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A compact powerhouse that ticks all the right boxes

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The Xiaomi 14 was originally launched back in November last year. It launched alongside its sibling, the Xiaomi 14 Pro, in China. Fast forward a couple of months and the Xiaomi 14 is now here… for global markets. The phone arrived alongside the Xiaomi 14 Ultra, not the Xiaomi 14 Pro. Having said that, I’ve been using the Xiaomi 14 for a couple of weeks now, and have reviewed the device in preparation for its launch.

The Xiaomi 14 does not have all the bells and whistles of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This phone is a true powerhouse on its own, and if you’re overwhelmed by huge smartphones, and still want a great-looking, powerful smartphone with a truly compelling camera setup… well, this may be just the phone for you. Things are not perfect, though, of course. So… read on.

Table of contents

Xiaomi 14 Review: Hardware / Design

The Xiaomi 14 truly is a gorgeous piece of hardware. This phone is made out of metal and glass and is also rather compact at the same time. It’s not small by any means, as it has a 6.36-inch display, but thanks to its thin bezels, it’s quite compact. Its bezels are only 1.71mm thick, and that goes for all of its bezels. Yes, they’re uniform, and the display is flat. The phone measures 152.8 x 71.5 x 8.3mm and weighs 193 grams. Do note that the vegan leather model weighs 188 grams, but that one is only available in China. The model I reviewed has a glass backplate. This phone is slightly bigger than the Galaxy S24 and iPhone 15 Pro, but it has a bigger display too.

Having said that, its sides are flat all around, but they are rounded towards the very edges. Xiaomi did a fantastic job of curving the glass backplate into the back of the phone while keeping the frame slightly protruding. I thought this was going to be a problem and cut into my hand, but it did not, at all. The frame is nicely rounded towards the edges, the company did a great job here. The model I used has a metallic silver frame, and it’s very glossy. It also picks up fingerprints very easily. The good news is it’s only the frame, not the backplate. That’s probably because the back side is white, so I never really had issues with smudges.

The buttons are clicky, and the camera island is non-obtrusive

The buttons on the phone are very clicky, they’re just right. Both sets are placed on the right-hand side, the power/lock buttons sit below the volume up and down buttons. The SIM card tray is accessible from the bottom, where the phone’s loudspeaker and Type-C port sit too. The earpiece functions as a second speaker, while there’s absolutely nothing to be found at the top. There is no IR blaster here either, which some of you may expect considering that this is a Xiaomi smartphone.

On the back, you’ll notice a rather spacious camera island. It’s located in the top-left corner of the phone’s back. It does protrude on the back, quite a bit, but it can serve as an anchor for your index finger, depending on how large your hands are. There are three cameras included in there, and an LED flash too. We’ll talk more about those cameras later on, but Xiaomi did include a capable setup here.

Very comfortable to use, while its bezels are also thin & uniform

Holding and using the phone is a really pleasant experience. Considering the way the device is shaped, it’s not as slippery as many other phones I’ve used, despite the fact it’s made out of metal and glass. Still, it’s not exactly grippy, so using a case may not be such a bad idea. There is one included in the box, it’s a regular rubber case, but it does add quite a bit of grip and protection here. You can always get some other case if you don’t like this one, but it’s nice to see one included in the box.

AH Xiaomi 14 image 3

The Xiaomi 14 does feel like a premium piece of hardware, through and through. It’s very nice to see uniform bezels too, and I really don’t have any complaints on this hardware… well, aside from the fact the frame smudges easily, but that’s a truly minor thing.

Xiaomi 14 Review: Display

The Xiaomi 14 features a 6.36-inch 1.5K (2670 x 1200) AMOLED display. This is an LTPO panel, by the way, its refresh rate goes from 1 to 120Hz, as needed. Xiaomi refers to this panel as a ‘pro-level’ display, and its theoretical brightness goes up to 3,000 nits. In other words, it can get really bright when needed, but do note that the very highest brightness levels are reserved for HDR content on auto brightness. That’s the case for every single competitor that this phone has, though.

