By default, the top cameraphones come ONLY from the premium flagship class of smartphones. But for the first time, we have a mid-range smartphone with a top camera – a camera that outperforms many premium cameraphones.
What makes it interesting is that this groundbreaking achievement has come from an unexpected brand. The top cameraphone brands in recent years have been Huawei, Google, Apple, and Samsung. Nokia used to be on this table too, but has slipped down in the last few years.
No-one was expecting Xiaomi to deliver one of the best cameraphones in the world, much less deliver it as a mid-range device. Having a ₦200,000 (about $550) smartphone deliver the kind of photographic qualities that smartphones costing over ₦350,000 (about $875) deliver is something that has taken everyone by surprise.
Say hello to the outstanding mid-range smartphone with a top camera: Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro. In case you did not grasp the full import of what I just said, permit me to rephrase: Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro is the first mid-range smartphone with a camera that performs better than most premium smartphones released in 2019. Note that in China, this phone is also known as Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro Premium Edition.
In this hands-on review, I walk you through the 108MP penta camera, other aspects of the phone, as well as real life handling in the first one week of usage.
How Does The 108MP camera of the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro Work?
I have had a unit of the Mi Note 10 Pro with me for review and can testify that this is indeed one of the best camera phones in the world right now. The camera is simply amazing, to say the least.
Here are a few questions people are asking about the Mi Note 10 Pro’s camera, along with answers for you.
Does the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro capture 108MP images?
In default mode, it does not. Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro uses what is called pixel biining – a process that combines every four pixels into one – to capture 27MP photos. The default mode is active when you launch the camera and it is what most people will use. It produces excellent pictures too. Almost all the pictures I have shocased from the Mi Note 10 Pro was taken in the default mode.
However, the camera has a 108MP Mode, if you want to take advantage of the raw 108MP of the camera. The 108MP Mode captures full 108MP images.
How many cameras does Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro have?
In front, Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro has one selfie camera. At the back, it has a penta camera – five lenses, as follows:
- 108MP main lens with OIS,
- 12MP telephoto lens, with Laser AF, 2x optical zoom,
- 5MP telephoto lens, Laser AF, OIS, 5x optical zoom and 10x hybrid zoom
- 20MP ultra-wide sensor (great for landscape shots)
- 2MP dedicated macro lens
4k video recording is available on the main camera, as is slow-motion video at 720p @960fps.
How good is the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro’s penta camera?
It is superb. Absolutely fantastic. It captures great details and has very good image quality. And I will give you a breakdown.
One, it captures great regular shots in default mode. The level of details is superb. But you can squeeze out even more details, especially if you will be editing your photos later, by switching to 108MP Mode in the camera. There are no other phones at the moment that capture details close to that; not even the Nokia 9 PureView does.
The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro has great depth of field like no other smartphone camera does. It also captures great zoomed photos if you use the 5MP telephoto lens, which offers hybrid zoom. In hybrid zoom, the 5MP pulls information using the main lens too, to deliver impressive details in zoomed photos.
As you can imagine, smartphone cameras have become quite complicated. There are multiple modes to switch between to get the best results.
Lastly, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) is superb on the Mi Note 10 Pro – as good as you can find on the best premium flagships.
Are there any weaknesses of the Xiaomi Note 10 Pro’s penta camera?
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro may be the first mid-range smartphone with a top camera, but that does not mean that it is a perfect camera. Like all other cameras, it has its weak points.
Low-light and night shots are the areas where the Mi Note 10 Pro penta camera’s falter a little bit. It isn’t bad or anything close. It is really good compared to many of the competition – and I have done some comparison shoots to prove it.
There is a dedicated Night Mode, and I recommend that you use that for night photography. It will get you really good shots with good details. Still, this is where the Note 10 Pro’s camera loses points to the top premium phones in the market.
Is there any difference between the camera of the regular Xiaomi Note 10 and this Pro version?
There is a regular Xiaomi Mi Note 10 (note the absence of Pro in thwe name). It has a penta camera setup too just like the Pro version. The cameras are mostly the same, with the exception of the number of pieces that the main camera is made of. The regular Mi Note 10 has seven (7P), while the Pro version has eight (8P). It may not sound like much, but it gives the Mi Note 10 Pro an advantage in quality of photos and videos captured.
So, technically, the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 is the first mid-range smartphone with a top camera, while the Pro version, which I am reviewing here, follows after and has the better camera. Both cameras are formidable against premium flagships.
Lastly, If it interests you, you can find out some fun facts about the Samsung ISOCELL 108MP camera, used in the Mi Note 10 and Note 10 Pro.
Other details about the Mi Note 10 Pro
That’s all I have for you about the Mi Note 10 Pro’s camera for now. If I have any more details, I will update this section. In the section below, I answer a few other questions about this mid-range cameraphone champ.
What processor does Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro use?
The Mi Note 10 Pro uses a top mid-range chipset from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 730G. This is one of the most powerful processors you will see in any non-premium smartphone. The “G” appended to the 730 signifies that the processor is optimised for gaming, so high-powered gamers will love this phone.
How much RAM does Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro have?
The Mi Note 10 Pro is equipped with 8GB of RAM. Coupled with the Snapdragon 730G processor, performance of the phone is top notch. In everyday use, it performs as smoothly as a premium smartphone. You will only notice the difference when you carry out the most demanding of tasks.
Is Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro water-proof?
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro does not have any IP rating and is not water or dust resistant, so keep it away from those.
What kind of battery does Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro have?
If you are going to be going around shooting pictures, you do need to not run out of power and ending up with a dead smartphone. Xiaomi took care of that. The Mi Note 10 Pro is equipped with a massive 5260mAh battery. Let me put it this way: there are not many smartphones in the world that have a bigger battery. Charge it up and go about your day with confidence.
In addition, there is 30W Super Fast Charging built in. What does that mean? The Mi Note 10 Pro goes for an empty battery to about 60% in 30 minutes, and fills up in completely in another 35 minutes. For comparison, Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0 goes from 0 to full in 1 hour 30 minutes. Yes; the Mi Note 10 Pro’s fast charging is super fast.
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro hands-on
Out of the box, the Mi Note 10 Pro runs Android 9 Pie with Xiaomi’s MIUI 11 on top. You immediately feel a heft to the phone when you pick it up. It weighs 208g afterall. The AMOLED display is sharp and crisp, and has curved edges both the right and left sides.
Did I mention that it is a gorgeous phone? The Mi Note 10 Pro is a stunning looker.
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro is the best mid-range smartphone with a top camera
There is no question about it: Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro is the first mobile phone with an 108MP camera. It is also undeniably the first mid-range smartphone with a top camera. It is also the most versatile camera phone in the world as of today. The camera outperforms the cameras of many premium smartphones in the market, and that is fabulous for a $550 smartphone.