Xiaomi are a company many people may not have heard of, they are huge in their home country of China and make much more than just mobile devices, they have everything from electronic toothbrushes to motorised scooters.
However here in the UK the company are starting to get a bigger name for themselves, helped by a current ongoing issue between another large Chinese company and lack of Google services, Xiaomi are using this to their advantage and make some great devices.
This is a review on the Xiaomi Mi10T Lite which was provided to me on a two week loan period from Vodafone UK where I used as my main device the whole time.
Once the review content was ready the loan phone was sent back to Vodafone and no offer of payment or to keep the phone was made, and no one from Vodafone or Xiaomi had any influence in this coverage.
Costing just £200 is the Xiaomi Mi10T Lite worth spending out your money on in an already crowded mid-range market or is the lower price meaning you are missing out?
Just an additional disclaimer, the review period was during a UK wide lockdown so photo and video coverage was only really possible when going for exercise or shopping, it also means I was not able to travel to a 5G area to check out the speeds unfortunately.
Enjoy the review.
Normally when it comes to mid-range phones there are cuts made here and there to get the price as low as possible, and normally build quality and materials are the first area to get the chop.
So imagine the surprise when the Mi10T Lite comes with Gorilla Glass 5 both on the front and the back meaning it is extra tough and more resistant against scratching which is great, but if you are worried then at least you get a free clear case included in the box, and a factory installed screen protector too which helps keep things nice and clean.
The front camera will be covered more in the camera section of the review, but as a quick overview you get a 16 megapixel camera with 1080p recording which does a decent job or selfies and video blogging should you want too, samples will be later on in the review.
The screen comes in at a decent 6.61 inches in size and uses LCD technology which keeps the price down but also means it does suffer from outdoor conditions at times and drains more battery, however, it also offers a 120hz refresh rate which will be great for anyone into high frame rate gaming or likes a smooth silky animation here and there, and the 1080p resolution does a good job at keeping things looking good.
The large screen takes up all the front with no physical buttons to be seen, just the large screen which looks great for watching content back on.
Looking over at the left side you get the pull out tray hidden away where you use a pin to push out the ejector, you get the Nano SIM slot for your network of choice SIM, also included on the Mi10T Lite is Dual SIM support so you can place two different networks at the same time instead of needing two phones.
Over on the right hand side you have the volume rocker for up and down controls, also a power button in the middle which has a fingerprint sensor inside so you can use this for unlocking quickly or authorising contactless payments if you use Google Pay, thankfully speed and reliability was very good and was easy to use thanks to the curved edges making it easier to hold.
The fingerprint/power button is slightly recessed into the side case so it is easier to find without looking, and thankfully the fingerprint reader works very well and is super-fast
Up at the top you have one of the dual microphones for noise cancellation as well as stereo recording, you also get the IR blaster which is really handy to have as you can set it up to control many items in your house such as TV, Air Conditioner, Sky box, or anything that uses an IR controller, it really is an underrated feature that you appreciate having once you start getting to use it for your devices.
Down at the bottom you have the other microphone used in the dual setup, you also have the USB-C port for data transfer or fast charging at 33w which really helps with super-fast charging when you only have a few minutes spare to get some extra power.
You also have the 3.5mm headphone jack which was nice to see as it lets you have the choice of either using a decent wired pair if you have one, or use Bluetooth if you prefer the wireless option.
Some phones lack a 3.5mm port and make you use the USB-C port for headphones, which becomes a problem when you also need to charge at the same time.
Turning over to the back you have a Gorilla Glass 5 covered smooth to touch area which looks great, although is a bit of a fingerprint magnet and is why using the supplied case is recommended, especially as it adds extra grip too instead of the slippy glass sandwich.
You get a LED flash next to the camera section which is used for improving low light conditions if you need a light to boost brightness, but most people will use for a flashlight due to how bright it is and handy to have in your pocket, just don’t leave on for too long as it will hammer the battery life.
When it comes to the cameras you get a quad setup housed in a circle area near the middle, it defiantly looks different from lots of the other competition out there and really stands out which is nice to see, phones can be a little boring in design sometimes but this is not one of them.
