Over the past few years, Xiaomi has grown to become the fourth largest phone manufacturer on the planet. The Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G (starting at 999 Euros, or about $1,095) is the company’s latest and highest-profile handset, delivering everything expect you expect in a 2020 flagship including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, 5G support, and some of the very best camera phone performance we’ve seen. We’re giving it a high score, but not our Editors’ Choice, for the simple fact that the phone isn’t officially available in the US. And even if you get your hands on one, it’s unlikely to work on our 5G networks, making it the best new phone you shouldn’t buy.
Design, Display, and Durability
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro doesn’t deviate from the standard flagship aesthetic. The all-glass phone comes in blue or white with a metallic matte finish. It measures 6.40 by 2.94 by 0.35 inches (HWD) and weighs 7.34 ounces.
The front of the phone is dominated by a curved 6.67-inch AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. Resolution comes in at 2,340 by 1,080, for a good but unremarkable pixel density of 386 pixels per inch. The display is sharp and very bright, making it easy to see in direct sunlight, and color accuracy is excellent.
The back of the phone is home to a vertical camera stack and flash in the top left corner. A speaker sits on the top edge of the phone, while the bottom houses another speaker, a USB-C charging port, and a SIM slot. The left side is bare, while the volume rocker and power button sit on the right. Both provide satisfying tactile feedback when pressed, but can be difficult to reach with small hands.
The Mi 10 Pro 5G is constructed from Gorilla Glass 5 and should be able to withstand minor bumps and drops. There’s no official IP rating, however, though the phone has a P2i coating to protect against splashes. As usual, we recommend investing in a protective, waterproof case.
Audio, Call, and Network Quality
The Mi 10 Pro 5G supports LTE bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/20/28/32, as well as sub-6GHz 5G bands n1/n3/n7/n77/n78. In the US, you might be able to get limited 4G service on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, but you won’t be able to access 5G on any carrier.
We tested the phone with an AT&T SIM, and it connected to AT&T’s HSPA+ (3G) band 5 with a signal strength of -75dBm. We recorded average HSPA+ network speeds of 8.61Mbps down and 2.1Mbps up, but this isn’t indicative of what you’ll see where the phone is officially suported.
In Europe, for example, we expect much better speeds as well as 5G support. The phone’s X55 modem supports 4×4 MIMO and 1024-QAM modulation for the fastest network speeds currently available. It also has the HPUE specification that allows phones to output stronger radio signals for improved coverage and performance, as well as HORxD for improved signal quality and reliability.
Call quality is excellent. Maximum earpiece volume comes in at 78dB, which should be loud enough to hear in most situations. Call quality was crystal clear in testing, and noise cancellation worked well.
With a maximum volume of 84dB, the Mi 10 Pro’s stereo speakers aren’t exceptionally loud, but they’re the best we’ve heard on a smartphone. With top- and bottom-firing drivers, the phone offers a wide and immersive soundstage. Timbre is warm and rich, and treble and mids are well represented. LDAC and LHDC—the only two codecs that have been given Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification by the Japan Audio society—are both supported.
In terms of connectivity, the phone also includes dual-band Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and NFC.
As mentioned, four camera lenses sit on the back of the Mi 10 Pro 5G. The primary 1/1.33-inch lens clocks in at 108MP and has an f/1.69 aperture along with optical image stabilization (OIS). There’s also a 12MP short telephoto lens with an f/2.0 aperture, an 8MP long telephoto lens with an f/2.0 aperture and OIS, and a 20MP ultra-wide sensor with an f/2.8 aperture.
The 108MP sensor covers the same view as a 25mm full-frame lens. It offers a 2x digital zoom and performs well in any lighting condition. Our daylight test shots were crisp, with excellent dynamic range. White balance and color accuracy were spot-on as well. While many smartphone cameras tend to oversaturate during processing for more vivid photos, the Mi 10 Pro offers a more accurate representation of the moment.
Low-light photos are excellent with the 108MP sensor as well. We noticed some minor loss of fine detail when cropping portions of the image, but it was minor and nearly impossible to see otherwise.
The 20MP HDR ultra wide-angle lens has a 117-degree field of view and is among the best we’ve seen on a smartphone. In good light, it take near-perfect shots, with sharp detail and without the edge distortion we often see on other ultra-wide lenses. Low-light photos are solid as well, though we noticed a small amount of noise.
The 8MP and 12MP telephoto lenses work together to provide up to 10x zoom. At 1x and 2x, the 12MP lens does most of the heavy lifting. While it lacks OIS, photos have excellent depth of field and color representation. Fine detail is crisp in normal photos, and there’s a natural-looking bokeh when using portrait mode.
Macro photos with the 8MP lens capture lots of detail and have an excellent bokeh. Photos shot at 5x zoom look spectacular, with no noticeable loss of detail. With a steady hand, 10x zoom photos are also solid, though there is some minor loss of fine detail.
