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Xiaomi Mi 10 5G review: Is the monster 108MP camera worth it?

Xiaomi Mi 10 5G smartphone in coral green   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

Reviewing smartphones during the lockdown is one of the signs of some normalcy, but the exercise itself requires a bit more resourcefulness with your work-from-home surroundings to get a good idea of the device’s function.

Specifications
  • Dimensions & weight: 162.58mm x 74.8mm x 8.96mm; 208g
  • Display & brightness: 16.94cm (6.67) 3D Curved E3 AMOLED Display; Screen Size: 1080 x 2340 FHD+; Curved AMOLED; 1120 nits of peak brightness
  • Rear camera: 108MP ultra-clear primary sensor, 1/1.33 inch large sensor size, OIS, 1.6 micrometres, 4-in-1 Super Pixels, f/1.69 aperture, 7P lens; 13MP ultra wide-angle, Up to 123° FoV, f/2.4 aperture; 2MP depth sensor, f/2.4 aperture; 2MP macro lens, f/2.4 aperture
  • Battery & charging: 4780mAh built-in rechargeable battery; USB Type-C Charging Port; Upto 10W wireless reverse charging

As lockdowns ease up across India, smartphone brands have unleashed an avalanche of products, waiting to find a home and ecosystem in which to thrive. That said, due to this market influx, getting a clear picture of devices’ functions is quite important.

And now, we decode whether the Mi 10, Xiaomi’s latest flagship, is one of the smartphones worth a second look.

Unboxing the Xiaomi Mi 10 is a breeze — no fussy components with the packaging itself. My review device was the coral green variety, a pretty oceanic hue which pretty much begs for no case to hinder that mermaid reflection on the back. It, however, felt far too slippery for my liking; some users may lean into this purely for that sheen of high class inferred from this design choice, but whenever I held the Mi 10, I did grasp onto it a little tighter than I would my normal phone.

At a little over 200 grams, the Mi 10 is a bit of a hefty phone too, not one for pocket placements. The design, however, is not anything remarkably different or new.

Xiaomi Mi 10 5G review: Is the monster 108MP camera worth it?

I decided to forego the provided case, which comes with the box, and not baby the device as I had to test the durability of the screen and backglass. Verdict? The Mi 10 is quite tough. Powered by Snapdragon 865 with MIUI 11, the device is a fast one for nimble fingers, especially during gaming, be it a lazy session of Pokemon GO or the more aggressive PUBG.

I wish that the installed Mi apps were easily removable; you cannot help but feel there is a slew of unused apps lingering on your device for the foreseeable future.

With a 90Hz refresh rate at HDR10+, expect your battery life to not last as long as you would like. Despite the added dynamic metadata to the HDR signal in Mi 10, I was pleasantly surprised that this did not make a dramatic difference. (Fun fact: HDR10+ was created by Samsung but looks like Xiaomi has made this royalty-free format their own, if the Mi 10 display is anything to go by.)

Representative image of the Xiaomi Mi 10 5G’s gaming session

Representative image of the Xiaomi Mi 10 5G’s gaming session   | Photo Credit: Xiaomi

However, for this flagship, Xiaomi could have stepped up the refresh rate, given 2019 itself offered up 120Hz refresh rates. It is worth noting the device comes with a 180Hz sampling rate for better sensitivity, so gameplay feels more smooth and responsive with literally no lags.

Despite the Mi 10’s claims to have an advanced VC Cooling system — featuring a sizeable vapour chamber surface area — the device kept heating up in my hand to an uncomfortable degree. This happened during and after charging as well, be it through the USB-C charging cord or the Xiaomi Mi 30W Wireless Charger, the latter being a must-have for any Redmi or Xiaomi phone-holder because this will change up your battery game for sure.

Xiaomi’s Mi 10 5G charging on the Mi 30W Wireless Charger

Xiaomi’s Mi 10 5G charging on the Mi 30W Wireless Charger   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

Temperature surges aside, I was able to get almost 12 hours of solid battery life before I was reminded to charge.

Speaking of the Mi 30W Wireless Charger — another new new addition to the Xiaomi ecosystem — there are a few reasons why one should invest in this. With all the long-haul video-calling happening during these work-from-home days, the charger is extremely helpful in doubling up as a battery life maintainer. Selling for ₹2,299, this is a great add-on, but do not expect it to charge other brand phones as quickly as it does for its own devices, which is expected. I just hope future upgrades of this gadget come in black.

The lens has it

Now, onto the camera system. Xiaomi’s Mi 10 boasts a complex rear camera system and it lives up to the hype. The 108MP quad camera looks a bit bulky and physically weighs the device a bit unevenly — as do the camera systems of the latest smartphones these days — but not as much as others. Whether you are playing around with Portrait selfies or macro photography, the Mi 10 learns how to bring the best of a subject forward.

Xiaomi Mi 10 5G’s Night Mode

Xiaomi Mi 10 5G’s Night Mode   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

The 108MP camera, intelligent with light distribution without interfering with the subject’s integrity, takes pictures worth printing. There is not too much sharpness and the resolution is impressive, letting you zoom in with considerable ease.

The Night Mode 2.0 on the Mi 10 is mesmeric. The Pro mode also shines here, letting you play with ISO and aperture at will to create some memorable and moody photos. So when taking photos of a low-lit lockdown birthday party, those resulting images will still have a touch of the professional.

Though Xiaomi may have let the ball drop on some features in the Mi 10 5G — which could have been a hot-seller and thus justifying the ₹49,999 price tag — there may already be keen buyers for the Mi 10 5G purely for the camera. But we would recommend banking for the line-up of other Xiaomi smartphones for 2020.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 2:08:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/gadgets/xiaomi-mi-10-5g-smartphone-review-is-the-108-mp-camera-worth-the-50k-price-tag/article31778457.ece

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