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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review: Full power without the price tag
1:55 am | January 5, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Phones | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro: Two-minute review

Asus might have made the best out and out gaming phone of 2023 in the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, but the Nubia Red Magic 8S Pro was the people’s champ. It offered comparably zippy performance and gamer-friendly controls in a reasonably neat package, all for less than half the price.

Now the Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro is here, with updated internals and a slightly streamlined design at the same asking price. Yes, it’s another iterative update from Nubia, but that’s kind of what it takes if you’re intent on staying at the cutting edge of mobile gaming performance on a strict budget.

The design is much like the previous models, with flat surfaces and gaming-friendly capacitive shoulder buttons, but with a more elegant flattened camera module. Meanwhile, the huge notch-free display is brighter and more vibrant than before.

If we’re talking top-tier features, the Red Magic 9 Pro really hits the bullseye with its performance. Not only does the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 beat most of the competition, but it can do so over a sustained period thanks to an extensive multi-layered cooling system.

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review back table straight

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)

The other key component here is the Red Magic 9 Pro’s battery. It’s bigger than ever at 6,500mAh, and it can last a full two days of regular usage on a single charge. Heavy gaming won’t leave you sweating come the end of a day either, while a bundled 80W charger gets you back up to speed quickly.

Few of the best gaming phones take brilliant pictures, and the Red Magic 9 Pro is no exception. Its 50MP main Samsung-made sensor does a passable job, especially now that it has OIS, but the new 50MP ultra-wide is fairly mediocre, and the under-display selfie cam is abysmal.

Nubia’s software provision has come on leaps and bounds since its calamitous early days, to the point where it’s now actually quite usable. It’s far from perfect, but its Game Space mode is well tuned to a gamer’s needs.

It isn’t the best pure gaming phone on the market, even with its imperious performance, but the Red Magic 9 Pro is undoubtedly the best-value. You simply won’t find this level of sustained performance anywhere else for $649 / £579.

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review: Price and availability

  • From $649 / £579 / Australian buyers use Red Magic's global store in USD
  • Pre-order from December 27, 2023
  • On sale from January 3, 2024

The international version of the Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro was made available for pre-order from December 27, 2023 on the Red Magic website, with open sales commencing on January 3, 2024.

The entry-level Sleet model – which ships with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage – costs $649 / £579. The Cyclone and Snowfall models – both of which ship with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage – cost $799 / £709.

While Red Magic tries to sell its devices local currency in most of the markets it operates in, interested buyers in Australia will have buy through the company's global store, which is all priced in USD, meaning the base 256GB model sells for approximately AU$965 at $649 and the 512GB variant costs equivalent to about AU$1,190.

That essentially sees Nubia freezing the pricing of its latest gaming phone compared to the 8S Pro. The mid-level price has been taken out this year too, which effectively means that you get a choice of color if you’re shopping for the top storage RAM version.

  • Value score: 5 / 5

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review: Specs

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review: Design

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review back handheld

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
  • Gorilla Glass 5 front and back, aluminum frame
  • Even flatter design than before
  • 520Hz capacitive shoulder buttons
  • Dedicated gaming mode switch

As gaming phones go, the Red Magic 9 Pro looks pretty decent, but isn’t the most comfortable to hold for extended periods. Make no mistake, this is still a big, bulky phone, at 8.9mm thick – half a millimetre thinner than the 8S Pro – and with a similar weight of 229 grams.

Both measurements are at the very top end of acceptable for regular phone users, but within a gaming phone context they’re quite reasonable. With none of the ROG Phone 7 series' curves, however, it might weigh a little heavier after a lengthy gaming session.

The Red Magic 9 Pro’s blocky, flat-surfaced look has been accentuated this year with an almost completely flat back. The camera module has been shunted to the side and placed underneath the transparent rear cover, which could be the first practical use case for such an aesthetic choice. It’s a pleasingly clean effect, though it’s ever so slightly spoiled by the flash poking through.

My model comes in the Snowfall colorway, which is basically off-white with a semi-transparent back hinting at some of the components within. Cyclone pulls the same trick but with black as the underlying color, while Sleet is the terribly named plain black entry model.

There’s some RGB lighting, of course, around the fan, under the '09' decal, and now also underneath the capacitive shoulder button controls that sit along the right edge. Said sensors appear to be unchanged since the 8S Pro, lighting aside.

Once again, they have a speedy 520Hz response rate, and work with Nubia’s gaming UI, allowing you to map gaming controls to them. They’re particularly handy in shooters like CoD Mobile or PUBG Mobile, where they can be assigned to aim and shoot.

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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review side handheld

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review back straight table

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review back table

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review top handheld

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)

On a rather over-stacked right-hand edge, you also get the volume and power buttons – the latter pleasingly circular – as well as a custom Game Boost Switch. Flip this to jump into Game Space mode, where you can launch games and tinker with performance and interface elements, so as to optimize your gaming experience.

That flat side frame itself is made from aluminum, while the display is once again covered by Gorilla Glass 5. This isn’t the newest or toughest material of its kind, but cuts clearly had to be made somewhere to hit that price point. Another such compromise is the lack of a water and dust resistance IP rating.

You only get the one USB-C port on the bottom of the phone, unlike the Asus ROG Phone range, but you still get a 3.5mm headphones jack on the top edge.

The front of the phone impresses from a visual perspective, with minimal bezels and an under-display selfie cam making for a nigh-on all-screen experience. It’s not an especially gamer-friendly touch, though, with less space to hold the phone and ample opportunity for false presses.

It also means that the speaker grilles have been consigned to the top and bottom edges, which isn’t ideal for landscape gaming.

  • Design score: 3.5 / 5

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review: Display

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review front handheld

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
  • Large 6.8-inch screen
  • FHD+ resolution, 120Hz refresh rate
  • New material provides brighter, bolder picture
  • Under-display selfie camera

Like its predecessor, the Red Magic 9 Pro packs a large 6.8-inch OLED display with a 2480 x 1116 resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. The latter spec isn’t the fastest on the gaming phone market, but given that precious few games will support frame rates in excess of 120Hz it’s not a huge problem.

This isn’t exactly the same as the Red Magic 8S Pro display, however. Nubia has switched to using BOE’s Q9+ luminescent material, which makes for a punchier output. A little too punchy, in fact – I had to crank the color mode all the way down to ‘Soft’, away from the ‘Colorful’ default and past the medium ‘Standard’ setting, to secure a slightly more natural look.

This new material seems to grant the Red Magic 9 Pro a little more brightness too. Nubia claims a peak brightness of 1,600nits, which is up 300nits from the 8S Pro. With auto-brightness switched off, I recorded the 9 Pro hitting 445 nits, which is about 100 nits more than its predecessor.

While this might not be the sharpest or most nuanced display on the market, the Red Magic 9 Pro's screen makes for an excellent gaming canvas. It’s big, flat, sufficiently bright, and it doesn’t have a bothersome notch getting in the way of the action.

  • Display score: 4 / 5

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review: Camera

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review camera macro

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
  • 50MP main with OIS this time
  • Improved 50MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro
  • 16MP in-display selfie camera still terrible
  • Up to 8K video

If a manufacturer needs to free up space and money to do something a little different with a phone, it’s invariably the camera that suffers. Just as with foldables, so it is with gaming phones.

Last year’s Red Magic 8S Pro didn’t take particularly great pictures, and the Red Magic 9 Pro isn’t all that much better. It does mark a slight improvement, however.

While it packs the exact same 50MP Samsung GN5 main image sensor as before, this time it’s accompanied by optical image stabilization (OIS). You’d take this component for granted in a $700/£600 smartphone, but it’s a welcome addition to this $700/£600 gaming phone.

The combination of an aging flagship sensor (it was in the Samsung Galaxy S22) with proper stabilization, a 7P lens (that stands for seven [plastic] elements), and the improved image processing of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, produces decent shots in good lighting. The results in low lighting are a tad crisper than with the 8S Pro, though Nubia’s Night mode still brightens things up to a slightly false-looking degree.

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro camera samples

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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro camera sample cafe

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro camera sample fruit

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro camera sample plants

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro camera sample bottles

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro camera sample cat closeup

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro camera sample cat 2x zoom

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro camera sample cat

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro camera sample Selfie

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro camera sample Night mode warehouse

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro camera sample Night mode fence

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro camera sample Night mode graffiti

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro camera sample beach ultra-wide

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro camera sample beach

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro camera sample island ultra-wide

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro camera sample island

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)

Nubia has also improved the ultra-wide camera, swapping out the 8MP sensor in the 8S Pro for a 50MP Samsung JN1 alternative. While it’s an adequate component in good lighting, there’s a marked difference to the main sensor in terms of tone and dynamic range.

The fresh OIS provision also enhances the 9 Pro’s video capabilities. It’s still shooting at 8K/30fps, 4K/60fps, or 1080p/240fps, but the footage I captured seemed to benefit from the new steadying technology.

