Huawei P60 Pro Huawei P60 Pro


Huawei P60 Pro review: Picture perfect

Pleasing photography pal



Let me begin this review by showing you my favorite photo that I took using the Huawei P60 Pro. 

Huawei P60 Pro

This was taken at Huawei’s Oxhorn Campus in China, just a couple of days after first getting my hands on the P60 Pro. I think it encapsulates what the smartphone can do. It makes even someone like me who has no formal photography training look like a seasoned professional. 

I would like to think that it’s always been the aim of these smartphones. To deliver stunning images no matter your level of photography expertise. To make sure that you’re able to capture moments in your life in the clearest way possible. Memories are fleeting and photos help immortalize it for us. 

The hardware 

Part of what makes this possible is Huawei’s superb hardware. Time and time again, the company has produced gadgets that tout some of the best industrial design in the mobile device segment. The P60 Pro is no exception. 

Its Dual Variable aperture system lets users switch between f/1.4-4.0. Different focal lengths for different shooting scenarios.

Here’s everything on the main camera array by the numbers: 

  • 48MP main (wide) camera with a Dual Variable aperture system
  • 13MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera
  • 48MP f/2.1 telephoto lens with 3.5x optical zoom

They look pedestrian on paper. Especially with the one-inch sensor being touted by its closest competitors in the flagship space. But Huawei is hanging its hat on the combination of its hardware and AI-infused software processing to produce stunning images. 

AI-infused processing 

Speaking of the Ai on the Huawei P60 Pro, I’d like to show a couple of curious cases during our time with the device. 

Afternoon moon 

I honestly don’t know how people are going to take this. But it appears that when the AI kicks-in, it forces the final image into this look of what it thinks it’s supposed to be. The shot of the moon below was taken in the late afternoon, with the sky still blue as the sun is pretty much still up.

Huawei P60 Pro
But as you can see, as the phone identifies that you’re trying to take a moon shot, the surrounding color turns into night time instead of blue. 

Lighter or more contrast? 

This sort of happens too on other occasions. The flower photos below were taken seconds apart. The first one was taken quickly, without the AI picking up on the subject yet. The second one, which applies more contrast, was taken after the AI picked out that it’s a flower. 

You can toggle the AI settings on or off. Most of the time the primary difference is just how much contrast and sharpening is applied. How you want your photos to come out is still ultimately up to you. 

A lens for every scene 

The Huawei P60 Pro does a great job of capturing multiple types of scenes. The main camera is great for capturing general scenes and quick snaps. 

My personal favorite is the telephoto lens (more on this in a bit). Something about it just adds character to the shots you take. It’s great for closing in on your subject, whether that’s architecture or food. 

Huawei P60 Pro

And the ultrawide angle lens, naturally, is great for capturing landscape scenery.

Huawei P60 Pro

Let’s take a look at more sample photos. 


Night time


L: Portrait off | R: Portrait on

Omniverse Museum 

Fun fact: This is the exact Millennium Falcon used in the movies.

I also took the Huawei P60 Pro on an impromptu, totally unplanned, trip to the Omniverse Museum. It’s a museum made for nerd herders like myself. If you’re into Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and more, the place is a must visit.

I had to post for some shots, of course. The main sensor is great for this.

But what I had really fun using was the 3.5x zoom on the telephoto lens that really brought out the details of some of the characters on display. 

The force is string, the details are crisp

One of Khaleesi’s dragons

This Iron Spider (MCU version) looks like almost like the first time it was shown at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming film.

And this Iron Man display just looks badass.

Look at all the details in this Black Panther bust

I’ll have a full walkthrough of the museum, with more photos taken by the P60 Pro, in a separate article. 

Picture Perfect 

Huawei P60 Pro

The Huawei P60 Pro’s photography prowess is as good as ever. It’s great that Huawei has been able to keep its imaging consistent throughout their P-series phones throughout the years. It was never in question, but the way it keeps getting better should also be commended. 

Rococo eye candy 

I touched on this briefly in the vibe check article, but for emphasis, I just want to say that the Rococo Pearl color variant is an absolute beauty. As mentioned previously, Huawei says there are no two Rococo Pearl variants that will look exactly alike because of how it’s made. If you want something that’s truly unique, then this is the variant for you.

