A strong first impression from the Xiaomi 13 Ultra
How I spent my spring vacation
Welcome back to Multicore for Tuesday, May 9th.
If you're in Hawaii or on the West Coast, at least. Sorry for the delay on today's issue; I just got back to Tokyo from Okinawa, where my wife and I spent a fun few days island-hopping. I tried not to pay much attention to news outside of the ongoing NBA playoffs, but I can't claim I was altogether switched off from Multicore — I brought the new Xiaomi 13 Ultra along as my only travel camera and tested it as much as I could.
The software on this phone is still a little hot. There have been a few camera-related updates already, the latest of which came in over the weekend and included fixes like "improved camera's performance" and "image quality for specific scenes". I'll do a full review once I'm confident that Xiaomi is done working through any major issues, but for now I thought it'd be worth dropping some early impressions.
Multicore is a reader-supported publication. To help fund future photo excursions, please consider becoming a free or paid subscriber 📸
What I can say already is that the 13 Ultra is a blast to shoot. It builds on the excellent 13 Pro in several ways: the ultrawide and 3.2x telephoto hardware is upgraded, the primary camera now has a variable aperture, and there's an extra 5x periscope telephoto camera. As with the 13 Pro, its colour science was developed in collaboration with Leica and delivers punchy, natural results that feel refreshing after years of flat HDR photography from phones.
I'll get into proper technical analysis in the review, but until that's ready, here are some holiday snaps straight out of the camera. All of them are using the default "Leica Authentic" colour profile, and I haven't edited them at all except for minor crops or straightening. Some of them could certainly benefit from a touch of editing, but that's true of anything I'd take with a dedicated camera. What impresses me so far about the 13 Ultra is how many of the shots look great right away, and how few of them look like they were taken with a phone.
This next shot shows off the difference between the f/1.9 and f/4 aperture settings on the primary camera:
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial