Xiaomi has realised that in order to enter India’s premium smartphone segment, it needs to step up the game and figure out how to pull consumer attention away from rivals. But the problem is that it isn’t easy to take on the competition just by making a flagship. The phone has to offer one or two features that its rival flagship lacks; plus, the smartphone also has to be priced competitively. Its latest MI10T Pro seems to be the flagship that might help Xiaomi gain confidence by bringing more such high-end smartphones to India, the company’s most important market.
At Rs 39,999, the Mi 10T Pro does offer some solid features like a 144Hz display, a super-fast performance, a 108MP camera and a huge 5000mAh battery with 33W fast charging support.
But is the Mi10 Pro worth buying? I used Xiaomi’s flagship for a week to find out the answer. Here is my review of the Mi 10T Pro.
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro price in India: Rs 39,999
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro review: What’s new?
The Mi 10T Pro is made for larger than average hands, and I am saying this with confidence. It’s a tall, thick, and a bit heavy smartphone — just like the Galaxy S20 Ultra. It’s also quite slippery, and taking pictures with it requires two hands. If you’re a small phone person, just ignore the Mi 10T Pro.
That said, if you have big hands, I don’t think so it should be a problem in handling this device. Xiaomi uses toughened glass for the front and back and the metal frame is made from a strengthened aluminum. The camera bump is much larger due to the 108MP camera, but you cannot ignore it. The build quality of the Mi 10T Pro is impeccable. The phone comes in two colours, and the Lunar Silver model is striking.
One thing I really liked about the Mi 10T Pro is how Xiaomi has integrated the fingerprint reader in the power button. It’s fast and the fingerprint reader registers my prints instantly. I have been saying this for long that in-display fingerprint scanners aren’t the best biometric solutions as they are neither fast nor as accurate as physical fingerprint scanners. For a big phone like the Mi 10T Pro, the fingerprint scanner mounted on the side is an ideal solution.
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro review: What’s good?
The 6.67-inch display (2400×1080 pixel) on the Mi10T Pro is absolutely fine. It’s an LCD display and not the OLED display in flagships like the iPhone 12 and OnePlus 8T. Sure, OLED displays have many advantages over LCD “Liquid Retina” displays like deeper blacks and better brightness and contrast. I did not find anything wrong with the Mi 10T Pro’s LCD display. The screen is bright, colour production is great, and viewing angles are wide. There’s also a reading mode, which I absolutely loved.
One of the highlights of the Mi 10T Pro is the display refresh rate. Yes, the screen refreshes at 144Hz (144 times per second). High refresh rates make scrolling and animations look much smoother. A lot of Android phones have a high-refresh display, but the Mi 10T Pro is the first device to bring a 144Hz display phone at Rs 40,000. What I really liked about the phone’s 144Hz display is the ability to change its refresh rate in real-time depending on what the user is looking at. For example, the display automatically goes up to 144Hz when playing a graphics-intensive game. But in some situations like watching a YouTube video, the refresh rate switches back to 60Hz. This helps the phone save battery.
There are benefits of a 144Hz screen, but average consumers shouldn’t bother much about a high-refresh-rate screen. A higher refresh rate screen can be important criteria in choosing a phone for a hardcore mobile gamer but not my parents, who are least bothered about PUBG or Call of Duty: Mobile.
Given the phone sports a 144Hz display, I think Xiaomi knew that to keep the phone running all day long, it needed to get a bigger battery cell. With a 5000mAh battery, the phone lasted a day. Having a 144Hz refresh rate enabled on the display, I was consistently able to get a full day of usage and close to one and a half-day of battery when switched to 60Hz display. Xiaomi is bundling a 33W fast charger that will quickly fill the 5000mAh battery in a couple of minutes.
In my week-long testing, I did not face any issues with the phone’s performance. The Snapdragon 865 processor paired with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage ensures everything from apps to running games like Forza Street run smoothly. The phone also supports 5G, but it’s of no use for most consumers in India, as most networks currently don’t support 5G yet.
The Mi 10T Pro runs Android 10 with Xiaomi’s MIUI 12 overlay on top. MIUI looks neat and offers a lot of tweaks, but I still feel that the user interface can be improved a lot.
Xiaomi has bragged a lot about the cameras on the Mi 10T Pro. There are three cameras in total on the back of the phone: a 108MP sensor with a wide-angle f/1.69 lens (it uses four-to-one pixel binning to deliver 27MP shots), a 13MP ultra-wide angle f/2.4 camera with a 123° field of view and a 5MP f2/4 macro camera with autofocus.
So how good are shots taken with the 108MP camera? Actually, not bad at all. In ideal lighting conditions, the Mi 10T Pro’s camera does a good job in picking colours, resulting in clear and detailed photos with minimum noise. But at times, I did notice that the camera overexposed images.
Here are some of the camera samples I have taken using the Mi 10T Pro.
You can also take shots at up to 3x of optical zoom, and the camera also supports digital zoom up to 30x — but zooming anywhere from 10x results in unsatisfactory images.
The portrait mode is improved too. The 13MP ultrawide camera produces some really good shots when the natural light is appropriate. The 5MP macro lens is a hit and miss. The front-facing 20MP camera is fun to use. It produces some of the very best shots I’ve seen on any selfie camera.
The Mi 10T Pro does a good job in capturing videos. It can even shoot an 8K video.
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro review: What’s bad?
The Mi 10T Pro isn’t a perfect phone, and I think Xiaomi is fully aware. The phone lacks a lot of features that should be included but Xiaomi chose to ignore. For example, the phone lacks an official water-resistance rating or support for wireless charging. The device also lacks a headphone jack and the Mi 10T Pro does not even come with stereo speakers. Then the phone has non-expandable storage, which means you will always be stuck with 128GB of storage.
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro review: Should you buy it?
It depends. If you do care about a 144Hz screen, a 108MP camera and a 5000mAh battery on a smartphone, you can spend Rs 40,000 on the Mi 10T Pro. I think the Mi 10T Pro would be enough for me as a power user, but let me tell you that there are alternatives to this phone available in the market.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines