Xiaomi’s launch of the Mi 10T Series India brought smiles together in enthusiasts as ‘Mi Series’ finally made its way here after a while. Following the same basic principles of competitive pricing while offering the best possible specifications, is the Xiaomi Mi 10T a way for the company to consider the flagship Indian market more seriously? How does the device fare in a segment that has been dominated by OnePlus for 3 years? Let’s find out in our full review of the Xiaomi Mi 10T!
Design and Display – A step up
The Xiaomi Mi 10T follows the market trend of glass-sandwich devices, with a metal frame running throughout the edges. The back has a gradient finish to itself with a texture that sits between gloss and matte. The back looks really stylish when you hold the device at different angles, and the metallic frame gives you a solid in-hand feel with subtle curves that blend into your palm. The device is very comfortable to hold in hand with its even weight distribution but may give you the feel of being on the heavier side at first glance. However, spending a few minutes with the phone in your hands will make the device partner well to your comfort zone.
The glass back looks very premium but is a fingerprint magnet. If you really like to maintain the gloss for that shiny look, you will have to wipe the ack multiple times a day. It’s a good idea to put on a case on the Mi 10T, as it will not just prevent fingerprints but also protect the back from cracking. Prevention is better than cure, as everyone knows it.
One thing that we were skeptical about the Mi 10T’s design was the camera bump. The module size itself is on the larger size for a triple-camera setup with a bump that stands out really tall. The rear bump is carved out of glass with no metallic ring for protection. This means, if you keep the device flat on its back, the Mi 10T wobbles a little that can scratch the rear camera module.
Whether or not, for this reason, Xiaomi bundles a transparent silicon case in the box that covers the bump enough to make it flush with the surface of the phone, reducing direct contact of the module and the base where the device will be kept. The screen and the back of the phone are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5, accounting for a durable glass-sandwich design.
The display of the Mi 10T is one of the main highlights of the phone, which we appreciated a lot while using it. The 144Hz refresh rate speaks for itself the moment you start scrolling through the UI. The Mi 10T is also a great example of how a good LCD panel is much better than having an entry-level OLED panel on your smartphone. The smoother refresh rate with punchy and finely tuned colors makes the display a charm to view content on. The panel got adequately bright indoors and maintained color profiles even at full brightness levels. Added on, the display is HDR10 certified which we tested with Netflix and Amazon Prime and the results were nothing short of excellence.
When you take the device outdoors, the Mi 10T does not have a funky-punky or a flashy design that will make turn heads in public but instead focuses more on how the user feels while using it. With this intent, the Mi 10T surely felt a pleasure to use, and the display had good visibility outdoors as well. The refresh rate can be adjusted and lowered from settings, but we used the device at 144Hz only as we really enjoyed the smooth animations while opening the app or scrolling through various menus.
Performance – A no-brainer
The Mi 10T is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, the most powerful processor you can get on an Android device as of now. The 7nm based octa-core chipset ensures that the 144Hz display runs flawlessly without skipping a single frame, and this applies in all types of use case scenarios. The chipset is driven by MIUI 12 based on Android 10, more on it later.
In daily tasks, we never thought that the Mi 10T took any task as a challenge for itself. We sum it up this way, you think about opening an application in your mind, you place your finger just above the app icon, and the phone will be done opening the application for you in flash, at 144 frames per second. That’s how good the Mi 10T is! The memory management was on point with the device being able to hold over 7-8 applications easily even overnight. App reloading or slow opening times was never an issue on the Mi 10T while using it.
Well, to take the 865 and MIUI 12 for a test, we played a lot of games on the Mi 10T including demanding games like PUBG Mobile Korean and Genhsin Impact. The performance was the same as you would expect from an 865 device, the Mi 10T was able to deliver constant 60fps at Smooth+Extreme settings throughout the game. In the Sanhok-Bootcamp test, we expected the frame rate to get a hit, but that didn’t happen. The gameplay remained smooth with next to none dips. Casual games like Subway Surfers, Leo’s Fortune, and others were a breeze with the phone handling them on its toe tips.
Some like it, some don’t it while others eventually get adjusted to it, talking about Xiaomi’s MIUI here. The Mi 10T runs on MIUI 12 based on Android 10 and has a completely different finish when compared to stock android. With a plethora of features packed in like Dark Mode, Dual Space, App Lock, and an endless list, the UI also has had a bad reputation with recommendations from system applications. In our time with the Mi 10T, MIUI remained seamlessly functional and responsive with no hiccups faced on a system level. The recommendations can be disabled on a per-app basis, and once you turn them off, you never see them again. There were a few pre-installed applications like Facebook and others, which can be easily uninstalled with a simple click.
Overall, MIUI 12 was fast and well optimized for the 144Hz display. Some may find it difficult to get used to it, but the UI itself is very simple to navigate between and the extra features that MIUI offers is another add-on that you get with the Xiaomi Mi 10T.
Cameras – Dependable
The triple rear camera setup of the Mi 10T is made from a 64MP primary camera with Sony IMX 682 sensor, with a 13MP wide-angle lens and a 5MP macro lens. The camera bump as we said, is huge but can be covered with a case, but then the cameras tell you why they stand out, find more here now.