The cameras include a main 64MP wide angle, a 8MP ultra-wide angle, a 2MP depth sensor for helping with portrait shots and finally a 2MP macro shooter if you want to get close to an object, even if it is a low resolution.
Sample photos and videos taken from each camera can be found later on in the review so you can see what the quality is like.
When it comes to software on devices this is not always an easy area to cover, this is because Android may be the underlying operating system, but manufacturers like to use their own skin and apps on top to make their phones stand out.
Xiaomi use a skin they called MIUI and a few years ago there were a lot of people who did not like the experience and put them off owning a Xiaomi phone, however recently much has changed with MIUI 11 and now MIUI12 with a fresh look and feel to it, and an enjoyable one at that.
MIUI 12 on the Xiaomi Mi10T Lite is based on Android 11 which is the most up to date version you can get and comes with a security date of February 2021 which is good to see as there are still some phones with much older security patches which could be a concern.
Something that took me a while to get my head around is the swiping down from the top to access different panels, this is very much like iOS where a swipe from the left brings you all your notifications and from the right side brings you your control centre.
On other Android phones a swipe down does everything, and thankfully if your prefer this method you can switch to it in the settings, but once you get used to which side swipe does what it actually is more enjoyable and a better option to get around settings quicker.
You get some preinstalled Xiaomi apps installed which can’t be removed, but many of them do have a purpose and some are very handy to have such as the options to clean the storage of unwanted contents.
MIUI has a few nice little animations and tweaks to it such as in settings when you go to view the storage, it’s like a wave of water that fills up depending on how much storage you have used, it may be silly to some people, but is a nice touch and something that makes MIUI a little bit different from the competition.
Xiaomi also have a strange impact when using Dark Mode where apps almost change colour, one example was the My Vodafone app that is normally bright red and white, but with Dark Mode on it turned almost pink and black, this can be checked in settings though but was worth pointing out.
Again MIUI won’t be for everyone, but if you have used a phone in the past with this skin don’t let it put you off using one of the newer models with the most up to date software, it really is a much better experience and personally one of my favorate now out of the bunch,
Performance is very good even though it is not running the most advanced processor, the Snapdragon 750G does a great job at chewing through even heavy graphic games I was playing, and with the large battery I was easily able to get through a full day of use.
This is backed up by either 6GB or 8GB of RAM depending which you buy which means smooth multitasking including graphic heavy games, and in my time playing Call of Duty or PUBG I had no issues at all with the performance and this was based on a 6GB model with 64GB storage.
Personally I would say 64GB was too little storage so would suggest if possible going for a 128GB model depending where you orer from, the loan device I was sent was a base 64GB model which Xiaomi sell for £200 direct, thankfully the model Vodafone sell is the 128GB version and can also be bought from Xiaomi for around £229 at the moment (price may change though)
The battery included is 4820mAh which is one of the higher end models on sale at the moment, even considering the LCD screen that runs at 120hz and 5G supported too, it was great having such a large battery included as this is a great gaming phone, and if you do need to top up the power, the Mi10T Lite supports 33w fast charging which means even a quick 15 minute charge will be more than enough.
Something you do miss out on here is wireless charging support but considering the price of this phone was expected to be missing as there are not many (if any) £200 phones which this feature included
The Xiaomi Mi10T Lite comes with support for 2G/3G/4G/5G so you have a wide range of connectivity options depending on your network and sometimes price plan of choice (not all plans include 5G access)
Unfortunately due to current lockdown conditions I was not able to travel to a 5G location to check out the speeds on this network, however I was able to check out 3G and 4G, 2G also but don’t really see this these days as 3G and 4G are so widespread now.
With using 4G this was also giving access to 4G+ which is also known as LTE-Advanced, again it depends on network and location but I was happy to be getting speeds of around 100Mbps over this network here in Torquay which isn’t exactly the most popular of places for technology, and if you are in a better area with faster networks you can in theory get 200/300Mbps speeds over 4G.
Of course being 5G ready as soon as signal covers your area you will get access to these even faster speeds and you are future proofing yourself, all for such a crazy low price.
Of course you also get the standard GPS, Bluetooth, NFC and WiFi built in for navigation and communication, WiFi supports the latest standard too for stronger and quicker data speeds if you have the right router.
