We think the Mi 10 5G was a good choice for Xiaomi to make a comeback in the ‘value flagship' segment with. It will take some time for everyone to get used to seeing a Xiaomi phone at Rs. 50,000, which is a big jump from the usual perception of this brand.The Mi 10 5G offers a great design, an excellent display, good battery life, decent camera performance, and fast wireless charging. Having said that, it does get hot quite easily, the fingerprint sensor isn't the fastest, and the camera app needs some tweaking. The lack of an IP rating might put some people off too.
Overall, if you don't care about having a Mi badge on a Rs. 50,000 phone and simply want good hardware and features, then Mi 10 5G is a good option to consider.
- Design 8.9
Xiaomi was launched the Mi 10 5G in India at Rs. 49,999, in the “value flagship” segment in which OnePlus is dominating.
The Mi 10 5G has curved glass on the front and back of this phone looks classy. This, coupled with the high-gloss finish makes it striking to look at. The Mi 10 5G is fairly large in size, even with the slim display bezels, and it’s heavy too at 208g. However, it doesn’t feel too bulky as the thickness is under 9mm.
The buttons on the Mi 10 are clicky and placed within reach. There’s no headphone jack, but Xiaomi provides an adapter in the box. The dual-SIM tray is at the bottom, along with the Type-C port and a speaker. There’s another identical speaker at the top for stereo sound. According to Xiaomi, this should offer a balanced stereo sound compared to phones that use their earpieces as the second speaker. You also get an infrared emitter on the top.
Xiaomi is making a big deal about the Mi 10’s display and its colour accuracy. It’s definitely a very good-looking panel with punchy colours. It’s a 6.67-inch AMOLED screen and is sharp enough, but the resolution is full-HD+ (2340×1080) and not QHD+. It supports the DCI-P3 wide colour gamut and HDR10+ with a peak brightness of 1,120nits. The display also runs at 90Hz, which is a big trend right now.
The Mi 10 5G has a cutout for the selfie camera in the upper left corner, which looks a bit bigger than the one on the Galaxy S20+ (Review) but is still relatively unobtrusive. Most shows on Netflix will have black bands on either side, which automatically hides the hole. At the back, the four cameras cause a bit of a bump, which rocks the phone when it’s placed flat on any surface. We’ll get to the cameras in a bit as that’s one of the big features Xiaomi is touting.
Overall, the Mi 10 looks and feels the part of a flagship smartphone. It’s very well built and looks classy. The retail package contains a charger, cable, case, Type-C to 3.5mm headphone adapter, and SIM ejector tool. A headset isn’t included.
Specification & Software
The Mi 10 5G checks nearly all the boxes in terms of specifications for a flagship phone — but there’s no IP rating. Xiaomi says that the Mi 10 has a P2i coating to repel water, so it should be able to survive accidental splashes. Just don’t go submerging it in water. Other than this, it has almost everything you can think of, starting with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC, LPDDR5 RAM, UFS 3.0 storage, an in-display fingerprint sensor, Wi-Fi 6, fast wireless charging, and 5G. We have the 8GB RAM + 128GB storage variant, but there’s a second model with 256GB of storage. There’s no microSD card slot to expand storage.
Xiaomi claims that it has used a multi-level cooling solution with graphite, graphene, and a vapour chamber to keep the main components running cool. The Mi 10 5G is also said to have nine temperature sensors placed across key areas such as the battery, USB port, etc. All of this is said to reduce temperatures by up to 10 degrees Celsius compared to the previous generation.
The Mi 10 5G runs MIUI 11 and is in line to receive the MIUI 12 update, whenever that rolls out. We know that for many, using MIUI on a Rs. 50,000 smartphone might be a big deal-breaker due to its history of spam and ads. Xiaomi promised a premium Android experience for this phone with no bloatware or promoted content, but we found the Mi Music, Mi Video, Themes apps and GetApps marketplace preinstalled, and they did generate unwanted notifications occasionally. After going through these steps to disable ads in MIUI 11, we were down to getting about two spam alerts a day on average, which was tolerable.
