Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro review: Bloatware and a hefty price tag make it hard to love this phone
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G costs roughly $1,100 when converted from its price in Europe (999 euros, which converts to about £890 or AU$1,660). It’s stuffed with pretty much everything you’d expect from a premium 5G phone, including a Snapdragon 865 chipset, a 90Hz refresh-rate display, a 4,500-mAh battery and even a 108-megapixel rear camera.
- Fast performance
- Smooth 90Hz display
- Not available in the US for now
- Too much bloatware and ads
- Not rated for water-resistance
For the most part, those specs allow the Mi 10 Pro to deliver the goods. But it has its shortcomings. The most obvious one is that the Mi 10 series lacks an IP rating for water-resistance. The phone does have some degree of water resistance, but an IP rating would have given me more peace of mind. The other drawback is the phone comes with a dizzying array of annoying preloaded apps and advertisements. It just feels cluttered compared to, say, a Google Pixel or even a Samsung Galaxy phone. Depending on what carrier you get the phone through or if you get it unlocked, the apps that come out-of-the-box may be different.
If an IP rating is important to you, there are other Android phones to choose from, such as ($1,000 at Motorola). But even if water resistance isn’t a priority, I’d still recommend any of those phones over the Mi 10 Pro. Even though the Mi 10 Pro is impressive, it’s way too expensive when compared to the competition.and or the Motorola Edge Plus
Pricing and international release
Mi 10 phones are available in several European and Asian countries, but Xiaomi stopped short of announcing any details of a US launch or release for the Mi 10 Pro. In Europe, the Mi 10 starts at 799 euros (8GB RAM/128GB), while the 10 Pro starts at 999 euros (8GB RAM/256GB). Convert that to US dollars and the Mi 10 and 10 Pro are about $865 and $1,085, respectively.
Though I didn’t get a chance to review it, the cheaper Mi 10 has mostly the same specs as the Pro, like a 90Hz display and large battery. But it lacks a telephoto lens in its quad-camera module. Instead, it has a macro and depth lens instead.
Design and display
The Mi 10 Pro has a large 6.7-inch AMOLED screen, delicately curved edges and ultra-narrow bezels. I love that Xiaomi eliminated the notch entirely and put an inconspicuous in-display selfie camera on the left side. The phone comes in two colors, white and gray. I received the gray model for review and I absolutely adore its metallic finish. It has an attractive sheen but it’s not too shiny. It is a fingerprint magnet though, so you’ll either have to get a case for it or constantly wipe it down.
The Mi 10 Pro’s 90Hz screen is a higher refresh rate than most phones, which have 60Hz displays. It’s silky smooth and I love the way it looks, though it’s not as high as the 120Hz screens on the OnePlus 8 Pro ($999 at OnePlus) and Galaxy S20. The Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro also has a lower resolution than the , so images and video aren’t as sharp.
In addition, even though, the Mi 10 Pro is heavy. I have large hands for a woman and one-handed use was still challenging for me.
The Mi 10 Pro’s 4 rear cameras
The Mi 10 Pro’s biggest draw is its astonishing 108-megapixel camera. While more megapixels don’t necessarily translate to better photos, the key advantage of having so many megapixels is that the image retains clarity when you zoom into it.
And that it did. The camera captured magnificently crisp and vibrant photos with a lot of detail. It caught details that I missed with my own eyes and, at certain lighting conditions, it captured more detail than other phones I used after zooming in.
The camera also has up to 50x digital zoom, but pictures taken while zoomed in that far were grainy and I can’t see myself using the feature much or at all. But pictures taken in using 5x zoom and even 10x still retained impressive detail and clarity.
The 108-megapixel camera was accompanied by three others: a 20-megapixel ultrawide-angle lens, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens.
Photos taken in low light were also impressive. I took a photo in my dark living room. I couldn’t see much with my naked eye, but the camera managed to capture plenty of detail. Sometimes the colors weren’t accurate, but overall the pictures were rich considering the dark conditions the camera had to work with.
Compared to other phones, such as the iPhone XS ($900 at Sprint), portrait photos taken on the 10 Pro were only OK. They looked washed out and didn’t capture as much detail as I would have liked, especially of my dog’s fur (pictured below).
Software and design
Xiaomi’s MIUI 11, which is layered on top of Android 10, is one of the more playful skins I’ve come across. It features bright colours and has some fun touches, like confetti animations appearing on the homescreen when you use certain wallpapers. There’s also an always-on display and dark mode. And there are unique little touches: You can take screenshots or adjust the phone’s volume by swiping three fingers downwards on the home screen. That took a bit of time to get used to, but it was easy enough to learn and ended up being kind of fun.