It’s also incredibly easy to hold and use. Ever since the P40 Pro, I have been a fan of how Huawei has more or less stuck to the same size and dimension making the phone extremely wieldy. 

Don’t discount the Black variant though. If you want something that’s more low-key, this is the one to get. It’s also less slippery and, in my opinion, feels better to touch with its slightly rougher surface. But that’s me. You’re probably gonna want to use this with a case anyway.  

EMUI, AppGallery, and GBox 

Herein lies the rub. Huawei has certainly taken whatever steps it can to make sure it’s usable to as many people as possible. But the truth of the matter is that they still do not have access to GMS or Google Mobile Service through no fault of their own.

So, what have they done so far? They have beefed up their AppGallery as much as they can. Most recently adding some of the most played games today.

To mitigate the lack of GMS, they tapped into GBox. What it does is kind of mask the phone when you log in to Google to give you some sort of access to a few Google Apps. It ain’t smooth or pretty, but it works.

Lastly, EMUI is EMUI. Like any Android skin, you can customize it to your liking. But Huawei really needs to do away with these folders with recommended apps. 

Having to go into the folder’s settings and toggling the recommendation is a few steps that users should not have to take on a phone that’s already asking a lot to just be able to set up and use certain apps. 

4G+ only 

Another thing that might turn people off on paper is the lack of 5G connectivity. The Huawei P60 Pro maxes out at 4G+ and that can indeed be an issue for some. In practice though, it barely makes a difference.

I put a 5G-capable SIM card on the phone and it is consistently on 4G+. Multiple speed tests suggest I’m also getting high speeds with less fluctuations compared to other 5G-capable Android smartphones I’ve tried. 

If you’re looking for a dealbreaker, this isn’t it. 

Curious power adapter

The box comes with an 88W power adapter. Unlike most, it has both a USB-A and USB-C port sitting right next to each other. Huawei says this was done so you can use whichever cable you have lying around. However, the ports cannot be used simultaneously. Only one hole at a time, folks.

Is the Huawei P60 Pro your GadgetMatch? 

Huawei P60 Pro

The Huawei P60 Pro is the smartphone I used so far in 2023 that I enjoyed the most taking photos with. I felt like a pro seeing my snaps look like absolute stunners when I review them.

But a smartphone’s camera is only part of the equation. The only way I can recommend this to anyone is if you’re willing to deal with all the hullabaloo that comes with EMUI, AppGallery, and GBox. It’s not unusable, but it also isn’t the most user-friendly thing out there. 

That’s a tough ask for a premium smartphone that also commands a premium price. 

If you’re willing to deal with everything that it comes with, the Huawei P60 Pro is likely the best camera you can keep in your pocket. It doesn’t hurt that it handles well and also looks good. 

Price and availability in the Philippines

You can now purchase the Huawei P60 Pro through offline and online HUAWEI Stores, authorized retail outlets, and leading e-commerce sites Shopee and Lazada, price starts at PhP 58,999 — and get the Huawei Watch GT3 for free worth 12,999 if you pre order from May 12 to May 25, 2023.

You can get the 8+256GB version for only PhP 58,999, while the 12+512GB for PhP 69,999.

Installment payments in Offline Huawei Stores are also available via Home Credit for up to 18 months and participating credit cards for 24 months with 0% interest.

If you pre-order now, you’ll get 1-year Extended Warranty valued at 3,999.

Trade-in is also available for both Huawei and non-Huawei smartphones. Apart from enjoying a discount from the trade-in, you can also get Php8,000 add-on voucher when you trade-in Huawei smartphone, while for non-Huawei smartphone, you can get up to Php7,000 add-on voucher. Available in selected stores nationwide.


How well do PlayStation games run on the ROG Ally?

Spoiler: Pretty good



ROG Ally, PlayStation Dual Sense

The ROG Ally has caused quite a buzz in the gaming community at large. Personally, I’m thrilled at the prospect of owning a handheld gaming PC/console to play games I otherwise would not have access to. I mainly play on my PlayStation 5 (PS5). Naturally, I was curious how some of my favorite games will run on the ROG Ally. 

