Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Review

The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 boasts five cameras including a 108 megapixel main camera. We review the smartphone camera for photo and video capabilities.

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Xiaomi Mi Note 10

108 Megapixels and 50x Zoom?!

Xiaomi phones have long been forbidden fruit for the North American market. The China-based manufacturer pushes intriguing specs and features at equivalent prices that make for very interesting smartphones, even if we can’t get our hands on them. Thankfully, we got a chance to review the Xiaomi Mi Note 10, the brand’s new flagship phone that’s making its way to Europe and Asia this week. Now at least we know what we’re missing.

Specs

The Mi Note 10 grabbed international tech headlines with its camera specs. 108 megapixel main camera, five built-in lenses, and a combination optical-digital zoom length up to 50x all add up to features that capture your attention.

The rest of the phone’s specs are relatively standard, near-flagship level numbers for a remarkably low projected price. Big kudos to Xiaomi for including USB-C and a headphone jack!

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G processor
  • 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage
  • Five rear cameras: 108-megapixel f/1.69 wide, 12-megapixel f/2 2x telephoto, 5-megapixel f/2 5x telephoto, 20-megapixel f/2.2 ultrawide, and 2-megapixel macro
  • 32-megapixel selfie camera
  • 6.47-inch curved OLED screen with integrated fingerprint sensor
  • 5,260mAh battery with 30W fast charger included
  • USB-C and headphone jack
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Shooting with the Xiaomi Mi Note 10

The real question: what’s it like to take pictures with a smartphone that has FIVE built-in cameras?

The two built-in optical zoom lenses offer 2x and 5x, which dramatically broadens the range of what you can capture on a smartphone camera. We love that the tele lenses are both f/2 and that the 5x zoom has Optical Image Stabilization built-in, which allows you to get sharp images even zoomed way in on a small device. The hybrid optical-digital zoom allows for 50x magnification, which is five times greater than most smartphones on the market. While the 50x does not offer high quality, it’s quite impressive that the phone can capture recognizable images at 50x zoom length.

The main event is the main lens, which offers 108 megapixels. It’s the sharpest smartphone camera we’ve ever used, preserving a stunning amount of detail, even when blown up on a large desktop screen. The photos straight-out-of-camera are astounding; with minor edits, many shots are indistinguishable from a DSLR shot at a higher aperture.

The Mi Note 10 also features an ultra-wide 20 megapixel, 117 degree field-of-view f/2.2 camera and a Macro camera that has quality minimum focusing distance and pleasant out-of-focus areas. With five cameras to choose from, you can get the shot you want, from any distance, at the highest quality output.

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Portrait Mode

The Mi Note 10 has high quality bokeh on the main sensor even without Portrait Mode. This is pushed further with Portrait Mode engaged, including some of the best edge detection we’ve ever seen in a smartphone camera. The focus falloff is natural and the Mi Note 10 is very willing to engage portrait mode on a wide variety of subjects, allowing for DSLR-like images that combine 108 megapixels and intelligent camera software to create natural results.

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Video

Shooting video on the Mi Note 10 is a smooth and versatile experience. All five lenses shoot 4K at 30 fps which allows you to mix focal lengths without downsampling, and the resolution in the main camera gets natural depth-of-field thanks to its larger sensor. The main camera also shoots 960 frames per second in 720p which allows for insane slow-motion captures. With Optical Image Stabilization and likely some incredible software tricks baked in, shooting hand-held video even while walking looks nearly as smooth as shooting with a high-end gimbal. The video quality and focal length flexibility make the Mi Note 10 a great option for shooting smartphone video.

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Summary

The Mi Note 10 is the latest flagship phone from Xiaomi, a brand that is known for delivering eyebrow-raising specs at truly impressive prices. With the Mi Note 10, Xiaomi has shown the word what kind of camera technology can be fit into a smartphone, which has us excited about what the next generation of phones will look like. If you’re in a country where the Mi Note 10 is available, it’s one of the most compelling value propositions and smartphone camera systems on the market.

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