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Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro Review: Excels In Display And Performance But Struggles With Camera
Mi 10T Pro is Xiaomi's latest gamble to dethrone OnePlus in the value flagship category. The new 5G-enabled smartphone brings Qualcomm's 2020 top-of-the-line Snapdragon 865 SoC, class-leading 144Hz display, and a massive 108MP camera sensor. Priced at Rs. 39,999, the Mi 10T Pro challenges the OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus 8T to some extent.
- One Of The Best LCD On A Phone
- Fluid 144Hz Refresh Rate
- 5G Connectivity
- Lag-Free Hardware & Software Performance
- Crisp & High-Resolution 108MP Pictures
- Feature-Rich Camera App
- Long-Lasting Battery
- Bulky Design Isn’t Ideal For One-Hand Use
- No IP rating
- No microSD Card Support
- Average Low-Light And Wide-Angle Camera Results
- LCD Lacks OLED-Standard Blacks
It also reminds us of the Mi 10 5G which performed wonderfully in our tests and is Xiaomi's best smartphone till date. The Mi 10T Pro tries to offer similar specifications and performance at more accessible price-point. Does it successfully replicate the formula? Let's find out.
Big, Bulky And A Smudge Magnet
The Mi 10T Pro has got the looks but the ergonomics aren't going to impress you much, especially if you prefer handy mobile devices. The handset is unapologetically big and bulky, bigger than the OnePlus 8/8T and the Mi 10 5G. The thick slab of glass and metal measures 165.1 x 76.4 x 9.3mm and weighs 218 grams. It's the second-biggest smartphone that I have tested this year after the mighty Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. If you prefer big-screen phones, the Mi 10T Pro has you covered with a mighty 6.67-inch edge-to-edge panel which is a fantastic screen for binge-watching.
In addition to the bigger footprint, the phone is also extremely slippery and demands careful handling. The highly reflective glossy rear panel is a fingerprint magnet and houses a chunky camera setup at the top-left corner. It's a huge camera bulge that makes the device wobble a lot on any flat surface. A good quality case should make things easy in day-to-day use.
Side-Mounted Fingerprint Scanner, No IP Rating, No Expandable Storage
The Mi 10T Pro does not offer an in-screen fingerprint scanner. The phone has a traditional side-mounted biometric scanner that works like a charm and is very consistent. The hefty Mi 10T Pro isn't water-dust proof. The phone lacks an IP rating to keep the price in check. The device has a stereo speaker setup, an IR blaster at top, and a dual-SIM card tray at the bottom that leaves no space for a microSD card. Xiaomi could have easily slipped a 3.5mm audio jack on this hefty device as there's ample space on the top but they decided to go all wireless with the Mi 10T Pro.
144Hz Refresh Rate LCD With AdaptiveSync Technology (Dynamic Refresh Rate Switching)
Xiaomi has offered one of the best LCD panels on the Mi 10T Pro. The 6.67-inch 20:9 aspect ratio display is bright, produces punchy colors, and offers a class-leading refresh rate with ‘AdaptiveSync technology'. The adaptive sync tech dynamically adjusts refresh rate with the content frame rate within seven levels- 30, 48, 50, 60, 90, or 144Hz. The adaptive sync tech is smart enough to detect screen interactions, images, video files and adapts the refresh rate accordingly. For instance, the UI feels blazingly fast and fluid with a 144Hz refresh rate (Should be set to 144Hz from display settings) when you navigate throughout the interface. It comes down to standard 60Hz or even low- 48Hz/50Hz if you are streaming videos (typically shot at 24/25FPS).
The gameplay feels ultra-smooth as the panel is set to run at 144Hz. Xiaomi also mentions the Motion Estimation Motion Compensation (MEMC) technology, which we had tested on the OnePlus 8 Pro. The MEMC tech adds more frames making the video playback even smoother. Not everyone prefers the ‘Soap Opera' effect and sadly, there's no toggle in display settings to disable it.
Peak Brightness Levels Could Have Been Better
The screen produces punchy colors and gets fairly bright for a decent, if not the best, viewing experience outdoors. The 600 nits peak brightness level with sunlight mode is good enough for bright sunny days but feels a bit low when you are using the device under strong sunlight. I was testing the camera under direct sunlight in the hilly areas of Northern India where the natural light can be really strong and felt that the screen could have a bit more lively. In comparison, the OnePlus 8T's AMOLED display felt brighter and offered better overall visibility in the same conditions. In fact, the Pixel 4a's OLED also felt much clearer and visible than the Mi 10T Pro's LCD.
