Xiaomi 14 Review: Good Things Come in Small Packages

Xiaomi 14 is one of the best examples of how collaborations should work. Here, Xiaomi and Leica have worked together, and we talked in detail about why this is not just a marketing partnership. 2024 is an important year for Xiaomi, not only because it completes 10 years of operations in India but also because this year, plenty of Xiaomi devices will be upgraded to HyperOS, the company’s next big move to bring the human x car x home smart ecosystem a reality. We will get into that later in this review. The all-new Xiaomi 14 ticks all the boxes on paper that one expects from a new-age flagship Android smartphone – a top processor, solid camera system, excellent display and cameras, and a likeable and practical design in every way. 

However, the all-new Xiaomi 14 enters a price segment where many brands fight to get some share – from Samsung to Google to OnePlus. But how well does the Xiaomi 14 perform in our in-depth review? Let’s find out.

Xiaomi 14 Review: Design that gives you confidence

At a time when smartphone brands want to offer the biggest possible display on their devices, Xiaomi probably took a more practical approach. Featuring a 6.36-inch LTPO OLED display, the Xiaomi 14 perfectly sits between devices sporting 6.7-inch and 6.1-inch displays. At 193 grams and 8.2mm thickness, Xiaomi 14 is designed for one-hand use. In a very long time, we haven’t reviewed a device that’s convenient to use for everyday tasks, so in aesthetics, Xiaomi 14 sets a benchmark. 

xiaomi 14 review2 Xiaomi 14 rear panel

We like phones with flat sides, and Xiaomi has gone a step further by opting for a curved back for the Xiaomi 14. This initially looks and feels odd, but you get used to it steadily. With no sharp edges, the phone perfectly sinks into your palm. It offers excellent grip for everyday use and is very convenient for long text typing and other tasks. In fact, we wrote most of our articles on the Xiaomi 14 because, within a week, it became our primary device for most things. 

The aluminium frame feels solid in hands and offers confidence in everyday usage. The minimal top frame ensures minimum bezel and maximum screen real estate. The Xiaomi 14’s weight distribution is so perfect that the large square-shaped camera placement never felt unnecessary. 

xiaomi 14 review4 Xiaomi 14 matte black

The Xiaomi 14 has launched in Matte Black, Jade Green, and Classic White. We got the Black one, which has a matte finish, making it suitable for use even without a case. However, the same cannot be said for the Jade Green and White colour variants, as both are extremely slippery. 

We loved the attention to detail on the 14, and long-time Xiaomi fans would appreciate that the company hasn’t forgotten the IR blaster on its premium device. The company has moved the IR blaster to the back and placed it inside the squarish camera placement. 

xiaomi 14 review8 Xiaomi 14 camera placement

The display panel on the Xiaomi 14 is bright and offers 3000nits peak brightness. It features 460PPI pixel density and offers a 1200×2670 pixels screen resolution. There’s a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. Talking about real-world usage, the Xiaomi 14’s display is excellent in any lighting condition – even under direct sunlight. The viewing angles are also good, and the colours are rich. To enhance the multimedia experience, Xiaomi has added Dolby Atmos with Dolby Vision, which adds to the overall package. The front also features Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, and Xiaomi has added DC dimming to manage the flickering. The Xiaomi 14 comes with Widevine L1 security level for streaming high-quality videos on streaming services. 

Xiaomi 14 Review: Leica-ble Cameras!

 The rear cameras are the biggest highlight of the Xiaomi 14, and that’s after extensively using it for almost three weeks. The primary 50-megapixel sensor with f/1.6 aperture can click amazing shots – even when clicking in harsh lighting conditions. The colours are on point, and there are a ton of details in every shot. In some comparison shots, we noticed that the Xiaomi 14 images have more natural colours than the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which looked slightly warm in tone regardless of the light situation. 

xiaomi 14 review10 Xiaomi 14 cameras

Below are some samples that speak for themselves. If you love to use your smartphone as a point-and-shoot camera on the street, then the Xiaomi 14 is the best option. 

IMG 20240222 142139 Xiaomi 14

Shot using Xiaomi 14 primary camera

Shot using Xiaomi 14 primary camera

Shot using Xiaomi 14 primary camera

IMG 20240226 170543 Xiaomi 14 camera sample

Shot using Xiaomi 14 ultra-wide camera

Shot using Xiaomi 14’s telephoto camera

Shot using Xiaomi 14’s telephoto camera

Xiaomi 14’s long exposure option Neon Trails in play

Another highlight is the 50-megapixel telephoto sensor. It can capture subjects as close as 10cm, and we captured one fantastic shot in very challenging lighting conditions. The 50-megapixel ultra wide-angle sensor offers a 115-degree field of view, a step up from the one we saw on the Xiaomi 13 Pro. All three rear sensors are leaps and bounds better than any Xiaomi smartphone we have used.

Xiaomi 14’s Leica BW filter used

IMG 20240223 150004 Xiaomi 14 camera sample

Shot using Xiaomi 14’s 75mm portrait mode

Xiaomi 14’s 35mm Documentary portrait mode, along with the BW filter used here

Users can choose between the Leica Authentic or Vibrant styles. We liked the Authentic style of most of our samples. Compared to the Vibrant style, the Leica Authentic captures images in the original image quality, keeping the colours and details closer to reality.

Then, there’s the Leica watermark to flaunt the images you take. The portrait is another department where Xiaomi 14 takes the lead against most of its rivals. You can choose between standard, documentary (35mm), swirly bokeh (50mm), portrait (90mm), and soft focus (90mm). To spice up your shots further, you can choose from an array of filters made in collaboration with Leica, like Leica Natural, Leica Vivid, Leica Natural, Leica Sepia, Leica Black and White High Contrast, and Leica Black and White Natural. We had a lot of fun with the camera during the review. 

