It’s been a while since I last tested a Xiaomi phone. I previously reviewed the Xiaomi Mi 9T and its Pro sibling, which both received outstanding marks. After almost a year, I finally have another chance to play with a Xiaomi device — this time it’s the Mi Note 10 Lite.
Don’t be confused. This isn’t the 108-megapixel-touting Xiaomi Mi Note 10. Instead, it has a lower but still respectable 64-megapixel Sony IMX686 sensor.
However, at less than the price of its big brother, you get the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G chipset with the option to get more RAM. But is it a smarter purchase? Just keep following the star trails to find out more.
A design that reminds me of the cosmos
The Mi Note 10 Lite (obviously) got its design cues from the Mi Note 10. The left-justified camera placement plus the gradient, flashy back are both familiar to other Android smartphones out there — but this phone still stands out on its own.
Upon seeing the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite for the first time, it reminded me of a nebula that can be seen from a distant galaxy like ours. Cool enough, Xiaomi named this as the Nebula Purple colorway.
Those shimmering streaks that blend well with its dominantly purple gradient body are little details that remind me of my astronomical fascination since I was a kid. If this isn’t your cup of tea, you can get a more basic Midnight Black or a cleaner Glacier White option.
The inclusion of a 3D curved edge display is a nice design highlight for a smartphone that’s priced lower than most of its flat-display midrange competitors. Most might think of a waterfall when you see that “overflowing” display but for me, it’s more of a continuous flow of space — just like the universe.
Unlike the motorized pop-up cameras and newer punch-hole cameras, you get the old Dot Drop notch found on the Mi Note 10 and older Mi smartphones. It’s honestly not the best thing in the universe but that single piece of front camera for your selfies still gets the work done (more on that later).
Also, you can find another “old” feature which is the IR port that’s responsible for making this phone a universal remote.
It’s not the lightest phone you can hold as it’s literally hefty. In fact it felt heavier than my iPhone XR. Over time, I just got used to it as the “thicc” body serves its purpose. Overall, the Mi Note 10 Lite’s design is cohesive — a perfect balance between aesthetics and ergonomics.
The illusion of an ever-expanding display just like the universe
Just like the Mi Note 10, it has the same 6.47-inch 3D Curved AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution. Other than that, you also get an Always-On Display feature for better information and notification support.
What trims down the display quality is the level of brightness nits. The Mi Note 10 has a maximum brightness of 600 nits while the younger sibling only has 430 nits — which is enough for indoor usage but looks washed out when you’re outside with direct exposure to sunlight.
For display nerds, this isn’t equipped with a buttery smooth 120Hz refresh rate. The standard refresh rate may look normal to most consumers though. But, it’s still disappointing as the Poco X2 is equipped with a high refresh rate display even if it’s a lot cheaper.
Anyhow, watching on its big display still delivers vibrant colors with whiter whites and deeper blacks — as dark as the center of the black hole.
Other than enjoying the colorful and visually-stunning music video of Cosmic Girls’ “Butterfly” on YouTube, there’s also a certain level of viewing pleasure when you watch Netflix series, especially that this phone supports HDR10 for most titles.
As someone who has big hands, there’s a palm rejection feature which is flawless as it doesn’t touch screen items even when I grip the edges of the display.
Performance as fast as a rocket launch
The moment I heard that the Mi Note 10 Lite packs the Snapdragon 730G chipset coupled with 6GB of RAM (which is the same as the Mi Note 10), I immediately tested its processing power.
Surprisingly, it’s decent enough for graphically demanding games. In my case, I tried playing my favorite racing game, Asphalt 9. I experienced no lags while playing it. For sure, most of your mobile game favorites will run on this phone.
It runs the latest Android 10 with Xiaomi’s heavily-skinned MIUI 12. This version gives you most of the security and performance patches you need for the phone.
Best of all? It has Google Mobile Services (GMS), specifically Google Play for most of your app needs.
The optical in-display fingerprint scanner is fast too. Though it has a face unlock feature, using your fingerprint for biometrics is more secure rather than a 2D image scan that can quickly unlock your phone even when you’re asleep.
Don’t get your hopes up though for an expandable storage as it doesn’t have a microSD card slot.
Battery life that’s light years ahead
The heading might be an exaggeration but this is truly one of its superior features. If you’re the type of user who consumes a lot of media, plays hardcore games, and even scrolls through social media feed or does online shopping for hours, the Mi Note 10 Lite can withstand all of that for a day or so.
Just like its older sibling, it has a 5,260mAh battery paired with an efficient processor, which are both ideal for long-term power and blazingly fast performance — like an ice-cooled comet.
Large battery and turbo charging should be mutually inclusive
Large battery capacity in future smartphones should be equipped with fast charging technology — just like how the gravitational force between the Earth and the moon are correlated to each other (or how LOONA and Orbits are connected to one another).
Luckily, the Mi Note 10 Lite supports Turbo Charge with a 30W USB-C charger right out of the box. True to its words, it was able to fill up the phone from zero to 100 percent in just a little over an hour. That’s fast considering its gigantic battery.
If you’re into wireless charging, it doesn’t support that by any means.
Audio jack is still in orbit
Unlike most of today’s gizmos, Xiaomi still decided to keep the 3.5mm headphone jack in the Mi Note 10 Lite. Although I personally don’t use wired earphones anymore as I’ve transitioned into a more wireless lifestyle, it’s still surprising to see a rounded port in 2020 smartphones.
Although it may not have the Quad DAC support from the LG V60 ThinQ, I was still able to enjoy the sound delivered by my old pair of earphones with its extra heavy bass.
This reminds me of my college years where I used to listen to music even with the hassle of tangled wires. A lot of audiophiles will surely love this smartphone.
Odd placement for speaker grilles
Just like Uranus’ weird axis, the Mi Note 10 Lite has a weird speaker placement. As I tried playing some music videos, I noticed that my hands cover and muffle the speaker grilles. It’s unfortunate that this phone only has one speaker (I mean having two speakers is TWICE the fun, right?).
It’s hard to avoid blocking the speaker grilles especially when you hold your phone like this while trying to consume media in loudspeaker.
When I hold a phone in the usual portrait orientation, I use my pinky as support. If you do the same thing, you’re gonna block the left speaker placement, too. This may not be a big deal for left-handed or ambidextrous people, though.
Telescope-like camera quality
Don’t be silly! I’m not talking about the Hubble Space Telescope. It’s more like the generic telescope. It’s not that bad as it still gets the job done of seeing objects from afar. But still, it’s not the best viewing experience either, considering you bought a telescope with less fancy glass elements within.
As stated earlier, it packs a 64MP f/1.9 main camera. Other than that, you’ll get an additional 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens with a 120-degree Field of View (FoV). Moreover, there’s a 5MP depth sensor and 2MP macro sensor, both in f/2.4 aperture.
Three of those lenses are downgrades from Mi Note 10’s setup: 108MP f/1.7 main, 20MP f/2.2 ultra-wide, and 8MP f/2.0 telephoto with 7x optical zoom. The Mi Note 10 Lite can only zoom up to 2x.
It doesn’t have a telephoto lens but zoom is still clear
For most part, HDR and AI produce quality photos
…but large megapixel count doesn’t mean better photos
Although the Galaxy S20+ and Mi Note 10 Lite aren’t totally similar in terms of price range and hardware, I still tried to test how both of their 64-megapixel sensors perform.
Unlike Galaxy S20+’s processing technique, the Mi Note 10 Lite failed to lessen the image’s highlights in favor of a “better” dynamic range that shows lighter shadows on most dimmed objects in the photo.
Don’t be fooled! These samples obviously show that better image quality isn’t based on how large the megapixel count of a phone is. If you’re really into photography, you should know that sensor sizes matter, as well as aperture, the phone post-process techniques, so on and so forth.
Mi Note 10 Lite’s sample might look fine from afar but if you closely look at the details, it failed to deliver sharper details and whiter highlights. Even shadows in low light weren’t exempted in its image processing. To make it worse, the main camera lacks optical image stabilization (OIS) which resulted in a blurry, shaky output.
Vlog mode might be handy for some of you
I’m not totally a fan of vlogging but the Mi Note 10 Lite has a special camera feature called “Vlog mode” which lets you shoot videos with eight vlog templates. This can save you time and hassle from stylizing your vlog from scratch. Although there’s no sample video, I tried testing it on my sleeping cat and it worked wonders!
Selfies are just right
Not a selfie fanatic either but I think selfie camera quality is preferential. I just find it odd that it still smeared some parts of my face even when Beauty Mode is completely turned off.
This feature might work for aspiring “Instagram stars” and “influencers” though. But who knows? That feature might totally entice the person you like the most.
Is the Mi Note 10 Lite your GadgetMatch?
By the time you reach this line, you’ve probably passed through the phone’s pros and cons. To simply put it, this is a phone meant for power users who don’t demand a flagship-grade processor and heaps of RAM.
Having the right amount of punch paired with long-lasting battery that can last you more than a day are already enough for most consumers out there.
