Just days after the announcement of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, Xiaomi debuted the Xiaomi 14 and Xiaomi 14 Pro, both sporting the new mobile chipset – but how does the top-end model compare to Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra?
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is one of the most popular smartphones around in 2023, and with a large display, S Pen support, a capable camera setup and great everyday performance, it’s not hard to see why.
However, with the announcement of the Xiaomi 14 Pro came impressive claims, not only in terms of pure performance power but display tech and camera performance that could threaten Samsung’s top spot.
While we’re yet to go hands-on with the Xiaomi 14 Pro, we have spent a lot of time with the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, and here’s how the two compare on paper.
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The Xiaomi 14 Pro has a brighter display
Size-wise, there isn’t much in it between the Xiaomi 14 Pro and Samsung’s big-screen Galaxy S23 Ultra, measuring in at 6.73 inches and 6.8 inches respectively – but there’s more to screen tech than size, and that’s where Xiaomi’s new flagship begins to pull away from Samsung.
The key takeaway here is that the Xiaomi 14 Pro has a much brighter display than Samsung’s flagship, which is pretty impressive considering the S23 Ultra tops out at a not-insignificant 1750nits. Coupled with a variable 120Hz refresh rate, support for HDR10+ and a pixel-packed resolution, it’s undoubtedly one of the better screens around in 2023 – and it boasts S-Pen support too.
However, it’s still not quite enough to beat the incredible 3,000nits peak brightness of the Xiaomi 14 Pro. In fact, at the time of writing, that’s the brightest display you’ll find on a smartphone in the consumer market.
More specifically, the Xiaomi 14 Pro sports a new C8 AMOLED panel co-developed by Xiaomi and TCL CSOT to achieve such lofty aims. That’s further improved by the variable refresh rate, ranging from 1-120Hz, as well as support for HDR content that should deliver a top-notch viewing experience.
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The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has a higher-res primary lens
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra sports a plethora of cameras on its rear, ranging from a 12MP ultrawide to a 10MP 3x optical lens, a matching 10MP periscope lens that offers up to 100x digital zoom and, of course, its primary 200MP sensor.
Despite the sensor not measuring quite as large as the 1-inch options from the likes of Xiaomi, we thought that it did an impressively good job at capturing photos in all light conditions, including challenging low-light scenarios, thanks to its 16-in-1 pixel binning tech.
By comparison, the Xiaomi 14 Pro sports a primary 50MP Summilux lens alongside a floating 50MP telephoto lens with 3.2x zoom, along with a 50MP ultrawide lens with a 115-degree field of view. The primary lens also has an additional trick in the form of a variable aperture, ranging from f/1.42 to f/4.0 to dramatically change the look of photos with a tap.
It’ll be interesting to see just how this variable aperture performs once we go hands-on.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has S-Pen support
One feature that separates the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Xiaomi 14 Pro (and most of the smartphone market if we’re being honest) is S Pen support.
With a built-in S Pen, the S23 Ultra offers a rather unique proposition in the smartphone market, allowing you to make quick notes or doodle on the large 6.8-inch display at a moment’s notice.
It can also be used to cut subjects from images, and the button built into the pen can double up as a remote camera shutter for those big group selfies. It’s a cool bit of kit we’re kind of surprised hasn’t cropped up in more high-end smartphones.
For now, then, the S23 Ultra has the mobile stylus market to itself, and without any notable stylus support from the Xiaomi 14 Pro, that won’t change anytime soon.
The Xiaomi 14 Pro has a titanium finish
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has an attractive minimalist design made from a combination of aluminium and glass that makes for a premium, if not slightly heavy feel, measuring in at a fairly bulky 234g.
While that is also very much the case with the regular Xiaomi 14 Pro – and most other 2023 flagships, if we’re being honest – the new Xiaomi flagship comes in a special Titanium edition that looks to reduce the overall heft while delivering a hefty upgrade in terms of durability.
It’s essentially what Apple has done with the iPhone 15 Pro, swapping out the stainless steel body for a titanium equivalent that’s both more durable and much lighter, making for a nicer, more comfortable hold overall, and we expect much the same from Xiaomi’s titanium edition – though that, of course, comes at an additional premium.
You can buy the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra right now
The Xiaomi 14 Pro is official in China, starting at 4,999 CNY, with no word yet on an international release – but given Xiaomi has launched most of its flagship-level products in the UK and Europe following release in China, it’s highly likely that we’ll be seeing it land on UK shores sometime in the near future.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, on the other hand, has been readily available to buy since its release in April 2023. It starts at £1,249/$1,199, though like with most smartphones 6+ months after release, it can often be found a little cheaper.