Xiaomi smartphones have so far been real bargains with an excellent price-performance ratio. After the launch of the Mi 10 series, it became clear that the Chinese manufacturer had started a new path. Xiaomi is now part of the expensive establishment and wants to finally establish itself in the smartphone league. The practical test should show whether they succeeded with the Mi 10.
Even though Xiaomi has launched several smartphones on the market in recent years and it has been difficult for us in the editorial office to keep an overview, the cell phones from the Chinese manufacturer have often impressed us. Now there are new devices again, this time quite extravagant: the Xiaomi Mi 10 series.
At the live stream presentation on March 27, the Chinese manufacturer announced a new course. The goal: to place your new 5G-capable flagships Xiaomi Mi 10 and the Mi 10 Pro on the highly competitive top lists in the high-end segment. In terms of price alone, they quickly line up next to the newly released Samsung Galaxy S20 and Huawei P40 series, but what about the built-in technology?
We put the Mi 10 to the test and clarify whether the new flagship is worth the money. Can the Mi 10 keep up with the competition or will Xiaomi ultimately scare off its price-oriented customers?
Xiaomi Mi 10 hands-on
As a self-confessed Xiaomi fan, I was very happy when I held the Mi 10 in my hands almost a month after the official release. As with its predecessors, Xiaomi launched the Mi 10, a slightly weaker twin compared to its flagship brother, the Mi 10 Pro. Externally, the models do not differ apart from their color selection.
The Mi 10 makes a high-quality impression at first glance and is presented in the mirrored-gray Twilight-Gray. Xiaomi convinces with the noble design of the Mi 10 series and, as usual, relies on high-quality workmanship.
The Mi 10 has the dimensions 162.6 × 74.8 x 8.96 mm and weighs 208 g – all in all, it sits well in the hand with its rounded edges. It still fits easily in my pocket. On the right side of the case, you will find the power button and volume buttons, which are characterized by a pleasant pressure point and give an extremely stable impression.
USB-C port and dual SIM card slot can be found on the underside of the Mi 10. The surface of the Mi 10 is covered with stable Gorilla Glass 6, unfortunately, the Chinese manufacturer seems to be saving on its latest flagship with the IP certification. Therefore, caution is advised even with splashing water. Given the high price, there is a clear point deduction.
Top performance: without corners and edges?
With the Mi 10, Xiaomi dares to step into the high-end segment – and you can see that too. I’m actually not a big fan of curved displays. In my opinion, Xiaomi has found a good solution for the Mi 10 series and has implemented the curved design extremely well when it comes to processing, so I am slowly starting to make friends with the rounded displays.
With around screen edges and sensitive displays, skeptics have legitimate concerns about unforeseen entries with the ball of the hand and fingers. To prevent this from happening, Xiaomi has come up with something clever: Under the advanced settings, you can manually define a red area at the edges in which your touchscreen does not respond. Xiaomi has solved a well-known hardware problem with a simple but effective software solution. There are a thumbs up for that.
To stay with the display: It is probably the best screen that Xiaomi has installed in its smartphones so far. The 6.67 inch AMOLED display has FullHD + with 2,048 x 1,080 pixels. The Mi 10 also features a refresh rate of 90 Hertz. The overall performance, sometimes swiping into another app or scrolling through your browser, runs smoothly and without jerking, which is really fun to use. In addition, the color rendering of the Mi 10 display is powerful and rich in contrast.
The MIUI 11 operating system is packed with individual setting options, such as Dark Mode 2.0. The dark mode comes across particularly well on the Mi 10 due to the high contrast ratio and the fact that each pixel is individually illuminated in the AMOLED display.
The many settings in the “Always-On” mode are also very successful. If you switch your cell phone to standby in this mode, you have a number of selection options to keep the time and date visible. MIUI 11 can therefore fully develop on the new Mi smartphone.
Xiaomi Mi 10 battery: a runtime monster
Considering the battery performance as a unique selling point in the current smartphone market, the Mi 10 can more than convince. In fact, the battery is probably the greatest strength of the Mi 10. It is precisely here that it is important for applicants of high-end devices to perform consistently in the global market.
In comparison to the predecessor Mi 9, the Xiaomi Mi 10 has made a giant leap: The Mi 9 had a 3,300 mAh (mAh) battery installed. The Mi 10 overshadows its predecessor with a significantly longer battery capacity of 4,780 milliampere-hours (mAh). Remarkable: The Xiaomi Mi 10 even has a larger battery than its bigger brother, the Mi 10 Pro. However, with a 50W fast-charging battery with a capacity of 4,500 mAh, it is charged faster.
