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Xiaomi 14 Civi review: Premium all-rounder with Leica camera technology | Tech Reviews

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The latest entrant into Xiaomi’s flagship 14-series, the Xiaomi 14 Cinematic Vision, or simply Xiaomi 14 Civi, introduces an accessible entry point to the Leica co-engineered smartphone camera system. Starting at Rs 42,999, the smartphone aims to be a comprehensive all-rounder, featuring the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 processor and a premium design highlighted by a quad-curved AMOLED display. But does the Xiaomi 14 Civi live up to its promises when tested in real-life scenarios? Let us find out:


Design


The Xiaomi 14 Civi boasts a quad-curved AMOLED display on the front, featuring an Apple-inspired Dynamic Island-style camera cut-out that integrates dual front camera sensors. The display is subtly curved on all sides, with a slightly more pronounced curvature along the side edges. This design language extends to the back panel, which mirrors the front’s quad-curve and is paired with a sleek, flat-style metallic frame that seamlessly bridges the back and front glass. The back glass has a frosted texture that not only imparts a premium feel but also effectively resists fingerprints and smudges. The rear circular camera module, reminiscent of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra, is slightly smaller and positioned closer to the left rather than centred. It houses a triple camera setup and a flash in a symmetrical layout, all set against a shiny, sparkly backdrop.

Overall, the Xiaomi 14 Civi exudes a premium feel in hand, thanks to its sleek design. The smartphone is notably lightweight, and the weight distribution is managed well, preventing it from tipping despite a prominent camera bump. However, the design does have some drawbacks. The frosted glass back (on the review unit), while effective in minimising smudges, can make the phone feel slippery when used without a cover. Additionally, the display, although not traditionally curved, occasionally registers accidental touches. Despite these minor issues, the design remains a significant strength of the Xiaomi 14 Civi, offering a refined and premium in-hand experience.

Xiaomi 14 Civi: Back panel


Xiaomi 14 Civi: Back panel

Xiaomi 14 Civi: Quad-curved display


Xiaomi 14 Civi: Quad-curved display

Display and Audio


The Xiaomi 14 Civi flaunts a vibrant 6.55-inch AMOLED display that expertly balances contrast, offering an outstanding visual experience. With sharp visuals and accurate colour reproduction, the smartphone delivers an immersive viewing experience that remains captivating from any angle. This experience is further enhanced by a range of on-device customization options for colour settings. Within the display settings, Xiaomi provides a “Colour Scheme” feature, allowing users to toggle between Default, Vivid, and Saturated modes. Additionally, the Advanced settings enable selection between P3 and sRGB colour gamuts and offer control over the prominence of Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) colours. Users can also customise values for the HSV (Hue, Saturation, and Value) colour space and adjust Contrast and Gamma levels to suit their preferences. Personally, I found the Vivid preset mode to be the best, as it added vibrancy to the colours on the display without compromising their natural appearance.


The display is also notably bright, with Xiaomi claiming a peak brightness of 3000 nits. Although I couldn’t verify the exact brightness level, I encountered no difficulties using the smartphone outdoors during the day. Furthermore, the display did not suffer from glare at any viewing angle, even in direct sunlight. For those seeking even greater brightness, increasing the contrast level from the Advanced settings can push the display’s brightness to even higher levels.


The 120Hz refresh rate significantly enhances scrolling responsiveness, making interactions feel snappy and seamless. This is further improved by the “Advanced Textures” option within the Display Settings, which, when enabled, adds rendering effects such as blurred animations, making transitions between apps appear smoother.


For content consumption, the already impressive display of the Xiaomi 14 Civi supports Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+ on compatible content. Moreover, for videos that are not in HDR, the AI HDR Enhancement feature within the AI Image Engine settings enhances the darker areas of a video, improving colour contrast. This feature seemed to work well for locally stored videos but did not appear to be compatible with YouTube videos.

Xiaomi 14 Civi: Display


Xiaomi 14 Civi: Display


In the audio department, the Xiaomi 14 Civi is equipped with a stereo speaker system that supports Dolby Atmos surround sound. The built-in speakers produce impressively clear audio at a sufficiently loud volume. While there is some presence of low-frequency sounds for a thumping effect, it might not satisfy music enthusiasts fully. Despite this, the smartphone’s speakers are excellent for watching videos, movies, and even gaming.


Camera: Imaging


Xiaomi has been marketing the Xiaomi 14 Civi as a camera-centric smartphone, and it certainly lives up to this promise. The 50MP Leica Summilux primary sensor captures clear shots with colours that maintain optimal vibrancy while retaining a natural look. However, under artificial lighting, photos taken with the main camera tend to have a slightly warmer tone than reality. In standard shooting mode, you have the option to choose between two Leica camera modes – Leica Authentic and Leica Vibrant. When shooting outdoors in natural light, Leica Vibrant produces brighter images than Leica Authentic, enhancing colour contrast, but the camera delivers crisp details in both modes.