The display is gorgeous and it comes with TUV Rheinland EyeCare certification

This display also offers a 12-bit color depth, and support for Dolby Vision. HDR10 and HDR10+ content is supported too, and the same goes for Hybrid log-gamma. On top of everything, this panel is also TUV Rheinland EyeCare certified. It incorporates DC dimming across all brightness ranges and features a hardware-level low blue light design that produces 56% lower blue light than the previous-gen model. The phone’s display has a 240Hz touch sampling rate and features Adaptive reading mode and a Sunglight mode. There’s a lot of tech packed here, as you’d expect out of a flagship-level product.

Bezels around the display are only 1.71mm thick

The panel on the phone is flat, and it has uniform bezels. Those bezels are only 1.71mm thick all around the display, which helps keep the phone quite compact. There is a display camera hole on this panel, it’s centered at the top of the panel. A plastic screen protector comes pre-installed on the device, but you can always change that for a tempered one if you want. We’re not sure what protection is applied on top of the display, though.

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AH Xiaomi 14 image 7

Is the display any good, though, for regular use? Not only good, it’s outstanding. I never felt like the screen was too dim or anything of the sort. It’s more than sharp enough, and adaptive brightness worked very well, which is something I had issues with on some previous Xiaomi smartphones. The viewing angles here are also excellent, and the touch response is good. The display is also quite vivid, though you can tune all that in the display settings, the phone does offer some options in regards to that. The panel is also not all that reflective either, in line with its competition.

The bottom line is, this display is excellent. I have no real complaints about it whatsoever, and the uniform bezels around it are only the cherry on top.

Xiaomi 14 Review: Performance

The Xiaomi 14 includes the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 on the inside. That is Qualcomm’s most powerful processor at the moment. In addition to that, the phone comes with 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM, and either 256GB or 512GB of storage. UFS 4.0 flash storage is used here, by the way. In other words, this phone has all the hardware prerequisites to offer great performance. Does it? Well, yes, it surely does. HyperOS comes pre-installed on the phone, on top of Android 14 I believe. I was unable to check the exact version of Android, and Xiaomi’s official info also doesn’t mention Android. Chances are it is Android 14, as it is in China, so… there you go. We’ll talk more about the software later on.

The phone handles everyday tasks with ease

The phone does a great job when it comes to regular everyday tasks. It fires up apps really quickly, multitasking is a breeze, and you can do basically everything you’d expect with ease. I really pushed this phone hard when it comes to multitasking, and it did a great job, just keep in mind that HyperOS is better than MIUI when it comes to keeping tasks in the background, but not the best. That really won’t matter all that much to you unless you’re juggling a bunch of apps at the same time. If that’s not the case, you won’t even notice anything. I did notice some stuttering while using the device, but only briefly, and far apart. At one point I did experience a slightly longer freeze, of 3-4 seconds. Considering I did review this phone by the time it didn’t even launch, though, it’s possible Xiaomi plans another software update by the time it launches, or soon after to additionally iron out these issues. Even if it doesn’t the phone does work really great.

AH Xiaomi 14 image 23 HyperOS

It’s also great in terms of gaming performance

What about gaming? Well, that’s also not a problem for the Xiaomi 14. Xiaomi did include a proper cooling system on the inside, and even though the phone does get rather warm when you’re pushing it hard on the gaming side of things, it keeps up in terms of performance. It never got too hot for me, even when I was pushing it hard with Genshin Impact. It did get rather warm, but the performance did not suffer. In terms of some less graphically intensive titles, the phone did an outstanding job. It got barely warm when I was testing out Subway Surfers, for example, the same was the case with a couple of other games I’ve tried out. It never got warm during regular, everyday use. I do have a feeling Xiaomi’s cooling system is making a difference here, as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 does run hotter than its predecessor, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.

Benchmarks

With every review, we’re running a number of benchmarks as well. Below, you’ll find four separate benchmarks. The first one is temperature testing after an hour of Genshin Impact playback. That is followed by the Geekbench 6 results (single and multi-core CPU score & GPU score), and the 3D Mark Wildlife Extreme Stress Test. The last benchmark in this category has to do with video exporting. You’ll get to see how long it takes this phone to export a fullHD video at 30 FPS via CapCut. Comparisons with other phones are also included here.

Temperature Genshin Impact

Xiaomi 14 vs others Genshin Impact thermals

Geekbench 6

Xiaomi 14 vs others Geekbench 6 CPU & GPU

3D Mark Wildlife Extreme Stress Test

The app crashed three times while we were trying to conduct a test. The temperature at the time of the crash was 110.3F. We’re guessing either it’s a bug or some sort of a failsafe. We did not have issues during usage or gaming, so we’re not really sure what happened here.

Video export test

Xiaomi 14 vs others CapCut video export test (lower is better)

Xiaomi 14 Review: Battery

There is a 4,610mAh battery included inside of this phone. It is slightly larger than the unit included in the Xiaomi 13, which is a good thing. The Xiaomi 14 also comes with a processor that has lower power consumption, so that should be a good pairing, right? Well, yes, actually. I didn’t have big expectations for its battery life, I expected marginal improvements (compared to the Xiaomi 13, but the phone managed to surprise me. It did not really perform as well as the ASUS ZenFone 10 for us, that phone offers outstanding battery life for a compact smartphone, but it was… up there. It’s amongst the best (rather) compact smartphones in that regard, when it comes to compact flagships.

The Xiaomi 14 offers better battery life than the Galaxy S24, noticeably better

Many of you will be comparing the Xiaomi 14 with the Samsung Galaxy S24 on the battery side of things. The Galaxy S24 doesn’t offer particularly great battery life, the Xiaomi 14 did offer more juice in our experience. Noticeably more, in fact. With my usage, I was able to get over 6.5 hours of screen-on-time regularly, without a problem. I was able to push it up to 7 hours of screen-on-time once or twice, which is not too shabby. Do note that gaming did lower those numbers, but I don’t really play games out of testing, so… there you go. Everything else did come into my usage, though, ranging from browsing, messaging, emails, navigation, image processing, multimedia consumption, and more. One thing to note is that I had two off days where I barely crossed the 6-hour mark. That was odd, but it’s worth noting.

The phone even did a good job in our battery drain test

In our battery drain test, where we left the phone to run a 4K YouTube video at the highest brightness until it reached 1%, the Xiaomi 14 did well… having its battery size in mind, of course. It did not reach the heights of the HONOR Magic6 Pro or the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, but nobody expected it to. You can see a comparison chart below.

Xiaomi 14 vs others Battery rundown (YouTube)

Charging

First and foremost, the Xiaomi 14 does ship with a charger in the box. It comes with a 90W charging brick, which guarantees that you’ll get the maximum charging speed this phone has to offer. It offers 90W wired charging, along with 50W wireless charging, and 10W reverse wireless charging. This charging is… fast. That goes for both wired and wireless charging, but the wired charging is faster of the two, of course. You can charge the device from dead to 100% in only 35 minutes according to the company, and that coincides with what we’ve seen. I measured it twice, and on one occasion it charged in 35 minutes, and on the other in 36 minutes.

AH Xiaomi 14 image 32

50W wireless charging is great to have, in addition to 90W wired charging

50W wireless charging will also take well under an hour to fully charge the device. 10W reverse wireless charging is convenient when you need to charge your fully wireless earbuds on the go. Well, that, or a similar device. Perhaps even a watch if you have a compatible one. There’s really nothing to complain about in the charging department here, nothing at all.

