After officially launching almost two months ago the Android 12-based LineageOS 19 is expanding to more handsets once again. This time those with the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro alongside the Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro and budget Mi A1 can now flash LineageOS 19 on their devices (h/t XDA). For those with the latter Xiaomi handsets, this is the most recent software build that you can access and might provide a more consistent update path moving forward.
While Android 12 is already available for the OnePlus 9 series and Poco X3 Pro, the Mi A1 shipped with Android One and has only been officially updated as far as Android 9 Pie. As mentioned, this might be a way to extend the lifespan of your devices given that support for older handsets from the likes of Xiaomi and OnePlus can be sporadic or limited at best.
It’s also important to note that LineageOS 19 is actually based upon Android 12.1/12L, a build that is not yet officially available for the OnePlus 9, 9 Pro, and Poco X3 Pro. That means that if you truly want the latest and greatest version of Android on your smartphone, LineageOS 19 might provide you with that option.
Should you want to flash LineageOS 19 on your device, you can find build/device links with specific device installation instructions:
Google apps do not come pre-installed with LineageOS builds. You will, therefore, need to flash a GApps package to retain access to the Play Store and important Google apps and services. Luckily, there is a solid guide from the team behind the ROM that you can refer to here.
The entire Redmi Note 11 lineup is already available for purchase, and they all share a brand new dual-glass design, similar camera experience, improved battery charging, the latest MIUI 13, among other things. Today, we are going to meet one of the most anticipated among the new Redmi quartet – the Redmi Note 11 Pro.
We already reviewed the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G, which has a different, 5G-capable chipset, but other than that, everything else stays the same. Naturally, the Redmi Note 11 Pro will be cheaper than its 5G counterpart, which makes it a more interesting offer.
So, the Redmi Note 11 Pro has a new cool-looking dual-glass design with a flat frame, flat panels, and IP53 splash proofing. It employs the same 6.67-inch 120Hz Super AMOLED that was introduced with the previous Redmi Note 10 Pro model. And it seems to be packing the same rear camera setup, too, with a 108MP primary shooter, an 8MP ultrawide, a 2MP macro, and a 2MP depth sensor. Oops, correction, it seems the macro has been demoted from a premium 5MP AF telemacro to a basic 2MP with a fixed focus.
The new Redmi Note 11 Pro runs on the Helio G96 chipset, not the fastest in the mid-range, but we will see how it fares against the competition.
The Redmi Note 11 Pro brings a ton of fan-favorite features like stereo speakers, a microSD expansion, FM radio, a 3.5mm jack, there is NFC and even an IR blaster. Like most of the Notes, this one is also powered by a large 5,000mAh battery, and its charging has been improved from 33W on the Note 10 Pro to 67W on this new Note 11 Pro. Nice!
Let’s take a closer look at the Redmi Note 11 Pro specs sheet.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro specs at a glance:
Body: 164.2×76.1×8.1mm, 202g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass 5), glass back; IP53, dust and splash protection.
The Redmi Note 11 Pro seems like a good sequel, though there is one big question mark – the Helio G96 chipset. It seems like a weaker SoC compared to the Note 10 Pro’s Snapdragon 732G chip, and furthermore, it’s not capable of 4K video capturing.
With that being said, let’s go and unpack this thing and put it through its paces.
Unboxing the Redmi Note 11 Pro
The Redmi Note 11 Pro arrives within a white paper box. The retail bundle offers a 67W power adapter, a 6A-rated USB cable, and a transparent protective case.
Interestingly, the Note 11 Pro has no protective film on its screen, like it was with older models, but you will find one within the box. It’s always good to have basic protection out of the box, but given how challenging it sometimes is to apply these flawlessly by yourself, we would have preferred this to have been done in the factory.
The Redmi Note 11 Pro turned out to be a good all-around mid-range phone with an attractive design, powerful stereo speakers, long-lasting battery life, speedy charging, and dependable cameras on both sides. The performance, while adequate, is somewhat subpar for its class. And with all that said, let’s explore the competition.
The Redmi Note 11 Pro launch price is €300-€330 for the 6GB/64GB model, €350 for the 6GB/128GB, and the limited 8GB/128GB model should retail at €370-€380. Not the most welcoming bunch, we’ll admit that.
The Realme 9 Pro costs the same as the Redmi Note 11 Pro. While it uses a 120Hz LCD screen instead of an OLED, it relies on the more powerful Snapdragon 695 5G chipset and offers much better battery life. Its interface also feels snappier, and the photo quality is somewhat more balanced.
But we’d suggest the 6GB/128GB Realme 9 Pro+, which costs about €50 over the 6GB/64GB Redmi Note 11 Pro or about €30 over the 6/128 model. It has a 90Hz AMOLED, runs on the much faster Dimensity 920 5G chipset, and comes with a superb 50MP primary camera with OIS that can do 4K videos. The Realme 9 Pro+ offers similar or even better battery life and equally fast charging. If we have to choose, we’d pay the extra €30 for the Realme 9 Pro+.
Then there is the outstanding Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G, which is an IP67 water-resistant smartphone with a 120Hz Super AMOLED, a much faster and gaming-capable Snapdragon 778G 5G chipset, and better four-camera setup with a 64MP OIS primary, a 12MP ultrawide, a 5MP macro and a 5MP depth sensor. The front camera is also of higher quality with a better 32MP sensor. The Galaxy A52s is inferior to the Redmi Note 11 Pro only in the charging department – 25W vs. 67W, but it costs as low as €320 – the same price as the Note 11 Pro. And this makes choosing the Galaxy a no-brainer.
The Motorola Edge 20 is another smartphone worthy of serious consideration. It has a faster 144Hz OLED screen, a more powerful Snapdragon 778G 5G chipset, a premium triple-camera with a 108MP primary, a 16MP ultrawide shooter, and an 8MP telephoto with OIS for 3x optical zoom. The Moto Edge 20 has inferior battery life and charging speed but offers a more powerful hardware and software package, and it costs as low as €300. Indeed, the Edge 20 seems like another good phone to get instead of the Redmi Note 11 Pro.
Realme 9 Pro • Realme 9 Pro Plus • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G • Motorola Edge 20
Then there is Xiaomi‘s own Poco X4 Pro 5G, which is a rebranded Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G with a different design. Its 6GB/128GB version starts at €269, which is cheaper than the €300 early-bird price of the Note 11 Pro, and you get more powerful graphics and 5G connectivity.
The Poco M4 Pro is a cheaper version of the Redmi Note 11 Pro with a 90Hz display, a 64MP primary camera and 33W fast charging. For these lower specs, you will save yourself at least €100, and we’d take that deal in a heartbeat. The Helio G96 is not equipped to handle 120fps properly, and then the 108MP camera seems like an overkill.
And another Poco, the X3 GT, is cheaper at €290 and more powerful than the Redmi Note 11 Pro. It has a 6.6-inch 120Hz LCD screen with HDR10 support and employs the flagship-grade Dimensity 1100 5G chipset. It also features more RAM and more storage at that price. The rest – camera experience, speakers, battery life, charging speed – everything is exactly on the Redmi.
