main camera is said to feature variable aperture, which is another premium feature missing on iPhones, Galaxies, and most other phones for that matter that come with a fixed aperture. The advantage of a variable aperture is that your phone can use the wider aperture setting at night or to get a creamy, blurry background, or switch to a faster aperture during the day.

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We also have a re-worked 50MP ultra-wide camera, but the real focus falls on the two telephoto cameras as you rarely see two zoom cameras on smartphones. This elevates the Xiaomi 13 Ultra to the level of the Galaxy S23 Ultra, the current zoom king.

However, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra might actually have the upper hand. It's possible that Xiaomi will use a 3.2X zoom lens that can focus up close and create stunning macro photos, a feature not available on any other brand. In addition, the 5X periscope zoom lens will improve quality in the 5X to 10X zoom range which is arguably something that you will use a lot more often and is more versatile than the 10X one. Rumors point out that thanks to some clever processing, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra will be able to go up to 120X zoom, slightly more than the 100X on the Galaxy.

No-compromise hardware

The pictures above show the phone will have a slightly curved screen on the sides, but the strangest element has got to be the raised camera bed. We are not sure how feel about this look, it doesn't cover the whole width of the back of the phone and "strange" seems to summarize it well.

But we are happy to see the soft leather-like finish on at least one of the versions. You will likely have a traditional glass version too, but we really like the leather finish and it's one more design features that you don't get Apple's iPhones or Samsung Galaxy phones.

The Xiaomi 13 Ultra, as its name suggests, will make no compromises in hardware and will be as high-end as flagships get these days.

Here is a quick rundown of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra specs:

  • 6.7” OLED screen, latest Samsung E6 panel, QHD+, 120Hz
  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
  • 4900mAh battery
  • 90W wired charging
  • 50W wireless charging
  • MIUI 14 interface based on Android 13

We have seen Xiaomi do some incredible things with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip here previously with an industry-leading cooling solution that allows it to run games at the fastest settings without throttling for far longer than other companies, so hopes are high this phone will be among the best with this already powerful chip.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra expected price and release date

Finally, sources agree that the Xiaomi 13 Ultra will make its official debut on Tuesday, April 18th in an event held in China.

We expect Xiaomi to unveil first a China-exclusive model, with the global release following at a later stage, possibly a couple of months after the China launch, but that is merely a guess.

What is certain is that this phone will cost you. Leaked prices out of China show that it will be more expensive than the Xiaomi 12S Ultra from last year, and we expect final prices in the UK and Europe to be above 1,000 euro.

Would you pay that much if Xiaomi has indeed managed to deliver the ultimate camera system with this device?

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