In recent years, the podium of the best sellers of smartphones is occupied by the same three actors. Samsung, Huawei and Apple reign in the market and outpace the competition, including Xiaomi installed in fourth place. The Chinese brand may progress from year to year, but it is still far from the sales volume achieved by market stars.
The good news for Xiaomi is that compatriot Huawei is the collateral victim of an economic war between the United States and China. Private Google services for its smartphones, Huawei risks seeing its sales fall in Europe in the short and medium term, which, for Xiaomi, is a boon. The Mi 10 Pro, its new high-end smartphone, is making no concessions in the hope of becoming the benchmark Android device of the beginning of the year. For several days, we made the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro our main smartphone. Is Xiaomi’s bet successful?
Design: undeniably high-end
Despite a slightly high weight of 208 grams, which still places it in the average of smartphones top of the range this beginning of the year, the Mi 10 Pro sports an exemplary design. Xiaomi designed this smartphone with one idea in mind: symmetry. The smartphone screen has a curvature identical to that on the back, which makes the grip really pleasant. The only flaw, the vertical camera module, creates a protrusion that makes the smartphone not very stable when placed back against table. It’s still less critical than some smartphones competitors like the Galaxy Samsung S20 Ultra.
We welcome Xiaomi’s choice to bet on a matte glass back rather than shiny glass. The Chinese manufacturer may not have invented this type of coating, but it is clear that it is still just as good. The way he reflects light very slightly, without taking fingerprints, is pure joy for the eyes. It’s sumptuous, Xiaomi offers with this Mi 10 Pro one of the prettiest products of this beginning of 2020.
An extremely bright screen
Paradoxically, the screen of the Mi 10 Pro is both beautiful and … not very original. With a diagonal of 6.67 inches with a front camera housed in a punch located at the top left, this curved screen is really very successful. It feels like the Xiaomi smartphone has almost no border (except a slightly thick chin at the bottom), which is very nice. What is unfortunate, however, is that all manufacturers offer a similar design at the start of the year, which removes from the screen of the Mi 10 Pro a bit of its magic. The OnePlus 8 Pro, Oppo Find X2 Pro, Huawei P40 Pro and Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro are designed in the same vein, which leaves Samsung and Apple, the two manufacturers who do not (or no longer) use curved screens, what sets them apart. Randomly at the time, the curved screen that was once extremely rare has become commonplace.
Regardless, let’s recognize that in use, the screen of the Mi 10 Pro offers a very good level of comfort. This is all the more true since its refresh rate of 90 Hz improves the fluidity of navigation and tires the eyes much less. The maximum brightness of the device, 895 cd / m2 according to our laboratory measurements is one of the highest on the market. In fact, apart from the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, no mobile phone does as well. On this precise point, Xiaomi succeeds in surpassing Apple, Oppo and the Galaxy S20 for the first time. However, by default, the color fidelity of the smartphone screen is nothing incredible (Delta E of 3.48 according to our measurements). By choosing the mode in the settings, we manage to obtain a Delta E of 1.8 which, for once, is very satisfactory. We recommend that you do this.
However, we are more skeptical about Xiaomi’s software choices. On several occasions, notably in applications such as holding the smartphone in our left hand, our palm accidentally touched the “home” button, unexpectedly winding up the thread at the start. Xiaomi should clearly reduce the sensitivity in the bend area to avoid causing this kind of annoyance. But let’s be lenient, this is only the second curved smartphone from the Chinese manufacturer (after the Mi Note 10).
Almost exemplary features
Usually the smartphones high-end Xiaomi make some material concessions to reduce the bill. Price increases oblige, the Chinese brand outdoes itself this year. It must be said that between the 499 euros of a Mi 9 and 999 euros of a Mi 10 Pro, there is a big jump.
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro therefore ticks almost all of the boxes. It uses the powerful Snapdragon 865 processor from Qualcomm which, linked to the X55 modem, offers 5G and Wi-Fi 6 compatibility to the smartphone. What to ensure that his mobile will be compatible with the latest network standards once they are deployed in France. In terms of performance, without matching the iPhone 11 d’’Apple, the Mi 10 Pro is strong and proves to be extremely efficient in all circumstances.
To know more : Xiaomi Mi 10: this smartphone is more powerful than the Galaxy S20, according to our performance tests
Among the other additions that we are happy to see this year, the stereo speakers of the Mi 10 Pro are very satisfactory. It was time, Xiaomi had always offered a sound quality below the competition. Now we have something powerful enough and just enough to listen to music in the shower or watch an episode of series on Netflix without going deaf. The haptic feedback from the mobile is also very good, it really feels like you are handling a high-end mobile. The Mi 10 Pro’s fingerprint sensor under the screen, still under the screen, also benefits from an enlarged reading surface. It is extremely fast. In short, Xiaomi really offers us a summary of the best on the market.
