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Xiaomi Mi 10i 5G Review – More Than Impressive

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By Akhil Kapoor - 
4th Feb 2021
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Xiaomi Mi 10i
Review Summary

Xiaomi Mi 10i is an excellent phone at a budget in India with a blend of more than an average processor, a colossal battery, a giant display, and a good set of cameras for all your multimedia needs. On the flip side, the device is simply too huge and bulky, Xiaomi doesn’t keep it much updated when it comes to Android updates although MIUI updates are released almost every week. Not to forget, it is MIUI and it is still bulky, heavyweight, and full of ads.

PROS
  • 120Hz display in the budget
  • NFC support
  • 5G capable
  • Presence of headphone jack
  • Improved camera
CONS
  • Absence of 256GB storage variant
  • Front design is now getting old
Key Specs
Battery Capacity
Battery Capacity
4820 mAh
Operating System
Operating System
Android v10 (Q)
Screen Size
Screen Size
6.67 inches
Highlights:
  • Yes
  • Corning Gorilla Glass v5
  • 4820 mAh
  • Android v10 (Q)
Introduction - Perfect All Rounder

Xiaomi’s Mi 10 series is epic with a lot of devices to have a glimpse at. One such device is the Xiaomi Mi 10i where the ‘i’ literally means impressive although not in every front. The device comes with a good blend of cameras, a processor, and other specs, and that too at a price tag of sub-30,000/- in India which is a big deal. The device does share a resemblance to its series as well as Redmi Note 9 Pro Max and Poco X3 and guess what, it is a rebranded version of the Chinese Redmi Note 9 Pro 5G. We tried it for a few days to check how it actually fairs practically since its specs are great on paper. Here’s more about it that you can read along.

Prices in India, Variants, Availability

About the pricing for Xiaomi Mi 10i in India, the device fetches a price tag of Rs 20,999/- for its 6GB+64GB variant although it is not up for sale yet and interested buyers will have to wait for its availability. The 6GB+128GB is available in India at just Rs 21,999/- which is a much better deal for twice as much storage. Spend around Rs 2,000/- more and you get a larger 8GB+128GB trim at Rs 23,999/-. Available colours are Pacific Sunrise, Atlantic Blue, and Midnight Black. With the pricing, Xiaomi has undercut OnePlus’ affordable OnePlus Nord but there’s more.

Box Contents

Xiaomi Mi 10i box contents include the standard accessories in the box:

  • Mi 10i 8GB + 128GB in Pacific Sunrise colour.
  • 33W charger
  • USB Type C Cable.
  • SIM Ejector tool.
  • Clear protective Case.
  • Screen protector (Pre-installed)
  • User guide.
Specs at a glance

Before we talk in detail about Xiaomi Mi 10i 5G, let’s have a quick look at the key specifications. 

  • Display: 16.9 centimeters (6.67-inch) FHD+ Full screen dot display with AdaptiveSync 120Hz refresh rate
  • Processor: Octa-core Snapdragon 750G with 5G
  • Storage:6GB+128GB, 8GB+128GB
  • Software: MIUI 12 based on Android 10
  • Rear cameras: 108MP (main) + 8MP (ultra wide-angle) + 2MP (macro) + 2MP (depth)
  • Selfie camera: 16MP In-Display Camera
  • Battery: 4820 mAh, 33W fast charging
  • Build: Corning Gorilla Glass 5, IP53 Rating
  • Weight: 214.5 g
  • Dimensions: 165.4 x 76.8 x 9 mm

Now, let’s move ahead and see what makes the Xiaomi Mi 10i 5G truly impressive.

Design and Build - Finally A Great Job

I must say Xiaomi did a good job with the Pacific Sunrise colour variant on-board the Mi 10i although it bears a close resemblance to the Poco X3 and Redmi Note 9 Pro Max among others. The rear has a circular camera bump right at the centre on the upper portion with Mi branding at the bottom and that’s pretty much it. The phone doesn’t shimmer if you have bought yourself a Pacific Sunrise colour variant which is currently on top of everyone’s mind. The paint job is great and it trickles down to the side frame as well.

