For the past two months, things have been mostly the same. I am stuck inside the house due to the nationwide lockdown and hence unable to step outside and review smartphones the way I wanted to. Nevertheless, I just finished testing out the Mi 10 5G, Xiaomi’s latest flagship. It’s one phone I wanted to spend more time on, especially with its 108MP camera. But given the current circumstances, I had to limit my testing to mostly indoors. Previously, I reviewed the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra in similar conditions.
I’ve been living with the Mi 10 5G for 15 days now, and here are the good and bad aspects of the smartphone.
Xiaomi Mi 10 5G specifications: 6.67-inch 2340 x 1080 pixels, AMOLED display| 108MP (Quad camera), 20MP front-facing camera| Qualcomm Snapdragon 865| 8GB RAM + 128GB storage (non-expandable)| Android 10, MIUI 11| 4780mAh battery|5G|30W charger| Wireless charging
Xiaomi Mi 10 5G price in India: Rs 49,999
Xiaomi Mi 10 5G: What’s good?
I don’t know where Xiaomi sourced the display for the Mi 10 from, but it’s sure an outstanding one. It might not have the 120Hz refresh rate or quad-HD resolution of the Galaxy S20 Ultra, but can still get vibrant colors, super deep blacks and a 90Hz refresh rate that reduces blurs when gaming or watching videos.
I was actually quite impressed by the Mi 10’s 6.67-inch FHD+ AMOLED display while watching the first episode of Steve Carell’s Space Force. The display is really edge-to-edge and manages to run completely across the glass. Though you get a cut out in the top left-hand corner for the 20MP front-facing camera. It’s similar to the notch on the iPhone 11 Pro but way smaller.
Similar to any other high-end flagship Android smartphone, the Mi 10 has an in-display fingerprint sensor. And it performs much better than the one seen on the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Another aspect of the Mi 10 I liked the most is the camera — or the four cameras on the back. The phone has the 108MP main camera, a 13MP ultra-wide shooter, a 2MP macro lens, and a 2MP depth camera. And the photos were great, the autofocus was fast enough and so was taking bokeh shots. Switching between different camera modes was easy and quick. In fact, I found the Mi 10’s camera app better in comparison to the camera app on the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Even though the Mi 10’s camera isn’t quite refined as the iPhone 11’s dual-lens setup, it didn’t disappoint. Technically speaking, the 108MP sensor pulls in more light but images hardly look sharp compared to the shots taken by Apple’s iPhone 11. In low-light situations, I found iPhone 11 outperforming the Mi 10 by miles. You can see some test shots below.
That said, the Mi 10’s camera is good for everyday consumers. But yes, the 108MP seems slightly overhyped. By the way, the Mi 10’s 20MP front-facing camera is good for selfies and video chats.
The Mi series is all about performance and power. And the Mi 10 seems to have all the ingredients to make it a super smartphone. It has the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, and wireless charging. But this phone has more features compared to my iPhone 11, including 5G support.
The performance of the phone is reliable so to speak. The Snapdragon 865 chipset alongside 8GB RAM makes this a fast smartphone. I didn’t experience any slowdown with apps and the games performed well. The huge 4780mAh battery will easily last a day and a half on a single charge, if you are the average user, as long as you are not shooting videos in 8K or playing games non-stop. The phone’s battery quickly charges in a few minutes, thanks to a 30W charger, supporting 30W wired and wireless charging rates. And if you are interested, the Mi 10 also supports 10W reverse wireless charging. All-in-all, the battery life on the Mi 10 is stellar.
Xiaomi Mi 10 5G: What’s not good?
One of the things that make the Mi 10 really boring in my opinion is its design. Though the design is in no way bad, it lacks a novelty factor. This is Xiaomi’s flagship smartphone that has to take on the OnePlus 8 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro, and the design does not seem appealing enough.
Also, it is a bit odd for a flagship phone in 2020 to not have water and dust resistance. The Mi 10, despite its hefty price tag, doesn’t have any IP rating and this could be a decisive factor in both the wetter and driver parts of India.
Another annoying thing about the Mi 10 is the bloatware that comes as part of MIUI 11. The MIUI 11, which is based on Android 10, is relatively polished, but using it can also be a bit frustrating. I am not asking Xiaomi to bring a stock-like Android interface but at least remove the bloatware from the Rs 49,999 phone. There are four to five games preloaded on the device which are ad-supported, plus there’s the More Apps folder, where you will find apps like Facebook, Gaana, and Daily Hunt.
Xiaomi Mi 10 5G: Should you buy one?
The Mi 10, despite its boring design and high price tag, is a decent smartphone. Its display is pretty good, the 108MP camera – if not the best – is fun to use, the long battery is another high point of the Mi 10, and 5G support is always welcome, even if networks don’t support it. Before you even consider the Mi 10 5G, you need to ask one question: who should buy a Xiaomi phone costing Rs 50,000? Well, the person who should consider getting the Mi 10 5G is someone who has a lot of cash, is a big fan of Xiaomi, wants a phone with a 108MP camera but don’t want to spend Rs 98,000 on the Galaxy S20 Ultra and, most importantly, has no affinity towards brands like Apple and OnePlus. I hope you got the answer.
*Unlike the Galaxy S20 Ultra which I would say is thick and heavy like a tank, the Mi 10 is quite light. I can use the device one-handed, and it slides into jeans pockets with ease.
*The Mi 10 has a small earpiece speaker up top and the downward-facing speaker on the bottom. The speakers get reasonably loud.
*Xiaomi has, unfortunately, removed the 3.5mm headphone jack from the Mi 10. This means you need to buy a pair of Bluetooth headphones.
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