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Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

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Xiaomi's flagship for 2024, the 14 Ultra is a concentrate of technology. The manufacturer highlights its phenomenal power, the perfection of its screen, excellent autonomy as well as an ultra-fast charging speed. Without forgetting of course its impeccable photo and video quality. What if we checked all this with a good old test?

The 14 Ultra looks like a brother to last year's flagship 13 Ultra. It regains its dimensions within a few dusts (161.4 x 75.3 x 9.2 mm, compared to 163.2 x 74.6 x 9.1 mm for the 13 Ultra) and also loses a few grams in the process (219. 8 grams versus 227). Its rear side is covered in black or white “vegan leather” and houses an imposing camera housed in a circular outgrowth.

The advantage of “vegan leather” (in fact a plastic renowned by marketing departments) is that it is much less sensitive to fingerprints and other dirt. To protect it a little more, you can use the transparent plastic shell provided with the device. We appreciate this delicate attention all the more as it does not replace the ultra-fast charger, also supplied as standard.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

For the rest, nothing really notable. The aluminum chassis benefits from impeccable machining, the mechanical control keys are located on the right side while the SIM card drawer and the USB-C port are located on the underside. High-end requires, the 14 Ultra benefits from IP68 waterproof certification.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

In daily use, the 14 Ultra is very pleasant if you forget any desire to use it with one hand. We must believe that this is not really a problem, manufacturers abandoning compact devices one after the other.

Once again, Xiaomi does not skimp on high-end sound equipment. It is therefore built around a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC and 16 GB of LPDDR5X RAM. The UFS 4.0 type internal storage, non-removable, has a capacity of 512 GB. Not bad at all since these characteristics would not be out of place on a good quality notebook.

Top performance

We're not going to bombard you with numbers and performance statistics. Just remember that the 14 Ultra is a power monster that no task can resist. Whether it's 3D gaming, video editing or indulging in the simple joys of augmented reality, it will never falter.

The impressive amount of RAM ensures great fluidity in multitasking (split screen and multiwindow). The heat dissipation mechanism works very correctly: although it heats up during intensive use, it hardly slows down. A nice technical success, then.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

The 5000 mAh battery gives it more than adequate autonomy, if not extraordinary. In normal use — where you don't overuse good things — it lasts a little over a day and a half.

The battery life drops to one day if you overuse video games, capture still or moving images, or streaming< /em>video. It is of course possible to adjust certain parameters in order to extend it. To do this, we will take a look at the battery settings where we will find different operating modes.

Fast charging deserves its name: according to Xiaomi, it allows you to go from 0 to 100% in 33 minutes if you activate Turbo mode. Our tests confirm this figure since it took us between 32 and 35 minutes to reach 100%.

The manufacturer claims that it takes 46 minutes to do the same using the 80 Watt induction charger designed for the occasion. Impossible to verify this since we were unable to obtain it.

Fabulous screen

Last but not least, the 14 Ultra screen is worth the detour.Xiaomi designed it around a 6.73” AMOLED LPTO panel with curved edges (waterfall). It displays 1440 x 3200 pixels in 20:9 format, manages 68 billion shades and has a refresh rate varying between 1 Hz and 120 Hz. Its brightness of 1000 nits (3000 nits in HDR peak) makes it readable in full sun.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

The HDR Pro screen supports UltraHDR while benefiting from Dolby Vision and HDR10+ certifications. Sorry! The image produced with the default settings turns out to be simply excellent. Depending on your tastes, you can adapt the colorimetric rendering, the settings offering great latitude in this area.

Last year, Xiaomi announced that it was retiring the MIUI home OS after thirteen years of good and loyal service. It replaces it with HyperOS, which the manufacturer presents as being better adapted to new technologies and in particular to AI. For example, it has “proactive intelligence” (still beta) supposed to anticipate the user's desires.

L’IA little by little

Artificial intelligence according to Xiaomi is currently not as spectacular as Samsung's Galaxy AI and is gradually settling into the interface. We notice it mainly in the image editing or shooting functions. Asked about this, Xiaomi specifies that its implementation will be gradual and that the deployment, already started in China, will take place over the course of updates. To be continued, therefore.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

Some of the new features of HyperOS 1.0.5.0, which equipped our test copy, leave us wondering. This is for example the case of the “application vault” which purely and simply replaces Android widgets. These become difficult to put in place and we had to research for a while how to apply them. Also no more creating user profiles, which is possible by default with Android 14.

Customization of the interface can be done through the “ Themes ” app and its marketplaceintegrated. Apart from it, there is no salvation and we must give up the icon packs purchased on the Play Store, which are incompatible with HyperOS. Too bad.

What does not change, unfortunately, is the presence of unwanted software and installed arbitrarily by Xiaomi (the bloatwares of sinister reputation). Of course, you can uninstall them one by one, but that quickly becomes boring. The big negative point remains the presence of advertising almost everywhere in Xiaomi applications.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

The worst in this area are undoubtedly those which plague the Mi Video player, or which appear among the press articles – often uninteresting – in the control center. Both obviously cannot be completely uninstalled, the video player starting by default as soon as a file is selected that it can open. Fortunately, a few unorthodox maneuvers can correct this. They are easily found using a search engine.