One thing that most certainly hasn’t changed is the Red Magic 9 Pro’s 16MP under-display selfie camera. It might free up space on the display, but once again selfie shots look truly terrible – a blurry, smudgey, borderline impressionistic mess.

  • Camera score: 3 / 5

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review: Performance

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review Genshin Impact

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
  • One of the first phones on the market with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip
  • 12GB or 16GB RAM of LPDDR5X RAM
  • 256GB or 512GB UFS 4.0 storage

Any compromises made with the Red Magic 9 Pro’s design and camera were reached in service of this: providing as much gaming power as possible for a mid-market price.

On that front, the Red Magic 9 Pro is an unmitigated triumph. Nubia has switched to the latest and greatest chip at its disposal, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 from Qualcomm, together with either 12 or 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM.

This is the same chip the vast majority of 2024 flagship phones will be using, and it’s as fast as you’d expect. The usual CPU and GPU benchmark tests reveal a clear, if hardly seismic performance boost over the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 from 2023.

Interestingly, it’s nip and tuck with the iPhone 15 Pro and its A17 Pro. Apple’s latest chip seems to have a clear single-core CPU performance advantage, but the $649 / £579 Red Magic 9 Pro and its Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 wins its fair share of GPU rounds.

Raw processing power is all well and good, but that’s only half the story with a gaming phone such as this. Where the Red Magic 9 Pro really impresses is with its level of sustained performance.

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review side table

Shoulder buttons and a red switch made for gaming on the go. (Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)

Running a couple of the 3DMark Extreme tests, which run 20 successive minute-long intensive graphical tests, the Red Magic 9 Pro achieved close to perfect stability. That is, its average loop score remained remarkably consistent. Non-gaming phones only tend to score 70 to 80% in the stability stakes, due to their habit of throttling the processor significantly after the first loop.

The difference all comes down to cooling. Nubia has equipped the Red Magic 9 Pro with an upgraded ten-layer ICE 13.0 Cooling System, which includes a physical fan that kicks in when you start up a game. It’s a bit noisy, but it enables you to run the likes of Genshin Impact or Diablo Immortal on the highest settings at a solid 60fps, and they won’t start dropping frames deep into your session.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review: Software

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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review front table upright

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
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Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review front table

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
  • Red Magic OS 9.0 on Android 14
  • Ugly but functional UI
  • Powerful Game Space dedicated gaming UI

Nubia has improved its Red Magic OS user experience immeasurably over the past couple of years. What was once a painful mish-mash of screen-hogging widgets, occasionally untranslated Mandarin text, and a number of glitches has turned into a fairly typical custom Android 14 environment.

It’s still a pretty mediocre custom skin, with charmless wallpapers, a superfluous browser-cum-news-feed app, and the app preinstalled (why is it always But Red Magic OS 9.0 is now in a broadly functional state, and I was able to run the phone as my day-to-day device for around a week (and intermittently thereafter) with no major snags.

While I’m doling out faint praise, is that Google Keep I see preinstalled? It’s a very small point, but precious few manufacturers go with Google’s clean note-taking app out of the box, so I appreciate it when one does.

I did observe a couple of hiccups early on, with the home screen seeming to exhibit some bizarre lag despite all that power on tap, and despite me forcing the screen to refresh at 120Hz. After a couple of firmware updates, however, everything seems to be running smoothly.

I also had to go in and set Gmail to sync manually, for whatever reason. Presumably the aforementioned updates fixed that, but it’s difficult to be certain without a factory reset.

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review Game Space

Game Space is loaded with useful tools for gamers. (Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)

The important software here – given the intended audience – is Nubia’s Game Space UI. Flick that red switch and you’ll be booted into an interface that grants access to your games, as well as control over fan, CPU, and GPU settings.

When in a game you can drag in from the top left edge of the screen to bring up a streamlined UI. It’s from here you can also assign those capacitive controls to the game’s on-screen virtual buttons.

Nubia’s Game Space UI also lets you manage any accessories that you choose to buy, as well as run a large screen projection, manage your in-game screenshots and captured videos, tweak the RGB lighting output, and much more besides.

It’s way more than your average phone user will want or need, but then the Red Magic 9 Pro isn’t for average phone users.

  • Software score: 3 / 5

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review: Battery

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review bottom handheld

(Image credit: Future | Jon Mundy)
  • Expanded 6,500mAh battery
  • Clears a full day of intensive use with ease
  • Fast 80W wired charging

Given that the Red Magic 9 Pro weighs about the same as the 8S Pro, and is also a little thinner, it’s impressive to note that Nubia has managed to increase the size of its battery.

It’s now up to a frankly huge 6,500mAh dual-cell configuration. Nubia claims that it can last up to 56 hours, which is tricky to equate to real world usage. I found that I could go through a full day of moderate usage with about four hours of screen-on time, and still be left with around 65% in the tank.

That’s an excellent result, not only improving upon the Red Magic 8S Pro, but also opening up the genuine possibility of practical two-day usage.

Of course, that’s not what all that extra juice is intended for. Gamers will find that they can indulge in a couple of intensive gaming sessions throughout the day, and won’t have to worry about plugging in until bed time.

The charging provision has ostensibly been improved too, with an 80W charger bundled in, which is up from 65W on the 8S Pro. Given the extra capacity of that battery, though, charging speeds are roughly the same, with a full charge from empty taking around 40 minutes.

Again, there’s no wireless charging here, but that’s a feature that’s routinely omitted from gaming phones – even the $1,399 / £1,199.99 / AU$2,099 ROG Phone 7 Ultimate – where advanced cooling solutions occupy that space instead.

  • Battery score: 5 / 5

Should you buy the Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro?

Buy it if...

You want peak gaming performance at half the price
Good luck getting this much sustained gaming performance this cheap anywhere else. Nubia's choice of top-speed chip, memory and storage, along with active cooling make for a powerful team.

You’re after an all-screen phone
The Red Magic 9 Pro’s minimal bezels and under-display camera make it a uniquely screen-heavy device. While it's built for active media, you can also passively sink your teeth into shows and even books on its expansive display too.

You want two-day battery life
When you lay off the games, the Red Magic 9 Pro will sail through two full days of use on a single charge, and if you don't, you'll still make it through a day without having to curb your gaming habit.

Don't buy it if...

Photography is a priority
The main sensor doesn’t take terrible photos, but you can get a way better camera system for the same money – or even less. Under-display camera tech is cool in theory, but the reality means selfie-lovers should avoid too.

You want the best gaming phone, money no object
Nubia cuts a few corners to hit an aggressive price point. If money is no object and you want the very best, keep any eye on the Asus ROG Phone range.

You hate custom Android UIs
Anyone with a bee in their bonnet about manufacturers messing with Google’s stock Android UI should look away now. Red Magic OS 9.0 is the best iteration of the company's user experience to date, but that's not saying a whole lot, considering where things started.

Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review: Also consider

The Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro is a unique proposition alright, but it isn’t the only option if you’re after a game-friendly phone.

Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate
It’s about to be replaced at the time of writing, but if you can use that fact to get the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate at a discount, it remains a fabulous gaming specialist.

Nubia Red Magic 8S Pro
Last year’s model remains a fabulous gaming phone, with a very similar feature-set to the 9 Pro. You should be able to get it even cheaper now, too.

Apple iPhone 13
Apple still sells the iPhone 13 as new for around the same price as the Red Magic 9 Pro. It’s not as gaming focused, but it remains capable, and has access to a superior roster of games.

How I tested the Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro

  • Review test period = 2 weeks
  • Testing included = Everyday usage, including web browsing, social media, photography, video calling, gaming, streaming video, music playback
  • Tools used = Geekbench 6, GFXBench, 3DMark, native Android stats, bundled Nubia 80W power adapter

I was sent the top Snowfall model of the Red Magic 9 Pro by a PR representative, at which point I commenced using the phone on a daily basis over a two-week period.

For at least a week of that time, the 9 Pro was my everyday phone. For the rest of the time, I swapped in another active SIM and continued to use the phone for benchmark tests, photos, and general browsing.

I’m a freelance journalist who got his start writing about mobile games in the pre-smartphone era. I was around to cover the arrival of the iPhone and the App Store, as well as Android, and their seismic effect on the games industry. I now write about consumer tech, games, and culture for a number of top websites.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed December 2023

Motorola Edge 30 Fusion review: an almost-flagship with smart compromises
7:00 am | April 23, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Motorola Edge 30 Fusion: Two-minute review

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion is the middle child in the Edge 30 family. It’s less expensive than the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra but a lot fancier than the Motorola Edge 30 Neo. 

Is this the perfect balance of quality and cost? It might well be. 

For around half the price of the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra you get a high-end metal and glass design, super-bright OLED screen, and a camera that, while not truly top-tier, can handle almost all kinds of scenes well enough. The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion even has a flagship chipset. It’s just the flagship of 2021, not 2022 – when the phone launched. 

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion is a phone that lets you feel you found a good deal, without needing to hunt down sales or discounts, earning a place on a rundown of the best Motorola phones.

