Gone are the days when Xiaomi offered flagship killers. From now on, the Chinese giant will market "short flagships". To indicate to the general public that the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro come to rub the iPhone 11 Pro, Galaxy S20 Ultra or P40 Pro, Xiaomi opted for a new pricing positioning. The Mi 10 is sold at 799 euros, or 300 euros more than the Mi 9 at its release. With its price of 999 euros, the Mi 10 Pro, it ranks among the SMIC-phones.
But a price increase alone is not enough to be among the market references. Xiaomi therefore arms its Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro with the best technologies of the moment. But what are they worth on a daily basis? Do they have the assets to come and rub shoulders with Apple, Samsung or Huawei? After the test of the Mi 10 Pro, here is our opinion on the Mi 10.
Design and screen
No need to beat around the bush, the Mi 10 is the (almost) certified copy of the Pro version. Xiaomi provides the same 6.67-inch punched screen with identical integration (black edges) and the same degree of curvature. Its dimensions (162.6 x 74.8 x 9 mm) and its weight (208 g), also similar, rank it among the giants. You will therefore need both hands to handle it.
The different elements are arranged (surprise!) Identically. On the bottom border are grouped the USB-C, the nano-SIM slot and a speaker, a second audio output being positioned opposite (I'll come back to this). On the right border, the power and volume buttons are easily accessible for right-handers as well as for left-handers. Finally, at the back, the quadruple photo module is arranged in the upper left corner, vertically.
"But then, what is the difference between the Mi 10 and the Mi 10 Pro? " Very good question, thank you for asking it. You will distinguish the two models by looking at them from the back. If the Mi 10 Pro is dressed in mat glass, the Mi 10 adopts a brighter look.
This material has a big drawback: it greatly marks fingerprints. Also, after only a few seconds of use, the Mi 10 loses its superb. I therefore strongly advise you to cover it with a protective shell which will not only chase away these nasty dirt, but will also prevent scratches so quickly arriving on this type of surface.
Finally, unlike his brother, the Mi 10 must do without the waterproofing certification. This absence will be a real lack for many users, including myself. I understand that Xiaomi wants to justify the move upmarket to the Pro version, but let's not forget that the Mi 10 still costs 800 euros. At this price, we are entitled to demand a waterproofing certification. Pity.
Full HD + and 90 Hz screen
As I said earlier, the Mi 10 is equipped with the same curved panel as the Pro version. Also we find a 6.67-inch Super AMOLED screen in 19.5: 9 format. It displays content in Full HD + (2340 x 1080 pixels) with a 90 Hz refresh rate and HDR10 + compatibility. Xiaomi also promises a brightness of more than 500 nits. So much for the numbers.
In fact (and not surprisingly) the Mi 10’s screen is as dazzling as its brother’s. Very bright, it is distinguished by its excellent contrasts and its infinite blacks. By default, the colors tend slightly to blue, a defect that is found on many smartphones.
Smart, Xiaomi integrates a package of optimization parameters in MIUI. In addition to choosing the display mode (auto, saturated, original color), you can choose the colorimetric spectrum that suits you best. Four color ranges are available: improved (widest range of colors possible), original (more neutral), P3 (covers the P3 spectrum) and sRGB (covers the sRGB spectrum). MIUI 11 allows for even more personalization for each display mode. So you can adjust the color temperature, contrast level, saturation, etc.
The excellent quality of the panel combined with this multitude of parameters therefore allows Xiaomi to deliver one of the most beautiful screens on the market today.
Audio: it's clean
While most manufacturers would have sacrificed audio to contain costs, Xiaomi again equips the Mi 10 with the same hardware as the Pro. So we find two real speakers delivering good stereo sound. Movie / series and game lovers will particularly appreciate the spatialization of sound.
