Xiaomi 14 review: Bigger on the inside

The new baseline Xiaomi 14 is one of the most uncompromising compact flagship phones out there.

Apr 20, 2024 - 08:50
 0  5
Xiaomi 14 review: Bigger on the inside

Xiaomi 14: Two-minute review

The Xiaomi 14 is unquestionably in the running to be one of this year's top compact flagships, even if it is a little larger than the iPhone 15 and Samsung Galaxy S24. The phone boasts Qualcomm's best and brightest Snapdrgon 8 Gen 3 chip, a camera system that's been developed in collaboration with Leica, and a sizable battery with impressively fast 90W charging.

Xiaomi was actually first to market with an 8 Gen 3-powered phone, with the Xiaomi 14 series first debuting in China back in October 2023. As of February 2024, the company confirmed that both the Xiaomi 14 and Xiaomi 14 Ultra would be going global (the Xiaomi 14 Pro isn't getting an international release, but that's not as much of a loss as you might think), with the phones touching down in late February and mid-March, respectively.

There's more than a passing resemblance between this phone and the Xiaomi 13 – both phones have a prominent square main camera bump, and they have near-identical dimensions, with the new phone's fractional weight increase a result of the larger rear camera system and bigger battery. Xiaomi's fit and finish is up there, but the mirror-polish straight-sided design is decidedly more iPhone 14, than iPhone 15, which won't be to everyone's taste.

The 6.36-inch display has received a gamut of nice upgrades – there's a resolution bump between generations, while the move to an LTPO panel facilitates a true 1Hz to 120Hz variable refresh rate for greater power efficiency. It's a significantly brighter panel too, also trumping the figures promised by Apple and Samsung's latest.

This marks the fifth generation of flagship phones (if you include the company's mid-year 'S' refreshes) on which Xiaomi has collaborated with optical specialists Leica. For the most part, the user experience offered up by the camera remains much the same as last year's – including the ability to shoot in Leica Vivid or Classic color profiles, but the underlying hardware has been upgraded significantly, with a larger 50MP main sensor sporting a wider aperture, and backed up by two additional 50MP sensors (an ultra-wide and a 3.2x telephoto), which collectively deliver better light, detail, dynamic range, and color reproduction than previously.

Xiaomi 14 review back angled upside down

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Even without flicking the 'high performance mode' toggle on, the Xiaomi 14 benchmarks among the top tier of the current Android pile, which translates to excellent real-world performance, whether multi-tasking or gaming. For all the raw grunt and software optimization the 14 clearly serves up though, the refreshed HyperOS user experience still falls foul of the same convolutions found in the previous MIUI; quirks that newcomers to the brand, and even some veteran Xiaomi users, would likely scratch their heads at when trying to perform certain actions or find particular features.

With this being 2024, there are also a raft of AI features that debut on the Xiaomi 14 series – from AI-generated portraits to semantic search in the gallery app – however, at the time of writing these features remain in beta, with access to them requiring approval from the Xiaomi Community admins, meaning most users won't be able to enjoy these new features and enhancements out of the box until later in the year.

Battery life is a highlight: for all that the Xiaomi 14 delivers, the increased capacity year-on-year also means the phone offer impressive longevity, surpassing the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S24 in terms of screen-on time, and leaving mainstream rivals in the dust when it comes to a full recharge, which takes a matter of minutes, rather than hours.

It's true that Xiaomi's new flagship starts at a higher asking price than both Apple's and Samsung's comparable models, the iPhone 15 and the Galaxy S24, but it also comes with twice the storage, meaning in like-for-like comparisons (using UK pricing for the 256GB model in each case), it's actually the best-value compact flagship of the bunch. One caveat is that despite having been given an 'international' launch, the Xiaomi 14 – like all of the company's phones – remains unavailable in the US and Australia, with third-party retailers or import being the only real way to get ahold of Xiaomi handsets in those countries.

Xiaomi 14 review: Price and availability

  • Priced from £849 / €999
  • Released October 2023 – China only, February 25, 2024 – internationally
  • Limited to no availability in US and Australia

Every time Qualcomm announces a new flagship mobile chipset, I'm always curious to see which phone maker will be first to market with a phone toting said cutting-edge silicon. In the case of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, it was Xiaomi, with the Xiaomi 14 and 14 Pro first debuting in China back in October 2023. However – as with previous generations of Xiaomi flagship – international audiences would have to wait.