Wonderful Screen For Binge-Watching Aided By Loud Stereo Speakers
Moving on, the big full HD+ (1080 x 2400px resolution) display comes with HDR10+ support and produces accurate colors. The colors are punchy yet do not appear oversaturated, unlike AMOLED panels. However, I did miss the deep blacks and contrast levels of an OLED panel while binge-watching movies and favorite series in pitch dark rooms. If you are playing videos in a well-lit environment, the Mi 10T Pro's LCD offers an immersive viewing experience with more natural colors as compared to OLED panels on Samsung's and OnePlus' flagships. Video playback and gaming experience are further enhanced by loud and clear stereo speakers. Last but not the least, the Mi 10T Pro's LCD is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 which should offer the required protection from accidental damages.
Similar to the Mi 10 5G, the Mi 10T Pro also boasts a 108MP Samsung ISOCELL Bright HMX sensor with 1/1.33" sensor size and 0.8um pixel size. The massive primary camera features an OIS-enabled 7P lens with an f/1.69 aperture. It also supports PDAF. In short, the 108MP does most of the talking here and does it right, but more on this later. Moving on, Xiaomi has again used the same 13MP ultra-wide angle lens with 123-degree wide field-of-view which we tested on the Mi 10 5G. Lastly, the macro lens has seen some much-needed improvements. Instead of a minuscule 2MP sensor, the Mi 10T Pro has a 5MP macro lens with a narrow f/2.4 aperture that now gets autofocus.
These three lenses complete the rear camera setup which means there's no depth-sensor or telephoto lens on the Mi 10T Pro. For selfies, the Mi 10T Pro boasts a 20MP, f/2.2 sensor with of 1/3.4-inch sensor size. The smartphone can record 8K 30fps, 4K 60fps, and 1080p 120fps videos with rear camera and 1080p 30fps videos with the 20MP selfie shooter.
Camera Performance- Excellent Daylight Results
The Mi 10T Pro captures crisp and excellent pictures in daylight, thanks to the massive primary sensor which allows for a good amount of light. Both 108MP and 25MP pixel-binned images show a wide dynamic range, natural colors, and good contrast. There's no telephoto lens at play but you can always crop the high-resolution 108MP pictures to fetch some good quality 2x and even decent 3x shots. And that's the only reason to shoot images in high-resolution mode. If you don't want to crop out something in particular from a frame, you are better off with the default mode as the overall results are quite similar both in default (25MP) and in native 108MP high-resolution mode.
It is also worth mentioning that the 5x zoom images are not impressive and a good quality telephoto lens is sorely missed. I wish Xiaomi had offered a decent 3x Telephoto lens instead of the 5MP macro lens. The 13MP wide-angle lens could have doubled up as a macro lens. Never mind, if you are fond of taking macros, the Mi 10T Pro will not disappoint you. The autofocus equipped 5MP sensor captures impressive macro shots with good contrast and natural colors. If companies want to offer macro sensors, the 5MP should be made a standard.
Good Color Science And Pleasing Portraits
Moving on, the sensors' focus capabilities are good and it also does well with colors. You can enable AI if you prefer slightly contrasty and vibrant images. Keep it disabled if you want your images to show accurate colors, adequate sharpness and balanced contrast. There's no depth sensor to create hardware-driven bokeh but the phone has a massive sensor that's native depth-of-field comes in handy to deliver pleasing bokeh effect while clicking close-up shots.
Additionally, you get the software-backed portrait mode that also works well and allows you to capture decent portraits. Overall, the Mi 10T Pro is an excellent camera smartphone for daylight photography. It captures crisp pictures and good quality videos.
Average Low-Light Results
The low-light results are decent but fail to impress us as a whole. The images shot in unfavorable lighting situations lack details, something we also noticed with the Mi 10 5G which has the same sensor and also struggled in low-light. Also, the software tries too hard to reduce noise which shows in pictures. You can bring out some decent detailing and even boost some sharpness by enabling the dedicated night mode. Thankfully, the sensor retains the same color science and contrast levels in low-light scenarios. Overall, the Mi 10T Pro is an average low-light camera device. It's disappointing to see that Xiaomi hasn't been able to crack the low-light photography even with its second device that boasts the massive 108MP camera.
Mixed Results With Wide-Angle Lens Camera
Similar to the Mi 10 5G, the Mi 10T Pro's 13MP ultra-wide angle lens covers a wide 123-degree wide field-of-view. The landscape shots show good real-estate without much distortion but the overall results aren't mind-blowing. The dynamic range is narrow, colors seem washed out (mostly) and the detail loss is disappointing. There were instances when the sensor delivered good results but mostly, the wide-angle shots are pretty average.
