Not content with merely having a ‘Pro’ phone, Xiaomi’s latest entry to the 13 series is an Ultra model – but how does it compare to the excellent Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra?
The S23 Ultra has more megapixels, but the Xiaomi 13 Ultra has other camera tricks
Both of these phones focus a lot on camera performance and while we haven’t fully reviewed the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, we can say with confidence the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is one of the best camera phones around.
Let’s start with the specs of both first. The massive circular camera housing on the back of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra holds four distinct cameras, each of them using 50-megapixel sensors.
There are two telephoto cameras, one with a 75mm zoom and another with a 120mm zoom, plus a 122-degree field of view ultra-wide and a main camera with an aperture that can shift between f/1.9 and f/4.0.
The massive camera housing on the Xiaomi 13 Ultra
Importantly, the main sensor on the Xiaomi is much bigger than the one inside the S23 Ultra. However, the S23 Ultra does have more megapixels to play with, 200MP to be precise.
Paired with the main sensor on the S23 Ultra is a whopping 10MP 230mm telephoto, another 70mm telephoto and a 12MP ultra-wide. If you’ve read our Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review, you’ll know we really do love the camera it has.
Both phones can shoot 8K video and in HDR formats, although the Xiaomi is the only one to shoot in the Dolby Vision format. We’ll have a lot more to say about how these two cameras compare once we’ve conducted our full reviews.
They are both top-end when it comes to specs and internals
Neither are these phones are lacking it comes to internal specs – hardly surprising given their Ultra branding and wallet-busting prices.
Both are powered by Qualcomm silicon, though thanks to an exclusive deal with Samsung and the chip maker the S23 Ultra does come with a marginally souped-up version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset that slightly ups the GPU performance. We doubt you’d notice much difference between the two though, and both are up there with the fasted Android phone we’ve looked at in 2023.
Both phones lack expandable storage – though they do offer internal storage options up to 1TB. The Xiaomi gets the win in terms of maximum memory offering, with the 13 Ultra offering up to 16GB RAM as opposed to the 12GB maximum on the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Whichever you choose you’re getting an excellent OLED display. The 6.8-inch panel on the Galaxy is marginally larger than the 6.7-inch panel on the Xiaomi 13 Ultra but both are big panels that are exceedingly bright and fantastic for content. Both adaptively shift refresh rates from 1-120Hz depending on what you’re doing and both have a slight curvature along with WQHD+ resolutions.
Samsung does have a slight advantage in screen glass, with the S23 Ultra utilising the newer (and stronger) Gorilla Glass Victus 2 as opposed to just Gorilla Glass Victus.
Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra is far more widely available
Currently, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra has been released only in China and further availability hasn’t been announced at the time of writing. That means if you’re in other regions and want this phone, you’ll need to import it.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, meanwhile, is far more widely available both SIM-free and on pay monthly contracts. It’s the much easier of the two phones to buy, and it’ll likely be this way for a while. See the best deals for the S23 Ultra below.
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra has a design that stands out more
Out of these two phones, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra has a design that stands out more – though we think the S23 Ultra might appeal to more people.
Xiaomi’s effort has a silicone leather back with a textured finish and that absolutely massive camera hump and model dominating the whole thing. It’s not subtle and it, in many ways, looks far more like a classic camera than a 2023 smartphone.
We love the flat sides though and the slightly smaller dimensions, alongside the slightly lower weight, make it more comfortable to hold than the S23 Ultra. That is once you’ve got used to guiding your fingers around the camera array.
Both phones come in green, black and white finishes – but S23 Ultra also comes in lavender, lime, blue and red.
You get a stylus with the Galaxy S23 Ultra
One neat feature very much exclusive to the Galaxy S23 Ultra is the addition of the S Pen – a small stylus that slots into a silo on the phone’s bottom when not in use and can be used for doodling, writing or just navigating the phone’s UI.
You won’t find anything like this on the Xiaomi model and it adds something a little extra to the S23 Ultra.
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)
The Xiaomi 13 Ultra charges much faster (and comes with a charger)
Both phones have healthy-sized 5000mAh batteries inside, a vital addition for top-end powerful devices like this. The Xiaomi 13 Ultra wins out when it comes to charging speeds, offering much faster 90w wired and 50w wireless options.
This is compared to 45w wired and 15w wireless charging featured on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Xiaomi also includes a 90w charger in the box, whereas you have to provide your own for the S23 Ultra.