i for India, and that’s Xiaomi’s style of releasing a device specifically for the Indian market. The Mi 10i is the company’s latest offering in the mid-range segment and brings in 5G connectivity at affordable prices. It’s not just about connectivity with the Mi 10i as the device has another card up its sleeve with its 108MP rear camera taking the numbers game to a whole next level. So is the Mi 10i worth your attention and most importantly, money? Or is it just a new addition to Xiaomi’s portfolio to show a budget 5G device? Let’s find out in our full review of the Xiaomi Mi 10i.

Design and Display – Style Same, Slightly Tamed

Xiaomi Mi 10i back

The Mi 10i at first glance looks a lot similar to its POCO counterparts, with a design not unique to itself. A circular-shaped camera module to its back, along with a hole-punch display to the left side, packed in a perfect sandwich of glass – that’s one line to sum it up. The back has slight curves towards its edges which you can definitely feel while you are holding the device. The two regular colors come with a glossy glass finish, with the gradient color option having a matte-like texture while retaining the same set of glasses. The leaves of this glass-sandwich are made from Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5.

The 6.67-inches display present here is a Full HD+ LCD panel, which is a two-edged sword. One edge has is a higher refresh rate of 120Hz with the other edge carrying HDR10 certification. The color reproduction of the display itself was very good with texts being sharp at all font sizes, which flows in a streamlined motion due to its 120Hz refresh rate. The refresh rate can be toned down to 60Hz from settings, but we used the device at 120Hz only.

Xiaomi Mi 10i review

HDR10 certification brings in a wider set of color ranges in Netflix and Amazon Prime, and the difference was noticeable on a good note. Even regular content was enjoyable on this screen due to its thin set of bezels. When we took the device outdoors, the screen visibility in direct sunlight was good enough with the text being on the readable side, and the glass itself was not reflective as such. The display of the Mi 10i not only gives you smoothness while scrolling but also produces good colors too.

Performance – 5G means 5th generation gaming

The Mi 10i is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G chipset, a newcomer in the market which has immense potential in terms of both, connectivity and performance. The 8nm based octa-core chipset finds itself as a good partner for the 120Hz display and delivers consistently at this refresh rate without breaking a sweat. Daily tasks like opening social media applications, switching between apps, and even typing were balanced very well by the combination of the display and the chipset. Here are a few benchmarks of the Mi 10i.

Mi 10i Benchmarks
Benchmark Service Score
AnTuTu 3,32,464
Geekbench (Single Core) 628
Geekbench (Multi-Core) 1852

The above results show us the capabilities of the Mi 10i, which reflects in usage as well. We testing the device thoroughly in gaming by playing heavy games like PUBG Mobile Korean, and we were impressed by it. The game gave a constant frame rate of over 40fps at Smooth+Ultra settings, during all parts of the game. The frame rate does not take major dips during fights, and it performed well in the Sanhok-Bootcamp test as well. Here’s our detailed gaming review of the Mi 10i on our gaming division Gaming Josh.

Mi 10i being a Xiaomi device runs on MIUI 12 based on Android 10, which is a skin that has a mixed set of appreciation and annoyance. The set of features that MIUI offers had an endless list with its system-wide dark mode, app locker, themes support, and more. but it’s the responsiveness of MIUI which we liked here more.

Xiaomi Mi 10i About

There are a few pre-installed applications on the device like some games and news applications which can be easily uninstalled with a single click. Now comes the big question, ads and recommendations! During the week we used the Mi 10i, we never faced any major full-screen ads on the Mi 10i, as this device belongs to the ‘Mi’ series of Xiaomi, a step ahead of its Redmi Note Series. There were a few suggestive notifications from the Themes app, but they can be disabled by toggling the switch in the app.

Xiaomi Mi 10i UI features

Xiaomi Mi 10i MIUI special features

The settings and the Security app is well organized as well, making it easier to enable functions like app locker, clean cache storage and junk files. The cleaner functionality does a great job of giving you an idea of big files present on your phone, to free up space. The app locker supports password, pattern, and biometric security options for all apps. You can even set up personal space for private photos and files in the File Manager app, which remain hidden from other apps, sweet!

