HomeGadgets & TechXiaomi 14 Ultra: The Pinnacle of Photographic Prowess

    Xiaomi 14 Ultra: The Pinnacle of Photographic Prowess

    After a detailed look at the XiaoMi 14 in the review published earlier, we now dive deeper into the elder sibling of the two, the XiaoMi 14 Ultra. While XiaoMi 14 Ultra is more focused on its photography prowess, I will also be taking a closer look at its gaming abilities in our full review here.

    The Packaging:

    Different from the younger sibling in a clear move to differentiate between them, the XiaoMi 14 Ultra ships in a black box with white lettering announcing the model. Inside it, the rest of the contents are the smartphone in white and a transparent case, which is the polar opposite of the XiaoMi 14 which had a black solid case. Rounding up the contents are the same as its younger sibling, a 90W charger, a sim eject tool, charging/data cable and documentation.

    XiaoMi 14 Ultra in white, TPU case, 90W charger and sim ejector tool. Not in the picture is the charging cable.

    The Phone itself:

    As most of the current smartphone brands had an agreement on the design of their flagship photography-focused smartphones, XiaoMi 14 Ultra have a huge camera bump on its back. This design though was carried over from the XiaoMi 13 Ultra, with XiaoMi making some subtle changes. XiaoMi 14 Ultra have gotten rid of the sloped back at the camera bump area, in its place now is a bigger black circular housing with a silver surrounding ring beneath it, and it has also grown in height.

    The white back is now what XiaoMi calls as new Xiaomi nano-tech vegan leather, which is 6 times wear-resistant, dirt-resistant, and even more durable compared to the XiaoMi 13 Ultra. The textured back feels nice and soft to the touch, adding to the grip of the phone compared to glass-back alternatives. I would strongly advise protecting the white back with the provided casing, as it’s easy to smudge or scratch the white surface.

    The aluminium alloy sides are finished in matte silver and wrapped from the sides to the back, again this design is carried over from last year’s 13 Ultra. The rounded edges and the gentle slope towards the back feel great when holding the phone while gaming.

    The front is now a XiaoMi Shield glass, which XiaoMi claims as ten times improved drop resistance compared to the XiaoMi 13 Ultra’s Gorilla Glass Victus. The display is a 6.73-inch LTPO AMOLED flat screen in an “All Around Liquid Display” which curves on all sides and corners into aluminium alloy sides. Underneath all these glasses is the in-display optical fingerprint reader which is very responsive and accurate.

    Curved display that flows into the aluminium sides. The top speaker and the IR blaster are located in the top slots.

    As per the previous year’s model, XiaoMi 14 Ultra retains the IP68 rating. The only other colour available for the Malaysian market is black.

    Specifications at a Glance

    Dimension 161.4 x 75.3 x 9.2 mm
    Weight 220 grams
    IP Rating IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 min)
    Material Display – XiaoMi Shield Glass


    Back – Vegan Leather

    Chassis – Aluminium Alloy

    Colours Black, White
    Price 16GB | 512 GB – RM5,199
    Display LTPO AMOLED, 68B colors, 120Hz, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, 1000 nits (typical), 3000 nits (peak)
    Resolution 1440 x 3200 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~522 ppi density)
    Display Size 6.73 inches (approximate 90% screen-to-body ratio)
    Operating System Android 14, HyperOS
    Chipset Qualcomm SM8650-AB Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 (4 nm)
    Memory 16GB + 512GB
    External Memory Card Slot No
    Main Camera 50 MP, f/1.6-f/4.0, 23mm (wide), 1.0″-type, 1.6µm, multi-directional PDAF, Laser AF, OIS


    50 MP, f/1.8, 75mm (telephoto), 1/2.51″, 0.7µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS, 3.2x optical zoom

    50 MP, f/2.5, 120mm (periscope telephoto), 1/2.51″, 0.7µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS, 5x optical zoom

    50 MP, f/1.8, 12mm, 122˚ (ultrawide), 1/2.51″, 0.7µm, dual pixel PDAF

    Main Camera Video 8K@24/30fps, 4K@24/30/60/120fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240/480/960/1920fps, gyro-EIS, Dolby Vision HDR 10-bit rec. (4K@60fps, 1080p)
    Selfie Camera 32 MP, f/2.0, 22mm (wide), 1/3.14″, 0.7µm
    Selfie Camera Video 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60fps, gyro-EIS
    Sound Stereo, Dolby Atmos
    WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e/7, tri-band, Wi-Fi Direct
    Bluetooth 5.4, A2DP, LE, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, LHDC
    USB USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2, DisplayPort, OTG
    Battery 5000 mAh, non-removable
    Charging 90W wired, PD3.0, QC4

    80W wireless, 100% in 46 min (advertised)

    10W reverse wireless

    Display and battery:

    XiaoMi 14 Ultra sports a 6.73-inch LTPO AMOLED display, protected by XiaoMi’s own tech named Shield Glass. The WQHD+ display has 3,200 x 1,440 pixels and has a 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate. The display supports Dolby Vision and HDR10+ with 3,000-nits of peak brightness and 1920Hz PWM dimming to ease eye fatigue when looking at the screen for a long period of gaming. Typical screen brightness is around 1,000 nits, which is great for viewing the phone outdoors, but I would still recommend to game on XiaoMi 14 Ultra indoors.