Finally, we see not a single reason why anyone should get the Redmi Note 11 Pro instead of the Redmi Note 10 Pro from the last year. It offers faster graphics and good gaming experience, better photo and video quality, and they come at a lower price starting at €250 for the 6GB/64GB model.
Xiaomi Poco X4 Pro 5G • Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro • Xiaomi Poco X3 GT • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
The Redmi Note 11 Pro is a good smartphone positioned thoughtfully under the Note 11 Pro 5G. It was made for people who don’t need the fastest connection in the world and can do without gaming. We are fond of its design, screen, speakers, battery life and especially, the charging speed.
Xiaomi has been consistent with its IP53-rated phones, and that’s another thing that deserves praise – Realme still hasn’t gotten there yet. The camera experience is solid, too, probably the best you can get within the entire Redmi Note 11 series.
Finally, MIUI 13 is one capable launcher with millions of fans around the world, which plays in the Redmi Note 11 Pro favor. The 3.5mm jack, the microSD expansion, the IR blaster, and the FM radio are of big help, too.
Unfortunately, the Redmi Note 11 Pro fails at two important aspects – delivering meaningful upgrades and pricing. The only upgrade over the Redmi Note 10 Pro is the faster charging, everything else feels like a solid downgrade. And then we have this phone priced quite unfavorably at launch, even with the early bird promotions.
We’ve seen Realme pushing sequels with lower-tier specs, but they often came with rather reasonable price tags. Unlike Xiaomi, which is giving us slower phones at higher prices.
At the end of the day, we can’t blame Xiaomi for trying to refresh its signature Redmi Note series at times of unprecedented global crisis. The economy is not what it was two years ago, and phones, along with everything else, is going to be more expensive. So, it’s not really the maker’s fault for what’s happening. But we think Xiaomi could have handled better these Redmi Note 11 Pro models, maybe postpone them and rethink their place in the market.
Long story short, until we see the Redmi Note 11 Pro at a discount, or until the older Xiaomi models are no longer available, we can’t but think of the Redmi Note 11 Pro as unsellable.
Excellent AMOLED screen, bright, accurate colors, 120Hz.
Likable design, IP53-rated dual-glass body.
Good battery life, splendidly fast charging.
Loud stereo speakers.
Dependable photo and quality.
MIUI 13, 3.5mm jack, microSD, IR blaster, NFC, FM radio.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G may not be the Poco(phone) you are looking for. We could literally hear these words in our head spoken in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s voice as we sat down to gather our thoughts about the X4 Pro.
And indeed, if you came looking for a proper Poco X3 Pro sequel, you won’t be getting it. If you are on the lookout for an affordable mid-range phone, a refreshed Poco X3 NFC, if you will, then you’ve come to the right place. We can’t and won’t hide the true nature of the Poco X4 Pro 5G – it’s a repackaged version of the global Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G with a redesigned rear panel. Here’s how these two compare. This is not the first and won’t be the last time Poco has done this, so it’s not surprising. But the Poco X4 Pro 5G design really stands out, as usual.
The Poco X4 Pro packs a 6.67-inch 120Hz Super AMOLED screen and employs the Snapdragon 695 5G chipset, a departure from the flagship-grade Snapdragon 860 within the Poco X3 Pro but a small improvement over the Poco X3 NFC’s Snapdragon 732G. This mid-range SoC offers good CPU performance and 5G connectivity, though.
The camera is your usual tri-eye setup with a high-res 108MP primary, an 8MP ultrawide and a 2MP macro shooter. There is no depth sensor as opposed to other Redmi Note 11 models and the previous Poco X3 phones.
The Poco X4 Pro offers stereo speakers, and all sorts of fan-favorite features such as FM radio, a 3.5mm jack, a microSD expansion, and even an IR port. You can also charge its large 5,000mAh battery incredibly fast with the bundled 67W charger.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G runs on MIUI 13 for Poco, which is based on Android 11. We were a bit surprised to find the latest MIUI without the latest Android OS, but this is also not a first for Xiaomi, and we are sure the update will arrive soon enough.
So, let’s scroll through the Redmi, sorry, Poco X4 Pro 5G specs now.
If we are to compare the €250 Poco X3 Pro to the €300 Poco X4 Pro, we can’t but think of this as rather unfair. The whole economy has changed, and the world is still reshaping as you read this. So, yes, the Poco X4 Pro is not a phone with flagship speed at a bargain price; it can’t even do 4K videos.
But it does look promising as being one of the new generations of phones that will soon replace the old bang for the buck deals as their stock will soon run out. And we can see that this Poco still has the same spirit by trying to pack every possible modern technology, 5G included, and offer it at an incredibly low price in 2022 terms.
Unboxing the Poco X4 Pro 5G
The Poco X4 Pro’s retail box contains a 67W Xiaomi charger and a 6A-rated cable. This is the same charger you get with most new Xiaomi phones these days.
The bundle also includes a soft transparent case and a thin protective film for the display. Usually, Xiaomi‘s smartphones have that film applied in the factory, but this seems like yet another cost-cutting decision introduced for the new devices. We do appreciate this extra, but given how challenging it can be to apply these things, we can’t but think of the factory application as the better choice.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G is a good smartphone with balanced specs. It has an attractive splash-resistant design, a brilliant 120Hz AMOLED, offers excellent battery life, fast charging, good camera specs and adequate performance for the class. Its 6GB/128GB model is now available on sale at €299, which makes it an attractive offer considering its all-around specs sheet.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G is a reworked version of the €370 Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G. It is an identical smartphone with a different back panel. Yet, it’s €70 cheaper than the Redmi, which automatically makes it the better offer.
Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G and the Poco X4 Pro 5G
Of course, both Poco X3 NFC and Poco X3 Pro are still available for purchase for €200 and €250, respectively. While the X3 phones rely on 120Hz LCD panels instead of OLED, they can be more attractive offers. The Poco X3 NFC can offer 4K video capturing over the X4 Pro, but the X3 Pro has a flagship-grade Snapdragon 860 chipset, an HDR10-certified screen, and a somewhat better camera experience. Sure, the X3 Pro has no 5G connectivity, but we will still get it for its incredibly fast performance and the cheaper price.
Or there is the Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE, with a much better Dolby Vision AMOLED screen, much faster Snapdragon 778G 5G chipset, and a triple-camera of superb photo and video quality across the board. The 11 Lite 5G NE also costs around the €300 mark, and it is the Xiaomi phone to buy in this bracket, not doubt.
However, if you are dead set on getting a Poco, then the €300 Poco F3 is the way to go. With the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 870 5G chipset, HDR10+ 120Hz AMOLED screen, and a similar triple-camera with a 5MP telemacro shooter, it can be the gaming phone on a budget you are looking for.
Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G • Poco X3 NFC • Poco X3 Pro • 11 Lite 5G NE • Poco F3
If a Xiaomi-made phone is not a must, then other makers can win you over with their 2021 phones. Take the Galaxy A52s 5G, for example – it is priced around €340, and for the extra €40, you will get an IP67-rated design, much more powerful Snapdragon 778G 5G chipset, a better camera experience with a 64MP OIS primary, a 12MP ultrawide shooter and 5MP depth and macro cameras. 4K video capturing is available even on the selfie camera, and you also get cool features like the under-display fingerprint reader. The only caveat – the charging is not that fast.
Another excellent smartphone for €40 over the Poco X4 Pro is the OnePlus Nord 2 5G that’s still available across various retailers. It offers a 90hz Fluid AMOLED on top of the flagship Dimensity 1200 5G chipset. Its primary 50MP camera has OIS and 4K capturing and provides much better photo and video quality. Oh, and the Nord 2’s 65W fast charging is equally impressive.
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G • OnePlus Nord 2 5G
We already knew what to expect from the Poco X4 Pro 5G, after all, it’s the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G with a different body. The good news is that this Poco is preferable to the Redmi because it’s noticeably cheaper. The bad news – there are much better phones at that price.
Sure, the Poco X4 Pro 5G has a lot to offer – starting with its large OLED screen of high quality, on top of a likable splash-proof design and one large battery with super-fast charging. The X4 Pro performance is fine, it has a ton of connectivity options, and its camera kit sounds promising.
But the disappointments are piling up right from the start. The Poco X4 Pro is not at all like the previous Poco X series Pro models, and we think this is one of the things that will make it tougher to sell as people will see it as a continuation to the Poco X3 Pro and not the NFC. Then its performance has not improved an inch since the X3 NFC, though it can now connect to 5G networks.
Then there is the rather mediocre camera experience despite the 108MP primary sensor. Finally, we got MIUI 13, yes, but it’s on top of Android 11 instead of Android 12 and that adds yet another question mark on top of everything else.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G is a good smartphone – it has adequate specs sheet and attractive pricing for 2022, all things considered. But the 2021 mid-range models are widely available and more affordable, and it just doesn’t make sense buying it right now, not until a price cut is introduced or its competitors – retired. But what we know is that this Poco X4 Pro makes more sense than many of the recently launched Redmi Note 11 phones models.
Likable glass design, IP53-rated.
Outstanding AMOLED screen, bright, 120Hz, great color accuracy.
Top-notch battery life, blazing fast charging.
Loud stereo speakers, good audio quality.
Up to par performance for the class, 5G.
MIUI 13, 3.5mm jack, NFC, IR blaster, microSD.
Not a sequel to the Poco X3 Pro, likely to the Poco X3 NFC but does not outperform it.
Not based on the latest Android 12 like Xiaomi 12.
the Redmi Note 10 Pro for review, and this is the global version of the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max – an India-exclusive model. There are only two differences – the Indian version omits NFC and it is not listed as IP53-rated. Here’s a direct link to compare the two.
It’s been exactly one year since the first Redmi Note 9 phones came to be, and the updates arrive right on schedule. The Redmi Note 10 Pro is spearheading the next generation of affordable mid-rangers, and it brings one of the most requested fan-favorite features – a 120Hz OLED screen.
Xiaomi has been offering HRR screens on the cheap. The Redmi Note 9 Pro 5G and multiple Redmi K30 phones had 120Hz and even 144Hz LCD panels. These devices became quite popular for that reason, and a lot of people, we included, were hoping for an OLED upgrade and that this premium feature would become a standard for the Redmi Note 10 series. Talk about a wish come true!
The Redmi Note 10 Pro builds on top of the limited Redmi Note 9 Pro 5G, also known as Mi 10i 5G in some markets, both released a few weeks ago. It offers a better HRR OLED screen but comes with the inferior Snapdragon 732G chip instead of the more premium Snapdragon 750G 5G. The rest is mostly the same – camera, speakers, battery, fast charging.
Indeed, the new Redmi Note 10 Pro may not be packing the best mid-range SoC, but it sure impresses with an interesting quad-camera on the back. The main shooter uses a 108MP Samsung sensor, then comes the 8MP ultrawide snapper, followed by a 5MP cam with telemacro lens, and finally, there is a 2MP depth sensor.
The other interesting bits about the Redmi Note 10 Pro include the dedicated symmetrical speakers – yet another feature that’s not widely available even on the most expensive phones (the flagships usually favor hybrid setups). There is also a nicely fat battery with a 5,020mAh capacity that’s capable of 33W fast charging, and the corresponding power adapter is included with the phone. Some people will appreciate the presence of NFC, FM radio, IR blaster, a 3.5mm jack, and the microSD expansion.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro specs at a glance:
Body: 164×76.5×8.1mm, 193g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass 5), glass back (Gorilla Glass 5), plastic frame; IP53, dust and splash protection.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro is IP53-rated for dust and water protection – a very nice touch. This means the phone is dust-proof and can endure light splashes or rain. The phone sounds like an increasingly better proposition with each new feature we spot, so let’s cut to the chase and pop this Note out of its box.
Unboxing the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
The Redmi Note 10 Pro ships within a regular paper box, and it packs everything you may need but a pair of headphones. The retail bundle contains a 33W power adapter and a 3A-rated USB-A-to-C cable.
You also get a transparent silicone case with a cover lid for the USB-C port. And you will find one thin screen protector that’s already applied to the phone’s display. We peeled that off; sorry, Xiaomi, it was way too cheap.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro is without a doubt one of the hottest offers this year, and it will be a tough one to match. By putting a 120Hz OLED screen on such an affordable phone, Xiaomi has finally put an end to the 60Hz OLED or 120Hz LCD dilemma. How about that, Realme?
Indeed, Realme has been known for prioritizing 60Hz AMOLEDs over HRR LCDs for a while, and the most recent Realme 7 Pro is one of these specimens. The 7 Pro costs as much as the Redmi Note 10 Pro, but it offers an inferior 60Hz OLED and lower-res primary (108MP vs. 64MP) and macro (5MP AF vs. 2MP FF) snappers. It impresses with its 65W SuperDart Charging, though. The Realme 8 Pro is expected to premiere in a few weeks with a 60Hz OLED, a Helio G95 chip, and a 108MP primary camera, so you may want to wait for that one.
Ah, the Poco X3 NFC has a lot in common with the Redmi Note 10 Pro. It has the same size screen, 120Hz at that, but it’s an IPS LCD unit. It uses the same Snapdragon 732G platform, has the same speakers, similar battery with 33W charging. The Poco X3 NFC also packs a quad-camera on the back, but the important bits – main and ultrawide – are 64MP + 13MP instead of 108MP + 8MP. The Poco X3 NFC is €100 cheaper though, so if you decide against paying extra for an OLED panel, you may as well find the Poco X3 a good fit for you.
The €280 Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite, just like the Poco X3, features a 120Hz LCD screen, while matching the rest of the specs, more or less. But the Mi 10T Lite is a 5G-capable thanks to the Snapdragon 750G 5G SoC and it makes it a good alternative to the Redmi Note 10 Pro.
Another incredibly cheap 5G phone is the €250 Samsung Galaxy A42 5G. It has a 6.6″ 720p AMOLED and runs on the Snapdragon 750G 5G chip. It has a similar camera (even if the primary is not a 108MP but 48MP), and an equally beefy 5,000mAh battery. There are no stereo speakers or IP53 rating, but the Galaxy is a reliable phone, especially for gaming, and will last you for days per our battery life test.
Realme 7 Pro • Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC • Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite 5G • Samsung Galaxy A42 5G
Xiaomi has also brought three more Redmi Note 10 phones. The Redmi Note 10 5G with a 90Hz OLED and 5G connectivity, but it has no stereo speakers and no ultrawide camera. The Redmi Note 10 and Note 10S will tempt you with 6.43″ 60Hz OLEDs, stereo speakers and ultrawide snappers, but they differ by chipsets – the N10 runs on Snapdragon 678, while the 10S employs Helio G95. Obviously, none of these can match the 108MP camera and the 120Hz screen refresh rate, but they are worth considering if you are on the budget.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro is so likable, and it aced our tests, so it’s really hard to find any faults. This one easily becomes our current favorite bang for the buck offer and one of the easiest “go for it” we’ve written in a while.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro is not a perfect smartphone, but its imperfections are easily forgivable and forgettable. And while this Note wasn’t made to be a flagship killer, it is shrinking the gap and may soon be breathing down their necks.
Beautiful design; IP53-rated.
Excellent 120Hz AMOLED, smooth and responsive.
Outstanding battery life, fast to charge.
Very good stereo speakers.
Dependable performance, no overheating.
All cameras excel in daylight, photo and video.
MIUI 12 is smooth on top of Android 11.
IR blaster, 3.5mm jack, FM radio, NFC, microSD.
A higher grade chipset would have been more exciting.
Xiaomihas signed a “long-term strategic partnership” with camera and camera lens manufacturer Leica in a bid to improve and boost camera performance on upcoming flagship smartphones.
Leica has previously partnered with Huawei to help tune and enhance the Mate and P-series smartphones. However, with Huawei still facing sanctions and difficulties in Western markets, Xiaomi has moved to secure a partnership with Leica on upcoming devices. The German photography firm has also partnered with a number of other brands including Sharp with the recent Japan-only Aquos line.
The announcement teases a new device coming in July, which is expected to be the follow-up to the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra. No further details were shared about the actual device in question, which is likely to be the Xiaomi 12 Ultra. However, the recently teased Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Plus chipset would be a likely candidate as one of the core internals for a device worthy of following on from the impressive Mi 11 Ultra.
In a press release confirming this partnership with Leica, Xiaomi stated that the first flagship smartphone camera setup to benefit from this deal “will be officially launched in July this year.” It’s also unclear if this will partnership will see simple Leica software tweaks and color tuning like the OnePlus-Hasselblad and Oppo-Hasselblad partnership penned in recent years.
Xiaomi and Leica share the same ideas regarding mobile imaging. Both companies are eager to continuously explore the optical performance and photographic experience in the mobile imaging era through extreme technological breakthroughs and aesthetic pursuits.
The usage of “strategic partnership in imagery technology” within the announcement post hints that this could provide either option, which would be a way to help differentiate from the growing pack of Android smartphone OEMs attempting to take that third-place global sales crown from the Chinese brand.
The Pocophone brand is often associated with performance on the cheap, and that’s probably the apt description for the latest phone we have for review – the Poco F3. It’s more than that, though – it’s like a flagship on the cheap, or as this other company would have called it – a flagship killer.
The Poco F3 is jam-packed with top-notch features starting with its beautiful glass body with a sturdy plastic frame. The F3 has a 6.67″ AMOLED screen with 120Hz refresh, one of the fastest platforms available today – the Snapdragon 870 5G chip, loud stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, a versatile triple-camera setup, and a large battery with fast charging.
The rear camera is your typical budget arrangement, and that’s probably the biggest cost-cutting decision to happen on the F3. There is a 48MP primary, an 8MP ultrawide shooter, and a 5MP macro enhanced with autofocus. The punch-hole at the front contains a 20MP selfie shooter. Sure, it’s no real flagship, but hey, it’s not too shabby either.
The Poco F3 is among the first phones to employ the enhanced version of last year’s Snapdragon 865. That’s the new Snapdragon 870, which should be about 10% faster. Paired with that 1080p screen, the hardware should also be doing a fabulous job in graphics-intensive tasks, too.
The Poco F3 isn’t a massive upgrade over the F2 Pro, though. It sure packs a better 120Hz AMOLED and stereo speakers than its predecessor, but we expect the processing performance to be similar. The F2 Pro even had higher-resolution main and ultra-wide cameras. But there is a big case to be made here – the Poco F3 price at launch is almost half the Poco F2’s, and that’s a big deal.
Indeed, the Poco F3 seems to be packing a lot of unexpectedly good specs. Let’s scroll through those now.
Xiaomi Poco F3 specs at a glance:
Body: 163.7×76.4×7.8mm, 196g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass 5), glass back (Gorilla Glass 5), plastic frame.
We appreciate the stereo speakers and the fast charging, but we can’t but miss the microSD slot and the 3.5mm jack. The writing has been on the wall for a couple of years now, sure, but still. Poco users usually expect these features to be present, and they are not on the F3. There is no FM radio on the Poco F3, if you were wondering.
Enough with the introductions, it’s time we unbox it.
Unboxing the Poco F3
The Poco F3 ships within a big black box with the usual yellow Poco insignia. The retail bundle is your typical Xiaomi treatment – there is a fast 33W power adapter, a 3A-rated USB-A-to-C cable, and a transparent silicone case. That case has a small protective cover for the USB port, which boosts the ingress protection, but gets annoying fast when you need to charge the phone or plug a wired headset.
And speaking about headsets, the Poco F3 doesn’t offer a 3.5mm jack, and that’s why the maker is also offering a 3.5mm-to-USB-C adapter as part of the bundle. Nice!
Finally, if you are an avid Poco fan, you’ll also be happy to find a bunch of Poco stickers, which you can put on your favorite gadgets, PCs, or maybe your car bumper?
The Poco F3 comes with this very thin screen protector that was applied in the factory, but it was so cheap and hard to keep to clean from smudges that we got rid of it quickly.
The Poco F3 is one capable smartphone with a great design, an impressive screen, a powerful chipset and a large battery. It’s not a water-resistant phone, and its camera experience is rather average, but with a price of €350, or even €300, it’s a killer deal.
Xiaomi is having a blast these couple of weeks – it has launched a couple of devices jam-packed with high-end features devices and incredibly low prices.
Take the €50 cheaper Poco X3 Pro, for example. It shares many specs with the Poco F3, but there are a few notable differences, too. The Poco X3 Pro is IP53-rated for splash resistance, and it packs a similar screen with an LCD panel instead of an AMOLED. The X3 Pro runs on the slightly inferior Snapdragon 860 chip with 4G connectivity, which is still a beast, all things considered. The rest is the same – speakers, cameras, software. It’s an excellent alternative to the F3, cheaper at that.