The software of the device is optimized well for its 120Hz refresh rate and we did not face any lags within the UI or while scrolling. The UI itself has a design that is far from stock android, but MIUI itself is swift on its toes when it comes to performance.

Cameras – ONE_ZERO_EIGHT megapixels

The quad-camera setup of the Mi 10i consists of a primary 108MP shooter with f/1.8 lens, along with an 8MP wide-angle lens with an aperture of f/2.2, the third camera is a 2MP depth sensor with the fourth being a 2MP macro shooter. Let’s jump into the highlight first, the 108MP camera produces stunning shots during the day, both indoors and outdoors. The sharpness can be defined from the images themselves, with a very good dynamic range that finds a sweet balance between the light source and the subject in focus.

Xiaomi Mi 10i camera

The focusing is fast, and accurate in both images and videos. The primary camera can capture videos at 4K 30fps, 1080p60fps, 1080pp30fps and lower resolution as well. Videos are stabilized electronically using the gyroscope, and it works well by reducing shakes due to walking. The video itself has an amazing dynamic range with a good sense of auto-focus resulting in crisp looking mp4 files, which look gorgeous on the HDR display of the Mi 10i.

Xiaomi Mi 10i front top

The wide-angle camera does a nice job of increasing the field-of-view to over 118-degrees and maintains a color profile similar to the primary camera. The macro shooter can capture really great images at ranges of over 5 centimeters and you can as creative as you can to get the most of it. During the night, the images from the primary camera use pixel-binning to allow more light into your pixels, and the Night Mode in the MIUI camera application brightens the images, making them ideal to post on social media without any tweaks required.

Mi 10i Camera Sample
Mi 10i camera sample on Auto Mode
Mi 10i Camera Sample
Mi 10i camera sample on Pro Mode, 30s shutter, ISO 50
Mi 10i Camera Sample
Mi 10i camera sample on Pro Mode, 30s shutter, ISO 100
IMG_20210104_013559_1
Mi 10i camera sample on Pro Mode, 30s shutter, ISO 200

Mi 10i Long Exposure Shot

Mi 10i Long Exposure

The 16MP primary camera, located in the hole-punch captures great selfies while maintaining the highlights of the background. It also has a portrait mode, which has pretty accurate edge detection. The selfies shot with the Mi 10i were sharp, and it also offers several beautification features, which can be set or disabled by the user.

Battery Life

The Mi 10i is powered by a 4820mAh battery, which charges through the USB Type-C port. The device gave us a screen-on-time of around 7-8 hours regularly on a daily-charge cycle basis. Our usage included social media browsing, a couple of hours of video streaming, a few hours of gaming, and normal calls with moderate camera usage. The Mi 10i easily lasts with around 20% juice at night, in our testing.

Xiaomi provides a 33W fast charger in the box itself. The bundled adapter charges the Mi 10i from 0% to 50% in around 30 minutes with a 0-100% taking just about an hour. Overall, the battery life of the Mi 10i was very good, and remember that we used the device on the maximum 120Hz refresh rate.

Connectivity – Not just 5G

The Mi 10i steps itself ahead of the competition with the Snapdragon 750G and 5G connectivity. We tested the device with Airtel 4G and the cellular reception of the Mi 10i was excellent. Internet speeds were constant even indoors, with VoLTE working fine as well. The dual-band WiFi was able to handle over 100Mbps on speedtest.net and even video-streamings and the network range was again good. We tested the Mi 10i with various sets of Bluetooth earphones, and the device was quick to pair with them, with connectivity ranging over the other rooms as well.

The device even retains the headphone jack, which has a good output. We tested it with a couple of wired earphones in our office, and the Mi 10i derived them pretty fine, even at high volume levels. The device gets stereo speakers, which can get adequately loud during media consumption and ringing.

Verdict

The Mi10i is a very good choice for users looking for a good performing device along with a camera that actually performs and doesn’t just boast the numbers. The higher refresh rate on the display gives you a smooth feeling while scrolling and the battery life too lasts well over a day. With its competition from the Moto G 5G and the OnePlus N10, we feel the Mi 10i is currently ahead of both as an overall package with its higher refresh rate, and cameras. Futureproof as we call it, the chipset included here makes the phone good for years of usage even when 5G networks get introduced in India in the near future.

Inputs from Chetan Bhawani and Chinmay Dhumal.

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