The Xiaomi 14 and 14 Ultra will be available worldwide

Xiaomi is using MWC to launch two of its flagships to a global audience – but not to the US as usual. The Xiaomi 14 and 14 Ultra have already been announced in China, and today they’re taking center stage with custom designs and progressive camera features. They can be ordered from today; the 14 Ultra costs €1,499 (about $1624) and the 14 starts at €999 (about $1082).

The Xiaomi 14 covers the flagship basics, with a smaller 6.36-inch screen – now an LTPO 120Hz panel for smooth scrolling and power efficiency – and comes with more modest camera specs, at least compared to the 14 Ultras, a 6.73-inch, 120Hz 1440p panel and 1-inch main camera. Go big or go all out, I guess.

The 14 Ultra was officially unveiled in China a few days ago, but during the global launch event we gathered a few more details about what will surely be a contender for the best camera phone of 2024. The main camera uses the new 1-inch type The Sony LYT-900 sensor can also be seen on the Oppo Find today’s announcement).

Instead of the fixed aperture that most smartphone cameras use, the 14 Ultras can open or close at 1,024 stops between f/1.63 and f/4.0. We got a demo at a pre-launch event just outside Barcelona, ​​and you can indeed see the small aperture moving up and down. The use cases for this feature seem very small: even at its widest setting, the lens behaves more like an f/4.0 on a full-frame camera in terms of depth of field. Stopping any further seems like a pointless exercise, but I saw the aperture move and can confirm that it works.

The Ultra follows the example of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and contains not one but two telephoto lenses: a 3.2x and a 5x, both stabilized. And on the video side, it’s a signal from the iPhone 15 Pro and includes log recording. That’s a very useful feature for a small percentage of people it means you can use the phone in a multi-camera film setup and color-judge the results to match the rest. You can also log 10-bit HDR for some extra flexibility in post-processing.

I saw the aperture move

The Xiaomi 14 Ultra deviates from last year’s curved edges and embraces them 2014 The hottest trend of 2024: flat edges. They’re easier to grip and there’s a slight curve in the straight edge on both the front and back panels, making it comfortable to hold. You like to see it. Also in the category what is old is new again? Xiaomi’s camera kit for the Ultra, which has been updated so that the grip can act as an external battery for the phone. I like an accessory that does more than one job.

The Xiaomi 14 comes with a trio of 50-megapixel sensors in the main, wide-angle and 3.2x telephoto cameras – an upgrade from the 10-megapixel chip in last year’s telephoto camera. The square camera bump looks a little different this time, losing the lines that divided it into four quadrants on the 13th.

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The Leica the branding is rotated 90 degrees so it looks good in landscape orientation, just as it appears on the Ultra. The back panel glass has a matte finish that feels sleek without being too slippery, or perhaps the flat edges make it feel more secure in my hand. Whatever it is, I like it.

As usual, Xiaomi’s flagship Ultra camera phone looks like an absolute device, and as usual it’s disappointing that we’ll be missing it in the US. While Samsung and Google have leveraged AI camera features for their most recent updates, the most interesting hardware upgrades have come from Chinese phone makers, led by Oppo and Xiaomi. If these things work in cycles – like the return of flat edges – the smartphones we see in the US may also be due for some serious hardware innovation in the near future.

Photography by Allison Johnson / The Verge

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