Inexpensive and noble: This is roughly how a smartphone could be described, which the CURVED editorial team reached at the end of May. We are talking about the Xiaomi Ni Note 10 Lite. In the test, the cell phone was now able to show what it can do – and what it can’t. So much can already be said: If you are already interested in the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro, you should also take a look at the Note 10 Lite!
Design: middle class with a premium look
Like the Redmi Note 9 Pro, the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite surprised me right out of the box: the phone is very chic and well-made. But it still feels a lot more valuable than the comparable Redmi model: there is also stylish glass on the back. The big difference is the frame, which is made of metal instead of plastic.
As a friend of the Galaxy S series from Samsung, I also liked the front. The Mi Note 10 Lite could pass as a close relative of the Galaxy S20. The front camera is located in a very narrow waterdrop notch (hardly larger than Samsung’s punch hole) so that a lot of space on the front can be used for the screen itself. And my highlight: The display is curved on the left and right sides. Overall, the mid-range model looks like an even higher quality premium cell phone.
Haptics: exactly my size
In particular, my hands were delighted with the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite: the smartphone is a good deal smaller than the Redmi Note 9 Pro but more massive than the visually very similar Galaxy S20. Overall, it holds very well and feels high quality. Despite the glass, the cell phone is not slippery. The standby and volume buttons are all on the right-hand side, and I can easily reach them with my thumb without running around.
At least for me, the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite is the ideal size to hold it securely and operate it comfortably with one hand. The slightly larger Redmi Note 9 Pro was instead at the limit for convenient one-handed operation.
I can also easily reach the fingerprint sensor in the display (more on this later). Overall, the Mi Note 10 Lite can be operated very well with one hand, although here, too, I can’t reach every corner without using the second hand.
Setup of cell phone and fingerprint sensor
As already noted during the Redmi Note 9 Protest, a Xiaomi smartphone can be set up quickly: you confirm the country and language, activate WLAN and mobile internet, and optionally log in with a Google and Xiaomi account. Then, if you want, you can back up your old cell phone. In between, you can still choose which diagnostic data the cell phone should send home. Almost finished.
You then define a PIN or pattern and then optionally set up the display’s fingerprint sensor. That was very quick, and so far, the detection has gone very well. I have not complained about the wrong entry since the establishment. Incidentally, it is an optical fingerprint sensor. All fans of “E.T.” can look forward to a glowing finger when unlocking.
However, I have a strange suspicion: It looks as if Xiaomi has installed the fingerprint sensor the wrong way round. When I scanned the tip of my fingertip, the bottom side of the fingerprint shown was filled in and vice versa. This is not a problem for the operator.
Display: A strong hint of the flagship
I particularly liked the 6.47-inch display of the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite: It covers almost the entire front and, as already mentioned, also stylishly bends around the sides. It just looks lovely when text runs over the curve into nothing. The Gorilla Glass 5, which also covers the back, protects against scratches.
At first glance, I could also hold a Galaxy S20 in my hands. This impression is reinforced because the Chinese manufacturer uses an OLED screen that displays colors very well and has a reasonable contrast ratio characteristic of this type of screen. Reminder: With OLED, the cell phone can switch off individual pixels, so black is also shown as black.
Another advantage of OLED technology: Xiaomi has given the Mi Note 10 Lite an always-on display. You can see the time and notifications even when the phone is in standby mode. There are many different themes to choose from. For example, a silhouette of the earth with the current time around which the sun rotates. Yes, it has to be the other way around. It still looks chic. The feature also replaces the notification light, which is not available.
The display also resolves in Full HD + – like most current smartphones. There is nothing to complain about in terms of sharpness on a 6.47 inch diagonal. For comparison: The Redmi Note 9 Pro has a slightly larger 6.67-inch screen. The equally popular mid-range model Samsung Galaxy A51 with a diagonal of 6.5 inches is almost the same size as the Mi Note 10 Lite.
