Smartphones, Tablets & Wearables

Xiaomi 14 Ultra Review: The Ultimate Camera Smartphone?

With impressive Leica cameras, high-end features and a top display, Xiaomi aims to climb the smartphone leaderboard with the 14 Ultra, which was launched for the European market at the end of February. In our Xiaomi 14 Ultra test, the flagship smartphone reveals a whole range of strengths, but also has one or two weaknesses.

Technical data

The product 14 Ultra
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
CPU
  • 1 x 3.3 GHz Arm Cortex-X4
  • 3 x 3.2 GHz Arm Cortex-A720
  • 2 x 3.0 GHZ Arm Cortex-A720
  • 2 x 2.3 GHz Arm Cortex-A520
Operating system Android 14; HyperOS
Display
  • 6.73 inch; 3,200 x 1,440 pixels (522 ppi)
  • LTPO-AMOLED, 1 Hz – 120 Hz refresh rate
  • up to 3,000 nits brightness
Camera
  • 50 megapixel main camera (f/1.63 – f/4.0) with autofocus;
  • 50 MP ultra wide-angle camera (f/1.8) with autofocus;
  • 50 MP telephoto camera 75 mm (f/1.8) with autofocus;
  • 50 MP periscope camera 120 mm (f/2.5) with autofocus
  • 32 MP selfie camera (f/2.0)
Memory 12 GB LPDDR5X RAM; 512 GB UFS 4.0 flash memory
Network SIM card slot (nano SIM); 5G
Connectivity USB-C 3.2 Gen. 2, Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be), NFC, Bluetooth 5.4
Dimensions and weight 162.6 mm x 76.5 mm x 8.8 mm (H x W x D); Weight: 213g
Battery capacity 5.000 mAh; 90W HyperCharge (wired); 80W HyperCharge (wireless)
Colors Black, White
Special features 1-inch sensor main camera (Sony LYT-900); vegan leather back; AI functions; IP68 certification
Prices (RRP) € 1,419.00 *
€ 1,177.96
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Xiaomi 14 Ultra review: design and workmanship

  • elegant design; luxurious back
  • pleasantly handy; excellent feel
  • fits well in the hand despite the large camera element

If you spend around 1,500 euros (at least according to the RRP) on a smartphone, you can of course expect a lot. Fortunately, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra does not disappoint in terms of design and scores with an equally elegant look and feel.

The back, which is covered in either black or white faux leather, contributes to this. It is also so comfortable to hold that you almost don’t dare to squeeze the smartphone into a case at all. At the same time, the textured back ensures that the device sits comfortably and securely in the hand – despite its sheer size.

Keyword size: the 14 Ultra is 161 mm high, 75 mm wide and around 9 millimetres deep and, to my surprise, is not only slightly shorter but also narrower than the Google Pixel 8 Pro (our Review), which it replaced in my hands.

This ensures that the 14 Ultra is much more comfortable to hold. My small hands are also very happy to be able to grip the smartphone even better. It is also significantly narrower and slightly shorter than the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, and at 222 grams it is also a little lighter.

What really stands out, however, is the huge camera element, which is typical of the series and comes with a ribbed frame and protrudes a full 6.5 millimetres from the casing. It is positioned in the middle of the upper edge, making the 14 Ultra quite top-heavy, but at the same time it also rests on a table without wobbling.

I think the positioning of the camera unit is excellent. It is positioned so that the hand can rest directly underneath it and hold the smartphone comfortably. When watching videos or other horizontal content, the camera frame also proves to be very useful as an additional grip option.

The back of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra merges seamlessly into the brushed metal frame, which is very well protected against fingerprints. Xiaomi has installed speakers at the top and bottom, while the controls are located on the right-hand side. The power button is also pleasantly ribbed and easy to grip.

The SIM card slot and USB-C port are located on the bottom. No question: The Xiaomi 14 Ultra is one of the most stylish and visually impressive smartphones currently available.

The smartphone is also IP68 water and dust resistant and comes with a good case. The scope of delivery is rounded off with instructions including a SIM card tool, 90-watt power adapter and USB-A to USB-C charging cable. A screen protector is also already applied at the factory.

