With the Mi 10 Pro, Xiaomi launched its new flagship on the market in March of this year. It can compete with the big names in terms of features and equipment – but also in terms of price. One thing can already be revealed in the preface: the Mi 10 Pro is not cheap. Here are my first hands-on impressions.
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro release date and price
Until now, the company, which translates roughly to “little rice”, has been known primarily for its real price-to-performance hits and has set itself the target of achieving a profit margin of a maximum of five percent per device.
Xiaomi has mainly been positive about throwing good devices onto the market at a price that feels insanely cheap. One can only guess what some marketing departments of other large manufacturers must have thought when a Xiaomi phone was announced. “Xiaomi” means small rice? But rather a small price…”. It must have taken large towels to dab many a tear or bead of sweat from cheeks and forehead.
Xiaomi has listened to the concerns of the competition and will be tightening the purse ties in 2020. The Mi 10 Pro is available from €999; double the internal memory costs €100 extra. But that’s not to say that the quality and features won’t be better.
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro design and build quality
From my point of view, the Mi 10 Pro is a real eye-catcher and a real flatterer to the hand. Personally, I have found many Chinese smartphones to be quite okay over the past few years. But nothing more. I often felt that these were wannabe flagship products that wanted to buy the favor of their customers by offering excessively low sales prices – and then you as a customer were forced to pay for what you had previously saved with blatant weaknesses.
Xiaomi has given the Mi 10 Pro a really pretty robe and wrapped it entirely in glass – Gorilla Glass 5 – you’ll notice that there are hardly any of those ugly grease marks that our fingers like to leave on the glass.
In general, the device really feels very high-quality. The weight of 208 grams might be too heavy for some. Personally I find it just fine. This is probably a matter of taste. Just like in real life, weight is in the eye of the beholder.
In this context, the Mi 10 Pro has some curves that might not suit everyone’s taste. The display has rounded corners and I know that there are both fans and enemies of this. After all, there can be some involuntary operating errors when you hold it. In the software, Xiaomi offers a way to reduce the sensitive area of the edges, namely under Settings -> Additional Settings -> Ignore accidental touch on the edges.
If there’s nothing to complain about in terms of appearance, the attentive reader may be wondering. But the camera section on the back, unfortunately, sticks out quite a bit. God knows Xiaomi is not alone in this, and yes, I know that the large image sensor needs a lot of space. I still don’t think it’s that attractive.
A 90 Hz display for lovers of smoothly running apps
Smartphone screens with a (significantly) higher refresh rate are becoming increasingly fashionable. But why would I want a display with a higher refresh rate at all?
Most of the time this feature is not noticed at all. On the contrary: a display running at 90 Hz consumes more power than a display clocked at 60 Hz. The difference becomes obvious when you scroll up and down in your inbox, calendar, and co. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother it runs – just like a flipbook. The more paper, the more fluid.
What else is there to say about the display? It has a diagonal size of 6.67 inches and a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080 pixels. When I held the phone in my hand, I thought to myself a couple of times: it looks like a Samsung smartphone. It’s not so much about the design, but more about the display feeling itself. The round corners and the light have a lot in common with a Samsung flagship. But that’s just my personal opinion.
Speaking of personal opinion: the Mi 10 Pro is probably another example of how the holy anger of some people is released by a small, inconspicuous something. A thing that you can hardly see and that can almost be called the big enemy of the smartphone fan community. The hole punch in the display.
Personally, I don’t really care about the small hole on the upper-left corner of the screen. But there’s hardly any other topic that is discussed with so much passion. Except for software updates perhaps…
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro with Android 10 and Google
You know we are living in crazy times when Xiaomi is the new expensive flagship on the market. People keep their distance for health reasons – and companies are forced to do so for political reasons: Huawei already launched the Mate 30 Pro and more recently its P40 series without Google apps and services.
The sticker on the Xiaomi packaging of the Mi 10 series looked almost like a huge dig at the competition. But this is not the case: Google itself has recently started asking its Android licensees for the sticker.
Thank God it’s not up to us to judge how and whether it’s fair that Google is no longer allowed to supply all smartphone manufacturers and whether Xiaomi is the laughing third party that can take advantage of the opportunity. The fact is, the Mi 10 Pro is running Android 10 onboard and has access to all Google apps.
Above the operating system is the Xiaomi user interface MIUI 11, which you’ll either love or hate. But I find it really well done myself. And Xiaomi – thank God – refrains from confronting us with his proprietary software at every turn. That was different in the past.
A Snapdragon 865 and 8GB of RAM
Technical specifications – or as I call them: calling cards of the tech industry. In other words: nice to look at, but hardly meaningful about the true values. Just take the bare number of mAh, in which one usually indicates the battery capacity. There are telephones that seem to be real power packs on paper, but then are rather short of breath in daily use. The other way round this is just as possible.