It wasn't until a dedicated event in Barcelona in February 2024, ahead of MWC 2024 that we'd have a clear picture of the 14 series' international rollout. This event also served as a release announcement, with the phone being made available on February 25 across various markets, including the UK and Europe.

The Xiaomi 14 Pro didn't make it beyond China, but the gap between the 14 and 14 Pro in terms of specs and features is far smaller than it was with the previous 13 series, making the Pro's absence from the international stage far less of an issue this generation, especially with the Xiaomi 14 Ultra also available.

Despite throwing around words like 'international' and 'global' at the phone's February announcement though, Xiaomi's presence in the US and Australia only extends to smart home and lifestyle products, with its smartphones remaining distinctly absent. This means that, outside of importing or purchasing from fringe third-party retailers, you won't readily be able to pick up the Xiaomi 14 locally, and that's before taking into account whether it supports the carrier bands for local networks.

As for pricing, while a starting price in the UK of £849 places it well above the baseline price of key rivals like the iPhone 15 ($799 / £799 / AU$1,499) and Samsung Galaxy S24 ($799 / £799 / AU$1,399), those phones both come with just half the amount of storage (128GB).

In like-for-like comparisons against the £849 (equivalent to $1,070 / AU$1,640) 256GB base Xiaomi 14, both Apple's and Samsung's 256GB rivals actually cost more, at £899 and £859 respectively.

  • Value score: 5 / 5

Xiaomi 14 review: Specs

Xiaomi 14 review: Design

Xiaomi 14 review buttons

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Color choice affects finish
  • Squared, polished aluminum alloy frame
  • IP68-certified against dust and water

Fans of the Xiaomi 13 will appreciate what the company has done with the design of its successor – or rather what it hasn't done. The overall look of the two phones is much the same, although the 14 sports a hardier build, with tougher Gorilla Glass Victus and IP68-certified dust and water resistance, but elsewhere the dimensions to weight have remained consistent (a larger main camera system and battery have added a couple of grams).

Versus those aforementioned mainstream rivals, Xiaomi's latest is a little thicker and heavier by comparison, but is still small and comfortable enough to be considered a 'compact' flagship, and while the iPhone 15 series has embraced more rounded sides this generation, the Xiaomi 14 retains the iPhone 14 Pro line's straight-sided, mirror-polished aluminum surround, for better or worse, depending on your taste (I like the look but hate the fingerprints).

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Xiaomi 14 review Cloud de Paris design closeup

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The Clous de Paris guilloché detailing around the Xiaomi 14's camera

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Xiaomi 14 review Jade Green closeup

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A close-up on the Xiaomi 14's Jade Green glass back

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Xiaomi 14 review back straight

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The Jade Green variant featured in this review is the most head-turning colorway on the international stage, with the white model featuring a tasteful silver frame and the black option serving up textured – instead of polished – color-matched rear glass, which better repels fingerprints at the expense of a little grip. The only color that appeared in China but is missing from the global gamut of colorways is 'Snow Mountain Pink.'

Despite its similarities to the last model, Xiaomi has added interest around that new larger rear camera, with what it's dubbed a Clous de Paris (that's a hobnail pattern to you and me) to add a little interest. While it's not the only phone maker that has turned to classic analogue watch styling for design inspiration, this particular adornment is one I wouldn't every expect to find on a phone, and it serves as an aesthetic through-line with the recently-release Xiaomi Watch S3, too.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

Xiaomi 14 review: Display

Xiaomi 14 review front straight

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • 6.36-inch Xiaomi 'CrystalRes' C8 LTPO AMOLED
  • 1Hz to 120Hz variable refresh rate
  • High-brightness mode: 1,400 nits (3,000 nits peak)

The flat 6.36-inch 'CrystalRes' C8 AMOLED fronting the Xiaomi 14 is a new panel of company's own design (manufactured by TCL), offering across-the-board upgrades over the same-sized screen on the Xiaomi 13, while also keeping it competitive against 2024 competitors.

