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Xiaomi 13 Ultra Audio test

OTHER AVAILABLE TESTS FOR THIS DEVICE

We put the Xiaomi 13 Ultra through our rigorous DXOMARK Audio test suite to measure its performance both at recording sound using its built-in microphones, and at playing audio back through its speakers.
In this review, we will break down how it fared in a variety of tests and several common use cases.

Overview


Key audio specifications include:

  • Two speakers (Top side, bottom side)
  • No jack audio output
  • Dolby Atmos technology

Scoring

Sub-scores and attributes included in the calculations of the global score.


Xiaomi 13 Ultra
140
audio
139
Playback
137

158

135

149

136

162

122

162

112

157

141
Recording
132

147

129

146

149

159

153

170

138

145

141

166

Playback

Pros

Cons

Recording

Pros

  • Very good tonal balance across all use cases
  • Good dynamics performance

Cons

  • Not great for recording loud events, such as concerts
  • Limited wideness and localizability with front camera

In our DXOMARK Audio tests, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra delivered an overall good performance that was consistent across all playback and recording sub-tests. In playback, it performed best when gaming, but results were on a similarly high level when listening to music or watching movies. Recording results were best with the main camera and great with the memo app. Reduced wideness of the audio scene and blurry localizability meant front camera audio performance was a touch lower.

Sonority was very good and Dynamics were punchy and accurate, both with the built-in speakers in Playback and in Recording. However, our experts found the device to not be suitable for recording at high sound pressure levels, for example concerts, and the audio zoom feature was not very effective at focusing on one particular sound source.

Test summary

About DXOMARK Audio tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone audio reviews, DXOMARK engineers perform a variety of objective tests and undertake more than 20 hours of perceptual evaluation under controlled lab conditions.
(For more details about our Playback protocol, click here; for more details about our Recording protocol, click here.)

The following section gathers key elements of our exhaustive tests and analyses performed in DXOMARK laboratories. Detailed performance evaluations under the form of reports are available upon request. Do not hesitate to contact us.

Playback

139

Xiaomi 13 Ultra

163

Black Shark 5 Pro
How Audio Playback score is composed

DXOMARK engineers test playback through the smartphone speakers, whose performance is evaluated in our labs and in real-life conditions, using default apps and settings.

The Xiaomi 13’s timbre performance in playback was good overall, even though our testers found the tonal balance to sound slightly tinny on occasion. Treble rendition was nice and natural, but midrange lacked warmth and body, and the device lacked bass in general. Dynamics performance was great, with very good attack, precise bass and good punch. Our experts also found the Spatial performance to be good, with a great balance between the two speakers, decent wideness of the audio scene and accurate distance rendering. However, localizability of individual sound elements was a little blurry and the stereo output did not follow device rotation with the default movie app.

Loudness was good at maximum volume and our experts found the lowest volume step loud enough to hear soft volume passages in highly dynamic content, such as classical music. Volume step distribution was quite consistent as well. In addition unwanted audio artifacts were fairly well under control at soft and nominal volume. However, our testers noticed some distortion at maximum volume, especially in the higher frequencies. When gaming, we found the speakers to be quite easily occluded. This resulted in a muffled sound, or even complete muting.

Listen to the tested smartphone’s playback performance in this comparison with some of its competitors:

Xiaomi 13 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
Recordings of the smartphones playing some of our music tracks at 60 LAeq in an anechoic environment by 2 microphones in A-B configuration, at 30 cm
Here is how the Xiaomi 13 Ultra performs in playback use cases compared to its competitors:
Playback use-cases scores

Timbre

137

Xiaomi 13 Ultra

158

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Timbre score represents how well a phone reproduces sound across the audible tonal range and takes into account bass, midrange, treble, tonal balance, and volume dependency. It is the most important attribute for playback.

Music playback frequency response
A 1/12 octave frequency response graph, which measures the volume of each frequency emitted by the smartphone when playing a pure-sine wave in an anechoic environment.

Dynamics

135

Xiaomi 13 Ultra

149

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Dynamics score measures the accuracy of changes in the energy level of sound sources, for example how precisely a bass note is reproduced or the impact sound from drums.


Spatial

136

Xiaomi 13 Ultra

162

Black Shark 5 Pro

The sub-attributes for spatial tests include pinpointing a specific sound's location, its positional balance, distance, and wideness.


Volume

122

Xiaomi 13 Ultra

162

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Volume score represents the overall loudness of a smartphone and how smoothly volume increases and decreases based on user input.

