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Xiaomi Mi Note 10 First Impressions: 108MP?!

By Anton D. Nagy November 19, 2019, 2:00 pm
Xiaomi Mi Note 10

I always get excited for a new Xiaomi phone. And this one in particular has a couple of tricks up its sleeve that I really want to test out. Namely, and you see it in the title, a 108 megapixel camera. That’s just insane.  

But before we get a little too excited over that one detail, let’s remember that this particular phone, the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 has a lot going for it. Here’s your first look at the Xiaomi Mi Note 10. 

Unboxing

As far as the unboxing experience is concerned, one thing we always like about Xiaomi phones is that they come with a case inside of the box. This is something that you’re going to end up needing because the phone is so glossy and so pretty, but it slips around the hand a bit too much.  

Part of the reason is because there are curves on the front and the back. That’s right — this OLED display at FullHD resolution does have curves on the sides so you get a little bit more of that full screen experience. However, there is a bit of a notch at the top. And if you look a little bit closely, that little camera sensor on the front is actually kind of large. That’s a 32 megapixel camera underneath.  

Xiaomi Mi Note 10

But then of course, when it comes to the design, you’re looking at the five cameras on the back — it took me a second to realize that at the very bottom here, there is a fifth camera. And even then it’s just funny seeing how there’s one camera separated from the entire unit above it. The phone itself, aside from all of the different cameras looks pretty standard as far as a Xiaomi phone is concerned, and it’s really fingerprint prone. So you’re going to end up wiping this thing off a lot. Again, that’s one of the reasons why having a little case like this is good. It’s both for grip and also to hide some of those blemishes. 

Another thing to note is that on the bottom, you still get a headphone jack and that USB-C port does fast charging for the 5,260mAh battery. That is a huge battery and the fast charging on this one can actually get that from zero to 100 in just over one hour — that’s insane again.  

Now, it doesn’t have the Snapdragon 855 Plus, but it still has a gaming forward chip in the 730G — more on that in a little bit. That 128 gigabytes of storage is fixed; you don’t get a micro SD card slot on here, which might be a little bit of a bummer because of everything that this camera can do. But 128 is still plenty so hopefully I’m not going to fill it up too quickly with 4K resolution videos and with all of those 108 megapixel shots.  

Xiaomi Mi Note 10

Camera

So how exactly is this achieved? Well, you still have a sensor that is about as small as it can be for a smartphone, but there are 108 megapixels in there that are being pixel binned in groups of four so you ultimately get 27 megapixel shots. That’s if you’re using the main mode before you even scroll over to the 108 megapixel mode where you use every single pixel for the photos. So there are going to be obvious comparisons between the main cameras and that particular mode. The main takeaway is that when you zoom into the 108 megapixel shot, obviously there’s a lot more detail. There’s more information in there just for the sheer amount of info that was gathered as you took that shot.  

In broad daylight shots, the 108 megapixel photos are fantastic. In low light shots, you probably will want to go to the main modes but of course there’s also the night mode that’s available if you need that extra low light help. We’re going to get a little bit deeper into the 108 megapixel shots in the full review.  

Xiaomi Mi Note 10

Once you get past that main sensor though there’s a lot to have fun with here, you have a 2x optical zoom that is there and also a 5x hybrid zoom, and an ultra-wide camera that you know I’m already going to be a fan of. That final lens at the bottom is actually a macro lens. According to Xiaomi the reason why there’s a dedicated sensor for the macro lens is so that they can tune the low light shots a little bit better — after all, when you’re back close to a subject you might be casting a shadow over it, so good low light shots from the macro lens are key.  

Ultimately, all of these lenses come together to give you what might be considered the Swiss Army Knife of phones — as far as phone cameras are concerned, of course. And the phone might also be good for video capture as well, because Xiaomi put in a little bit of extra effort to make the video modes fun as well.

Performance 

So obviously, this phone is all about the cameras and it’s going to be something that we test as we move on with the full review. However, I wanted to give a special mention to the Snapdragon 730G on here. This is one of the only phones that is sporting that, and honestly I’m seeing some good dividends on here, even if it’s not the 855+. I mean, think about it this way you have that particular processor, which is not going to be the most powerful but then you have one of the biggest batteries in a smartphone right now. That should mean that battery life on this phone is pretty incredible.  

Xiaomi Mi Note 10

But as far as performance is concerned, gaming is still at a top clip. I still really enjoy all of the games that I’ve put on here like Mario Kart Tour. I only really had some speed issues or performance issues when moving among all of the different lenses and taking a lot of photos back to back to back in the camera app. After all, there’s a lot of processing that has to be done to achieve those 108 megapixel photos. So that’s one thing to keep in mind — that the phone does need a little bit of time to process everything, especially in the camera. But as far as gaming is concerned, you’re still going to have a pretty good time on this even if the 730G is not the most powerful.  

But I will go ahead and call it on this one. The Mi Note 10 — as it will be called globally — was just announced earlier today and I’ve been using it for only a few days at this point, but I’m really enjoying it so far. Xiaomi phones always have something fun to them. And in this case, it’s a phone that is a solid everyday device that happens to have way more cameras than maybe you need but you’re definitely going to have fun with. And with an industry first 108 megapixel sensor; well, that is definitely something to get excited about.

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