With a brightness of up to 600 nits, I can read the display in the blazing sun even better than the Redmi Note 9 Pro screen.
Technology: There is so much performance for your money
As with the Redmi Note 9 Pro, you get a lot of performance for little money. Thanks to Snapdragon 730G (upper-middle class chip), the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite is very fast. Even games like “Asphalt 9” or “Call of Duty” did not cause any problems, and the loading times were moderate. If you only use apps like Spotify, Amazon Music, WhatsApp, Netflix, Instagram, and Co, you will hardly notice a difference in a real flagship performance.
The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite copes well with the 6 GB RAM. Only programs need to be reloaded in the background now and then. But that doesn’t bother, because the process hardly costs time. Besides, this is more than okay for the price range – here, only the long-term pampering by flagships speaks to me.
In comparison to the premium class, you only have to make a few cuts in addition to the performance. Nevertheless, they are there. For example, stereo speakers miss what you will only notice for sure if you have already enjoyed a surprisingly good stereo effect from a current smartphone.
Here is an overview of all technical data:
- Display: 6.47 inch AMOLED screen, resolves in Full HD + (2340 x 1080 pixels)
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G
- R.A.M: 6 GB RAM
- Storage space: 64 GB or 128 GB internal storage
- Quad camera: Wide angle (64 MP), ultra-wide-angle (8 MP), a macro lens (2 MP), depth sensor (5 MP)
- Front camera: Wide angle (16 MP)
- Battery pack: 5260 mAh
- Operating system: MIUI 11 with Android ten pre-installed at the factory
- Connections: USB-C, headphone jack
- Dual SIM: Existing (4G)
- Extras: Infrared blaster (can replace remote controls)
- Available colors: White, black, purple
What does MIUI 11 do?
If you rarely come into contact with the Xiaomi user interface MIUI 11, the question is how it feels. All the competition’s essential features are available: For example, swipe gestures instead of navigation buttons (hidden in the “Full-screen display” menu), double-tap to wake up, swipe down at any point to open the notification bar. However, the latter only works entirely or not at all: If you bring the bar down, it covers the entire screen, but not only a part, such as with Samsung One UI.
I also complained about the Redmi Note 9 Pro that the screen felt a bit sluggish when I entered it and that I made incorrect entries when I wiped down the notification bar. The problem does not exist with the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite. Even though it didn’t bother me with the Redmi phone, the Note 10 Lite feels a bit more precise. But this is only noticeable in a direct comparison.
As with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro, I have to negatively note the advertising (simple ad, no video) that appears after downloading an app from the Google Play Store. Apart from that, the cell phone is ad-free. And honestly: how often do you install apps?
Camera: Quadruple camera equals variety camera
The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite has four lenses on the back. And they promise plenty of room for creativity. In addition to a wide-angle, an ultra-wide-angle and a macro lens are on board. There is also a depth sensor that provides spatial data for a better bokeh effect. That is enough variety for creative pictures.
The camera setup is very similar to the Redmi Note 9 Pro, and one of the reasons I compare these two smartphones several times in this test. The detailed data on the lenses are more precise, almost identical, but the Mi Note 10 Lite uses a slightly better image sensor. This can be seen consistently in all of the pictures, as they appear a bit sharper and better with the more expensive model.
64 MP without AI power
The Mi Note 10 Lite’s wide-angle lens takes decent photos. You can take sharp images, especially in daylight. The colors only look a little pale when compared to a flagship. But this is only noticeable in a direct comparison. In any case, it offers good photo quality for a mid-range cell phone. In addition to the HDR function, artificial intelligence also ensures stronger colors (improves the dynamic range of images).
As with the Redmi Note 9 Pro, there is a catch: If you use the 64 MP mode to take pictures in full resolution, all these enhancers are not available. Apart from the resolution plus, I could hardly see any difference in the details. Say: You shot a picture in higher resolution on paper. If you zoom into it, there is no significant difference compared to lower-resolution images with AI improvements. Apart from the automatically improved colors by artificial intelligence.
