For years, Xiaomi has taken a ‘wait and watch’ strategy when it comes to selling flagship smartphones in India, the brand’s most successful international market. Now, Xiaomi is getting more aggressive in selling flagships to potential consumers in the world’s second-largest smartphone market. Its latest strategy is to sell the new Mi 10T Pro, a premium phone with a 144Hz display and a 108MP camera, at a price of just Rs 39,999. But is it enough to divert consumer’s attention from the likes of iPhone 12, Galaxy S20 Ultra and OnePlus 8T? We finally have our hands-on Mi 10T Pro, and while it’s too early to give you our full review, here are our first impressions.
This is a BIG smartphone
The Mi 10T Pro is a massive phone, 9.33mm in thickness and weighing 218 grams. Its glass and metal design give the phone a premium look, though I am a little worried about using the device with one hand. The phone feels thick in the hand, and it’s back is also quite slippery. Flip the phone, and you will see a giant camera lump on the back with three cameras, one of them a 108MP main lens. It’s big and heavy, and I can feel the phone.
That said, I know people who are fond of jumbo-sized phones and for them, using the Mi 10T Pro on an everyday basis won’t be a challenge. But I would like to make it clear that the Mi 10T Pro is not made for people with small hands.
I also noticed that the phone features a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, which in my opinion is a good decision. I do like in-display fingerprint scanners but they are not as fast as they should be.
That 144Hz display
The phone uses a 6.67-inch 1080p 20:9 LCD display. While some might see the LCD display as a trade-off, I don’t necessarily see it as a drawback. Even the iPhone 11 has an LCD display, and that phone is selling at a much higher price. Anyway, the most talked-about display feature is the new 144Hz screen. So basically, the screen is able to refresh the image 144 times per second. On the standard 60Hz screen on the iPhone 12, the display is able to refresh the image on its screen 60 times per second.
What’s the big deal here? Well, a 144Hz refresh rate screen helps with a lag-free experience and improves the response time when playing graphics-intensive games. This also makes scrolling fast when reading a news article. In case you are a hardcore mobile gamer, a 144Hz screen does make a difference. But for most people, this feature makes little sense.
One good feature about the Mi 10T Pro, which I wish every smartphone with a high refresh display should have, is how the 144Hz’s screen variable refresh rate saves battery life. The screen can hit 144Hz when high refresh rates are needed for gaming, drop to 90Hz or 60Hz when watching a video or glancing at the images.
The Mi 10T Pro has the same Snapdragon 865 processor as many other flagships currently available in the market. Since the Snapdragon 865 is a tried & tested processor, I wouldn’t expect the Mi 10T Pro to lag or freeze while running apps or games. As of now, I have played Sky: Children of Light and didn’t find the Mi 10T Pro struggling to run the game or heating up. A 5000mAh battery resides inside the phone, but you should get over a day of juice on a single charge easily. That 144Hz screen will likely consume a lot of battery if you play games nonstop for hours. Don’t worry, Xiaomi does include a 33W USB-C fast charger in the box.
What about cameras?
The Mi 10T Pro has three cameras on the back. There’s a 108MP primary sensor with a wide-angle f/1.69 lens, a 13MP ultra-wide angle f/2.4 camera with a 123° field of view and a 5MP f2/4 macro camera with autofocus. Strangely, there is also a non-functional component housed in a large camera unit— I really don’t know what purpose it is trying to solve. On the front, you will find a 20MP f/2.2 unit.
I have only taken a few shots at the moment, but so far I can tell you that still images look good. The photos have an excellent balance and very little noise details, especially in daytime light conditions. You can use up to 30x digital zoom, but I got the best results at 5x zoom. I have noticed that the phone’s portrait mode isn’t up to the mark as the phone lacks a dedicated telephoto lens. I couldn’t use the camera during the night, but I will definitely test it during the course of the review period.
# The Mi 10T Pro does not have an IP rating and will not be guaranteed against water damage. It is a bit surprising to see that Xiaomi’s flagship phone lacks IP rating, because most rival smartphones in this segment do have a water resistance rating.
#While the phone does support fast charging, I am surprised to see that the Mi 10T Pro does not feature wireless charging. Sure, most people (including myself) can live without wireless charging — but hey, this phone costs Rs 40,000. Just to give you an example, even the iPhone SE (2020) which is selling for as low as Rs 30,000 comes with wireless charging as well as features IP67 water and dust resistance.
#There is only 128GB of non-expandable storage. I wish the phone had a built-in MicroSD card slot.
#This a 5G-ready phone, which is a good thing. But let me tell you that there won’t be 5G connectivity in India before 2022.
#Xiaomi has significantly improved the user interface on its phones. Although the Mi 10T Pro runs on Android 10, Xiaomi’s MIUI 12 overlay is impressive.
I will be using the Mi 10T Pro this entire week, and I will publish my full review on October 30. That full review will cover the performance, battery life, low light skills of the camera, and much more.