If you’re looking for an out-of-this-world camera performance in a midrange smartphone, this isn’t your best option. Unlike the previous Xiaomi devices I’ve reviewed, I can immediately tell this lacked the outstanding camera performance that those two midrange phones possessed.
Don’t be too disappointed, it can still be a great camera companion if you’re into vlogging, selfies, or maybe for someone who’s just not into the nitty-gritty of manual photography. The camera is ideal for those who mostly rely on Auto Mode and just need to upload photos and videos on their social media accounts.
But if we’re talking about the price tag, it’s definitely a bang for your buck even if it doesn’t have the excellent camera setup of the Mi Note 10. After all, you can’t have it all (just like the person you desperately like).
ROG Zephyrus G15: Lean, mean, gaming machine
And it’s a looker too
One of my favorite things about getting to try many new gadgets is that I learn more about myself and my preferences. The ROG Zephyrus G15 (2022) GA503 – which henceforth will just be referred to as just Zephyrus G15 – did just that for me and what I want in gaming laptops.
For context, I have been sparingly using my ROG Flow X13 for most of my general Windows and PC gaming needs. It’s a great device, don’t get me wrong. But having to prop up the laptop itself along with the XG Mobile to reach its full potential can be quite cumbersome.
It’s a huge contrast to the Zephyrus G15 where I simply fire it up and it just works in a jiffy. And all the ports I normally use are right there, ready to use. I’m a big fan of convenience so I absolutely love it when gadgets just work without much friction.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Based on this introduction, I’m sure you already have some idea on what I generally think about the Zephyrus G15. But allow me to discuss it further.
Tale of the tape
Specs and benchmarks never tell the whole story. But specs are a good place to start. Here’s what our review unit is packing:
- AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS
- 15″ WQHD (2560 x 1440) 16:9 240hz Pantone Validated 100% DCI-P
- RTX 3070 TI 8GB GDDR6
- 16GB DDR5 on board + 16GB DDR5-4800 SO-DIMM
- 1TB M.2 NVM PCIe 4.0 SSD
- Moonlight White
Some standout stuff from the information provided above are the new processor, the Pantone Validated display as well as the RAM available. This isn’t even its highest configuration. There’s a variant that runs RTX 3080. You can upgrade your RAM up to 48GB and there’s another SSD slot so you can expand your storage.
That means there’s plenty of room to up the ante down the line should you choose to do so. That’s not something that you can say for every gaming laptop.
Immaculate look and design
I love that ROG sent over the Moonlight White version for us to try. Black is great, don’t get me wrong. But it’s refreshing to see gaming laptops brimming with power come in other colorways that could appeal to people that are kind of just over with black.
The magnesium-aluminum lid and chassis also maintain the Zephyrus look giving it a sleek and tough exterior, while keeping the ROG Zephyrus identity. And you don’t have to worry too much about it picking up dust and dirt. In the few weeks I spent with it, it stayed pristine looking despite little to no wiping maintenance. That’s thanks largely to the wear-resistant coating which works exactly as advertised.
Adding to the overall functional design is the ErgoLift Hinge. This is one of my favorite things about ASUS laptops. The ergolift hinge not only allows a 180° for more flexibility, it’s also just ultra satisfying to move and look at.
It looks fresh, feels tough, and is relatively compact making it easy to carry around. It’s a looker with some bells and whistles in the right places.
Ports, keyboard, and trackpad
Speaking of those bells and whistles, the Zephyrus G15 is packed with possibly all the ports you’ll need. Whether that’s for a remote setup or one that’s neatly tucked into a home office desk.
Here’s everything it has to offer:
- USB3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (2x)
- USB3.2 Gen 2 Type-C(supports DP 1.4 & 100W PD Charger), (2x)
- LAN RJ-45 jack (1x)
- HDMI 2.0b (1x)
- Micro SD Card Reader (UHS-II), (1x)
- 3.5mm Audio combo jack (1x)
- Kensington Lock (1x)
The Stealth Type keyboard was a curious choice but one that I welcome. I was of the impression that the gaming demographic skews more towards the clickity clack of mechanical keyboards. But the one equipped on the Zephyrus G15 is about as quiet as they come. No complaints here though, as it didn’t distract my at-the-moment entanglement in slumber as I toiled away over late night labor.
The trackpad, too, was such a pleasant surprise. Perhaps it’s also in conjunction with Windows 11 but using a trackpad on Windows now doesn’t feel as laggy as it used to. On days that I only worked using the Zephyrus G15, I never felt the need to connect a mouse. That feels like a breakthrough as I have never been able to say that for any of the Windows laptops I’ve reviewed in the past.