The 50MP telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom captures images with slightly less detail than the primary camera, although the colours remain equally vibrant. Due to the lack of OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) for this sensor, you may sometimes need to take multiple shots to achieve the best results. Fortunately, this lens also offers the same two Leica modes. Additionally, you can capture portrait shots using both the primary lens (25mm) and the telephoto lens (50mm), and both perform well in terms of depth analysis and subject edge detection. However, the primary lens excels in portrait shots with superior colour reproduction. Beyond the standard Master Portrait mode, the Leica collaboration extends to a Leica Portrait mode, which slightly softens facial details to enhance brightness.


The 12MP ultra-wide camera is arguably the weakest link in the Xiaomi 14 Civi’s imaging capabilities. Images taken with this lens in low light and artificial lighting appear lacklustre and lack the detail found in photos from the other two sensors.


On the front, Xiaomi has equipped the device with a dual sensor setup, featuring a 32 MP primary camera and a 32MP ultra-wide camera. It’s worth noting that while the rear ultra-wide camera offers a 120-degree field of view (FOV), the front ultra-wide camera has a 100-degree FOV. Both perform well under natural light, capturing attractive selfies, but they struggle in artificial light. The front ultra-wide lens, in particular, has difficulty indoors, with images lacking clarity.

Xiaomi 14 Civi: Rear cameras


Xiaomi 14 Civi: Rear cameras


Camera: Videography


For videography, the Xiaomi 14 Civi smartphone is equipped to record 4K video at 60 frames per second (fps), 30 fps, and 24 fps. At 1080p resolution, it offers options for 60 fps and 30 fps, while 720p recording is limited to 30 fps. The device also supports HDR recording, although this feature does not extend to videos captured at 60 fps. Xiaomi has included a Master Cinema video recording mode, which the company claims enhances the dynamic range and adds cinema-style colour grading. However, this mode also does not support the 60 fps option either.


Additionally, when recording videos up to 4K resolution at 30 fps, the smartphone allows switching between all three rear camera lenses during recording. It’s important to note that the Master Cinema recording mode is restricted to the primary camera and does not permit changes in the field of view.


Videos recorded in both standard and HDR modes are sharp and clear, maintaining accurate colour reproduction. However, switching between cameras during recording might not be seamless, as differences in clarity can become apparent. Additionally, you might notice increased jitter when switching from the main camera to the telephoto or ultra-wide-angle lens. Master Cinema mode enhances the visual appeal of videos in well-lit conditions by adding more texture, but it tends to appear lacklustre in low-light environments.


Performance and software


The Xiaomi 14 Civi smartphone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8s Gen3 System-on-Chip (SoC) paired with 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM. This combination of a flagship-grade processor and faster RAM type makes the smartphone more than capable of handling everyday tasks and even demanding workloads, such as recording high-resolution videos, playing graphic-intensive games, and multitasking. The Xiaomi 14 Civi manages these tasks while maintaining a cool temperature, though you might notice mild heating on the frame during prolonged gaming sessions. The smartphone excels at multitasking, aided by software features like split window options and floating window options for compatible apps, making the experience even more seamless.


Regarding the software experience, the Xiaomi 14 Civi comes with Android 14-based Xiaomi HyperOS out of the box. The experience is somewhat mixed. While it offers some very useful features such as multi-window setup, advanced display options, and more, navigating the smartphone does not always feel intuitive. For example, the Settings menu has a separate section for the Lock Screen, but the options to change the lock screen image and style are found within the Wallpaper section. Additionally, to set a captured image as wallpaper, you must navigate to the Gallery, which is not the most straightforward process.


The smartphone comes with a few preloaded apps like Netflix, PhonePe, and Amazon, but there is also a “More Apps” section on the home screen that frequently recommends third-party apps, however, this is removable. Furthermore, native apps such as App Vault and Security regularly send notifications that can feel distracting and intrusive.


Battery


The Xiaomi 14 Civi features a 4,700mAh battery and supports 67W wired charging. While the smartphone does not deliver exceptional battery life, it is sufficient to last a full day of regular use. However, engaging in more demanding tasks significantly increases battery drain. Xiaomi provides several battery modes, including Balanced, Performance, Battery Saver, and Ultra Battery Saver. The latter two modes can help extend battery life, but they come at the expense of performance, particularly in the Ultra Battery Saver mode.


Xiaomi includes a 67W charger in the box, which is convenient, as it can charge the device from 10 percent to 90 percent in approximately 40 minutes.


Verdict


Priced at Rs. 42,999 onwards, the Xiaomi 14 Civi smartphone offers excellent value for money with its impressive camera system and exceptional display quality, all encased in a premium-looking device with a great in-hand feel. While you won’t be compromising on performance, the user interface might present some challenges for certain users.


Overall, the Xiaomi 14 Civi is an excellent option for those seeking an all-rounder with outstanding camera capabilities and robust performance.




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