The macro camera makes small objects very big, as usual. It works very well. You can get too close to your subject without the picture being blurred. Of course, the quality and resolution are lower than that of the 64 MP lens, but the result is still usable unless you want to zoom in a lot.
Ultra wide-angle weakens
The ultra-wide-angle lens, unfortunately, falls short of expectations. There is a lack of dynamic range here, and the lens absorbs less light. In principle, this means that your photos have fewer details than the primary camera, can be a little overexposed, and some areas appear significantly darker. The following images show that the mobile phone lacks a dynamic range (for all cameras). In this price range, however, this is bearable.
Mi Note 10 beats Redmi Note 9 Pro at night.
The Xiaomi Ni Note 10 Lite gave me a little surprise in the dark. While the photo quality during the day is almost identical to the Redmi Note 9 Pro, it looks different when using the night mode. Objects appear much lighter. The Mi Note 10 Lite does not come close to flagships, but it only costs a fraction of the premium devices.
Front camera: I keep these selfies
The front camera is robust: pictures have intense colors, and many details can still be seen. The digital bokeh effect (blurred background) also works well. I like the shots even better than my private Samsung Galaxy S10. In the coming days, I could still take a photo of myself out of my interest.
Battery: Up to two days of runtime
The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite comes with a battery with a capacity of 5260 mAh – that’s a real chunk! This makes the cell phone feel a bit heavier (it weighs just over 200 grams), but the whole thing also has its purpose: In practice, you get a runtime of up to two days. That’s neat and is above what most top models deliver.
If the energy is exhausted, you can recharge the smartphone via the USB-C port. Thanks to an output of up to 30 watts, the whole thing can be done in under 1.5 hours, depending on the remaining level. However, Xiaomi has decided not to use wireless charging – after all, there have to be cuts in this price range somewhere.
Sound: No heart for Bluetooth
Since I love listening to music on my smartphone, I also heard the sound more closely. There are some audio tweaks in the corresponding menu. However, you can only benefit from these if you go over the built-in sound chip. Say: If you connect wired headphones or speakers directly to the phone via the jack connector. With a wireless connection, all options are greyed out, and you have to resort to equalizer apps, which often turn the overall volume down as soon as you use them.
In connection with the JBL Charge 3 Bluetooth speaker, I noticed two things: There is no control of Bluetooth devices. Therefore, the smartphone and speaker’s total volume is not synchronized, and for the maximum work, you have to turn up the box and smartphone. Second point: Compared to my Samsung Galaxy S10, the music on the Mi Note 10 Lite sounds flatter and less powerful. But this is also because Samsung does offer sound options for audio via Bluetooth. I also have the feeling that the volume of the Xiaomi model is slightly lower.
This is not new to me. Precisely these things I could complain about at the end of 2017 on my OnePlus 5T, which also contributed to the fact that I switched to the S10 after just one and a half years. However, I leave out the point of sound quality for the overall rating since this is an extraordinary and personal criticism that is probably not relevant for many of you. Don’t get me wrong: music sounds good via Bluetooth and headphone jack. I only wish that cheap mid-range smartphones can surprise me positively in this area.
Conclusion for the test of the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite: An additional charge that is worthwhile
Xiaomi delivers a good cell phone for the money. The Mi Note 10 Lite with 64 GB storage space has a recommended retail price of 370 euros. You pay just under 400 euros for the model with 128 GB of internal memory. Overall, you get a right all-round package for a comparatively low price, whose performance, camera, battery, and build quality convince.
The cell phone is just under 100 euros more expensive than the Redmi Note 9 Pro. But it offers a slightly better camera quality (especially at night), a better (curved!) The display is a bit more compact, looks even more valuable, is more powerful, and therefore comes with an always-on function. If you are willing to pay this surcharge for the Redmi model, you should consider choosing the Mi Note 10 Lite. It’s like the Note 9 Pro – only better.