The Xiaomi Mi 10 has been unveiled, as Chinese phone maker Xiaomi looks to make more of a splash outside its home market. Xiaomi is still establishing itself in the UK — and it's not a presence at all in the US — and the Mi 10 could be a big step forward for the company.
Coming in standard, Pro and Lite variants, the Mi 10's main selling point is how much tech each handset has stuffed into it. But shoppers will notice how much less the different Mi 10 models cost compared to their premium rivals with comparable specs.
The Xiaomi Mi 10 was meant to be launched at MWC 2020, but since that was called off in the early stages of coronavirus outbreak, Xiaomi held a domestic Chinese launch instead, waiting until now to bring its new phones to Europe. Here's a breakdown of their key features, and why you might want to pick up one of these instead of splashing out on a Samsung Galaxy S20.
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Xiaomi Mi 10 specs
|Xiaomi Mi 10||Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro|
|Display||6.67-inch FHD (2340×1080) AMOLED, 90Hz||6.67-inch FHD (2340×1080) AMOLED, 90Hz|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865|
|Rear camera||108MP main, 13MP ultrawide, 2MP macro, 2MP depth sensor||Quad array: 108MP main, 20MP ultrawide, 12MP 2x optical telephoto, 8MP 10x hybrid telephoto|
|Battery||4,780 mAh||4,500 mAh|
|Charging||30W wired and wireless, with reverse wireless charging||50W wired, 30W wireless, with reverse wireless charging|
|Operating system||MIUI 11, based on Android 10||MIUI 11, based on Android 10|
|Colors||Twilight Grey, Coral Green||Solstice Grey, Alpine White|
|Size||162 x 74 x 8.96mm (6.4 x 2.9 x 0.35 inches)||162 x 74 x 8.96mm (6.4 x 2.9 x 0.35 inches)|
|Weight||208g (7.3 ounces)||208g (7.3 ounces)|
Xiaomi Mi 10 price and availability
The Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro are launching in various mainland European countries in early to mid April. There are no specific dates given for the UK yet, although that country will miss out on the Mi 10 Pro according to TechRadar. That's a strange decision since it's the more luxurious model, so we hope this decision will be reversed by Xiaomi in future. The budget Mi 10 Lite is being held back however, and will instead arrive in June.
There is no US carrier support for Xiaomi phones, but if you import them or find them for sale on an online auction site, you'll likely be able to use them as normal. Just make sure if you do this that the handset you're buying is compatible with the mobile signal bands that your chosen mobile carrier uses.
The price has only been given in euros so far: €799 ($880/£716 converted) or €899 ($990/£806) for the Mi 10, €999 ($1100/ £895) for the Mi 10 Pro, and €349 ($384/£312) for the Mi 10 Lite. Even when you do direct currency conversions, these are very reasonable asking prices compared to rivals like Samsung and Apple, particularly since all three Xiaomi phones are 5G compatible.
Xiaomi Mi 10 design
On the front of the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro, Xiaomi has changed the flat display panel with its pop-up selfie camera for a 6.67-inch punch-hole number with curved edges. The punch hole itself bears the adorable name of Tiny DotDisplay, and is set in the top-left edge of the display, which Xiaomi says is a better place for it to go than the center (where you'll find the camera on Samsung's Galaxy S20). That prevents your thumb from inadvertently covering up the punch-hole when you hold the phone sideways.
On the back of each phone, you have a vertical row of four cameras going down from the top left corner in a 3-plus-1 formation, with the flash sitting beneath them, along with a small Mi logo at the bottom center. It's fairly plain, but that just means you can enjoy the color options more.
The standard Mi 10 comes in two gloss options, either Twilight Grey or Coral Green. The Mi 10 Pro has two matte options, Solstice Grey and Alpine White. These two have a slightly different texture to their backs which also means fewer fingerprints and a firmer grip for the user, which is always welcome.
The Mi 10 Lite differs a little from both of these. The phone is slightly smaller, doesn't feature curved edges, and uses a waterdrop notch instead of a punch-hole. Its rear cameras are arranged in a square on the top left corner, with the flash built into the camera bump. You can get this version in three colors unique from the other two phones — either white, grey or green.
