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Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro Review: The budget flagship done right

We might just have a winner for ‘best flagship killer of 2020’!

November 30, 2020 / 02:13 PM IST

Last month, Xiaomi launched two new flagship smartphones in its Mi series. The Mi 10T and Mi 10T Pro are the company's latest set of premium phones. To recall, the Mi 10 was the first of Xiaomi's premium smartphones to arrive in India in 2020, although its price put it far too close to some of the competition, and the phone has only recently received a price reduction. However, unlike the original Mi 10, the new Mi 10T and Mi 10T Pro are quite competitively priced. Our focus today will be on the 'Pro' variant in the Mi 10T series, which comes in at just under 40K. So, without any further delays, let's take an in-depth look at the Mi 10T Pro.

Design

The design on the Mi 10T Pro is in-line with most premium phones from 2020, with the big camera bump, the slim bezels, hole-punch camera cut out, and solid build quality. The phone features a glass back and a metal frame, which is coated to offer better grip. The phone feels pretty nice in the hand and is comfortable to grip, although the glossy back is a fingerprint magnet. The phone is available in Cosmic Black and Lunar Silver, with our model arriving in the former.

Unfortunately, there is no IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, although that was expected at this budget. The fingerprint reader on the handset is shifted to the side, doubling as a power button, while the volume rocker sits right above it. There's a dual-SIM tray, a speaker grille, a microphone, and a USB-C port on the bottom and a speaker port, microphone, and an IR blaster on the top. The Mi 10T Pro loses out on the curved display but features rounded edges to make the phone feel more comfortable to hold.

Mi_10T_Pro (1)

Close

The camera module bump does stand out, and there's no escaping that wobble. Overall, the design is pretty standard; it does have a premium appeal to it; my only real complaint was how easy it was for the panel to attract fingerprints. On a more personal note, I prefer curved panels to flat panels, even though they bring no utility and can be an annoyance at times, but they do look sweet.

Display

While most OEMs are edging towards OLED panels, especially in their premium segment, Xiaomi has decided to go the LCD route. The Mi 10T Pro opts for a 6.67-inch IPS LCD panel with an FHD+ (2400*1080 pixels) resolution. The screen has a 395 ppi pixel density and a 20:9 aspect ratio. Despite being an LCD, the brightness goes all the way up to 650 nits, although the display lacks vibrancy.

However, the biggest highlight of the display is its 144Hz refresh rate. The panel doesn't just have the high refresh rate going for it, the fact that the phone can intelligently adjust the refresh rate depending on what you are doing really makes all the difference. The phone automatically scales refresh rate from 30Hz all the way up to 144Hz, depending on if you are watching a movie or gaming or doing anything in between.

Mi_10T_Display

The automatic variable refresh rate is definitely one of the standout features of the Mi 10T Pro and does help with preserving the phone's battery life. The panel also supports HDR10 content, while the viewing angles on the screen are excellent as well. As far as LCD panels go, this is definitely one of the best on an Android phone, although it isn't as good as a good OLED screen. The 90Hz AMOLED panel on the Mi 10 did look better, but the intelligent refresh rate switching is one of the reasons I was onboard with the LCD screen.

Performance

For performance, the Mi 10T Pro packs a Snapdragon 865 SoC with 5G support. The phone arrives in a single configuration with 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 128GB UFS 3.1 storage. The Mi 10T Pro certainly isn't lacking in the performance department. I ran Asphalt 9 Legends at 60 fps and Call of Duty: Mobile at Max fps on high and very-high graphics. I also ran Raid: Shadow Legends and Fortnite without any issues.

Mi_10T_Pro (2)

Additionally, the liquid-cooling system keeps the phone pretty cool even during intense gaming sessions. There was nothing to complain about on the performance front, which was as expected with hardware this capable. In terms of performance, the Mi 10T Pro is on par with other Android flagships of 2020, including the OnePlus 8T, iQOO 3, Realme X50 Pro, and Mi 10.

Battery

The battery life of the Mi 10T Pro is quite impressive when you consider this phone is equipped with a 144Hz display. The phone has a 5,000 mAh battery with a 33W charging adapter, included in the box. Because the 144Hz refresh rate is a defining feature of this phone, it made sense to set the default refresh rate to the maximum. I got through a full day with around 40 to 45 percent battery life to go into the next day.

