We all know that Xiaomi is very good at making a budget, mid-range, and flagship killer phones. However, we see very few Xiaomi phones catering to the premium mid-range and flagship segments in our part of the world. But the fact is, Xiaomi does make such phones and those are mainly focused in European markets. And the new Mi Note 10 Lite is a great example of such a phone as we’ve discovered with our review.
However, phones like the Galaxy A71, Reno 3 Pro, etc. are doing so well here in South Asia and Xiaomi finally seems to have realized that phones like Mi Note 10 Lite may fill the void that exists for them in the premium mid-range market.
This phone is a follow up on the comparatively expensive Mi Note 10. Right off the bat, it’s not the most value for money smartphone that you generally expect Xiaomi phones to be and I think it does not need to be; considering it is competing against the likes of Galaxy A71, Reno 3 Pro and Vivo V19.
Without any surprise, this phone has not been launched in India where people look for value for money. It has been launched in Nepal though. So, let’s get started with the review of the Mi Note 10 Lite.
Mi Note 10 Lite Specifications:
- Body: 6.21 x 2.92 x 0.38 inches; 204 gm
- Display: 6.47-inches AMOLED panel; 398PPI; Gorilla Glass 5
- Resolution: FHD+ (2340 x 1080 pixels); 19.5:9 aspect ratio
- Chipset: Snapdragon 730G; 8nm Mobile Platform
- CPU: Octa-core (2×2.2 GHz Kryo 470 Gold & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 470 Silver)
- GPU: Adreno 618
- RAM: 6/8GB
- Storage: 64/128GB UFS 2.1 (non-expandable)
- Software & UI: MIUI 11 on top of Android 10
- Rear Camera: Quad-camera;
– 64MP, f/1.9 primary shooter
– 8MP, f/2.2 ultra-wide lens
– 2MP, f/2.4 macro sensor
– 5MP, f/2.4 depth sensor
– Quad-LED flash
- Front Camera: 16MP, f/2.5 lens
- Security: Under-display (optical)
- Audio: 3.5mm headphone jack, aptX HD, aptX HD Adaptive codec
- Connectivity: Dual-SIM (Nano), WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS/AGPS/GLONASS/BDS, USB Type-C
- Battery: 5260mAh with 30W fast charging
- Colors: Midnight Black, Glacier White, Nebula
- Price in Nepal: Rs. 44,999 (6/128GB) | Rs. 49,999 (8/128GB)
Mi Note 10 Lite Review:
- Glass front, glass back, and aluminum frame
- Curved front & back for a better grip
Okay, the first unique aspect of the Mi Note 10 Lite is its design as it certainly looks unlike any other at a similar price.
As evident, it is because of the curves you get on the back and front of it, which kind of reminds me of more than 4 years old Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge! These curves are definitely what makes this phone look and feel different, but I cannot help but think, is it really necessary to have it? Because as good as it looks, curved displays are prone to easy breakage and accidental touches.
Xiaomi has included a feature to help ease accidental touches though, like from the display settings, you can red flag the area on the curves that you wish to remain dysfunctional. You can also manually select the amount of area for it, which eases the problem to a great extent.
Now, besides the curves, the design of it is strikingly good. It has this shiny attractive back that’s an eye-candy. And for the price, it looks premium too, thanks to its glass back and metal frames. However, it is a pretty huge phone and weighs over 200 grams. So, you can guess that it’s not the most comfortable to use, especially if you have small hands as I do.
Another slight complaint I have with it is the huge camera bump that creates a substantial imbalance while keeping it on a flat surface and might also result in scratches in the camera lenses. The case that comes along does help the cause a little bit but it’s nothing that’ll provide heavy-duty protection.
- 6.47-inch FHD+ 3D curved AMOLED panel
- 91.4% screen-to-body ratio; 60Hz refresh rate
- Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection
Also, upfront, you don’t get a screen protector out of the box, which I think all brands should include because what happens is most of the times, it’s very difficult to find a tempered glass or any other screen protector from mobile stores right after a new phone launches.
Anyways, about the display quality, its 6.47’’ Super AMOLED display that produces excellent colors, contrast, and sufficient brightness levels. The display is also protected by Gorilla Glass 5.
Being an AMOLED panel, you get features like Always-on-Display and an effective dark mode. You also get a low brightness flicker-free mode that helps reduce the effects of PWM dimming.
- Quad-cameras at the back
- (64MP primary, 8MP ultrawide, 5MP depth, 2MP macro)
- 16MP front-facing camera
The Mi Note 10 Lite features a quad camera setup like that of the Poco X2. You get a primary 64MP Sony IMX686 sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens, a 2MP macro lens, and a 5MP depth sensor. On the side of the camera module, you will find a quad-LED flash and LASER autofocus.
Surprisingly it doesn’t have a telephoto lens unlike its bigger sibling Mi Note 10, which had not just one but two telephoto zoom lenses. I think it would have been great if they have provided a telephoto lens here, instead of the gimmicky macro lens.
Anyway, talking about the performance, I like the primary camera on this device. This Sony IMX686 sensor results in great details and sharpness in the images. Colors in the images also look vibrant.
I compared the primary cameras on this one with the Galaxy A71 and I liked them both. The A71 does a slightly better job in HDR, otherwise, both these images are equally good.
That being said, the ultra-wide-angle and portrait images are pretty average on the Mi Note 10 Lite. Here, The Galaxy A71 is a clear winner.
