Xiaomi to globally Launch its 13 Pro phone with Leica lenses
Xiaomi will be launching its flagship phone, the 13 Pro outside the Chinese market for the first time since its December 2022 debut.
This announcement of a global release was made at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain and involves three variants of the Xiaomi 13 phone. These are the 13 Pro flagship model, the Xiaomi 13 and the Xiaomi 13 Lite.
The entire Xiaomi 13 series was previously only available officially inside the Chinese market but will now go on sale in the rest of Asia, the UK, and Europe among other regions.
U.S. customers likely won’t be able to find these phones domestically though, mainly due to the current politics of U.S./China trade relations.
Among these three phone models, the most impressive is the 13 Pro and especially because of its powerful, headline-grabbing sensor and camera. The 13 Pro features a truly robust (by smartphone standards) 1-inch sensor that’s making its first-ever international debut.
This piece of Sony technology in the 13 Pro is a Type 1 Sony IMX989 50-megapixel model that’s one inch across and combined with three different Leica-made lenses in the 13 Pro phone’s camera system.
To give a bit of context on why this sensor size is so impressive, it’s the same size as that found in certain compact standalone cameras such as the Canon G5 X and the Sony ZV-1F.
This likely means much better real resolution, superior dynamic range and better overall color performance. More importantly, though, the larger sensor in this phone’s camera means larger individual pixels and superior light absorption.
As I’ve described before, insanely large smartphone camera resolutions are often not quite as good as their hype would suggest.
Many recent phone releases with formal resolutions of 100 or even 200 megapixels only pull this off by making their individual pixels extremely tiny. They then typically bin several of these pixels together for much lower functional resolutions.
For users taking photos with these phones, the resulting image quality is nowhere near as robust as it would be in a standalone camera with a much lower formal sensor resolution (but larger pixels)
The genuinely larger Sony sensor in the Xiaomi 13 Pro phone and it surrounding camera apparatus by Leica may mean better real performance that isn’t just hyped up.
In other words, it should perform as well as many quality standalone camera sensors of the same size do.
The Leica lens/camera system in this phone is impressive too. It consists of a three-lens array with a main 23mm lens right in front of the giant 1-inch Sony sensor, accompanied by a 75mm floating telephoto lens and a 14mm wide-angle optic.
The 75mm telephoto floating lens also has the unique versatility of internal SLR-style focusing, letting it take photos from just 10cm away and out to infinity.
Another feature of the 75 mm lens’s floating design is minimized shake and jitter with its 3.2x zoom working. As for the 14mm ultra-wide-angle camera, it offers a 115-degree FOV.
Leica has also contributed to the software processing behind the photos captured by the 13 Pro’s camera and sensor.
The company’s approved visual qualities also went into some of the filters for the camera app’s visual modes.
Two styles in particular, “Authentic” and “Vibrant”, are specific contributions by Leica. It calls these “Leitz Looks”.
The Portrait mode in the phone features Leica influence too. It comes with its own focus and bokeh effects that were influenced by this renowned camera maker.
These are just some of the numerous photographic modes and settings that the camera system in the Xiaomi 13 Pro comes with. Other features also include 10-Bit RAW DNG Camera and Colour Profiles created by Adobe for the flagship phone.
The interesting thing about the above lens and sensor setup in the 13 Pro is that each of the three rear cameras has its own 50-megapixel sensor beneath it.
Thus, whether shooting with the main camera, the ultra-wide, or the telephoto, users can expect the same high level of sharpness.
On the front of the phone, there’s also a 32-megapixel “selfie” camera with its own settings and features for these kinds of shots.
In terms of video recording, the 13 Pro offers 8k recording, 4K at 60fps with Dolby Vision HDR and other features as well. Among these is HDR10+ support.
Internally, for photo processing and its other functions, the 13 Pro features a powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor and Qualcomm Adreno GPU along with 12GB of RAM. It also comes in two versions for built-in storage power: 256GB and 512 GB.
Xiaomi will be releasing the 13 Pro flagship phone and the 13 as of March 14th through its website and authorized dealers. The 13 Pro will cost $1,363 for the 256GB edition.
As for the Xiaomi 13 Lite, it’s already available for purchase at less than half the price of the 13 Pro but doesn’t come with the powerful 1-inch sensor and many other features of its pricier cousin.