First and foremost, it's sharper than the display on its predecessor, pushing past Full HD+ to a 1200 x 2670 resolution at the same size, upping pixel density from 414ppi to 460ppi, and making it as pin-sharp as the iPhone 15's Super Retina XDR OLED panel. It's also brighter – a lot brighter – with a peak of 3,000 nits (the Xiaomi 13 peaked at 1,900 nits) supports the Dolby Vision and HDR10+ standards. There's also a quoted full-panel high-brightness mode of 1,400 nits (up from the 13's 1,200 nits), which in real-world use ensures the screen is still comfortably visible against a bright sky. I just wish every phone adopted the reduced reflectivity of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra's display.

Regardless, the hits don't stop, with the move to an LTPO panel greatly improving power efficiency, as the refresh rate can now scale far more dynamically, depending on what you're doing on your phone. For context, the Xiaomi 13 could only switch between 60Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz, so its successor's ability to rove anywhere between 1Hz and 120Hz is a welcome upgrade.

Xiaomi 14 review home screen closeup

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The screen serves up pleasing visuals across photos, video streaming, and gaming, and Xiaomi includes a wealth of controls for tinkering with the display experience. By default the phone is set to 'Original Color Pro', but there are additional color profile presets like 'Vivid' and 'Saturated' alongside the ability to force the display to operate in the DCI-P3 gamut or sRGB, and that's before you touch the independent sliders covering things like RGB values, hue, saturation, contrast, and gamma.

There are arguably too many display control on offer as, alongside the above, you can also tweak color temperature, toggle adaptive color temperature adjustment, which adjusts the color temperature relative to ambient lighting, toggle DC dimming for more comfortable low-light viewing, choose between multiple reading modes, add texture and color temperature controls to a grayscale viewing experience, and even have AI step in to upscale videos, enhance photos in your gallery, add HDR viewing to SDR content, and add frames to certain video content for smooth playback.

  • Display score: 4.5 / 5

Xiaomi 14 review: Software

Xiaomi 14 review Quick Settings

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • First phone to debut HyperOS out of the box
  • Runs on top of Android 14
  • 4 years of OS + 5 years of security updates

MIUI is out and HyperOS is in, with the Xiaomi 14 series being the first of the company's phones to debut this revitalized user experience out of the box. If you watched the phone's launch, you'd be forgiven for assuming that HyperOS is something totally new, but in real-world use you'll be hard-pressed to spot any major differences with MIUI at a glance.

Xiaomi says that HyperOS follows a new 'Alive' design philosophy, boasting real-time rendering on certain graphical elements, alongside a color palette "based on natural hues" and while it's unquestionably more consistently fluid and responsive, the general look and feel still feels decidedly MIUI.

Nevertheless, that performance uptick across load times and animations might have something to do with the fact that despite its similarities to MIUI, Xiaomi has rebuilt HyperOS almost entirely. Not only does it take up almost a third less space on-device than its predecessor, it has new underpinnings to enable greater cross-platform interconnectivity with the company's wider product ecosystem, from its wearables and tablets, to its newfound push into automotive – even its debut car, the Xiaomi SU7, comes running its own build of HyperOS.

Back to the Xiaomi 14 though, and as before the user experience is feature-packed and serves up a decidedly different form than a lot of other smartphones out there. By default, there's no apps drawer, notifications and quick settings live behind swipe-down gestures from the top left and right corners of the screen, respectively (very iOS), swiping down on your home screen summons a device-wide search, while swiping up reveals Content Center, featuring links to news and YouTube video. There's a lot going on.

Xiaomi 14 review Security app

The Security app on the Xiaomi 14 does a lot more than just keep your device secure. (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Provided that you're willing to put in some time to learn, HyperOS serves up a lot of flexibility and practically endless personalization too, although it's easy to get lost in disparate controls and settings screens. There's also a degree of bloat out of the box, with various third-party apps – like Booking.com – which can be uninstalled but ideally wouldn't be there to begin with. As for first-party apps, plenty of those could be considered bloat too, with multiple ways to perform seemingly the same action. The App Vault, Cleaner, Game Center and Security apps, for example, all help boost memory performance. Why do users need four different ways to access this feature, Xiaomi?

