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Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro review: By two different Pro users

Two different nations, one phone

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2020 has been flooded by smartphones of all kinds — budget, midrange, premium flagships, flagship killers, you name ’em. But what makes the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro a new breed of its own? Well, aside from the fact that it packs the flagship-tier Snapdragon 865 chipset and a great amount of fast internals, it costs less than both a flagship and a “flagship killer”.

Some (or most) might know that GadgetMatch has writers from different parts of the globe. In this review, Vincenz, our Creative Producer from the Philippines, and Shivam, our India Correspondent, went all out in testing and making the Mi 10T Pro their daily smartphone for more than two months. It’s safe to say that both users maximized the usage of this phone.

To make this experience more reliable, both users also tried last year’s predecessors: Vincenz with his Xiaomi Mi 9T and Mi 9T Pro reviews, while Shivam with the Indian variant Redmi K20 and K20 Pro.

Without further a do, let’s hear what they have to say about Xiaomi’s latest Mi-T series phone.

How does the Mi 10T Pro feel in hand?

Shivam: The first thing you’ll notice about the phone is its weight, and at 218gms, it does feel like you’re holding a brick. The 108-megapixel sensor requires a lot of space and it’s evident with the massive bump. You’d often get tired while playing intensive games like PUBG Mobile, but thankfully the rounded corners and slightly curved edges provide some grip.

It’s also quite obvious that Xiaomi has tried to cut corners in the design department. The back of the phone does feel a little flimsy, but that’s visible only if you try to find the spot. As a flagship, in-hand feel is the only department where the phone feels underwhelming.

Vincenz: My first time holding it reminded me of the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite I reviewed months ago because of its thickness and heft. With all the 2020 smartphones I reviewed, this one is just a tad heavier and thicker for my liking.

The comfortable “hand-feeling” isn’t as great as when I held the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and the vivo V20 Pro, but this is better than the super slim and lightweight form of the Galaxy S20+ which felt so fragile as it might slip out of my hand any time.

However, in a country where you have to remain vigilant about pickpockets, that added heft is a good factor to know that you have your phone safe in your pocket.

Any rants about its design?

Vincenz: Two things: First, I don’t like how they added another circle just to make it “symmetrical” — which can fool a lot of consumers into thinking it has four cameras and a flash module.  Second, I’m not a fan of that glass back.

Again, based from my review experience, vivo’s V20 Pro has a matte glass back which looks and feels nice. It also lessens those icky fingerprint smears whenever you use it with bare hands. Not good when little kids (cousins, niece, or nephews) are around and they want to play with your phone.

Slapping on a good case would be handy but it would make the phone even thicker. Other than those two concerns, the Mi 10T Pro is still  good-looking.

Shivam: When I saw the phone for the first time, it reminded me of the Mi A3. It was a classic Android One phone that focused on software and incorporated decent hardware. The back of the Mi 10T Pro looks very similar to the two-year-old phone. A simple glass slab on a greyish metal surface. We’re habituated with new designs from Xiaomi, so this one seemed monotonous.

And like all glass phones, this one is prone to fingerprints and smudges. No matter how much you try, the back will always remain blemished. The sides of the camera module also attract a lot of dirt and gunk that can get difficult to remove. Lastly, the weight and glass back make the phone very slippery, in turn, also delicate. As Vincenz said, you can always opt for a case, but that’ll just add more weight and thickness.

Would you rather: Pick last year’s AMOLED display vs IPS-LCD as long as you keep that fast refresh rate?

Shivam: I feel Xiaomi did the perfect thing by ditching an AMOLED display. The phone has a massive edge in terms of pricing and that’s achievable due to these changes. And, the step-back doesn’t hinder the day-to-day experience.

While there’s no doubt that an LCD display can never produce the blacks or contrast like an AMOLED one, the Mi 10T Pro’s panel has very bright and saturated colors, excellent contrast, and decent viewing angles. I’ve always preferred an AMOLED display personally, but I shifted to this phone for two months without feeling unsatisfied.

Once you use a 144Hz phone, going back to a standard 60Hz display is going to be challenging. The smoothness is very easily evident and you’ll notice it more if you read long PDFs or multitask too often. As a work partner, the refresh rate does bring a consistent flow that’s certainly addictive. In a nutshell, yes, I’m totally fine with an LCD display as long as it’s top-notch and brings higher refresh rates!

Vincenz: Kind of a tough question for me. I’m a creative so I want the best possible display in most (if not all) of the devices I use. I’d still pick the Mi 9T Pro’s AMOLED display because I want those deep blacks plus better colors and contrast for my viewing pleasure. In this country where sun rays and air pollution are harsh, going outside means your screen should be visible enough for use. I kind of suffered with the Mi 10T Pro’s IPS-LCD while trying to use this phone in direct sunlight.

Although it has a 144Hz refresh rate, I’ll simply ditch it over a 60Hz AMOLED one because that buttery-smooth experience is only seen when navigating and scrolling but can’t be maximized yet due to limitations of most smartphone games.

Is it great for multimedia use?

Jeon Heejin is a gift from all Gods

Vincenz: Despite not having an AMOLED display, I still enjoy watching on this smartphone. Whether I use Netflix or YouTube, I still love that fullscreen experience with a small hindrance of the punch-hole cutout. If there wasn’t a pandemic, I’m pretty sure most jeepney and bus commuters in Metro Manila would glare and stare at your phone because of how immersive and borderless it looks.

Although I use my AirPods and Galaxy Buds+ more often when watching and listening, that stereo speaker is still commendable and loud enough for those ultra-loud sessions inside your house.

Shivam: This is where you won’t even realize it’s an LCD display (unless you’re in pitch black darkness). Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, and all other streaming services look like a treat, and thanks to the massive battery, you never have to worry about juice. The screen is almost bezel-less and even the chin is quite small.

The onboard speaker is loud enough and perfect for conference calls. The microphone is sensitive enough, so if you’re too tired of earbuds after a long day, just shift to the phone. To be honest, I miss the headphone jack. I prefer wired headphones while I’m home and it’s a feature that’s available on all Xiaomi phones in the mid and budget segment, so why not the Mi 10T Pro?

Are you an in-display fingerprint reader-type of guy or are you satisfied with its side-mounted scanner?

Shivam: I was about to say that thanks to an LCD display, they were forced to go for a physical sensor. And, it’s a very good thing. The in-display sensors are slower than traditional ones and I usually can’t operate them due to humid weather (sweaty hands) or greasy hands (DIY projects). The location of the fingerprint scanner is on the right side and you automatically get used to it within a few minutes. Much faster and convenient.

In-display fingerprint scanners were a fantasy for the longest of time. But they’re here now, we’ve used them for well over two years, and none of them are close to replacing an ordinary physical companion. Some things, like the 3.5mm headphone jack, are immortal.

Vincenz: I’m definitely the side-mounted-type of guy. Other than the fact that it’s fast for unlocking (trust me, my experience with In-Display FPs are just that slow), I just like how its ergonomically-placed on the side of the phone. You can even unlock it with wet fingers 💦  (not advisable for super wet conditions since this isn’t IP-rated).

Will the spec-obsessed enjoy its real-world performance? Thoughts on MIUI 12?

Vincenz: I already said in my previous reviews that I’m both an Apple and an Android user. MIUI is loveable for me as it has some of the goodies I love from iOS such as the lack of a separate app drawer and the overall response and feel. MIUI 12 felt more familiar with its new Control Center, yet still flexible and intuitive with its host of UI features, gestures, and other easter eggs hidden in the basket.

I know the pandemic has turned a lot of Filipinos into gamers and streamers. If you’re one of them, consider this phone as a great recommendation. Can you imagine a flagship-grade performance with this beast? Let’s scrap out those pesky spec sheet and benchmarks. I was able to play graphics-intensive games like Asphalt 9, Call of Duty: Mobile (CoDM), PUBG and do multitasking with socials on the side without any slouch.

Shivam: MIUI has come a long way in the last few years and the skin works for everyone. It’s loaded to the brim with day-to-day features and it has found a balance. Unlike Samsung’s Note series, it isn’t very complicated to use, and feature discoverability has improved leaps and bounds. The settings menu has a plethora of micro options that customize your experience at each step. Once you get the phone, just take an hour to browse the settings menu and you’ll be fine.

The flagship processor stands true to its words and works like a charm. The one thing I appreciate the most is, the processor and display work together without a glitch, delivering a pleasing 144Hz experience. Whether it’s basic UI graphics or intensive gaming, the phone can handle anything. The RAM optimization is spot-on and it can store multiple apps for hours in the background seamlessly. While the phone looks boring from the outside, it’s equally interesting and assuring from the inside.

Also, I’d like to point out that India is a very specification-obsessed market and the flagship processor makes it very easy to recommend this phone. Even though you’ll barely see a difference in terms of day-to-day performance between the Snapdragon 865 and Snapdragon 765, the psychological satisfaction is enormous.

Did the 5,000mAh battery last you that long?

Shivam: It always lasted more than a day. On a very intense day, it’ll provide screen time of more than nine hours on a single charge. That’s a LOT! And you shouldn’t even be using your phone that much in a day. The phone showed its true capability when I was traveling for a day in low network areas and it still managed to retain 40 percent at 5PM with Google Maps and Spotify switched on.

Vincenz: Hell yeah! Speaking as a hardcore pro user, I was able to last ’til the end of the day with socials, gaming, listening, watching, and even photo-taking. If you’re thinking about buying this phone because of its large battery size, you will not regret your purchase because of its great battery endurance.

What about charging speeds? Are they as fast as advertised?

Charged with the bundled charger and cable

Vincenz: Quick charge is another feature I like with the Mi 10T Pro. Other than the blessing of being equipped with USB-C (I mean new smartphones like this SHOULD be equipped with it), it was able to fill up that monstrous battery for about an hour.

Considering how enormous 5,000mAh is, it’s fast enough to fill up the phone especially if you forgot to charge it and have errands to do outside amid the heaps of crowds in malls and supermarkets hoarding masks, face shields, and grocery items.

Shivam: Due to the pandemic, I almost stopped charging my phone to full. If I’m going out, just a quick 15-minute charge is sufficient for hours of usage. It can fully charge the phone within 75 minutes, which is a very short period. This phone will never keep you hooked to a wall.

How are the 5G speeds? Were you able to use it in your country?

5G Speeds tested in BGC, Taguig

Shivam: India hasn’t rolled out 5G yet, so I couldn’t test one of its prime offerings. We expect a spectrum sale in 2021 and telcos like Jio are optimistic about a 2022 launch. But the country is still far away from commercial-grade roll-out. So, should you be investing in 5G right now? Is this phone slightly future proof?

If you use a phone for three or more years, then this may be future proof for you. That’s assuming 5G rolls out in your circle in the initial phases. Otherwise, there’s no use in particularly buying a 5G phone right now. Oh yes, it’s a completely different scenario if you travel frequently and can leverage 5G in other countries temporarily. 5G connectivity is gradually becoming mainstream and will it hit its peak when the world’s second-largest smartphone market joins in.

Vincenz: There are only a few 5G hotspots in the Philippines. I live in a province near the Metro but we still don’t have any 5G towers around here. But because of the ease in lockdown measures, I was able to go out and test it in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig, which is around an hour away from my home. Alabang might be a nearer stop as it only takes 30-minutes to go there but I’m quite unsure with the specifics of the 5G cellsites around the area.

Local 5G speeds may not reach those ultra-fast gbps speeds as other 5G-equipped countries like South Korea and USA, but considering the Philippines has one of the slowest internet connections in the world, this is already an ultimate gift for internet-savvy users especially when you’re outside and you don’t have a fast Wi-Fi connection near you.

Are the rear cameras among the best for its price?

Vincenz: I’ll be direct with this — it’s not THAT bad. It’s just not the best.

Disclaimer: Although being a creative means processing your photos every now and then, the photos below were taken straight out of the camera without any color correction, touch-ups, whatsoever.

To be fair, the cameras taken in the right amount of sunlight look excellent.

Whether that may be a wide, zoomed, or even an ultra-wide shot — they all look great!

But coming from someone who was astounded with the Mi 9T Pro’s excellent cameras, the Mi 10T Pro was kind of a step back. There were inconsistencies here and there. White Balance might not be accurate at times especially in all three sensors as the main sensor produces the best-looking shots and something that’s closer to reality. Of course, that can easily be corrected through post-processing.

But there are other factors that are not fixable through post.

One is the Dynamic Range with blown-out highlights and shadows altogether that can be seen below.

 

Sometimes, AI and HDR don’t even agree with each other.

The first photo of those little munchkins looked delicious but the chicken cheese bomb I captured after looked so bland and less appetizing.

I also have trouble every time I try to focus or zoom on a subject.

Speaking of macro, I just don’t like how the radial blur tries to fake that depth segmentation against the subject. The Mi 9T Pro wasn’t like this when taking zoomed and macro shots. Surprisingly, I experienced the same issue with the V20 Pro and even the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

 

 

For night shots, it gets the job done thanks to AI and the wide aperture in its sensors. Then again, there was a White Balance inconsistency that’s fixable through post.

Considering its price range, don’t really expect it’ll produce stunning night shots since cameras are what sets less expensive phones apart from flagships.

For something you would just post on social media, it wouldn’t really matter. It’s just me being nit-picky about this — and I know some phone users might be like me, too. This also makes room for improvements for a lot of smartphone manufacturers in their future releases.

Shivam: I’d say the cameras do an excellent job during the day but slightly disappoint during low-light or immediate circumstances. The iPhone is often jokingly called the best selfie phone when you’re drunk and that’s because of reliable and quick hardware-software integration. The Mi 10T Pro does click pictures like a flagship, but the experience is slightly different.

The pictures look stunning with accurate colors, balanced contrasts, and precise sharpness.

Don’t get me wrong, the result is very satisfying and if you’re not a photography enthusiast, the drawbacks aren’t glaringly visible. But after using Xiaomi phones for years across different price bands, we’ve come to expect above-average performance from pretty much all of them. So, seeing average results from a flagship is underwhelming.

When clicked in low-light environments, the sensor struggles to capture the shadows, details are missing, and the noise removal algorithm seems to be too aggressive. Although, the night mode works seamlessly and does a much better job of refining the binned image.

One thing that annoyed me the most was the camera app’s capture button. Clicking a picture single-handedly is a herculean task because the heavy phone rests on two fingers and the button would fail to register a click most of the time. Initially, I thought I’m doing something wrong, but with more than two months of usage, it has always been a repeat offender.

What makes this phone so special? It has a 108-megapixel primary camera that can capture a lot of details. If you’re looking for stunning landscapes that have practically unlimited zoom, this phone is for you. I clicked a 108-megapixel image while taking off from Mumbai and the results are quite impressive. The sensor is quick and the stabilization is on-point.

How’s the selfie quality of that single punch-hole camera?

Shivam: This has actually become a very straightforward answer for pretty much all modern phones — it’s good and gets the job done. There’s a 20-megapixel sensor in the punch-hole cut-out and it clicks satisfying images during the day. The software is able to accurately pick up your skin tone and add a smoothening layer that isn’t too aggressive. Obviously, the beauty additions are optional.

Vincenz: I always say I’m not the biggest selfie user but after trying it out, I’m really happy with how my selfies turned out. The smearing or face smoothing isn’t as bad as other phones as I like how there are still full details that can be seen on my face. The depth in portrait mode also produced a clean cutout of my hair.

Portrait Mode OFF | Portrait Mode ON

Other than that, I also like the inclusion of the ultra-wide mode for those groufies with social distancing (in which a National chief police officer and his constituents failed to do so).

Is the Mi 10T Pro Your GadgetMatch?

Vincenz: Michael Josh did not give the GadgetMatch Seal of Approval in his Mi 10T Pro review for no reason. At just PhP 24,990, it’s a no-brainer to recommend the Mi 10T Pro for most users.

If you’re into a great all-around smartphone without breaking the bank, this is a sure recommendation. Equipped with the best specs, a good display with a fast refresh rate, and hosts of features, what more could you ask for? But if you value cameras the most out of those aforementioned factors, look elsewhere.

If you don’t mind the notch and the less-powerful Snapdragon 765G chipset and you prefer a better look and feel, the vivo V20 Pro is also worth considering. It even has great cameras for its price.

Shivam: Yes, the phone is surely recommendable. It tries to cut corners in a lot of places, but that doesn’t end up hampering the end-experience. For a very aggressive price of INR 39,999 (US$ 550), the Mi 10T Pro gets a flagship processor, 144Hz display, a 108-megapixel camera, and a slightly more premium experience. If you’re looking for an all-rounder that can get anything done, this phone is made for you. But, if you’re looking for the most cutting-edge flagship, you’ve come to the wrong place.

The OnePlus 8T is a slightly expensive option but lacks a lot of crucial features that make the Mi 10T Pro special. And, like Vincenz suggested, if you’re fine with a Snapdragon 765G chipset, the vivo V20 Pro is an excellent choice along with the OPPO Reno 4 Pro.

Lifestyle

43-inch realme Smart TV review: Picture-perfect quality within reach

The basics and features of premium TVs made more accessible

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Smart. That’s how I’ll describe life in 2021 and beyond. From phones, vehicles, appliances, and even a toothbrush — everything’s getting smarter. But smart devices almost always come at an expensive price tag. There may be affordable options but there’s always a compromise. Sometimes, you’ll just have to say, “you really get what you pay for.”

Say no more, folks. Popular smartphone maker realme expands its portfolio, bringing in smart devices as part of realme TechLife. And we know they make lots of affordable devices that won’t break your bank.

In lieu of this, realme aims to make technology more accessible so we can enjoy living a smart, connected life.  One of realme’s key products is its Smart TV lineup — a centerpiece for every connected home.

Wait, what? realme has a Smart TV lineup?

Yes, you read that right. Just a refresher in case you haven’t been making GadgetMatch.com your daily habit, realme launched its Smart TV lineup last 2020. It comes in two sizes: a 32-inch and 43-inch model, with varying differences.

Both models found their way to the Philippine archipelago, and we’ve got our hands on the 42-inch variant. And from here on, I’m going to share my experience with realme’s latest Smart TV.

Setting it up

Let me preface this story by saying that I’m the type of person who would ask for help. It’s simply because I’m too lazy or I don’t want to use my brain cells in trying to figure out how something works.

When I unboxed the package, I took out the 43-inch Smart TV which weighed 6.7kg, enough for most people to carry on their own.

On the inside, you can find two base stands and four screws that you’ll need for installation. There’s also a quick start guide, instruction manual, and a warranty card.

What I really loved right away is the remote control — it’s small and looks neat with its minimalistic approach. But don’t let its size fool you: It’s fast, responsive, and made navigating the TV easy.

Since it was an Android TV, I signed in with my Google account fairly easily. It also instantly connected to the WiFi, and happy to report it maintained a stable connection and didn’t disconnect abruptly unlike some of your ex-lovers.

The installation and setup were relatively easy for someone who doesn’t want to think. It also boosted my self-esteem, seeing how proud my self-proclaimed strong, independent self was, for being able to set everything up on my own.

Connectivity and customization

I mentioned that the Smart TV instantly connected to the WiFi, but in case you need to know, it supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, Infrared, and Bluetooth 5.0 for different wireless connections.

You can pair your Bluetooth-powered speakers, game controllers, and microphones. It also comes with three HDMI ports, two USB SPDIF ports, DVB-T2 for your digital TV, and Ethernet ports — for your wired connectivity needs.

Going back to my point about it being an Android TV, it’s because it runs Android TV OS based on Android 9.0 — which makes the interface simple and easy to navigate. It also personalizes and modifies recommended content based on your viewing and search history, and of course, to your liking.

The remote control or even your smartphone can also access the TV’s Google Assistant, which lets you customize your whole experience using your voice.

Picture-perfect viewing

The Smart TV evoked a premium-looking impression with its thin, inconspicuous bezels and edge-to-edge panel. It also gave an immersive experience even with just a 1920×1080 resolution.

Thanks to its Chroma Boost technology, the overall picture quality looks magnificent. In case you didn’t know about it, realme’s smartphone cameras use the same tech — improved brightness, color, contrast, and clarity  — which result in high-quality photos and stunning output.

With this, the Smart TV’s picture tuning looked visually appealing especially with its vibrant colors and ultra-high brightness of up to 400+ nits. I didn’t have trouble watching any shows even when harsh sunlight enters my living room. The picture quality looked even more alive at night or when the room is dark.

Viewing angles weren’t a problem, too. You can see the content clearly, thanks to its visual angle of up to 178 degrees. To provide a pleasant experience to different users, the TV lets you choose from seven display modes: Standard, Vivid, Sport, Movie, Game, Energy-Saving, and User.

Chromecast

One of my favorite features on the realme Smart TV is the built-in Google Chromecast technology. Ever since I discovered this feature from my techie friends, I’ve always loved using it on all applicable devices.

Anyhoo, you won’t bother using your brain cells with Chromecast. You can easily connect your smartphone with the Chromecast button (if it shows up) and link your TV. If both devices can’t see each other, you can proceed to the TV’s Settings option and get the code that you’ll input using your smartphone.

Once you’re done, voila! Enjoy using your smartphone as the host or navigator for all your entertainment needs. When I’m alone at home, I stream Taylor Swift’s concerts on YouTube which were remastered in 4K on the TV. I know it only has a Full HD resolution, but we all can agree that having Taylor Swift’s videos is worth playing on whatever screen.

Plus, the main issue here was the sound experience, which brings me to my next point.

Surround sound or just really loud?

Playing Taylor Swift’s concerts on the realme Smart TV is like being at a live concert. I streamed Swift’s videos while I clean the house or when I wash the dishes, singing and belting my heart out as she tearfully sings “All Too Well”.

And there’s a reason why it felt like I was at a live concert: the realme Smart TV uses 24W Quad Stereo Speakers with Dolby Audio MS12B solution. Sounds martian, right?

Basically, the speakers expand the bass frequency and high-frequency width, resulting in balanced audio even at the highest volume possible. It doesn’t sound cracked and distorted even if it reaches a frequency of 20,000Hz — the highest frequency that any human ear can listen to. For comparison, most TVs can only reach a frequency of 11,000Hz.

But for a sensitive person like me, the loud audio can be discomforting sometimes, especially for days when I just want to relax and watch some feel-good movies. My neighbors also complained since I live in a quiet neighborhood, and they didn’t like hearing what I was playing on my television.

Though the Dolby Audio solution fine-tunes the quality, controls the loudness levels and volume changes in a content’s audio, and creates surround sound to make it palatable to our audible range, it’s still recommended to use a soundbar for an enhanced sound experience. Especially if you want it to be really cinematic.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The 43-inch realme Smart TV has a lot to offer. It houses a MediaTek processor, sports a Full HD LED Display, equipped with Dolby Audio-tuned 24W speakers, and comes with Android TV out of the box. It presents a picture-perfect quality perfect for a theatrical experience at home, without paying for an exorbitant price.

Simply, this Smart TV made the basics and features of any premium TVs accessible at an affordable price, for any consumer to experience. The 43-inch realme Smart TV retails for PhP 18,990 and will be available on realme’s official channels and authorized stores and retailers.

Shopee Mega 3.3 Shopping Sale

Heads up! The realme Smart TV will be available on Shopee, in time for the 3.3 Mega Shopping Sale happening on March 3, 2021, at 12:00 AM (GMT+8).

Both models will get PhP 3,000 off; the 32-inch model with an SRP of PhP 11,990 will be available for PhP 8,990 while the 43-inch model with an SRP of PhP 18,990 will be available for PhP 15,990.

Make sure to use the voucher code: GADGETZONE8 before you check out. On another note, ten lucky buyers of the realme Smart TV will get a free realme Soundbar. Meanwhile, first-batch buyers of the TV will get free 12 months extended warranty worth PhP 3,990.

SEE ALSO: realme Smart TV: Price and availability in the Philippines

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India

Xiaomi Mi 10i Review: Master of the midrange

A near-perfect phone, designed for everyone

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For years Xiaomi has tried to get a foothold in the premium segment, but it just couldn’t hit the right spot. Despite engineering marvels like the Mi MIX series, it didn’t work. The company has also tried releasing a polished midrange phone under the Redmi branding but couldn’t meet inflated market expectations. Will the Mi 10i solidify its push?

The Chinese smartphone giant got its portfolio sorted at the beginning of 2020 by dividing the three brands — Mi for premium, Redmi for budget, and spun-off POCO into a completely independent brand. Now, Xiaomi has set its priorities straight and aims for the lucrative premium segment, one that’s gobbled by players like Samsung, Apple, Huawei, and to a certain degree, OnePlus, OPPO, and vivo.

The Mi 10i is surely a midrange phone, but it has a lot of expectations to meet. And it’s an important product for Xiaomi since it’s again trying to test the INR 20,000+ range. There’s also tough competition from the OnePlus Nord, Galaxy A51, as well as the realme X3. So, how does Xiaomi’s new offering fare? Let’s see!

How’s the design? Is it comfortable to hold for gaming or streaming?

I’ve got the Pacific Sunrise color option, and it looks phenomenal. The phone has a unique color palette and a premium touch that makes it look much more expensive than it really is. The front and back of the device are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5, but it has a very satisfying opaque finish that gives it a very translucent look. It may be glass, but it’ll never attract fingerprints, and that’s one of my favorite things about the phone.

The back has a gradient of cyan or light blue and a mix of orange and pink. While colors or gradients are usually personal preferences and range from person to person, everyone I showed the phone to loved it.

You’ll find the power and volume buttons on the right, the USB-C port at the bottom, and the IR blaster at the top. Like the Mi 10T series, Xiaomi has added a side-mounted fingerprint sensor that’s baked into the power button, and it’s speedy.

The rear has a circular camera module that may remind you of the OnePlus 7T, but the Mi 10i has a slightly different design which actually looks quite good. Due to the bigger 108 megapixel primary sensor, the camera module bulges a lot. But it isn’t annoying because the phone is pretty stable on a flat surface and doesn’t wobble like the Mi 10T series.

Xiaomi has added an IP53 rating for water resistance, so you don’t have to worry about splashes or even light rain. Lastly, the phone retains my beloved 3.5mm headphone jack. I hope Xiaomi continues to add it in future phones.

Lastly, the phone weighs more than 210gms. The weight is easily noticeable, and it does get annoying after extended usage. I prefer a lighter phone because it helps with ergonomics and can withstand falls slightly better.

Is the LCD panel immersive? Does the high refresh rate drain battery?

Looks so good, yeah looks so sweet

The Mi 10i has a 6.7-inch LCD display with a 120Hz refresh rate and Full HD+ resolution. There’s not much to say about the screen because it’s like you’d expect it to be. Xiaomi has a lot of experience with these panels now, and the color reproduction is accurate and vibrant, blacks are deep enough, and the viewing angle is top-notch. However, I feel that it could’ve been brighter. Under direct sunlight, it sometimes becomes difficult to view texts and emails on the go.

Yes, an AMOLED display will have deeper blacks, and that’s where the OnePlus Nord gets a lead. But considering the price difference between the two, Xiaomi smartly opted for an LCD panel and added 120Hz support. Day-to-day tasks are smoothly done, and the overall experience of having a smooth user experience pays off in the longer run. Although, you can adjust the refresh rate according to your preference.

The screen doesn’t suck too much power because it has an automatic variable refresh rate that adjusts according to your usage. So, if you’re watching a YouTube video, don’t worry. The panel knows the playback is at a lower refresh rate and makes the appropriate changes. In the end, you’re with a dynamic display that uses resources only when required. And, if you’re desperate to save power, there’s an option to downgrade to 30Hz as well!

How hard can you game on the Mi 10i? Is MIUI optimized?

The Mi 10i is one of the first phones to be powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 750G chipset. It is an octa-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz and built on an 8nm fabrication while the graphics are taken care of by the Adreno 619 GPU. This is also a 5G enabled chipset which comes with Qualcomm’s X52 5G modem for 5G connectivity. My unit has 8GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

As for the real-life usage and performance, as expected, the device shines at everything you throw at it. Be it a light task or a heavy task; the device is capable of handling it all. Xiaomi has mastered MIUI’s integration with a range of hardware, and the results are visible across all its phones. The Xiaomi Mi 10i runs MIUI 12, which is still Android 10-based (we’d expect Android 11 by now). If you’ve used MIUI before, you know what you’re getting into.