    As noted in our XiaoMi 14 review here, the default colour setting of “Original colour PRO” makes games look slightly washed out, less saturated colour despite the Pro moniker. Digging into the display menu, and changing it to “Vivid” fixed it, and the colour is much vivid and more saturated. This is a personal preference so some of you readers could find the default setting acceptable.

    The battery capacity on the XiaoMi 14 Ultra is at 5,000mAh which is the same as last year’s model. Topping up the battery from 15% to full in about 42 minutes with the provided 90W charging brick, which was slower than the advertised time. A quick setting check reveals that the “Boost charging speed” setting is set to off by default, most probably due to the faster battery degradation if boost charging is always used.

    Gaming on the XiaoMi 14 Ultra:

    As usual, I subjected the XiaoMi 14 Ultra with Genshin Impact on the highest graphic setting and 60FPS. Frame rate experience is very good, with very high 58 to 60 FPS recorded throughout the game. XiaoMi 14 Ultra drops a few more frames during an intense open world with frantic elemental effects, and during loading in a new area after teleporting, but the device can catch up back to 60FPS very shortly. These drops don’t appear regularly, only during the scenarios above, and would not be very noticeable unless you are keeping a lookout for it.

    Genshin Impact on the XiaoMi 14 Ultra will drop frames during intense open world battles with lots of elemental effects, at the highest graphical setting at 60FPS.

    I then tested the new action RPG game Wuthering Waves, another demanding game that focuses on open-world battles. It too delivers very high 58 to 60FPS during open-world exploration but frame rate dips are more severe in Wuthering Waves during battles, as low as 50FPS but usually hovers around the 54 55FPS ranges. This could be possibly attributed to Wuthering Waves is a very new game released with a less than fully optimized engine, so new that it wasn’t even registered by XiaoMi 14 Ultra’s Game Boost app.

    Another positive about gaming on the XiaoMi 14 Ultra is the eco-leather back actually keeps the rear of the phone less warm than the glass back of the younger brother XiaoMi 14.

    Wuthering Waves Main Character is called a Rover.

    Gaming battery consumption is handled well too. Wuthering Waves open world battles in the highest settings and 60FPS for 10 minutes drains the battery by 4%, and a full hour of open-world exploration and battles sips only 20% of the battery life. Given the more efficient 4nm SD8Gen3 chip, the 5,000mAh battery provides for longer gaming sessions and with mixed usage of gaming, video viewing, web browsing and chatting will easily last the whole day.

    The top and bottom speaker produces a good audio experience for gaming, with none of the issues found in the XiaoMi 14. Bass is present (though not booming bass) while no sibilance is noticed in the higher ranges. Despite the better-sounding speakers, I would still recommend wireless headphones for a better gaming experience.

    The Cameras:

    Unlike the younger sibling XiaoMi 14 which offers big refreshes on the rear cameras, XiaoMi 14 Ultra sticks mostly to what was already present in the 13 Ultra with some noticeable visual changes. The circular camera bump has increased in size, height and weight, making the phone very top-heavy with the ever-present feeling of the phone toppling over. There is no way to lay the phone flat on its back and it will wobble if you type while it’s resting on the table.

    XiaoMi continues its great working relationship with Leica, which provides Leica-Sumilux lenses for all the rear cameras. Pictures taken with XiaoMi 14 Ultra still include the same Leica Vibrant and Leica Authentic shooting styles to choose from, with which my personal preference is the Vibrant style for more vibrant colours as the name implies.

    23mm main camera 1-in sensors produce beautiful portrait shots with very good subject separation.

    The main camera is now a Sony LYT-900 1-inch sensor, which XiaoMi boasts to improve light intake by 36% compared to last year’s model, with a wide 23mm focal length. This camera is also equipped with f/1.63 to f/4.0 “step-less” variable aperture, which allows users to be more flexible when composing their shots for more depth of field bokeh portrait shots or clear and sharp group shots. XiaoMi has included its own Master Portrait mode in addition to the Leica Portrait mode, the only difference I notice is that the Master Portrait Mode is slightly brighter as both modes perform very well.

    75mm Portrait shot in Xiaomi;s Master Portrait mode. Background bokeh is creamy produced by the 3.2X optical zoom lenses.

