Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Review: when you go so cheap, you have to make some big compromises – Ultra-Sim

Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Intro

The Redmi brand has become synonymous with great value offerings, and it starts the year with a bang with five new models under the Redmi Note 13 series.

All five models share a practically identical 6.7-inch form factor with slightly different design and camera decor. On the pricier end of the series, you have three Redmi Note 13 Pro models, where the Pro refers to the more advanced camera system, faster chips, faster charging and a few other extras. Then, you have the two more affordable non-Pro versions and this particular review is about the most affordable model in the lineup: the vanilla Redmi Note 13. This model does not have 5G connectivity on board.

You can find our reviews for the slightly more advanced models in the Redmi Note 13 series below:

What’s new about the Redmi Note 13

  • 6.7-inch AMOLED screen with 120Hz refresh rate
  • 108MP main camera with sensor crop zoom
  • 8MP ultra-wide camera, but no telephoto camera
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • 33W wired charging, no wireless charging support

Table of Contents:

Redmi Note 13 Specs

Big and beautiful screen and a decent amount of storage

Before we dive deep in our experience, here is an overview of the Redmi Note 13 specs:

Redmi Note 13 Design & Colors

Big and boxy design with a back that is a fingerprint magnet


With a boxy design and flat sides, the Redmi Note 13 fits in the modern smartphone design trend that Apple started a few years ago.

However, you can still easily tell by the construction that this is an affordable phone by the cheaper plastic frame and the borders around the screen are a bit thicker than usual. The back has a glossy finish and particularly on the black version, it’s an absolute fingerprint magnet. But still, the decor of the phone is simple and likable.

The power and volume keys are on the right hand-side of the phone, on the left you have no buttons, on the bottom you can find the USB-C port, speaker, and SIM card slot, and on the top you have a 3.5mm headphone jack and even an IR blaster. Quite the feature set!

The Redmi Note 13 comes in a choice of three colors:

  • Midnight Black
  • Ice Blue
  • Mint Green

Redmi Note 13 Unboxing

Here is what you can find in the box:

  • Redmi Note 13 phone with pre-applied plastic screen protector
  • 33W charging brick with USB-A output
  • Charging cable (USB-A to USB-C)
  • Silicone case
  • SIM tool
  • User manuals

Such a rich packaging is great to have: the pre-applied screen protector, the included case and the fast charger are all freebies here!

Redmi Note 13 Display

It seems that the times of smaller phones are behind us, and this Redmi Note 13 – as well as all other phones in this Redmi series – all come with a big, 6.7-inch OLED display.

On the Redmi Note 13 specifically, you have a 1080p resolution, 120Hz refresh rate support, Gorilla Glass 3 protection and peak brightness of 1,800 nits.

We have tested the screen using professional equipment in our lab, and here are the results:

Display Measurements:

And this phone gets impressively bright for its price point, which means that it is easier to use outdoors than many other budget phones. It also reaches a reasonable 2.4 nits of minimum brightness, which is not super dim, but decent for night time use.

As for biometrics, you have your average optical fingerprint scanner, which gets the job done without any bells and whistles.

Redmi Note 13 Camera

All about the main camera

Even though the Redmi Note 13 comes with a 108-megapixel main camera, an 8MP ultrawide camera, a 2MP macro shooter and a selfie camera, out of these we can only whole-heartedly recommend the main camera.

Below, you can find some real-life photos to see how all of these cameras perform both during the day and at night.

Photo Samples

The main camera does a quite decent job in various conditions and even at night images look fairly good.

The ultra-wide images, however, have too much noise during the day and fall apart completely in low light. Daytime photos are certainly usable, but definitely not great. Selfies are also quite average, they don’t have too much detail, but colors are mostly pleasing.

Video Quality

Video Thumbnail

Let me say it right away: if you care about video quality, you should NOT buy this Redmi Note 13.

It only records 1080p video which lacks in detail, but the biggest problem is that this footage lacks proper video stabilization and looks very jerky and unstable.