There are tons of additions for videos, like the all-new Movie Mode, which comes with Dolby Vision Recording in Video Mode. 

The selfie camera, for us, was the biggest Achilles heel of Xiaomi 14. The company added so much to the cameras, including Leica-tuned features, and we believe the selfie camera should have got something. The daylight selfies have good details; however, the low-light selfies were slightly inconsistent. 

xiaomi 14 review5 Xiaomi 14 rear

Xiaomi 14 Review: Excellent performance

Xiaomi and Leica haven’t just made the 14 a camera-focused smartphone only but ensured that it is an all-rounder in every other department. Before diving into the performance, we must add that Xiaomi 14 is the company’s first in India to launch with HyperOS out-of-the-box. HyperOS is a term you will hear a lot about this year because it’s part of a bigger strategy for the brand. 

HyperOS looks familiar over the top, so read MIUI. However, there are features that we absolutely loved, like the new lock screens with tons of customisation options. HyperOS will play a vital role for Xiaomi in interconnectivity for cross-device dynamic networking, where users won’t be required to download separate apps for specific devices like bands, Smart Lights, CCTV Cameras, Air purifiers, and more. 

xiaomi 14 review12 Xiaomi 14 screen

Coming to the smartphone, the Xiaomi 14 feels snappy. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC ensures top-notch performance in your hands. 

Not many people may have noticed, but we have steadily reached a point where differentiating between flagship processors on mobiles is getting harder every year. Like in real-world usage, the Snapdragon Gen 2 is as good as the processor for all tasks, but the Gen 3 improves efficiency. Anyways, back to the review. We ran some synthetic benchmarks and found that Xiaomi 14 is up on the list compared to other Gen 3-powered flagships this year.

xiaomi 14 review13 Xiaomi 14 home screen

On AnTuTu, the Xiaomi 14 scored an impressive 1973937, while in GFX Bench, it scored 121fps in T-Rex and 121fps in Manhattan 3.1 tests. On GeekBench 6, the 14 scores a good 2210 in single-core tests and 6808 in multi-core tests. In 3D Mark’s Wild Life Extreme test, 14 scored a decent 4818. After running a bunch of these benchmarks, we realised that the Xiaomi 14 is among the top phones utilising the best of the Gen 3 chipset. 

Xiaomi promises four major software updates and five years of security patches. The Xiaomi 14 gets Android 14 out of the box, which means users will get support for up to an Android 18 update until 2028. That’s not bad, considering many smartphones launch with Android 13 and promise four updates, while Android 14 is also counted. 

xiaomi 14 review7 Xiaomi 14 lock screen

Xiaomi 14 may be a compact-looking smartphone, but it packs a loud stereo speaker setup that delivers crisp audio. The four-mic array ensures that calls and audio recorded during videos are decent. The dual-SIM Xiaomi 14 can support a combination of two nano SIMs or a nano SIM and an eSIM. The call quality is top-notch, and we encountered no issues during the review period. 

The in-display fingerprint scanner is quick. However, the thumb placement is slightly on the lower side of the screen, which could be an issue for some during the initial days. After spending one or two days with the Xiaomi 14, we preferred the in-display fingerprint over face unlock for convenience. However, face unlock is also reliable and has a quick turnaround. Overall, the Xiaomi 14 is a well-rounded smartphone considering performance metrics.

Xiaomi 14 Review: Battery that can last a day

Xiaomi 14 ships with a 4610mAh battery, which, on paper, doesn’t look huge. But, thanks to the company’s all-new HyperOS and Qualcomm’s flagship-grade Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, the battery performance does impress. During the review period, the Xiaomi 14, with all that shooting, editing images, gaming, and browsing, lasted for a full day, which was impressive. In our video loop test, we got 11 hours and 20 minutes before the phone powered down, which is fantastic.

xiaomi 14 review11 Xiaomi 14 sides

The Xiaomi 14 ships with a 90W charging adapter, the maximum charging speed we have seen in this price segment. From Apple to Samsung devices, ship without a charging adapter and support lower charging speeds. From 0 to 100%, the Xiaomi 14 can fully charge in 36 minutes – which we could replicate twice during the review process. Overall, the battery performance of the Xiaomi 14 impresses, and there’s also 50W wireless turbo charging support.

Xiaomi 14 Review: Verdict

Good things come in small packages – where Xiaomi 14 may be compact, but it offers more than a regular flagship smartphone, from best-in-class aesthetics, flagship performance, and a versatile camera that’s hard to beat in challenging lighting conditions. Ironically, we are not getting a Pro version this year in India because Xiaomi 14 has the most Pro features in the segment. 

Long thing short, if you want an Android device that can click the best possible shots while on the go with a Leica touch, offers consistent performance, delivers decent battery output, and a design that will make you ask why companies are not making phones this size, then Xiaomi 14 is for you. Yes, much like, as they say, nobody is perfect; the 14 also has a few issues like bloatware, which could be unacceptable to some consumers at this price. But, with HyperOS, a lot on the software front is about to change, and that’s for good. 

If you’re looking for alternatives, the Google Pixel 8 (Review), retailing around Rs 76,000, is a good option, alongside the Samsung Galaxy S24, priced around Rs 80,000. There’s also the OnePlus 12 (Review), which is the same price as the Xiaomi 14.

xiaomi-14-review-good-things-come-in-small-packages

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