At the front, you’ll get a huge display with a punch-hole cut-out to the left corner and that’s the only thing that’s obstructing the otherwise huge display size at 6.67-inches. I am repeating it once again, Xiaomi apparently used the same designs like that of Poco X3 to make the Mi 10i so that’s pretty much what you will have to cope up with if you decide to go forward with it.

The rear panel is matte and that takes away any smudges and fingerprints that would otherwise ruin its look for sure. The phone is also IP53 rated which adds to its USP as it can withstand a few splashes and that too while staying in warranty in case something goes awry although read the precautionary instructions before deciding to test it. The phone comes with a plastic build with front Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and the rear is protected with the same along with the raised up camera bump.

It weighs 214 grams and it is something a bulky phone to hold as the weight distribution isn’t that balanced. Although, with the sheer size almost at 7-inches, you need two fingers to use it instead of trying a one-handed operation that may be too much of a hassle. The right side has a volume rocker along with an FPS that doubles as a power button. At the bottom, you get a 3.5mm headphone jack, a loudspeaker, and a Type-C port.

Display - LCD Display Backed By 120Hz

When it comes to display technology, Xiaomi Mi 10i 5G in India is using a 6.67-inch IPS LCD panel with a resolution of 1080×2400 pixels. It has a 395 PPI density and it is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for esteem protection against both scratches and falls. The display has a 120Hz refresh rate which is a major UP side although the limited 450 nits of typical brightness is a letdown.

The LCD panel mounted on Xiaomi Mi 10i is taken from its sibling Mi 10T Pro although it is of slightly inferior quality. It has an AdaptiveSync feature that actively switches between 30Hz, 48Hz, 50Hz, 60Hz, 90Hz, and the highest 120Hz in response to the content being played or viewed. The display supports HDR10+ content and supports HD streaming and finally, it is TUV Rheinland certified which is good for your eyes as it emits lower blue light.

Since the HD streaming support is available thanks to the Widevine L1 certification, you can stream HD unlimited on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video all you want. The display has good viewing angles without any apparent colour shift issues but the contrast was good and the display itself is on point with its price tag.

The brightness might seem less as we mentioned above but practically, the phone stands a chance to be used even in broad daylight which is a major plus. But hey, don’t compare it with OLED panels in any type, way, or form. Being an LCD panel, the display does have some shortcomings as the blacks aren’t that black and the colours aren’t that vibrant but overall, it is a good-quality LCD panel.

The display is large enough to double as a mini theatre at home. The higher refresh rates add to the USP as it lets you play intensive games at a higher refresh rate while scrolling through the apps and the device is buttery soft thanks to the adaptive 120Hz rate.

Performance - As Mid Range As You Would Expect

Under the hood, you will find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G chipset roaring almost like the SD765 mounted on OnePlus Nord. It is clocked at a max 2.2GHz and comes with an Adreno 619 GPU that takes the charge of processing graphics on the device. It has 64/128GB of UFS 2.2 storage although only the latter is available in India at the time of writing this. You get 6GB and 8GB RAM options to pick as well. The device doesn’t have a dedicated microSD slot but uses a hybrid dual SIM slot so either a second SIM card or you can try upscaling its storage.

I tried some gaming like Asphalt 9: Legends and turns out the processor can take it too without any hassle. It toggles between various refresh rates automatically which is a good feature as it makes scrolling easier and smoother while games take the advantage of its higher refresh rates.

Software - Bloatware Still Exists

Paired with MIUI 12 on top, the Snapdragon 750G does perform on par when compared to Snapdragon 765G although it is slightly compromised. The MIUI 12 is considered a heavy custom UI but it doesn’t lag a bit. I didn’t see the system struggling to access multiple apps at once and juggling between them is not that hard on the processor as well. MIUI 12 does have a lot of bloatware that you will have to handle which we guess is the way Xiaomi keeps the price tag on its devices lower.

