Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro Review: Big in size, specs and camera, but not attractive

"The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro has a lot of power and capability, but the large, heavy housing and LCD screen mean that the outside doesn't feel as up-to-date as other phones."

  • Long battery life

  • Great camera

  • Good performance and audio for gaming

  • Big and heavy

  • No wireless charging

It's difficult to get massive phones right, as the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro proves. It's a whopper and the overall size fits the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, but the large Samsung phone is much more comfortable and natural to hold than the Mi 10T Pro. The reason for this lies in some ergonomic choices that make it more unwieldy than we'd like. However, there is no denying that the phone is capable or offers a competitive price. I've used it and so it is.

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Design and screen

How much do we talk here? The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro weighs 218 grams, is 9.3 mm thick and 76.4 mm wide. Since it has a flat screen rather than a curved screen, it feels every bit that size and a bit more. The handling of the Galaxy S20 Ultra proves that the Xiaomi's dimensions are misleading as the Samsung phone is wider and a little heavier, but the curved screen and thinner frame hide these things more effectively. Don't buy the Mi 10T Pro if you have small hands.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The fingerprint sensor is hidden in the side of the power switch. Although it's quick and accurate, the way you have to grab the phone to use it helps make it feel uncomfortable. The back of the phone – the model shown here is in the color Lunar Silver – is a matte finish made of Gorilla Glass 5 that gets pretty smudged with use, but looks very pretty in the right light. The camera module adds a few millimeters to the phone's thickness, but at least the unusual design is eye-catching.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I like the modern look of the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro, and its firmness in your hand gives it a reassuringly powerful feel and highlights the great build quality, but I found it a strain to use. It's mainly the fault of the flat panel display and thick case, and I've often been delighted to pick up my iPhone 12 Pro and use it instead. If a phone the size of the Galaxy S20 Ultra appeals, but the price doesn't, the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro is worth considering.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Mi 10T Pro from Xiaomi can keep up with the S20 Ultra in size, but not in terms of screen technology. Xiaomi has chosen an LCD screen for the phone. While it has the right specs – 144 Hz refresh rate, HDR10 +, and 6.67-inch size – you'll miss the contrast, colors, and gloss of an OLED screen. Not only that, the lack of OLED means the phone doesn't have an always-on mode, which I always miss.

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About that 144Hz refresh rate – it just doesn't look as effective as I've seen other phones do. Scrolling through Twitter, for example, is smoother and less blurry on the 120 Hz Galaxy S20 Ultra and probably also on the 60 Hz iPhone 12 Pro. Flipping through the general operating system is easy on the eyes, but adding the high refresh rate to an LCD seems like half a step, as the OnePlus Nord N10 5G made a similar impression.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Overall, the design and screen of the Mi 10T Pro are quite acceptable, but it feels a bit aged compared to other large-screen phones that were available last year.

Performance and software

This is a top of the line smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chip and 8 GB of RAM. This is reflected in the performance of the phone. It's really fast whether you're watching movies, playing games, or just browsing the software. Xiaomi's MIUI 12 is installed over Android 10.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The most annoying part of MIUI on the Mi 10T Pro is the decision to separate the swipe menu from the home screen. A swipe with the right hand brings up the quick access panel and a swipe with the left hand shows notifications. I would almost always cross the quick access controls down. Due to the size of the phone and a frustrating design choice in the software, it is difficult to get across the screen with one hand.

MIUI is endlessly customizable. So if you want to change the look of your phone's software, it has a lot of potential. You can select an app drawer or distribute app icons across multiple home screens. This feature is a good example of where MIUI frustrates even when its intentions are good. Applying the app drawer option will keep all of your app icons on multiple home screens so you get a cleanup job.