Once you start recording with the main camera, there is also no way to switch to the ultra-wide, and zoom quality is really bad too.

Redmi Note 13 Performance & Benchmarks

Snapdragon in name, not so snappy in person

To arrive at this super affordable price, Redmi had to cut corners and one such corner is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 685 chip inside this phone.

It’s at least paired with 6GB of RAM, a decent amount for this price point.

However, the chip itself is clearly on the slow side.

Performance Benchmarks:

Benchmark results clearly show this chipset is not a great performer. There is the occasional stutter you will notice while just scrolling around the menus and opening apps too.

The base version of the phone (and the only one sold in most countries in Europe) comes with 128GB of native storage. At least this is a solid amount for the price point, and you also have a microSD card slot for expandable storage.

Redmi Note 13 Software: still runs on MIUI

Android 13 and MIUI 14 on board, with a promise for 2 years of OS updates and 4 years of security patches

There are two things you need to know about the software on the Redmi Note 13 series.

First one is that you don’t get the newest HyperOS software here. Instead, this phone runs on the older Android 13 with MIUI 14 on top.

The second, and more important thing, is an issue that Xiaomi and Redmi phones have had for years. Push notifications DO NOT work properly on many apps, and the system aggressively kills app in the background. This means that for many apps you simply will not get your notifications until you unlock your phone. You can try and remedy that by digging into the setting for every new app that you install and try to enable notifications manually AND you need to also remove that app from the battery restriction section, but even if you do that, there is no guarantee you will receive notifications. That is extremely annoying for messaging apps where you need to get notifications on time, so keep that in mind.

There are no such issues on mainstream phones like Samsung Galaxy phones or Google Pixel phones, so that is one thing you have to get used to when you use a Xiaomi phone.

For software updates, the Redmi Note 13 will get 2 years of major OS updates and 4 years of security patches. This means, it will receive:

Redmi Note 13 Battery

Big battery inside

With a 5,000mAh battery inside, the Redmi Note 13 certainly stands out.

While the aggressive app killing of MIUI is annoying for notifications, it is very good for battery life.

We have run our independent battery tests on the Redmi Note 13 and the results are right below:

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:

In our YouTube video playback test, the Redmi scored nearly 12 hours, which is definitely very impressive. However, on the lighter web browsing test, it finished with a result of nearly 14 hours and a half which is about average.

Redmi Note 13 Charging Speeds

With 33W fast charging support, this phone charges so much quicker than its rivals. You also get a charger included in the box, which is also great.

PhoneArena Charging Test Results:

A full 1-100% charge takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes, while a quick 30-minute top-up gives you nearly 50% of your battery back. Good stuff for such a cheap phone!

Wireless charging support is not available here.

Redmi Note 13 Audio Quality and Haptics

Audio quality is definitely not impressive here.

There is practically zero bass which results in a very thin, piercing sound profile. We did not feel the speaker was too quiet though.

Haptics are average at best, not quite surprising, but still worth mentioning.

Redmi Note 13 Competitors

At a price of just 200 euro, the Redmi Note 13 is downright cheap and there is not so much competition in this price range.

The Samsung Galaxy A25 5G is probably the biggest name, but its list price is 300 euro, then you also have the Nokia G42 5G at 260 euro (but often discounted). 

Those other phones usually come with slightly smaller displays and don’t have some of the cool Xiaomi features like the relatively fast charging.

Learn more here:

Redmi Note 13 Summary and Final Verdict

The Redmi Note 13 is indeed a cheapie, but it gives you enough for the price to cover the basics. You have a big OLED screen with decent characteristics, and a decent main camera, all in a design that looks simple, but nice.

The processor, however, is on the slow side and you will be able to feel that, and you have all the typical shortcomings of budget phones like very poor video quality and camera zoom. Weigh your budget and your preferences considering what all we said above, and let us know if you think this phone strikes a good balance of features.

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