    The other two telephoto cameras are similar to last year’s model too, a 50MP F1.8 3.2X optical zoom of 75mm focal length and a 50MP F2.5 5X optical periscope zoom of 120mm focal length, with improvements on nearer macro focusing distance of 10cm and 30cm respectively.

    The combined four optical zoom ranges provide a very versatile photography tool, which is what the XiaoMi 14 Ultra key focus is in. Photographs taken by the cameras using the optical zoom range are superb, day or night shots. In daylight, even the digital zoom offers good sharpness and details for up to 10X zoom. Any longer zoom than 10X, the images will be less detailed and sharp but will still usable for social media postings.

    And as confident the XiaoMi 14 Ultra is of its camera capabilities, the main camera usually does not switch to the night mode, yet can produce bright, detailed and sharp nighttime images even in the outdoors. Portrait shots are very well handled, using both the main camera’s bigger sensor and the telephoto camera.

    23mm main camera, taken in normal as the XiaoMi 14 Ultra didn’t even switch to Night Mode.

    The 50MP F1.8 Ultra-Wide 12mm camera rounds up a total of four cameras at the back. The Ultra-Wide camera is usable to capture wider landscape shots or close-up macro shots, the edge sharpness is less impressive and would be the weakest camera of the rear bunch. If the preceding sentence makes it sound like the Ultra-Wide camera is poor, I assure you its not but it is just that the other three cameras are really that good.

    50MP Ultra-Wide camera in low light, this picture wall is almost 20M wide and 10M tall. Images degrades towards the edges, but very usable to capture such a difficult angle at close up.

    Lastly, the 32MP front camera is as exactly as it was previously, functional as its intended but not as standout as the main cameras in the rear.

    The Photography Kit:

    the optional RM799 Photography Kit.

    XiaoMi sells a separate Photography Kit, which consists of a rear case, a camera grip with dual step shutter button, a zoom rocker, a dial and a dedicated video capture button. This camera grip adds to the handling bump that transforms the XiaoMi 14 Ultra into an actual camera, which also doubles as an additional 1,500mAh battery pack with its own UBS-C slot that charges both itself and the XiaoMi 14 Ultra at the same time.

    Photography Kit case, orange decorative ring and the camera grip installed on the XiaoMi 14 Ultra.

    Also included in the Photography Kit are two decorative camera rings to adorn the camera bump, in bright orange and silver, a 67mm filter lens adapter and a lanyard. This Photography Kit is sold separately at RM799, and is solely aimed at photography enthusiasts only. The downside to this otherwise well-built kit is it adds much heft and weight to the XiaoMi 14 Ultra.

    The Photography Kit camera grip, that is also a 1,500mAh battery pack that charges the XiaoMi 14 Ultra when attached.


    XiaoMi 14 Ultra is shipped with HyperOS that’s based on Android 14, so my impressions of it remain exactly as it was with the XiaoMi 14.

    XiaoMi has introduced HyperOS, an Android 14-based OS, with the XiaoMi 14 ultra coming preinstalled with this updated system. HyperOS retains the familiar look of MIUI but promises faster responsiveness and smoother animations. One noticeable change is the drop-down menu, which now features logos without accompanying text descriptions. This can be confusing for new users who aren’t familiar with MIUI, requiring some time to understand each logo’s function.

    When ads notifications become too intrusive, especially when the come from system apps such as Music, Theme and Game Center. Note that these apps are not even running in the background.

    The Music and Video apps have been replaced with ones that are more integrated with online content. These apps send frequent notifications for recommended songs, videos, and games, which quickly fill up the lock screen which I find as annoying as the unwanted notifications keep adding up. These native systems apps are not even running in the background, yet ad notifications are popping up regularly. Adjusting notification settings can alleviate this issue but I find throwing ads so frequently on a range-topping flagship as rather unnecessary.

    The good news is that XiaoMi is committing to 4 major software updates and 5 years of security patch support for the XiaoMi 14 Ultra, keeping it fresh and updated with the latest security patches for a long time.

    In summary:

    What I Really Liked About the XiaoMi 14:

    • Handsome looking phone
    • Flagship level performances
    • Very pleasant gaming performances
    • Efficient battery consumption
    • Great cameras
    • Great display
    • Great thermal management
    • 90W fast charging

    What I Wished Was Better:

    • Less intrusive ads and notifications


    In conclusion, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra is a flagship device that ticks all the right boxes. From its powerful performance and stunning display to its premium design and excellent battery life, it’s a device that leaves little to be desired. On top of that, XiaoMi 14 Ultra’s truly stellar photography prowess befits it as one of the best photography tools in a mobile phone form.

    An opinionated person, The Old Timer have prolonged exposure to the world, and have cynical views on issues around him. Can't handle them Dark Souls type of games coz "hey, I play games to relax and destress", and is mainly into story modes and gacha games.

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