At the start of the year, Xiaomi made a worrying shift. With his Mi 10 Pro at 999 euros and its Mid 10 at 799 euros, the Chinese brand that we knew until then for its extremely competitive prices had suddenly decided to go upmarket … even if it meant betraying its early fans. These devices were indeed successful, in our opinion they did not have enough arguments vis-à-vis their predecessors to justify such an increase in prices. We are still disappointed.
A few months later, with the Christmas holidays approaching, Xiaomi is back with a much more attractive Mi 10T range. Marketed for 569 euros (in 128 GB) or 599 euros (in 256 GB), the Mi 10T Pro returns to the fundamentals of the Chinese brand. We tested this smartphone with high-end equipment for ten days.
An imposing smartphone
The Mi 10T Pro is not for fans of compact smartphones. Heavy at 218 grams and almost a centimeter thick (9.33 mm), this mobile is one of the plumpest on the market. It’s impossible not to realize this once the Mi 10T Pro is in hand, even if, strangely, this overweight also has some advantages. The back of the device is rounded and perfectly conforms to the curves of the hand, which is quite pleasant to use. We advise you to go try it in store before buying it, just to make sure that its size will not make handling difficult.
To unlock the Mi 10T Pro, you can use the fingerprint sensor hidden in the device’s lock button, on its right border. As is often the case with this kind of device, right-handed people are favored. The thumb of the right hand hits the right spot, while the index finger of the left hand requires a few twists to reach the sensor. Fortunately, a facial recognition system can also be configured.
Finally, let’s talk about the design adopted by the back of the Mi 10T Pro. Some will like it, others will hate. In all subjectivity, we rather belong to the second category. The smartphone camera module protrudes enormously, which prevents the smartphone from standing well on a table. Pressing one side of the screen flips it over while its main sensor looks like a Cyclops eye. It lacks elegance, especially since the shiny glass used by the manufacturer takes too much fingerprints. We knew Xiaomi more applied in terms of design.
144 Hz screen and … LCD, the big difference
The Mi 10T Pro is a great smartphone. Measuring 6.67 inches diagonally, its screen features an adaptive refresh rate of 144 Hz, a first for a consumer mobile, this technology being usually reserved for “gaming” models. In use, this allows for an incredible fluidity of navigation in the applications. When necessary, the number of images per second is more than doubled compared to a mobile with a conventional refresh screen (60 Hz). When it is not, the device reduces its refresh rate to preserve battery life.
In use, it is simply impossible not to see the difference, especially since the system animations of MIUI 12, Xiaomi’s software overlay, are really successful. Everything seems to go fast on this smartphone. We are a fan of this screen!
To manage to keep the price of its smartphone low, while achieving such a level of fluidity, Xiaomi unfortunately had to choose to replace the OLED technology that it usually uses for its smartphone screens with LCD. The contrast ratio of the screen of this Mi 10T Pro is 1375: 1, which degrades the display quality when watching dark content. Its maximum brightness, on the other hand, is very generous (601 cd / m2) and the colors are correct. Indeed, if by default, we noted an average color fidelity, with a Delta E of 3.97, it is much better by opting for the “original color” mode in the settings. The Delta E is then only 1.29. This is also one of the advantages of LCD, colors are more often true to life than OLED.
For a price of over 500 euros, we would have liked Xiaomi to opt for OLED anyway. LCD panels are becoming increasingly rare in the smartphone market, with OLED having really become more popular over the years. The novice user will not see any problem, the technophile will be more upset.
A truly high-end equipment …
Featuring Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 processor, the Mi 10T Pro has been spoiled by Xiaomi. This smartphone is super powerful and does everything you need very easily. Without being incredible, its stereo speakers are powerful, the vibration motor of the device is satisfactory and, not surprisingly, the smartphone is 5G compatible. Too bad not being able to expand its storage space by Micro SD, which prompts us to recommend that you take the best-off model with 256 GB of storage (599 euros), especially for only 30 euros more.
… but invasive software
On the other hand, if we can only welcome the animations of MIUI 12, the overlay of Xiaomi is disappointing in some ways. Too many applications are preinstalled (we counted 27 without taking into account those of Google), the interface modeled on that of iOS does not make much sense on an Android mobile (the notification center on the left, the center control on the right) and, above all, Xiaomi continues to conceal advertisements in the system. Whenever you install an application, there is always a “Xiaomi anti-virus” that launches to scan the content of the software being installed. The latter takes the opportunity to pass you a little advertisement … This practice is already limited to 200 euros, even more to almost 600 euros.
The Mi 10T Pro’s 5,000mAh battery allowed it to withstand our versatile battery life at 5:25 pm, a pretty incredible result for a 5G smartphone. We imagine that the screen is not refreshed at 144 Hz continuously (it would be too energy intensive) and that the brand has developed an algorithm similar to that of the latest Galaxy Note 20 from Samsung. The latter allows the smartphone to automatically adapt its refresh rate to the content being broadcast to, for example, return to 60 Hz when it is not necessary to go higher. The autonomy of the smartphone is thus preserved.
In video streaming, the 3:24 hours that the Mi 10T Pro withstood are also formidable. This device is perfect for Netflix lovers. We only had to plug it in once every two days.
To recharge the smartphone, it takes 1h05 with the 33W charger provided in the box. A good result given the very high capacity battery.
A good photo smartphone
On the back of the Mi 10T Pro, there is a triple camera module. The main sensor of the device is the most impressive with a resolution of 108 Mpix and a size of 1 / 1.33 inch. This is the same system as the one on the Mi 10 Pro (sold for 999 euros) and which is based on a pixel-binning (four pixels merge into one to improve sharpness, resulting in 32 Mpix images). The lens opens at f / 1.69, which allows for satisfactory night shots. We also have a second ultra-wide-angle camera attached to a 13 Mpix sensor and a third macro module (5 Mpix sensor). The Mi 10T Pro unfortunately does not have an optical zoom. Xiaomi reserves this feature for its more expensive devices.
Overall, the Mi 10T Pro is doing well. This smartphone is not one of the best in the photo market, but delivers a very decent quality for its price. The colors are sometimes a little cold, the device has some difficulty at night, but we are far from disaster. There are still some sharpness defects in the background, a problem common to 108 Mpix sensors. If the Mi 10T Pro does not reach the level of a Google Pixel or a Huawei P40 pro, it will still not disappoint its user.