Then there is the even cheaper €280 Redmi Note 10 Pro. This Redmi also has a lot in common with the Poco F3 – similar glass design, the same 120Hz AMOLED screen, the secondary cameras are a match. The Redmi Note 10 Pro uses the mid-range Snapdragon 732G chip – it may not be a flagship, but it handles games well, but it really shines with the flagship-grade 108MP primary camera.
You should also consider the €50 more expensive Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G. This one has a 90Hz AMOLED, but it supports 10-bit color and can show more than 1 billion colors (compared to 16 million on the F3). The Snapdragon 780 5G chip is a particularly good alternative to the SD870, so no complaints here. And the camera experience seems to be on par, if not better, as the main camera is now 64MP.
Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro • Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
There are also many alternatives outside Xiaomi‘s backyard fighting for a change in this price bracket. The €300 Realme 8 Pro impressed us with its 108MP primary camera and its 3x lossless zoom. It does pack an AMOLED screen, but it’s limited to 60Hz. Then the chipset isn’t impressive either – it’s the mid-range Snapdragon 720G. Oh, and there is just one speaker on the Realme.
The €350 Samsung Galaxy A52 sounds like one very reasonable offer. It has an IP67-rated body and packs a 90Hz Super AMOLED screen. The camera quality is better on the A52, even if the setup is similar. It does feature stereo speakers, too, but can’t offer the same performance – the A52 runs on the SD720G.
The OnePlus Nord price has dropped down to about €370, and it’s a phone to consider if you are after the smoothest software experience thanks to the 90Hz Fluid AMOLED and the Oxygen OS. The Nord isn’t as fast, but it will make up for that with better photo quality and a second ultrawide selfie camera.
Finally, the €500 Moto G100 is powered by the same Snapdragon 870 chip, and while more expensive, it has its nice quirks. The Moto offers a water-repellent design and a 90Hz LCD screen. It has better cameras on both sides (there are two selfies), and the “Ready For” PC-like experience did turn out pretty good.
Realme 8 Pro • Samsung Galaxy A52 • OnePlus Nord • Motorola Moto G100
The Poco F3 is a great smartphone that offers unbeatable performance at a bargain price. This, coupled with the great HRR AMOLED screen, earns it an immediate recommendation. But there is more, too.
We appreciate that the maker has taken the extra step and has provided some value-adding features like stereo speakers, fast charging on the large battery, and even a premium-looking design. The Poco F3 isn’t perfect, of course. Only the main camera offers good results, and there is no 3.5mm jack, or a microSD slot, or an official IP rating either.
Yet, at €300-€350 price, the Poco F3 is still tough to match, let alone beat in most aspects, and without a doubt, it will become the first choice for many potential buyers. And if they can live with the mediocre camera, they’ll love the F3 as we did.
Stunning design with a premium build.
Excellent AMOLED screen, 120Hz refresh rate.
Outstanding battery life, fast to charge, too.
Class-leading performance, 5G connectivity.
Good stereo speakers.
Good daylight photo and video quality.
Latest Android and MIUI.
No 3.5.mm jack, no microSD, no FM radio.
Ultra-wide camera is mediocre in both photos and videos.
Uncompromising gaming experience on the cheap. That’s what Xiaomi is aiming for with its second-best gaming phone, the Black Shark 4. It offers pretty much everything the Pro version has but tones down the chipset to Snapdragon 870 and swaps the main 64MP camera for a 48MP one. It may sound like a significant downgrade, but the competitive price tag of just €500 may be enough to convince you to pull the trigger. And the Black Shark 4 has two of those.
On top of the already standard 144Hz OLED panel, Xiaomi has included other gaming-specific features such as the physical shoulder triggers. That may not sound much given that Asus and nubia are doing it too, but these ones are physical, clickable buttons. And nothing beats those when it comes to gaming.
Xiaomi Black Shark 4 specs at a glance:
Body: 163.8×76.4×9.9mm, 210g; Glass front and back, metal frame.
The handset is also geared with a set of powerful loudspeakers and a proper cooling system making sure performance lasts. However, the camera setup covers only the bare minimum. Then again, that’s probably not what you are after if you are already here reading a gaming phone review.
What concerns us the most is the below-average battery capacity of 4,500 mAh. Hopefully, the extra fast 120W charging will make sure charging sessions are as short as possible. Xiaomi promises a full charge in just 17 minutes.
It’s also important to note that if you reside outside of China, the Pro model is probably out of reach anyway so this model is as good as it gets from Black Shark. The 4 Pro is a China-only exclusive at the time of writing, so the non-Pro model has the uneasy task to challenge the Snapdragon 888-equipped nubia Red Magic 6, which falls in the same price range.
So in this review, we will see if the trade-off for Snapdragon 870 is worth it, considering competition and pricing. We will also test various games on the Play Store and see if Xiaomi‘s gaming phone can saturate the 144Hz screen with the corresponding framerates. Gaming optimization is the Achilles heel of modern gaming smartphones, and so far, Asus has the lead with the most supported HRR games.
Unboxing the Xiaomi Black Shark 4
The Black Shark 4 comes in a standard retail box that weighs a little more than expected, mostly due to the chunky 120W charger. In case you are in China or a reviewer because the global variant of the handset ships with a 67W charger instead. The USB-A to USB-C cable for charging and data transfer is also at hand, along with a hard, plastic, semi-transparent case as a bonus.
The case doesn’t wrap around the whole handset, and we can’t say that it provides a good grip. On the upside, it doesn’t make the phone bulkier than it already is.
Since the gaming smartphone segment is still in its early stage, competition isn’t big, but there are still some alternatives to consider. The vanilla Black Shark 4‘s main advantage is its price. By providing a sub-flagship SoC, the handset manages to undercut the competition by few hundred bucks, in some cases.
The Black Shark 4‘s direct competitor is undoubtedly the OnePlus 9R. The only issue is that the latter’s availability is quite limited. It’s available in India where the Black Shark 4 is yet to launch but something tells us that pricing won’t be all that different from the 9R’s. Anyway, they both run on the same Snapdragon 870 chipset but the 9R “settles” for a less impressive 120Hz OLED panel, which is also smaller in size too. But the camera setup is more competent and offers shoulder triggers too. On the other hand, the Black Shark 4’s limited HRR control doesn’t make good use of the full 144Hz OLED. So this leaves the considerably faster charging, and the physical, clickable shoulder triggers as its only advantages.
Spending around €100 more for the nubia Red Magic 6 ensures a true flagship SoC – Snapdragon 888 and an even faster, more responsive 165Hz display. Taking advantage of the HRR display on the Red Magic 6 in games seems to be an easier task too. Nubia’s contender runs more games above 120fps than the Black Shark 4. It also has a built-in cooling fan, which although a bit noisy, does the trick during long gaming sessions. The shoulder triggers are touch-capacitive but are just as responsive and recognize different pressure levels.
