The Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro comes to the market to try to revolutionize everything. And, if it is not possible, at least it will do as far as the brand’s catalog is concerned. With a sale value starting at 999 euros, it promises to be a before and after in the way in which you look at a firm that has always valued the extremely balanced balance between quality and low prices.
Because playing against the biggest comes at a price. One tall. In 2020, that figure is around 1,000 euros. We have been seeing it throughout the most recent years in different brands, which have positioned their entry models at these levels. But not Xiaomi. Until now.
The Mi 10 Pro is the successor to the flagship range of the Asian technology, and one of the most anticipated of the moment not only for the obvious new features it brings, but also for the paradigm shift it represents. A device clearly positioned as a high-end in which Xiaomi gets rid of any possible complex that may remain as far as “economic brand” is concerned to show itself in all its splendor.
But bringing the wallet closer is more complicated when the number is so high, and the task that the brand has ahead is now double on its way to conquer the user: on the one hand, it will have to get the respectable to forget the badge of the reduced cost with which it was identified; on the other, you must convince yourself that your terminal is better than the competition. With a My 9 that started in 2019 at 449 euros, the difference with respect to the header model of today seems an abyss. The question is: is it worth it?
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro: there is quality
One of the points that this Mi 10 Pro stands out for is its build quality. No self-respecting flagship can afford not to convey a premium feel when you hold it in your hand – and it does.
On this occasion, Xiaomi bets on what seems to be the trend combination for 2020 among high-end manufacturers: a sober combination of metal and glass with a matte tornado back to differentiate itself from other devices on the market, which already have this last element almost by default. That it is not shiny in its posterior area allows to achieve a double objective: to maintain the wireless charging capacity and get fingerprints printed on it with less clarity.
Its front is defined by a 6.67-inch Super AMOLED display, whose sides are curved to give a feeling of greater immersion in what one is seeing on it. Yes, it has a small chin in its lower area and the lens for selfies pierced directly in said panel. A location, by the way, that allows it to go more unnoticed when the phone is horizontal when playing, for example, since it is hidden by the fingers themselves.
Image: Luis del Barco.
The screen doesn’t disappoint when it comes to sharpness, contrast, brightness, and overall experience. It is a device designed to consume a lot of content and this is one of its strengths, hence Xiaomi has decided to add a 90Hz refresh rate, grateful in general terms in the daily use of the terminal.
The speed of the fingerprint reader and the operation of the haptic motor greatly improve the experience of use
Under it, two things that are mandatory, for its good performance: first, the fingerprint reader, which is still not as immediate as the traditional ones – already practically instantaneous in its latest versions – but it is very fast. And not only fast, but also efficient, recognizing the footprint very well and failing little. To ask, for the future, it would not hurt to see an increase in the recognition space so that you do not have to put your finger on such an exact place on the screen, but rather cover a larger area. We know that companies like Qualcomm will offer solutions like this soon.
And secondly, the operation of the haptic motor integrated. This, which is activated when we press keys, when we deactivate tabs, when we perform gestures such as accessing multitasking or when we unlock it with the fingerprint instead of emitting a normal vibration, which produces a sensation similar to a touch. Much more subtle and pleasant than a traditional vibration, it is a small detail that shines in the everyday context.
On its sides we find nothing more than the volume and power buttons, and on its lower edge the Type C USB charging connector. Next to the latter is a stereo powered speaker with another one located in the upper edge, and that being dedicated and not using the call speaker to grant this duality, results in a richer and more powerful sound.
Image: Luis del Barco.
Of the back of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro, what obviously catches the eye is the camera module – which stands out quite a bit, by the way, appreciating notably when placed on a flat surface. This makes up a quadruple bet with which to gain versatility, and which is made up of the following:
One 108 MP main lens, with f / 1.7 aperture and optical image stabilization
20MP wide angle, with f / 2.2 aperture
A 12 MP depth sensor for portrait modes, with f / 2.0 aperture
And an 8 MP telephoto Up to 10x hybrid zoom with f / 2.0 aperture and optical image stabilization
Camera performance is mixed. What should have been one of the pillars of this smartphone, where those 1,000 euros of price that the firm has put on the label really were justified, is half-solved and, of course, not above rival smartphones.