Here are a few sound pressure levels (SPL) measured when playing our sample recordings of hip-hop and classical music at maximum volume:
Hip-Hop Classical
Xiaomi 13 Ultra 71.4 dBA 69.4 dBA
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (Snapdragon) 74.8 dBA 71.8 dBA
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max 74 dBA 71.1 dBA
The following graph shows the gradual changes in volume going from minimum to maximum. We expect these changes to be consistent across the range, so that all volume steps correspond to users’ expectations:
Music volume consistency
This line graph shows the relative loudness of playback relative to the user selected volume step, measured at different volume steps with a correlated pink noise in an anechoic box recorded in axis at 0.20 meter.

Artifacts

112

Xiaomi 13 Ultra

157

Asus ROG Phone 5

The Artifacts score measures the extent to which the sound is affected by various types of distortion. The higher the score, the less the disturbances in the sound are noticeable. Distortion can occur because of sound processing in the device and because of the quality of the speakers.

Playback Total Harmonic Distortion (Maximum Volume)
This graph shows the Total Harmonic Distortion and Noise over the hearable frequency range.
It represents the distortion and noise of the device playing our test signal (0 dB Fs, Sweep Sine in an anechoic box at 40 cm) at the device's maximum volume.

Recording

141

Xiaomi 13 Ultra

157

Black Shark 5 Pro
How Audio Recording score is composed

DXOMARK engineers test recording by evaluating the recorded files on reference audio equipment. Those recordings are done in our labs and in real-life conditions, using default apps and settings.

In recording, timbre was overall good, with a consistent tonal balance across use cases but a slight lack of clarity. However, when recording at high sound pressure levels, for example at rock or pop concerts, the tonal balance was high-midrange focused. Depending on content, treble could sound muffled and there was a severe lack of low-end extension across all types of content. Dynamics performance in recording was good overall, with a precise envelope and correct signal-to-noise ratio, even though background sounds could have been attenuated a little more.

Wideness of the recorded audio scene and localizability of individual sound sources were great with the main camera and memo app, but more limited when recording with the selfie camera in portrait orientation. Distance rendition was good, with accurate perception of voices in the audio scene. Recordings sounded fairly loud and were typically free of artifacts. However, at high sound pressure levels, our testers noticed some strong compression. Background was clean across all use cases, with a natural tonal balance.

Here is how the Xiaomi 13 Ultra performs in recording use cases compared to its competitors:

Recording use-cases scores

Timbre

132

Xiaomi 13 Ultra

147

Honor Magic3 Pro+

The Timbre score represents how well a phone captures sounds across the audible tonal range and takes into account bass, midrange, treble, and tonal balance. It is the most important attribute for recording.

Life video frequency response
A 1/12 octave frequency response graph, which measures the volume of each frequency captured by the smartphone when recording a pure-sine wave in an anechoic environment.

Dynamics

129

Xiaomi 13 Ultra

146

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Dynamics score measures the accuracy of changes in the energy level of sound sources, for example how precisely a voice's plosives (the p's, t's and k's, for example) are reproduced. The score also considers the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR), for example how loud the main voice is compared to the background noise.


Spatial

149

Xiaomi 13 Ultra

159

Vivo X Fold

The sub-attributes for spatial tests include pinpointing a specific sound's location, its positional balance, distance, and wideness on the recorded audio files.

Recording directivity
Directivity graph of the smartphone when recording test signals using the camera app, with the main camera. It represents the acoustic energy (in dB) over the angle of incidence of the sound source. (Normalized to the angle 0°, in front of the device.)

Volume

153

Xiaomi 13 Ultra

170

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Volume score represents how loud audio is normalized on the recorded files and the how the device handles loud environments, such as electronic concerts, when recording.

Here are the sound levels recorded in the audio and video files, measured in LUFS (Loudness Unit Full Scale); as a reference, we expect loudness levels to be above -24 LUFS for recorded content:
Meeting Life Video Selfie Video Memo
Xiaomi 13 Ultra -24.2 LUFS -20.6 LUFS -18.9 LUFS -20.4 LUFS
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (Snapdragon) -26.5 LUFS -21.8 LUFS -22.4 LUFS -21.6 LUFS
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max -26 LUFS -22.9 LUFS -19.2 LUFS -19.6 LUFS

Artifacts

138

Xiaomi 13 Ultra

145

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Artifacts score measures the extent to which the recorded sounds are affected by various types of distortions. The higher the score, the less the disturbances in the sound are noticeable. Distortions can occur because of sound processing in the device and the quality of the microphones, as well as user handling, such as how the phone is held.

In this audio comparison, you can listen to the way this smartphone handles wind noise relative to its competitors:

Recordings of a voice sample with light background noise, facing a turbulent wind of 5 m/s

Background

141

Xiaomi 13 Ultra

166

Black Shark 5 Pro

Background evaluates how natural the various sounds around a voice blend into the video recording file. For example, when recording a speech at an event, the background should not interfere with the main voice, yet it should provide some context of the surroundings.

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