Things are promising on paper. The ROG Ally is built to be able to run AAA titles. Here’s a quick look at the specs of the unit we had for recap:



CPU AMD Ryzen™ Z1 Extreme Processor 

      • 4nm 
      • Zen 4/ 8 core & 16 threads  
      • 24M cache 
      • CPU Clock: up to 5.10 Ghz 
      • TDP: 9 – 30 watts
GPU With AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme Config: 

  • AMD Radeon™ Graphics 
  • RDNA3 & 4G RAM capacity / 8.6 TFlops 
  • 12 CU 
  • GPU Clock: 2.7GHz
Panel Full HD (1920 x 1080), 120 Hz / 7 ms eDP1.4b, 500 nits, IPS-panel, 100%  sRGB, FreeSync™ Premium, Gorilla® Glass Victus™ and Gorilla® Glass DXC,  10-point Touchscreen 

Gyro support

Memory  16GB (LPDDR5 6400Mhz) dual channel LPDDR5 8GBx2 on board  memory
Audio  2 x 1W speakers with smart amp technology, Dolby Atmos®, Hi-Res Audio,  AI Noise Cancellation
Wi-Fi / Bluetooth  WiFi 6E (802.11ax) / Bluetooth® v5.2 
Storage 512GB (for Z1 Extreme config) 

+SD card slot UHS-2

I/O PORT ROG XG Mobile interface (8PCI express lanes) and USB Type-C  combo port (with USB 3.2 Gen2, DP 1.4 support) — (1x)

3.5mm Audio jack — (1x)

Micro SD slot (UHS-II, Micro SD 4.0) — (1x)

Battery  40Wh
Adapter  65W PD adapter, supports pass through charging
Dimensions  280.44 * 111.18 * 21.22 mm


PlayStation Studios on PC 

PlayStation, in the past couple of years, has decided to spread the love and let PC players experience some of the best they have to offer. Currently, there are 12 PlayStation exclusive titles playable on PC. And they’re available on either Steam or the Epic Games Store. 

In case you’re curious the available games are as follows: 

  • Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • God of War (2018)
  • Uncharted: The Legacy of Thieves Collection
  • Destiny 2: Lightfall 
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • Returnal
  • Days Gone
  • Predator Hunting Grounds
  • Sackboy: A big Adventure
  • The Last of Us Part 1

PlayStation Asia was kind enough to give us codes for three of the 12 titles now available on PC. Here’s how they ran on the ROG Ally. 

Quick note: I played on Performance mode with brightness hovering at around 50-55% indoors in an air conditioned room. 

Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered

Marvel’s Spider-Man, along with NBA 2K, is my comfort game. Whenever I feel frustrated or just having a bad day, I fire up either game. On Spider-Man, I just swing aimlessly around the digital Manhattan that Insomniac built. 

It was such a delight to learn that I can do this on the go now too with Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered playing pretty darn well on the ROG Ally

I had the framerate limiter turned on, maxing out at 60. Despite that, I only reached a max of 31 fps with dips to as low as 15. It looks bad on paper, but is much more tolerable during actual gameplay. The dips usually happened during cutscenes. Majority of the gameplay hovered around 25-30 fps. 

ROG Ally, Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered

I knew it was never gonna reach the level of detail and smoothness that I get on the PS5 and LG C2 combo that I usually play on. There was plenty of noticeable stuttering especially during the busier sections of the game. But I didn’t think any of it was game breaking. 

Audio wasn’t as loud as I hoped it would be despite me playing in a pretty quiet room. I opted to pair it with Bluetooth earbuds (OnePlus Buds Pro 2) to get the most of the audio. There were no audio delays whatsoever which was a very welcome development. 

My average play time was about one hour and 20 minutes. That’s with the battery going from 100% to 20% each time. 

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Coming from the same Studio and pretty much being essentially the same game, Spider-Man: Miles Morales didn’t run too differently from Spider-Man Remastered.

I played in the exact same conditions: Indoor room, AC on, started at 100%, performance mode, and medium brightness settings. Curiously, the frame dips happened more during open-world swinging and not as much during cutscenes. This could be because of the busier version of New York due to the events of the game being set during the Christmas season. 

