Is Xiaomi 13 the smarter Android buy instead of Samsung Galaxy S23?

Xiaomi's best new Android phones are going global in 2023. Are they serious Samsung S23 rivals?

Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro
(Image credit: Xiaomi)

The best Android phones of 2023 have a new addition to the line-up: the Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro. Both phones launched in China this week, and Xiaomi says that they'll be launched globally in the very near future along with an as still-to-be-revealed Ultra model. That's likely to be in the first few months of 2023, which means they'll be going on sale just as the Samsung Galaxy S23 range makes its debut.

In our Xiaomi 12 review we said that it "is one of the best Android devices out there. It directly competes with big-name smartphone makers like Apple and OnePlus, as well as the best Samsung phones on the market." So should Samsung be worried by the number 13?

Xiaomi 13 and Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S23: key differences

The standard Xiaomi 13 has an impressive specification: a 6.36-inch 120Hz, 1,200 nit OLED with Dolby Vision and a 20:9 aspect ratio; a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 system; a Leica camera system with 50, 10 and 12MP cameras and a 32MP selfie shooter and a 4,500mAh battery. 

The Xiaomi 13 Pro is bigger – the LPTO OLED display is 6.73 inches – and the camera assembly contains three 50MP cameras with the same 32MP selfie shooter on the front. The battery here is 4,820mAh.

We're expecting the Samsung Galaxy S23 to have the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 too, but rumours suggest it'll be an optimised version with higher clock speeds. The Galaxy S23 Ultra is expected to have an even higher resolution setup than these two Xiaomis, but it's possible that the incoming 13 Ultra may up the camera spec to match.

Spec-wise the new Xiaomis are well-matched with the Samsungs, but one of the key issues will be the price. We don't yet know what Xiaomi is going to sell these devices for, and the Xiaomi 12 was priced similarly to other flagship devices. Given that Samsung has the kind of brand awareness and marketing budgets in the US and EU that Xiaomi can only dream of, if the Xiaomis aren't significantly cheaper it's going to be a tough task for Xiaomi to take on the 2023 Galaxy range no matter how good its phones actually are. 

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).