A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion from the back

(Image credit: TechRadar)

We don’t think it’s much of a style icon, even if its outer build is perhaps the number one reason to buy this particular model. And we’ve noticed a few camera issues that have come and gone with software updates released during the testing period. It also lacks any form of telephoto camera.

If the camera is your number one consideration, you need to check out the Google Pixel 7 as well. It has a better camera, and uses a newer chipset and tougher glass, but has a smaller screen with a 90Hz refresh rate instead of 144Hz. 

However, the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion is a well-rounded mid-range phone where most deficiencies are strategic, not screw-ups. We’ll cover what minor 'screw-ups' there are in this review.

Motorola Edge 30 Fusion review: price and availability

A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion from the front

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Launched in September 2022
  • Original price was around $700 / £499 / AU$900
  • Now costs around $500 / £400 / AU$785

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion was announced in September 2022 alongside the Edge 30 Ultra and Edge 30 Neo. It’s the middle one of this trio. 

This little family represents a half-generational update to the Motorola Edge 30 and Motorola Edge 30 Pro released much earlier in 2022. 

The Motorola 30 Fusion cost around $700 / £499 / AU$900 at launch, and since then prices have dropped. At the time of writing (in April 2023) we can see it for $500 / £400 / AU$785.

So it’s well below the price of top-of-the-line Android phones, but also too expensive to be considered a budget buy. However, as you’ll see in this review, the phone justifies this position well.

  • Value score: 4.5 / 5

Motorola Edge 30 Fusion review: specs

Motorola Edge 30 Fusion review: design

A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion from the back

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Gorilla Glass 5 front and back panels
  • Not too large, not too heavy
  • Expensive build, but not a particularly distinctive design

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion's aim is to look and feel like a top-tier phone, while costing mid-tier money. This used to be a common goal among manufacturers. But these days? Not so much, as you can find plenty of reasonably expensive Androids with plastic rear panels.

There’s none of that nonsense here. The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion has a curved glass front panel, and a curved glass rear. Both of these sheets are Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5, a hardened glass that's a few generations behind the best, and the back has a smooth-looking matte finish that's totally immune to fingerprint marks. 

Unlike some of the few outlier phones that cost a little less but also use curved glass, like the Vivo V25 Pro, the sides that join the glass are aluminum – not plastic. This phone is no pretender. The build really is quite high-end.

A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion from the side

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion’s sub-8mm thickness and 175g weight complete the picture. All the vital statistics match those of some phones twice the cost. This is also a moderately-sized handset, with width similar to an iPhone 14, not the much larger iPhone 14 Plus

Is it actually a good-looking phone? That’s up for debate, but it clearly does not have the character of a Pixel 7 or Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus.

There are some less visible areas where the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion is clearly mid-range. It has IP52 water resistance, which is actually worse than it may sound. The '5' refers to dust resistance, the '2' is the water part, and basically means it hopefully won’t die if it gets slightly rained on. You’d expect the same from phones with no water resistance rating at all.

A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion's bottom edge

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion has no headphone jack, and lacks a microSD card slot. However, it will take two SIMs.

You get a stereo speaker array, and the two drivers – above the display and on the bottom of the phone – have a fairly evenly-matched tone. These speakers aren’t dramatically better than some of Moto’s significantly cheaper models, and at times we wished there were a little more volume on tap, a little more presence in the bass. However, they are solid.

We did initially have something more interesting to say about the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion. During the first week or so of testing, its haptic feedback was bizarre. It was so strong it felt as if the tappy motor was trying to break through the phone’s back. However, that seems to have been fixed in a software update. 

The phone also has a solid in-screen fingerprint sensor.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

Motorola Edge 30 Fusion review: display

A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion from the front

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Excellent outdoor visibility
  • 144Hz refresh rate, much like 120Hz in person
  • As usual, OLED offers good color and contrast

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion has a 6.55-inch P-OLED screen, a mid-size display with a flexible substrate that allows for those curves at the sides – the screen itself is curved, not just the glass.

Almost all aspects of the screen are solid, or better than that. Its maximum refresh rate is 144Hz, for example, not the more common 120Hz. The real-world difference? Basically nothing, but it provides the same smooth-scrolling effect as 120Hz when navigating Android. 

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion only offers two color modes, where other phones have three or more. These are Natural and Saturated. It’s a bit like a restaurant with adults’ and kids’ menus. Natural is clearly the way to go if you want more accurate color. But, hey, if you chicken dinos and fries, live your best life with Saturated. There’s also an easy-to-understand color temperature slider.

A close-up of a Motorola Edge 30 Fusion's screen

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Brightness is capped at around 487 nits indoors, but will reach all the way to 895 nits in super-bright spaces. Outdoors, basically. This is significantly brighter than the vast majority of sub-$600/£500 phones, even if they claim 1,300 nit peak brightness. Screen visibility in sunlight is very good. 

Just two parts don’t quite match up to the very best phone displays. At certain angles whites can take on a slightly blue cast, a common effect among OLEDs, and the 1080 x 2400 pixel resolution is the budget norm. Some very expensive phones have far more pixels but, interestingly enough, the step-up Edge 30 Ultra sticks with 1080 x 2400. 

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion has as good a screen as you could ask for considering the cost, and we love that it uses Gorilla Glass rather than an unnamed kind of tempered glass.

  • Display score: 4.5 / 5

Motorola Edge 30 Fusion review: software and performance

A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion from the front

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Has a top-tier processor from 2021
  • Good gaming and general performance
  • Clean software with a few useful Moto extras

Low-key software is one of the long-standing reasons to pick a Motorola over one of its rivals. It’s often called 'vanilla', but it’s not really. It is just a low-key custom interface without too many try-hard attention grabbing bits.

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion’s appearance can be made much less ordinary with themes, which alter system fonts, icon shapes, and the color of UI blocks. Android 12 sits at the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion’s core, and these color accents are part of its style – we’re talking about the feature toggles you’ll see when you pull down the notifications menu. 

Our first impression of the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion’s software feel wasn’t actually that great, but largely because the experience was derailed by the bizarrely strong haptic feedback mentioned earlier in this review. A few updates later, the Fusion is exactly as you’d expect. It’s smooth, it’s inoffensive – although one software update did alter the system font without being prompted.

A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion from the front

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Plus chipset, and it’s the key to its 'cheaper flagship' status. This is a top-tier processor, but one released in mid-2021.  It is two generations behind the Edge 30 Ultra’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, but as a once-flagship chipset it still holds up well.

In the hierarchy of current processors it sits above the Snapdragon 870, which is fab but not necessarily super-competitive in a phone of this price, and below the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 8 Gen 1 Plus, and 8 Gen 2.

However, Androids with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 tend to suffer from thermal throttling more acutely than the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion, so while those phones have higher peak performance, it tends to settle down to a similar level after five minutes or so of gaming. So it's only the 8 Gen 1 Plus and 8 Gen 2 that offer major performance upgrades.

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion scores 3,247 points in Geekbench 5 (1,063 per core), where you can expect around 4,300 from the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra and its Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. 3DMark’s more GPU-dependent Time Spy test results in a 5,849 score, where a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 can score upwards of 10,000. 

This phone is a good performer, but the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra is way more powerful still. 

Does it actually matter? Maybe not in most situations. You can still play Fortnite in its 60fps mode with the graphics maxed out. It drops below 60fps in busy scenes, and when you turn around quickly, demanding lots of fresh assets to be loaded, but the latter happens regardless of your chipset.

The power you get for your money here is solid, and we’ve had no issues with overheating during testing.

It's also helped along by either 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage (in the UK and Australia), or 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage (in the US).

  • Software score: 4 / 5
  • Performance score: 4 / 5

Motorola Edge 30 Fusion review: cameras

A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion's cameras

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Solid primary camera but no zoom
  • Good low-light performance
  • 4K and 8K video looks oversaturated

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion has three rear cameras, and it’s quite an interesting array. You get a 50MP primary, a 13MP ultra-wide and a 2MP depth camera. 

Its depth camera is classic mid-range tertiary fluff, and is used for background blur portrait images, but the other two are fairly good. The 13MP ultra-wide is a cut above the 8MP cameras you often see in slightly cheaper mid-range Androids, bearing up to cropping and zooming a lot better. 

However, the ultra-wide does tend to produce images with a cooler, less inviting color temperature. And there’s a greater chance of blown-out areas, thanks to the sensor’s lower native dynamic range – this could have been avoided with more attention paid to the software HDR algorithm, but there you go. 

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion is largely a fun-to-use and versatile camera. Its HDR software is, for the most part, highly effective, and helps retain lots of cloud contours when you shoot right into a bright sky. 

Perceived detail and sharpness are very good, and performance at night is strong too. The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion has a Night Vision low-light mode, but even if you forget to use it the phone can produce sharp and clean images in poor lighting. 