But the numbers weren’t too different. I still maxed at 31 fps, with most of the gameplay hovering around 25-30 fps, and the lowest dip coming in at 16fps. 

Again, nothing game breaking and it is much more tolerable during gameplay. Naturally, you have to have your expectations set properly. The ROG Ally is, after all, a handheld gaming PC. 

Average play time is around one hour and 25 minutes with about 75% to 80% of the battery life being consumed. 



Returnal is one of the titles I was most excited to try. I was curious about how the audio and controller rumble would translate to the ROG Ally. On the PS5, Audio and DualSense implementation are two of the game’s many strengths. 

Due to audio cues on enemies’ locations, this game is best played with earbuds/headphones on. The experience on the ROG Ally isn’t quite 3D Audio on PS5 levels, but it’s as close as it gets. 

The same can be said for the controller rumble. It’s not as precise nor finely implemented as the DualSense – that’s a unique feature after all. However, I was still thoroughly impressed with how the ROG Ally implemented rumble in certain sections of the game. The rumble effect is also a testament to how well-built the Ally is. Despite the internals shaking, the Ally never felt brittle nor that it would suddenly come apart. 

Knowing this is a shooter game, I turned the framerate limiter off and reached highs of 115 fps. The framerate did dip to as low as 15 fps which is about the widest variance I got from any game I played using the Ally. This did affect gameplay especially during sections where I had to deal with multiple enemies. 

I did experience plenty of crashes which isn’t ideal for a game like Returnal whose progress relies on you surviving as long as you can on a single run through. But this only happened during the first few minutes. After a while, it seemed like the ROG Ally had adjusted to the performance-demands of the game. 

It took about an hour and 10 minutes before I had to plug-in the Ally to not lose a playthrough. 

Remote Play?

ROG Ally, Dual Sense, Horizon Forbidden West

Since the ROG Ally is essentially a handheld gaming PC, you can certainly install the Remote Play app on it. However, you can’t just immediately use the gamepad. To play Horizon: Forbidden West, and generally just run the app, I had to pair the Ally with my DualSense controller.

You can map the gamepad so that it works but mapping isn’t an activity I enjoy nor did I have the time (I had to return the review unit) to do it. Other reviewers pointed to using a third-party app called Chiaki. But again, I didn’t have time to test it. I did see gameplay of it though so it seems to be working just fine. 

Knowing that you can do all these on the Ally actually makes you question the upcoming PlayStation Q handheld. Sure, the integration will likely be seamless. But its core function can already be replicated on other handhelds and handheld-like devices. I digress.

It’s worth noting that the relatively smooth experience I had with the ROG Ally was also aided by an internet connection that constantly hovers in the 250+ mbps range along with a Wi-Fi 6 router. 

The ROG Ally is PlayStation friendly 

If you want to know what it’s like playing PlayStation 5 games on a handheld device, the ROG Ally is easily one of the best devices to play with. The gameplay isn’t quite as smooth but you shouldn’t expect it to be. And yes, you’ll find yourself reaching for the power adapter after a little over an hour of playthrough. But being able to play AAA titles on a handheld device still feels crazy to me.

Having started gaming on a family computer and covering tech for a living, it’s still mind-blowing to me how far technology has come. The stuff I only dreamed of as a little fat gamer is coming true thanks to the ROG Ally and its contemporaries. 

The ROG Ally Z1 Extreme retails for US$ 699. The ROG Ally Z1 variant retails for US$ 599. Pre-orders begin on May 11. It will be available for sale worldwide on June 13, 2023.

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OnePlus Pad Review: If iPad Ran on Android

Give this Android tablet a chance



First announced during the Cloud 11 Launch Event in India way back in February 2023 together with the OnePlus 11, the newest OnePlus Pad seems to rival the very dominated tablet territory full of iPads.

And by that, even making direct accessory contenders such as the OnePlus Stylo, a Folio Case, and even a Magnetic Keyboard.

But is the experience even close?

Well, if you’re looking for an Android tablet less than what the latest entry-level iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab offers,

it’s a tablet you might want to try out — and our OnePlus Pad review might just entice you to buy one.

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Xiaomi 13 Pro: Frustrated photographer’s review

Where have you been all my life?!




The Xiaomi 13 Pro launched to much fanfare at MWC 2023. However, the company has since released a smartphone usurping the Pro as the king in its smartphone photography hierarchy. The said phone is the Xiaomi 13 Ultra.

However, while that may be the case, it is the Pro that I spent the most time with. And it’s also the gadget that reinvigorated my fancy for photography.

Before I expound on its camera performance, let me give you a background of myself being a lowkey (and frustrated) “photographer”.

Unintentional introduction

When I was five, the memory of our old Ricoh film camera, Kodak + Fujifilm canisters, and even a Samsung digital camera in my mom’s dusty drawers still remain as one of my core memories.

Back in grade school, I used our Casio EXILIM EX-Z60 digital camera for school events and trips. High school went by and our Yashica camcorder plus my classmate’s Canon EOS 1100D added to that list — which all contributed to my photography mesmerization.

Mesmerization and ambition

Back in 2014, my aunt gave me a Canon EOS 60D as a gift. That’s also my life’s crucial moment where I started learning photography and wanted to solely focus on it after I graduate.

And while on the topic, I made this college project (watch at your own risk).

While the endeavour was a group work, I had the core idea of equipping all kinds of spec absurdities in this imaginary smartphone — including a DSLR’s interchangeable lens system coupled with an APS-C sensor.

Can’t believe this absurd idea actually became a reality years later

I just thought it’s a great solution to the lackluster imaging quality of smartphones (and hefty bodies of DSLR cameras) of yesteryears.

The frustration

The usual Sony a6500 we use for pro shooting

I became a GadgetMatch intern back in 2018. I then remember having to hold a Sony a7S during my first day. The rest was history as I was able to hold several more pro-grade cameras such as the Fujifilm X-T30 and the Canon EOS RP.

SEE ALSO: Learning street photography with the Canon EOS RP

But all of us in the team know how to shoot great photographs. My main role is to edit videos for our YouTube channel. That’s also when I felt like my photography skills became rusty and my frustration as a “photographer” grew further.

Compounding the frustration, I’m the type of “photographer” who doesn’t have a “forte” as I love shooting any and every interesting subject I see — be that a pet, product, portrait, food, architecture, landscapes, or even the challenging ones like wildlife/nature and even photojournalism.

Utmost fascination

Xiaomi 12S Ultra Concept (2022)

Surprisingly, eight years after that college project, a phone with a detachable lens system became a real thing with the Xiaomi 12S Ultra Concept.

From previous 1-inch sensor headliners like Sharp’s Aquos R6, the Leica Leitz Phone 1, and eventually the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, I felt nothing but excessive excitement when I was assigned to play with this crazy 1-inch-sensor-touting Xiaomi 13 Pro — even crazier that it’s co-engineered with Leica.

Leica’s special sauce

If you’re like me who focuses the most on a smartphone’s camera performance, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is more than enough to capture picture-perfect photographs taken through its revolutionary camera system.

However, it’s not just about its advanced camera sensors. Leica’s partnership with Xiaomi is more than just bringing in photo filters and Summicron optics. They also wanted you to use their two special camera concoction.

If you were able to read my Xiaomi 13 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Camera Shootout article, this shouldn’t be new information to you. But for the rest, Xiaomi lets you choose between ‘Leica Vibrant’ (more saturated) and ‘Leica Authentic’ (less saturated) looks.

Don’t confuse them as color filters. Rather, built-in color calibration techniques based from Leica’s color science. Together with Xiaomi’s AI algorithm, they work together to bring out the best look for each photo taken.

Picking between these two Leica looks is mandatory and obviously, your choice will affect the overall mood of the photographs you take. However, you cannot totally turn this off. The Pro mode isn’t even exempted as you still need to choose between the two while you take “RAW” photos.

Pro-tography within your fingertips

The main highlight of the Xiaomi 13 Pro is none other than its 1-inch camera based on the Sony IMX989 sensor — which isn’t different from last year’s Xiaomi 12S Ultra as well as the newer Xiaomi 13 Ultra. The 13 Ultra just has the upper hand of having a variable aperture instead of relying on a fixed f/1.9 aperture.

That’s also the reason why I said earlier that getting the Pro variant over the Ultra doesn’t make it “less capable”. The wide 1x samples below (23mm lens equivalent) will prove my very bold statement

Even with a dark subject like my indoor cat Kaori with her visible strands of black fur and whiskers, or a random black cat walking outside, its fast shutter release will just blow your mind — all thanks to that large 1-inch sensor.

On the other hand, its 50-megapixel ultra-wide shooter relies on a totally different Samsung JN1 sensor with a 1/2.76-inch size. But even if it’s smaller than its wide lens counterpart, these photos still show superb quality.

Its 115-degree FoV (Field of View) is wider than the competition. I usually use this lens mode when shooting architecture to emphasize the vastness of a structure — especially when indoors such as churches, cathedrals, pathways, and even alleyways.

50mm + 75mm lens excellence

Another great thing about Leica x Xiaomi’s partnership is being able to bring in special 35mm B/W, 50mm, and 75mm portrait modes which not only mimics how prime lenses of pro-grade cameras perform, but also being able to apply Leica’s post-processing techniques after clicking the shutter button.

However, it’s worthy to point out that while the 50mm still relies on the phone’s ginormous 1-inch sensor, its 75mm portrait mode uses the dedicated 3.2x telephoto lens instead.

Good mood for food

Whenever good food is served, I automatically take out the Xiaomi 13 Pro (regardless if I have other flagship phones with me) and shoot ’em using the handy-dandy 50mm “swirly bokeh lens” feature.

I just love how Xiaomi processes food shots without actually over-saturating and over-sharpening the shot just to make it “scrumptious” to viewers. Leica’s color science preserved the real colors of the food — which was also how I perceived them IRL.

If you look closely, shots taken using any of the special portrait modes always has a vignette (or that subtle radial black border around the image). I’m all for it as it emphasizes the subjects I capture regardless of who or what it is.

I’m not fond of using the regular wide (1x) lens as it requires you to get closer to the food subject. But relying on that 1-inch sensor through 2x cropping reduces the amount of that nasty radial blur but still preserving details. The 2x option is also helpful in avoiding pesky shadows when shooting food indoors.

Nonetheless, food still looks great when shot on 1x (23mm) as long as you’re on the right shooting distance with ample amount of light.

While its 75mm relies on a completely different 3.2x telephoto camera, it was still able to quickly capture my brother’s hand while he was rolling that melted cheese on his fried chicken.

Another testament: this cup of lychee lemonade I drank taken in a not-so-well-lit environment. The only source of light was the measly bright LED TV while I was binge-watching one of the best K-dramas around (*coughs* Taxi Driver Season 2).

Portrait expert

While using the dedicated 50mm swirly bokeh lens requires you to be farther from your shooting subject, it also lets the camera get closer to the subject.

Other than that, the tighter Field of View (FoV) makes me frame my shot better and looking symmetrical than ever.

And just like a real 50mm prime lens for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, it’s also the best lens when shooting portraits as it requires just the right amount of distance between the lens and the subject — whilst delivering a creamy background blur.

Even when the subject is moving such as my bestie walking on the side of the pool, its 75mm was fast enough to catch the candidness of his actions — all while being able to separate the foreground from the background precisely.

Fast AF

Whether you read that as “Auto Focus” or “As F***”, both of those terms are acceptable.

The Xiaomi 13 Pro truly takes photos quickly and swiftly — just like how I captured this river scenery while walking on a ginormous bridge between Intramuros and Binondo.

I took this 50mm while I was in a hurry, yet it still looked clear and crisp with the appearance of gradual blurring between the foreground and the subject in focus. It really felt like this was shot on a pro-grade DSLR/mirrorless camera.

This 75mm shot of a very handsome Toyota GR Supra was shot while I was in the back seat of a speeding Honda Civic. Despite using the 3.2x telephoto lens, it was still able to shoot fast with enough details and less blurriness altogether.

The same thing can be said when I took these zoomed-in shots of two structures while I was walking on the sidewalk without actually trying to slow down.