When looking for a new smartphone, picking a decent camera can often be right up the top of peoples list, because as good as the phone can be in every other department, if it takes poor photos you won’t want to share them or use them at all.
With the selfie camera you get 16 megapixels which is actually decent because a lot of phones around this price top out at 8 megapixels, the extra information helps with details and in good lighting does a good job.
Quality of the selfie camera for both photos and videos is quite good without being amazing, but then again the main reasons for a selfie camera are either sharing on social media or using the video for video calling such as WhatsApp or Duo, and for this the quality is decent enough.
Selfie videos top out at 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second and an example of this is below in case you wanted to check out for yourself, remember though to change the settings in the video to 1080p in case YouTube decided to play at 480p instead.
Xiaomi have gone for a quad camera setup over on the back, although how useful two of these is will depend on how you use your phone to take photos and what you like to snap pictures of.
The main sensor comes in at 64MP and does a great job at capturing lots of detail and information whilst also keeping decent image quality, this will be the camera you use most of the time so great to see more than decent performance from this.
Second comes the 8MP ultra-wide angle which gets more into the frame and is used for situations like group shots or landscape photos when you have more to get into the photo and don’t want to cut anything off the sides, you do drop down to 8MP though which is a lower resolution, but again quality is decent enough for most situations.
The third camera is a 2MP depth sensor which is what is used to help with bokeh photos or portrait shots where you want to blur the background and create something a bit different, also with this camera in the settings you can adjust the focus after the photo is taken giving you more ways to create something you might not have thought about at the time.
Finally comes the 2MP macro shooter, this is what you can use when in settings you enable the Super Macro mode and lets you get really close up to objects, of course at a much lower resolution to the others, and be careful when using as normally you need decent lighting to get a good Macro shot, and the closer you get to the object the more natual light you block out so this can be hit and miss.
Here are photos taken using each of the cameras so you can see what quality you can expect to see from these sensors.
Low light performance is an area a lot of camera phones struggle with getting right, either the sensor is too small or the software just seems to struggle with overall quality, however with the Xiaomi Mi10T Lite, the Night Mode photos actually come out quite well and are more than decent enough to share on social media or keep to show on a computer later on.
Video recording is decent enough for a smartphone at this price point, the videos above were all recorded at maximum resolution, with the main sensor the quality is the best thanks to the 4K resolution at 30 frames per second.
When you switch to the 2x zoom option within the camera settings you also get 4K at 30 frames per second but need to hold the phone very steady to get a decent recording, you can also record using the ultra-wide camera which shows as 0.6 on the list but this then maxes out at 1080p resolution although does allow 60 frames per second if you wanted to use this instead.
Overall the cameras are very impressive considering this phone costs just £200 and when I shared some of the photos on Twitter got very positive feedback from people.
So now my time with the phone is over what are my final impressions, and would I recommend you actually go and buy one of these if you are in the market for a new phone.
Well I am happy to give that a big red YES stamp as this has to be one of the best value for money devices I have ever used with impressive specifications as a quite frankly bonkers low price.
A lot of focus is on the more expensive flagship phones that cost £600+, and this is why some of the mid range often gets overlooked.
With a decent size 6.61 inch display, quad camera setup over on the back, 5G networking and a large 4820mAh battery, it is almost unbelievable that the Xiaomi Mi10T Lite will set you back just £199 SIM free or even cheaper when there are some special offers around.
If you are looking for one of the main flagship phones around such as the S21 range or even the Xiaomi Mi11 then you have to expect to pay the high price these are going for, however if you want a great experience with some great specs and want to save a huge amount of money then the Xiaomi Mi10T Lite is one of the best options there is going today and a phone I can highly recommend checking out to buy.
All i will say again is if you are looking to buy from Xiaomi direct then go for the 128GB model as you will soon fill up the 64GB internal storage, if you order from Vodafone this won’t be an issue as they supply the 128GB model anyway.
A big thanks to Vodafone UK for supplying the loan device to review, at time of writing you can pick one up on a pay monthly contract starting at £30 a month and even have options for unlimited data if you want to make the most out of the super-fast 5G support this phone has.