If there’s a company known for producing incredible value, it’s Xiaomi. That extends to their smartphone line as well, who usually have incredible bang for their buck, including features that would typically only be seen in flagships. Recently they have dabbled in the premium sector, but now it seems to be going back to its roots with the new Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro.
Just from seeing the advertisements, Xiaomi seems to have packed in many big features into the phone; almost making other phones look like chumps in comparison! But as with every phone, it is all about the entire package, so does the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro come wrapped as perfectly as marketed?
Many companies often eschew glass backs to keep costs down for their phones, but not for Xiaomi, who have opted to have one for the Mi 10T Pro and is also held together with a metal frame. This enables the phone to not only have a high-quality look but also feels great in the hands.
It is a shame then that the colour variety is perhaps somewhat limited. Aside from Cosmic Black (which is the one we have) and Lunar Silver, the only other available colour is Aurora Blue. The colours are fine as is, but more options would definitely have been appreciated.
As with anything with a glossy surface though, you run the risk of getting it dirty with fingerprints, and that is the case here, and it is especially noticeable on a black surface such as ours. But while we are on the subject of dirty surfaces, it should be noted that Xiaomi markets the phone as having this unique silver ion antibacterial case that can eliminate more than 99% of bacteria after contact. It’s something to consider for sure, especially given the current situation.
For the front, the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro uses a flat-screen implementation for its display, and with that comes some bezels surrounding it. It isn’t terribly thick, but there is a little bit of dissonance aesthetically when paired with the glass back’s premium look. The hole-punched camera is another implementation that Xiaomi has chosen to maximise as much screen-to-body percentage as possible.
Overall, the whole package is in line with the modern aesthetics that we are now used to, but several design decisions may leave people wanting.
At 6.67 inches, the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro front screen is a huge one.
It has a Full HD (1080p) display, but it uses an LCD panel instead of an AMOLED one. As a display for viewing media, it isn’t exactly a slouch, but it suffers in some part at displaying vibrancy and contrast in colours and isn’t as bright as an AMOLED.
Those transitioning over from an AMOLED display phone will likely notice its deficiencies, but it otherwise is a perfectly serviceable display. Photos and video still look plenty good with decent colour saturation.
What the LCD display takes away in image quality, it gives back in speed. The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro’s LCD panel is used to facilitate one of its biggest features — a 144Hz refresh rate.
You can see its effect from the outset when you are scrolling through menus. The motion of swiping along vertically, looks ridiculously smooth and is rather pleasing to the eye.
Perhaps 144Hz is a little overkill. After all, there aren’t many apps available right now that are compatible with that high of a refresh rate, so you’d likely only experience it in the menus mentioned above and also through social media scrolling. Luckily the refresh rate is adaptive and adjusts accordingly to its needs, or you can simply lock it to either 90Hz or 60Hz.
The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro is equipped with the Snapdragon 865, which at the time of writing, is the highest-end processor that is available right now on Android phones for consumers.
And as would be expected, it is indeed a powerful chip. It can run without any signs of a slowdown, even with multiple apps in the background. That extends to playing mobile games on the phone as well, though it can get a little bit hot under long play sessions.
Alongside that power is 5G capability, which is an excellent feature to have for future-proofing when it becomes more widely available in the future.
The only real nit-pick would be the OS that it runs on, MIUI 12. If you are used to the intricacies of Samsung’s One UI, the stock Google OS or anything similar to that experience, you’re going to need to take some time to get used to how Xiaomi’s MIUI 12 works.
It is more akin to Apple’s iOS than Android not only in looks but feel as well, using different gestures to bring up certain menus, such as swiping up to access the control centre. The experience isn’t inherently bad; it just might throw off some people new to the way the phone handles. The UI’s general aesthetic though is quite gaudy personally, so you probably should look to change it if you know your way around doing custom themes and icons.
The cameras use a triple camera system at the back consisting of a massive 108MP primary camera, a 13MP ultrawide camera, and a 5MP macro camera. The front selfie camera is a 20MP camera.
Let’s start with the big headline; that 108MP primary camera. It is a statement piece for sure, though you’ll have to activate the 108MP mode separately to access the feature. In all honesty, there isn’t much to separate this and the normal image capture mode. All that can be gleaned is a more saturated look to the image and more details when you zoom in.
That says a lot more for the normal image mode, because the images captured do turn out very good. There is crispness seen in the image, but it isn’t to the point where the processing oversharpens it. The colours also aren’t as exaggerated as seen from other smartphones cameras and instead, look much more natural.
In general, the 108MP is basically the output from a regular image but with more clarity when zoomed in. It’s fine to use once in a while, but is probably not something that you’ll be using as the main way to take your photos, especially given the file size of the images and it being stuck to a 3:4 aspect ratio.
The ultrawide camera is unfortunately, a disappointment. Despite its name, it doesn’t go as wide as other smartphones do, so you might even miss out on objects in the frame. Night mode fares slightly better in performance and does indeed light up a dark image, but the image’s quality still can’t compare to what flagship phones can do, offering up more detail in the shot.
The camera only makes use of digital zooming, so zoomed in images tend not to look good. At the max 30x, there is a lot of noise and graininess to the image, and both the 10x and 5x do not have much improvement in that department. If you want to get a closer shot, you either have to stick to 2x or move in nearer to capture a decent image.
In fact, much of the primary camera’s use is focused on software features rather than performance. Things like cloning yourself in a single image, long exposure crowd shots and changing weather in the sky are just a few image tricks that the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro has.
It perhaps offers an easier avenue to get creative shots for Instagram, but the features are still lacking a little. The clone feature in particular only works with people; you can’t do the effect with objects or animals.
The front camera is luckily a little more fuss-free, and selfies do turn out well, with good clarity and colours. Portrait mode also does a good enough job at blurring out the relevant spaces in the image. It does go overboard though in image processing, which smoothes and “beautifies” faces to the point where it can be a little unnatural.
If you’re more of a video person, the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro does have 8K video shooting at 30fps. Don’t expect this to become a device that can overthrow high-end video cameras, but it does look terrific, with details looking sharp in the content.
At 5000 mAh, the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro has a monster of a battery capacity.
And the results speak for themselves. The phone was able to last over two days worth of use easily, consisting of web browsing, watching videos, playing games and using it to take photos and video. You could eke out more as well if your use case isn’t anything strenuous given that the display is adaptive.
Packed in is a fast charger as well to get you back in quickly. It’s a 33W charger that uses a new technology called MMT parallel charging which means that it charges from two points rather than one, charging the device quicker.
From a 15 min charge, the device was slightly above 30%, and a full charge took just shy of an hour to finish. Not the fastest, but that is still a respectable speed. Unfortunately, that is the only form of charging you can do with it as there aren’t any wireless charging capabilities.
Though the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro contains many headline features, not all of them are exactly practical for general use. It has several great things about it like the battery life and refresh rate but also features a couple of disappointments like the ultrawide camera.
Unless your priority is flexibility in camera options, it is best to save S$100 and settle for the non-pro version of this phone, which is identical — losing only the 108MP primary camera for a 64MP one and getting slightly less storage space. Still, it must be said that the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro comes out at a great price, even if the whole package itself doesn’t come together as good as it can.