The zoom shooter was also able to capture these kids in fast playing motion — and even felt like the time froze.

Surprisingly, that 75mm shooter performed fast too even in conditions where the presence of natural light is fading.

In my wildest dreams

Back then, my ambitious self dreamt of being a wildlife photographer for National Geographic. I admit how foolish that sounded. Still, I was delighted and astounded that the Xiaomi 13 Pro can capture the beauty of nature like I have a real DSLR and that long-ass telephoto “bazooka” lens with me.


Photojournalism on a phone? Why not?

Another aspiration I’ve had in college is being a photojournalist. Unlike most photographers, photojournalists should have the utmost courage to capture the world without the added sugarcoating.

Having to use the Xiaomi 13 Pro and its speedy shutter release during our special one-day photowalk definitely proves how it can be one of (if not) the best gears for photojournalism.

The photography technique I always bring with me is none other than being able to put juxtaposition into context.

In the easiest of terms, it’s putting two different subjects in one frame with a contrasting effect — like this lady and her vibrant stuff against a dull and busy background (two opposing hues)…

…or this bird kite flying on the vast sky (man-made versus nature).

My shot above is one of my favorites. Technically speaking, the presence of that artificial light added drama to the shot. But actually, there’s more than that.

Despite having different kinds of social classes, all of us have our right and freedom to go and enjoy our time along with our family and friends outdoors.

Low-light goodness

The Xiaomi 13 Pro may not have the brightest low-light photos ever taken in a smartphone, but as I always say in my reviews, being the brightest of the bunch doesn’t mean it’s the best performer.

With that large 1-inch sensor, it takes night mode photos pretty quick and doesn’t exceed a second in shutter duration — unless it’s a really dark environment.

Remember those special 50mm and 75mm special lenses I showcased earlier? Well, they both work well in low-light scenarios too!

Most phones usually struggle when you take portrait shots under low-light shooting conditions, but the Xiaomi 13 Pro is built different.

Even in harsher low-light conditions, the Xiaomi 13 Pro was very capable. It showed the beauty of my NewJeans Binky Bong as well as its box content with the littlest amount of noise.

This sign of a famous taco joint isn’t any different. The Xiaomi 13 Pro was able to preserve the authenticity of the shot without bumping too much exposure, highlights, and most of all, shadows.

For comparison’s sake, the difference is quite stark between the 50mm and 75mm portrait shots of my two lovey-dovey friends.


While 50mm relies on the 1-inch sensor and the wide f/1.9 aperture of the main lens (artificially widened to f/0.95), the 75mm was able to give a shallower Depth of Field (DoF) and a clearer foreground-background segmentation thanks to the farther focal length — mimicking what telephoto zoom lenses do.

And despite how high the ISO sensitivity of the two photos are, the photos are still sharp with barely visible noise. I also have to thank Xiaomi’s AI algorithm for cutting out subjects more accurately than the rest of the competition.

Regardless of what type of shooting subject you shoot in low-light, the 75mm does the job well and consistent.

Leica B/W

It wouldn’t be a full Leica experience without trying Leica’s classic B/W (black and white) looks.

But unlike what Leica previously did with other smartphone manufacturers (specifically Huawei), the B/W calibration actually looks closer to what Leica offers in its cameras.

Don’t take my word for it though. Those came from the words of the Leica photographers I’ve been with in that special one-day photowalk I mentioned earlier.

Leica’s special B/W and B/W NAT color filters add flare to your existing shots.

And just like how I mentioned “juxtaposition” earlier, taking B/W into consideration gives more depth and drama to your already “controversial” and “heart-wrenching” photographs.

Surprisingly, the presets look good even in candid shots — even if the subjects convey happiness and enjoyment.

BONUS: AI Removal

In instances where you have no control over the unwanted humans or objects in your shots, Xiaomi’s AI removal feature in its in-app gallery editor comes in very handy.


We gotta give credit where credit is due. Even though it’s not a fresh feature (as this was introduced by Google as “Magic Eraser” during the Pixel 6 launch), I’m still stoked that Xiaomi offers the same AI-based feature out of the box.