 

Cameras - Definitely Improved

Xiaomi Mi 10i 5G sports a quad-camera setup at the back arranged in a 2×2 arrangement in a circular shaped camera bump right at the centre of the back panel. It sports a 108MP primary sensor with f/1.8 aperture, 0.7micrometer pixel size, PDAF; an 8MP ultrawide with the 120-degrees field of view with f/2.2 aperture, 1.12micrometer pixel size; a 2MP macro sensor, and a 2MP depth sensor with an aperture of f/2.4.

At the front, you will get a 16MP shooter with f/2.5 aperture, 1.0micrometer pixel size housed on a punch-hole sensor at the centre.

The primary sensor is the world’s most advanced 108MP snapper and uses a 9-in-1 pixel binning technique to create images that are great in terms of details, contrast, white balance, good dynamic range, and more. The images that we captured turned out to be a little sharp but the sensor didn’t fail to capture higher details.

The primary sensor can zoom in to details but there’s no HDR support here. You can use the primary sensor for better nighttime photography given the fact that the sensor is humongous in size. In fact, the pictures came out sharp and bright but only if you use a tripod, capturing handheld shots would blur the photo a lot. The portrait shots are on point with excellent edge detection.

Next up, we have an 8MP ultra-wide-angle snapper with a 120-degree field of view and it also captures excellent photos. The snapper retains all the details although you could lose it if you zoom in further. Then, we have a macro sensor that takes shots of subjects from just a few centimetres.

Talking about the videography, the device can capture videos at 4K at 60fps while you can yank up the frame rate to 960fps at 720p resolution. Both primary and ultra-wide angle sensors can take excellent videos but you cannot switch between the two during recording.

Finally, the front punch-hole cut-out has a 16MP sensor which too takes excellent shots retaining a good amount of details. You also get HDR on-board and portrait shots as well with above-average edge detection. That’s pretty much a lot of details that you need to know about the Xiaomi Mi 10i 5G.

Battery - Just Right

Under the hood, you get a wholesome 4,820 mAh Li-Po battery that powers the device through the thick and thin. Xiaomi Mi 10i 5G was able to keep the phone afloat for a good two days on mixed light to moderate usage. When it comes to heavy usage with a mix of texting, calling, browsing, and watching videos (and others), it could easily give me a day and half of battery life at max on my best day but that’s on 4G. If you turn on 5G, the battery life would reduce so expect an entire day on mix usage with 5G.

The device comes along with a 33W fast charger that juices up the battery to 100 per cent in just under an hour. A mere 30 minutes of charging could give me 68 per cent of battery life.

Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics

There’s a bottom-firing loudspeaker (at the bottom, of course) but hey, Mi 10i has a stereo speakers setup i.e., the earpiece acts as a second speaker creating a stereo experience. This does give you a fully immersive gaming and movie viewing experience. Plus, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack too that you can use to plug and play your earphones or headphones.

What you get with Xiaomi Mi 10i 5G are connectivity features like various GPS systems including Indian NavIC, Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.1,  and with sub-6GHz 5G networks as well as the usual 2G, 3G, and 4G bands at its side.  Above all, Xiaomi keeps its devices updated with new features via future software updates so hang on, you will get more soon.

Talking about the fingerprint sensor, it is quite narrow and placed on the right side that would cause left-handed users a bit of awkwardness. Then, we have a face recognition system, and setting it up is a piece of cake. But Xiaomi warns that it is not that secure when compared to pattern and PIN locks that are available as well since a photo can unlock the phone which we guess is truly awful for users who are very privacy-centric.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • 120Hz display in the budget
  • NFC support
  • 5G capable
  • Presence of headphone jack
  • Impressive camera compared to other mid-range segment devices

Cons:

  • Absence of 256GB storage variant
  • Front design is now getting old
Verdict
At the end of the day, interested buyers will have to tally the pros and cons before buying it. Xiaomi Mi 10i is an excellent phone at a budget in India with a blend of more than an average processor, a colossal battery, a giant display, and a good set of cameras for all your multimedia needs. On the flip side, the device is simply too huge and bulky, Xiaomi doesn’t keep it much updated when it comes to Android updates although MIUI updates are released almost every week. Not to forget, it is MIUI and it is still bulky, heavyweight, and full of ads. Hopefully, this will get you clues on whether you want to buy or wait for something else to arrive.


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