And an honorable mention would be the Asus ROG Phone 5 just because there aren’t many gaming-oriented smartphones, to begin with. The pricing is way above the three phones mentioned above but it provides undoubtedly the most uncompromised gaming experience. It can run more games at 144Hz than the rest, offers gives the user much more control over the hardware and the accessories’ ecosystem is unbeatable. It all comes at a price premium, of course, as the current price of the vanilla ROG Phone 5 starts at around €750, which is €250 above the entry price for the Black Shark 4 and €150 more than what the Red Magic 6 asks.
On paper, the Black Shark 4 seemed like an easy recommendation. It offers an excellent price/performance ratio, it has a unique set of physical shoulder buttons for gaming, a fast and bright 144Hz OLED panel, great-sounding stereo speakers, insanely fast charging and dependable camera performance.
But as we dug deeper, the 144Hz display turned out to be a gimmick in a large portion of the games. Running at 144Hz wasn’t even possible in simple menus and apps. Support for HRR gaming is also extremely limited, beating the purpose of buying the Black Shark 4 solely for gaming. And when you add the not-so-great battery life and the lack of 4K video stabilization to the cons list, it makes it hard for us to give the handset a higher score.
Bright, 144Hz OLED display with HDR10+ support.
Great-sounding stereo speakers.
Dependable camera experience overall.
Plenty of useful gaming features, physical shoulder triggers with additional functionalities.
Super fast 120W charging.
Awesome haptic feedback around.
Solid sustained performance.
Quite limited HRR gaming support.
Poor HRR control outside of gaming too, limited to just 120Hz.
Xiaomi‘s Redmi lineup is the crowd’s favorite in markets across the world as it took over shortly after the Moto G lineup lost its magic and the latest generation Redmi Notes came early this year with major design overhaul, better processors, bigger batteries and all the MIUI 11 features at your disposal. And as always, at a reasonable price point.
Today’s subject of our review is the Redmi Note 9 – a device that’s a close relative to the Redmi Note 9S. It feels almost as if the two handsets are just different configurations of one model. The vanilla 9, for example, is slightly more compact as it has a smaller screen, employs a MediaTek G85 SoC, has NFC in most markets and there’s a resolution drop in the macro and selfie shooters.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 specs
Body: 162.3 x 77.2 x 8.9 mm, 199g; Gorilla Glass 5 front, plastic back and frame, water-repellent coating.
Video recording: Rear camera: Full HD 1080p@30fps. Front camera: Full HD 1080p@30fps.
Battery: 5,020 mAh, 18W fast charging, supports reverse charging at 9W.
Misc: NFC (market dependant); rear-mounted fingerprint reader, IR blaster;
On paper, the Redmi Note 9S seems like the better deal but there are some things to consider here before jumping into any conclusions. The vanilla Note 9 might appeal to someone looking for a handset with smaller screen or the feature that makes the phone act as a power bank. Yep, one curious feature disparity between the Note 9S and the Note 9 is that the latter can charge another device at 9W.
It’s also important to see how the ISP stacks against the Note 9S. Since the two devices share mostly the same camera hardware, the ISPs on the SoCs are what makes them different. And as we know, that could make a huge difference, case in point Snapdragon vs Exynos debate with the current Galaxy S20 family. Of course, we expect different battery endurance as well. We are sure it will do just fine with that chunky 5,020 mAh battery but will it be better than the Snapdragon 720G-powered Note 9S? Let’s find out.
Unboxing the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9
The device comes in a box containing the usual user manuals, a USB-A to USB-C cable for charging and data transfer, a transparent silicone protective case, and a power adapter. The last one is rated at 22.5W, but the phone itself caps at 18W. Xiaomi says it uses that charger for more than one device, so you could say it’s a universal plug for Xiaomi devices.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 sits comfortably at the lower end of the mid-range spectrum with only a few alternatives in sight, and most of them are even from the same company. The phone is currently on sale in Europe for about €175/£150, either from Xiaomi‘s Mi store or from other retailers. This is also the price – Xiaomi is selling the Redmi Note 9 at the same price as the Note 9S (a.k.a. Note 9 Pro in India).
So which one to get? This is rather simple, to be honest. If you don’t care about NFC, the Note 9S is clearly the better option. For the same price, you get a bigger, brighter, and overall better IPS display, a Snapdragon 720G chipset which is considerably faster and you can take 4K@30fps videos. Not to mention that the photos look a lot better even though the two share mostly the same camera hardware. We blame the ISP on the Helio G85. The Redmi Note 9 only has the NFC on its side as that’s lacking on the Redmi Note 9s.
Another Redmi that does have NFC is last year’s Redmi Note 8 Pro. Don’t let “last-year” scare you off though, the phone launched 8 months ago and it still has a better chipset and better cameras than the Note 9. Sure, that doesn’t come cheap, but if you get it from a reseller instead of Mi.com, it will set you back around 210€ which is not that much more compared to the current price of 179€ that Xiaomi is asking for the Note 9.
However, if you are looking for something in the same price range at around €160-180, Realme has the 6i to offer as well. It’s the definition of a direct competitor to the Redmi Note 9 and you can grab it for roughly the same price if you are buying it from a third-party retailer and not from Realme Europe directly. Anyway, the device is a valid choice over Redmi Note 9 if battery life is of utmost importance. After all, this phone is currently sitting on the top of our battery ranking. But it does so with a lower 720 x 1600px resolution screen in the 6.5-inch diagonal, which turns out to be brighter, though. The rest of the hardware and features are pretty much identical with Realme’s contender falling behind in the low-light photography while snapping stills during the day. To our surprise, the Realme UI felt smoother on the hardware as well. And don’t get fooled by the “newer” MediaTek G85 SoC on the Redmi, as benchmarks and specs have proven, it’s virtually the same as the G80.
But perhaps the biggest challenge the Redmi Note 9 might face on the European market is the Realme 6. It’s a bit costlier on the official website but you can find it for €200 from resellers. The Realme 6 wins in almost all of the key departments – performance, display (still not very bright but has 90Hz refresh rate), camera, and fast charging. Sure, it has a smaller battery, but it can also be fully charged in under an hour. Realme’s contender gives the Redmi Note 9 a good run for its money.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 isn’t a bad phone, it’s far from it. You can depend on the camera’s Night mode and battery life. Our main complaints are regarding the screen brightness and rather under-powered SoC for the price range.
Regardless of these flaws, if you can find it for less than €150, which is the case in India, the Redmi Note 9 is quite a viable proposition.
We find it hard to recommend it at a higher price, because it’s offered in the very same markets where the Note 9S (a.k.a. Note 9 Pro in India) is selling. And the latter is, hands-down, the much better version as long as the lack of NFC support does not bug you.
Rather sturdy design.
Chart-topping battery life.
Good Night mode and the macro camera has AF.
3.5mm audio jack, dedicated microSD card and IR blaster.
Mature and feature-rich MIUI 11.
Falls behind the competition in terms of performance and charging speed.