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Xiaomi 14 vs others Wired charging 0 100%

Xiaomi 14 Review: Camera

The Xiaomi 14 may not be the top-of-the-line model in the series, but Xiaomi included truly capable cameras on the inside nonetheless. The device ships with three cameras, main, ultrawide, and telephoto units. The main camera packs in a 50-megapixel sensor. This is the Light Fusion 900 sensor, and it has an f/1.6 aperture lens with a 23mm focal length. Pixel binning is used here (4-in-1 Super Pixel), which results in a 2.4um pixel size. OIS is supported, and you’ll also find a 7P lens on top of the camera sensor. This is a 1.31-inch camera sensor, by the way.

It has a very capable camera trio on the back

Xiaomi also included a 50-megapixel ultrawide camera here with a 115-degree FoV. It has a 14mm equivalent focal length, and an f/2.2 aperture 6P lens. The third camera on the back is a 32-megapixel telephoto camera with 3.2x optical zoom. That camera has an f/2.0 aperture lens, and a 75mm equivalent focal length. It is a floating telephoto lens, with OIS support, and a 6P lens. This camera is used for macro photography (10cm).

AH Xiaomi 14 image 34

Leica lenses are used here, and there are also two Leica shooting modes in the camera UI. You can choose between Leica Vibrant and Leica Authentic modes. I used the vibrant mode way more often, as the Leica Authentic mode is meant to be used in certain scenarios only, in my opinion. One good example is street photography. The colors end up looking different, and you’re also getting vignetting on the sides with that mode. It’s a completely different feel. You’ll have to try it out to see which mode suits you better, of course.

The photos coming out of the phone are flagship-grade

The photos coming from this phone are really, really good. This is a flagship-level smartphone after all, and it doesn’t disappoint in the camera department. During the day, the main camera offers outstanding performance. The colors are rich, the photos end up sharp, and you’re getting plenty of detail overall. It handles heavy HDR situations like a champ (though not the best we’ve seen), and so on. The same goes for indoor performance, actually. The telephoto camera also does a great job during the day, and that goes for both outdoor and indoor shots. At default 3.2x zoom everything is on point. Portrait shots do tend to be a bit on the softer side, though, and as soon as you go over the 5x level things do look worse. What surprised me is that the phone held its own up to about 10x during the day. That telephoto camera can also be used for macro photography. Its performance was really, really good, even when there wasn’t a lot of light in the scene.

The ultrawide camera is a step below the main unit, but still very good

The ultrawide camera is a level of two below the main camera, that is something you’ll notice. The images do look a bit softer, and that doesn’t go only for the detail. The same goes for the colors, even though the difference is not huge. I was expecting a bit more from this camera during the day, to be quite honest. The images could be a bit sharper, and the colors a bit richer. Also, you’ll probably want to use tap to focus if you’re capturing specific subjects with this camera, the phone itself tends to miss the mark quite often. Only with the ultrawide camera, though.

AH Xiaomi 14 image 8

The phone activates night mode automatically

What about low light? Well, first of all, do note that you won’t need to activate the night mode, at all. The standard mode will do the job the same way, so that’s one less thing to do. The images end up looking very nice. They are sharp, rich, the colors are good, and you’re getting a really nice balance too. The phone manages to pull details from the shadows but doesn’t go overboard when it comes to brightening up those shots. We’re talking about the main camera, of course.

The telephoto camera also does a very nice job. It follows the main shooter really nicely, with plenty of detail, and it even matches the colors from the main camera. The dynamic range is also really good. When it comes to the ultrawide camera, well, things are not as great, but it did better than I thought, based on the daytime shots. The ultrawide camera is still the least impressive out of the three cameras, but it’s not bad. Things can get tricky when you’re shooting scenes with plenty of light sources, though.

Main camera samples (Leica Vibrant):

Main camera samples (Leica Authentic):

Ultrawide camera samples:

Telephoto camera samples:

Colors sample controlled environment:

TEXT

Xiaomi 14 Review: Software

Xiaomi, as most of you know, ditched MIUI in favor of HyperOS. That is the company’s new Android skin, and it does come pre-installed on this smartphone, as you’d expect. The thing is, the phone’s Android version is not mentioned anywhere. Considering how Xiaomi usually handles updates, it could be either Android 13 or Android 14. Considering that Android 14 runs on the Chinese model, we’ll assume that the same is the case here. To be quite honest, considering how different HyperOS is, you’d never notice the differences between Android versions. The same was the case when MIUI was around.