There are, of course, welcome additions too, like Game Turbo, which handles notification suppression, as well as relevant device controls (over things like brightness), when gaming and even includes a voice changer. Meanwhile HyperOS' Gallery app offers Google Photos integration native, which is a rare and handy bonus.

Xiaomi 14 review Sidebar

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Of course, this wouldn't be a 2024 flagship phone without some AI functionality thrown in, and Xiaomi has promised everything from generative fill when expanding the canvas of images to AI portraits, AI-generative subtitles, semantic search in the Gallery app, and more. Notice I said Xiaomi has 'promised' this suite of AI features, as at launch they remain in beta, meaning you have to sign up to be given access to unfinished iteration of what is one of the Xiaomi 14's headline upgrades.

There's good news, though – I did sign up for the beta once I'd mostly done testing the phone, and the AI features I tried worked as advertised and seemed stable (although wait times on processing for the AI Portrait feature surpassed an hour). So far Xiaomi has, unlike Samsung, made no mention of charging for the use of any AI functionality, although that's a policy that likely won't last forever.

To round things out, HyperOS on the Xiaomi 14 runs atop Android 14, with the company promising four years of update support and five years of security update support. That's behind market leaders like Apple, Google and Samsung, but should prove more than ample for the average smartphone user in 2024, ensuring that the Xiaomi 14 will continue to gain new features and remain secure for the duration of your time with it.

  • Software score: 3.5 / 5

Xiaomi 14 review: Cameras

Xiaomi 14 review camera closeup

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • 50MP f/1.6 Xiaomi Light Fusion 900 main sensor with OIS
  • 50MP f/2.2 ISOCELL JN1 ultra-wide with 112-degree FoV
  • 50MP (32MP effective) f/2.0 ISOCELL JN1 3.2x telephoto with OIS
  • 32MP f/2.0 front camera with 89.6-degree FoV

While the camera system on the Xiaomi 14 isn't without its flaws, it looks to have the edge over compact rivals like the latest iPhone and Galaxy, with an across-the-board sensor upgrade compared to the Xiaomi 13, and ongoing input from optical specialists Leica.

You'll find an impressive-looking trio of 50MP sensors on the back, fronted by the new custom Xiaomi 'Light Fusion 900' (a tuned OmniVision OVX9000 sensor, with input from both Xiaomi and Leica), along with ISOCELL JN1 sensors for the ultra-wide and telephoto, collectively offering a focal range from 14mm to 75mm (although the telephoto's effective resolution is actually cited at 32MP and appears to kick in at 2.5x, which would suggest a shorter max optical range than Xiaomi claims).

AI Portrait... one of the most ambitious and unsettling AI features I've encountered on a phone to date

Leica's involvement, meanwhile, extends to branded 'Summilux' lenses, the 'Leica Vibrant' and 'Leica Authentic' color profiles the phone can shoot in, and the 'master lens system' of digital focal presets built into portrait mode.

Beyond that, the camera UI seems simple enough at first blush, but like the rest of HyperOS is absolutely jam-packed with features. The breadth of features on offer will be welcomed by those happy to spend the time required to learn of the nuances of the user experience, but will likely prove overwhelming for those who just want to tweak basic settings.

Stills shooting is primarily managed via Photo mode, or Pro mode if you want more control, while for video recording, Video and Movie mode are both on hand. More experimental modes include Short Film, which serves as a template complete with filters in which to capture footage; Director Mode, which lets you connect multiple cameras and even monitors wirelessly to orchestrate a multi-cam recording; plus Long Exposure, Supermoon, and more.