After the release of Pocophone, the successor named Poco F2 Pro is here , we called the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro the spiritual successor of the Pocophone and it kind of filled that gap in the segment so we weren’t wrong. Especially seeing how the new Poco F2 Pro is mostly a re-branded Redmi K30 Pro (the previous version of the phone K20 Pro was also known as the Mi 9T Pro in some markets).
But enough about semantics. The real question is, does the Poco F2 Pro live up to the hype as its successor once did. Surely, there was some corner-cutting to allow the original Pocophone to be so competitively priced while this time around, the specs sheet of the F2 Pro doesn’t really give us that notion.
Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro specs
Body: 163.3 x 75.4 x 8.9 mm, 219g; Gorilla Glass 5 front and back, aluminum frame.
Screen: 6.67″ Super AMOLED, 1080 x 2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 395ppi; HDR10+ support.
With a significantly higher price, the Poco F2 Pro has yet to prove its salt. It follows the same formula of arriving with the latest and greatest from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 865 in this case, but the F2 Pro also adds a couple of welcomed improvements in key areas. The screen is now bigger, notch-less, and employs a crisp OLED panel. Additionally, the camera setup covers almost all of the focal lengths you’d want from a modern smartphone and the battery along with the charging have received some love this time around too.
And before we start pointing fingers, we would like to remind you that the prices of current flagships have risen in the past two years a lot. This gives the “flagship killer” segment some headroom to increase its pricing as well. That way, affordable flagships can offer true flagship experience, at least spec-wise, with a minimal price increase.
There’s also the 5G part. All Snapdragon 865-powered phones this year are more expensive, which probably has something to do with Qualcomm’s way of building and licensing all the parts and antennas for the 5G. That doesn’t take away the bang for the buck factor of the Poco F2 Pro as the phone is still much cheaper than the popular top-shelf smartphones and offers plenty of performance per dollar. But its pricing means its purchase is no longer a ‘no-brainer’ in stark contrast to the original Poco F1.
Let’s dive deeper to see what else the much-anticipated Poco F2 Pro has to offer.
Unboxing the Poco F2 Pro
The phone came in its original box containing the usual user manuals along with the compatible 30W wall charger and the USB-C to USB-A cable for charging and data transfer. There was also a transparent silicone case with slightly textured back for extra grip and a big cutout at the top for the 3.5mm jack and the pop-up camera.
Well, Xiaomi did it again. Two years after the release of the Poco F1, the company was still able to undercut the competition even with this significant price increase. The Poco F2 Pro will probably cost less in India than in Europe, but the point stands – this phone is still lighter on the budget compared to the alternatives powered by the Snapdragon 865 chip. It was able to find a sweet spot in the “flagship killer” price bracket. But there are still some phones worth considering that roam in the same territory.
The Realme X50 Pro 5G comes to mind as a potential alternative first. The handset might be a bit more expensive than the Poco F2 Pro at around €600 in Europe and a little less in India – INR 47,999 – but it’s the better phone overall. The overall camera experience with proper telephoto, the high-refresh rate display, and the faster charging might be worth your extra money.
Ultimately, the F2 Pro offers the same performance for less while having a better battery life as well. And besides, there’s nothing wrong with F2 Pro’s screen. If the cleaner, cutout-less design fits you better and the pop-up selfie camera still entertains you, it may even be the better buy.
If the Poco F2 Pro‘s price fits your budget but you can wiggle only a little, the OnePlus 7T could make a potential case for itself. Sure, it’s a last year’s device from, but the 7T is significantly cheaper now asking €529 in Europe, and it’s just INR 34,999 in India which is almost as low as the F2 Pro. The OnePlus 7T, however, will grant you a high-refresh-rate OLED screen (unfortunately, with a notch), a proper 2x telephoto camera, the same quality, if not better, macro shots and leaner, stock-ish OxygenOS, if you are into that sort of Androids. The 7T’s overall camera performance is better too.
The downside of this deal would be the shorter battery life and the older Snapdragon 855 chipset. But if you don’t have any immediate plans of switching to a 5G network carrier, last year’s flagship SoC would do just fine for at least a couple of years.
And in case the F2 Pro is really your upper limit price-wise, why not eyeball the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite, too. The camera isn’t better, that’s for sure, but the battery life and screen quality are quite comparable. Also, Samsung might win you over with its One UI. With the European pricing, the S10 Lite is about €60-70 cheaper making an even bigger case for Samsung contender if you don’t mind the older chipset.
Finally, if you are an iPhone user or an Android fan looking for something fresh, the popular iPhone SE (2020) falls in the same price category. If you go with the specs sheet, the F2 Pro has won the match before it started – superior and brighter OLED display, much longer battery life, faster charging and more cameras covering more field of views. There are some things, however, that Apple does better. One of them is cameras. Even with one, the iPhone SE is a better shooter than the F2 Pro. And you do get that extra-long software support, so that’s a plus.
Don’t let the extensive list of alternative options above fool you – we are happy to recommend the Poco F2 Pro. It remains true to its flagship killer heritage – the same thing that made the Poco F1 famous. And despite the significant price increase, we think that Xiaomi has found a nice market niche for it.
There are some considerations, though. The camera experience has its flaws, and it’s far from polished. But when have the flagship killers offered flagship-grade camera performance?
The lack of a proper 2x telephoto is a misstep, as well as skipping the expandable storage, although you get a couple of rare commodities these days – a 3.5mm audio jack and full-screen design. The lack of a high refresh rate is a strange omission for a new €500+ phone coming out in mid-2020. Still, it’s an excellent screen – it gets super bright and brings HDR10+ support.
Battery life is remarkable, fast charging is at hand and the Poco Launcher just flies on this thing and it comes with numerous features that are hard to find all in one place.
So yes, overall, the Poco F2 Pro is an excellent all-rounder that’s worth every extra penny on top of its predecessors. Perhaps in a different way and perhaps for a different crowd, but it remains a ‘flagship killer’ nonetheless.
Really nice build and a design that stands out.
Super bright and color accurate OLED screen without any cutouts.
Record-breaking battery life.
Competitive fast charging solution over Power Delivery.
Good price/performance ratio.
Satisfactory main camera performance with great Night mode and nice macro camera.
Has 3.5mm audio jack, LED notification indicator, IR blaster.
Mature and feature-rich MIUI 11.
Thick and heavy body.
Screen lacks the trendy high-refresh rate.
No stereo speakers.
No telephoto camera.
Low-light photography is not great except for the main cam with Night mode ON.
It’s been a while since we’ve last seen a Mi Note phone. The Mi Note 3 came more than two years ago and received a lukewarm reception, so the Mi Note series was put on pause. Well, we can now consider that a reboot as the Mi Note 10 is official and it starts on a high note with a penta-camera setup that’s the host of the world’s first 108MP snapper!
The 108MP camera is the obvious highlight, but it’s not the only one. The Note 10 has two zoom snappers – one for 2x and another for 5x optical magnification. There is also a 20MP ultrawide camera with autofocus and a 2MP macro shooter. All kinds of hybrid zoom levels are available, as well as many video capturing modes.
