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Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G review: Premium design at the cost of affordability?

Kyle Chua

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Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G review: Premium design at the cost of affordability?

Kyle Chua

The top-end member of Xiaomi’s latest Redmi Note 13 series seems to be suffering from a slight identity crisis

Xiaomi’s much-regarded Redmi Note series has long been known for delivering some of the best bang-for-your-buck packages in the market.

When you purchase a Redmi Note smartphone, it was almost always a guarantee that you were getting close to, if not, the best specs within that price range. That reputation, however, might soon change if the Chinese electronics giant continues to pursue more premium features at the cost of affordability – at least for the top-end options of the series.

After getting some hands-on time with the Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G, it gave me the impression that it was suffering from a slight identity crisis, not knowing whether it wanted to be a budget-friendly release or a premium midranger.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to love about the device, and I always appreciate the inclusion of premium features on more affordable releases. It’s just that, with a retail price of P23,999, the device falls into that unwieldy middle ground where it’s barely affordable enough to compete with budget releases and barely strong enough to compete with sub-flagships.

Still, it’s hard to deny how Xiaomi’s desire to make the Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G look and feel premium elevates the experience it offers. Because it is, in my opinion, a smartphone that truly looks and feels premium, highlighted by an elegant curved display, a glossy glass back, and strong performance. It’s just that in terms of value for money, I think its Pro siblings are better choices.

Also worth noting, the Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G is P2,000 more expensive than last year’s Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G, which starts at P21,990.

Elegant curved display

What I love most about the Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G is the 6.67-inch curved AMOLED display, which is exclusive to this model and is a first for the Redmi series as a whole. The 3D curves not only look elegant but they also help mask the already thin bezels, delivering a more immersive viewing experience. On top of that, they make the device more ergonomic and easier for you to hold.

The panel itself features a 1.5K resolution with a peak brightness of 1,800 nits, along with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. It also supports HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG. In-hand, the panel delivers clear and vibrant images, with the high brightness levels greatly helping in outdoor visibility. The variable refresh rate, meanwhile, enhances your gaming experience, allowing animations to appear smoother and with less friction.

There’s also an in-display fingerprint sensor, which works as advertised. But its positioning on the panel doesn’t feel as accessible as I want it to be for my thumb.

Strong performance

Housing an octa-core MediaTek Dimensity 7200-Ultra chipset and 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, the Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G, performance-wise, is very capable. The chipset, in particular, is based on TSMC’s advanced 4nm tech, which a year or two ago was mostly reserved for high-end, flagship chipsets.

In daily use, you can expect apps and games to open in a flash and run smoothly. You can additionally multitask and have up to six to eight apps open at the same time without any hiccups. Performance-wise, I have zero complaints, especially for the price.

The software, however, is a different story. One, I wish the device shipped with the cleaner and the more feature-rich HyperOS software, Xiaomi’s next-generation operating system, over the existing MIUI. The device is sure to get updated sometime in the future, but, considering HyperOS has already started rolling out, it’s a bummer that it’s not pre-installed out of the box. Two, it comes with plenty of bloatware, which has become rather common among Xiaomi’s smartphone releases. While they’re easy to uninstall, it remains an annoyance that I wish I didn’t have to deal with when one is already paying quite a premium for the device.

For the battery, the Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G has a 5,000mAh cell that supports fast charging of up to a whopping 120W. While that type of charging tech is no longer new, it’ll always be impressive to see your device top itself from empty to full in just minutes. The Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G is able to do that with the included charging brick and cable in under 30 minutes, which is very fast.

As for how long the battery lasts, a full charge can last about a day of heavy usage, which is about par for the course with the chipset and battery capacity. You could probably get more use out of it if you lower the display’s refresh rate or close unused and background apps all the time. Then again, when you can charge the device very fast, you probably don’t have to worry too much about draining your battery, provided there’s a nearby outlet.

Flagship-grade cameras

The Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G comes equipped with a triple-rear setup, consisting of a 200MP main sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor, and a 2MP macro sensor. The main sensor, a Samsung ISOCELL HP3 with a f/1.65 aperture, is, as you might expect, the highlight of the system. The 12.5MP pixel-binned photos it takes have good dynamic range, natural-looking colors, and decent amount of detail. If you want more detail, however, you can opt for the dedicated 200MP mode that maximizes resolution and sharpness.

The combination of optical and electronic image stabilization features can help produce usable photos and videos even if you have shaky hands.

NIGHTLIFE. A sample shot using the phone taken by the author. Kyle Chua

The focusing system also works great, locking onto human subjects in a snappy fashion. Plus, the inclusion of other photography modes and tools like a pro mode and panoramas make for a more robust experience.

Overall, the Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G is another solid addition to Xiaomi’s ever-growing Redmi line, boasting a vibrant AMOLED panel, a 200MP main camera sensor, and a 4nm chipset.

At the same time, however, it’s on the pricier side for a Redmi release, so you have to weigh how much you’re willing to spend for those extra premium features.

The Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G, which starts at P16,999 also has a 6.67-inch AMOLED panel and 200MP main camera, as well as a 4nm chipset and a 5,100mAh battery. But the display here isn’t curved and its fast charging caps at 67W. Are those two extra features worth the P7,000 price different between the siblings? Your answer there should guide your purchasing decision. – Rappler.com

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