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Here’s why Xiaomi 14 CIVI is a compelling powerhouse option

The target consumers are those who are looking for entry-level flagship experience or taking their game up from mid-range devices

Mathures Paul Published 24.06.24, 07:58 AM
Xiaomi 14 CIVI is nimble and stylish

Xiaomi 14 CIVI is nimble and stylish Picture: The Telegraph

Xiaomi’s push with premium phones is something worth keeping an eye out on. The latest is Xiaomi 14 CIVI, which is a camera- and design-focused smartphone, co-engineered with Leica.

The target consumers are those who are looking for entry-level flagship experience or taking their game up from mid-range devices. If you have something older in your pocket, or a more wallet-friendly phone that you feel offers a boring experience, then you should take a look at Xiaomi 14 CIVI.


Design philosophy

Xiaomi 14 CIVI is light and is perfect for one-hand usage

Xiaomi 14 CIVI is light and is perfect for one-hand usage

The design language of the phone is different from other Xiaomi devices and this can be polarising. I had the no-nonsense shadow black variant, which works well. Being a lifestyle-focused phone, the design grows on you and it is comfortable to hold because of the slight curve all around the phone. The brushed frame makes the phone feel premium.

The phone is slim (7.45mm) and light (179g) but, more importantly, Xiaomi has given Gorilla Glass Victus 2 protection, which offers excellent protection against scratches. It is something reserved for the more expensive phones, so good work Xiaomi.

Equally impressive is the display, a very beautiful 6.55-inch 1.5K AMOLED Quad-curve screen with 120Hz refresh rate and 3,000 nits peak brightness (when you are watching HDR content). The HDR tuning has been done very well with shadows having enough details and highlights come across perfectly. There is support for Dolby Vision when you watch Netflix.

You get bright and colourful visuals and in the colour scheme section switch between Original Colour PRO, Vivid and Saturated to choose the feel you want.

Throw into the equation stereo speakers, which are fantastic and come with Dolby Atmos support. The sound is rich and the sound stage is well-maintained.

Despite being light, the build quality of the phone is excellent. And the screen size is just about right for one-hand usage. For watching cinema on the phone, this is a great device to own.

Photographs pack a punch

Perhaps your decision to buy this phone will be swayed by the camera it offers.

On the rear are three cameras — 50MP primary camera (Light Hunter 800), a 50MP 2x telephoto lens and 12MP ultra-wide. On the front, you get two selfie cameras — 32MP and 32MP ultra-wide. It allows us to take selfies at four different zooms — 0.6x, 0.8x, 1x and 2x.

A punched-in shot taken using Xiaomi 14 CIVI; the colours appear natural

A punched-in shot taken using Xiaomi 14 CIVI; the colours appear natural

You can shoot 4K 30fps on the front camera and there is a teleprompter mode to help vloggers. The selfies are good but it doesn’t explain why two cameras are necessary.

Pictures taken from the primary camera have a lot of detail and there is a contrast-y look. Leica keeps the shadows on the darker side. And black-and-white shots look very good. I had no problem with the shutter speed and videos too have a good punch to them.
Lowlight shots on the primary camera are crisp and detailed but ultra-wide lowlight photography could have been better.

The portrait lens is pretty good and while punching in you don’t get any distortion. The main camera can shoot 4K@60fps and videos across as stable while microphone quality is top of the line.

Here’s the deal: If you are like contrast-y shots will you like the cameras on the phone. Sure, there is Leica branding but I am not sure how many people are going to buy a device solely based on that aspect. Had Leica been not a partner here, I think Xiaomi could still have delivered excellent results.

Let’s talk about performance

It’s good to see Xiaomi go with Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 chip. Throttle test results are excellent and the performance is sustained while gaming. Playing Genshin Impact on high graphic settings didn’t make the phone buckle. The phone didn’t get too hot after 30-45 minutes of gaming and I could manage to switch between apps easily.

There is support for Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.4 and NFC and the 4,700mAh battery comes with 67W wired charging. The battery is strong enough to last a day.

All eyes are on the software. You get Xiaomi HyperOS based on Android 14. The company promises three years of software update and four years of security updates. The animation keeps improving on HyperOS and it’s very smooth. There are a few preinstalled apps but not as much as before. But the Game Centre sends quite a few notifications, which is something Xiaomi needs to work on.

A 2x portrait shot clicked on Xiaomi 14 CIVI

A 2x portrait shot clicked on Xiaomi 14 CIVI

Should you buy it?

I don’t see any reason why Leica, Hasselblad or Zeiss co-branding needs to be used to sell a phone. If you want to experience Hasselblad, buy a camera. Leaving the co-engineering bit aside, Xiaomi has done a wonderful job putting out a stylish phone. I have a few minor quibbles — some bloatware and Xiaomi doesn’t do much AI-related talk around the phone at a time when rival Samsung is doing just that. Yet, Xiaomi 14 CIVI proves to be a compelling powerhouse option.

At a glance

Device: Xiaomi 14 CIVI

Price: Upwards of 42,999

High notes

Excellent design

Fast chipset

Bright display

Good camera output

Muffled notes

Some bloatware

One can question the presence of Leica branding


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