It’s awkward to be a middle child, they say. You aren’t the first born, you aren’t the youngest, you’re just there, in the middle, constantly forgotten – the firstborn is the oldest and gets all the accolades, while the youngest is the smallest, requiring a lot of attention. You, on the other hand, are neither.
This is the position the Xiaomi 13 Pro finds itself in. The 13 Ultra is the accolade-collecting overachiever, the vanilla 13 is the only one of the series that’s going to work well with small hands (or people who simply prefer smaller – if not small per se – phones), and the 13 Pro… also exists.
That’s what the situation looks like from afar, at least. Look a little closer, use the 13 Pro for an extended amount of time like we did for this review, and your perception changes. It’s much more than an awkward middle child. In fact, it’s arguably almost equal to the much praised 13 Ultra, if you don’t really care about having the best of the best when it comes to cameras and screen brightness.
So despite what a cursory look at the three models might have you believe, we don’t think the 13 Pro was simply launched so that there wouldn’t be a huge price and spec gap between the 13 and the 13 Ultra. It’s not just awkwardly assigned to arbitrarily fill that gap in the portfolio, it stands on its own right, and we’ll let you know all the ways in which it does in this long-term review.
Truth be told, the Xiaomi 13 Pro surprised us, and that rarely happens anymore. When we say ‘surprised’, we mean in a good way, mostly – we definitely don’t think you should sleep on this one. It does however have some now-unfortunately-standard for Xiaomi issues that we’ll also describe, just so you know exactly what you’re getting if you are thinking of picking one up. So, without further ado, let’s get to it. Join us over the next few pages as we tell you what it was like to live with the Xiaomi 13 Pro day in and day out as our one and only smartphone.
It’s getting harder and harder to write this section of a long-term review with each one we do. Most high-end phones are a slab of glass with some metal sandwiched in between for good measure. Guess what? The Xiaomi 13 Pro is like this too. Some high-end phones (but less and less by the day) have screen glass that curves on the sides. The Xiaomi 13 Pro is one of those, and despite the haters, we still love both the look of curved glass and the feel it enables when performing the Back gesture. It’s just way smoother when it’s curved.
Speaking of the curved glass, we can practically read the “but accidental touches!” comments, and, as usual, we have to mention that, for us, these have only ever been problematic on Samsung smartphones with curved screens – and even there, the situation has been getting progressively better over the past few years.
Second, if you use such a device with a case, as most people do, 99% of those accidental touches go away simply by virtue of the case being there. Finally, if neither of these arguments has convinced you yet, you’ll be happy to know that Xiaomi has implemented a special setting that lets you adjust the sensitivity around the curves. We never needed to use this, but it’s there to assuage your fears if you need it.