Xiaomi 14 Ultra takes over PhoneArena Camera Score, beating Galaxy S24 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Xiaomi 14 Ultra takes over PhoneArena Camera Score, beating Galaxy S24 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max

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The Xiaomi 14 Ultra has just gone through the rigorous testing process for our PhoneArena Camera Score and the results are in. We have tested the camera performance of all lenses across a number of categories, and we have separate scores that will help you better understand the pros and cons of this new camera phone contender.

Before we dive in the scores, let’s take a look at the camera hardware on board.

  • Main Camera: Large 1-inch sensor, 50MP resolution, f/1.6-f/4 variable aperture, 23mm field of view
  • Telephoto Camera 1: 50MP sensor, f/1.8, 75mm
  • Telephoto Camera 2 (periscope): 50MP sensor, f/2.5, 120mm
  • Ultra-wide Camera: 50MP sensor, f/1.8, 12mm
  • Front Camera: 32MP

Let’s make it clear: this is one of the most impressive camera systems you can find on a phone in 2024. The big advantage here is the 1-inch type sensor, nearly 30% bigger than 1/1.3-inch sensors used commonly in rivals from Samsung and Apple. Combined with a variable aperture that can go as wide as f/1.6, this camera system can capture more light than most other phones, making it great for low light use.

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The rest of the camera stack is also impressive. You get a 3.2X zoom lens with a wider aperture than the competition at f/1.8, again great for low light capture. The second, periscope zoom camera has a nearly 5X zoom level compared to the main one and again features a much wider aperture than rivals at f/2.5. Finally, the ultra-wide camera is another 50MP sensor with an extreme, 12mm field of view.

*This camera test and the camera review are based on PhoneArena Camera Score v.1.1, with the testing protocol last updated in March, 2024.

Photography – Main Camera

The most impressive win, however, is in the main camera that gets the most use.

The Xiaomi 14 Ultra main camera exposure rating is a bit lower than the iPhone and the Galaxy, which means the phone tends to err more with either over- or underexposing photos slightly.

We see the similar trend when looking at subject exposure, where the iPhone and the Galaxy do a slightly better job.

Our testing also shows that the Xiaomi is slightly behind in color accuracy, an area where the iPhone currently has the lead, especially when it comes to nailing the color temperature right.

However, the big break for the Xiaomi 14 Ultra happens when you look at the detail.

The iPhone and Galaxy both have a noticeable amount of oversharpening and halo artifacts, while the Xiaomi 14 Ultra detail is perfectly clean and the phone does not suffer from this problem, commonly seen on smartphones. Excellent job, Xiaomi team!

Photography – Zoom Quality

The Xiaomi 14 Ultra also scores highly when it comes to detail rendering when zooming. Certainly, having two telephoto cameras, a regular one and a periscope one helps.

The performance of the 3.2X zoom camera is particularly strong, and compared to the iPhone which has now moved to a 5X zoom camera, you can see how much of a difference this makes to detail quality at the short end of the zoom range.

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The difference in mid-range and long-range zoom are not as pronounced, but the Xiaomi still has the upper hand in mid-level zoom. The iPhone beats it narrowly when it comes to long-range zoom, and interestingly the Galaxy loses some points here as it has swapped the previous 10X zoom shooter for a 5X camera in the latest S24 Ultra edition.

Photography – Ultrawide Camera

When it comes to the ultrawide camera, all three phones get very similar scores, but there are some differences.

The ultra-wide camera of the Xiaomi is even wider than the one on the Galaxy and iPhone, and while that has some advantages, we also noticed more corner sharpness issues in it than you would see on the other two phones.

All three phones can also shoot macro photos using the ultra-wide camera, which is nice to have.

Photography – Front Camera

Finally, the selfie camera of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra ranked lower than the one of the Galaxy and the iPhone, with shortcomings in the exposure accuracy in both overall exposure and subject exposure. The Galaxy and the iPhone were more consistent in that regard.

When it comes to color accuracy, these phones are different but it is hard to say that one is better than the other, so the difference mostly comes from the exposure.

Video – Main Camera

Jumping over to video quality, we have another impressive performance of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra, this time beating the Galaxy and the iPhone by the biggest margin in video zoom quality and ultra-wide video, but losing in video quality recorded with the front camera.

We also account for a number of user-friendly features when it comes to video recording. One small detail we have known for years is that the iPhone camera still lacks a pause button for video recording, which takes away from its rating, and of course, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra as most other Android phones supports this feature. 

Video – Zoom Quality

The Xiaomi also scores a win with video zoom quality, and the main reason for that is again strong performance in the short level zoom range, where the other two phones don’t perfrorm nearly as well.

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Another factor contributing to great zoom quality is again lack of oversharpening issues, which you can see on zoom footage captured with the other two phones.

Video – Ultra-wide

The quality of ultra-wide video on the Xiaomi 14 Ultra is similar to that of the iPhone and Galaxy.

They look slightly different because of the unique color science of each company, but each comes with pros and cons that balance themselves out.

Video – Front Camera

Finally, front camera video remains one sore spot for the Xiaomi 14 Ultra.

Front camera video has never been a priority for Chinese companies for some reason, and in the case of the 14 Ultra we see more inconsistencies with exposure and more issues with oversharpening. Considering the excellent performance in oversharpening from the rear cameras that one was a surprise.



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