What is irritating though is that I was served ads every single time I downloaded an app on Google Play. It also happened when I used apps native to Xiaomi’s MUIU 11, like its Theme app for changing the wallpaper. These ads can be turned off, but it’s a tedious process and if I’m paying over $1,000 for a phone, I don’t want to see unnecessary ads. For this reason, I felt I had to ding the phone’s rating under the Features category.
Performance and battery
The Mi 10 Pro has a 4,500-mAh battery, which is smaller than the 4,780-mAh battery inside the more affordable Mi 10. We’re in the middle of revising our battery testing procedure, but overall I was pleased with the battery performance. Anecdotally, it lasted more than 24 hours with medium usage. That means I checked my email, WhatsApp and social media apps, watched YouTube videos for a few minutes and made a few short calls while the display was set to 90Hz. I also ended up tethering my phone’s internet connection to my laptop for about 2 hours when my connection went down. At that point the battery was at about 30%.
The next day, I didn’t use my phone as a hotspot and the battery lasted more than 34 hours with similar usage as the day before. When the Mi 10 Pro did run out of battery, it took nearly 30 minutes to charge it to 60% and about 55 minutes for it to fully charge. That’s pretty good, but it’s not as impressive as the charging speed of the pricier Oppo Find X2 Pro ($1,199 at Giztop), which charged up to 100% in 38 minutes
One of my favorite things about the Mi 10 Pro is its reverse wireless charging capability. Featured on phones such as the Galaxy S20 and OnePlus 8 Pro, the phone can charge other phones and accessories wirelessly. It’s a handy feature when you need that emergency top-up, say like charging your AirPods Pro before a workout.
The Mi 10 Pro has the newest Snapdragon 865 chipset with 12GB of RAM. On benchmark tests, it stacked up well against other phones with the same chip.
Xiaomi’s Mi 10 Pro looks sleek and modern with its curved edges
Mi 10 Pro series vs. One Plus 8 Series
|Mi 10||Mi 10 Pro||OnePlus 8||OnePlus 8 Pro|
|6.67-inch AMOLED, 2,340×1,080 pixels (Full HD)||6.67-inch AMOLED; 2,340×1,080 pixels (Full HD)||6.55-inch AMOLED; 1,080×2,400 pixels||6.78-inch AMOLED; 1,440×3,168 pixels|
|6.4x3x0.35 in||6.4x3x0.35 in||6.3×2.8×0.31 in||6.51×2.93×0.35 in|
|162.58×74.80×8.96mm||162.58×74.80×8.96mm||160×72.9×8.0 mm||165×74.4×8.5 mm|
|208g||208g||6.35 oz; 180g||7.02 oz; 199g|
|Android 10||Android 10||Android 10||Android 10|
|108-megapixel (primary), 13-megapixel (ultrawide), 2-megapixel (macro) , 2-megapixel (depth)||108-megapixel (primary), 20MP (ultrawide), 12-megapixel (telephoto), 8-megapixel (telephoto)||48-megapixel (standard), 16-megapixel (ultra-wide), 2-megapixel (macro)||48-megapixel (standard), 48-megapixel (ultra-wide), 8-megapixel (telephoto), 5-megapixel (‘color filter’)|
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 865||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865|
|128GB, 256GB,||256GB,||128GB, 256GB||128GB, 256GB|
|8GB, 12 GB||8GB, 12 GB||8GB, 12GB||8GB, 12GB|
|4,780 mAh (30W wired and wireless charging, 30W in-box charger)||4,500 mAh (50W wired and 30W wireless fast charging, 65W in-box charger)||4,300 mAh||4,510 mAh|
|30W wireless charging, dual stereo speakers, 5G enabled, reverse wireless charging, in display fingerprint reader||30W wireless charging, dual stereo speakers, 5G enabled, reverse wireless charging, 90 Hz, in-display fingerprint reader||5G enabled; Warp Charge; 90Hz refresh rate||5G enabled; Warp Charge; reverse wireless charging; water resistant (IP68); 120Hz refresh rate|
|Starts at 799 euros (8/128GB) , converts to roughly $865; and 899 euros (8/256GB), which converts to roughly $985||Starts at 999 euros, converts to $1,095||$699 (8GB RAM/128GB), $799 (12GB RAM/256GB)||$899 (8GB RAM/128GB), $999 (12GB RAM/256GB)|