Night Vision attempts to improve dynamic range further, and tries harder to bring out more texture detail. However, it takes a little longer to capture an image and the images can look a little more synthetic, with more obvious 'outlining' of high contrast objects, which is a form of sharpening. Sometimes Night Vision looks like it’s showing off, and trading away from realism and classiness as a result. 

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion has quality camera hardware, but the software – while solid – is not best-in-class. You can also see this when you zoom right into your pictures. Tight-knit natural textures like glass and leaves will often have a slightly fake-looking character, as if they’ve been drawn by an AI. Because, on one level, they kind of have been. This is particularly obvious in the more compromised ultra-wide camera.

Other problems we’ve had with the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion have come and gone with software updates, of which there were several during the review. At one point the camera had quite noticeable shutter lag. That seems to have largely been fixed. On one software build the Auto HDR would often fail to engage. 

Right now the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion's camera experience is largely headache-free, but the HDR and exposure system does tend to let small objects that are not themselves all that bright become overexposed in certain scenes. This seems to happen quite a bit when sun shafts hit leaves or branches. 

All in, the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion has a highly capable camera that doesn’t quite get everything right 100% of the time, but can have a solid go at any lighting situation. And its hit rate is decent. 

Video is in more urgent need of attention but, again, the fundamentals here are good. You can shoot 8K video at 30fps, or 4K at 30fps or 60fps. These modes look sharp and clean when shooting in daylight.

However, both of these modes produce oversaturated video that looks unnatural in most scenes. Their detail level is great, but the image character often looks odd.

Drop down to 1080p, and color comes back down to earth. You can switch between 30fps and 60fps but, again, there’s a compromise. 1080p at 60fps looks a lot softer than 30fps, presumably because it misses out on a sharpening pass. Strange as it sounds, 1030p/30 is the least problematic mode.

But given you can adjust video color after shooting, the 4K modes should probably still be the default. Both (30/60fps) have stabilization, which our rather unsteady hands consider to be essential.

A close-up of a Motorola Edge 30 Fusion's screen

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion’s front camera uses the 32MP Samsung S5KGD2 sensor, as seen in phones like the Vivo X80 Pro and Samsung Galaxy A32s.

It’s a good selfie camera, able to render lots of fine detail in decent lighting while also juggling strongly backlit scenes. All those pixels are used for pixel binning in lower light, which helps the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion limit noise and hold onto a decent amount of detail in poor lighting. The front camera is able to record video at up to 4K resolution.

Motorola Edge 30 Fusion camera samples

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A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Motorola doesn’t have the most naturalistic image processing, but this phone takes generally attractive images.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

A church shot using the 1x camera. No major issues here.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion has no macro camera, but it does have a macro mode that uses the ultra-wide camera.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Night Vision mode is powerful. Just look at how it brings out the cloud detail, which was nowhere near as visible to the naked eye as it is here.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Sometimes the Night Vision mode can seem a bit much, at which point you may want to drop down to Auto shooting.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Here’s the most common exposure issue we see in the Fusion, in small parts that are not actually that bright themselves, such as these reedy foreground branches.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Shot using the standard 1x camera.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Good low-light image quality shows the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion has a good primary camera sensor as well as capable software.

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A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Another HDR fail – despite multiple attempts the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion wouldn’t compensate for the overexposed parts here, despite pulling off trickier stunts in other shots.  

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A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion camera sample

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The 13MP ultra-wide can take less obviously compromised images than the 8MP cameras common among mid-range phones.

  • Camera score: 4 / 5

Motorola Edge 30 Fusion review: battery

A Motorola Edge 30 Fusion's bottom edge

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • 68W adapter charged phone in around 50 minutes
  • No wireless charging
  • Serviceable but unremarkable battery life

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion has a 4,400mAh battery that supports 68W fast charging, and comes with such an adapter in the box. 

It’s pretty nippy to charge, reaching 100% in 47 minutes even when starting from completely flat. This typically adds at least a couple of minutes to the process, as phones usually start off slow when in a 'dead' state. 

Motorola claims you can get a day’s worth of charge in 10 minutes, but this does not really pan out. It hits 45% in 20 minutes, and even that won’t get most folks through a day’s use.

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion uses the USB-PD charging standard, and a USB-C-to-USB-C cable. There’s no support for wireless charging here.

Actual stamina is fine, but nothing more than that. It gets through a moderate-to-heavy day of use, but typically won’t have much juice left to see the phone comfortably through the night and into the second day.

4,400mAh is near to the lowest capacity Motorola could get away with in a phone of this power and size. But the Moto-favorite 5,000mAh capacity would probably have resulted in a thicker, and perhaps noticeably heavier phone. We love a long-lasting phone, but considering what Motorola aims for with the Fusion, it has probably made the best capacity-design compromise here.

  • Battery score: 3 / 5

Should you buy the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion?

Buy it if...

You like the idea of a curved glass phone
The Edge 30 Fusion has curved glass front and back panels, which makes it feel slimmer, more elegant and more expensive than most rivals. It’s the classic aim of high-end design at a lower price.

You want a lighter phone
At 178g according to our scales, 175g on Moto’s spec sheet, the Edge 30 Fusion is lighter than a lot of the competition by up to 20g. While you get used to a little extra weight, some will prefer not to have to go through that process.

You want a flagship-like experience for less money The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion has a lot of the same characteristics as top-tier Androids, but costs a lot less. Motorola likely saved a stack of money by using a previous-generation processor, and not using the most expensive version of Corning’s Gorilla Glass.

Don't buy it if...

You want a zoom camera
While the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion's camera is good, there’s no dedicated zoom, which is one of the key elements that separates this phone from a true high-end Android. The Edge 30 Ultra has one of those zooms, and you’ll find even better examples of the tech elsewhere. 

You want two-day battery life
We’d class the Fusion’s battery life as acceptable, but no more than that. It can last through a moderately taxing day, and we don’t think it’s short enough to be problematic for most folks. But you’d have to be a very light user to see two days of use between charges.

You want wireless charging
The Edge 30 Fusion looks like the kind of phone that might have wireless charging, but that’s all part of the "slick design for less" illusion. It only supports cable charging. You have to step up to the 30 Ultra to get wireless support. 

Motorola Edge 30 Fusion: Also consider

If you're not sold on the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion then consider these alternate options.

First reviewed: April 2023

Samsung Galaxy A54 review – more awesome?
4:29 am | March 18, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Samsung Galaxy A54: Two-minute preview

Seldom are mid-range phones as memorable as their flagship counterparts, but Samsung's Galaxy A series – and its A5X devices in particular – are often notable entrants into the mid-range market each year; unquestionably serving as some of the best Samsung phones money can buy.

They've seen a lot of success in past generations, with both the Galaxy A50 and Galaxy A51 being among the best-selling phones in the world, in their respective launch years; making the arrival of this newest entry for 2023 – the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G – all the more significant.

A few days shy of a year on from the introduction of the Galaxy A53, Samsung showcased both the Galaxy A34 5G and Galaxy A54 5G alongside one another, hoping to rejuvenate the company's presence in the mid-range phone market by once again offering trickle-down premium features and long battery life in a stylish package that costs around half as much as the flagships they take inspiration from. As the numbering suggests, it's the A54 that's the fuller-featured off these two latest A-series entrants; with a more premium build, more competent cameras and more power at its disposal.

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G hands on Awesome Violet back angled

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Compared to its predecessor, the A54 has a marginally smaller 6.4-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display, which now peaks at 1,000nits (that's 200 more than the A53). You'll find Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back, and the IP67-certified design embraces the floating camera aesthetics first introduced on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and subsequently adopted by the company's current flagship Galaxy S23 series, from the start of the year.

Just a few weeks prior to the A54's debut, Samsung announced a successor to the silicon that powered 2022's Galaxy A53 – the Exynos 1380. This just so happens to be the chip that keeps the A54 ticking over, paired with 8GB of RAM in most markets (although there is also a 6GB RAM variant in some regions), alongside either 128GB or 256GB of storage, bolstered by increasingly-novel microSD expandability, up to 1TB.

Samsung's also proud to shout about the phone's 5,000mAh battery (that's larger than both the S23's and S23 Plus' batteries), which the company promises delivers up to two-day longevity, twinned with support for 25W fast-charging – just like the standard Samsung Galaxy S23.

While most numbers go up between generations, when looking at the A54's camera compared to its predecessor, the digits actually drop, but in this instance that could be a good thing. Rather than a 64MP lead snapper, the A54's camera array is fronted by a new 50MP sensor with larger pixels, improved autofocus and OIS (optical image stabilization), paired with a 12MP ultrawide, a 5MP dedicated macro camera and a 32MP front-facing punch-hole camera.

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G hands on Awesome White back angled

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

On the software side of things, Samsung has pulled the impressive commitment it's made with its flagship-class Galaxy S and Z phones down to the A54 too, meaning this mid-ranger – which arrives on One UI 5.1 atop Android 13 – enjoys the same four years of OS updates and five years of security updates; granting the A54 a far longer lifespan than the majority of its equivalent rivals, from a software standpoint.