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I've played Asphalt 9 Legends for my reporting period and the game is immensely fast and fluid, but there is a bit of heat from behind for the phone when gaming. However, this is not uncommon for phones with the Snapdragon 865 inside. The size and weight of the phone help here as it is convenient to hold in landscape orientation, although the large camera module can reach into your fingers. This makes gaming one of the Mi 10T Pro's greatest strengths, right down to the great audio from the two speakers.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Xiaomi's MIUI takes getting used to, just like Huawei's EMUI, but once you've set it up, it's manageable and usable on a daily basis. I didn't have any reliability issues. However, if you have to choose between Samsung OneUI, Google's Pixel software or Apple's iOS, the confused design – for example, icons rarely have the same shape – and some frustration with use for the last time.

camera

The camera module contains a 108-megapixel main camera, a 13-megapixel ultrawide camera and a 5-megapixel macro camera. The 108MP camera is the Samsung HMX 1 / 1.33 inch sensor that was developed with Xiaomi and can record 8K videos. There's no optical or hybrid zoom, but it can zoom up to 30x digitally.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The camera app is a bit busy and not always very logical. There are plenty of features here to play with, including a long exposure mode, the ability to record video with the front and rear cameras at the same time, and a dedicated 108MP photo mode. However, it doesn't always make sense to find these features. For example, to enable macro mode, it is not under the "More" option, but rather in the drop-down menu at the top of the screen.

The large sensor doesn't work as well when approaching subjects, but I didn't have any focusing issues. The 5-megapixel macro lens is easier to use than the useless 2-megapixel cameras found on some cheaper phones, and even the digital zoom can produce good photos, provided you're not too picky about it.

Selfies taken with the 20-megapixel front camera are sharp and detailed, although the various lighting modes aren't as effective as Apple's modes. Portrait mode is available in front and back. The use of the rear camera's edge detection isn't particularly good compared to phones like the Pixel 5, but the app has plenty of customization and editing options. It's better if it can see a face, as can the selfie camera. Night mode is decent at dusk and adds atmosphere without making shots look like daylight.

The Mi 10T Pro's camera is fun and versatile. It delivers photos with lots of atmosphere and captures wonderful colors with just the right contrast and a comfortable dynamic range, even in difficult, cloudy conditions. Some of the additional features can be fun, but there is a lot to try, and not all of them are successful.

Battery and connectivity

There's a massive 5,000 mAh battery in the Mi 10T Pro that lasted two days with average usage. Squeeze the phone with games and big videos – streaming or calls – and you won't make it through day two. However, you have no single day concerns. There is 33W wired fast charging, but no wireless charging.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The phone has a 5G modem, but I don't have coverage in my area so couldn't try it out. I got a decent 4G LTE signal, but the call quality isn't as clear and reliable as some other phones I've used recently, including the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Price and availability

Where the Mi 10T Pro wins points is in the price. It costs £ 599 or about $ 800 via Xiaomi's own store and various UK networks. It is not officially available in the US, but can be imported. Importers sell it for around $ 800. However, it is worth noting that it is not an official US phone. Although it operates on GSM networks such as T-Mobile and AT&T, the phone may not always receive the best signal due to band compatibility.

Our opinion

The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro is a competent, albeit unexciting smartphone that offers top-notch specs at a reasonable price. The overall size and weight weren't managed as well as other larger phones, so it feels a bit awkward, but there's no question that it's very capable in terms of both performance and camera.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes. The Google Pixel 5 ($ 699 / £ 599) costs the same, with better software, guaranteed updates, and a great camera – all in a smaller, more convenient package. The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE ($ 699/599 Pounds) and OnePlus 8T ($ 749/549 Pounds) are also excellent buys if the design and small size of the Pixel aren't appealing. If you are not set to Android, the Apple iPhone 12 ($ 799/799 British Pounds) is also a better alternative.

How long it will take?

The Mi 10T Pro is not waterproof, but it has an attractive transparent silicone case in the box. The specs are great and it has 5G so on a technical level the phone will last for several years without any problems. Xiaomi updates its own software frequently, but there is no guarantee that an update to other major versions of Android will be available. There is no official release date for Android 11 with MIUI 12 on the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro.

Should you buy it?

No. The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro has enough power and capabilities, but because of the large, heavy body and LCD screen, it doesn't feel as up-to-date on the outside as other phones that are available for the same price.

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