Xiaomi and Leica elevate smartphone photography again with the new Xiaomi 14 Series

With Leica's support, Xiaomi looks like it's in the driving seat of the smartphone photography meta.

by Justin Choo
Xiaomi and Leica are at it again, pushing the boundaries of smartphone photography standards. Xiaomi has just unveiled its latest smartphone marvel — the Xiaomi 14 Series in Singapore.

At the heart of this launch is the flagship Xiaomi 14 Ultra; its distinctive, large camera module is not for everyone, but anyone who appreciates photography will undoubtedly turn their head. It’s set against a streamlined, flat back and a choice of classic black-and-white colours. It’s minimalist yet engaging.

It features what Xiaomi calls a Guardian Structure, a high-strength aluminium frame. The phone is encompassed in nano-tech vegan leather and Xiaomi Shield Glass, which enhances the device’s durability with elegance. The display is a custom C8 WQHD+ 6.73″ AMOLED panel with 3,000 nits peak brightness. It also supports a variable refresh rate; you shouldn’t expect any less in this department when the device is co-branded with Leica, the undisputed heavyweight champion of camera systems and photography romance.

What makes the phone tick is, of course, its camera system: Leica Summilux optics supporting a remarkable range of focal lengths ranging from 12mm to 120mm (35mm equivalent), which reads more like a wish list than reality, but it’s real: 12mm f1.8 ultra-wide with 5 cm macro, 23mm primary camera with a step-less variable aperture (f1.63-f4.0) for greater control of your background sharpness, 75mm f1.8 telephoto with 10cm macro and a 120mm f2.5 periscope with 30cm macro. All cameras offer 50MP-sized files; except for the ultrawide, all cameras also have OIS.  You have to admit, this is a pretty impressive range of options.

It’s also the first phone with a step-less variable aperture (adjustable) paired with a one-inch LYT-900 sensor that offers a 14EV dynamic range (versus the previous generation, which offers just 10.5EV).

The Xiaomi 14 Ultra is also capable of 8K 30fps video shooting across all four cameras and supports Dolby Vision in 4K 60fps. You can also access the full range of zoom in this resolution. In terms of other overkill features, you also get a Director mode that lets you pair up with another device (e.g. Xiaomi Pad 6S Pro 12.4) for remote monitoring, and if you’re up for it, recording in Log format for professional-style post production.

In addition, there’s also the new MasterCinema mode, which tries to capture the feel and aesthetics of cinema: 2.39:1 aspect ratio, Rec. 2020 colour range (more colour than DCI-P3) and 180° shutter rule, which creates a visually pleasing and ‘natural’ motion blur we’re accustomed to seeing on screen.

The elegant, everyday version: The Xiaomi 14

For those who read the above and basically zoned out, i.e. not hardcore photography geeks, the Xiaomi 14 is the perfect compromise. It also sports a more conventional form factor while boasting a triple-camera setup with Leica Summilux lenses. You get a 14mm ultra-wide, 23mm and 46mm (digital crop) wide angle and a versatile 75mm telephoto with optical image stabilisation.  The main camera also boasts a wide f1.6 aperture for better bokeh effects and less noisy images in low-light situations. The 75mm floating lens array telephoto boasts a wide f2 aperture and lets you shoot macro shots from as close as 10 cm.

The customised 1/1.31 Light Fusion sensor with 13.5EV dynamic range is smaller than what you get on the Ultra, but this is the same size as the sensor on flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. The Xiaomi 14 can deliver 14-bit RAW images, 8K video recording (24p) and 10-bit LOG. You can also record video in Dolby Vision.

In an age where manufacturers are turning to alternatives in a competitive price market, both the Xiaomi 14 and Xiaomi 14 Ultra go full-fat milk with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Mobile Platform, which will please the Snapdragon devotees greatly. These phones also support Xiaomi’s insane 90W HyperCharge (31 minutes to 100% on Xiaomi 14, 33 minutes to 100% on Xiaomi 14 Ultra) with 80W Wireless HyperCharge on the Xiaomi 14 Ultra (18 minutes to 50%) and 50W Wireless HyperCharge on the Xiaomi 14 (46 minutes to 100%).


The Xiaomi 14 is now on sale in two configurations: 12GB + 256GB (online exclusive) for SGD999 and 12GB + 512GB for SGD1,199. Colours-wise, it will be available in Black, White and Jade Green.

  • From now till 22 March, 2024, you will receive free gifts worth up to SGD718.68, including a Xiaomi Watch S3 worth SGD239, and a Xiaomi 14 Gift Box worth SGD129.
  • From 23 March to 7 April, buyers can receive free premium gifts worth up to SGD479.68, including a Xiaomi 14 Gift Box worth SGD129.

The Xiaomi 14 Ultra is not on sale yet, but is available for pre-order. You can only choose between Black and White colours and there is only one configuration: 16GB + 512GB, and priced at SGD1,699.

  • The pre-order will end on 22 March, 2024, and will entitle you to free gifts worth up to SGD599.68, including a Xiaomi 14 Ultra Photography Kit worth SGD249.
  • From 23 March to 7 April, buyers will receive free premium gifts worth up to SGD499.68, including a Xiaomi 80W Adaptive Wireless Charging Stand worth SGD149.

Other gifts within abovementioned periods include 100GB cloud storage on Google One for six months, 1+1 years of extended warranty on the phone, one free screen replacement (within six months of purchase) and three months of access to YouTube Premium.

The phones are available via M1, Singtel and StarHub, as well as Xiaomi’s channel partners, such as shopee (Xiaomi 14Xiaomi 14 Ultra).