The Note 10 Lite fails to produce good colors and dynamic range in the ultra-wide shots.
Similarly, for portraits, the shots from Note 10 Lite do look good but I prefer A71’s more, mainly because of the colors in the background and better-looking subjects.
Normal night time images are, well, pretty subpar with lack of details and grains. We do get night mode here which works considerably well to preserve details and maintain exposure.
When comparing it with the A71, I found Xiaomi doing a slightly better job in night mode pictures.
About the selfies, the Note 10 Lite is not bad but I prefer the Galaxy A71 in terms of skin tone and background HDR. Xiaomi still seems to be lacking in that aspect.
Portrait selfies too share the same story in terms of skin color and HDR and even edge detection is better on the Galaxy A71.
For videos, 4k/30 fps is the most you can go on the Mi Note 10 Lite. It is the same as the A71 as well. But Mi 10 Lite’s videos are better stabilized than Samsung’s. The colors and focus are quite good at both. There’s also a smooth 60fps option at 1080P, but sadly it lacks stabilization. On the front, you only get options to shoot in 1080p 30fps while you can go up to 4k 30 fps on the A71.
Something I have liked in the Mi Note 10 Lite cameras is the Vlog Mode which helps you make appealing vlogs without much hassle of going through an editing process. It’s something people can use to make fun videos or even YouTube vlogs.
- Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC (8nm)
- Either 6 or 8GB of RAM with up to 128GB of storage (non-expandable)
Now let’s talk performance. And as per Xiaomi’s standards, the performance on the Note 10 Lite is average, I would say. We are used to seeing the best price to performance ratio in its budget and mid-range offerings while this one has the SD 730G, which isn’t terrible, but cheaper Xiaomi phones like Poco X2 and Note 9 Pro have similar chipset.
So, if you are a very performance-centric person, you have better options like last year’s Redmi K20 Pro or the upcoming Poco F2 Pro which will ensure better gaming to better benchmarks to better everything.
Talking about the Mi Note 10 Lite’s real-life performance, games like PUBG are well playable at around 40 fps with graphics set to smooth and fps at Ultra. With HD graphics and high frame rates, I experienced slight stutter and lags. COD runs considerably well though at high graphics and frame rates.
Normal day to day tasks has no problem running whatsoever. Talking of multitasking with heavy apps, it does not feel laggy at all, thanks to the 6GB RAM on my unit. Sadly, 128GB is the max storage you can get on this phone as it lacks the microSD expansion slot.
So, performance-wise, the Mi Note 10 Lite is not your regular “value for money” Xiaomi smartphone. But it does ensure that it gives good enough performance to match or even surpass its competitors like the A71 or the Reno 3 Pro.
Software and UI
- Android 10 with Xiaomi’s custom MIUI 11 on top
On the software front, the Mi Note 10 Lite runs on Android 10 out of the box with MIUI 11 running the show on top and you should be receiving the MiUI 12 update as early as next month too.
Although MIUI is a pretty heavy skin, I didn’t feel any lags in the UI. But there are some things that bugged me a little; like the fact that you can only dismiss a notification from one side. Yet thankfully, there are no ads in the UI here.
- 3.5mm headphone jack, single bottom-firing speaker
- Qualcomm aptX HD, aptX Adaptive audio codec
Talking of other things, you get a single firing speaker at the bottom that produces a very balanced output, which I like.
The audio from the 3.5mm headphone jack is of good quality as well. However, it’s a shame that you don’t get earphones inside the box with this phone. In my opinion, Xiaomi should have included one on such a premium midrange phone.
Moving on, I faced no problem whatsoever while calling from this device. And what I like is, Xiaomi is one of the very few brands that still provides an IR blaster which is a welcome addition always.
Biometrics & Battery
- An optical in-display fingerprint scanner
- 5,260mAh battery with 30W fast wired charging
- No wireless charging
Both the biometric options, fingerprint, and face unlock work very fast on the Mi Note 10 Lite. I preferred the fingerprint option best for security reasons, but if you are into face unlock, that’s here too.
Battery-wise, Xiaomi claims up to 2 days of backup with its big 5,260 mAh unit. But in my heavy usage, with the Always-on-Display feature and dark mode on, I got a full day’s endurance; which is still pretty good.
And I have also liked the charging speed on the device as it takes exactly 1 hour 15 minutes to get the device from 0-100% with its native 30-watt charger.
Now, my conclusion about the Mi Note 10 Lite is exactly what I said at the beginning of this review; if you are looking for a value for money Xiaomi smartphone, sadly, this one isn’t you should be looking at.
It basically caters to the exact same market where phones like Galaxy A71 or Reno 3 Pro are doing well, which means that it’s not for a performance-centric audience. Rather it’s for someone who prefers good design, great camera, and an excellent super AMOLED display.
Having said that, I think Xiaomi could have been made it more compelling if they had included a 90Hz panel and a telephoto zoom lens and maybe even stereo speakers.
- Watch our video review of the Mi Note 10 Lite!
Mi Note 10 Lite Review: Pros & Cons
- Premium design and attractive curved front & back
- Excellent AMOLED display with a minimalistic teardrop notch
- Good battery endurance
- Sony IMX686 is a show-stealer
- Not the best “value-for-money” Xiaomi smartphone
- Xiaomi could’ve gone with a better & newer chipset
- The excessively curved display may be repulsive to some
- No SD card slot