Plays like a console
Alright, before any PC gaming enthusiasts come at my throat, what I mean here is mostly the quality of life things. When I got the Zephyrus G15, I didn’t tweak it very much. Heck, I even opened Armoury Crate less than five times during my time with it. Despite this, it had no trouble running the games I attempted to play. Some of which are even very demanding AAA titles.
I’m a big fan of tech that just works. Especially with my current workload, the less time I have to figure something out, the better. And that’s the case with this gaming laptop. I simply fired up Steam, downloaded the games, and played to my heart’s content.
Naturally, I checked the settings on some of the first few games I tried like Control, Genshin Impact, and Dragon Ball FighterZ. Everything was consistently on the highest settings right off the bat. Lags and stutters? I don’t know them. Not with the Zephyrus G15 in tow.
To better understand where I’m coming from, I own an ROG Flow X13. The one that comes with the ROG XG Mobile. It’s a great machine, no doubt. But to get the most out of it, I still have to hook up the XG Mobile to the Flow X13. Whereas with the Zephyrus G15, I simply have to turn the laptop on. That’s an underrated level of convenience that may or may not mean much for some of you.
It’s seriously making me consider trading up for the Zephyrus G15. And that’s just with the raw performance of games. I haven’t even talked about how good the display and speakers are.
Eyes and ears candy
Its high-level performance is of course complemented by a stellar audio-visual experience. As indicated in the specs section earlier, this laptop sports a 15” WQHD 16:9 display with a 240Hz refresh rate. It’s also Pantone Validated which is great for color accuracy if you’re working on anything that involves visual media.
But all you really need to know is that it’s an absolute treat to the eyes. The 240Hz refresh rate on the panel is great for first-person shooters. Unfortunately, I am not great at first person shooters. I’d like to take this opportunity to whoever I played Valorant with because I totally dragged the team down.
It is a visual treat, no doubt. But like (G)-IDLE’s Miyeon, the Zephyrus G15 isn’t just a treat for the eyes. It also sounds hella good. I spent a good chunk of time watching Miyeon’s fancams on this thing and it’s just a fantastic overall experience.
I also watched a few episodes of Netflix’s Business Proposal at the time of writing. Really, whatever type of content you consume, it’s bound to look and sound great on this thing.
One thing we did learn is that the display struggles a bit under really bright environments. When taking photos of the device, we opted to step out for natural light. But if you’re using this to work or play remotely, I recommend you find some place that isn’t too bright.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The ROG Zephyrus G15 (2022) GA503 is easily one of my personal favorite devices that I’ve reviewed so far in 2022. It’s about as close as it can get to a plug and play PC gaming experience. And that’s not something you can say for many laptops and/or PCs.
The Zephyrus G15 (2022) brings with it a distinct look, top-notch gaming performance, and a really solid audio-visual experience. As a gaming laptop, this is about as perfect as it gets and is something I can easily recommend especially if you’re willing to splurge for it.
Official pricing will be announced soon. We’ll update this space when it’s out.
vivo X80 Pro Unboxing and Review
vivo’s best smartphone just got even better!
The vivo X70 Pro+ was launched just several months ago. However, we’re already having a follow-up!
Namely the X80 and X80 Pro — with the latter being vivo’s latest flagship smartphone.
But what makes it different from its predecessor? And what makes the successor a lot more exciting?
Watch our vivo X80 Pro Unboxing and Review now to find out more!
Samsung Galaxy S22+ review: Love at first touch
Can’t help but fall deeper
A cosmic pull. A supernatural attraction. These aren’t phrases one normally says on a smartphone review. And yet, here I am. Falling madly for the Samsung Galaxy S22+.
However, this wasn’t the case from the get go. First, I saw it in photos and it was alright. Then, I saw the specs on paper. Yeah, that’s pretty good. It was just another flagship, I thought.
But everything changed when it came to my doorstep and held it in my hands.
(P.S. All of my subheadings below are taken from the song “One Touch” by Gabe Bondoc. You can play it while you read 🙂).
One touch and I’m hooked and I am drowning
I am completely aware how overly infatuated I’m coming off and will come off for the rest of this article. But, having been in this smartphone reviewing gig for close to seven (7) years now, I’ve become almost numb to the usual releases.
Yes, every now and then I take a liking to a smartphone or two. But it has been a while since I really, really wanted to keep and/or buy a phone I’m reviewing.