Working together, the lenses on the Mi 10 Pro 5G can zoom up to 50x. At 20x zoom, photos still look good, but you start to notice a loss of detail. At 50x you can still read fine print, but details generally look flat and soft.
While many flagships have night mode, they tend to under or overexpose images, resulting in photos that are too dark or unnaturally bright. Test shots on the Mi 10 Pro, on the other hand, have excellent foreground and background exposure and a natural depth of field. There is no noticeable noise and very minor loss of detail in the background.
The front-facing camera clocks in at 20MP with an f/2.0 aperture. Photos in good light are excellent. In portrait mode, the Mi 10 Pro perfectly defines the subject and creates a natural bokeh. Low-light photos are also solid, though we noticed a small amount of edge noise.
In addition to stills, the phone supports 8K video at 30fps and 4K video at 30 or 60fps. There’s also a super slow-motion feature that captures motion at up to 960fps in 1080p.
Overall, 8K video is good. While there’s no video stabilization, our test videos don’t look overly jumpy. Color accuracy is excellent, and we didn’t notice any dropped frames, even when panning quickly. We did notice, however, a few occasions where background details looked a little mushy.
Stabilization is available in 4K and it works very well. While it doesn’t replace a gimbal, it kept our shots smooth when walking and panning.
Specs and Performance
The Mi 10 Pro ships with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset. There are three different RAM and storage configurations available, starting with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, of which 235GB is available out of the box. There are also models with 12GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of storage. None have an option for external storage.
See How We Test Phones
We tested the phone with dozens of apps and Google Chrome tabs open simultaneously without experiencing any lag whatsoever. In fact, we didn’t see the phone slow down at all, no matter how hard we pushed it. We tested gameplay with PUBG: Mobile and Asphalt 8. Both games loaded quickly, and we didn’t notice any dropped frames over extended periods of play.
On PCMark 2.0 Work, a suite of benchmark tests that emulate typical smartphone tasks, the Mi Pro 10 scored 11,080, slightly behind the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra in Ultra HD mode (12,842). That said, benchmarks don’t necessarily reflect how a phone performs in the real world, and we doubt you’d notice any difference between the S20 and the Mi 10 Pro if you were to use them side by side.
The phone is powered by a 4,500mAh battery. In our battery drain test, which streams HD video over Wi-Fi at full brightness, it lasted 11 hours and 18 minutes. That’s slightly behind the Galaxy S20+ in 60Hz mode (13 hours, 13 minutes), but it’s still more than enough to get you through a busy day.
When you do need a charge, the Mi 10 Pro 5G supports 50W wired charging and ships with a multi-use 65W adapter that can be used for charging laptops and other accessories. It also supports 10W wireless charging via the Qi standard and 30W wireless charging with Xiaomi’s proprietary wireless charging pad, as well as 10W reverse charging for using the phone itself to power up supported accessories.
The Mi 10 Pro ship with Android 10 with Xiaomi’s MIUI 11 overlay. While Xiaomi’s custom UI is refined, it’s a departure from stock Android. By default, the navigation bar, settings menu, and icons look different, though you can use the Xiaomi Themes app to extensively customize just about everything on the phone.
A remote app lets you use the phone’s built-in IR blaster to control televisions, cable boxes, and other home appliances, which is helpful. We also like Second Space, a feature that lets you create a private home screen where you can install additional instances of apps.
Xiaomi also includes a handful of productivity apps that are mostly unnecessary, as well as more than half a dozen third-party apps that can be uninstalled.
Xiaomi’s MIUI interface does have one problem though, and it’s a big one. By default, it serves advertisements in Xiaomi’s apps and on the notification screen. While Xiaomi contends the advertisements help keep its prices competitive while increasing its bottom line, you shouldn’t be forced to deal with advertisements on its high-end models that sell for over $1,000. Fortunately you can turn all of the ads off, but you need to go into multiple different apps and settings to do so.
As for software updates, Xiaomi typically releases at least one major over-the-air update for its flagships, and continues to update MIUI for several years.
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G gets just about everything right, with powerful hardware, excellent speakers, and some of the best camera performance you’ll find on a smartphone. If you live in a country where Xiaomi phones are sold, think the Mi 10 Pro 5G is absolutely worth your consideration. If you’re in the US, there are good alternatives. The OnePlus 8 offers flagship-level specs and performance starting at just $699, though its camera performance doesn’t quite measure up. For that, you’re looking at spending significantly more on the $1,199 Galaxy S20+, which is about as close a comparison to the Mi 10 Pro as you’ll find stateside.
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G Specs
|Operating System||Android 10|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865|
|Processor Speed||2.84 GHz|
|Dimensions||6.40 by 2.94 by 0.35|
|Screen Size||6.67 inches|
|Screen Resolution||2,340 by 1,080 pixels|
|Camera Resolution (Rear; Front-Facing)||108MP, 20MP, 12MP, 8MP; 20MP|
|Battery Life (As Tested)||11 hours, 18 minutes|