From the term itself, it lets you remove distractions from your shots. Other than the typical manual erasures, Xiaomi’s AI algorithm also detects people, objects, lines, and even shadows.

Although to be very frank, the most usable of the bunch is none other than the removal people selection. It worked 95% of the time and only had trouble identifying people in a couple of shots. Other times, the AI removal isn’t clean, like in the last sample above.

Featured by Xiaomi

Back in March 2023, Xiaomi Philippines held a one-day photoshoot with select media friends and Leica photographers towards the sights of San Fernando and Clark in the province of Pampanga.

That’s the time when I finally started using the smartphone after given to me by our team head, Rodneil, when he came back from Barcelona, Spain for MWC 2023.

SEE ALSO: GadgetSnaps: Xiaomi 13 Pro in Barcelona

Xiaomi’s Founder and CEO Lei Jun even tweeted about it (unfortunate though how I wasn’t in this first group photo session because the irritable morning heat led me to stay inside the van).

TMI aside, here are some of my shots that Xiaomi PH chose to feature on their Instagram page.

And just a day after, I went to Intramuros by myself, thinking how I needed to take more photographs using the amazing camera system of the Xiaomi 13 Pro.

Fondness for flagship

Other than the excellent camera system the Xiaomi 13 Pro possesses (and the thicc camera bump proves that), what makes it a true flagship experience is none other than its hardware.

Being equipped with the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset paired with the speedy LPDDR5X RAM and a UFS 4.0 storage standard guarantee the longevity of the phone both in performance and power.

I have to be honest though that I’m not a fan of the phone’s overall material selection — mainly because the black colorway I have is a huge dust + fingerprint smudge magnet. My opinion would differ though if it was offered in that clean-looking Ceramic White slate.

Still, I love how slim and light the phone feels even if it has a gigantic 6.73-inch curved display. For my XL hands, it’s a perfect fit.

LE SSERAFIM is UNFORGIVEN – but forgive me for I have sinned

Speaking of that display, I enjoyed watching multimedia whenever, wherever. Its 120Hz refresh rate is buttery smooth, while its 2K AMOLED display and Dolby Atmos speakers bring the best out of the content I watch — especially those in 4K.

Lastly, one of the best features of this phone is none other than the support of 120W HyperCharge with a bundled charger and cable. The Xiaomi 13 Ultra doesn’t even have this as it only relies on a “slower” 90W fast charging.

It honestly saved me from times where I have to leave the house unplanned. That 30-minute charge from 0 to 100 percent is a huge lifesaver. Let alone, its battery life efficiency is topnotch as it lasts me until the end of day at the very least — and more than that when used lightly.

Is the Xiaomi 13 Pro your GadgetMatch?

The Xiaomi 13 Pro is already available in major Asian and European markets. Retail pricing starts at PhP 59,999 (SG$ 1699 / INR 89,999 / EUR 1299 / GBP 1099).

The Xiaomi 13 Pro is a great smartphone meant for photographers, casual shooters, and aspirers alike. If the plethora of photo samples I took aren’t enough to prove that, you’d be amazed to see more photographs taken with the Xiaomi 13 Pro by other talented individuals around.

Although at the end of the day, any photographer will be able to nail the device they are using as long as they know the basics as well as having a unique shooting style. Lastly, trusting their own creative process.

That said, the Xiaomi 13 Pro still offers the flexibilities of a smartphone while having the excellence of today’s advanced imaging system — plus a well thought-out partnership with a world-renowned camera brand. It’s a smartphone that isn’t gimmicky and actually offers the real deal compared to other smartphone photography contenders.

Where have you been all my life?!

I’ve been dreaming of owning a smartphone that can at least keep up with the quality of a DSLR or a mirrorless camera.

The Xiaomi 13 Pro (or any existing 1-inch-equipped smartphones around) can’t and won’t “replace” any professional cameras anytime soon. However, I can confidently say that the Xiaomi 13 Pro lives up to its professional photography promises.

It may not have the most affordable price tag for flagships out now. But the Xiaomi 13 Pro still a worthy recipient of the GadgetMatch Seal of Approval. That’s especially if you’re one among those prospect buyers who are looking for the best cameras in a smartphone today.

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