The Samsung Galaxy S22+ just felt perfect on my hands. The right width, the right length, and the right thickness. The heft of the device, its shiny metallic edges, and the clean premium finish of the back all scream premium. The material on its back has a smooth, matte feel and finish. It’s both smudge and scratch resistant.
And the metal lining on the edges feels smooth but grippable and perfectly complements the flat display.
Excuse me, I don’t mean to be staring
It’s no secret that Samsung consistently offers one of the best displays, especially in their flagship line. This remains true for the 6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel equipped on this beaut. The colors are rich and crisp under favorable lighting conditions. But even in broad daylight, the display is bright enough (1750 nits peak) to be comfortably operated without having to squint.
I had a grand time watching my favorite shows on the Samsung Galaxy S22+. I’ve had it for a while so I saw a few episodes of the Netflix K-Drama Business Proposal on it. I have also been catching up weekly on the HBO series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. For content that supports it, HDR10+ kicks in to elevate the visual experience.
The display looks so majestic that it prompted me to put the love of my life Momo Hirai of TWICE as my wallpaper. And then of course, there’s the dynamic refresh rate that goes up as high as 120Hz. This means the screen changes its refresh rate depending on what you’re doing. If you’re scrolling through socials and what not, it kicks into high gear to give you a smooth experience. When idle, the refresh rate lowers down to save battery.
My heart won’t slow ’cause of you
The Galaxy S22+’s overall performance will really keep your heart racing. Normal, day-to-day interactions with your phone just feel extra sharp. The many features mentioned above coupled with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 powering this phone keeps it humming no matter what you do.
Keeping up with the news in the morning, checking socials to see what you missed, using messaging apps to keep in touch whether for work or personal matters – all of these just feel like a breeze. And the ONE UI 4.1 skin on top of this Android 12 flavor definitely contributes to just how things flow when you use this smartphone.
I didn’t do a lot of gaming, though. To test it, I defaulted to my go-to which is a few hours of Call of Duty Mobile. As expected it runs without hiccups on high graphics settings. There’s a game manager of sorts here that I didn’t tinker with much. It’s not too different from the ones implemented in previous Samsung phones. Some key features include focusing the phone’s resources to gaming and limiting or completely blocking notifications.
Battery life is also admirable. One afternoon, I used it to tune into a friend’s wedding via Zoom. The entire ceremony lasted roughly around two (2) hours. In that period, the Galaxy S22+’s battery went from 82% to 76%.
Naturally, that isn’t the single indication of its battery performance. I generally start my days at around 9AM and end at around 8PM. On days that I’m glued to my laptop, with only occasional glimpses on the phone, I would end the day between 60% to 70%. On days that I’m out and about and rely on it a lot to get work done, my day ends with around 25% to 35% of battery left.
You’re looking fine today, not that I only noticed now
I have already done an entire separate article about the cameras on the Galaxy S22+. It’s one of the things that I enjoyed the most about the phone. It’s almost as if it’s impossible to take a bad photo with this on hand.
Easily switching between lenses is great. But what’s even better is how the quality and color reproduction doesn’t vary much from lens to lens. Check these samples out.
And you can even use 10X Zoom with barely any detail loss, especially if it’s a photo that you’re just uploading on social media.
That versatility is unmatched and is fantastic for quick, run and gun shoots like the one I did during the opening of the XM Studio in Singapore.
I am thoroughly impressed and extremely satisfied with the quality of images it produces. And that’s saying a lot seeing as my regular daily phones include an iPhone 11 Pro and an OPPO Find X3 Pro. Both of which are excellent shooters in their own right.
Oh and yeah, “Nightography”.
You think there is a way that I can get you to stay?
You see, the thing about the Galaxy S22+ is that with just the first touch, you already know you’re in contact with something that you should hold onto for dear life. I can’t tell you how many oohs and aahs I got after letting other people hold it in their hands. It just has that effect.
Additionally, the phone is a smooth amalgamation of many other standout phones. It has the breathtaking display of Samsung phones, an overall footprint that feels like an iPhone 12/13 Pro Max, cameras that rival those that partner with notable camera brands, and much, much more. All of that comes in this package that looks and feels well-built on a phone that is easily an all-rounder performer.
Truly, I never want to let it go. And that’s not something I always say about smartphones. So here’s to hoping that this high praise leads to the Galaxy S22+ staying with me more than a little while longer.
The Samsung Galaxy S22+ 5G is still available today in Samsung stores near you, via online at Samsung.com, or at your preferred telecommunication service provider. Pricing information on our key markets are linked in the following: USA | Singapore | Philippines.
I know it’s been a while since its release. Despite all the hype long gone, it’s still a phone you won’t regret buying.
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