Review

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra: With 120Hz Display, 120x Zoom & 120W Charging!

On August 11, 2020, Xiaomi celebrated its 10th anniversary and has released the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra. With the first own “Ultra-Smartphone” the company wants to set a monument for itself and offers some superlatives. 120x zoom, 120 Hz refresh rate and 120W strong charging via cable are at least partly new standards for the smartphone industry. Is it THE Smartphone 2020?

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Smartphone

Technical data of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra
Display 6.67 inch 19.5:9 Full-HD+ (2340 x 1080 pixels) 120 Hz AMOLED display , Gorilla glass 6
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 @ 2,84 GHz + 2,42 GHz + 1,8 GHz
Graphic chip Qualcomm Adreno 660
RAM 8/12/16 GB GB LLPDR5
Internal memory 128/256/512 GB UFS 3.1
Camera 48 Megapixel sensor with ƒ/1.85 aperture
20 MP wide angle with 12 mm & 128° shooting angle
48 MP 120X Zoom Periscope Camera
12 MP Portrait Camera
Front camera 20 Megapixel with ƒ/2.0
Battery 4.500 mAh with 120W Quick Charge, 50W Qi-charge
Connectivity AC WLAN, Bluetooth 5.0,USB Type-C, GPS/GLONASS/BDS, Single-SIM (Global), NFC, SA/NSA 5G
Features Fingerprint sensor in the display
Operating system MIUI 11 from Android 10
Dimensions / Weight 162,38 x 75,04 x 9,45 mm / 221,8 g

Packaging & Scope of delivery

Actually, we’ll save the section about the packaging and scope of delivery of a smartphone, but if you’ve already spent over $600 for a China import of the Xiaomi anniversary smartphone, you can start from scratch. Because the smartphone box already symbolizes the exceptional position of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra. The box is much longer, all in silver, and on the front you get the hint of the 10th anniversary: 2010 – 2020 Xiaomi 10th.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Packaging

Inside, of course, is the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, in our case with a transparent back, 8 GB RAM and 256 GB memory, the 120W charger with China plug, a white USB type-C cable, user manual, SIM needle and a transparent hard case. Here I would have liked something more special than a standard case. Not only because the Mi 10 Ultra is expensive, but also because this is a special smartphone. That’s what you get with the Mix devices like the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3.

Xiaomi is transparent / Xiaomi recycles “old” designs

The fact that Xiaomi is publishing a revised version of the respective flagship model is nothing new. Both the Mi 8 and the Mi 9 have already received a Pro version. The manufacturer is basically using the same design to emphasize the affiliation.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Smartphone in Hand

Maybe it’s because I’ve already tested the Xiaomi Mi 10 and Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro, but the front does not trigger much emotion. The 6.67″ AMOLED display and the small punch-hole front camera in the upper left corner look all too familiar to me. As in the Mi 10, the display is curved, so it goes around corners, which certainly doesn’t please everyone. I’m not the biggest fan either, but Xiaomi solves it more gently than on the Mi Note 10, giving the impression of a borderless device, but the edges of the screen are still visible. But especially the otherwise so thick lower border is pleasantly slim at 4 mm.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Screen edge

But on the back the Ultra had me. We got a test device with transparent back. The Qi charging coil and the NFC module are exposed, which looks really good. But you quickly notice that the rest, or rather these two hardware components, are part of a sticker, so unfortunately you can’t really see the inner workings. Nevertheless, this looks really cool at first! Just like the camera module, especially the silver accent of the 120x zoom periscope camera makes a good impression.