HyperOS worked really well, but we did stumble upon some annoyances

Speaking of which, HyperOS does come with some new features compared to MIUI, and many under-the-hood changes, but it looks very similar to MIUI on the surface. If nobody told me, I’d think I was using MIUI, to be quite honest. I did notice some changes in the animations, status bar, and throughout the UI, but it still feels like MIUI. I have to say that the animations have been improved here, that’s really hard not to notice. HyperOS feels very nice to use overall, despite some annoyances and unnecessary changes. I’ll get right into that as that’s at the very top of my head at all times.

AH Xiaomi 14 image 5 HyperOS

Xiaomi made some unnecessary changes here

The first change, the one that immediately noticed, has to do with the status bar. You no longer see a bunch of app icons on the left-hand side, showing you unread notifications from various apps. Xiaomi thought it would be a good idea to allow you to see just one icon, the newest one, and chuck everything else under a single dot. Yes, you heard that right. If you have more than one unread notification, you’ll see a single dot next to it, and that’s it. You’ll need to access the notification shade in order to see what’s going on. Those app icons in the status bar are one of the great features Android has over iOS, in my humble opinion, so this was quite an annoyance. That is especially true considering that MIUI handled those icons just fine. I did my best to find a toggle to change this in the settings, as HyperOS has plenty of customization options, but I was unable to do so. It’s likely not an option at all.

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One-hand mode is difficult to trigger

There’s also one thing that Xiaomi did not fix from MIUI, and that’s one-hand usability. HyperOS has the same gesture that MIUI offered, swipe down across the bottom navigation par. That action lowers the screen so that you can access the items that are higher up. That’s basically the same gesture that is available on Pixel phones, and various other Android devices. So, what’s the problem? Well, it doesn’t work right. It’s very difficult to trigger. There’s a really narrow activation field for it, and you have to swipe across it exactly to trigger the gesture. I’ve never encountered something like that on other Android skins. It’s always rather easy to activate, regardless of what it is. I was unable to activate it twice in a row, even though I tried a number of times. Also, I was almost never able to trigger it from the first try, which defeats the whole purpose of it.

AH Xiaomi 14 image 34 HyperOS

The OS does require a bit more optimization

HyperOS also needs a bit more optimizing, as it did freeze on me once for about 3-4 seconds, while it had a bit more stutters than I’d liked. On top of that, the icons in the status bar are sometimes in the wrong color. They turn black when they should stay white so that they work well with the wallpaper. That’s not always the case, however, and that makes them very difficult to read. This is just another example of a small optimization that Xiaomi needs to make in order to elevate the HyperOS experience as a whole. Other than these problems, I did not really have any major objections to HyperOS. Well, I’d love to see the option to double-tap the background to lock the screen, which is not here, but at least a physical button can be added for the same purpose. Also, you cannot access the notification shade when you swipe down over the display, if you do it on the right side of the display. That will trigger the quick toggles screen. You have to do that same gesture on the left half of the screen, which is less convenient for righties. I’ve tried to find an option to reverse this, but I was unsuccessful. Those are not exactly problems with the OS, as much as they are preferences, though. The gesture itself works just fine.

There are quite a few positives too

There are plenty of positives in HyperOS, actually. I just wanted to get the negatives and some annoyances out of the way first. The whole Android-based OS works really well. I’ve noticed fewer stutters than I’ve seen in MIUI last year, on the Xiaomi 13 Ultra. On top of that, some elements have been visibly polished this time around. MIUI was a synonym for iOS in the past, but that is no longer the case. HyperOS has stepped away from that quite a bit. Well, previous versions of MIUI have been making steps in the right direction, and HyperOS is continuing in that direction. It’s nice to see that Xiaomi is trying to carve out its own identity, in a way. It would be nice of them not to mess around with some core functionality of Android while doing that, however.

