The Xiaomi 13 flagship phones are capable, but also pricey. The new 13T Pro tries to strike a better balance between performance and affordability. While it sports Leica-branded cameras like the higher-end Xiaomi 13 models, they are tweaked to reflect its positioning. You can still take pretty good photos, though. And the rest of the phone isn't shabby either. It's practically a flagship — if you going by last year's standard. And at around S$1,000, it's much more affordable than most current top phones.
- 6.67-inch AMOLED (2,712 x 1,220 pixels, 144Hz)
- MediaTek Dimensity 9200+ chip with 12GB RAM, 512GB storage
- Cameras: 50MP, 50MP telephoto, 12MP ultra-wide, 20MP front
- 5,000mAh battery with 120W charging
I usually test smartphones with the included case. But the Xiaomi 13T Pro feels grippy enough that I actually went without one. Like the expensive Ultra variant, my alpine blue review set has a textured vegan leather back with matte sides. It also comes in green or black, but these glass back versions are slippery and prone to fingerprints. The phone itself weighs around 200g, and comes with IP68 water and dust resistance. It has a flat 6.67-inch AMOLED screen. It looks very much like a flagship display, down to its in-display fingerprint sensor and thin bezels. The refresh rate is a smooth 144Hz, while the display gets very bright at 1,200 nits (peaks at 2,600 nits). Definitely no issues with using it under the sun. Dolby Vision and HDR10+ are supported, which along with the phone's dual speakers, make for a great Netflix viewing experience.
Understandably, the cameras are downgrades from the higher-end models. For starters, the 50MP main camera doesn't have a 1-inch sensor, and there's one fewer rear camera (no super-telephoto) than the Ultra. But you still get the Leica image processing with a choice of either Leica Authentic or Leica Vibrant. I prefer the latter for the slight boost in saturation that makes photos pop. In good light, the 13T Pro produces clear, detailed images with good colours and dynamic range. Portrait shots stand out, thanks to the amount of background blur and good edge detection. The 50MP telephoto is impressive, too, though the quality takes a dip with the 12MP ultra-wide. Lowlight photos are better than those taken by mid-range phones. They look softer with less detail, but the noise was still acceptable. You can shoot videos at 8K 24fps, but most folks will probably be using 4K 30fps with HDR10+.
While both the 13 Ultra and 13 Pro models come with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, the cheaper 13T Pro is equipped with MediaTek's flagship Dimensity 9200+. It's still good, of course. There's even Wi-Fi 7 support. You won't feel any lag while running most apps. In Geekbench 6, the 9200+ fares around the same level as the Pixel 7 Pro with a similar multi-core score (3,456), though Google's 2022 flagship was slightly faster for single-core performance. The phone gets fairly warm during intensive testing. In 3DMark's Wild Life Extreme Stress Test, temperatures peaked at 51 degrees Celsius. As a result, the performance scores dropped by around 27%. In comparison, there was just a 2% performance dip for the Snapdragon-powered Xiaomi 13 Pro in the same test.
However, battery life is great, the Xiaomi 13T Pro usually lasts a hectic day with plenty of spare. In PCMark's battery life benchmark, it lasted 8hr 27min compared with 7hr 57min for the Xiaomi 13 Ultra. And it charges in a jiffy, too, with rapid 120W charging, but there's no wireless charging unlike the Ultra. Xiaomi is also promising that the phone, which runs Android 13, will get four Android updates, and five years of security updates. But as I have mentioned in the past, I feel the MIUI interface needs a makeover as it's looking rather dated. That being said, the 13T Pro offers good value at S$949 for the 512GB model, and S$1,099 for the 1TB version. A more affordable S$699 Xiaomi 13T with the same cameras is also available. Get the 13T Pro now at Shopee and Lazada.
Note: Review unit provided by Xiaomi.
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