With a runtime of almost two days, even power users should not be able to bring the Mi 10 to its knees so easily, especially since it is also fully charged within an hour via the 30-watt charging cable.
Another special feature that is currently unique on the smartphone market: The Mi 10 can also be charged wirelessly just as quickly as with the power supply. That’s what I call innovation. In addition, it can charge other devices via 10 watts “reverse charging”.
Equipment on the current standard
Xiaomi has installed the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 with 128 GB RAM (working memory) in the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro. There is actually only one thing to say here: The Mi 10 series is as quick as an arrow in any everyday situation and even when gaming smartphone games.
The Chinese manufacturer also relies on the fingerprint sensor in the display, which works reliably and quickly with animated futurism. Xiaomi continues to be future-oriented. Wi-Fi 6, NFC, and Dual GPS with an accuracy of fewer than 4 meters are the latest standards. Unfortunately, we have not yet been able to test the 5G capability of the Xiaomi Mi 10, as this function is still ahead of its time in Germany.
The Chinese smartphone manufacturer does not have a 3.5 mm jack connection on the Mi 10, but on the other hand, I was extremely positively surprised by the built-in stereo speakers. They are among my personal highlights with the Xiaomi Mi 10. Treble, mid, and also the low frequencies impress in a balanced balance. The spatial sound is also excellent. Rarely that I enjoyed playing music or videos through smartphone speakers. Here I overlook the lack of a separate jack connection and like to close my eyes.
Camera module: from top to flop
The front camera in punch-hole design, I think, is not uncomfortable due to its minimal size compared to the 6.67-inch AMOLED display and integrates perfectly into the overall picture – especially since Xiaomi provides beautiful screen backgrounds that do the whole thing in the place of Darken the camera accordingly. The cutout of the 20-megapixel selfie camera is therefore only a few millimeters wide and, unlike flagships like the S20, is not in the center, but in the top left.
On the back is a neatly processed quad camera with a 108-megapixel sensor, which we already know from the Xiaomi Note 10. The main camera convinces in addition to the 13-megapixel wide-angle lens with sharp and detailed pictures, strong colors and provides us with a great overall result, especially if you zoom in on selected image sections.
Unfortunately, you have to criticize the selection of the other sensors installed. A 2-megapixel macro and a 2-megapixel depth sensor have really no place in a high-end flagship of around 800 euros. For example, the bokeh effect is irregular and spongy at the edges at close-ups outside of focus – in other words, unrealistic and extremely artificial. Here it would be nice if Xiaomi improved the software with a software update in addition to the relatively long processing time of 1-2 seconds.
If you are looking for a first-class camera smartphone, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro version with the same 108-megapixel primary sensor, but with a 20-megapixel ultra-angle camera, 12-megapixel telephoto camera and an 8 MP ultra-telephoto lens better advise.
The 8k video recordings are really fun. The high resolution is particularly noticeable when zooming. Here again, Xiaomi is ahead of its time and future-oriented. However, as we have already heard with the S20, these video recordings are nice to look at, especially when the super stabilization is switched on, but at the same time, they are quite a memory hog and often not compatible with average TV sets.
Conclusion: Xiaomi Mi 10 – worth its price?
In the first place, I have to emphasize again that the Xiaomi Mi 10 is undoubtedly a strong smartphone in a classy design. Probably the biggest advantage over its predecessors such as the Mi 8 and Mi 9 lies in the battery power that the Mi 10 brings with it with a runtime of almost two days. The fast charging time and features such as wireless charging or “reverse charging” were also more than convincing. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks due to the lack of IP certification and the equipment of the camera setup.
So if you are looking for a top camera smartphone with sensors with a high number of pixels, you can take a look at the Mi 10 Pro, but also at competitors, such as Huawei or Samsung. But the Mi 10 can boast with the mature MIUI 11 operating system and top hardware equipment – and is far cheaper than S20 and Co.
If you as a Xiaomi lover have the necessary change in your pocket, we can recommend the Mi 10 as a high-end device with a clear conscience. It is a great smartphone and worthy of the top league. For bargain hunters and customers who do not want to spend so much money, it remains to be seen whether the price will drop relatively quickly, as it did in previous generations.