Xiaomi 14 camera samples

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 0.6x Barcelona cathedral

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

0.6x zoom (ultra-wide sensor)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 1x Barcelona cathedral

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

1x zoom (main sensor)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 2x Barcelona cathedral

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2x zoom (main sensor)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 3.2x Barcelona cathedral

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

3.2x zoom (telephoto sensor)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 60x Barcelona cathedral

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

60x zoom (i.e. maximum lossy zoom range)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 0.6x city

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

0.6x zoom (ultra-wide sensor)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 1x city

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

1x zoom (main sensor)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 2x city

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2x zoom (main sensor)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 3.2x city

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

3.2x zoom (telephoto sensor)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample 60x city

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

60x zoom (i.e. maximum lossy zoom range)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample iPhone 15 Galaxy S24 comparison zoom range city

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Zoom range comparison: Apple iPhone 15 (top), Xiaomi 14 (center), Samsung Galaxy S24 (bottom)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample selfie

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Front camera

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample iPhone 15 Galaxy S24 selfie comparison Sub10Xiaomi 14 camera sample iPhone 15 Galaxy S24 selfie comparison

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Front camera comparison: Apple iPhone 15 (left), Xiaomi 14 (center), Samsung Galaxy S24 (right)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample Brie

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
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Xiaomi 14 camera sample Brie AI Expansion

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

AI Expanded by 150%

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample Cheddar

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample dessert 1 artificial lighting

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Artificial lighting

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample dessert 2 artificial lighting

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Artificial lighting

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample low light blue neon

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample low light orange neon

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample low light group selfie

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Front camera

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample low light street

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Low light

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample Night Mode street

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Night mode

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample Pixel 8 Pro low light comparison

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Low light comparison: Xiaomi 14 (left), Google Pixel 8 Pro (right)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample Pixel 8 Pro Night Mode comparison

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Night Mode comparison: Xiaomi 14 (left), Google Pixel 8 Pro (right)

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample low light building

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

In side-by-side tests with the usual suspects (the iPhone 15 and the Samsung Galaxy S24), Xiaomi's distinct photographic look shone through. Leica Vivid (which all the Xiaomi 14 camera samples featured in this review were captured in) served up consistently brighter and and more vibrant results than rivals, with good detail captured across its entire (optical) focal range.

There's a pleasing consistency in terms of color, contrast and detail between shots captured with the ultra-wide and that new primary sensor, while telephoto shots adopt a bolder look, with stronger contrast that still equates to pleasing images, although with an unpredictability that the 14's competitors don't suffer from.

In more challenging scenarios, while the 14's macro capture offers good center-frame detail, chromatic aberrations, or color fringing, around the edge of subjects isn't always welcome, while low-light environments did result in exposure hunting from time to time. On the flip side, taking Night Mode shots results in great final images, with this phone only really falling short of category leaders like the Google Pixel 8 Pro.

The phone's stabilization is shown off to great effect in video footage (beyond the impressive capture controls mentioned earlier), while selfies also shine against similar photos from competitors, provided that you're comfortable with Xiaomi's heavier-handed beauty settings as standard – skin tones are accurately represented, but smoothing and blemish-removal algorithms are also clearly enabled by default. Interestingly, you'd assume that the 32MP front-facing sensor would pixel-bin down to 8MP final images, but the Xiaomi 14 unapologetically captures front-facing shots at the sensor's native resolution, and does so with aplomb.

AI camera features

Xiaomi 14 AI Expansion screenshots

Using AI Expansion on the Xiaomi 14 (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

There are also all of the aforementioned (beta) AI imaging abilities that debut on the Xiaomi 14 (practically all of which are accessed from the native Gallery app after capture). AI Expansion lets you punch out of a shot by up to 200% and have the phone's on-device AI processing try to generate new background content that's consistent with the original image. Each generative fill takes around 15 seconds to complete (with tests at 150%) and the results are hit-and-miss – but the fact that they hit as often as they do is what's surprising.

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample Brie

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Original image...

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Xiaomi 14 camera sample Brie AI Expansion

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

...enlarged by 150% using AI Expand on the Xiaomi 14

Then there's AI Portrait, which is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious – and unsettling – AI features I've encountered on a phone. Once you snap around 30 selfies (or at least shots of the same subject with their face visible) and submit them to the AI Portrait creation wizard, it'll use off-device processing to construct an AI-generated simulacrum that – with the help of a written prompt – can be placed into all manner of scenes.

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Xiaomi 14 AI Portrait generation screenshots setup

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The processing time to create my (beta) AI Portrait avatar took over an hour...

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Xiaomi 14 AI Portrait generation screenshots results

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

...but, once done, individual results with the completed avatar took only minutes to generate.

