Xiaomi dominates the entry-level and budget segments, but the brand hasn't really focused its attention on the high-end segment in India. The Mi Mix 2 debuted over two years ago, but it did little to move the needle for Xiaomi in India.
Xiaomi is once again turning its focus to the high-end category with the Mi 10. The brand's 2020 flagship is now making its debut in India, and it is a big deal for the brand considering this is the first time in over two years that customers in India will be able to pick up a high-end Xiaomi phone.
The high-end segment is highly contested in India, with OnePlus in particular seeing a meteoric rise over the last three years. So let's see what the Mi 10 has to offer, and whether it has what it takes to gain mainstream momentum in India.
Xiaomi Mi 10 Details
The Mi 10 is packed with the latest hardware money can buy today. There's a 6.67-inch Super AMOLED FHD+ display (2340 x 1080) with 90Hz refresh rate and curved edges, and while that may not be quite on the same level as the 120Hz panels on the Galaxy S20 series, the difference isn't huge in day-to-day use.
The Mi 10 comes with the latest internal hardware, and the 108MP camera with 8K video recording gives it an edge.
Coming to the internal hardware, the Mi 10 is powered by Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 865 chipset, and while it comes with 5G connectivity, it won't be of any use to Indian customers as there are no commercial 5G networks in the country. There's liquid cooling to deliver better sustained peak performance, and Xiaomi will offer the Mi 10 in 8GB/128GB and 8GB/256GB variants in the country. The 12GB option isn't launching in India.
The highlight with the Mi 10 is the 108MP camera at the back — the same module that's used in the Galaxy S20 Ultra. There's also a 13MP wide-angle camera, joined by a 2MP macro lens, and a 2MP portrait shooter. At the front you get a 20MP hole-punch shooter. Oh, and Mi 10 is the only phone aside from the S20 series that can shoot 8K video, with Xiaomi touting huge gains across the board in video recording.
The Mi 10 has a 4780mAh battery with 30W wired and wireless charging, and that makes things that much more interesting. Xiaomi is launching its 30W wireless charger in India, and while it won't be bundled with the phone, it will be available for just ₹1,999. There's also 10W reverse wireless charging as well. Other features include Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 with the LHDC codec, and NFC. There's no water resistance here, a shame considering the market the device is targeting.
The best part about the Mi 10 is that it doesn't have any ads in India.
Then there's the design: with a sleek glass back and symmetric curves at the front and back, the Mi 10 has a lot going for it. The phone will be available in a gorgeous Coral Green color option, and there's also a somber Twilight Grey model. You get stereo speakers up front, with Xiaomi touting dual channel audio and the largest stereo speaker configuration of any phone today.
But the biggest draw with the Mi 10 — at least for Indian customers — is the fact that it will not have any ads in MIUI. Xiaomi is categorizing the Mi 10 as a tier one Android phone, and therefore will not show any ads or spam notifications in the user interface. That's a big deal considering just how pervasive ads have gotten in MIUI in recent years, and it's great to see that ads won't be an issue on the Mi 10.
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pricing in India
The Mi 10 is starting off in India at ₹49,999 ($660) for the 8GB/128GB variant, with the 8GB/256GB option available for ₹54,999 ($720). Now, that's considerably more expensive than other value flagships, and that's because the Mi 10 is being imported from China. Like other Xiaomi phones, the Mi 10 isn't assembled in India.
The Mi 10 will go on sale starting later today, May 8. With most of the country still under lockdown, it remains to be seen how Xiaomi will deliver the product to interested backers.