The Mi 10T Pro disappoints on the software and camera front.

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro review
Atom Tech Shorts Thursday, December 17, 2020 - 18:44

Xiaomi has never ben a brand that focused on ‘flagship’ or ‘flagship killer’ smartphones. In fact, any of the company’s previous smartphones that retailed above Rs 25,000 failed to be bestsellers in the country. On the other hand, Xiaomi is known as the budget king in India, dominating the segment, with smartphones ranging from Rs 7,000 to Rs 20,000.

But things have changed in 2020. The company has finally broken out of the mould of a budget smartphone maker. Whether the consumers take them up on this new avatar is a whole other question. For now, with the Mi 10T Pro, one can argue that the company has made a value-for-money flagship killer that should appeal to many prospective buyers.

Xiaomi’s Mi 10T Pro retails at Rs 39,999, but is it worth the money?

Design: Hefty but comfortable to hold

Right off the bat, you’d notice that the Mi 10T Pro is bulky and heavy (218g). It isn’t unwieldy, but the weight is instantly noticeable (compact smartphone users look away). The smartphone has a premium glass-metal construction and comes with Gorilla Glass 5 protection on both the front and the back (including the rear camera module). The phone is premium built for the most part.

Thanks to the glossy rear profile, the smartphone is more susceptible to accidental slips. Furthermore, the smartphone is a fingerprint magnet. There’s a huge camera bump at the back which means that the smartphone is wobbly when kept on any flat surface.

The Mi 10T Pro comes in Lunar Silver and Cosmic Black. For the review period, I’ve been using the Cosmic Black variant, which looks more grey than black.

There’s a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that works really well on the right side along with the volume buttons. The SIM tray and the USB Type-C port are at the bottom along with the bottom-firing speaker. At the top of the phone is an IR emitter. The smartphone offers stereo speakers. There’s also a tiny LED light for notifications.

The rounded design does make the Mi 10T Pro comfortable to hold. 

Display: It ain’t no AMOLED

For the Mi 10T Pro, Xiaomi has gone with a 144Hz LCD that supports dynamic refresh rate switching. LCD’s are no AMOLED’s but the one on the Mi 10T Pro is pretty fantastic. It’s a 6.67-inch fullHD+ LCD display that is bright with sharp colours. It’s got good viewing angles as well. The default calibration of the screen will bode well for those who like natural colours.

The excellent display combined with the smartphone’s stereo speakers makes for an excellent combo. The speakers are loud and clear. It’s great for watching content on OTT platforms such as Hotstar and Amazon Prime. There’s also the support for HDR10.

Performance and battery life: Smooth with endurace

Xiaomi has outfitted the Mi 10T Pro with Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 865 SoC. It comes with 5G network support (not yet a thing in India), 8GB RAM and 128GB of on-board storage. The smartphone comes with MIUI 12 (based on Android 10) operating system. 

The phone, for the most part, is a speedy performer. It’ll deliver a lag-free performance in day-to-day usage. It can even multitask between gaming and taking photos and answering calls without a hitch. In fact, it was an absolute pleasure playing games on the Mi 10T Pro. That’s something I wouldn’t say about most of its competition (unless you’re talking of the ASUS ROG Phone 3 specifically).

If you’re new to Xiaomi smartphones, then getting used to MIUI will be a pain. It’s not the greatest of Android skins out there but it also isn’t the worst.

The Mi 10T Pro comes with a 5,000 mAh battery (which adds to the bulk). In the box comes a 33W fast charger. One way of cutting costs is by excluding wireless charging. The Mi 10 had it but the Mi 10T Pro misses out on it entirely.

With my medium-to-heavy usage pattern, and with the refresh rate set to 144Hz, I was able to get a day and a half out of the smartphone. That’s pretty good, all things considered. 

Camera: Disappointing

There’s a triple-camera setup on the Mi 10T Pro. It’s got a primary 108-megapixel sensor with OIS and f/1.69 aperture. Then there’s the 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera (with a 123-degree field of view) and a 5-megapixel macro camera. On the front is a 20-megapixel selfie shooter.

Now let’s talk about the quality of the photos. In good daylight, the Mi 10T Pro captures crisp photos with excellent details. That’s due to the massive 108-megapixel sensor Xiaomi has embedded. The 25-megapixel binned images have a good dynamic range with natural colours and a good contrast. Unfortunately, there is no telephoto lens, but one can crop the images from the main sensor, if necessary.

The 5x zoom photos are not up to standard (why did Xiaomi omit the telephoto lens?) and the photos lack any amount of details. The wide-angle-lens is good and so is the macro lens (if you’re a fan of that). The bokeh photos come out nice with the native depth-of-field. The results were quite pleasing.

The disappointment stems from the fact that the Mi 10T Pro is not up to scratch when it comes to low-light photography. It’s decent but overall, fails to impress. 

The software-induced noise reduction tries too hard. It shows in the photos. The sharpness is boosted while using the dedicated night mode but that’s about it.

Verdict: Worth Rs 39,999?

The Mi 10T Pro from Xiaomi fires on most cylinders. At Rs 39,999, it is an attractive smartphone, all things considered. It has an excellent display that’s good for binge-watching, and the 144Hz refresh rate makes it great for gaming.

With the Snapdragon 865, the smartphone is as fluid as any other in its price range. The battery life is also good.

The only mixed bags are the software and the camera and that’s where one must compromise.

To get to this price point, Xiaomi has made some decisions that will leave most bewildered. Especially the lack of a telephoto lens. 

Nonetheless, if you’re willing to compromise and are good to go with a bulky but mighty flagship killer of a smartphone, then the Mi 10T Pro is for you.

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