Workmanship with slight compromises

  • basically very good workmanship…
  • … but susceptible to dust
  • very rickety camera unit

Unfortunately, the build quality can’t quite keep up in a few respects, which is a little disappointing considering the price. Basically, it is at a very good level: the housing looks as if it has been cast from a single mold and there are no visible gaps.

However, dust collects very quickly under the chrome-look camera ring, which detracts somewhat from the visual impression. The faux leather back is also quite susceptible to dust, so you have to polish it again and again.

What bothers me most about the workmanship, however, is the rickety camera unit. This is actually not a manufacturing fault, but intentional. Or there is no other solution. We’ve seen it in this form on the Pixel 8 Pro, for example, but the rattling is much more pronounced on the Xiaomi smartphone.

The rattling is due to the optical image stabilizers of the four cameras and is clearly audible when you move the smartphone a little faster in your hand. This is not a problem, but it is unpleasant.

Top display in the Xiaomi 14 Ultra

  • bright and high-resolution display
  • excellent color reproduction
  • many settings

Xiaomi equips the 14 Ultra with an outstanding AMOLED display. It has a screen diagonal of 6.73 inches and a WQHD resolution of 3,200 x 1,440 pixels and dynamically adjusts the refresh rate between 1 Hz and 120 Hz.

It also achieves an outstanding typical brightness of 1,000 cd/m² and is even as bright as 3,000 cd/m² when displaying HDR content. As is typical for OLEDs, it naturally scores with excellent black levels, great contrasts and rich colors.

In addition, the DCI-P3 color space is fully 100 percent covered, while HDR10 and Dolby Vision are supported. The Xiaomi 14 Ultra is therefore extremely easy to read, even in direct sunlight. In general, the display is simply outstanding and also boasts a unique design:

This is because it is basically a curved display with rounded edges, but which lies flat, thus combining the best of both worlds.

The resolution can also be reduced to Full HD in the menu, which has a positive effect on battery life without subjectively compromising the picture quality. At the same time, the display can be adjusted in great detail. This includes, for example, the brightness, extended textures, a dedicated reading mode or various color modes, whose color space and temperature can also be individually adjusted. Top!

The display is also protected by a unique Xiaomi protective glass, which is said to offer up to 10 times better drop resistance compared to the previous smartphone. It is also better protected against scratches and stronger than conventional glass.

At least that’s what the manufacturer says. It is difficult to say whether this is true or not, but it certainly feels really robust, as I found out after a drop, which the display and casing survived undamaged.

Top performance thanks to powerful hardware

  • outstanding performance; cutting-edge hardware
  • good cooling, but with overheating problems in the benchmark
  • no eSIM support

With the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC and 16 GB of RAM, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra naturally offers outstanding system performance. However, I was blown away by how big the difference is, especially compared to the Pixel 8 Pro, during the test.

It is well known that the Tensor G3 in the Google phone is not necessarily at the top of its game. But in terms of performance, the difference is like night and day. This is already noticeable in everyday system tasks, which score points with butter-smooth animations and rapid loading times.

However, the difference is only more noticeable when it comes to more intensive tasks such as image and video editing or gaming. Especially when it comes to loading times and display.

No question: The performance of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra is beyond reproach, which is also evident in various benchmarks. In the CPU and GPU tests in particular, the Xiaomi phone even outperforms the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and is miles ahead of the Pixel 8 Pro.

During normal operation, the smartphone remains pleasantly cool thanks to the innovative liquid cooling system. Although heating is noticeable under continuous load, it never gets uncomfortably warm. The situation is somewhat different in benchmark stress tests, which demand maximum performance over a long period of time. Here, the performance can sometimes be throttled if the outside temperatures are also quite high.

On a 25-degree April day, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra tended to overheat in the 3DMark stress test, while the same test was completed just a few days later at a temperature of 18 degrees without any problems. The smartphone also heats up noticeably in the stress test. Here, the casing gets around 45°C warm, which can be somewhat uncomfortable.