The Galaxy A54 was announced on March 15, with a progressive rollout across European markets, starting with France. Pre-orders in the UK kicked off on the same day, with an on-sale date of April 25, while in the US pre-orders start March 30, with and on-sale date of April 6. In Australia, the A54 is available from March 31.

US and Australian customers will find the starting price of the A54 unchanged from its predecessor, at $449.99 and AU$699 respectively, however, in UK customers can expect a £50 price hike compared to the A53; taking the starting price from £399 to £449 for an 8GB RAM / 128GB Galaxy A54.

Stay tuned for a full review and in the meantime, why not check out our rundown of the best cheap phones, as well as our full Samsung Galaxy S23 review, Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus review and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review.

Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Price and availability

Pre-orders kicked off from launch day (March 15) in markets across Europe, with an on-sale date in the UK of April 25 and a pre-order bonus of a free pair of Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 earphones.

While a pre-order date still isn't confirmed for Australia, the A54 goes on sale on March 31, with the option of a free Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (40mm) available to claim on purchases made between March 31 and April 13. Samsung Australia is also offering a bonus year of Samsung Care Plus Lite on purchases made before June 30.

In the US, pre-orders run from March 30, with an on-sale date of April 6 and a trade-in offer of up to $250 on select devices, as well as a discount on a pair of Galaxy Buds Live, for $49.99.

Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Specs

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G hands on Awesome Lime side

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

There are a number of obvious tweaks and refinements that Samsung has exacted on the A54 between generations, including a fractionally smaller and brighter screen, a new camera system that – among other things – drops its predecessor's depth sensor, plus there's a choice of punchier, more eye-catching colorways.

Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Design

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G hands on Awesome Lime back angled

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Gorilla Glass 5 front and back
  • IP67-certified construction
  • Smaller but heavier than Galaxy A53

The Galaxy S22 Ultra enjoyed a design language all its own last year, while the contour-cut camera aesthetics originally introduced on the Galaxy S21 series persisted across most of the company's other 2022 smartphones. However, this year – as with the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus – the Galaxy A54 now shares in the more contemporary floating camera design first seen on last year's Ultra.

While the A53's raised camera module was pretty tasteful (I preferred it to the full contour-cut look of the S22 and S22 Plus), the revised look of the A54 is even cleaner; even if it is at the expense of some individuality compared to market rivals. To counter this, this year's model comes in a range of more punchy colors; namely Awesome Lime and Awesome Violet, while Awesome Graphite and Awesome White are a little more modest.

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Samsung Galaxy A54 hands-on A34 green back angled

Samsung Galaxy A34 (left) | Samsung Galaxy A54 (right) (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
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Samsung Galaxy A54 hands-on A34 front

Samsung Galaxy A34 (left) | Samsung Galaxy A54 (right) (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
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Samsung Galaxy A54 hands-on A34 green side closeup

Samsung Galaxy A34 (left) | Samsung Galaxy A54 (right) (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
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Samsung Galaxy A54 hands-on A34 green back straight perspective

Samsung Galaxy A34 (left) | Samsung Galaxy A54 (right) (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
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Samsung Galaxy A54 5G hands on Awesome Graphite Violet White back

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

After seeing the A54 side by side with its launch sibling, the A34, I was a little envious of the latter's more exciting pearlescent finish, which adds rainbow hues across the back of the phone when held against the light; it's markedly more eye-catching compared to the flat colors behind the Gorilla Glass 5 on the A54 line, which only catch fingerprints and smudges under the same conditions.

With its smaller display, the A54 is fractionally thicker than its predecessor but perhaps more noticeable is the difference in weight. By gaining 13 grams between generations, the A54 finds itself over the 200-gram threshold (at 202 grams) where a handset's weight starts to feel noticeable in the hand, especially for its screen size. Even so, it's comfortable to hold and construction feels solid (even if the plastic frame looks to be on the chunky side, proportionally), bolstered by IP67-certified dust and water resistance, for added peace of mind.

Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Display

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G hands on Awesome Lime front angled

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • 6.4-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display
  • 120Hz variable refresh rate. 240Hz touch sampling rate
  • 1,000-nit peak brightness + Vision Booster

On the surface, the A54 features a similar display to its predecessor, however, Samsung has made small but meaningful upgrades that deliver a better overall viewing experience.

Moving from a 20:9 to a 19.5:9 aspect ratio means the A54 has a Full HD+ display that's 0.1-inches smaller than its predecessor, at 6.4-inches. Usually, a smaller screen at the same resolution would suggest a sharper image between generations, but as it's the aspect ratio that's brought about this size difference, image sharpness remains consistent.

What Samsung calls an 'Infinity-O display' is actually just in reference to the punch-hole front-facing camera at the top-center of the screen, while a relative thick bezel (which gets wider along its bottom edge) sits between the phone's frame and the pixels of the display. The Super AMOLED panel at play delivers great contrast and vibrant colors, this year folding in the company's Vision Booster tech, for more accurate viewing against a range of different ambient lighting conditions.

Speaking of lighting, the A54 also boasts a 200-nit bump to peak brightness, which now tops out at 1,000-nits, meaning the outdoor display visibility should be even better compared to the A53 and its predecessors by quite a stretch.

There's the ability to lock the phone at 60Hz to conserve power or enable adaptive mode, so the phone can scale up to 120Hz or down, as needed (it also has a 240Hz touch response rate).

Blue light filtration – branded on the A54 as Eye Comfort Shield in the phone's Quick Settings – has also been almost halved (12.5% down to 6.5%, according to independent certification from SGS) compared to the A53's screen, for less disruptive viewing in low light or late at night. Meanwhile, a wealth of controls let you tweak color profiles (the phone is set to 'Vivid' out the box), as well as color temperature and you even have the option of tweaking independent RGB sliders.

Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Software

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G hands on Awesome Lime Quick Settings

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Runs Android 13 on top of One UI 5.1 out the box
  • 4 years OS updates + 5 years security updates

For existing Samsung Galaxy users, the One UI 5.1 experience atop Android 13 should feel immediately familiar; squircle icons, Samsung apps sitting in parallel with Google apps – such as the Galaxy Store and Play Store – along with a few handy extras, like the ever-present Edge Panels, which can be swiped out to offer access to favourite apps and contacts, and even pairs of apps for instant split-screen multitasking, easily.

The A54 does give you the option of which additional Samsung apps you want to install during setup, so that apps like the Samsung Browser and Samsung Calculator aren't compulsory inclusions, but there are unquestionably a few additional pre-loaded third-party offerings that could be considered bloatware which need to be removed manually once setup is complete.

Coming from a Pixel or Motorola, or even iOS, there's a definite learning curve that centers around getting to know One UI's specific visual language, but once you've mastered that, the experience is enjoyable to use, full-featured and, as such, pretty powerful.

One small but welcome enhancement on the A54 is an improved haptic feedback system, which more closely mirrors the premium haptic experience you'd find on flagships like the Galaxy S23, OnePlus 11 and Xiaomi 13 Pro; serving up precise vibrations for everything from unlocking the phone to zooming in when using the camera.

The biggest win for the A54's software experience has to be its support, with Samsung matching the commitment it's made with its flagship phones by promising users four years of OS updates and five years of security updates, expanding the phone's lifespan far beyond many rivals around the same price point.

Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Cameras

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Samsung Galaxy A54 hands-on A34 green camera closeup

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
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Samsung Galaxy A54 5G hands on Awesome White front camera closeup

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • 50MP f/1.8 main camera w/ OIS
  • 12MP ultrawide + 5MP macro camera
  • 32MP f/2.2 front-facing camera
  • One fewer camera sensors than Galaxy A53

The camera has always been a big focus for Samsung's Galaxy A5X devices and the new lead 50MP f/1.8 sensor on the A54 looks like a nice step-up compared to the 64MP sensor leading its predecessor's camera system.

Despite a slight drop in resolution, the move to a larger 1/1.56-inch (up from 1/1.7-inch) sensor, with larger 1µm pixels (up from 0.8µm) and improved range of motion from the OIS (optical image stabilization) system (1.5-degrees of motion up from 0.95), should all result in greatly improved image capture, particularly in low light.

Samsung's ongoing commitment to tight integration with social apps like Snapchat persists on the A54, letting you get better quality results when grabbing shots with Snap filters and the like, through the camera's dedicated 'Fun' shooting mode.

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Samsung Galaxy A54 5G hands on Awesome White camera UI

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
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Samsung Galaxy A54 5G hands on Awesome White camera UI Fun mode

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The Fun photo mode integrates Snapchat filters into the native camera app.

Interestingly, the move to a main sensor with all-focus pixels might be the reason behind the loss of the fourth depth sensor, found on the back of last year's Galaxy A53, while a 12MP ultrawide and a 5MP dedicated macro sensor persist, along with a 32MP front-facer.

Samsung promises greatly improved VDIS (video digital image stabilization) when shooting with the A54 and capable editing tools like Photo Remaster and Object Removal after capture.

Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Performance and audio

Samsung Galaxy A54 hands-on A34 green white back angled handheld

The Samsung Galaxy A34 (left) and the Galaxy A54 (right) (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • New 5nm Exynos 1380 SoC
  • Up to 8GB RAM w/ RAM Plus up to 8GB
  • Up to 256GB storage + microSD up to 1TB
  • Stereo speakers

Just weeks before the Galaxy A54's debut, Samsung Semiconductor pulled the wraps off the Exynos 1380 – a mobile SoC (system on chip) operating as the successor to the Exynos 1280, which happened to power 2022's Galaxy A53.

It was actually the 1380's announcement that served as one of the last big indicators that the Galaxy A54 was about to launch and, sure enough, the phone arrived packing this new silicon. Built on a similar 5nm process to the 1280 but with the promise of improved power and efficiency, better graphical performance (great for gaming) and a denser NPU (neural processing unit), equipped to better handle AI-based tasks like image processing more efficiently.

In most markets – including the UK – the A54 comes paired with 8GB RAM (LPDDR4X), however, there's a 6GB RAM model in some regions too. Regardless, the A54 enjoys One UI's RAM Plus feature, which let's you use a portion of the phone's storage as additional memory to allow more apps to remain open simultaneously and to speed up app load times as desired.

Speaking of storage, the A54 comes with either 128GB or 256GB of space, paired with what's become something of a novelty – even in the mid-range market – microSD expandability up to 1TB.

Connectivity includes 5G, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.3 (up from Bluetooth 5.1 on the Galaxy A53) and an eSIM (meaning dual-SIM functionality is possible). The phone's earpiece and down-firing speaker work in tandem to create a stereo pair when you don't want to use headphones too.

Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Battery life

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G hands on Awesome Lime USB C

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • 25W wired fast charging
  • No power adapter in-box

Just as with the company's flagship phones, Samsung chose to omit the power adapter from the box of the Galaxy A53 and that practice continues with the A54, which comes boxed with a USB-C cable, SIM tool and paperwork, but no charger.

If you do want to power the A54 back up, however, it's rated to match the Galaxy S23's 25W fast charging speeds, which Samsung promises means a full charge in 82 minutes or less.

Perhaps the most notable claim, though, is that the hardware at play paired with a generous 5,000mAh battery, mean the Galaxy A54 is designed to last up to two days on a single charge in general use – a claim I'm keen to put to the test and will do soon, so don't forget to check back.

First tested March 2023

Xiaomi 13 Lite review – the Civi’s new suit
10:32 pm | March 10, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Xiaomi 13 Lite: Two-minute preview

Xiaomi had a lot to shout about at its February 26 launch event in Barcelona. Most notably, the Xiaomi 13 and Xiaomi 13 Pro made their international debut after having previously launched exclusively in China, late last year. There was, however, one additional surprise entrant in tow that, prior to this, we'd heard very little about – the Xiaomi 13 Lite.

At a glance, the Lite is a bit of an oddball, an outlier in the Xiaomi 13 series. For one, it doesn't get any special Leica treatment like its series siblings – with regards to its triple rear sensor setup. It also looks very different compared to both the Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro, with their sizeable squared rear camera bump.

In truth, the phone clearly takes its design cues from the previous Xiaomi 12 series more so than the company's current flagship line and there's a particular device, already within Xiaomi's portfolio, that bears more than a passing resemblance to the new 13 Lite.

It would seem that the Xiaomi 13 Lite looks to be a repackaged Xiaomi Civi 2, which debuted in China in the latter half of 2022. The Xiaomi 13 Lite sports the same slim and lightweight design, runs on the same Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset, and boasts the same specialist features; like dual front-facing LED flashes to offer what the company calls 'Xiaomi Selfie Glow'.

In fact, despite running on Android 12 – while the Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro arrive with Android 13 – the Xiaomi 13 Lite does join them on the company's latest MIUI 14 user experience.

While there's no Leica involvement in the camera system, the main 50MP sensor still looks to be an impressive offering at first blush (it's the same Sony IMX766 found in the likes of the Xiaomi 12), while the secondary 8MP ultrawide and 2MP macro look a little more pedestrian and expected, considering the phone's mid-range standing.

In a decidedly iPhone 14 Pro-style move, the front 32MP camera is accompanied by a secondary 8MP depth sensor that together sit within a pill-shaped cutout in the top center of the display in a way that screams 'Dynamic Island'. However, don't expect iOS-like functionality here.

In truth, the design may be Lite's biggest selling point. Despite sitting in the middle of the Xiaomi 13 series in terms of screen size, at 6.55-inches (in between the Xiaomi 13's 6.36-inch display and the 13 Pro's 6.73-inch display), the 13 Lite is both notably thinner at 7.2mm (versus 8mm or 8.4mm) and lighter, at 171 grams (versus 185 grams and 210 grams, respectively).

Even with that snatched waistline, the 13 Lite still manages to sequester the same 4,500mAh capacity battery as the standard Xiaomi 13, along with the same 67W fast wired charging. What you do lose out on is any form of wireless charging tech. However, with a full charge promised in 40 minutes, that seems like a minor hardship.

Provided you don't need flagship performance or camera prowess, the 13 Lite looks to be a capable-enough mid-ranger, with some unique touches in an attractive, lightweight design. You'll have to check back for a full assessment though.

In the meantime, read on for more insights into what the Xiaomi 13 Lite has to offer and why not check out our hands-on Xiaomi 13 review and hands-on Xiaomi 13 Pro review, as well as a rundown of the best Xiaomi phones currently out there.

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 Lite review: Price and availability

The Xiaomi Civi 2 made its debut in China back in late September 2022, while the Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro arrived later to the region, on December 11.

Fast-forward to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain on February 26 2023, where the Xiaomi 13 series' international launch then took place; with the 13 and 13 Pro making their way to market internationally on March 14. The Xiaomi 13 Lite, meanwhile, was confirmed to be on sale on the same date of its reveal: February 26.

With Xiaomi's mobile endeavors absent from the US and Australia, you'll only be able to get a Xiaomi 13 Lite as an import or via a grey market retailer in those regions. However, the phone is readily available direct from Xiaomi across the UK and Europe, priced at £449 / €499 (approximately $535 / AU$810) for the single storage and memory configuration it's being made available in, internationally.

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 Lite review: Specs

Xiaomi 13 Lite hands on side buttons

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

If you're already familiar with the Civi 2, you'll notice that for the phone's adaptation into the Xiaomi 13 Lite for international release, the company has stripped back both the colorways and storage and memory configurations available.

While the Civi 2 could be had with 8GB or 12GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of non-expandable storage, the 13 Lite comes with a fixed 8GB RAM and 128GB storage – UFS 2.2 storage at that, far slower than the UFS 4.0 storage found on its more premium launch siblings.

You'll also find a choice of three colors internationally: black, Lite Blue, and Lite Pink, whereas the Civi 2 was made available to Chinese customers in those same three colors, alongside a "Little White Dress" version with a different surface finish, in white and a Hello Kitty special edition, with photochromic elements on its back that change from white to red.

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 Lite review: Design

Xiaomi 13 Lite hands on side

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Gorilla Glass 5 front, glass back, plastic frame
  • Impressively thin and lightweight
  • Three colorways on international model

The defining element of the Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro has to be their sizeable squircle camera bumps, which sit proudly on each phone's back and stand out in contrast with a plain of flat glass, colored black.

By comparison, the Xiaomi 13 Lite's camera design is wholly different and far closer to the look of the Xiaomi 12 line; with color-matched surround around each sensor, and small dividing lines carving up the various sections of the module.

While the 13 and 13 Pro stand in contrast to one another with the former's flat-sided design to the latter's rounded edges, the 13 Lite's form also more closely echoes the Pro in this regard, with a thin frame, tapered Gorilla Glass 5 on the front, and a rounded glass back.

One of the Lite's big selling points is its thin and pocket-friendly 7.23mm profile, but the rounding at the point where the glass meets the frame gives the impression that the device is even thinner, especially in the hand. The Lite is also pleasingly... light for its size, at 171 grams, no doubt made possible by the material choices.

Unlike the original Civi, the Civi 2 and, in turn, the Xiaomi 13 Lite, rely on a shiny plastic frame instead of a metal one. During my first encounter with the phone, it looked fine, although the quality of the finish and the material's reflectivity give away the game a little bit, in terms of a lesser fit and finish compared to the phone's launch siblings.

However, the real concern is how the plastic will weather and wear after prolonged use. For a design-led phone like the Xiaomi 13 Lite, you'd hope that general use doesn't cause disproportionate wear and tear on the frame that would have been far less noticeable had Xiaomi stuck with metal, but only time will tell in that regard.

While the frame plays host to hardware controls along the right side and USB-C connectivity on the bottom, as you'd expect, an IR blaster set into the top of the frame was an unexpected surprise that even amongst phones from Chinese manufacturers, appears to be a less and less common inclusion.

As for finish options, as touched on earlier, while 13 Lite owners won't get as much choice as Civi 2 owners in China did – in terms of colorways – the trio of finishes that most markets will receive remains tasteful; the Lite Pink shown in these pictures gets a special commendation for its alluring iridescence.