Xiaomi Mi Ultra Smartphone backside transparent

But Xiaomi recycles even more materials from her previous flagships. The Mi 10 Ultra comes alternatively still like the Mi 6 (good old times <3) in a Bright Silver Discovery Edition, i.e. with a highly reflective silver back. In fact, according to Lei Jun's own statement, the Mi 6 in this version belongs to Lei Jun's three favorite Xiaomi smartphones. In addition, there is also a black ceramic version of the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2, which is also one of the three favorite smartphones of the Xiaomi CEO. It's nice to see that Lei Jun's personality has been incorporated into the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra back

Handling & Processing

If you put so much “ultra” into a smartphone, the weight is correspondingly ultra. With 223 g on the fine scale it is another 50 g heavier than the included 120W charger and therefore has a relatively high SMI value (Yes, that stands for Smartphone Mass Index and yes, I invented that). The phone is not too heavy, but for my taste it is already on the borderline.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Backside

By giving the Mi 10 Ultra a thickness of 9.45 mm, which makes it much thicker than a Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 with integrated slider (!), the whole camera bump doesn’t stick out that far. Nevertheless, it sticks out far enough for the Ultra to wobble when lying flat on the table. The included case can put this into perspective. Similar to the Mi Note 10 you have the problem to cover the lower camera sensor relatively easily.

Xiaomi’s recipe for a high quality finish consists of two Gorilla glass sides on the front and back and a metal case frame. The glass sandwich was also garnished with good key pressure points, neatly milled recesses, a minimalistically recessed punch-hole camera and rounded sides. Only the plastic foil on the display should be replaced with a real bulletproof glass foil, scratches accumulate here faster than you would like.

Design & Processing: 10/10 points

cg rating 10 150x150

 

The fact alone that Xiaomi pays tribute to Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun’s three favorite smartphones deserves the ten points. Our test device with the transparent back looks awesome, even if it’s just a sticker. In addition, it has an excellent finish and a good implementation of the hated punch holes & curved display.

120 Hz display: the key to speed

As the name suggests, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra is an improved version of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro. One of the integral upgrades of this Ultra version is the display. This has not changed in size or aspect ratio, but in the refresh rate. At 120 Hz, the display has been increased to 30 Hz compared to the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro, thus catching up with the competition from Samsung. The Hz number only indicates how often the screen is updated per second. 60 Hz is still the industry standard in this respect, but higher refresh rates ensure a smoother and faster display of content and animations. In fact, the phone simply feels faster, which is also the case with the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Smartphone Display

Even though there are already gaming smartphones with 144 Hz displays, the difference to an Asus ROG III or a Nubia Red Magic 5G is negligible. 120 Hz is the sweet spot for flagships, although the difference to 90 Hz is not as significant as the difference between 60 and 90 Hz. In the display settings, Xiaomi only leaves the option between 60 Hz and 120 Hz, but explains the difference very clearly with an animation. In addition, there is a 240 Hz touch sample rate, which ensures that inputs are converted faster. A high refresh rate is a must for a Flagship 2020 and also suits the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra very well.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra 120 Hz

Apart from that, you actually get the same food as in the Mi 10 Pro. The display brightness of 800 nit shines even in strong sunlight, but already half of the maximum setting is enough for everyday use. Thanks to HDR10+, colors are displayed richly and thanks to the AMOLED panel you have a strong contrast ratio of 5.000.000:1 – nice! The Dark Mode is especially recommended. Besides that, the viewing angle stability compared to cheaper models is impressive: constant brightness, good contrast and no color shift. The display panel is also protected by Gorilla Glass 5.

However, the resolution can be criticized. It is sufficient with 2340 x 1080 p and provides a sharp display with 386 ppi, but in our eyes it doesn’t meet the “ultra demand”. Samsung, for example, uses a panel with a QHD+ resolution of 3,200 x 1,440 pixels in the S20 Ultra. Even if this doesn’t make the decisive difference in practice, there is still room for improvement on the part of Xiaomi.

