Xiaomi 14 Civi Review: Homecoming

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Xiaomi is all set to hit the 10-year milestone in India this July. But you might be surprised to know that the company hasn’t been one to challenge rival smartphone makers in the sub-Rs. 50,000 until the Xiaomi 14 Civi launch. The company has tried to reinvent this price segment well and truly with its latest 14 Civi (short for Cinematic Vision) to take on the rivals in the sub-Rs. 50,000. It has a premium look and is packaged like a flagship smartphone with all bells and whistles.

It’s a busy time for Xiaomi as it recently unveiled 14 and 14 Ultra a few weeks back. But, the company doesn’t want to leave any stone unturned when it comes to tapping consumer demand. With one foot firmly in the premium category with the Xiaomi 14 series and the other in mass market price segments (for example, Redmi and Redmi Note), 2024 already looks like an excellent year for the company with six months to go. Unlike in previous years, Xiaomi has learnt lessons on how to keep its smartphone lineup more streamlined, which it shared with the world during the Civi unveiling.

Finally, with the 14 Civi, the sub-Rs. 50,000 segment gets the smartphone it deserves, especially considering the current phones available at this price, including the OnePlus 12R and Samsung Galaxy A55, which are great packages but mostly on paper. Let’s break down the smartphone in this review.

Xiaomi 14 Civi Review: Aesthetically pleasing [Design]

  • Dimensions – 157.20×72.77×7.45mm
  • Weight – 179.3 grams
  • Colours – Cruise Blue, Matcha Green, and Shadow Black

As the name suggests, the Xiaomi 14 Civi is part of the company’s premium 14 series, which means you can expect high-quality materials on the phone. It sports metal frames and has an aesthetic design for one-hand usage.

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Xiaomi 14 Civi features Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2

 

I’m happy that Xiaomi has kept the Civi’s design dynamics closer to the Xiaomi 14 than the 14 Ultra. In terms of size, the 14 Civi (with a 6.55-inch display) strikes a perfect balance, sitting between the 14 (6.36-inch) and 14 Ultra (6.73-inch). It’s also the lightest in the series at 179.3 grams, making it a comfortable and easy choice, especially when compared to the competition, which includes the OnePlus 12R (207 grams) and Samsung Galaxy A55 (213 grams). Unsurprisingly, the 14 Civi (7.4mm) is also the slimmest in this price bracket, adding to its practicality.

Xiaomi has taken attention to detail to the next level with its three different colourways for the 14 Civi. It comes in Cruise Blue with a dual-slice design, Matcha Green with vegan leather used in one portion, and a unique back glass pattern in the inlay. The third is the Shadow Black colour variant with a classic matte finish, which I preferred for my review.

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Xiaomi 14 Civi weighs just 179.3 grams

 

The symmetrical design with a quad-curve body feels solid in the hands. On the rear, the starry Leica camera ring housing all the camera sensors is a highlight for me. All the physical buttons are placed on the right side and are very well within the fingers’ reach while being used with one hand. The IR blaster is located on the top panel, while the Type-C port for charging is on the bottom panel. The dual stereo speakers setup is an exciting addition, and I will talk about the quality in the performance section.

Overall, the Xiaomi 14 Civi doesn’t feel like a device designed with a thought to compromise on any design element.

The lightweight and sleek design works in its favour. The only big miss I felt was skipping the IP68 rating on the Xiaomi 14 Civi. It would have kept in the league of its own under Rs. 50,000.

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Xiaomi 14 Civi comes in Shadow Black, Cruise Blue and Matcha Green colours

 

Xiaomi 14 Civi Review: Small but mighty [Display]

  • 6.55-inch Quad Curved AMOLED display
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • 3000nits peak brightness

If you’re someone who loves bigger displays, then Xiaomi 14 Civi may not excite you. Compared to the competition, the 14 Civi features a 6.55-inch screen, the 12R sports 6.78 inches, and the Galaxy A55 sports a 6.6 inches screen. The Civi boasts an AMOLED quad-curved display, the first in this price segment. Other features include a 120Hz refresh rate, 3000nits peak brightness, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, 460PPI, and support for TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light (hardware solution) certified.

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Xiaomi 14 Civi features a 6.55-inch display

 

In real-world usage, the 14 Civi’s display is bright and perfect for binge-watching and gaming. The good part is that even under direct sunlight, the legibility is excellent. The floating quad-curve display on the 14 Civi is only a second after the 14 Ultra and gives a premium feel to the entire display. Overall, the vibrant, crisp and smooth display on the 14 Civi makes it ideal for viewing high-definition video and photo content.