If we can ultimately understand the presence of bloatware and advertisements on a smartphone sold at a low price, this becomes unacceptable on a product at 1500 euros. Let's hope that Xiaomi will realize this (yes, we know: we are naturally very optimistic!).

Fortunately, these software inconveniences are quickly forgotten as soon as you start shooting still or animated images. Xiaomi has teamed up with Leica, a German photography specialist, to co-design the cameras for the 14 Ultra.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

The one located at the rear has four modules:

  • Main module: 50 Mpxl 1″ sensor, 1.6 µm photosite; 23mm f/1.63-4 lens; OIS
  • 1 telephoto lens: 50 Mpxl 1/2.51″ sensor; 75mm f/1.8 lens; OIS
  • 2 telephoto lens: 50 Mpxl 1/2.51″ sensor; 120mm f/2.5 periscopic lens; OIS
  • Ultra wide-angle: 50 Mpxl 1/2.51″ ; 12mm f/1.8 lens; OIS

The front camera has a 1/3.14″ 32 Mpxl sensor and an f/2 aperture lens (90° field of view).

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

As you can see, Xiaomi doesn't mess around when it comes to photography. Let us point out in passing that the lenses are of the Summilux type, that is to say renowned for their colorimetric rendering, the sharpness of the images produced and their brightness. Enough to make the mouth water of any demanding photographer.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

Very good, but what happens on the ground ? In short, the 14 Ultra is a pure marvel. It is almost impossible to catch fault as long as you do not abuse the digital zoom.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

The shooting app gives you the choice between two renderings: Leica Authentic and Leica Vibrant. The first reproduces the subtle tones of the manufacturer's cameras and will be suitable for amateur photographers. The second boosts the colors a little in order to make the image more vivid: you will like it if you came to photography through the use of a smartphone.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

In bright and medium light, the 14 Ultra produces excellent quality shots over the 12 – 240 mm (35 mm equivalent), i.e. from 0.5x ultra wide-angle to 10x zoom. The result remains very good at 720 mm (30x zoom), especially in daytime brightness. In order to notice a slight lack of sharpness, you must examine the image on a computer monitor at 100% magnification.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

Ultra wide angle

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

Main module

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

2x zoom

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

3.2x zoom

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

5x zoom

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

10x zoom

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

30x zoom

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

60x zoom

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

120x zoom

At 1440 mm (60x zoom), the image is still usable provided you do not crop it too much or print it in large size. Beyond that, the AI ​​does what it can to provide a decent image up to 2880 mm (120x zoom): it almost succeeds, despite a blurry veil seeming to cover the scene. The image remains completely correct for use on social networks, but much less satisfactory for printing.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

Night mode © Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

In low light or in night mode, the image is very good at ultra wide-angle and up to 5x (120 mm). You will still have to be careful about motion blur which can appear quite easily beyond that, as well as the loss of detail. This becomes annoying beyond 10x zoom (240mm).

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

Portrait mode allows you to intensify the bokeh

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

Photo taken in “Super Moon” with raised hand

Using a large sensor and wide aperture lens allows for natural background blur without using portrait mode. This can be activated in order to produce a bokeh and benefit from more advanced processing by artificial intelligence: we will test the two possibilities and choose according to our tastes.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

Macro photography

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

Good point also for the creative Leica filters which allow excellent monochrome. We also appreciate the Pro mode which gives great creative latitude to experienced photographers. Macro photography is also included: the dedicated mode produces very beautiful images at a short distance from the subject. Finally, the autofocus proves to be extremely precise and effective whatever the module used.

A useful Pro Photo Pack, but not cheap

Our test unit came with the optional Pro Photo Pack. This consists of a shell, a grip, a strap, two lens rings and a filter support. The idea is to offer the 14 Ultra ergonomics closer to a traditional camera body.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

For this, the grip has two trigger keys (photo and video), a customizable wheel and a zoom control. Xiaomi has also added a 1500 mAh battery which gives the 14 Ultra up to two hours of additional battery life. The grip connects directly to the USB-C port and has a locking mechanism to keep it in place.

The whole thing is very pleasant to use and actually offers better ergonomics for shooting. The 67mm threaded mount accepts standard lens filters, which may be useful in some cases (polarized filters, for example).

Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: a camera that can also make calls

© Marc Mitrani for Presse-citron

The Pro Photo Pack is undoubtedly very useful for photographers accustomed to the ergonomics of traditional cameras. Ultimately, we will only have one criticism: its price of €200, which we consider prohibitive. To close the subject, let's add that lucky people who pre-ordered the smartphone have the opportunity to receive it for free.

The 13 Ultra was excellent in photography, the 14 Ultra is even better! It must be said that by joining forces with Leica, the manufacturer is a step ahead of many of its competitors. The images produced are simply excellent and we must recognize that we are close to the performance of a traditional camera, especially in broad daylight.

This photographic excellence is not its only asset. The 14 Ultra offers excellent overall performance, has a screen that we find almost perfect and very decent battery life.

As successful as it is, the 14 Ultra is not yet perfect. In addition to a Himalayan price (1500 euros!), it is also criticized for the few shortcomings of the brand new HyperOS, the overload of bloatware and above all the intolerable presence of advertisements. Although they can almost all be eliminated by one or two tweaks, the fact remains that they are a stain on a product of this price.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116