However, we admit that we are less enthusiastic on certain points. For 999 euros, difficult to understand why the Mi 10 Pro does not have an IP68 certification for guaranteed watertightness? Another problem, why can this cellphone accommodate only one SIM card? Some manufacturers claim that this is due to Qualcomm’s 5G modem. But others, like OnePlus, have managed to integrate two SIM locations on their 5G mobile. Finally, even if this is a detail for many users, why did you choose a Full HD + panel and not Quad HD +? Some will argue ” Apple do the same “but let’s remind them of the price difference between the Mi 10 Pro and its predecessor of around 500 euros. At this price, the most geeks are entitled to expect the best of the best, right?
Mi 10 Pro recharges in 46 minutes
If there is one aspect on which Xiaomi should be taken as a model, it is certainly recharging. In fact, the configuration offered by the manufacturer is surely the most complete on the market. The Mi 10 Pro uses a 4500 mAh battery, is compatible with ultra-fast 50W charging, 30W wireless charging and even includes a 65W wired charger in its box. It’s much more than the competition offers and it allows you to charge your computer and your phone from the same outlet. Fearfully clever.
To know more : Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro: it charges fully in just 46 minutes
According to our measurements, it only takes 46 minutes for the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro to recharge. 10 minutes are even enough to recover 33% of autonomy. It is one of the best performances on the market. Apart from Oppo, no one does better. Xiaomi nevertheless has the advantage of offering wireless charging in addition to wired, which makes its mobile more versatile than those of its competitor.
Regarding autonomy, we would be lying to you by giving you an estimate today. No laboratory test has yet been carried out and life in confinement is not really representative of that which we will find once again outside. Our first tests are nevertheless encouraging. With equal use, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro does significantly better than the Samsung S20s.
Photo: weakness of the Mi 10 Pro
Of course, a high-end smartphone deserves its letters of nobility only if it offers a photo quality exceptional enough to accompany you everywhere without ever taking the slightest blurred shot or almost. Xiaomi knows that it is eagerly awaited on this point and offers a quadruple camera module with the main Isocell Bright HMX from Samsung with a definition of 108 Mpix (associated with a wide-angle lens opening at f / 1.69). This giant sensor (1 / 1.33 inch, which remains, it is true, smaller than that of the new Huawei P40 Pro) is cut to take photos in low light. It is also based on the principle of and combines four pixels into one in order to obtain 32 Mpix images in the end. We had already tried it twice with the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 and the Galaxy S20 Ultra and, each time, we were disappointed.
Despite excellent daytime photo quality, we still encounter the same problems as with the Mi Note 10. Some background elements are smoothed out, some slowdowns are felt after taking a photo and, above all, something is clearly wrong in the night shots. Under certain (difficult) light conditions, we just weren’t able to get sharp photos. Faced with a Huawei P40 Pro, a Galaxy S20 or an iPhone 11 Pro, the comparison hurts. Xiaomi will have to improve all this later through a software update if it hopes to be at the level of the best smartphones of the market.
Quite cleverly, Xiaomi came up with the idea of using two telephoto lenses with a different magnification possibility. The Mi 10 Pro thus offers an optical zoom x2 and an optical zoom x5 thanks to the presence of two different lenses associated respectively with sensors of 12 and 8 Mpix. Few manufacturers have made such a choice. The quality of these two telephoto lenses is satisfactory even if problems of chromatic differences are unfortunately felt between the two modules. In addition, beyond the x5 zoom, we immediately notice a loss of quality. Xiaomi did not choose a periscopic zoom like Huawei, Oppo or Samsung, which prevents going much further.
Finally, the last photo module of the Mi 10 Pro is an ultra wide-angle attached to a 20 Mpix sensor. The latter is very satisfying, it fulfills its mission with perfection even if, at night, it is better not to rely too much on it. It can also be used to take pictures in macro mode, but the quality varies greatly depending on the quality of the light.
Last point that we wanted to discuss in this photo part, the application of Xiaomi is simple but suffers from some faults. For example, switching from one mode to another is much too slow. Another point on which we return to each Xiaomi smartphone test, why leave a watermark with the name of the mobile on all the photos by default? Xiaomi, deactivate it on mobiles sold in Europe!
An effective overlay with a lot of Google
End this test with a point on the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro software. Working with MIUI 11, the overlay used by the Chinese manufacturer for several years, the mobile has an excellent interface. We’ve said this in the past, we appreciate MIUI. Its design is very good.
Read also : We tested MIUI 11: what is the new update worth? smartphones Xiaomi?
However, we wonder where the app drawer on other apps went smartphones Xiaomi. Here, we have to display all its icons on its home screen, iOS wayApple. It is of course possible to opt for a third-party launcher in order to benefit from a different interface.
Delivered with Android, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro has of course all the Google services. In fact, Xiaomi has abandoned its selection of widgets on the left of the home screen to make room for Google Discover recommendations. By default, more and more Google apps are being selected instead of their Xiaomi equivalents. In short, faced with Huawei, Xiaomi is betting more and more on its American partner to convince new customers.