Xiaomi 14 Ultra combines a 1-inch camera sensor with four AI imaging models

Ahead of the Mobile World Congress (MWC), Xiaomi has pulled back the curtains on its latest flagship smartphone, the Leica-endorsed 14 Ultra. This unveiling comes hot on the heels of the 12S Ultra and 13 Ultra models, with Xiaomi making a significant stride by adopting Sony’s second-generation 1-inch mobile camera sensor, the LYT-900. Notably, this sensor has been previously featured in Oppo’s Find X7 Ultra, aligning Xiaomi with cutting-edge imaging technology. However, the 14 Ultra distinguishes itself with a marginally faster main variable aperture of up to f/1.63, offering a slight edge over its competitors, at least on paper.

While the primary camera boasts a faster aperture, the other three Summilux rear cameras remain largely unchanged, powered by Sony IMX858 sensors. The introduction of the Xiaomi AISP neural chip is a noteworthy development, claiming to be the world’s first AI large-model computational platform for photography. Leveraging four large models, this chip aims to enhance photographic outcomes, particularly in scenarios involving digital zoom at 30x or higher.

Beyond photography, the 14 Ultra packs surprises in its battery, durability, and connectivity features. Embracing the silicon carbon cell technology seen in previous models like the Mix Fold 3 and Honor Magic V2, Xiaomi manages to cram a substantial 5,300mAh battery into a compact frame, promising 17% more stamina compared to its predecessor. The device supports rapid charging, offering 90W of wired fast charging and 80W of wireless fast charging, boasting impressive recharge times of 12.5 minutes and 20 minutes to reach 50% capacity, respectively.

In line with its “Year of the Dragon” theme, Xiaomi introduces the “Dragon Armor” structure, boasting double the bending resistance thanks to a special “6M42” aluminum alloy mid-frame. This alloy purportedly surpasses the strength of the iPhone 15 Pro’s titanium frame. Additionally, Xiaomi enhances durability with “Dragon Crystal” glass shielding the display, offering 10 times more drop resistance. The device also features a new vegan leather material certified for its superior wear resistance and resistance to yellowing from UV rays.

Under the hood, the 14 Ultra runs on Xiaomi’s Android-based HyperOS powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor. Cooling is managed by a dual-loop vapor chamber, which dissipates heat efficiently from both the processor and camera modules. The Surge T1 chip, Xiaomi’s proprietary addition, enhances cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity.

Despite its impressive features, some functionalities like two-way satellite calling and texting are likely limited to China for now. Xiaomi plans a global launch at MWC, with pre-order pricing in China ranging from 6,499 yuan (about $900) to 7,799 yuan ($1,080) depending on configurations and materials. Additionally, an optional photography kit offers enhanced power and control for photography enthusiasts.