And if you haven’t, don’t worry. The skin is heavily customizable and has a lot of nifty features that are very utilitarian. The RAM management and multitasking was also excellent. Apps stayed longer than I’d expected in the background, and switching between apps did not force reload the content.

All modern games run smoothly on the phone, and there’s barely any lag or stuttering. Though, I did notice some frame drops when playing Call of Duty: Mobile for more than an hour. If you’re expecting any considerable raw performance improvement against the Snapdragon 765G, don’t. The difference is negligible, and you won’t realize it in real-life unless you start mining Bitcoins on your phone.

Most importantly, how’s the 108MP camera? Is it as good as the Mi 10T series?

Just like the Mi 10T Pro series, the Mi 10i gets a 108 megapixel sensor, but it isn’t the same one as the Mi 10T Pro. It comes with a 1/1.52-inch sensor, and Xiaomi claims it’s more compact than the HM1 sensor, which reduces the camera bump. Pictures are usually taken in 12-megapixels via binning technology, retaining details, natural color, and accurate contrast.

One of my favorite things about the sensor is its capability to capture excellent pictures with HDR. The algorithm can cleverly process the image to ensure there’s no excessive noise correction. The sensor can detect colors precisely and adjust exposure even under direct sunlight. The 108-megapixel mode can be accessed in the camera app with more options. The amount of detail captured by the camera in 108MP mode is truly incredible.

Low-light pictures are slightly disappointing because they often over-sharpen details, and the result looks quite artificial. The night mode compensates for this, but it mostly makes the image brighter and doesn’t necessarily optimize it.

Accompanying the primary sensor is an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens that isn’t that wide and struggles to capture detail. The quality degradation is easily visible, and this is definitely a cost-cutting measure for the company. There’s also a 2-megapixel macro and portrait sensor, which are now commonly found on almost all Xiaomi phones. It’s worth noting that the phone doesn’t have optical image stabilization, so if you’re into video, this definitely isn’t for you.

Despite the criticism, I’d say the phone has the best cameras you’d find in this price range. The competition is far away, and the 108 megapixel becomes a deal-breaker for many. Most of the issues I’ve encountered are software-based, and Xiaomi can fix them via OTA updates.

How long can it last? Should I invest in a 5G phone right now?

The Mi 10i 5G has a 4800mAh battery with 33W fast charging, and Xiaomi includes a 33W charging brick in the box. It took me an hour to charge it from 0 to 100, and that’s definitely a good deal. Thanks to Adaptive Sync (variable refresh rate of the screen), the phone can deliver a screen-on-time of more than seven hours in one go. Sometimes, it’ll even go up to eight hours under comfortable situations.

India is yet to roll-out 5G on a commercial scale, and the expected launch timeline from telcos currently stands at 2022. The government is yet to hold a spectrum auction, so there’s a lot of bureaucracy involved before we get to experience it. In my opinion, practical coverage of 5G is still two years away. 5G should be no reason for you to buy this phone.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re looking for a phone that excels at everything, then this phone is for you. The design honestly feels flagship grade and reeks premium, the processor is brand new and packs a punch, the cameras are above average and can go the extra mile if you’re a photography enthusiast, and lastly, the battery backup is optimum.

Gamers won’t be disappointed because the chipset is capable enough, and the phone barely heats up. This phone is made for everyone and does not stick to any particular niche. Considering the starting price of INR 21,999 (US$ 303), the Mi 10i is an easy recommendation. And even though we can’t enjoy 5G this year, it’s great to see the market get flooded with options. After all, the trickle-down effect will soon give us affordable 5G phones.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Review: For Pro Users!

Is it worth the $400 premium?

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What makes a smartphone ultra? We dissect the extras that make Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra the phone for power users.

Is it worth the $400 premium vs the Galaxy S21? What’s been added, what’s been taken away, and does it make a difference?

WATCH: Samsung Galaxy S21 Review: Samsung’s Best for Less!

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