Xiaomi 14 Civi Review: As good as it gets [Camera]

  • Main – 50MP with f/1.63 aperture and OIS
  • Telephoto – 50MP with f/1.98 aperture & 12MP ultra-wide camera with 120-degree field of view
  • Selfie – 32MP primary sensor & 32MP ultra-wide selfie camera

The 14 Civi is the first from the house of Xiaomi to bring Leica cameras to a price range we would have never expected a few years back. Straight jumping to real-world performance, the cameras are a highlight of the phone.

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Xiaomi 14 Civi sports a triple rear camera setup

 

It can take consistent photos during the day with excellent autofocus capabilities. The best thing I liked about the Civi was its ability to adapt brightness to different lighting conditions. It manages skin tones well in most lighting conditions and has accurate exposure while ensuring a wide dynamic range. The details are handled well, especially during well-lit situations. Apart from photos, the device is well-optimised to handle videos as well.

The Leica features integrated into the camera allow for a myriad of creative experiments with your portraits. The Master Portrait and Leica Portrait modes, my personal favourites, are perfect for portraits. The 35mm mode with various Leica filters is a must-try for a touch of Leica vintage. Among the numerous filters available, the black and white filter stands out.

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All the above camera samples clicked using the primary 50-megapixel camera

 

Like other Xiaomi 14 series devices, the Civi also does well in bokeh shots. There’s accurate subject segmentation and a nice blur in the foreground and background. However, slight instabilities are noticeable in some of the camera samples in low-light situations.

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Xiaomi 14 Civi portrait mode in action

 

Coming to low-light photography where things get interesting. It manages less challenging shots comprehensively, but there’s apparent noise in low-light shots. In some shots, target exposure is slightly off in extremely low light conditions. When zooming into shots, fine details are lost in some low-light samples.

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Xiaomi 14 Civi low-light camera samples

 

 

The 14 Civi does well in ultra-wide shots. Noise is handled well, while the level of detail is okay. It definitely can get a costlier flagship smartphone a run for its price.

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Xiaomi 14 Civi ultra-wide camera in action

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Xiaomi 14 Civi comes with Leica-tuned camera features, which is one of the highlights of this device

 

 

Coming to selfies, the 14 Civi brings back the focus on the front camera in this price segment. It is the only phone with dual cameras at the front, and all credit goes to Xiaomi for making this happen. Quality-wise, Civi manages decent skin tones in selfies with good white balance and accurate target exposure. However, you may have to turn off the beautification mode in selfies as it unnecessarily flattens the colour. The selfies are equally good in low light, but I noticed some desaturation in some samples.

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Xiaomi 14 Civi’s selfie camera in action

 

Overall, the Xiaomi 14 Civi gets a camera setup that raises the bar in the sub-Rs. 50,000 segment and no phone – OnePlus 12R or Samsung Galaxy A55 come closer.

Xiaomi 14 Civi Review: Plenty to like [Performance]

  • Processor – Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 Mobile Platform
  • RAM and storage – 8GB + 256GB & 12GB + 512GB
  • LPDDR5X RAM & UFS 4.0 storage

Xiaomi 14 Civi joins the league of new flagships that will pack the latest Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 mobile platform. This processor brings numerous improvements, although they may not be immediately noticeable in everyday usage. The Civi, however, shines in its ability to handle multitasking with ease. You can effortlessly switch between multiple apps without experiencing any stutters. During my review, I used the 14 Civi as my primary device, and it performed flawlessly, without any glitches, over the course of several weeks.

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Xiaomi 14 Civi is powered by Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 processor

While testing games, the Civi ran smoothly with the highest settings and graphics available in COD Mobile, BGMI, and Genshin Impact. Games like Need for Speed No Limits felt snappy. Surprisingly, Xiaomi isn’t marketing the gaming capabilities of the 14 Civi at all. While extensively testing performance, the only issue I encountered was that the device gets warm, sometimes really warm. That’s when I saw Xiaomi’s new IceLoop Cooling tech coming into play. Games aside, the phone also gets warm when you use the camera extensively to click photos and videos. Now, I have to give the benefit of the doubt to Xiaomi as I was testing the device in Delhi’s summer, where outside temperatures are hitting a whopping 45 degrees and beyond. But let me add that the heating on the Civi isn’t as big of an issue as it was on the Google Pixel 8a.

The 14 Civi is an ideal device for multimedia thanks to the powerful combination of excellent display and stereo speakers. The Civi offers an in-screen fingerprint sensor, and face unlock – both snappy.