The primary camera does a great job in broad-daylight conditions by capturing images with details and colors true to real life. The saturation levels are on the normal side, and the shutter speeds are fast enough to capture those crisp shots. The device also handles dynamic range very well when there’s a bright light source in the background, like the sun for example. The camera finds a good balance between the background and the actual subject in focus while picking a dynamic range in a ‘best of both worlds manner’.
The wide-angle 13MP lens increases the field of view to 123-degrees, but the colors can be a little different from what the primary camera produces at times. In most cases, the color times remain very similar, and the wide-angle shots also retain details as well. This means, that the Mi 10T’s wide-angle lens does not compromise on one factor for focusing on the other. The macro shooter can capture great closeup shots and users can have a really good time while being creative in macro shots.
After a half-clock cycle, that is during the night the Mi 10T manages to produce great images in dark conditions too. The Night Mode in the MIUI camera application makes images shot in dark a tad brighter while adjusting grains in a way that images look good enough to be posted on social media with no alterations. The wide-angle lens however can be seen struggling at night, but still produces usable images. The primary camera does a good job in such situations with the software processing on the Mi 10T.
The 20MP selfie camera is housed by the hole-punch display and is a Samsung S5K3T2 sensor with an aperture of f/2.2. The selfies shot look great, and the camera application also offers features like filters, portrait modes, and more. The edge detection in portrait mode was mostly accurate with the option to adjust the background later in the gallery. Videos with the selfie camera preserved colors and details both but can prove shaky at times of your walk too fast.
The rear camera can capture videos at 4K 60fps, with lower resolutions available too. The camera also supports slow-motion videos at 120fps, with an option to record videos from the wide-angle camera as well. The camera was very fast to shift focus between close and distantly placed objects and did not hunt for it either. The Mi 10 T managed to deliver a sharp focus while maintaining the actual dynamic range of the video. The set of cameras on the Mi 10T was very impressive, and apart from the bump, we don’t have complaints about it.
Battery Life – Smooth and Short, Steady and Strong
The battery life of the 5000mAh battery on the Mi 10T can vary vastly depending on the refresh rate you choose to use the phone at. At 144Hz, the device will consume more power while giving you smooth transitions throughout the day whereas you can reduce the refresh rate to 90Hz or even 60Hz in favor of battery life. In our testing of the Mi 10T, we kept the device clocked at 144Hz as we really wanted to see how exactly the results come out.
The Mi 10T easily lasted us a day with usage including a lot of social media browsing, a couple of hours of gaming, streaming videos on YouTube and other OTT platforms, and regular usage of WhatsApp and moderate phone calls. The device gave a screen-on-time of around 6-7 hours constantly with this type of usage, all this with the refresh rate set to 144Hz. Lowering the refresh rate will surely give you those extra minutes whenever needed, but why miss out on the 144Hz display which is unique to the Mi 10T in this price range!
Xiaomi bundles in a 33W fast charger with the Mi 10T. The provided adapter can charge the device to 70% in around an hour with a 0-100% taking almost 90-100 minutes. The Mi 10T uses the USB Type-C port for fast charging, and there’s no presence of wireless charging here. The battery life of the Mi 10T was actually very good when you consider its high refresh rate.
Connectivity – Futureproof 5G
The Mi 10T is 5G enabled with its Snapdragon 865 chipset, with 4G and lower bands support as well. The addition of 5G is good, but as of now, 5G is still not available in India, so that’s not a factor we are considering here. We used the phone with Airtel 4G and the network reception was good, with uninterrupted calls and internet usage indoors. The dual-band WiFi also works well with mesh routers in our office, and the Mi 10T also supports WiFi 6 standards, which we could not test as we do not have any WiFi 6 based routers.
The Bluetooth connectivity was also great, and considering that the Mi 10T misses out on a headphone jack, you will be using wireless audio for your favorite music or media consumption. We tested it with a pair of Bluetooth neckbands and TWS earbuds, the pairing was fast with connectivity ranging well over two different corners of the room.
The Mi 10T gets a side-mounted fingerprint scanner to its right side, which works every time and does not disappoint you. It also comes with Face-Unlock functionality that used the front camera, but the fingerprint scanner was so quick that we ended up using it most of the time for unlocking the phone. The absence of a headphone jack can be a bummer for some, but Xiaomi provides you a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box, so you can still use your favorite pair of earphones with the Mi 10T.
The title says it all – We have a winner. The Mi 10 earlier was a complete flagship but had eyebrows raised due to the pricing and that was something new from Xiaomi for many to digest, but the Xiaomi Mi 10T comes in at a price range where we have the likes of Realme X50 Pro, OnePlus 7T, and some well-performing flagships, but having the 144Hz display, the best of the chipsets, 8K video recording, and a powerful battery backed by fast charging support.
The experience on the Mi 10T has been super good since the first day of using it, and given that Xiaomi’s optimization with the camera is well done, the phone is a definitive choice in the list of budget flagship smartphones.