The developmental nature of the AI features coming (as at the time of review, they're still in beta, remember) to the Xiaomi 14 was made clear when the creation time for my AI avatar was cited at over an hour, but once I had it, prompts took around a minute to generate results, once again with varying degrees of success. The feature automatically served up prompts like 'beach resort' and 'northern islands' of its own accord but did a respectable job coming up with convincing images based on my prompt of 'in a kayak' too, as you can see above.

As for how useful this feature is, it's easy to imagine novel scenarios in which your AI Portrait could feature – hilariously implausible holiday snaps on Instagram, for example – but as with any AI-generated imagery, there remain unanswered and ungoverned ethical quandaries surrounding a technology that is evidently already in peoples' hands and will continue to improve in time.

With regards to Xiaomi's specific AI policies, the phone details which devices use solely on-device processing and which rely on the cloud, while the company's AI white paper goes into greater detail around training data-sets and the like. That said, unlike Samsung's Galaxy AI image tools, there's no obvious watermarking to help people discern which images have and haven't been created or altered by Xiaomi's AI, which is something the company should address in a future update, and on future products with AI-enhanced features.

  • Camera score: 4.5 / 5

Xiaomi 14 review: Performance

Xiaomi 14 review gaming Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact on the Xiaomi 14 (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC
  • 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM on all models
  • Impressive thermal performance for a compact phone

Although the Xiaomi 14 has the distinction of being first to market with Qualcomm's latest and greatest flagship mobile silicon in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, its staggered release meant that by the time it made it to international audiences, rivals with that same cutting-edge chipset were already on store shelves. Even so, this remains one of the most capable phones currently on the market.

HyperOS – like MIUI before it – is pretty hands-on with performance management, with overarching power profiles that limit just how much apps and services can ask of the CPU/GPU/NPU; but even without switching 'performance mode' on, in artificial benchmarks the Xiaomi 14 holds its own against many of the other best Android phones right now – including the Samsung Galaxy S24 and Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra – while other flagships like the Pixel 8 Pro score far weaker across compute and graphical tests.

Real-world use shows that, between the processor and the optimizations HyperOS brings over MIUI, the Xiaomi 14 has more than enough clout to handle demanding everyday use, with the AI features being among the few instances where you'll still find yourself staring at a loading bar for a moment or two.

Xiaomi 14 review Game Turbo

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Gaming is a dream on the Xiaomi 14 too, as not only does the phone offer a great visual experience by being on the larger side (within the compact flagship space), but the engineering team has done solid work with the thermal management in spite of the phone's relatively small proportions. Even with Genshin Impact's graphical settings at 'overclocked' (namely by forcing 60fps gameplay) the Xiaomi 14 never got more than a little warm, even after 30 minutes of continuous playtime.

There are also the added benefits of Game Turbo, which can prioritize networking latency, touch response input and, of course, boost performance at the expense of power consumption.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

Xiaomi 14 review: Battery

Xiaomi 14 review USB-C

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Larger 4,610mAh battery than predecessor
  • Up to 90W wired and 50W wireless charging
  • 8.5 hours of screen-on time per charge (using Balanced power profile)

Charging speeds and battery capacity have both received a generous generational upgrade, with the standard Xiaomi 14 now matching the Xiaomi 14 Ultra's impressive 90W fast wired charging and up to 50W wireless charging. This means a pleasingly-rapid full recharge is possible in just 40 minutes, while my tests found the phone consistently passed the 50%-charge mark after just 15 minutes. That's in stark contrast to the likes of the iPhone 15, whose 20W wired charging means a full recharge takes over two hours (based on our tests).

The phone doesn't give you its quickest speeds right out the box (although it's still quick to charge); as well as the (included) 90W 'HyperCharge' power adapter, you also have to enable the 'boost charging speed' toggle in the phone's settings menu. This ensures that maximum 90W speeds are made available, with the phone charging on a logarithmic curve – i.e., the lower your Xiaomi's 14's battery percentage is to start with, the faster it'll charge, slowing as it approaches 100%. This ensures that fast charging is most effective when you realize your battery is low and you only have limited time to charge it, while still protecting battery health over the lifetime of the phone.

