Xiaomi 14 Civi review: Premium design and performance without the premium price tag

With the Civi, Xiaomi makes the Leica-toting 14 Series more accessible
Xiaomi 14 Civi
Xiaomi 14 Civi

The Xiaomi 14 and 14 Ultra have been the toast of the town for their photography chops, but you’d have to fork out upwards of seventy thousand to access their ‘co-engineered with Leica’ cameras. The Xiaomi 14 Civi — short for Cinematic Vision — aims to offer a more accessible price point to the Leica wizardry that was till now exclusive to the pricier end of the portfolio, but it makes us question — are there any compromises made elsewhere to hit that compelling price point?

Xiaomi 14 Civi
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Let’s talk cameras first. On the Civi, you get an optically stabilised 50MP primary shooter, a 50MP 2x telephoto, and a 12MP ultrawide, with a dual selfie shooter setup on the front (32MP main and 32MP ultrawide) rounding out the package. The primary camera delivers good detail in daylight, with good dynamic range and colours that lean towards the saturated, and the ultrawide and the telephoto match the colour science of the primary shooter rather well.

Noise levels are restrained in low-light images as well, and save for the odd overexposed photo, the 14 Civi does a great job of nailing the brief for just about any everyday shooting situation. Portraits are the strong suit of the Civi with the 50MP telephoto, with a pleasing bokeh and the versatility of the various Leica portrait modes for different portrait compositions, although the camera does aggressively smooth out facial features even if you disable all filters.

The dual selfie shooter on the front reminds one of the iPhone’s pill shaped cutout, and between the accurate skin tones and the ability to go ultrawide automatically for group photos, selfies land well with this device. Videos (up to 4K at 60fps) are well equipped too, with options like widescreen cinema-style colour grading in the Master Cinema mode, subject tracking, and a whole bunch of options for amateur and serious filmmakers alike.

Moving from the spectacular but sizable Xiaomi 14 Ultra to the Civi, the thing I noticed almost immediately is how great it felt in the hand, courtesy the 177g weight, the 7.4mm thickness and the curved rear edges that merge into the metal frame. The Matcha Green colour variant is rather unique — the combination of vegan leather and patterned glass inlay means your phone will be ever so slightly different than mine. Despite its slim size, the Civi incorporates loud, Dolby Atmos-enabled stereo speakers and a handy infrared blaster. Around the front, the quad-curved, Gorilla Glass Victus 2-protected 6.55- inch AMOLED panel is a treat to engage with, with vibrant colours, sharp details and support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+ content. The 1.5K resolution and smooth 1Hz-120Hz refresh rate keep things smooth and efficient, with a mediocre haptic/ vibration motor and a somewhat middling IP53 protection serving as the only drawbacks to the design. Helping things along is the presence of the Qualcomm 8s Gen 3 chipset, a confusingly named chipset that sits between this year’s and last year’s flagship processors and provides exceptional bang for the buck. Coupled with 8GB/12GB and 256GB/512GB of fast memory and storage, performance is flagship grade in every sense, be it graphics heavy gaming or heavy multitasking.

Xiaomi 14 Civi
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The slimline chassis isn’t great for heat dissipation, which you’ll see after prolonged camera use or gaming. It also impacts the battery unit Xiaomi could pack in (4,700mAh, 67W charging), leading to average longevity. Xiaomi’s HyperOS atop Android 14 is feature packed and instantly familiar, though the familiar glut of pre-installed apps continues. Three years of software updates and four years of security upgrades is about par for the course. Premium design? Great display? Impressive cameras? Robust performance? The Civi checks these boxes rather emphatically, without breaking the bank. Only those who prioritise long battery life and faster charging need to look elsewhere.

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