Xiaomi 14 review: the rediscovery of a compact phone

It might seem like a leap to say it today, but the Xiaomi 14 is a smartphone that, first and foremost, impresses with its handiness, so much so that it has been called the best compact phone on the market. Using this adjective is strange in front of a model that weighs 188 grams and has a 6.36-inch diagonal. Still, at the same time, it is evident that the Beijing company’s approach has been different from that of most of its competitors, who only offer XL terminals in their catalogue. We must start from this aspect by talking about the Xiaomi 14 because its strength is its ergonomics and the possibility of holding it in one hand without having to make any effort. Thanks to its dimensions, 71.5 millimetres wide, 153 millimetres high and 8.2 millimetres thick.

Android with new interface

The Xiaomi 14 is also an example of how the company wanted to mix past and future because, on the one hand, Xiaomi is one of the few manufacturers to include a charger and cover in its packaging. In this case, we find a 90W power supply and a silicone cover that performs much better than plastic ones. At the same time, however, the smartphone is the first to arrive on European markets with the Android 14 operating system and the new proprietary HyperOS interface, which finally replaces the old MIUI and almost completely eliminates the usual post-launch bugs.

Although the Chinese did not want to overturn everything, they opted for a softer change so that aesthetically, the differences with the past are minimal. But this is only the first step because HyperOS is at the heart of Xiaomi’s new strategy, which goes beyond electronic devices and the huge IoT ecosystem to encompass electric cars as well.

Design and display

The continuity with the past of the Xiaomi 14 can also be seen in the choice of a design reminiscent of the previous model, devoted to sobriety. In this sense, the thin bezels stand out. At the same time, the shape, size and thickness of the photo module on the back are somewhat jarring, resulting in a lack of uniformity in the distribution of the smartphone’s weight, which is accentuated right at the top. The double Victus Gorilla Glass protecting both sides is good, as is the IP68 certification to resist dust and water for a certain period of time.  

I was talking about compactness, yet the Xiaomi 14 has a 6.36-inch Oled display, 1,200 x 2670 pixel resolution, peak brightness that reaches no less than 3,000 nits and excellent visibility in dark and very bright environments. Also worth noting is the 120Hz refresh rate, which works well by varying the frequency quickly and effectively, thus ensuring a small energy saving.  

Performance and autonomy

Another performance highlight is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen3 SoC, with 12GB of RAM and 256 or 512 GB of storage, depending on the chosen configuration. Like other phones with the same processor, the Xiaomi 14 reacts quickly to commands and shows fluidity, with no hiccups to slow down operations even when running several apps at the same time. On battery life, Xiaomi has always been above average and here, too, kudos are in order, as the 4610 mAh battery is slightly larger than the Xiaomi 13 and even on an average day when you put a lot of stress on the phone, you arrive in the evening with a 10%-15% charge. The ace up the sleeve is fast charging, which takes barely 30 minutes to go from 1% to 100%, thanks to the 90W charger. There is also wireless charging at 50W and reverse charging at 15W.

Top camera

The Chinese company has paid much attention to the cameras, not least because the Xiaomi 14 is the top of the range this year, as the Pro version will not arrive in Europe. Over the years, the now customary partnership with Leica has made it possible to refine the understanding and remedy the limitations of the past, as shown by the shots taken with the three cameras of the Xiaomi 14.

All are equipped with a 50-megapixel sensor, with the main one having an f/1.6 aperture and optical stabilisation, the ultra-wide-angle with f/2.2 aperture and 115-degree field of view, and the 3.2X telephoto with f/2.0 aperture. Of particular note is the Pro mode, which allows customisation of camera parameters for both images and videos. As good as it is simple is the post-shooting editing, which uses AI to facilitate the removal of faces and objects from the photo. For movies, the phone records in 4K at 60 fps with all cameras, including the 32-megapixel front-facing camera, but if you want to switch cameras during the video, you have to go down to 30 fps.

Prices and why buy Xiaomi 14

Overall, the Xiaomi 14 is a top smartphone with less bulky dimensions than the others, quality cameras, a great user experience, and a lot of features on board. It has no weak points for performance, autonomy is another relevant factor for those who work with the phone and have those who have with it. The company has stated that the smartphone will have 4 major updates and 5 years of security patches.

Maintaining the comparison with its predecessor, the Xiaomi 14 improves almost all the most important aspects and starts at a lower price: €999.90 for the 12+256 GB version and €1,099.90 for the 12+512 GB configuration, available in White, Jade Green and Black. Further testimony to the company’s growth, which pays great attention to detail and the desire to offer a functional, beautiful and different phone, the Xiaomi 14 is undoubtedly one of the models to consider for those searching for a new smartphone.

Alessio Caprodossi is a technology, sports, and lifestyle journalist. He navigates between three areas of expertise, telling stories, experiences, and innovations to understand how the world is shifting. You can follow him on Twitter (@alecap23) and Instagram (Alessio Caprodossi) to report projects and initiatives on startups, sustainability, digital nomads, and web3.