However, this is an extreme scenario that I have not been able to reproduce in practice in around two weeks of use. Hours of gaming are possible here without overheating or similar heating.

Benchmark Xiaomi 14 Ultra
PCMark Work 3.0 17.161 pts.
GeekBench 6 (Single Core) 2.234 pts.
GeekBench 6 (Multi Core) 6.701 pts.
GeekBench 6 (GPU) 13.942 pts.
3DMark Wild Life Extreme 4.697 pts; 28.31 FPS
3DMark Solar Bay 8.435 pts; 32.07 FPS
3DMark Solar Bay stress test 95.2 percent

Otherwise, with one exception, the equipment leaves nothing to be desired. Particularly noteworthy are the fast and stable Wi-Fi 7, the dual SIM slot with 5G and the excellent sounding speakers with 3D sound. However, Xiaomi incomprehensibly does not support eSIM, although the Xiaomi 14 and 14 Pro do.

HyperOS pleases… at least me

  • Android 14
  • pleasant HyperOS interface
  • lots of bloatware

Xiaomi uses Android 14 software based on the new HyperOS, which has replaced the previous MiUI but has a very similar structure. Opinions differ on the interface, but I personally like HyperOS very much.

Not only does it work much faster than MiUI and takes up significantly less memory. It also looks pleasantly tidy and well thought out. The control center, for example, is reminiscent of iOS with its many quick settings, while apps in the drawer are divided into different categories, which improves the overview.

It also doesn’t look as playful as OneUI and offers some practical additional functions. Especially in the area of photos or videos, but also in terms of connectivity with other Xiaomi devices.

However, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra comes with a lot of bloatware, much of which can be easily uninstalled. Although not all of it, which is also a bit annoying for such an expensive smartphone.

However, apps such as Mi Video or Music can be deactivated quickly and easily, so no problem at all. Xiaomi also promises four major OS updates and five years of security updates – a decent value.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra: Long battery life and fast charging

  • excellent battery life
  • 90 watts charging speed; 80 watts wireless

The Xiaomi 14 Ultra relies on a 5,000 mAh battery, which achieves good runtimes, not least thanks to the economical chip. I’m not a fan of battery benchmarks, so I’ll focus more on the practicality here. Nevertheless: In the PCMark Work battery test, a very good 14 hours and 34 minutes is achieved at an adaptive 120 Hz – almost two hours more than the Pixel 8 Pro. Nevertheless, Samsung and Apple achieve more with their flagships.

In practice, however, I achieved a display-on-time of around 14 hours during the test, which is excellent. One and a half to two days of use are therefore possible without any problems.

Anyone who is used to smartphones from Samsung, Google or Apple will also be pleased with the rapid charging speed of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra. For me, this was a novelty that really influenced my charging behavior.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra
The Xiaomi 14 Ultra even charges wirelessly with 80 watts. (Image: Xiaomi)

Instead of connecting the smartphone to the power supply when I go to bed, as was previously the case, I now charge when the battery is actually running low thanks to the 90 watt speed.

The smartphone is fully charged to 50 percent in just 13 minutes. A full charge takes 34 minutes. Wireless charging is also almost on a par with this. A full 80 watts of power is also available here, while reverse wireless charging is also supported.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra camera test: It could hardly be better

  • excellent image quality with all 5 cameras
  • unique Leica colors
  • variable aperture (main camera); 8K videos

However, the flagship of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra is undoubtedly the camera setup, which – let’s get this out of the way – is currently one of the best in the smartphone segment. I would even go so far as to say that the 14 Ultra currently offers the best overall camera package of all smartphones.

The image quality across all four sensors is equally outstanding, only the ultra-wide-angle camera falls slightly short in my eyes, but it is still at the forefront.

This is also thanks to the unique Leica colors, where we can choose between Authentic and Vivid. While the Vivid mode with its richer colors is reminiscent of most smartphone photos, Authentic relies on more dignified colors and higher contrasts and is therefore strongly reminiscent of a real camera.

For the Xiaomi 14 Ultra test, I hung up my DSLM camera for a while and shot exclusively with my smartphone. The results are overwhelming across the board.