Xiaomi Mi 10 display
Both the standard and pro Xiaomi Mi 10 variants use the same 6.67-inch (2340×1080) FHD AMOLED display. It has a 90Hz refresh rate, which matches the Google Pixel 4, Huawei P40 Pro and OnePlus 7 Pro, but falls behind the 120Hz display on the Galaxy S20 series.
The Mi 10 Pro's screen also boasts a maximum brightness of 1200 nits (1120 on the Mi 10), and a high color accuracy, with a Delta-E measurement of less than 1.1. (The lower this number is the better.)
Xiaomi Mi 10 cameras
Both the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro have four rear cameras, but that's just about the only similarity in what you'll get from the two phones.
The Mi 10 features a 108MP main sensor with a 7-part lens and optical image stabilization (OIS), a 13MP ultra wide-angle lens, a 2MP macro lens and a 2MP depth sensor.
The Mi 10 Pro uses the same 108MP OIS-equipped main sensor (except with an 8-part lens), but then has a 20MP ultra wide-angle lens, a 12MP 2x optical zoom telephoto lens and a 8MP 10x hybrid zoom telephoto lens with OIS, which has a 50x maximum magnification of 50 times.
Both phones then round off their camera packages with the punch-hole mounted selfie camera, which contains a 20MP sensor.
The Mi 10 Lite hasn't had all its camera tech announced yet. We know it also has a quad camera setup on the back, with the headliner being a 48MP sensor, while on the front it has a 16MP selfie camera.
Xiaomi Mi 10 performance
Xiaomi has installed a Snapdragon 865 CPU and 8GB RAM in both versions of the Mi 10. Both phones also have a maximum storage option of 256GB, but the Mi 10 also comes in a 128GB version that costs less.
Whichever specs you get, you'll be running the phone on Xiaomi's MIUI 11, which is based on Android 10. Both phones also feature stereo speakers, which work properly either way up and are identical, unlike most smartphones which have a larger and smaller speaker, meaning the sound should be better balanced than other stereo smartphones like the iPhone 11 Pro or Galaxy S20 Ultra.
The Mi 10 Lite turns to a Snapdragon 765G CPU, a less powerful but still capable chip. We don't know the RAM or storage options for this phone yet, but we'll update this page once Xiaomi announces them.
All three phones contain an in-display fingerprint sensor for unlocking, which will hopefully be the same fast and accurate sensor we've seen on previous Xiaomi phones.
Xiaomi Mi 10 5G networking
The Snapdragon 865 chip found in the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro has 5G as default, and the Mi 10 Lite's Snapdragon 765G even has an integrated 5G modem. So all of these phones will be able to connect with 5G, where the faster networks are available.
Xiaomi Mi 10 battery life and charging
The capacity of the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro might confuse you at first glance. The Mi 10 has a larger 4,780mAh battery and the Mi 10 Pro a smaller 4,500 mAh battery. The reason Xiaomi gives for this is that the Mi 10 Pro gets better charging instead.
The Mi 10 can charge at a maximum of 30W, which is fairly respectable, going from an empty battery to 100% full in 65 minutes. However, the Mi 10 Pro can charge at 50W, which Xiaomi claims will fill the battery from empty in 45 minutes. Both the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro can wirelessly charge at 30W too, and can reverse wireless charge another phone or compatible accessories.
The Mi 10 comes with a 30W charger in the box, but the Mi 10 Pro includes a mighty 65W charger. This means you could in theory run your laptop or portable game console like the Nintendo Switch all off this single charging block, which could prove very useful if you're stuck for space in your bag.
The Mi 10 Lite contains a 4,160mAh battery capable of 20W fast charging. We don't know if this also comes with the same 30W charger in the box as the Mi 10, or if Xiaomi will only be providing this one with a 20W charger.
It's a great pity that Xiaomi phones are so hard to get a hold of in the US, since these phones would make for excellent Galaxy S20 rivals. The price of Xiaomi's latest phones is very competitive while still offering almost all of the same features as Samsung's own flagships.
There's likely a considerable number of users who aren't bothered with ultimate computing output or 120Hz refresh rates, but are curious to try out these fancy hi-res cameras and 5G networking. If you're a UK resident, or live in the US and fancy trying out some importing, then you should definitely give the Mi 10 series a look when you're looking for a new Android phone.