There are quite a few customization options

You’re getting plenty of control over the look of HyperOS. You can even tweak animations directly from the settings, without messing around with Developer Settings. Changing screen layouts is also possible, and Google Discover does sit on the most-left screen if you want it to. That’s also customizable. The ‘Quick ball’ functionality is still included. It basically allows you to place a small circle on the screen, wherever you want and set various actions to it. Those actions range from launching specific apps to taking a screenshot. That icon can be automatically hidden when you’re not using it, and then you can access it from the edge of the screen, as a small portion of it sits there. You simply tap on the ball and various actions pop up. It’s a neat feature to have.

AH Xiaomi 14 image 6 HyperOS

You can use floating windows, and the ‘Overview’ screen is split into two columns

HyperOS also allows you to create floating windows for multitasking purposes, while multi-window is here too, of course. The ‘Overview’ screen aka app switcher is placed in two columns on the phone. There’s a lot to like here, to be quite honest. Xiaomi dialed down on aggressive UI changes in comparison to stock Android, as that’s what people seem to want. Do note that “problems” such as one icon in the status bar and no app drawer by default are still there. You can easily switch to a mode with the app drawer included, but Xiaomi is still pushing the iOS style by default. That’s something that many other companies are doing too, though, so we can’t really fault Xiaomi. The point is… you have options here, plenty of them.

Xiaomi 14: Audio

We use our own audio tracks in order to test speakers on phones. That being said, the Xiaomi 14 has a stereo speaker setup. Its main speaker is bottom-facing, while the secondary speaker is basically the earpiece itself. We prefer to have a separate speaker at the top too, so that the two speakers are more balanced. That’s not usually the case when the earpiece doubles as a speaker. That’s why the Xiaomi 14 managed to surprise us. The two speakers are actually well-balanced, the bottom one is not that much louder.

The speakers are great

To make things even better, the speakers are great. You will notice some mild distortion at the highest of volumes if you really look for it, but it’s not that serious. The bass is really good, and it doesn’t overpower the vocals. Speaking of which, the vocals are clear, and both the low-end and high-end tones sound good, in addition to the mid-level of the spectrum. The speakers are also very loud when you need them to be, which is impressive for a phone that is not all that big. Do note that the Xiaomi 14 is a bit bass-heavy, especially compared to the competition, but most people will likely prefer that. Either way, the Xiaomi 14 has very capable speakers.

Xiaomi 14: Should you buy it?

Is the Xiaomi 14 a smartphone for you? Well, if you don’t like these giant smartphones that we’re dealing with today, and you still want a high-end phone that tries not to cut too many corners… the Xiaomi 14 may be just right for you. This smartphone offers flagship-grade performance, great build quality, very capable cameras, great performance, and so on. The only thing you’re not getting is a periscope telephoto camera, basically. Everything else is here and accounted for. The Xiaomi 14 is easily one of the best (relatively) compact smartphones available in the market. It’s definitely worth considering, even when its ‘Ultra’ sibling is in play.

AH Xiaomi 14 image 41

You should buy the Xiaomi 14 if you:

…don’t like huge phones
…want a compact phone that doesn’t cut too many corners
…simply must have uniform bezels
…want a compact phone with great battery life
…simply hate phones that are charging slowly
…don’t plan on buying a charger separately
…want a great camera performance in a rather compact device

You shouldn’t buy the Xiaomi 14 if you:

…need a truly large display
…can’t stand slippery smartphones
…need a periscope telephoto camera



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John Smith

My John Smith is a seasoned technology writer with a passion for unraveling the complexities of the digital world. With a background in computer science and a keen interest in emerging trends, John has become a sought-after voice in translating intricate technological concepts into accessible and engaging articles.

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