Xiaomi flagships went upmarket in 2020, but the Chinese manufacturer still added to its catalog an alternative to good value for money: the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G. Find our full test of this attractive mid-range phone.
Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite: The Technical Sheet :
In its case, the Mi 10 Lite comes with a 20W AC adapter, a USB-C cable, a pair of in-ear headphones and a transparent silicone protective shell.
A Design Between Tradition And Modernity :
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite is a slightly more compact smartphone than its big brothers. With a diagonal of 6.57 inches against 6.67 for the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro, it mainly benefits from a flat screen and no longer curved. Depending on the preferences of each, this facilitates the handling of the device.
However mid-range it is, no matter its suffix “Lite”, the device benefits from very good quality finishes. It escapes the frosted glass coating offered to its illustrious models, but still offers a dressing of the most beautiful effect. Visually in any case: nothing is likely to betray that this is a “sub-model”.
When you get a little closer to your camera, you can see rather small lenses, circled in black in order to keep a certain balance between the four lenses. It’s pretty clever from Xiaomi and well done. This module does not stand out much, but its positioning makes the device unstable when placed on a table and pressed on the left side of the screen. Where we find in particular certain keyboard keys, but also often the back button – top left – in some applications.
If the screen is not curved – so many would say – the back is. It therefore holds rather well in hand and fits well the shape of the fingers. The shell is smooth and pleasant and never gives the feeling of hurting us if we tighten it too tight.
The aluminum frame, on the other hand, is slightly wider than the screen, which gives you a snag when you slide your finger over the edge. It is in the order of detail, but it is a shame, especially when you know that the Nexus 4 in 2012 already offered a flawless 2.5D glass.
Overall, we can say that the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite is quite successful: it does not give the impression of being fragile, holds well in hand and offers a fingerprint sensor under the screen, a USB port -C and a Jack output. All its buttons are located on the right edge and are easily accessible, even with one hand. Nothing to say therefore on this side.
A Beautiful Screen Lacking Calibration :
In this elegant and well finished chassis is embedded a 6.57 inch Amoled screen in FullHD + definition (2400 × 1080 pixels), protected by a scratch-resistant coating Gorilla Glass 5. At first glance, it is a very bright, contrasting and brightly colored slab. We can note a slight rainbow effect which distorts certain colors depending on the viewing angles, but which does not interfere with normal use.
Software: MIUI And Its Bloatware :
The Mi 10 Lite takes advantage of the latest version of the overlay (11.0.4) and the Android security patch from last April. Two months late therefore, which it would be better to make up for as quickly as possible. Moreover, the smartphone is Widevine L1 certified and can therefore play HD video content on SVoD platforms.
It is now on: MIUI 11 finally allows its users to choose between a classic layout, and an application drawer which it was greatly lacking until recently.
Otherwise, we easily find our habits. Full dark mode, gesture navigation, digital well-being … No functionality is missing on the call.
AUDIO: Power With Lack Of Mastery :
On the box of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite, we can read in the corner “Hi-Res Audio”, leaving hope for great expertise in the matter, but we must not forget that it is actually a smartphone from midrange.
First observation: it offers only a simple mono speaker (on the lower edge of the phone) and not stereo as its design could let hope with its large grid for the call speaker overhanging the screen. Nothing very surprising, however, in this price range.
The sound is loud, which can come in handy when listening to videos on YouTube for example, or podcasts, even in noisy environments. I who like to accompany my dishes or my household with this kind of content, I appreciated this very high volume easily covering the noise of the jet of water and the plates which collide.
On the other hand, as far as audio accuracy is concerned, we are still far from the promised Hi-Res, at least on the speaker. Above about 50-60%, the sound saturates and the mids like the treble tend to sizzle. At this price, of course, it’s not very surprising, but the logo on the box had made me hope.
With a good headset, however, there is a sound of very good quality, with strong dynamics. The bass, however, is a little too prominent compared to other frequency ranges and MIUI does not offer an integrated equalizer to adjust this. You will therefore have to go through a third-party application for this.
PHOTO: I Only Lack The Zoom :
A wide-angle: 48 MP (0.8 μm) sensor, f/1.79.
An ultra wide angle: 8 Mp sensor, f/2.2.
A macro camera: 2 MP (1.75 μm) sensor, f/2.4.
A depth sensor: 2 Mp (1.75 μm).
Two elements stand out from this technical sheet before even pointing the camera: the small photosites of the main sensor are not a problem thanks to the pixel-binning which merges 4 pixels into 1 (with a rendering of 12 Mp therefore), and the presence of a macro mode of low definition, generally superfluous when an ultra wide-angle is present, generally making it possible to propose better results. We would certainly have preferred a telephoto lens to take advantage of optical magnification, as on the Realme 6 Pro for example.
Note also that as usual, Xiaomi inflicts its default watermark on photos, which it is necessary to deactivate manually, but this is a criticism which is rather added to the “interface” part. We can also make the same observation on this photo application: there are many options, but sometimes redundant (document scan + Google Lens), which overloads the interface a little.
But let’s rather look at the quality of the shots with a rather strange observation: the photos taken in 48 Mp are smoother and blurry than those taken in 12 Mp. It must be said that the HDR mode tends to push the microcontrasts to the extreme in order to give sharpness to the image, to the point sometimes of giving a small surreal effect to the final rendering, as we can see below on a 100% magnification:
We note that the 48 Mp mode also struggles a little more to support the highlights, yet well managed on the default mode (12 Mp). We will therefore choose the latter in most cases, and it is therefore rather good news that it is the first to appear when the application is opened.
Apart from a few discreet burrs in the corners and a few hiccups on the very marked dynamics, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite is doing very well and offers good image quality.
It can freeze moving targets when the light allows and the bright colors are rather well transcribed, with sharp cuts and gradual gradations when necessary.
At night, the rendering is a little smoother and we feel that the treatment is there to avoid the grain. However, on a smartphone in this price range, it is doing very well and easily competes with its main competitor, the Realme 6 Pro. The strong light sources are often burnt out, but do not overflow too much, digital noise can be discreet and blurry pictures are quite rare.
On the screen of the phone, the rendering is therefore of good quality and it is only by stretching them on a monitor (or by zooming) that we really perceive the defects.
The macro mode has no interest, the traditional mode providing a better result, even on small close objects. We would have preferred a zoom, that proposed numerically degrading the image quite strongly.
Finally, the video part offers Full HD by default at 30 FPS, but it is possible to switch to 60 FPS (always in Full HD) or to 4K (at 30 FPS). At 60 FPS, stabilization is clearly not there, which is a shame since it is better in 4K at 30 FPS, with nevertheless a slight “pumping” at times for the autofocus.
Excellent Battery :
With its 4160 mAh battery, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite manages its autonomy very well and allows you to easily hold a day of intensive use with more than 7 hours of screen in mixed use (a few games, and mainly calls , social networks, web browsing, messaging and streaming videos). In addition, it is particularly effective in standby and can last 2 full days as long as there is reasonable use.
To give an idea, a part of 1:20 of Fortnite (including menus) made me lose only 11% of battery. It’s a very good score.
These tests were nevertheless carried out in 4G, 5G not yet available on the territory. Worse scores are to be expected on this network of tomorrow.
Charging is done using its 22.5 W charger, even if the smartphone itself can only collect 20 W. Allow about 30 minutes for 50% charge, 1 h for 90% and 1 h 20 for a full charge. However, at this price, we must forget about wireless charging.
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