If the quality of the speakers remains correct for listening to music, I still recommend giving preference to broadcasting on an external speaker or putting on headphones. In the absence of a 3.5 mm jack, you will have to choose, as desired, for USB-C accessories, headphones with jack / USB-C adapter (supplied) or wireless headphones (Bluetooth 5.1 compatibility). In all cases, the Mi 10 will seduce music lovers since it takes care of aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, SBC, AAC, LHDC, LDAC and LLAC codecs.
Performance and interface
Under its beautiful dress, the Mi 10 camouflages exactly the same components as … the Mi 10 Pro. So we find the Snadragon 865 chip, 5G X55 processor, Adreno 650 graphics chip, 8 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256 GB of UFS 3.0 Flash memory (without extension possible).
Oh surprise, the results on the benchmarks are roughly the same as those obtained by the Mi 10 Pro, in other words excellent. With nearly 600,000 points on Antutu, the Mi 10 also ranks among the most powerful smartphones on the market.
This translates into quick and smooth use in any circumstance. Are you more into photo and video editing applications? No problem, the Mi 10 will manage several applications at once without ever showing signs of weakness.
Are you one of the gamers? No worries either, the most resource-intensive 3D games (Call of Duty Mobile, Fortnite, PUBG Mobile, Asphalt) are running at maximum graphics and showing no signs of running out of steam. Moreover, these high-performance performances combined with the 90 Hz screen ensure enjoyable gaming sessions. No need to sprawl further, you understand that the Mi 10 is a monster.
MIUI 11: we're almost there
Like all of the brand's latest models, the Mi 10 comes with Android 10 accompanied by the MIUI 11 in-house overlay. I will not dwell on the details of the interface that we have already analyzed in our test of the Mi 10 Pro. So I will just deliver my impressions of some choices of Xiaomi.
In my opinion, MIUI 11 marks a real step forward for the manufacturer in the development of its software. Formerly very marked by Chinese culture, MIUI is now perfectly suited to European consumers. Random translations and gadget features are a thing of the past. Fluid and well thought out, the interface is therefore very pleasant to use on a daily basis. MIUI 11 is without a doubt the maturity OS for Xiaomi.
However, one major element still grieves me: the lack of application drawer which contributes greatly (IMHO) to the identity of Android. This lack is all the more surprising that the Mi 9T, also under MIUI 11, allows this drawer to fit well. Xiaomi has already answered this question publicly and promises that this feature will be released soon.
In the meantime, you will therefore have several solutions. If you already had a Xiaomi smartphone, a backup restore will allow you to find the same interface as on your old model. If you don't want to tie your brains, you can download an alternative launcher (like Nova Launcher for example) on the Play Store. If, like me, you are one of the most patient, you can store your applications one by one in small folders. After all, in a period of confinement, we have a little more time.
Finally, on the security side, Xiaomi knows its classics. The fingerprint reader under the screen glass is particularly responsive. Facial recognition is also part of it, but it remains less secure.
Autonomy and recharging
The Mi 10 has a 4780 mAh battery, 230 mAh more than the Pro version. However, this slight difference is not felt at all on a daily basis. So, for my versatile use (social networks, messages, videos, a bit of play) with the 90 Hz screen activated continuously, the smartphone takes a day and a half. So count two days paying attention to gourmet uses or even activating the energy saving mode. The most geeky of you should go through the recharge box at the end of the day, around 11 p.m. (if you don't sleep before).
To justify the upgrade to the Pro version, Xiaomi accompanies the Mi 10 with a 30 W charger "Only" (against 65 W for the Mi 10 Pro). Logically, the recharge time is getting longer, but remains very short. So I was able to reach the 50% in less than 30 minutes and a full charge in just over an hour. The Mi 10 is therefore very good, but does not reach the heights. However, the integration of wireless (30 W) and reverse (5 W) charging demonstrates a certain willingness to limit concessions. Well seen.
