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The Xiaomi 14 Ultra is a superbly capable cameraphone

The Xiaomi 14 Ultra is a superbly capable cameraphone

Phone photographers, meet your new object of desire. The Xiaomi 14 Ultra is finally official for regions outside of China, bringing four 50MP snappers and Leica lens know-how to take on top-tier smartphone rivals including the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max. I’m already looking up trade-in prices and planning on making the switch.

The specs won’t come as a huge surprise if you follow Chinese phone launches like a hawk, but for the rest of us Xiaomi has delivered a tantalising slab of tech. It has all the usual flagship goodies, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor and absurdly bright AMOLED display. It’s the quad-lens rear camera setup that sets this phone apart, though.

The lead lens uses a 1in LYT-900 sensor, paired to a stepless f/1.63-f/4.0 variable aperture for dreamy depth blur when you want it, and razor-sharp shots when you don’t. It has a 23mm focal length and OIS in on-board for stable shooting.

There’s a 12mm ultrawide with f/1.8 aperture and 5cm focusing distance for macro snaps, and two telephoto lenses: a 75mm, f/1.8 floating lens and a 120mm, f/2.5 one, both with OIS. In-sensor cropping and zoom also adds 46mm and 240mm focal lengths to the mix, while Leica Authentic and Leica Vibrant colour modes let you pick between natural and vivid styles.

Keen photographers will also want to snag the optional camera kit. This clip-on case adds a dedicated hand grip with two-stage physical shutter button, zoom lever, dedicated video recording button and customizable command dial. A built-in 1500mAh battery bank supplies extra juice, and charges at the same 90W as the phone itself.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra black

The Xiaomi 14 Ultra is milled from a single block of aluminum, for extra rigidity compared to the outgoing Xiaomi 13 Ultra. There’s bespoke reinforced glass to resist scrapes and scratches, and the vegan leather finish at the rear is six times more hard-wearing than before. You’ll be able to bag one in Black and White colours.

Xiaomi reckons the 6.3in AMOLED display’s subtle curves on all four sides give the best of both flat and curved-edge screens. The panel itself has a pin-sharp 3200×1400 resolution, 1-120Hz variable refresh rate, and 3000 nit peak brightness.

There’s only one Xiaomi 14 Ultra variant heading to the UK and Europe. It’s packing 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage and a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 CPU. That should bring flagship-grade performance, while the 5000mAh battery will hopefully last all day. It’ll charge at 90W over USB-C, or a rapid 80W wirelessly. My one criticism? Qi2 magnetic charging doesn’t make the cut.

Xiaomi’s HyperOS Android skin naturally brings a bunch of AI features into the mix – it wouldn’t be a 2024 flagship without ’em. Expect real-time subtitles for video calls, convincing portrait effects from regular photos, generative image editing, and smart image search through the Xiaomi gallery app – which now seamlessly backs up your pics to Google Photos.

Four generations of Android version updates are promised, along with five years of security patches.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra camera bumpXiaomi 14 Ultra camera bump

The Xiaomi 14 Ultra will arrive in the UK and Europe at the end of March, for £1299.

The article was first published here

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