It looks like the Wi-Fi 7 race of 2023 is starting a little earlier than initially anticipated with Xiaomi’s latest smartphone and router launch. Over the weekend, Xiaomi announced the new Xiaomi Mi13 series of phones, featuring the 13, 13 Limited Edition, and 13 Pro. In addition to those phones, Xiaomi also launched its 10 Gigabit Router, designed to be paired with the latest Xiaomi phones to deliver the best connectivity experience. Because Xiaomi is launching these devices in China only, there hasn’t been much fanfare from Xiaomi’s English-language social accounts, so all the information comes from Xiaomi’s own Chinese-language pages.
Chinese OEMs have habitually launched their flagship phones for the next year in December and January to get as many devices produced and into the channel before the Lunar New Year, which usually begins at the end of January or early February. This year, it kicks off on January 22, after which factories will be closed for weeks for the holiday, and that’s why we’re seeing so many Chinese OEMs launching products this month.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro
Looking in more detail at the Xiaomi 13 series, both the base model and 13 Limited Edition devices embody Xiaomi’s new design and feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platform, which Qualcomm announced only last month at the Snapdragon Tech Summit. But Chinese OEMs move fast and have had access to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for a while, so we’ve already seen three different OEMs launch including Xiaomi, Oppo and iQoo.
The Pro model is always one that Xiaomi likes to pack with the latest technologies. This year was no different, because the Pro boasts the most advanced camera, display, processing, and connectivity in the lineup. The Xiaomi 13 Pro features a 6.73” 521 PPI display (3200 x 1440) vs. the 13’s 2400 x 1080 resolution, which explains the $150 price difference (converted from yuan). The larger frame of the 13 Pro also enables a larger battery capacity of 4820 mAh vs. the base 13’s capacity of 4500, which also lends to a faster wired charging speed of 120 watts.
Naturally, the 13 Pro also has better cameras: It uses a Sony IMX989 1-inch camera sensor, while the standard Xiaomi 13 has a Sony IMX800 sensor; these differences also show across the optical zoom and wide-angle lenses, which all have higher-resolution sensors on the Pro. Both camera systems leverage Xiaomi’s partnership with Leica to tune and optimize the camera’s performance (and carry Leica branding).
Both devices support 5G, but one notable connectivity difference is that the Xiaomi 13 Pro features Qualcomm’s latest Wi-Fi 7 chipset, the FastConnect 7800. This makes it the first smartphone on the market with Wi-Fi 7. Remember that Wi-Fi 7 hasn’t officially been ratified as a standard yet, so this is not yet officially a Wi-Fi 7 implementation even though the chipset is expected to be conformant to the Wi-Fi Alliance standard. Xiaomi was thoughtful about this feature and planned a router with a Wi-Fi 7 chipset to pair with the Pro 13 phone. The Xiaomi 13 Pro is available on Xiaomi’s website for $750 (converted from yuan).
Xiaomi 10 Gigabit Router
The Xiaomi 10 Gigabit router does exactly what the name says: It delivers 10 Gbps of total aggregate throughput across 2.4, 5.2, and 5.8 GHz bands. That’s different from other countries, where you’d see 2.4, 5.8, and 6 GHz. However, China plans to use the 6 GHz band for 5G cellular applications, so the anticipated 1200 MHz spectrum won’t be available in China for Wi-Fi 7. As such, the 5.2 GHz band can deliver high throughput, offering 5.7 Gbps of the total 10 Gbps in that band.
The Xiaomi 10 Gigabit router features a 4×4 antenna configuration across all three spectrum bands. For wired networking, it has four 2.5 Gbps Ethernet ports and a single 10 Gbps adaptive port, which are all powered by Qualcomm’s latest Networking Pro Series 1220 platform. This also delivers Wi-Fi 7 capabilities, albeit unofficially given that this is a Wi-Fi 7 draft device. As I’ve covered in previous posts, the complete Wi-Fi Alliance standard for Wi-Fi 7 is expected to be certified later next year.
The Xiaomi 10 Gigabit router is available for sale on Xiaomi’s website for roughly $250 when converted to US dollars from yuan, which makes it very competitively priced against high-end Wi-Fi 6 devices.
Xiaomi has a reputation for building devices that take advantage of the latest chipsets, sensors, and display technologies. The Chinese smartphone market is cutthroat, so it seems clear that Xiaomi is looking to get a leg up on its competitors with the new Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro smartphones and the 10 Gigabit router.
What is also interesting is that these new devices from Xiaomi are the first to launch both Qualcomm’s new Wi-Fi 7 chipset for routers and smartphones—the first end-to-end Wi-Fi 7 implementation we’ve seen. Xiaomi seems to be holding back announcing the Wi-Fi 7 leadership here, even though many of its customers will notice considerable performance improvements by pairing the new 13 Pro phone with the 10 Gigabit router. While it is unfortunate that neither of these devices will ever reach the US market, I am hopeful that consumers in Europe and Asia can get their hands on these devices reasonably soon after the Chinese market.