Feature-Rich Camera App
While the camera performance is largely a mixed bag, the list of software features is impressive. The MI 10T Pro's camera app offers some unique modes like Vlog, Clone, Long-exposure (Moving Crowd, Neon Trails, Oil Painting, etc.) that when used properly deliver mind-blowing results. Additionally, the app also features continuous tracking with 1080p 30fps videos, Movie mode for cinematic photography look, Beauty modes, video bokeh, and a range of high-quality filters with good color grades. If you have a knack for photography, you can put the feature-rich camera app to good use to derive some excellent results.
Hardware And Software Performance
The Mi 10T Pro did not give me any major reasons to complaint, be it day-to-day phone related tasks such as calling, camera usage, web browsing, social media, etc. or power-hungry tasks like gaming and photo/video editing and 4K video recording. The top-of-the-line Snapdragon 865 SoC and ample 8GB LPDDR5 RAM ensured smooth processing and multitasking experience. The phone also handled the most graphics intense games easily, thanks to the Adreno 650 GPU. The gameplay is quite immersive on the big LCD display; however, I still missed the AMOLED-level blacks and color reproduction while playing games like Asphalt and COD.
The Mi 10 T Pro is a 5G phone which might not be of any use for the next few months or a year; however, I strongly believe that anyone spending a sum of more than Rs. 35,000 in today's time should invest in a 5G device. If you frequently change your smartphone, per se within six months, the 5G tag doesn't hold much importance.
I really liked the haptic engine on the Mi 10T Pro. It pushes subtle and precise vibrations which enhances your overall user-experience. Be it typing on the keyboard, navigation gestures, or system controls, the haptic feedback is top-class. You can customize the intensity of the vibrations as per your preference from within the ‘Sound & Vibrations' menu with a simple slider.
MIUI 12 Based On Android 10
Moving on, our review Mi 10T Pro review unit came running the latest version of Xiaomi's infamous yet feature-rich custom skin- MIUI 12. The MI 10T Pro runs MIUI Global 12.0.2 Stable version based on Android 10. In comparison, the OnePlus 8T runs on Oxygen OS 11 based on the latest flavor of Android, i.e. Android 11 out-of-the-box. I have been using both the devices simultaneously and both feel different and unique. While the MIUI 12 offers intuitive animations and is visually more appealing, the Oxygen OS 11 just feels more user-friendly and consistent.
The choice of UI is highly subjective and I would recommend you to spend some time with both devices (if possible) before making a purchase decision. I can assure you that both MIUI 12 and Oxygen OS 11 are very intuitive, visually appealing, feature-rich, and come loaded with useful software features, a plethora of themes, icons, and all sorts of useful features you would like to see and use on a high-end Android phone.
Are There Any Unwanted Ads, Notifications And Apps?
The Mi 10T Pro only shows ads and unwanted notifications if you are not careful while setting up your device. If you disable the toggles (Glance Lockscreen, Notifications, User Experience program, Ads, etc.) in the setup phase, the phone won't show any unwanted notifications. As far as bloatware is concerned, you get the regular dose of Mi apps such as Mi Pay, Mi Credit, Mi Picks, Mi Remote, and some other apps like Zili, WPS Office, Share Me, etc. You have the option to uninstall most of these apps which you must do for a clean user-experience.
Full-Day Battery With Higher Refresh Rate & Adequate Fast-Charging Tech
The Mi 10T Pro can easily last a full day with moderate to heavy usage even when the display is set to run at higher 144Hz. The phone's 5,000mAh battery cell holds pretty well even with power-hungry tasks such as gaming, video playback, and photo/video editing. The screen's adaptive sync tech comes into play to optimize the refresh rate according to the content being viewed, which helps the device achieve a day's battery life easily. If you set the screen to run at a lower refresh rate, this phone can last for more than a day on one full charge.
As far as charging speed is concerned, the bundled 33W fast-charger refuels the big battery cell in less than an hour. This is a good combination of long-lasting battery life and fast-charging for a big-screen device that offers a class-leading 144Hz refresh rate panel.
The Mi 10T Pro at Rs. 39,999 is a good affordable flagship that delivers on most fronts. It flaunts an excellent display that's perfect for binge-watching and the class-leading 144Hz refresh rate makes every display interaction smooth and fluid. The phone can give even some of the mightiest Android devices priced three times higher a run for their money, all thanks to SD865 and ample RAM+ROM configuration. The battery life is also good but what's impressive is that the device retains long-lasting battery life even at a high refresh rate, thanks to AdaptiveSync technology. The only place where the phone falters is the camera performance. A better choice of sensors would have ensured good results in the day-to-day routine. If you are ready to make slight compromises on the camera front, the Mi 10T Pro is a solid buy.