Xiaomi 14 : Can You Still Trust The Leica Brand?

xiaomi 14
Xiaomi 14
Xiaomi introduces the Xiaomi 14, which would be the entry flagship to the 2024 lineup. It’s a small form-factor phone packing Leica and Xiaomi’s reworked camera system, an adaptive display, along with twice the storage and of course the latest flagship chipset at a modest price.
Design
8
Display
8
Performance
7
Battery Life
8
Camera (rear)
9
Camera (front)
7
Value
9
Love
New LTPO AMOLED display
Excellent Rear cameras
35 minute charging
Fast Performance
USB 3.2 OTG
Good pricing with 512GB available
Loven’t
Fast game throttling
Image focus hunting needs some provement
8

Out of 10

Key Specs

CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
Memory12GB LPDDR5X RAM
256GB/512GB UFS 4.0 storage
Display6.36’’ 2K 120Hz LTPO AMOLED
Camera50 MP, f/1.8, 23mm (wide), PDAF, OIS

32 MP, f/2.0, 75mm (telephoto), PDAF, OIS, 3.2x optical zoom

50 MP, f/2.2, 15mm, 120˚ (ultrawide)

32 MP, f/2.0 22mm (selfie)
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.4, USB Type-C 2.0, Up to WiFi 7
OSAndroid 14, HyperOS
Battery4610 mAh, 90W Fast Charging
50W wireless charging
Available ColorsBlack, White, Flora Green
Retail Price12GB+256GB – RM 3499
12GB+512GB – RM 3799

What’s It Like To Use?

Just like the Xiaomi 13, the 14 still shares many similarities with its predecessor, being a little glass sandwich of a phone with rounded edges in a small form factor. The most obvious change would be the camera bump at the back, as it’s much bigger since its housing stronger sensor hardware. There’s nothing sharp-feeling about this phone, making it quite a comfortable hold and without feeling too heavy since it’s the smallest of the pack. Everywhere, from back to side has a glossy finish which compliments glass well, while the side frame is more of a chromium styled gloss which does give it a slight thickness, which I am in favor of since it does match and it implies stronger durability.

Of course, there aren’t any changes to the 6.36″ screen size, but the hardware behind it is practically all-new. This time around the Xiaomi 14 packs a 6.36″ LTPO AMOLED which brings more adaptability to the refresh rate of up to 120Hz, followed by 12-bit color depth which offers a wider range of colors in the spectrum. This kind of combination allows for both wide color-coverage as well as compounding savings to battery life due to LTPO panels’ more increased responsiveness to lowering refresh rates in situations that don’t need 120Hz.

At this screen size, and with such a qualified panel, the Xiaomi 14 offers a pocket-cinematic experience, producing great colors for pictures and videos, especially the blacks. As for temperature bias, the Xiaomi 14 has a bit of a cold tinge which you can adjust in the settings to your liking. The resolution is also sharp, coming in a 1.5K in resolution, something which Xiaomi has been doing frequently as of late, picking such a specific 2670×1200 resolution for their phones.

Also, as usual you’re able to watch HDR10+ content, along with Dolby Vision and High quality Netflix videos thanks to Widevine L1 DRM, which is of course now an industry standard that almost everyone has implemented on their devices.

The Works

As a daily driver, the Xiaomi 14 performs as a good generalist device that excels in most aspects, such as sustained performance, battery life and capturing photos and video. For starters this model introduces HyperOS, a reworked MIUI that Xiaomi promises that it will be a different experience with some improvements to snappiness. One things for sure, not a single ad is to be seen at any time, while navigating between windows and tabs in fast succession is quick and responsive.

The Xiaomi 14 is my fourth Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 phone, and therefore my expectations were set easily. I expected the usual improvements in games, better image quality, battery efficiency and fast stable diffusion capabilities.

In gaming, the Xiaomi 14 is fast and smooth, delivering top frames with maximum graphics whenever possible. However, the downside suprisingly is how quickly that performance diminishes. You can hit max settings max 60 FPS on Genshin Impact, but only for about 15 minutes before thermal throlling kicked in an drastically lowered that performance down to between 50-55 FPS. Punching it further into an hour and I was down to between 45-55 FPS, which isn’t horrible, because the phone had to do what it had to do to prevent my hands from burning. In this scenario, if you were looking to use the Xiaomi 14 for long haul gaming, I’d recommend buying an external cooling fan to keep the system cool and ready for torture.

Other than that, whether you’re also trying to stress the cameras from continuous photo taking and video recording, which I regard to the Xiaom 14 to be good at, it won’t even flinch due to a snappy UFS 4.0 system that reads and writes incredibly fast.

Speaking of incredibly fast, the charging speed is. The Xiaomi 14 supports 90W HyperCharge which promises a full top-up in 35 minutes from 0%. In my own testing, Xiaomi made good on that promise, on the dot, 35 minutes. A quick 15 minute charge could bring up to 59%, which is good enough for a day’s use. Under a specified use-case, where I took the Xiaomi 14 out for a full day of non-stop photo and video test, I still managed to get home at night with about 30% left in the tank, and that includes messaging and music streaming throughout the day,with 5G data on at all times. That’s actually impressive considering tthe Xiaomi 14 only has a 4610 mAh battery.