The Mi 10 Pro can do both: shine with bare numbers and also keep what you expect from a flagship. Qualcomm’s newest chipset, the Snapdragon 865, is used as the SoC, which has 8 GB of RAM and either 128 GB or 256 GB of internal storage available. The Mi 10 Pro also supports Wi-Fi 6 or 802.11 ax. Unfortunately, this completely new standard is not yet very widespread. At this point, it should also be noted that the global version of the Mi 10 Pro does not support dual SIM.
No 3.5mm headphone jack
So, now I’ll knock out another one – and I already suspect that I’ll get a scolding: the 3.5mm headphone jack is missing. And I don’t find that bad. By means of an adapter, I can also use my cable headphones via the USB-C port, if I want to. But it seems to me that there are fewer and fewer people who don’t at least use wireless Bluetooth variants when they are on the road. Am I wrong about that?
The 108-megapixel camera from the Mi Note 10
Let’s get to the feature that Xiaomi is particularly proud of in its new flagships: the camera. Xiaomi had already introduced a 108-megapixel sensor on the Mi Note 10. With the Mi Note 10, the camera’s software still had all kinds of problems – my colleague Stefan used the device intensively for two weeks. The results oscillated between grandiose and disastrous.
Xiaomi uses the same image sensor in the Mi 10 Pro again – and seems to have learned from its mistakes. The pictures I took look great – at least when you consider that they were taken by me.
However, when it comes to the camera, I’m an absolute layman who can quickly be sold a ghosting effect as a great filter – exaggeratedly put! In short: I don’t know enough about the camera to test it. Stefan will take care of that.
But the camera equipment of the Mi 10 Pro is worthy of a flagship in any case. Besides the front camera, there are four lenses on the back – the main lens has the 108 megapixels already mentioned. There is also an ultra-wide-angle lens and two modules for telephoto (double and fivefold optical zoom).
In theory, the Mi 10 Pro can shoot video at 8K and 30 frames per second. But for a few of us, that shouldn’t really help. First of all, there are hardly any 8K televisions that can make the material usable, and secondly, an 8K video takes up so much memory that you will have used up all the internal storage after a few minutes.
A 4,500 mAh battery and fast charging
The battery of the Mi 10 Pro is 4,500 mAh strong and charges with 30-watt wireless and with a full 50W with a cable. I made a small test and charged a completely empty battery within 50 minutes completely to 100 percent. With one battery charge, I usually get along one and a half days. Thumbs up!
What I also find worth mentioning: Xiaomi includes a 65-watt charger with the Pro version. This not only charges the smartphone via USB-C but also tablets and even notebooks. I find this very practical insofar as I only need one charger when I’m on the road.
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro technical specifications
|DIMENSIONS:||162.58 x 74.8 x 8.96 mm|
|BATTERY SIZE:||4500 mAh|
|SCREEN SIZE:||6.67 in|
|SCREEN:||2340 x 1080 pixels (386 ppi)|
|FRONT CAMERA:||20 megapixels|
|REAR CAMERA:||108 megapixels|
|ANDROID VERSION:||10 – Q|
|INTERNAL STORAGE:||256 GB|
|REMOVABLE STORAGE:||Not available|
|CHIPSET:||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865|
|NUMBER OF CORES:||8|
|MAX. CLOCK SPEED:||2.84 GHz|
|CONNECTIVITY:||HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM, Bluetooth 5.0|
For me, the Mi 10 Pro is one of the best smartphones I’ve held in my hands in the last twelve or even 18 months – and that’s because I like it all around. There is nothing that makes the Mi 10 Pro stand out, no feature that is so blatant that you absolutely must own the phone. But let’s be honest: there’s nothing like it in any smartphone anymore – and that’s been the case for at least three years. Unless you’re really into foldable displays.
With the Mi 10 Pro, Xiaomi brings out a real flagship and charges a corresponding price for it. Compared to other flagship models, the Mi 10 Pro is not that expensive. If you think of Samsung or even Apple, you know that smartphones in 2020 can cost a few hundred euros more.
For Huawei, the Mi 10 Pro could turn out to be an unpleasant adversary. With the Mate family, one was on a very good way to position a successful model series against Samsung. Since the discontinuation of Google apps and services, Huawei has had to reposition itself.
Xiaomi seems to be able to make good use of this weakness for itself and is well on the way to filling the gap that has arisen. This can only be good for the market – competition stimulates business. With Xiaomi and the Mi 10 Pro, there is a real competitor for the established brands even in the higher price segment.