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 Lite review: Display

Xiaomi 13 Lite hands on front camera

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • 6.55-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display
  • 120Hz refresh rate. 240Hz touch sampling rate
  • Dual hole-punch cutout front cameras

Despite being the 'baby' of the bunch, the Xiaomi 13 Lite's 6.55-inch display actually places it between the standard and Pro models – in terms of screen size – while the tech specs of the panel aren't too dissimilar from the pricier Xiaomi 13.

On initial inspection, the Full HD+ AMOLED display offers pleasing colors and viewing angles, and competent-enough brightness, although its promised peak 1,000nits is almost half that of both the 13 and 13 Pro (both of which are cited as boasting a 1,900nit ceiling), meaning visibility in bright surroundings leaves plenty of room for improvement.

Gamers will appreciate the smooth 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch response rate, while media lovers aren't likely to balk at the 10-bit panel's support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+ standards, as well as the full DCI-P3 color gamut.

The use of OLED tech over LCD – which occasionally still crops up in the mid-range market – makes for better contrast, more vivid visuals, and improved power efficiency, while Xiaomi's use of 1,920PWM dimming and assistive viewing tools, like a dedicated reading mode, should make it easier on the eye, in terms of viewer comfort.

There's an optical under-display fingerprint sensor for security and up top, a decidedly Dynamic Island-like pill-shaped cutout that plays host to two front-facing camera sensors. The user experience doesn't give the cutout any iPhone 14 Pro-like additional functionality, though (leave that to Realme's C55).

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 Lite review: Software

Xiaomi 13 Lite hands on front straight

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Runs Android 12 on top of Xiaomi MIUI 14 out the box
  • 2 years security updates minimum

While the shift from the Civi 2 to the Xiaomi 13 Lite may seem slight, one notable change comes with the phone's software. To keep the 13 Lite feeling fresh, Xiaomi has graced the phone with the latest and greatest iteration of its own-brand user experience, MIUI 14.

Although the 13 Lite comes running Android 12 out the box – while the Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro arrive with Android 13 – all three phones sport MIUI 14 from the get-go, which maintains the company's signature take on Android from an interaction perspective, but includes a few new additions too.

There's a new card-like interface to make select on-screen information more digestible and glanceable, while behind the scenes MIUI 14 reportedly takes up less space and fewer resources than MIUI 13 did, all while adding improvements to privacy and performance optimization that promise to improve the 13 Lite's quality of life.

Unlike its launch siblings, Xiaomi hasn't yet confirmed just how long the Xiaomi 13 Lite will benefit from software support, leading us to assume that it simply receives the company's bare minimum of two years of security updates. However, we've reached out to Xiaomi to confirm, and the hope is that Lite's software roadmap is much closer to the Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro, which each come with three years of OS updates and five years of security updates. We'll update this section should we hear anything new.

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 Lite review: Cameras

Xiaomi 13 Lite hands on XIaomi Selfie Glow dual front flash

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Dual front-facing cameras with dual LED 'Xiaomi Selfie Glow' flashes
  • 50MP f/1.8 main camera (Sony IMX766)
  • 8MP f/2.2, 119° FoV ultrawide camera
  • 2MP f/2.4 (4cm fixed-focus) macro camera

Unfortunately, the promise of cameraphone supremacy that Xiaomi says it's achieved with the Leica partnership found on the Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro doesn't carry across to the Lite, which features a more pedestrian sensor setup.

It leads with the same 50MP Sony IMX766 sensor used by the Xiaomi 12, whose camera experience we only described as "okay" during review, backed up by an 8MP ultrawide and a 2MP fixed-focus macro that undoubtedly add variety to the phone's photographic experience, but not necessarily quality.

It's really the front camera system that perhaps has had the most attention paid to it. There's a 32MP main selfie-snapper accompanied by an 8MP depth sensor, that undoubtedly comes into play when taking portrait selfies; hoping to achieve a luxurious creamy bokeh around your face.

There are two neat tricks twinned with the phone's front-facing photographic experience: one hardware and one software. Xiaomi Selfie Glow is the branding used for the dual LED flash array, mounted on either side of the front camera; meant to offer superior illumination when taking selfies in dimly-lit environments. The flashes' offset position should help reduce the hard point-light effect that some front-facing selfies taken with the flash on fall prey to.

Second is Dynamic Framing, which can push from 1x to 0.8x to 0.6x zoom automatically, when shooting with the front camera, depending on how many subjects the phone detects in-frame, partly. It's made possible by the selfie snapper's wide 100° field of view.

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 Lite review: Performance and audio

Xiaomi 13 Lite hands on back handheld

The Xiaomi 13 uses USB-C (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset
  • 8GB RAM and 128GB storage (UFS 2.2)
  • Dolby Atmos

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset is a relatively unknown quantity in the wider phone space, as it's only really used by the Xiaomi Civi 2 / Xiaomi 13 Lite and the Chinese version of the Oppo Reno 8 Pro. It comes from pedigree, however, and should prove more than capable for most users' needs, including playing high-fidelity games (even if maximum graphical settings are likely out of reach).

In bringing the 13 Lite to global audiences, not unlike colorways, Xiaomi has seen fit to strip back the memory and storage options to just one, compared to two of each on the Civi 2 in China.

As such, the Xiaomi 13 Lite comes with 8GB RAM and 128GB of non-expandable UFS 2.2 storage. While fine for general use, it's notably older and slower storage tech, compared to the cutting-edge UFS 4.0-compliant storage found on the flagship-class Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro.

The audio experience doesn't make mention of stereo speakers, and at the event where we went hands-on with the phone, we were unable to properly test the phone's sound quality against the din of the crowds but Xiaomi does, at least, promise Dolby Atmos support, which provides a baseline that suggests audio quality isn't a total afterthought on the 13 Lite.

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 Lite review: Battery life

Xiaomi 13 Lite hands on back angled

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • 4,500mAh battery
  • 67W wired fast charging
  • No wireless charging support

Despite touting such a thin and lightweight design, the Xiaomi 13 Lite manages to integrate the same 4,500Mah capacity battery as the far-thicker Xiaomi 13 and, better yet, matches its promisingly-speedy 67W wired charging speeds.

One notable trade-off for such a thin profile is that wireless charging is out of the question here, but with a full charge promised in under 40 minutes, having wired charging as your only option doesn't seem so bad.

First tested February 2023

Xiaomi 13 review – a sleek and sophisticated iPhone alternative
7:01 pm | February 26, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Xiaomi 13: Two-minute preview

The Xiaomi 13 arrives as the successor to the company’s 2022 flagship, the Xiaomi 12, and stays true to its predecessor’s philosophy: premium performance in a compact package. 

Beyond a marginal size increase, the phone’s display is largely unchanged, but Xiaomi’s knack for brightness and vivid colors is delivered in a much sleeker, almost iPhone-like design, that looks smarter than many of the best Android phone designs so far in 2023. 

The Xiaomi 13’s impressive speeds are made possible by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset – similar to the processor you’ll find powering Samsung’s newly released Samsung Galaxy S23 line – and the device is offered in two memory variations: 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM, paired with 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage. 

The phone’s 4500mAh battery remains unchanged from the Xiaomi 12, and the latter’s 67W wired charging, 50W wireless charging and 10W reverse wireless charging capabilities are carried over, too. 

Xiaomi 13 review with Xiaomi 13 Pro front straight

The Xiaomi 13 (left) launched alongside the Xiaomi 13 Pro (right) at MWC 2023 (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

On paper, the biggest difference between the Xiaomi 13 and its predecessor is the former’s Leica-branded camera array. Comprising a 50Mp f/1.8 main shooter with OIS, a 10MP f/2.0 telephoto camera with 3.2x optical zoom, and a 12Mp f/2.2 ultrawide sensor, the Xiaomi 13’s sensor setup looks to have made the phone a much more versatile beast for photographers – though Xiaomi’s partnership with Leica doesn’t seem to have resulted in too many brand-specific benefits, as far as we can tell.

Naturally, we’ll have to spend more time testing all elements of the Xiaomi 13 to deliver our final verdict on this premium flagship, but our first impressions suggest it could be a real contender for Android fans with a soft spot for Apple’s design philosophy. 

For those looking to spend a little more money, our hands-on Xiaomi 13 Pro review may shed some light on whether the jump up to Xiaomi’s even-more premium handset is worth it.

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Price and availability

The Xiaomi 13 was first announced alongside the Xiaomi 13 Pro in China on December 11, but both devices launched globally on February 26 at MWC Barcelona.

The Xiaomi 13 series is unlikely to officially launch in the US or Australia, as neither is a key international market for the brand, however, the phone will arrive in the UK on March 14, available directly from Xiaomi and via 'official retail channels' including local retailers, such as Currys and Argos.

