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Xiaomi Mi 10i Quick Review: Pros, Cons, And The X-Factor
Xiaomi has finally taken the wraps off its first 5G-ready mid-range smartphone to take on the ever so popular OnePlus Nord. The new Mi 10i is a 5G-enabled camera-centric smartphone with a big battery, 108MP primary sensor, and a 120Hz refresh rate display. Priced at Rs. 20,999, the Mi 10i also picks up a fight with the recently launched Moto G 5G and the selfie-focused Vivo V20 Pro.
With three 5G-enabled phones now available in the sub-30k price-segment, the market is gradually moving towards future-ready devices for faster data speeds and seamless network connectivity. We have tested the Moto G 5G and the Vivo V20 Pro and it's time we take a closer look at the Mi 10i.
X-Factor: 5G-Ready Chipset
The Mi 10i is a future-proof device, thanks to the 5G enabled Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G SoC (X52 5G modem), the same chipset that powers the most affordable 5G phone in India- Moto G 5G. Both of these devices will offer faster data speeds, better network connectivity and will support a range of 5G-ready features and applications once the operators start rolling out 5G services in India.
Based on the 8nm manufacturing process (Kryo 570 cores) and with Adreno 619 GPU to support gameplay, the SD750G ensures lag-free processing and gaming performance. We haven't encountered any performance issues on the Mi 10i but we will reserve our verdict until we test the device to its limits.
108MP Quad Camera: Crisp And High-Resolution Pictures
The Mi 10i is the most affordable 108MP camera smartphone. It is also India's first smartphone with Samsung HM2 sensor which is a tweaked version of the Samsung HM1 108MP sensor we have tested on the Xiaomi Mi 10 5G and Samsung's last year flagship smartphones- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra & Galaxy Note 20 Ultra). The 1/1.52" sensor also applies the 9-in-1 pixel binning (similar to Galaxy S20 Ultra) and produces crisp pictures with ample details.
Vibrant Images With Wide Dynamic Range
Images and videos shot in daylight look vibrant and show wide dynamic range as the big sensor (f/1.75) is able to pull up a lot of details. The sensor also creates a very pleasing bokeh effect. We will spend some more time with the Mi 10i to evaluate its camera performance in detail.
Premium Looks And Immersive 120Hz Display
The Mi 10i is a Poco X3 with a new color scheme. The design sees no overhaul but that's not necessarily a problem here as the phone looks stunning. We are testing the Pacific sunrise color variant which has a very elegant gradient shade of blue and orange. This cocktail of colors looks better than most of the gradient shades we have seen on Chinese handsets in 2020. The Mi 10i is also available in Midnight Black and Atlantic Blue color variants......
As far as the display is concerned, the Mi 10i flaunts a 6.67" FHD+ LCD screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. Similar to the Mi 10T, the Mi 10i's LCD also supports Adaptive sync technology that dynamically switches (30Hz to 120Hz) the refresh rate according to the content being displayed. The big LCD is extremely fluid, crisp, and produces vivid colors. The panel also gets fairly bright (450 nits) and supports HDR, HDR10+, and is L1 certified. It's a good overall display for the price that will not disappoint you if you spend a lot of time-consuming multimedia content on your smartphone.
IP53 Rated Design, Stereo Speakers, 3.5mm Audio Jack & Big Battery
The Mi 10i's design addresses the most basic requirements. The phone is IP53 rated which makes it splash-proof and the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protects both the front and rear of the device. The Mi 10i's dual-stereo speakers sound clean and produce loud audio. It even offers a 3.5mm audio jack which is quite rare to be seen on a smartphone in 2021. And lastly, the Mi 10i easily lasts a day even if you have set the screen to run on a higher refresh rate. The phone's 4820 mAh battery offers a long-lasting backup and is further complemented by a 33W fast charger in-box. For security, the Mi 10i comes equipped with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner which is very reliable and unlocks the phone in a jiffy.
Feature-Rich Camera Software
Xiaomi has provided almost every software feature that one should need on a camera smartphone. The Mi 10i record videos in 4K, 1080p, HD, slow-mo, time-lapse, and even has a manual video mode. The camera app offers six long exposure modes, good quality photo filters: cyberpunk, gold vibes, black ice, document mode and all commonly used modes such as HDR, AI scene detection, Ultra wide-angle edge distortion correction, Google Lens, AI beautify, Portrait mode background blur adjustment, Movie frame, Panorama, Pro mode, and Raw mode. Overall, the Mi 10i's camera app offers everything that a shutterbug would need to experiment with smartphone photography.
Big And Bulky
The Mi 10i isn't the most ideal device out there if you prefer handy phones. As the chassis is of the Poco X3, the Mi 10i is also big, bulky (165.38 x 76.8 x 9 mm) and weighs 215 grams which makes it rather difficult for one-hand use. You should only consider buying it if you don't mind carrying a heavy brick in your pockets throughout the day.
Spam Notifications And Bloatware
Xiaomi is yet to get away with unwanted notifications and bloatware. If you aren't being careful while configuring the Mi 10i, the MIUI will throw all sorts of spam notifications and app recommendations. Despite disabling all the utterly annoying toggles that could hamper user-experience, Get Apps always managed to bombard me with app updates, offers, and recommendations.
As far as bloatware is concerned, the phone boots up with some pre-loaded games such as Crazy juicer, Tile fun, Bubble story, Dust settle, etc. While Get Apps can't be removed from the device, you have the option to uninstall these games from ‘Manage Apps'.
Incompetent Rear Secondary Cameras And Sluggish Camera App
While Xiaomi has offered a game-changing 108MP primary sensor on the Mi 10i, the supporting camera sensors aren't very inspiring and often deliver mixed results. The 8MP ultra-wide angle sensor (FOV 120°, f/2.2) only captures decent landscape shots when it is fed ample lighting. Even the indoor shots lack details and fail to impress. And once again, the 2MP depth and macro sensors are provided to give a quad-lens configuration but their output is mostly a hit or miss affair.
Moving on, the camera app on the Mi 10i needs some optimization. It feels sluggish and takes unusual longer times to process images and even to enable some modes. Throw everything on the app has some side-effects that Xiaomi should address by rolling out some OTA updates.
Should You Consider Buying The Mi 10i?
The Mi 10i is a well-rounded package for anyone looking for a 5G-enabled mid-range smartphone. It has got a big battery unit that lasts longer and refuels quickly, an immersive and fluid 120Hz LCD for binge-watching and better camera hardware than most of its competitors. The 5G-ready SD750 is a capable chipset that delivers good overall performance in the day-to-day routine. But similar to Xiaomi's most phones, the Mi 10i also lacks in delivering a refined software experience. The Mi 10i could have been a lot better handset with better overall software to match its compelling hardware.
The Mi 10i is priced aggressively at Rs. 20,999 for the entry-level 6GB + 64GB variant which will go head-to-head with the Moto G 5G. The 8GB + 128GB variant is priced at Rs. 21,999, while the top-end variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB ROM is priced at Rs. 23,999. There is no 256GB variant of the smartphone.