Product Listing

Xiaomi 14 review: Compact phones with flagship quality and excellent photography

By Cheryl Tan - 18 May 2024
Launch SRP: S$999

Overview, Design, HyperOS

Note: This review was first published on 9 May 2024.

Xiaomi 14.

Appearances can be deceiving

When it comes to smartphone photography, many phones vie for the top spot, but one perennial contender is Xiaomi.

The “Ultra” models have always been excellent smartphones for mobile photography enthusiasts. In Singapore, base models of popular phones are often overlooked by those who only want the biggest and the best. 

At first glance, the Xiaomi 14 might not seem as earth-shaking as its bigger brother which we recently reviewed, but it certainly has its advantages. Namely, its smaller size makes it easier to handle, its (slightly) more discreet camera bump, all while containing the same excellent hardware inside. 

The TL;DR version:

This phone offers an excellent camera system and the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor without the premium version's jaw-dropping price.

Note: You can find the Xiaomi 14 on Lazada and Shopee.

The phone runs on the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor. It has 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 256GB or 512GB of UFS 4.0 storage options. 

The display stays at the same 6.36-inch size for non-Ultra models, although it’s been upgraded from previous years. It has a new LTPO OLED display that supports a dynamic 120Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and a new peak brightness of 3,000 nits. 

The camera bump is pretty prominent.

Apart from sporing the latest processors, Xiaomi 14's biggest change is in the camera department, with a brand new triple-camera array consisting of a 50MP main camera, a 50MP telephoto camera, and a 50MP ultra-wide camera that fully utilizes the partnership with Leica inked back in 2022. 

So, could the S$999 Xiaomi 14 be the compact answer to your smartphone photography needs without overspending for the Ultra edition? Let’s find out!

  Xiaomi 14
  Xiaomi 14
Launch SRP
  • From S$999
Network:
  • Up to 5G NR
Operating system
  • Android 14 (HyperOS)
Processor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
Built-in Memory
  • 12GB RAM
  • LPDDR5X
Display
  • 6.36-inch, LTPO OLED, 2,670 x 1,200 pixels, 120Hz dynamic refresh rate, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, 3,000-nits peak brightness
Camera
  • Rear:
  • 50MP main, 1/1.31-inch sensor, f/1.6 aperture, Light Fusion 900 image sensor, 1.2μm, OIS
  • 50MP ultra-wide, f/2.0, 115° FOV
  • 50MP telephoto, f/2.2, 3.2x optical zoom, OIS
  • Front:
  • 32MP, f/2.0
Video Support
  • Up to 8K24FPS
Connectivity
  • LTE / 5G NR
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax/be, dual-band Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 5.4
  • GPS, AGPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, NavIC
  • NFC
Storage Type
  • 216GB (UFS 4.0)
  • 512GB (UFS 4.0)
  • No microSD card slot
Battery
  • 4,610mAh
  • 90W HyperCharge wired charging
  • 50W HyperCharge wireless charging
Dimensions
  • 152.8 x 71.5 x 8.2mm
Weight
  • 193g

A safe but dated design

The glass back is rather reflective.

At first glance, the Xiaomi 14 looks relatively similar to its predecessors, with the same square camera bump on the rear. However, the bump is slightly larger due to the new, reworked camera system.

The phone comes in three colourways: Black, White, and Jade Green. The Black option has matte sides, while the White and Jade Green options have glossy sides. The latter two look sleek but can be quite a fingerprint magnet. It's paired with a glass back, heightening its propensity to hang onto fingerprints and dust. Without a protective cover, you’ll find yourself cleaning this phone regularly. 

While I like the 3D curved back glass because it makes the phone comfortable to hold, Xiaomi’s choice to go with flat sides means there’s a jarring distinction between the glass curves and the frame's edges. It’s not egregious, but we expect a more coherent design for a flagship product.

Buttons are all on the right side.

Thankfully, the phone looks quite clean on the sides. Xiaomi has placed the volume rocker and power button on the right side while moving the usual speaker holes from the top edge to the display. 

The screen is legible even under bright sunlight at 2pm.

On the front, the flat display is protected with Gorilla Glass Victus and sports very thin bezels all around, at just 1.71mm, including the chin. It also has IP68 water and dust resistance, which is excellent and should be a must-have on all high-end phones these days. 

The display is bright and vibrant, with no issues being legible under direct afternoon sunlight. 

HyperOS

The Xiaomi 14 runs on the company’s new Xiaomi HyperOS operating interface, announced in late 2023 and based on Android 14. While it replaces the old MIUI interface, the two systems are visually similar, with a few small but useful changes. HyperOS is the interface for Xiaomi products moving forward, appearing on the Xiaomi 14 Ultra.

Not as elegant as Apple's Dynamic Island, but useful, nonetheless.

I particularly like the pop-up at the top of the screen when the phone is plugged in. It displays the current battery level and whether it’s quick charging. 

Another nice new addition is the ability to use floating windows. This isn’t as useful as on a folding phone, but it's nice for people who like to multitask and open several different apps simultaneously. 

Unedited.

Edited with AI sky replacement.

There are also some AI photo editing features in the Gallery, such as Sky Replacement and Magic Eraser, which can erase shadows on food. I tried out the sky replacement feature, which performed decently, although it accidentally replaced a small part of a building. However, I’ll give it props for distinguishing and isolating the cherry blossom branches well. 

Bloatware apps.Xiaomi also downloads some of the company's own apps.

Unfortunately, there is a bit of bloatware, with apps like Amazon Shopping, LinkedIn, Agoda, Trip.com, and Shopee, which don't yet include Xiaomi’s apps like Mi Remote, Xiaomi Community and more. Thankfully, it’s not as bad as other phones we’ve reviewed recently. However, it would be nice to stop this practice of automatically installing excessive bloatware. 

Despite that, the UI was responsive and fluid, with no stuttering or animation lag. One minor quibble is that the in-display fingerprint reader location is a little low, and it would be much better if it were raised slightly for ease of use.

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8.5
  • Design 7.5
  • Features 8
  • User-Friendliness 8.5
  • Performance 9
  • Value 9
The Good
One of the most affordable SD8G3 flagship phones
Compact and comfortable to use
Great photography capabilities
Fast 90W wired and 50W wireless charging
The Bad
Still unable to turn off Leica processing presets for native camera app
Design flow from the sides to the rear can be better
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