Mi_10T+Pro

I very rarely reach for my phone while working at home, so it is worth considering a 10 to 20 percent margin of error. But still, the battery was pretty impressive considering the phone has a high refresh rate and LCD panel. The 33W fast charging adapter in the box should be able to top up your phone in about an hour. The one thing the Mi 10T Pro loses out on is wireless charging, although this does help maintain a more competitive price.

Camera

In optics, the Mi 10T Pro gets a quad-camera setup on the back and a single selfie camera. The triple-camera setup consists of a 108 MP, f/1.7 primary sensor, a 13 MP, f/2.4 ultrawide shooter with a 123-degree FOV, and a 5 MP, f/2.4 macro camera. On the front, the hole-punch camera cut out houses a 20 MP, f/2.2 selfie shooter. The main camera can record 4K video at up to 60fps, 1080p video at 120fps, and an 8K video at 30fps, while the selfie camera is limited to 1080p video at 30fps.

Mi_10T_Camera

The photos taken on the main camera reproduce accurate colours for the most part. Photos taken in daylight are rich in detail and sharpness with wide dynamic range. Images contain lots of detail, despite being binned to 22 megapixels, while the 108-megapixel mode retains a lot of details, so long as you have the right light. The primary camera also does a good job with noise reduction, although noise does tend to creep-in while taking photos in slightly darker scenes.

There are times that HDR can go overboard, producing unnatural-looking images, but it was on point in most scenarios. Another drawback was the lack of detail in shadows while taking photos in low light. Photos taken in Night mode also look great for the most part. The 108 MP sensor can capture a lot of light, at times, in near-pitch darkness. It's not quite as good as an iPhone or Pixel, but Xiaomi is definitely getting there.

Mi 10T Pro

The 13 MP ultrawide camera on the Mi 10T Pro does a good job, producing sharp images with natural-looking colours and minimal distortion, in bright outdoor light. However, images taken indoors yielded poor results, while I didn't even bother with lowlight photography. To put it simply, using the ultrawide camera indoors and after the sun sets is a bad idea.

I'm not a big fan of macro cameras on flagships, but the 5 MP macro shooter does output sharp images with mostly accurate colours. I was pleased with the results in Portrait mode, but edge detection was not always on-point. However, the 108 MP camera sensor's size ensures a natural-looking bokeh without the use of Portrait mode. Photos taken on the phone's 20 MP selfie camera look good in daylight, with the software picking up skin tones quite well. However, I'd suggest turning on the flash while taking selfies in dim lighting.

Mi_10

In terms of video, it was good to see the excellent levels of stabilisation and sharpness on a phone at this price. The level of detail in videos taken in 4K was quite good given the right light. The Mi 10T Pro can also record video in 8K resolution with surprisingly good results with excellent sharpness. Apart from 8K video recording, there's a steady video mode and a dual-mode, which allows you to record using both the front and rear cameras. I mainly defaulted to recording video in 4K resolution and was quite impressed with the results.

Software

The Mi 10T Pro runs on Android 10 with MIUI 12. It was somewhat of a disappointment to see Xiaomi miss an opportunity to debut this phone with Android 11. But MIUI 12 looks pretty neat, aesthetic wise, plus, there are some nifty tweaks that improve the overall experience. There's a new Mi Remote to control media devices and a Game Turbo mode for better performance while gaming. The Mi 10T Pro also comes with a Dual Wake feature that lets you summon Alex and Google Assistant simultaneously when using voice commands. MIUI 12 also brings a lot of customisations and some edgy animations. Overall, MIUI 12 is a big improvement from past versions of the software and feels relatively cleaner and faster.

Verdict

Xiaomi's approach to building a flagship was perfectly balanced with the Mi 10T Pro, providing the premium smartphone experience, while cutting just the right number of corners to ensure the user experience isn't compromised. I'd prefer a better cutting ultrawide camera, but most users often default to their primary camera, especially while shooting in low light, and the main camera on the Mi 10T Pro is quite impressive. Then you have there's the LCD over an OLED, but Xiaomi managed to turn that into a strength as well by offering the best LCD on a phone I've ever seen.

MI 10T Pro review

Lastly, there's the software, which could use a little work, but is getting better with every new update. Sure, I'd have loved to see wireless charging and an IP rating, but I much rather prefer competitive pricing. So, all in all, I think Xiaomi has done a great job with the Mi 10T Pro, and I think that this is pretty much the best phone you can buy at this price.
Carlsen Martin
first published: Nov 17, 2020 05:37 pm

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