As for longevity, the Xiaomi 14 puts in a superb effort – especially for a compact smartphone, doling out 8.5 hours of screen-on time in testing. That equates to up to two day's use; particularly if you're willing to toy with the aforementioned power profiles: Performance, Balanced, Battery Saver and Ultra Battery Saver – which limits apps access and background processes to maximize battery life. This is among the best longevity for its size right now, only falling short of the ever-enduring iPhone 15 (which in our tests mustered over 11 hours of screen-on time), however, the Xiaomi is probably the best compact flagship, when you collectively consider battery life and charging performance.

  • Battery score: 5 / 5

Should you buy the Xiaomi 14?

Buy it if...

You want a compact powerhouse
The Xiaomi 14 outpaces the big-name compact phones currently on the market in terms of both value and hardware prowess, so long as you're okay with the slightly shorter update support roadmap, compared to Apple and Samsung's rivals.

You like trying new things
The Xiaomi 14's hardware and software offer near-endless degrees of customization and functionality. HyperOS takes a very different approach to most Android-based smartphone user experiences, but if you put in the time it demands it's an incredibly rich offering.

Battery life and fast charging are high priorities
The Xiaomi 14 probably strikes the best balance of battery longevity and fast charging on the market right now, especially for a phone of its size.

Don't buy it if...

You want the stylish smartphone
Sure, aesthetics are subjective, and while the Xiaomi 14 isn't bad looking, it's squared design feels dated and unexciting. That's not to say it isn't well built and durable, however.

You like a clean easy-to-use OS experience
HyperOS might be far better optimized than MIUI ever was, but many of its predecessor's worst traits persist. The Xiaomi 14 has features upon features, and layers upon layers of menus, and while the breadth of functionality makes it a powerful and versatile phone, not everyone will want to spend time learning its seemingly convoluted way of doing things.

You want AI functionality, right now!
At launch Xiaomi promised a wealth of AI features destined for the Xiaomi 14 series, and while you can get your hands on some of them with a little tinkering, they're still in beta at the time of writing, and not easily accessible if you don't know how to unlock them.

Xiaomi 14 review: Also consider

The Xiaomi 14 has some clear strengths, but also some clearly-defined shortcomings. If you've got this far and think something else might be more your thing, why not consider one of these alternatives.

Apple iPhone 15
The iPhone 15 doesn't exactly need an introduction, but if you like elements of Xiaomi's HyperOS or just want a slimmer, smaller but equally-capable compact flagship, this might be your next phone.

Samsung Galaxy S24
Samsung and Google are arguably the biggest phone makers shouting about AI features right now, and the standard S24 condenses the company's suite of Galaxy AI functions into its most compact flagship form. A slim design, decent cameras and a killer display don't go amiss either.

How I tested the Xiaomi 14

Xiaomi 14 review back angled

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Review test period: six weeks
  • Testing included: everyday use including web browsing, social media, photography, video calling, gaming, streaming video, music playback
  • Tools used: Geekbench 6, Geekbench ML, GFXBench, native Android stats, Xiaomi 90W charger

Xiaomi was able to provide me with a sample of the Xiaomi 14 just ahead of its international launch, giving me plenty of time to get to grips with the hardware, software, generational upgrades and so on. With the abundance of time available, I've throughly tested the phone while using it as my daily driver over a course of weeks, taking it to social events for camera testing, using it for navigation in my car, gaming around the house and other general smartphone use, from smart home control to social media and web browsing.

It took longer to gain access to some features – namely its promised AI functionality – which I was only able to do once I signed in with my Xiaomi account to the brand's forums and registered for beta access, which then had to be approved, but after that I felt like I was fully able to experience what the Xiaomi 14 promised.

Benchmarking apps is never the be-all-and-end-all, but the results do at least provide an empirical indication of performance that some find useful as a comparison tool. As the user has control over the power state the phone operates in, these benchmarks were carried out in both Balanced and Performance modes, although numerous scores out-paced rivals with the need for Performance mode.

Having reviewed smartphones for well over a decade, including numerous Xiaomi phones, as well as devices from the company's key competition, I felt more than comfortable reviewing this latest Xiaomi flagship, in order to balance its strengths and weaknesses against the market in which it competes.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed March 2024

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