Display settings in MIUI

Apart from that, there is still some room for improvement in the software. Actually, Xiaomi is the industry leader in this area, and in Android-style has multiple setting options. But already in our Unboxing I noticed the very limited range of functions of the Always-On Display. This is apparently due to MIUI 12, under MIUI 11 you can choose between different styles and animations. In MIUI 12 it is unfortunately only a very generic time & date display with few settings.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Always On settings

 

On the other hand, there are a lot of options for the color space, where you can hide single colors completely. But we recommend to use one of the default settings. Furthermore there is a read mode, an anti-flicker mode, the dark mode and the possibility to hide the notch or the punch hole.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra display settings MIUI

Because of the curved display you also have the possibility to set that unintentional inputs at the display edge are not registered. To do this you have to set the additional settings to “Ignore accidental touch on the edges” and then you can choose one of three presets or adjust the red area yourself.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra No Touch Zone Display Settings

Display: 9/10 points

cg rating 9

For the first time, Xiaomi has installed a 120 Hz AMOLED display in one of its smartphones, putting it on a par with Samsung. The display is bright, high-contrast, has a good fingerprint sensor integrated and the 120 Hz refresh rate, which in combination with the top hardware is simply super smooth. But for an ultra smartphone, you can expect a QHD+ resolution, so we have to deduct a point here.

Is it really ultra?

Even if you set the bar high, especially when it comes to camera and charging technology, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra doesn’t have to hide behind it when it comes to performance. We have both the Red Magic 5S and the Asus ROG III gaming smartphone here, and the Mi 10 Ultra performs absolutely at eye level. This is not least due to the 120 Hz display. Finally, the difference between 120 Hz and 144 Hz is really negligible. And even if you can’t see it, a Snapdragon 865 processor with 2.84 GHz clock frequency, 8 GB LPDDR 5 and 256 GB UFS 3.1 mass storage are sitting on the board. You almost run out of exclamation marks. Nice that one decides here for the faster memory standard.

And you really notice that in every situation. No matter if it’s just about opening the new control center, starting apps, triggering the camera or starting more complex processes like games. In a speed test direct comparison with the Asus ROG III gaming smartphone, it becomes apparent that the Mi 10 Ultra is even faster in some cases, especially when closing apps. You can’t say too much about performance, because everything is just right here. During the test period I didn’t have a situation where the Ultra didn’t react directly enough or even got stuck.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Gaming Screenshot
Gaming makes you want to play on the Mi 10 Ultra!

Even if it should not make a difference in practice, one may or must criticize the choice of processor. Why doesn’t Xiaomi use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ Plus? The reworked version of the Snapdragon 865, which is already in the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro, would be just right for an ultra smartphone.

Benchmark results

Even if it’s not quite “top notch”, the benchmark results underline the power of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra. We get very strong results here through the bench away, which, as I said, can keep up with gaming smartphones without any problems.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Benchmarks

Performance: 9/10 points

cg rating 9Yes, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra offers pure performance and that through the bench away in all areas. There is no difference to performance-optimized gaming smartphones. But it is now also not the best processor on the market, whereby the Mi 10 Ultra does not completely fulfill the Ultra requirement. For it there is one point deduction.

120W charging: the (still) fastest charging in the world

Although Xiaomi can be accused of being inspired by other manufacturers, they have been pioneers in the field of charging technology for years. The second of the three “120” relates to the charging technology, for me personally the biggest surprise of the Mi 10 Ultra. The Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra can be charged with 120W of power, the previous peak was 65W power on a Realme X50 Pro. Oppo and Realme have already announced such a technology, but with the Mi 10 Ultra Xiaomi delivers the first product suitable for mass production.

The 120W charger with china plug is included, weighs almost 170g and is accompanied by a USB-A to USB-C cable. We thought we had problems with the 120W charger, but we were probably too enthusiastic and impatient. With the appropriate China adapter you can use the charger.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra 120W Charger 120

The 120W charging is amazing! We were able to charge the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra from 6% to 100% in under 25 minutes! We usually measure in 15 minute intervals, for the Mi 10 Ultra we set the interval to 5 minutes. In the first 10 minutes the phone already charges from 6% to 60%, so it has increased its charge tenfold! Xiaomi can only make such a fast charging possible by dividing the 4,500 mAh battery into two 2,250 mAh batteries. This is where Quick Charge 5 comes into play. Both the charger and the smartphone become naturally warm, but also not alarmingly hot as we find. Whether there could be long-term problems in this regard, we can hardly predict. We have to assume that the Xiaomi has tested this intensively enough.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra 120W charging animation

At first we were just confused because we didn’t see the Mi Charge Turbo 120W animation. But for this you just have to “switch off” the display and then plug in the connector. In the safety app under “battery” a charging time of more than 2h was displayed. Unfortunately, the 55W Qi charger for wireless charging hasn’t arrived yet, which is why we can currently only deliver the test for this.

Even with 12 hours runtime

At 4,500 mAh, the battery is the same size as that of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro and thus somewhat smaller than that of the Xiaomi Mi 10. And despite the large 120 Hz display, Xiaomi can maintain its otherwise strong battery life. In the benchmark, the Mi 10 Ultra reaches a value of a good 12 hours, which is sufficient for a day and a half of battery life. Of course, this depends on individual use, but even power users should be able to get by for a day. The only negative thing I noticed is the relatively high standby consumption. Overnight there is a lack of 10 to 15% battery power, if you don’t switch the phone into flight mode or adjust the brightness.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra battery mark

If you really value battery life in a top smartphone, you’ll get a little more runtime with the Xiaomi Mi 10 with a slightly larger battery and 90 Hz display.

Battery life & charging: 10/10 points

cg rating 10 150x150THE highlight of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra for me is the 120W charging. It’s already a great move by Xiaomi to include the 120W charger in the scope of delivery, but to be able to charge your cell phone within 25 minutes is really amazing. Plus, it comes with 50W wireless charging and a solid 12 hours of battery life. What more could you want?

Do you need a 120X zoom camera?

Does the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra also set new standards in the field of cameras? A 120X zoom in a smartphone camera has never been available before, the space zoom of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra with 100X zoom was the ultimate experience so far. It uses the Sony IMX586 sensor with 48 megapixels, which offers a 5x optical zoom and optical image stabilization. Almost even more surprising is the choice of the main sensor. This is not the 108 MP Samsung sensor from the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro, but the Omnivision OV48C with 48 megapixel resolution, dual ISO technology, 8P lens and optical image stabilization. The Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite already uses a sensor from the manufacturer Omnivision, which in the past we only encountered in cheaper smartphones. Nevertheless, the pixel size of 2.4 µm is particularly impressive. Did they listen to our criticism here?

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Smartphone Camera

In contrast to the Mi 10 you decide on a usable third and fourth sensor. Besides the main camera and periscope camera there is also a 12 MP portrait camera with Samsung S5K2L7 sensor and 2x optical zoom. In addition there is a 20 megapixel ultra wide angle camera from Sony with 12mm focal length equivalent and 128° angle of view. The ultra wide angle sensor can also be used for macro photography with a close-up limit of 2.5 cm.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Camera App Features
Even the range of functions of the camera is ultra.

But how does the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra perform in practical tests? Does the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra deserve first place in the DXO benchmark?

48 Megapixel main camera

While the Omnivision sensor in the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite was surprisingly well received in the price range, the 48 megapixel main sensor in the Mi 10 Ultra is not quite as convincing. It always takes good photos, with a solid sharpness and the typical Xiaomi color profile. Especially in good light I really like the results, you still get a lot of details at the edges and also the skin tones look relatively natural. I also like the processing time and the larger focus range better than with the Xiaomi Mi 10 and Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra test photo main camera buildings Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Smartphone test photo object Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Smartphone camera test photo colors Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Smartphone camera test photo lighting

However, the Mi 10 Ultra cannot guarantee this quality consistently. Since it is an Ultra smartphone, we compared it with the photos of an iPhone 11 & 11 Pro Max. Especially in areas with artificial light, like in our office, it can quickly become unnatural. Like in the case of the picture of Alex, the hair color is just not right anymore. In addition, the autofocus in the Viewfinder is actually as soft as butter, but in the end result the camera sometimes does not focus optimally. But even if the focus is correct, you get less sharpness and details than on a current iPhone. Sure, you can only see that when you zoom in far, but still, those who promise “Ultra” have to be put to the test.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra main camera comparison colors with iPhone Xiaomi MI 10 Ultra main camera test photo sharpness

Which colors you like better is certainly a matter of taste. iPhones have the reputation to deliver more natural colors, although in some situations the saturation is a little bit reduced. At first glance, this seems to be the case with Xiaomi, but when you look at your computer, you can see that Xiaomi’s color profile is generally a bit flatter. Here, the display of the AMOLED panel on the cell phone seems to intensify the colors. Feel free to write us a comment about which photo you like better!

