There’s only so much you can decipher from smartphone names. The term pro ordinarily is associated with ‘Pro’ use as we’ve seen on the MacBooks, and T is OnePlus’ way of telling us, ‘Hey, don’t forget about the smartphone we launched six months ago! Take this slightly better one now.' So when Xiaomi cranked up the Diwali heat with its barrage of smartphone and smart home launches. The Mi 10T Pro felt like the Ts and the Pros of the tech world, often denoting newer and better. Right? Well, no.
To understand the Mi 10T Pro we need to time travel back to 27th of May of this horrid year. Back then the Xiaomi Mi 10 landed in our lap during a tight lockdown. My colleague reviewed it and it’s headlining 108MP camera that was seemingly ripped directly from the much expensive Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. Back then Xiaomi pulled off something it was struggling to enter or rather, purposefully staying away from, the premium segment of the smartphone market in India. TL;DR the Mi 10 is an absolute banger and my colleague wouldn’t shut up about how it crushes the S20 Ultra’s camera for half the price. So when the Mi 10T Pro was announced, Xiaomi managed to rally my enthusiasm with its Pros and Ts lingo. And it doesn’t even cost half a lakh like the Mi 10 that came before it.
Now after using it for two weeks or so, am I equally excited and ready to plaster this on our Top 5 Premium Smartphones? No, and no. Is it a banger of a phone that absolutely crushes competitors for the price it drops at? Hell YES!
Now that you’ve read through my tiny TedTalk of how smartphone brands try to excite you with their names, let’s actually start talking about the smartphone itself. After all, Shakespeare did say Naam mey kya rakha hai?
The Mi 10T Pro is a chunky piece of tech. It’s heavy and unapologetically thick. For a fair reason though. There’s a 5000mAh battery in this thing. So you can expect it to go on for more than a day depending on your use. And even in my extensive use finishing a full day on a single charge was somewhat possible. Fair warning though, the 144Hz is a battery guzzler. Xiaomi says its adaptive tech helps them to control the refresh rate depending on the content you’re watching but there’s no escaping the buttery smoothness of this thing. It’s an absolute banger and the 5000mAh is here to satiate that fat appetite as long as you don’t spend all your waking hours on Instagram. And if you want to juice up, the 33W charger is fast enough to fill the tank rapidly.
Performance too is top-notch. Our review unit comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage. The Snapdragon 865 has trickled down from the superior smartphones so it’s fair to say that it too can perform as good as any other premium flagship in terms of computing. Apps and games open fast along with 144Hz cutting down on delays even further. The performance experience of using the Mi 10T Pro is on par with any other premium Android flagships.
Running Genshin Impact on this thing is absolutely fun. We couldn’t keep the phone down because the Mi 10T Pro can handle the game for long periods of time. It doesn’t heat up much while gaming too. Unlike the recently launched Samsung S20 FE which we reviewed, the Mi 10T Pro’s chunky size also means that Xiaomi has plonked a capable cooling plate. So it stays much, much cooler than the S20 FE.
The chunky build does have its drawbacks. For starters, one-hand use is almost a workout. Although it sits very nicely in the hand thanks to its curved edges at the back. It’s a tried and tested design, one that I personally prefer. The flat bottom and top mean you can even get this phone to stand up straight without any support. Pretty neat.
The updated MIUI is great too. Although the smartphone is for bigger mitts, the UI makes scrolling down the control centre and notification tray a wee-bit easier. You no longer need Shaquille O'Neal’s fingers to reach all the way up to the notification centre. Swipe down anywhere on the right side of the phone and the control centre will come down. Similarly, the left side is for the notification tray. This is one of the many fine examples of how Android smartphones take the ingenious of Apple’s UI design and spin it around for convenience. Sometimes, doing a better job like Xiaomi did here.
There’s no headphone jack here which is fine, you can grab an exceptionally great-sounding pair of TWS for really cheap nowadays. The speakers on this are in stereo which is decent for Genshin Impact or even YouTube but it’s not the best sounding one. The sound travels through the entire backside of the smartphone and gives me (a user) a hollow and cheap experience. The sound too is nothing spectacular but we were not expecting much either.
Although the 144Hz refresh rate is too addictive, the display colour is where we always tend to throw our money. Anything above 90Hz on a smartphone is smooth, yes? But at what cost? Xiaomi had to keep the pricing of this smartphone down and the way to do it is to go LCD. It’s the same size as the 6.67in display on the Mi 10 but that banger has an OLED display. The Mi 10T Pro is rocking an LCD screen with decent, albeit, likeable colour contrast. I wouldn’t size it up against the OLED on the OnePlus 8T because that screen is better in comparison. Even though it has a 120Hz refresh rate, you’re not going to feel like a massive difference in performance with the 144Hz.
OxygenOS too on the OnePlus is absolutely fantastic. Xiaomi hasn’t put any ads or annoying popups here but MIUI still pales in comparison to the feature set offered by OnePlus’ OS.
The Mi 10T Pro does retain the same camera sensor from the Mi 10 which my colleague loved. I too have seen the camera samples and they’re great… for six months ago. The tech world is fast and cruel. With the entry of Pixel 4a in the budget segment, Xiaomi’s 108MP primary lens feels more like a spreadsheet entry than an actual value investment. Don’t get me wrong, this camera module is fantastic on its own, but now other players are also polishing up their sensors and AI smarts to have a better edge over the competition. Quite literally too. The edge detection on the Xiaomi’s portrait mode isn’t quite snappy or accurate at times of point and shoot. It might stumble when shooting Portraits of non-humans… like a goat. I tried it.
That said, when you have human subjects, the shots come out fantastic. Call me nitpicking granny but we had to put the camera through its absolute paces and the results come out good in almost every scene. It does have Xioami’s own spin on it. For instance, sharpness and contrasts are boosted which make the images look heavily processed and slightly unnatural. For an untrained eye, these things won’t make a difference though.
The 108MP mode is fine. It was good the first time but it has a shallow depth of field which makes it hard to get the smaller or moving subjects into focus. I prefer sticking to the primary viewfinder which is adequate and does the detail bit just as good as the 108MP mode.
The Mi 10T Pro might not have the wow factor of what separates the Ts and Pros from the regular smartphones but it does have everything else going for it. Right from the performance and battery life to the 108MP camera. The whole package is lust-worthy and you’d fail to find such a good smartphone deal.
Even gaming is top-notch. I am not a big fan of the glossy back smartphones but one advantage to having a mirror-like finish at the back is you can use the rear cameras for a selfie. Seriously.
The Mi 10 is still a banger phone and this Mi 10T Pro is probably not an upgrade over the expensive and, more featured-rich Mi 10. There’s no wireless charging here, nor is it IP certified for water resistance.
If you can look past the heavy size, the Mi 10T Pro is one of the best smartphones for the price.