Getting to grips with the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro: OnePlus be warned

Getting to grips with the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro: OnePlus be warned

The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro has just been made official. A 108-megapixel camera, a Snapdragon 865, a 5,000 mAh battery, and a 144 Hz LCD display. More reasonable than the Mi 10 Pro or the Mi 9T Pro, yet it takes on the OnePlus 8 violently. Here are my first impressions of Xiaomi's latest smartphone for NextPit.

Good

  • A huge 108 MP main sensor
  • A very discreet hole punch
  • A 144 Hz LCD screen
  • A Snapdragon 865
  • MIUI 12
  • The 5,000 mAh battery

Bad

  • The photo module is too big
  • No dedicated telephoto lens
  • No wireless charging
  • MIUI 12 with ads
  • No IP certification

Who is the Xiaomi MI 10T Pro for?

The Xiaomi MI 10T Pro is available today in two memory configurations. The 8GB/128GB version costs €599 while the 8GB/256GB model is sold for €649. The smartphone is available in three colors: Cosmic Black, Lunar Silver, and Aurora Blue. The latter is only available for the most expensive 8GB/256GB version.

As I mentioned in the introduction of this initial hands-on review, you'll find all the key points of an ultra-premium smartphone here. The Snapdragon 865 is more than welcome. The triple photo module with its big 108-megapixel sensor is already luring me. And the 5,000 mAh battery promises to handle the hefty energy needed to power this 144 Hz display.

On paper, the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro is, therefore, better on price than the Mi 10 Pro and technically better than the Mi 9T Pro, which is still top of the smartphone comparisons in terms of price-to-performance ratio. But Xiaomi still delivers a nice slap in the face of OnePlus, as the OnePlus 8 is €100 more expensive than the basic Mi 10T Pro. Of course, we're waiting for the OnePlus 8T but I doubt it will drop at under €600.

So I'm really looking forward to testing the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro at length and am ready to put this testosterone-tested spec sheet and this very competitive price-to-performance ratio (for a premium model) to the test. I would therefore like to remind you that the positive and negative points listed here are ABSOLUTELY not the result of a test.

These are superficial first impressions that I report after playing around with the phone for only a few hours. No opinion is definitive and I can't comment on the actual quality of the different elements like the battery, the screen, or the performance.

The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro made a good first impression on me with...

Its triple 108MP photo module

Logically, I can't show you any pictures taken with the Xiaomi MI 10T Pro yet. But on paper alone, the big 108-megapixel main sensor makes me want to test the smartphone on the spot.

I remember the Xiaomi Mi Note 10, which was the first smartphone launched in Europe to carry a sensor with such a high resolution, ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.

NextPit Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro back
The Xiaomi MI 10T Pro's 108MP triple photo module. / © NextPit

To make a long story short, on the back of the smartphone is the triple photo module:

  • a 108 MP main sensor with a size of 1/1.33" and an aperture of F/1.69 with pixel bining (4 in 1 Super Pixel), 82° FOV and OIS (optical stabilization)
  • a 13 MP ultra-wide-angle sensor with a size of 1/3.06" and an aperture of F/2.4, a 123° FOV
  • a 5 MP macro sensor with a 1/5" size and F/2.4 aperture, 82° FOV and autofocus (2-10 cm from the subject)

The selfie camera features a 20-megapixel sensor with a size of 1/3.4" and an aperture of F/2.2 with 77.7° FOV and pixel bining technology.

On paper, the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro has almost everything to please photo fans. All that was missing is a dedicated telephoto lens to ensure the most versatile set of features possible. We can therefore expect digital magnification to rely on the high resolution of the main 108-megapixel sensor to trim and crop the image to apply the magnification. Hopefully, Xiaomi's software processing will limit the loss of detail.

Its 144 Hz LCD screen

Yeah, an LCD screen is a little heartbreaking on a flagship. But Xiaomi promises: "The Mi 10T Pro has one of the best LCD screens currently built into a smartphone."

The maximum luminosity of 650 nits promised by the manufacturer should ensure good legibility in all circumstances. On the other hand, it is to be feared that the contrast will be less compared to that of an AMOLED slab and that the reflectance rate may be more noticeable.

NextPit Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro screen
The LCD screen of the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro exchanges the AMOLED technology for the fluidity of the 144 Hz display. / © NextPit

The Xiaomi MI 10T Pro features a 6.67-inch panel with a refresh rate of 144 Hz. A feature that is currently only seen on gaming smartphones, for the most part. This refresh rate is obviously dynamic so it adapts to the use of the smartphone and the applications you open, switching between 60 and 144 Hz to preserve the battery.

To be honest, I have nothing against LCD screens. They are very good and I prefer a 144 Hz LCD to a 60 Hz AMOLED. But it's a personal choice, I admit. It only remains to be seen after a full test if the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro lives up to its promises on this point.

The Snapdragon 865

It's hard (but not impossible) to find an Android smartphone with a Snapdragon 865 under €600. Of course, I can't comment on the performance of the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro without having made a graphical benchmark or having mistreated it on resource-hungry games.

But it's always good news to find this SoC on an Android flagship, given its history on all the models we've tested so far. All that remains is to see how Xiaomi has thought about power management to limit thermal throttling and ensure consistent performance for as long as possible. I've also noticed the presence of a gaming mode to optimize game performance.

NextPit Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro usb
The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro comes with the Snapdragon 865 for less than €600. / © NextPit

Xiaomi did not give details of its internal cooling system. In any case, the processor and its Adreno 660 GPU coupled with 8GB of LPDDR 5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage promise good performance both on paper and in-game.

Finally, I won't comment on the battery since other than celebrating that it has a good 5,000 mAh charging capacity there's not much else to say without testing it. On the other hand, I would like to point out that fast charging is done at 33 Watts, which is not exceptional in 2020. A small downer is that there's no wireless charging.

The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro gave me a bad first impression due to...

Its overly prominent photo module

What is striking when looking at the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro from the back is the size of the rear photo module. Not only does the large 108-megapixel main sensor stare at you like the eye of Sauron, but the rectangular island in which the three lenses are placed stands out from the back of the phone a lot.

It's a big photo module, or rather a thick one. When you put the smartphone down flat, it wobbles around a lot. But it gives the smartphone a rather peculiar, almost humanizing look. I know it's dumb and probably absurd, and I have an annoying tendency to like "ugly" smartphones like the Vivo X50 Pro. But I can totally understand how a Cyclops eye on the back of a smartphone can put off a lot of people.

NextPit Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro side
The photo module of the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro stands out a lot in relief. / © NextPit

The lack of a dedicated telephoto lens

My German colleague Stefan, much more erudite than me, has already devoted a whole guide to understand how a telephoto lens is not essential to have a quality zoom. Even if it is a plus in most cases.

But I regret that the photo module of the Xiaomi MI 10T is not as versatile as it could be. I hope that the smartphone will change my mind and that its zoom by 'recroping' images captured in 108 megapixels will work well as expected, limiting the loss of details.

But I can't help but think that a telephoto lens would have been preferable to a macro sensor, even if for once we don't end up with a macro with a ridiculous resolution of 2 megapixels but 5 megapixels.

MIUI 12 with ads

There's been a lot of talk about MIUI 12. The hype around Xiaomi's new overcoat was real when it was introduced last May. So the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro benefits from the new interface. The animations are fluid and the customization and management options are quite rich.

I haven't been able to test the Super Wallpapers, those animated desktop wallpapers. But, to my surprise, wandering through the system settings to change my wallpaper, I got an ad for a mobile game while installing the new wallpaper.

The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro that we received at NextPit comes from Xiaomi's communication team in Germany and the smartphone is obviously under European or global ROM. So I can't explain these ads in the system settings since I thought that Europe was still preserved from this infamous business model.

Conclusion: my first impressions

The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro is slightly better than its predecessor the Mi 9T Pro. But its spec sheet still promises to put a good kick in the anthill that is the smartphone market at under €600.

It's a direct competitor to the OnePlus 8 and, oddly enough, the Poco F2 Pro... also produced by Xiaomi. If we put aside this internal inconsistency, we can agree that on paper, the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro offers a more than interesting price-to-performance ratio for a premium smartphone.

The 108-megapixel camera, the Snapdragon 865, and the 144 Hz LCD screen are obviously the key features of the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro and the ones I'm most looking forward to testing in detail. The ads in MIUI 12, on the other hand, give me a very bad feeling about this smartphone that I want to enjoy.

Anyway, I'll see you soon for a full test of the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro. In the meantime, do not hesitate to tell me what you think of this model in the comments.

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