Despite multiple memory configurations being made available internationally, in the UK the Xiaomi 13 will only be available in black and come with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, priced at £849 (approximately $1,015 / AU$1,510). That's £100 more than its predecessor's starting price but the base Xiaomi 12 sported only 128GB of storage. You're actually paying the same as last year's 256GB Xiaomi 12, and both storage and RAM are faster and more power efficient on this year's model.

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Specs

Xiaomi 13 review front twisted handheld

(Image credit: Future | Axel Metz)

As mentioned above, the Xiaomi 13 comes in two memory variations – 8GB or 12GB of RAM with 256GB of storage.

It’s worth flagging that, in China, the phone is available in three storage variations – 128GB, 256GB and 512GB – with 8GB RAM offered on the 128GB model and 12GB RAM on the 512GB model. The 256GB model is offered overseas with a choice between 8GB and 12GB of RAM.

Suffice to say, it's frustrating to see Xiaomi limiting the storage options on the Xiaomi 13 outside of China, and it means the otherwise impressive phone is far less flexible than, say, the Samsung Galaxy S23 on the global market. 

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Design

Xiaomi 13 review side handheld

(Image credit: Future | Axel Metz)
  • iPhone 14-like straight-sided design is a great size
  • Corning Gorilla Glass Victus protection
  • Nice color options

Xiaomi has opted for a decidedly iPhone 14-like design with the Xiaomi 13, which is by no means a criticism (if you’re an iPhone fan, that is). 

Coming in at 71.5 x 152.8 x 8 mm and weighing 185g, the phone sports a glossy, straight-edged aluminum body that’s more conservative than boundary-pushing, but it feels great in the hand and its size – for me, at least – hits a rare sweet spot between being comfortable to navigate and large enough to look impressive. For reference, the Xiaomi 13 sits halfway between the Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus (and therefore the S22 and S22 Plus) in terms of size, almost to the millimeter.

Internationally, the Xiaomi 13 is available in three standard colors: Black, White and Flora Green. In China, the company has also produced a gray and a light blue version, as well as limited edition iterations in more eye-catching red, green, yellow and blue designs. Every variant comes with a glass back, save for the vegan leather-equipped light blue model which, for obvious reasons, weighs a little more than the rest (you’re looking at 189g rather than 185g). 

Xiaomi 13 review back angled handheld

(Image credit: Future | Axel Metz)

My Flora Green model looks great, with the visible divisions between the rear camera sensors (more on these later) a particularly nice touch, in my opinion. 

The phone’s glass back may seem a little glossy to some, but the upside there is that the Xiaomi 13 doesn’t feel like a device that’ll smash into a million pieces if you drop it. It is an absolute fingerprint magnet, mind you. 

As we’ve come to expect from handsets in this price range, the Xiaomi 13 also boasts an IP68 rating for dust and water protection. I haven’t had a chance to properly test out either resistance just yet, but we’ll be updating this review in due course. 

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Display

Xiaomi 13 review front angled handheld

(Image credit: Future | Axel Metz)
  • 6.36-inch E6 OLED display is suitably bright
  • Gorilla Glass 5 front
  • Larger, brighter display compared to predecessor

The Xiaomi 13’s 6.36-inch OLED display is a touch bigger than its predecessor’s, though the phone’s 1080 x 2400 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate and support for a range of HDR standards are in keeping with the Xiaomi 12. 

Like the 12, you’re also getting a flat screen with a punch-hole camera at the top, and the bezels are similarly (and thankfully) small. 

In my brief time with the Xiaomi 13 so far, I’ve found the phone to be exceptionally bright and responsive, with its 120Hz refresh rate making motion (from gaming or scrolling through social media) a smooth experience. 

A peak brightness of 1,900nits means the Xiaomi 13’s display is sufficiently visible whether you’re indoors or in direct sunlight, too (though, being in London, I haven’t spent too much time using the phone in environments that aren’t covered by gray skies). This also marks a significant bump over its predecessor’s display, which topped out at 1,100nits.

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Cameras

Xiaomi 13 review camera closeup

(Image credit: Future | Axel Metz)
  • Smart-looking Leica-branded triple rear camera setup
  • 3.2x 10MP f/2.0 telephoto lens w/ OIS

The Xiaomi 13 boasts a Leica-branded triple rear camera setup that comprises a 50MP f/1.8 main shooter with OIS, a 10MP f/2.0 telephoto camera with 3.2x optical zoom and OIS, and a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide sensor. 

The latter camera represents the biggest difference between the Xiaomi 13 and its predecessor, which limped along with an underwhelming 5MP ‘telemacro’ sensor. Xiaomi’s partnership with Leica has also brought with it an ALD lens coating that supposedly improves their quality, and the overall appearance of the phone’s camera setup is much smarter than that of the Xiaomi 12.

The phone can shoot video in up to 8K quality at 24fps, and it also sticks with its predecessor’s 32MP selfie camera (though adds a wider f/2.0 aperture). 

We’ll be putting the Xiaomi 13’s various cameras through their paces for our full review, but my first impressions are pretty good. Early pictures taken on the main camera appear vibrant and detailed, if a little dark on occasion (owing to the high contrast), while the ultrawide lens offers impressive depth of field. 

Incidentally, Leica offers two shooting modes on the Xiaomi 13: Vibrant and Authentic. The former makes colors look brighter and more saturated, while the latter is meant to replicate the original Leica look by encouraging bolder contrast and a greater dynamic range. I haven’t had a chance to compare both modes just yet, but we’ll be updating this review soon. 

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Performance and audio

Xiaomi 13 review USB-C

The Xiaomi 13 uses USB-C (Image credit: Future | Axel Metz)
  • Super-fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset
  • Wi-Fi 7
  • Powerful speakers

The Xiaomi 13 packs the best mobile SoC Qualcomm has to offer in 2023: the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. There’s no bespoke version of the chipset here (which you’ll find in Samsung’s Galaxy S23 line), but from a practical point of view, the Xiaomi 13 still boasts the fastest silicon around (the Xiaomi 13 Pro uses the same processor, too). 

Beyond the chipset, the phone comes in two memory variants, internationally: 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM, accompanied by 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage. 

As mentioned in the display section of this hands-on, the Xiaomi 13 has felt suitably speedy in my limited time spent with the device, so far. Neither gaming nor general browsing has caused the phone to noticeably heat up, though I’ll be trying out some more demanding tasks for our full review. Naturally, we’ll be running benchmark tests, too. 

The Xiaomi 13 is a 5G phone, so you’ll be able to connect to the faster mobile network if it’s offered where you live, but as with all phones, your speeds will depend more on your network and area than the phone you’re using. Wi-Fi 7 is also an impressively new networking technology that, if you can connect to a supported network, will support up to 3.6Gbps.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the Xiaomi 13’s audio credentials so far. The phone’s dual speakers are Dolby Atmos-tuned, and though they don’t provide a true spatial audio experience, they do offer an exceptionally loud sound with decent bass. 

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Software

Xiaomi 13 review with Xiaomi 13 Pro front angled

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Runs Android 13 on top of Xiaomi MIUI 14
  • 3 years OS updates + 5 years security updates

The Xiaomi 13 runs Android 13 with Xiaomi’s MIUI 14 interface, which will be familiar to anyone who’s ever used a Xiaomi phone.

Personally, I find Xiaomi's default preference for three-button navigation at the bottom of the screen annoying, so I immediately switched my Xiaomi 13 over to gesture-based navigation (which, yes, made the experience of using the device decidedly more iPhone-like). 

MIUI does have its perks over the stock Android experience. Floating apps and the range of vibrant wallpapers are great, and the left/right separation of top-screen menus (one for notifications, one for quick settings) keeps clutter to a minimum on the Xiaomi 13.

There are only a handful of pre-loaded apps – some of them annoying (, some of them useful (YouTube) – but downloading your favorites from the Google Play store is as quick and easy as you’d expect, and the third-party bloatware is removable

I haven’t yet spent enough time with the phone to encounter any bugs, though our experience with the Xiaomi 12 (which seemed to close apps whenever it felt like it) suggests there may well be a few to come. 

Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Battery life

Xiaomi 13 review front angled screen off

(Image credit: Future | Axel Metz)
  • 4500mAh battery is the same as predecessor
  • 67W wired fast charging (charger in box)

The Xiaomi 13 has a 4500mAh battery that supports 67W wired charging, 50W wireless charging and 10W reverse wireless charging. That’s the same battery tech as you’ll find in its predecessor, the Xiaomi 12 and seems plenty fast enough for most users. 

Naturally, we haven’t been able to test the phone’s battery life just yet, but Xiaomi says its latest flagship can reach full charge within just 38 minutes. If true, that’s quicker than the Samsung Galaxy S23 and iPhone 14 – arguably this phone’s closest competitors. 

First tested February 2023

Review: Lenovo ThinkPad Twist
3:01 am | January 22, 2013

Author: admin | Category: Cameras | Tags: , , , | Comments: None

Review: Lenovo ThinkPad Twist

Laptops are for serious work and tablets are for consuming media. That’s the general consensus when it comes to modern computing. A consensus that’s e[……]

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