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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;
- OS: Android 9 Pie; MIUI 11
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G: octa-core CPU (2×2.2 GHz Kryo 470 Gold & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 470 Silver), Adreno 618 GPU.
- Memory: 6GB of RAM; 64/128GB storage
- 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
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
- Upscaling the 5MP 5x photos to 8MP makes no sense
- No Android 10 yet