Xiaomi 14 Extremely adjustments the digicam however not a lot else

Xiaomi’s 2024 flagship, the 14 Extremely, is the primary within the collection to get a worldwide launch, simply days after its unveiling for the Chinese language market on Thursday — although, as ever, learn ‘world’ as ‘not North America’.

Should you ever adopted final yr’s 13 Extremely, then the brand new mannequin gained’t pack too many surprises: that is about as iterative an replace as Samsung’s S24 Extremely, with refined design tweaks and the compulsory soar to a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 — however simply sufficient digicam upgrades to justify the brand new mannequin.

Similar cellphone, new digicam

Let’s begin with the digicam. It’s, as soon as once more, completely huge, with 4 lenses squeezed into the again and one on the entrance.

The first shooter is the one one with a significant improve, however given the 13 Extremely’s pictures prowess final yr, any bump in specs right here might assist maintain it in competitors with the most effective digicam telephones of the yr.

Xiaomi has swapped the sensor on the principle lens, utilizing the brand new 1-inch Sony LYT-900 — to this point solely seen on the Oppo Discover X7 Extremely. It’s paired with a variable aperture lens, a repeat trick from final yr, however now prolonged to a broader f/1.63-f/4.0 vary and with stepless variation.

Xiaomi’s even taken that wider aperture as an excuse to throw on Leica’s ‘Summilux’ branding, normally reserved for its f/1.4 aperture lenses.

Along with the brand new sensor which means higher mild seize in a wider vary of situations, one thing the 13 Extremely already excelled at. A couple of minutes with the cellphone after Xiaomi’s press convention is hardly sufficient time for me to place the sensor by its paces, however for my cash the 13 Extremely had the most effective main digicam in 2023, and on paper this must be even higher.

The opposite lenses are a little bit extra acquainted. The selfie lens is unchanged, and as soon as once more there’s a trio of rear supporting lenses, all utilizing the identical IMX858 sensor: an ultrawide, a 3.2x telephoto, and a 5x periscope. The one actual change here’s a shift to a wider f/2.5 aperture on the periscope (from f/3.0 final day trip), but it surely’s truthful to say that in contrast to Samsung and Vivo, Xiaomi hasn’t guess the home on zoom pictures this yr.

Seems like a Leica

Get past the digicam, and the 14 Extremely nonetheless appears to be like and feels much like its predecessor, with an expansive 6.73-inch show, fake leather-based end, and that attention-grabbing round digicam island. In contrast to final yr there’s no sloped ‘step’ up alongside the again of the physique, however in any other case there’s not a lot the design crew might do to cover how huge the four-lens setup is.

White Xiaomi 14 Ultra at MWC 2024, with a close-up on the Leica logo and cameras with orange light reflecting off

Xiaomi has at the very least managed to shave just a few grams (actually: it’s 3g lighter) off the cellphone, which is available in black or white. Sadly, the worldwide launch has no signal of the titanium particular version the corporate unveiled in China, so right here it’s not-technically-leather or bust.

That’s not an issue although: I’m a fan. Along with the massive Leica emblem and OTT digicam island, the leather-based calls to thoughts a ‘actual’ digicam, and makes the extravagant proportions feels a little bit extra intentional, and rather less ‘we couldn’t discover some other option to match the whole lot in’.

Little question that’s why the corporate has determined to repeat the trick of launching an elective ‘Images Grip’ alongside, that includes a chunky grip, 1,500mAh battery again, two-stage shutter button, and filter ring.

There are additionally sturdiness advantages — the textured rear is quite a bit much less susceptible to scratches and small cracks than any glass can be, albeit not invulnerable. On the entrance of the cellphone you discover ‘Xiaomi Protect Glass’, an in-house rival to toughened Gorilla Glass, and the entire cellphone comes with an IP68 score.

Quad-curved, however simply barely

The most important design change this yr (and I take advantage of ‘largest’ liberally) is the show, which is now curved throughout. That may sound perverse in the identical yr that Samsung lastly ditched the curvy panel for good, however Xiaomi’s strategy really is sensible (and, whisper it, I feel I choose it): the show is curved ever so barely on all 4 sides.

A photograph of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra display with a close-up on one corner showing the slight curvatured

It’s not a steep sufficient bend to have an effect on visibility or contact sensitivity on the perimeters, but it surely makes the cellphone extra snug to carry, with no sharp edges to dig into your palms. Xiaomi isn’t the primary producer to take this strategy, but it surely stays, for my cash, the most effective of each worlds resolution to the thorny subject of how a lot to curve.

Naturally, the panel packs the specs you’d count on from Xiaomi’s top-end mannequin: a 1-120Hz LTPO AMOLED with as much as 3,000 nits peak brightness and assist for Dolby Imaginative and prescient. A Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 powers the cellphone, which can ship in Europe with 16GB RAM and 512GB of storage, all supported by a 5,000mAh battery and quick charging: 90W wired, and solely barely slower 80W wi-fi.

Xiaomi isn’t fairly matching Google and Samsung’s software program assist, however will give the 14 Extremely 4 years of Android OS updates, with a fifth yr of safety patches.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra photographed on a stand at MWC 2024, with HyperOS running and showing the Android home screen

That is additionally one of many first world Xiaomi merchandise to run HyperOS, the corporate’s new Android pores and skin to exchange MIUI. Xiaomi calls it a ground-up redesign that improves efficiency and packs inevitable ‘Xiaomi ecosystem interconnectivity’ and AI options.

I’ve really been utilizing HyperOS for a short while on a Xiaomi Pad 6, and it’s a streamlined, sleeker working system that actually appears to be like higher than MIUI ever did, however in any other case doesn’t really feel like a radical overhaul. It’s launching on the Xiaomi 14 collection, however rolling out to different current Xiaomi telephones and tablets within the coming months too.

The 14 Extremely was launched at MWC alongside the common Xiaomi 14, although the Professional was a no-show — that cellphone appears to be sticking to China. In Europe they’re going to value €1,499 and €999 respectively.

The corporate additionally unveiled the 12.4-inch Xiaomi Pad 6S Professional, a Galaxy Tab S9 Extremely rival with an enormous 144Hz show, although an odd restriction to the year-old Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.

There’s additionally a trio of wearables, a few of which could make it to Amazon US by way of importers if we get fortunate. A Professional model of the Sensible Band 8 was adopted by two smartwatches, the WearOS-powered Watch 2 and HyperOS-based Watch S3, whose distinctive trick is removable and interchangeable bezels in numerous designs.

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