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The Xiaomi 14 Ultra is a photography nerd’s dream

The compact camera is long dead for most people; a phone is a camera and a camera is a phone. However, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys going out and taking pictures, phones still leave much to be desired despite all of the technological advancements over the past several years.

There’s a reason why traditional cameras, particularly those with specific dimensions and forms, are still in demand: nothing compares to the tactile feel of genuine buttons, dials, and strong grips. These are features that most phones lack, with the Xiaomi 14 Ultra being an exception. I really wish it was accessible in the US since it’s the best phone camera I’ve used in a decade (so long, Nokia Lumia 1020).

What truly makes this phone a camera is the optional accessory bundle for Xiaomi’s flagship, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra photography kit. It’s an update to the photography package that was unveiled alongside the 13 Ultra the previous year, and Xiaomi has largely improved upon a good thing. It comes with a phone case and a removable grip that clamps into the case, just like the previous edition. The grip features a zoom rocker and a two-stage shutter button that are now connected by a video button and a dial that may be adjusted.

The larger battery and USB connector on this year’s camera grip fit directly into the phone’s charging port. It’s more practical than last year’s model, which could only connect via Bluetooth, because it can give your phone a boost if its battery runs low. It also has a lower control latency. Although the previous version wasn’t very slow, this year’s edition is marginally faster, and every millisecond counts. The main drawback is the slight weight gain caused by the battery, which is noticeable when holding the phone in one hand and using the grip. I suppose one cannot have everything.

You’ve probably only ever used a phone camera with a fixed aperture; very few have ever used multiple aperture settings. That’s okay because the majority of phone camera sensors and lenses are so tiny that you should always use the widest aperture setting to allow in more light. The Xiaomi 14 Ultra, however, is not like most phone cameras, as said. I appreciate Android Authority’s in-depth analysis of this topic. The 1-inch sensor format is large enough that having the option to stop down to a narrower aperture is useful in a few ways.

Basically, you can achieve a deeper depth of field at a wide aperture setting with a larger sensor and lens. However, there are situations when you may want to focus on more of your subject than that aperture setting permits. Furthermore, at wide aperture settings, phone cameras with 1-inch sensors frequently exhibit some unsightly lens aberrations that go away when you stop down. Beneficial! However, it seems uncommon to find yourself in a circumstance where you would want to stop down to f/4, and the native auto setting frequently stays at f/2. Sunstars, however, are my favourite aspect of this new aperture design, and they have nothing to do with any of that.

Remember that all of this can be accessed via a phone, at the risk of seeming very basic. On it, I can download the Lightroom app. My pictures can be uploaded straight to Instagram. It just takes a few taps for me to add pictures to my shared Google Photos albums. I apologise for being strange, but I just can’t get over the notion that the same device can accomplish all of the above plus have an exposure compensation dial.

Detail Specification 

 

Category Description
Network GSM / CDMA / HSPA / EVDO / LTE / 5G
Launch Announced: 2024, February 22
Status: Available. Released 2024, February 22
Body Dimensions: 161.4 x 75.3 x 9.2 mm
Weight: 219.8/224.4/229.5 g
Build: Glass front (Shield Glass), glass or eco leather back, titanium or aluminum alloy frame
SIM: Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 min)
Display Type: LTPO AMOLED
Size: 6.73 inches, 108.9 cm2
Resolution: 1440 x 3200 pixels
Protection: Xiaomi Shield Glass / Xiaomi Longjing Glass
Platform OS: Android 14, HyperOS
Chipset: Qualcomm SM8650-AB Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 (4 nm)
CPU: Octa-core
GPU: Adreno 750
Memory Card slot: No
Internal: 256GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 16GB RAM, 1TB 16GB RAM
UFS: 4.0
Main Camera Quad: 50 MP (wide), 50 MP (telephoto), 50 MP (periscope telephoto), 50 MP (ultrawide), TOF 3D (depth)
Features: Leica lenses, Dual-LED flash, HDR, panorama, 67mm filter ring holder (optional)
Video: Various resolutions and frame rates
Selfie Camera Single: 32 MP (wide)
Features: HDR, panorama
Video: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60fps
Sound Loudspeaker: Yes, with stereo speakers
3.5mm jack: No
Audio: 24-bit/192kHz Hi-Res & Hi-Res Wireless audio
Communication WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e/7, Wi-Fi Direct
Bluetooth: 5.4
Positioning: GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, QZSS, NavIC
NFC: Yes
Infrared port: Yes
Radio: No
USB: USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2, DisplayPort, OTG
Features Sensors: Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, proximity, gyro, compass, color spectrum, barometer
Satellite Communication: Two-way
Battery Type: 5000 mAh (International), 5300 mAh (China)
Charging: 90W wired, 80W wireless, 10W reverse wireless
Miscellaneous Colors: Black, Blue, White, Titanium Gray
Price: £1,299.00 / €1,419.00
Tests Performance: AnTuTu: 2014262 (v10), GeekBench: 7060 (v6), 3DMark Wild life: 17244 (offscreen 1440p)
Display: Contrast ratio: Infinite, Loudspeaker: -25.6 LUFS (Very good)
Battery (new): Active use score 11:25h

 

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