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Xiaomi Mi 10i Review: A Right Mix of Specs and Features at the Right Price

The sub-INR25K segment has recently been seeing a lot of competition. It all started with the launch of the OnePlus Nord, which was aggressively priced to change the rules of the competition. The phone was well-received by the customers. And this spurred other manufacturers to take the plunge.

The latest entrant to this mid-price segment is Xiaomi’s Mi 10i. The Mi 10i seems to be cut from the same cloth as the Mi 10T flagship, but it comes with some significant changes and a very mouth-watering price tag.

This 5G-ready phone appears to be an absolute bargain on paper as it offers a 108MP camera, Snapdragon 750G SoC, 120Hz refresh rate, and a sizable battery with 33W fast charging at a starting price of INR20,999 only. But does the Mi 10i really hold up to the competition and offer more bang for its price? We have tried to find that out in this review. Let’s get into it.

Design, display, and build quality

Straight out of the box, the Mi 10i looks premium and feels sturdy in the hands. But make no mistake, it is beefy weighing 214.5 grams, but the buttons are nicely accessible. The circular camera bump at the back might leave you worried about scratches but don’t worry the camera glass does not touch the surface directly as it has slight elevation around it.

The right edge of the phone features volume rockers with nice clicky feedback. Right below it, there is a power button doubling as a fingerprint scanner, which is fast and accurate.

The left edge houses a hybrid SIM slot, while on the top, you get an IR blaster and secondary mic. At the bottom lies Type-C port, mic, loudspeaker, and a 3.5 audio jack, which is a bonus in 2021.

The phone comes in three pleasing colours options, namely Pacific Sunrise, Atlantic Blue, and Midnight Black. It features a gradient finish at the back which has a matte finish and doesn’t attract fingerprint smudges easily. The phone gets Gorilla Glass 5 protection both on the front and back. Also, it is IP52 rated, meaning it is safe from splashes.

The display spans 6.67 inches diagonally with a tiny punch-hole at the upper middle portion. The bezels are significantly shrunken to the sides to allow you to see unobstructed, full-view content. The full HD+ (1080×2400) IPS display looks sharp and delivers good color vibrancy as well as contrast.

Watching videos on the OTT platforms is not an issue since the display support HDR10+. It gets up to 480 nits brightness, and with that, it offers decent enough outdoor visibility.

The display is equipped with a 120Hz refresh rate, and that ensures a smooth user experience. Whether it is scrolling or playing high-refresh-rate games, the experience is pleasant. The Adaptive-Sync technology adjusts the refresh rate based on the content, thus conserving battery and saving you the jitters or frame tearing while using the phone.

Performance and software

The Mi 10i the second smartphone in India to get the Snapdragon 750G 5G processor- the Moto G 5G is the first. It is a 5G-ready smartphone so, if you hold on to your phone for long, you might be able to use 5G with Mi 10i when the service is finally introduced in India. The chipset is backed by UFS 2.2 storage and LPDDR4 RAM, making it one of the best hardware packages in its segment.

The smartphone comes in 6GB RAM+128GB storage and 8GB RAM+128GB storage configurations. The Mi 10i runs MIUI 12 on top of Android 10 (sadly, no Android 11).

The smartphone is pretty gritty as it handles everything you throw at it. The apps load quickly and stay longer in the background. With dozens of apps open in the background, it multitasked seamlessly and switched between apps without breaking a sweat.

Games like Call of Duty and PUBG Kr was working well without any major lags and stutters. In the case of Call of Duty, there were slight frame drops on higher settings, but on medium settings, it ran without any fuss. Battery depletion during gaming was marginal, and so was the heating.

It was a little disappointing to see that the smartphone still boots Android 10 out-of-the-box, albeit with the latest MIUI 12. The MIUI 12 is replete with bloatware, which can be uninstalled, though. The software offers useful customization options aligning with your taste.

There is no issue with the call quality or connectivity. The phone supports dual 4G VoLTE and carrier aggregation. Video calls via Zoom or Google Hangouts did go well during our testing.

Camera performance

The star of the show for the Xiaomi Mi 10i is the 108MP Samsung HM2 sensor. The big sensor teams with 8MP ultra-wide sensor, 2MP depth sensor, and 2MP macro sensor at the back.

Note that you have to enable the 108MP camera manually to take high-resolution images. The 108MP camera shots are rich in details and realistic in color and exposure, especially in daylight, but the dark-light images are not bad either as they have less noise.

The ultra-wide lens is not wide enough, while the images it takes are decent. The depth sensor is great in detecting the subject’s edges. If you have steady hands, the macro shots will also come out as impressive.

The 16MP selfie camera captures good selfies and portrait images with nice edge detection, there is no night mode for the selfies, though. Overall, Mi 10i comes with a good set of cameras.

Battery and audio performance  

The Xiaomi Mi 10i is backed by a 4,820mAh battery aided by 33W fast charging. The handset is capable of seeing you through a full day, even with heavy usage. You can squeeze a little bit more juice if you make some optimizations such as using low refresh rate and battery saver modes, and so on. The 33W charger fills the battery to 100 per cent in under 60 minutes, which is impressively fast.

There is a stereo speaker setup on the Mi 10i. They are fairly loud and don’t suffer from any distortions. It is also supported by Hi-Fi audio, and we didn’t face any audio latency while using headphones.

Pros:

  • Good Design & Build
  • High refresh rate
  • Powerful cameras
  • Good performance
  • Durable battery
  • Fairly loud stereo speakers
  • Retains audio jack

Cons:

  • Slightly heavy
  • Still on Android 11

Our verdict

The Xiaomi Mi 10i starts at INR20,999 for the 6GB RAM variant and INR23,999 for the 8GB RAM variant. At this price, and given the specs and features it has onboard, there is little to find fault with the Mi 10i.

Besides being 5G-ready and high on refresh rate and camera experience, it also features an eye-catching design, which is one of the factors that customers consider more these days while buying a new phone.

An only significant shortcoming is its LED screen vis-a-vis the rivals in the same ballpark offering AMOLED display. However, by equipping the phone with a 120Hz refresh rate, Xiaomi makes up for it.

The Mi 10i is currently one of the best value-for-money smartphones in the sub-INR25K price segment. We have no second thought in recommending it. Its closest competitor, the Moto G 5G with the same chipset, falls in the same price bracket but lacks in other departments. The OnePlus Nord, on the other hand, features a better processor, clean Oxygen OS, and excellent AMOLED display, but gets a smaller battery and low refresh rate. Plus, it comes with a more expensive price tag of INR24,999 for the base variant.

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