The main camera’s 1-inch sensor is particularly large and fast, while the lens has a truly variable aperture that can be adjusted between f/1.63 and f/4.0. This naturally has an effect on the amount of light and depth of field and therefore also the look.

Furthermore, even the zoom cameras (3.2x optical and 5x optical) are capable of taking macro shots, whereas with other smartphones this is often only possible using the ultra-wide-angle lens and you have to get correspondingly close to the object or subject.

Quite different here: The Xiaomi 14 Ultra succeeds in taking impressive macro shots with the zoom cameras. The portrait modes are similarly varied, with two styles and different focal lengths to choose from.

What I also find particularly impressive is that pictures from the Xiaomi 14 Ultra don’t have that typical smartphone look and that visibly artificial post-processing. Instead, the looks are more dignified and realistic.

The Xiaomi 14 Ultra’s cameras also deliver excellent results in night shots and selfies. As all lenses, with the exception of the main camera, use the same sensor (Sony IMX858), the image composition and coloring is the same across all lenses.

The smartphone is also well positioned when it comes to video functions. All four cameras can handle resolutions of 8K in 30 FPS, but without HDR. In HDR, a maximum of 4K with 30 FPS is possible, without HDR even 4K with 120 FPS or slow-motion recordings. Quite impressive, especially as professional video modes including 10-bit Rec.2020 are also offered.

The smartphone masters quick snapshots flawlessly without having to adjust anything. However, those who are more familiar with the subject matter can adjust all parameters in Pro mode, just like with a “real” camera. From the ISO value and aperture to shutter speed and white balance.

The overall result across all sensors, cameras and modes is simply overwhelming and, in my opinion, is once again noticeably better than what is possible with a Google Pixel 8 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra test: Conclusion

Premium features meet premium price. The Xiaomi 14 Ultra is an excellent smartphone that, in my opinion, lives up to its absurdly high (and now already lower) price.

I don’t even know where to start with the many plus points that emerged in the test. The design with its non-slip artificial leather back is absolutely classy, the display scores with its high resolution, great colors and crisp sharpness. The battery lasts a long time and charges quickly.

It also has excellent speakers, extensive connectivity options and impeccable performance. And then there is the camera setup, which is unparalleled, at least currently (and in Europe). The Xiaomi 14 Ultra masters day photos, night photos, selfies, zoom shots and portrait photos with flying colors and delivers results that leave the competition behind.

On the other hand, the smartphone is not free of criticism. The rattling camera elements and the dust-prone camera ring are particularly objectionable. There are also slight tendencies to overheat in the benchmark test, while the lack of eSIM support is almost cheeky. In terms of AI functions, the device cannot keep up with Google or Samsung, although clear progress can be seen here.

So if cameras are the most important criterion for you in a smartphone, there is no way around the Xiaomi 14 Ultra. But the device also offers numerous other selling points that make it a strong alternative to the flagships from Samsung or Apple.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra Test: Gold Award

Xiaomi 14 Ultra

Design & Verarbeitung
Hardware
Multimedia
Performance
Akku
Preis-Leistungs-Verhältnis

93/100

The Xiaomi 14 Ultra is a top-equipped flagship smartphone with impressive cameras and great battery life, but it falls short in terms of workmanship and eSIM support.

€ 1,177.96
Zentrallager: >5 Stück bestellt, wird in 3 Werktagen erwartetFiliale Wilhelmshaven: >5 Stück bestellt, wird in 3 Werktagen erwartet
Buy now* Mindfactory
€ 1,177.97
2-4 Tage
Buy now* electronis.de
€ 1,179.80
Verfügbar - Lieferung in ca. 1 - 3 Tagen
Buy now* büroshop24

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With impressive Leica cameras, high-end features and a top display, Xiaomi aims to climb the smartphone leaderboard with the 14 Ultra, which was launched for the European market at the end of February. In our Xiaomi 14 Ultra test, the flagship smartphone reveals a whole range of strengths, but also has one or two weaknesses. … (Weiterlesen...)

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