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Xiaomi 14 Civi comes with tons of preloaded apps

 

Talking about benchmarks, the Xiaomi 14 Civi managed decent scores all around. Starting with AnTuTu, it scored 139,2401 points, closer to what the OnePlus 12R achieved in the same test. At the same time, managing a good 1931 in single-core and 4946 in multi-core tests. On the GFX Bench, Civi managed 6,727 frames in T-Rex (120fps) and 7,091 in Manhattan 3.1 tests. Another time that I noticed the device getting warm was when running synthetic benchmarks.

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Xiaomi 14 Civi benchmark scores

 

The call quality on the Xiaomi 14 Civi is excellent, and one of the highlights of the phone is how soon it latches on to networks when you get out of a lift or just come out of your basement. During the review, it happened plenty of times that Civi managed to latch on to networks within seconds of coming out of the lift, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max took a good 20-30 seconds to be back with the network.

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Xiaomi 14 Civi comes with 3 years of Android update support

 

Talking about the update cycle, Xiaomi promises a total of 3 years of Android updates and 4 years of security updates, which scores less on paper when compared to devices like Google Pixel 8a and Samsung Galaxy A55.

The 14 Civi has launched with Android 14-based HyperOS and, as expected, gets tons of customisation options. Starting with the lock screen, which gets significant visual changes, then minor tweaks in the Gallery app to make it interesting. The Control Centre also gets a refresh and looks less cluttered. However, the biggest ease is the process to remove the bloatware apps.

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Xiaomi 14 Civi runs on HyperOS based on Android 14

 

Xiaomi has cleared its stance on AI and how it will proceed with the entire adoption. The company has integrated some interesting AI tools into its gallery for AI Portraits and AI expansion. I tried the Erase and Sky features, which worked flawlessly. Other AI-enabled features are still a work in progress and can be expected to be rolled out with future updates.

Xiaomi 14 Civi Review: Trying to keep up with the competition [Battery]

  • 4700mAh battery
  • 67W Fast charging support
  • Ships with a charger in the box

The battery department was the real test of the Xiaomi 14 Civi as it packs the smallest in the competition. The Civi packs a 4700mAh battery compared to the 12R and Galaxy A55, which come with 5000mAh batteries. The Civi gets a 67W fast-charger brick in the box for fast charging, OnePlus ships a 100W brick with 12R, and Samsung doesn’t ship a charger with Galaxy A55. 

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Xiaomi 14 Civi packs a 4700mAh battery, which is smaller than the competition

 

In real-world scenarios, the Xiaomi 14 Civi lasted almost a full day on a single charge with heavy usage, which included multiple apps open in the background, including browsing the Internet, a few calls during the day, Outlook, WhatsApp, Telegram, X, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and frequent camera usage. With medium usage, the phone could last over a day. In our video loop test, the Civi lasted 13 hours and 15 minutes before the phone powered down. The phone did better than the costly Xiaomi 14, which packs a 4610mAh battery. 

With 67W fast-charging support, the phone can fully charge from 0 to 100% within 50 minutes, which is decent but not a figure that’s among the best in the segment. To compare, the OnePlus 12R, however, can fully charge in less than 30 minutes. Overall, the Xiaomi 14 Civi may not surpass the competition in terms of battery performance, but it certainly holds its own.

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Xiaomi 14 Civi comes in two RAM and storage SKUs

 

Xiaomi 14 Civi Review: Verdict

2024 for Xiaomi is all about reclaiming its mojo back, and the Xiaomi 14 Civi is a fine example of how to do it in style without compromising on any department. The best part about this package is in the sub-Rs. 50,000 segment, it doesn’t feel penny-pinching. To smartphone enthusiasts and Xiaomi fans, the 14 Civi will feel like a homecoming. Xiaomi is finally doing what it does best – pricing its device competitively in a price segment that never had a presence earlier.

There are plenty of things to like about Xiaomi 14 Civi, starting with the design ideal for one-handed usage, a display that’s amazing for multimedia consumption and complementing it with powerful stereo speakers. The performance is comparable to the new and pricier flagships that the second half of 2024 will get, and HyperOS is surely likeable if you have used MIUI earlier. The battery is one department that is not comparable to the competition, while the bloatware situation is somewhat controlled, though we did see some notifications during the initial phase of the review.

If you’re in the market and looking for a phone under Rs. 50,000, Xiaomi 14 Civi deserves to be at the top of that list. The alternatives at this price point include OnePlus 12R (Review) and Samsung Galaxy A55 (Review), while if you want to try the new Pixel, then the Pixel 8a (Review) is also a good option.



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