There is more to the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 than just the camera. The maker has refined its flagship design since the Mi 9, and now the Note 10 introduces a new 3D curved screen – a 6.47″ panel of extended 1080p resolution. The front curves mirror the rear ones, and the Mi Note 10 has one of the most symmetrical designs we’ve seen in a while.
The gaming-friendly Snapdragon 730G is in charge of everything that happens on the Mi Note 10. It’s not the fastest chip there is today, but it is one of the most current and its power is more than enough for the 1080p display.
The Mi Note 10 also impresses with a massive 5,260 mAh battery that’s capable of 30W fast charging. We expect nothing, but record-setting scores in our battery life test and here is hoping the Note 10 delivers.
Finally, Android 9-based MIUI 11 boots right off the bat on the Mi Note 10 – making it the first Xiaomi smartphone to have the new launcher installed by default.
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 specs
Body: Aluminum frame, Gorilla Glass 5 front and back;
Display: 6.47″ curved AMOLED, droplet notch, 2340 x 1080px resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 398ppi; HDR 10 and DCI-P3 compliant.
Penta rear camera: Main camera – 108MP, 1/1.33″ Quad-Bayer sensor with 0.8µm pixel size, 25mm f/1.7 lens (8P lens for the Mi Note 10 Pro), OIS, Laser AF; 2x zoom camera – 12MP, f/2.0, 1.4µm pixel size, dual-pixel AF; 5x zoom camera – 5M, f/2.0, saves 8MP; Ultra wide-angle cam – 20MP, 13mm f/2.2, 1.12µm pixel size; AF w/ closeup focusing Macro camera – 2MP, 1/5″, 1.75µm pixel size, f/2.4; AF, 1.5-10cm focusing distance.
Front camera: 32MP, 0.8µm pixel size, f/2.0; 1080p/30fps video recording;
Battery: 5,260mAh Li-Po; 30W fast charging, 0-100% in 65min.
Connectivity: Dual-SIM; LTE-A, 4-Band carrier aggregation, Cat.15/13 (800Mbps/150Mbps); USB-C; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; dual-band GPS; Bluetooth 5.0; FM radio, IR blaster.
Misc: Under-display fingerprint reader; single down-firing speaker; 3.5mm jack
It’s no secret that the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 is identical to the Xiaomi Mi CC9, which was unveiled yesterday for the Chinese market. The specs are the same except that the Note 10 doesn’t get the 8GB/256GB tier that the Mi CC9 has.
Both phones have their 3.5mm audio jacks, IR blasters, and even an FM radio.
Sure there are some holes in their specs sheets – they lack any increased water resistance or a MicroSD slot, or wireless charging, or even stereo speakers. But some of us can live without those if it means you can get the impressive set of cameras on the back for a bargain price.
We are eager to test the 108MP camera, but before we go all-in with photo and video samples, we should probably unbox this Note.
Unboxing the Xiaomi Mi Note 10
The Mi Note 10 bundle is pretty straightforward – the contents are the same as you’d get with any Xiaomi. Inside the black box, you’ll find a charger, a USB-C cable, and a black silicone case.
Xiaomi is shipping the Mi Note 10 with a proper 30W charger so that you can enjoy the fast charging right out of the box. And you are going to need it as that 5,260 mAh battery will take forever to recharge with an inferior adapter.
The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 is a unique smartphone. First – its penta-camera is something you don’t see every day – a 108MP sensor is a first, and it seems to be taking great high-res 27MP photos, both day and night. The other four snappers are quite good, too, making for one of the most skilled and versatile camera kits on a smartphone ever.
Then the Note 10 shines with excellent symmetry in design and its build is nothing less than flagship-worthy. The curves don’t get in the way at all, it has very good palm rejection, while the sandblasted frame helps for a secure grip.
Finally, the Snapdragon 730G chip may not be the best chipset around, but it is among the better ones and it does great in combination with the 1080p AMOLED screen.
We only have two issues with the Mi Note 10 – the trickery it uses to get to 5x magnification and the lower than expected battery life. We can understand why Xiaomi made 5x zoom the way it made it, but we can’t find logic in upscaling the 5MP image to 8MP, especially when the maker is advertising the 5x zoom camera as 5MP. At least we are hopeful for the battery life as MIUI 11 would get better with updates and so will the battery performance.
The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 costs about €550 at launch, which makes it a great offer already. But the so-called flagship killer segment is quite crowded, and there are other phones worthy of serious consideration.
The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro costs €100 more and it offers an upgrade in RAM and storage. You get 8GB/256GB and the main camera has a 8P lens design compared to the 7P on the vanilla Note 10. P stands for the pieces the lens is made of but honestly, we don’t think the difference in photo quality will be palpable. So in end, we can’t really recommend the Note 10 Pro over the Note 10 unless you really want to splurge on absolutely top tier of the device.
Xiaomi already has the Mi 9T Pro, which is at least €150 cheaper than the Note 10. It has a notch-free flat AMOLED screen, a faster Snapdragon 855, but lacks the 5x zoom and macro snappers. Sure, it doesn’t have a 108MP camera either, but its photos are excellent nevertheless.
The OnePlus 7T Pro is about €200 more expensive, but if uninterrupted AMOLED experience at 90Hz is what you are after – you get it with the 7T. It may lack a macro camera, but its tele offers 3x zoom, which should be more than enough.
Realme’s X2 Pro, where available, is much cheaper than the Mi Note 10, but it has a lot to offer. There is a large 6.5″ AMOLED screen with 90Hz refresh rate, the most current Snapdragon 855+ chip is inside, while its battery supports 50W charging. The X2 Pro has a 64MP primary snapper, a 13MP 2x telephoto, an 8MP ultrawide and a 2 MP depth sensor – not exactly a match for the Mi Note 10 setup, but still an excellent configuration.
Finally, the price of the Samsung Galaxy S10 keeps dropping, and it is now about €50 more expensive than the Mi Note 10. The holiday season is almost here, and we expect to see the S10 trio on sweet discounts, and we’d suggest the S10 as a more compact offer, with a better display, faster performance, and high-quality triple camera on the back.
If you are after the camera experience, there is probably no better-equipped smartphone than the Mi Note 10 – it has a camera for every situation. Sure, the camera experience could use a bit more work via future updates, but even in this stage – it’s certainly the phone’s highlight feature.
The Mi Note 10 is not the best smartphone on the market, but with a stunning design, powerful hardware, and an unmatched set of cameras – it is certainly a great package worth recommending.
Bright and large AMOLED screen, DCI-P3 accurate
Large battery and very fast charging
The Snapdragon 730G is gaming-friendly and runs cool
All camera produce excellent daylight photos
Comes with the latest MIUI 11 out of the box
3.5mm jack, FM radio, IR blaster
No rated water resistance
Snapdragon 855 would have been better
Low-light photos by the zoom cameras and the ultra-wide one are nothing special
Video recording quality is not impressive with any of the cameras