[First Cut] Xiaomi Mi 10i: “i am the Mainstream 10!”
Bringing the big megapixels to Redmi-land
- The Mi 10i was expected to compete with the likes of the OnePlus Nord and the Galaxy M51 but has come with a surprisingly lower price tag.
- At Rs 20,999, the Mi 10i is the most affordable 108-megapixel camera phone in the market.
- With the Mi 10i, the Mi 10 series has gone mainstream, stepping away from the premium segment and looking at an audience that is actually closer to its Redmi range.
- If you are keen to check out our Mi 10i FAQ video on YouTube, here is the link.
Last year (oh yes, 2020 is already last year), Xiaomi marked its re-entry into the premium phone segment in India with the Mi 10. This was followed by the Mi 10T Pro and the Mi 10T. They were all impressive devices and while they covered a wide price band, starting from about Rs 34,000, they were all premium devices with flagship credentials – a flagship-level processor, cameras, and so on.
That changes with the latest addition to the Mi 10 ranks. Do not get us wrong – the Mi 10i does have its share of flagship touches, but its audience is unabashedly more mainstream than its namesakes.
Looking as picturesque as…a Pacific Sunrise!
Mind you, you would not guess that by looking at it. For, the Mi 10i does cut a very smart figure. It bears very little resemblance to its siblings, the Mi 10 and the Mi10T and the Mi 10T Pro (which in turn did not look like the Mi 10, so we guess this is one disjoint design family). In fact, the circular camera unit on the back reminds us of the Poco X3 and the OnePlus 7T.
That’s not a bad thing, truth be told, and with the Pacific Sunrise shade that we received, which was a very classy blend of blue at the top merging into a gentle pink towards the base complete with a very smooth frosted glass kind of finish, the phone cut a pretty picture. No, it is not small by any standards – at 165.38 mm, this is definitely a tall phone and is not super slim at 9 mm either. It does however feel lighter than its 215-gram weight – a case of the weight being well distributed, perhaps. The front is all about a 6.67-inch LCD display with a punch-hole notch bang in the top center.
The front and back are Gorilla Glass 5, and the sides host the keys and ports – it’s important to note that the fingerprint sensor once again stays on the side as in the Mi 10T Pro (hooray), and there is a 3.5 mm audio jack at the base (double hooray). The phone comes with an IP53 rating, protecting it against splashes.
The back camera unit and the Pacific Sunrise shade make the Mi 10i an eye-catcher. We are not so sure the other shades will have a similar impact. It is a big phone and not exactly lightweight, but we think that with the right shade, it has the potential to turn heads.
Bringing on them megapixels
Yes, it is good looking but there’s no doubt who the star of the show is. It is the main of the four sensors in that spherical back. There is an 8-megapixel ultrawide sensor, a 2.0-megapixel depth sensor, and a 2.0-megapixel macro sensor, but all those fade into insignificance before the 108-megapixel main sensor. This makes the Mi 10i the third Xiaomi phone (after the Mi 10 and the Mi 10T Pro) to feature a 108-megapixel sensor. This sensor, however, is different from the one on the other two devices – it is a Samsung HM2 sensor, which Xiaomi claims has been included in the device for the Indian market. It is also the first device in the Indian market to feature this sensor.
There is also a 16-megapixel selfie snapper in front. But well, let’s be real, all the talk really is about that 108-megapixel fella. Yes, stay tuned for our review to find out more.
…and a lot of good hardware AND A CRAZY PRICE!
The camera might get the headlines but the other specs are impressive too. The phone comes with a 6.67-inch display as we mentioned but comes with a 120 Hz refresh rate and comes with an adaptive sync system which Xiaomi claims will allow the refresh rate to adjust as per the content being shown on it, to optimize the battery. Mind you, there’s a decent amount of battery to go around – the Mi 10i comes with a 4820 mAh battery and a 33W charger in the box, which gets it from 0 to 100 in under an hour (pretty super, in our book). And of course, running the show is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor, which is considered a huge step from the Snapdragon 730G and some say even matches the Snapdragon 765G seen on the likes of the OnePlus Nord, with RAM and storage variants of 6 GB/ 64 Gb, 6 GB/ 128 GB and 8 GB/ 128 GB.
Incidentally, there are three distinct mainstream touches to the device – expandable memory (up to 512 GB using a hybrid SIM slot), stereo speakers (yep!), and a 3.5 mm audio jack. Add 5G connectivity to the mix and a CRAZY GOOD starting price of Rs 20,999 for the 6 GB/64 GB variant (Rs 21,999 for the 6 GB/ 128 GB, Rs 23,999 for the 8 GB/ 128 GB), and the Mi 10i has what it takes to rattle just about every phone in the Rs 17,000- Rs 30,000 range. In fact, while many see the device as a challenge to the OnePlus Nord and Galaxy M51, we would say that it even lays siege to its own Redmi and Poco siblings. To what extent it succeeds in rivaling them will be revealed in our review.