For a while there, we weren't willing to get our hopes up that there would be a global Xiaomi Ultra again - the 2021 model could very well have remained a one-off to remember fondly. Then at one point, we were led to believe that not only was there not going to be a global one, there wasn't going to be one at all. Well, in the end, it all worked out nicely, and we now have the Xiaomi 13 Ultra - one for China and one for the world.
With that said, we still have to point out that Xiaomi sent us a version of the handset running China-specific software. So, while theoretically, a global variant is supposed to be available at one time or another, we haven't yet touched or seen it. For the purposes of this review, however, that's largely inconsequential.
That's in part because what's most important about the 13 Ultra transcends regional software specifics. We're talking about the one-of-a-kind quad-camera setup on the back of the handset. And you know it's something special when the 50MP 1-inch main unit - undisputedly the headliner of the bunch, is joined by a couple of telephotos and an ultrawide, each of them with a 50MP sensor of its own. We look forward to starting this camera section with both excitement and apprehension. But all in due time.
There's a smartphone strapped to that Leica-co-engineered marvel of a camera system, and it's a proper high-end one too. The latest Snapdragon, a cutting-edge high-res, high-refresh-rate OLED display, dust and water resistance, and fast charging - finding something to complain about on the following pages is going to be tough. Initially, looking at the pictures, we thought the design would be that, but after experiencing the handset in person, the looks of it have grown on us too.
Here's a quick summary of the more important specs before we get going.
The 13 Ultra's presentation is no different than that of any recent Xiaomi Pro or Ultra. The black color is all that sets it apart from the lesser models in the lineup, and the red Leica dot is a lone splash of color on the cardboard.
Inside, you'll find the phone, a 90W power adapter, and a USB-A-to-C cable to go with it. Also included is a black snap-on case that doesn't quite live up to the standard of the Ultra itself, though its utility shouldn't be affected by its less-than-premium appearance.
What you won't find inside the regular retail package is the Xiaomi 13 Ultra Professional Camera Bundle, which can be purchased separately in China for CNY 1000 (€130). The kit includes a nicer phone case, a separate right-hand grip, a filter adapter ring that lets you screw on standard 67mm lens filters, a lens cap (or, rather, a whole camera system cap in this case), and a lanyard.
The whole thing makes the Ultra look even less like a phone and more like a compact camera, and the hand grip makes it behave like one, too, thanks to its two-stage shutter release button and a zoom rocker. Unfortunately, we didn't have the opportunity to play with this set of accessories.
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