Dhe Sunday before the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona is anything but a day of rest. A colleague used to say: “Then the drops sucked!” For years the candy came from Samsung, which on Sunday evening presented its new S series beyond the exhibition center with the attention of the MWC audience and showed with its flagship Android competition where the hammer hangs. That was many years ago. At some point, the Koreans decided to hold their annual event independently of the MWC.
Samsung’s decision not to use the MWC as a presentation venue gave another manufacturer the opportunity to draw the spotlight. Huawei presented its new P series, the Chinese flagship, with a lot of fanfare for several years. Then came Trump and Corona. The former US President ensured that Huawei hardly sold any smartphones in Europe because the company was forbidden to run Google services on the device. The pandemic caused the MWC to be canceled twice and there was little going on in Barcelona in 2022.
China’s brands present themselves with self-confidence
Now the Mobile World Congress is back in (almost) old strength and so are the Chinese. Xiaomi took over the Sunday and presented its new flagship in the same hall as Samsung did back then. The claim to technological market leadership, which is conveyed to hundreds of journalists and retailers on stage with many words, speakers, images, videos and devices, is characterized by a similar level of self-confidence as that of Samsung and Huawei at the time. Xiaomi is only 5th in the Chinese market in terms of market share, but 3rd globally behind Apple and Samsung.
Xiaomi’s flagship, which was shown at the MWC, is technically at the forefront. The fact that the 13 Pro is powered by Qualcomm’s latest processor unit, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, has a fairly high-resolution display with a size of 6.73 inches and a refresh rate of 120 Hertz and can boast 12 gigabytes of RAM and 256 internal storage, makes it stand out it has not yet become a flagship product because the competition can show similarly demanding properties on their flagships. Once again, it’s the camera that’s trying to outperform the competition.
Xiaomi has teamed up with Leica for this. This is not the first time that the traditional German company has tied a smartphone manufacturer to itself with its camera expertise. Leica had its first partnership with Huawei. The collaboration between Xiaomi and Leica has resulted in a camera in the 13 Pro that comes with three optics, each with a sensor with a resolution of 50 megapixels. Behind the skin lens, the wide-angle, there is a 1-inch sensor, which sounds promising and is rare. Thanks to its “floating” technology, the telephoto lens can also do something that other smartphone cameras cannot. It’s also good for macro shots, which looked impressive the first time you tried it.
Samsung and Huawei have shown the way
It remains to be seen whether the price of 1300 euros is not too high for the top model from a Chinese company that is not yet well known in Germany. By the way, for 1000 euros there is the Xiaomi 13, with a slightly less innovative camera and a smaller screen. And with the Lite for 500 euros, Xiaomi moves into the middle class. There is something for everyone. Just like Samsung today and then Huawei.
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