Leica Camera Setup

The Xiaomi 14 has a triple-camera system with a 50MP main sensor with OIS, a 50MP telephoto sensor with 2x zoom, and a 50MP ultrawide sensor. It’s a direct upgrade from the Xiaomi 13, debuting new sensors, such as the main sensor, which is the OmniVision OVX9000 Light Fusion 900. Sadly, unlike the 14 Pro and the Xiaomi 14 Ultra, it doesn’t have a variable aperture so it has a fixed aperture of f/1.6, values above and beyond that are via software means.

Leica Vibrant vs Leica Authentic

This mode produces punchier and brighter colors, but it’s not over-processed. The Leica Authentic mode targets more accurate colors and uses darker exposure.

Leica Vibrant

Vibrant simply adds a good helping of vibrancy to your shots, offering boosted colors, high contrast (made some shadows darker) and minimal level of processing. You won’t even see a lick of oversharpening here, so it’s almost unlike any smartphone camera we’ve ever used. It really is just is a slightly boosed color mode that aims to be as close to a Leica production as possible and delivers lively photos. A lot of people would love this, especially for food shots.

Leica Authentic

This is the more color-accurate of the duo, retaining plenty of detail and even less processing. Shots here are very natural, with a beautiful level of depth and colors. Again, trying to shoot like a Leica, but this time, adding a subtle vignetting effect to give it some darkness. This mode thrives in low-exposure shots, but it doesn’t overdo it and instead compensates well by upping the dynamic range.

50MP OmniVision OVX9000 Light Fusion 900

As we’ve seen on the Xiaomi 13 and Xiaomi 13T, Leica works on a style that really speaks using color science. It has a dark, contrasty nuance that can make ordinary things look more expressive. Images have a good amount of sharpness and detail that’s veiled by a subtle softness that no other smartphone manages to do. I say this because the general direction smartphone companies do with their cameras is really all about oversharpening and dialing those colors up. The Xiaomi 14 tells a different story here. Even in lowlight, shadows are good and improved over the Xiaomi 13 which had some initial struggles which led to noisy darkness, but on the Xiaomi 14, almost none of it is there.

 Zooms : Digital

While 2x is digital and 3.2x is hardware telephoto, the crop from the main sensor manages to hold itself on its own, but it’s by no means impressive enough to beat a dedicated 2x. It prefers to focus on a hybrid between center-focused with some wideness, which really means it can be messy. The above photo attests to that. The faces are and bodies are well defined, whereas only half the luggages (both on ground and hanging) are given a mix of focus on blur, in almost random directions. The blur is not a product of portrait mode bokeh, but outright softness from a lack of focus in that area. It definitely needs improvement in this respect.

In more tame situations where there aren’t many objects to focus on, the Xiaomi 14 definitely fared better as you can see in the below samples.


Zooms : Telephoto, SAMSUNG ISOCELL JN1

Oh boy, I thoroughly enjoyed this focal length, portraits and default. Going up to 3.2x zoom, this 50MP shooter works well and synergizes with the same quality the main sensor produces. Colors and contrast were good, accompanied by solid dynamic range which is a combo I come to expect from Xiaomi’s newest flagships.

Resolved detail is excellent, dynamic range is great and does not come with the typical sterile oversharpening that most smartphones apply these days. It’s hard to frame subjects with the focal length that isn’t a portrait, but with enough experimenting and practice, it can be very useful throughout your day.

ULTRAWIDE : SAMSUNG ISOCELL JN1

The ultrawide camera takes nice photos, albeit colors are a little bit washed out compared to the main and telephoto sensors. It handles glaring skies well, as you can see that I pointed the camera right towards the sky, and I was still able to capture plenty of building details without losing out on color and brightness. It might be the best, but pretty good nonetheless. 14mm is pretty wide, and definitely ideal for taking some wicked architecture shots!

Portrait Mode

I would say that portrait mode has a very unique depth for it, with general colors of objects blending well with human subjects whose skin will pop but not to an excessive degree. Bokeh blends well too, as you can see in my portrait where my background is a white and grey building with a complex pattern consisting of holes. Not one piece is out of defocus and the level of detail on my face, hair and skin are truly unparalled. Under the right lighting, which these shots are, are natural and defined enough for even model photographers to admire. You can definitely tell when a shot is from a smartphone, and the Xiaomi 14’s portrait mode really blurs those lines.


The Verdict

This time around, Xiaomi definitely kills it in the compact flagship game, with enough power, function and capability to rival the likes of the Galaxy S24, Pixel 8 and Vivo X100. The standard chipset upgrade is definitely welcome, along with a new 512GB variant for Malaysia which is twice the storage over the base 256GB.

The new LTPO display works wonders too, offering great viewing experiences, especially when viewing your own photos and videos. Photo taking here is really an experience. Though I expected it the experience to be not as different than on the Xiaomi 13, the difference in almost every aspect was wide, making it a justifiable upgrade from even last year’s model.

The RM 3499 price tag is very reasonable for a smooth daily experience, light gaming in-between and heavy camera use daily.

Also, 4 years of Android updates and 5 years of security patches is an enticing offer. I’d like to see what HyperOS will offer next.

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