It is therefore in the field of photography, a criterion that is however dear to users, that Xiaomi chooses to make the most sacrifices. If the Mi 10 embeds a quadruple module, its composition is very different from that of the Mi 10 Pro. See rather:
- a wide angle : 24 mm lens (f / 1.7); 108 mpxls sensor (1 / 1.33 ’’; 0.8 µm photosite); PDAF; optical stabilization
- an ultra wide angle : 12 mm lens (f / 2.4): 13 mpxls sensor
- a macro lens (f / 2.4); 2 mgpxls sensor
- a lens dedicated to portraits (f / 2.4); 2 mpxls sensor
No telephoto lens for this Mi 10 which must therefore play a balancing act by combining sensor differences and artificial intelligence, sometimes for the best, sometimes for the worst.
So when the best light conditions are met, the Mi 10 has nothing to envy its big brother. The opposite would have been surprising since the two models have the same main module. Thus, the pictures obtained prove to be particularly successful with a very good sharpness, excellent contrasts and realistic colors (provided you deactivate the AI).
In the absence of a telephoto lens, Xiaomi uses a software pirouette using the 108 megapixel sensor. How? 'Or' What ? It simply zooms in the image to get a very convincing final result. However, digital processing has its limits, too the 2x zoom also does not reach the level of the Mi 10 Pro. The 10x zoom remains anecdotal as the noise and the grain deteriorate the shot.
Xiaomi plays the card of versatility and offers portrait, macro and ultra wide-angle mode. Each of its modes is based on a specific module. The ultra wide angle is therefore quite correct with a well-contained distortion and good preservation of details.
Macro mode, in particular, amazed me. Even if the 2 megapixel sensor does not work miracles, it gives free rein to its creativity, the trigger speed and the rapid focusing compensate very well for the lack of stabilization.
Finally, portrait mode is pretty good with precise clipping and a rather natural bokeh. However, digital processing tends to overexpose the whole thing a bit. Besides, I could observe that Xiaomi could not keep an identical rendering according to the shooting modes. The portraits are sometimes overexposed therefore, the ultra wide-angle photos display too much contrast while the photos captured in 2x zoom lack it.
I admit, testing premium smartphones regularly makes me a little too demanding. This is true with regard to my previous observation. It’s less if you’re interested in low light photos. Under these conditions, the Mi 10 clearly shows its limits. Difficult if not impossible to take an exploitable snapshot when the light is lacking, the fault of too aggressive digital processing compensating for the lack of light by noise wheelbarrows.
Selfie lovers will appreciate the integration of the 20 megapixel front sensor (1/3 ’’; 0.9 µm photosite) with wide-angle lens (f / 2). The photos shine with their excellent sharpness and the self-portrait mode is very effective.
Finally, the Mi 10 has the same video functions as the Mi 10 Pro. It can therefore film in 8K at 30 fps (still a gadget function) or in 4K at 60 fps. However, I recommend shooting in Full HD at 30 fps if you want to take advantage of ultra-stabilization. So don't expect to play it like Spielberg, but for memories with family, friends, or short vacation movies, the Mi 10 does the job perfectly.
Xiaomi Mi 10 at the best price Base price: 799 €
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After several days of testing, this Mi 10 leaves me with a little bitterness. And this is due to the change in recipe from Xiaomi. In itself, the Mi 10 is a very good smartphone. Elegant, it shines with its excellent performance, good autonomy, intuitive interface and fast (and wireless) charging system. Its camera and its very good audio quality are other significant assets.
But then why this feeling of frustration? Simply because the shortcomings of the Mi 10 are the same as those of the Mi 9 released last year: no waterproofing certification, no application drawer in MIUI and the camera is still perfectible. Problem: the Mi 10 costs 300 euros more than its predecessor when it came out. The account is not there Kevin!
Xiaomi Mi 10
Autonomy and recharging
8.5 / 10
- Neat design
- Breathtaking screen
- Performance worthy of the best
- Charging trio
- Good audio quality
We like less
- Not certified waterproof
- Still no app drawer
- Dramatic price increase