MIUI 11 itself is similar to what you’d get with Xiaomi’s budget phones, with the same shortcuts and gestures to play with. One big difference is the use of Google’s stock dialler and SMS apps, among others. There are some additions of course for the Mi 10 5G, such as a toggle in the quick settings menu for reverse wireless charging, an always-on display menu with customisable widgets, and new ‘pro’ features in the camera app. There’s also something called Multilink in the Wi-Fi settings, which is said to combine both Wi-Fi bands and mobile data for a boost in speed if your Wi-Fi connection is weak.
Performance And Battery Life
The Snapdragon 865 is a powerful chip and easily crunches through all our benchmarks. For the numerically inclined, the Mi 10 5G posted 5,63,101 points in AnTuTu, which is much higher than what the Samsung Galaxy S20+ managed. However, since the Mi 10 5G heats up quite a bit when running benchmarks, the CPU seems to get throttled quite a bit. We noticed this in Geekbench, when our initial run returned scores of 780 and 2,747 for the single and multicore tests, but another attempt after a few hours gave us 902 and 3,002 points respectively.
We didn’t notice any negative impact of throttling in games, but it’s something to keep in mind. Speaking of games, we ran everything from PUBG Mobile and Mario Kart to Asphalt 9: Legends, and the Mi 10 5G handled everything just fine.
The Mi 10 5G’s display is easily one of its best features. It’s big, bright and has very good colour saturation. Looking at the phone from the front, it could easily pass for a OnePlus or even a Samsung flagship device. HDR content also looks great, and streaming apps automatically detect the display as HDR-capable. The 90Hz refresh rate also makes a big difference in how MIUI feels, as makes any interaction feel smoother. We also love how quickly and seamlessly face recognition worked even in dim lighting.
The fingerprint sensor on the other hand is not very quick, and it took a good second before it recognised our finger and unlocked the phone. We even had many mis-reads during our review period. The always-on display is a nice touch but we wish it was more functional, with the ability to at least control music playback for example.
The stereo speakers on the Mi 10 5G sound balanced but they don’t get very loud. Locally stored files sounded good enough, but we had to max out the volume bar with a lot of streaming music and video apps. When holding this phone loosely for watching videos, your palms help amplify the sound a bit, but when gripping it while gaming, your palms can just as easily block the speakers. Dolby Atmos or some kind of software level boost would have been nice to have.
Battery life is another area where the Mi 10 5G fares well. It has a fairly large 4,780mAh capacity with support for 30W proprietary fast charging. It also supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 and standard USB Type-C Power Delivery fast charging. With typical usage, we were able to sail past a full day on one charge with enough power left for a few hours the next day. Constant camera usage and gaming drains it faster, but it still lasted through the day at least. Charging the Mi 10 5G completely from zero takes a little more than an hour, with the bundled 30W adapter.
However, the real impressive feature is its wireless charging capability. Like the OnePlus 8 Pro, the Mi 10 5G supports up to 30W wireless charging, which promises a full charge in just 65 minutes. You’ll need to buy Xiaomi’s proprietary 30W wireless charger of course. The wireless charger can also work with other devices using the Qi standard, but slower. Lastly, the Mi 10 5G also supports reverse wireless charging at up to 10W, and this works just like the solutions from Samsung and Huawei.
The absence of a telephoto camera on the Mi 10 5G has sparked much debate on social channels, and it might stand out as a weakness when comparing this phone to others in the segment. Xiaomi seems to have decided to prioritise the 108-megapixel primary camera, which is a great selling point, and you won’t find it in other phones at this price right now. The company also says that with the level of detail captured at this resolution, you can crop and enlarge your shots and still get great results.
The 108-megapixel primary camera in the Mi 10 5G uses a large 1/1.33-inch sensor with optical stabilisation and an aperture of f/1.7. By default, images go through a 4-in-1 oversampling process. If you do the math, they should be saved as 27-megapixel images, but when we checked, the resolution of the photos was actually 25 megapixels. There’s digital zoom of up to 10x if needed, or 2x when using 108-megapixel mode.
So, it’s time to put the 108-megapixel sensor to the test to see if it can deliver images just as good as a telephoto camera. We compared its output to shots captured using the hybrid zoom capability of the Samsung Galaxy S20+.