The zoom camera: the highlight?

First, Xiaomi’s choice of the Sony IMX586 sensor for the periscope camera should be praised. This is probably the highest resolution periscope camera on the market. But do you need that much zoom? My impression after some test photos is currently rather negative. Yes, it is impressive to cover such a focal length spectrum with a smartphone. A 120x zoom is almost too much of a good thing and only has the potential to be worthwhile in extreme situations.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra focal length comparison
The focal length spectrum is already very impressive for a smartphone!

And how often are you in such situations? Even when I’m standing at the track of the Leverkusen-Mitte train station and aim for the Leverkusen-Bürrich water tower, which according to Google Maps is ~2 km away, I only have pixel mud on my screen. In such extreme situations, the quality drops quite a bit: a lot of noise, hardly any sharpness and little to no detail. Of course, you don’t have to make use of this spectrum. The 5x optical zoom is already the sweet spot, the maximum is for the 10 hybrid zoom. I would only go above that in exceptional cases, because the quality decreases considerably. It’s also noticeable that the Mi 10 Ultra can automatically switch back and forth between the sensors if it thinks it is getting too little light.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Zoom camera 100x times

A periscope camera is useful and thanks to the 48 megapixel resolution, Xiaomi can maintain the quality level here. With enough light, the dynamic range is sufficient, you can even recognize fonts and the colors are good, too. If you are close enough to a person, for example, you can even see pores and/or whiskers – not bad! The 120X zoom is as expected only pure marketing and the headline, but that’s why you should not buy the cell phone.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra periscope camera 5x zoom Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra opt. vs digital Zoom

Portrait camera

But I’m glad that Xiaomi also uses a lower optical zoom here. The portrait camera is actually a 2X tele camera and is used in portrait mode. In some cases, this gives the better result, but you have to disable the bokeh effect if you really want to use it only as a zoom camera. However, the bokeh effect is typically very soft and natural.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra test photo portrait photo comparison iPhone

However, the Samsung sensor is obviously not the best choice here, unlike an iPhone 11, Xiaomi has the disadvantage here. Despite 12 megapixel resolution, you get washed out skin tones, little detail and too much saturation. Even if the color fidelity is a bit better in some cases (e.g. my t-shirt), the whole photo is still far from the level of the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Ultra wide angle camera

A small highlight is also the ultra wide angle camera, which with a recording angle of 128° is significantly wider than comparable ultra wide angle cameras. Are we dealing with one of the best ultra wide angle cameras on the market? Probably! The photos look good, thanks to 20 MP resolution you get a lot of details and also a surprisingly good dynamic range. So the difference between ultra wide and main sensor is not visible at first sight. Sometimes I even like the colors of the ultra wide angle camera a bit better and I don’t have to hide from an iPhone.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra test photo ultra wide angle vs main camera Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra ultra wide angle camera test photo

The only competition I can think of is the Oppo Find X2 Pro, which can also take very detailed ultra wide angle photos due to its 48 MP Sony IMX586 sensor.