The photographs have a good level of detail, both on the rear and front cameras, but the representation and balance of color seems to be somewhat removed from reality at certain times. We can see it especially in skin tones, where the photographic module on the back tends towards warm interpretations – in excess, depending on the occasion – or even roses, thus distorting the final result. Even more noticeable will be this accentuation of colors if use is made of the selectable AI mode, which has little to do with intelligence and a lot of artificiality.
To this we must add an automatic HDR that works well in most cases, but there are times when it is necessary to force it to obtain a better result.
As for portrait mode, the crop it offers is good and quite versatile, even allowing you to zoom out a lot to take photos with this effect from a certain distance, despite the fact that the crop is always 2x. It is true that in the front, 20 megapixels, there are times when it is confused, simply because it does not have the most advanced configuration that is found in the rear.
One of the sections on which the brand has emphasized the most in this Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro is that of zoom, 10x hybrid and digital until reaching 50x. The images taken with him in the range that goes from double magnification to ten are remarkable in terms of level of detail, starting to lose it obviously from there until reaching the maximum. However, optical image stabilization is noticeable, and a lot, making shooting at 50x easy without the use of any accessories.
We must also highlight the 108 megapixel main sensor, which collect a huge amount of detail. By default, the Mi 10 Pro takes 27 MP photos through the combination of different shots from the previous one, but it is also possible to use it through a dedicated mode in the camera app. It will not always be recommended, of course, because functions are lost – its maximum magnification reaches 2x and it does not have HDR – and the weight of the images will be much greater, but it can play against certain scenarios where the permanence of the definition prevails.
The terminal also allows record video up to 8K (although only for a few minutes), although it does not have options such as switching between lenses when recording –from main to wide angle, for example– and front-facing recording is limited to 720p or 1080p, both at 30 fps . It does offer other exciting possibilities, such as applying a real-time blur effect between subject and background while recording.
You can see these and other full-size images in this album.
Horses under the hood
Leaving the camera aside, much of the prominence of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro also falls on what is inside. How could it be otherwise, in its entrails is found the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, the most powerful of the manufacturer and that will be the constant in many of the high-end that reach the market throughout this course. It is accompanied by 8 GB of RAM to ensure that the result is that of not having performance in any way blocking performance, whatever our daily use.
Image: Luis del Barco.
As a result of the aforementioned processor, and as it is well riveted on its rear skirt, it also comes with 5G connectivity. This, which is a requirement of Qualcomm to mount the Snapdragon 865, also serves to fill one of the gaps in the specification sheet that many of the flagships will fill this year, but that today is of dubious utility. Looking to the future, and in view of keeping this terminal in use for years to come, perhaps it may make more sense. Today, its use, at least in Spain, will be anecdotal.
You don’t have to dig far to find a 4,500 mAh battery that, although it allows you to get to the end of the day, it also does not give wide sleeves to hold too many virguerías. The expense is contributed by 90 Hz or the always-on display mode, which shows an ornament next to the time and notifications permanently, both of which can be deactivated. But taking into account that this is, this Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro, a very demanding device in terms of consumption and that is also very heavy – more than 200 grams – a more capable battery would not have suited him badly.
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro is, in general, a capable, complete smartphone; with everything, or almost, the best one can find in the market. It also has a correct design, high finishes and a feeling, in general, that serves to locate it in that segment of the high range in which it has been positioned.
However, it is no less certain that it is still below what rival technologies are offering, being in a lower place in key aspects such as the camera, battery or even in its resistance to water, not having IP68 certification (in its place has the lower protection P2i). Justifying your entry price is, thus, complicated. It will be, yes, an interesting option when it goes down over the months.
Without IP68 resistance
Camera below the competition