Night mode

In the field of night mode, much has happened in the smartphone market over the last two years. Besides Google’s nightsight, Huawei and Apple’s night mode, there are three heavyweights in this area, but the Mi 10 Ultra also performs well. You still get some details, the focus is still in place and the picture gets much brighter despite an exposure time of only 2 to 3 seconds. But this is also the crux of the matter. The night mode is not about brightening an image as much as possible. Especially Apple and Google create a more natural approach. Nevertheless the night mode of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra is good and at least in the test example it doesn’t have to hide from the iPhone.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Night Mode

Front camera

The front camera is the same 20 MP sensor that we already know from the EU flagship. The selfies look really very good. Skin tones are accurate, the focus is right, you get a lot, maybe even too much, depending on the day, details and just a good look. It doesn’t necessarily have to be 20 megapixels, but in this case the photos benefit from the large Samsung sensor. The portrait mode is also supported, which typically gives Xiaomi a good edge detection and a naturally soft bokeh.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra test photo Selfie two persons Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Front camera Selfie

Video

But especially for video creators the Mi 10 Ultra could be interesting just because of its range of functions: 8K videos, 4K at 60 fps, VLOG mode, Steady mode, recording with two cameras simultaneously and much more. The video quality of the 1080p and 4K recordings at 30fps is good and would certainly be enough for semi-professional YouTube videos. 8K recordings are not suitable in my opinion because of too few frames per second. Especially the “Front & Back” mode could be interesting for some scenarios. For action-packed shots I also recommend the normal steady-mode, which simply scrolls a bit further into the picture.

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For example, what makes an iPhone 11 Pro Max better is the transition between the sensors. It is possible to film with the 20 MP ultra wide angle camera as well as with the 48 MP main and periscope camera, but it is not possible to switch between these sensors while filming. Xiaomi at least partially compensates for this with the appropriate digital zoom, but of course you have to make compromises in image quality.

Camera: 9/10 points

cg rating 9Probably the camera of a smartphone is the most important feature for many people, and in most cases they probably mean the main camera. And it is good in the Mi 10 Ultra, but it is not enough to be mentioned in the same breath as Google, Apple or Huawei. In addition, the 120X zoom camera is impressive, but hardly usable. But Xiaomi makes up for this with an incredibly extensive range of functions, a powerful wide-angle camera and the Selfie camera.

All connection standards

With the Xiaomi Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro, Xiaomi has heralded the 5G era for the manufacturer, which of course continues the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra consistently. In this respect, Xiaomi implements the Bands n1, n3, n41, n78 and n79, whereby n1 and n3 are only supported after a software update. But currently even more relevant is probably LTE, i.e. 4G. Since it is a Chinese version, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra unfortunately only has B1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 12 and 17 installed. With the Chinese version you might have no or only bad LTE reception in rural areas.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra SIM Card

We have no problem with mobile internet reception despite the Chinese version. The same applies to the local Internet connection via Dual Band 802.11 a/b/g/ac- and ax-WiFi. Unfortunately we could not test the latter yet. And yes, such an ultra smartphone can also be used simply for making phone calls. My counterpart always understood me well.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra USB-C Port

Apart from that, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra is equipped with Bluetooth 5.1, Dual-GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileio, Beidou and of course NFC. So Google Pay can also be used for contactless payment. But you should allow the use of NFC in the settings under “Apps” Google Pay under “Permissions”. Physical connection options are limited to a USB-C port and a dual-SIM slot. A memory expansion via microSD card is not possible and Xiaomi!

Extras: Fingerprint sensor, IR blaster & stereo speaker

What else is there apart from the three big 120 features? The Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra has a fingerprint sensor in the display, which has been standard in flagships for almost two generations. I also like the reliability here, in over 95% of cases the thumb is recognized immediately and the phone is unlocked quickly. Every now and then there are those moments where the sensor doesn’t react or doesn’t recognize the finger immediately. For a fingerprint sensor in the display the speed is very good, but they are still not on a level with classic capacitive sensors. But it is cool that MIUI offers different animations and shortcut functions.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra fingerprint sensor in display

According to DXOMark, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro offers the best stereo speaker in a smartphone today. This should also apply to the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra. And even though it’s certainly one of the best on the market, I wouldn’t subscribe to the idea that it’s the best speaker. At least they are stereo speakers, which basically makes the sound more spacious and fuller. The volume itself can take some points without any noticeable loss of sound quality. However, it seems, we have to make the comparison to the iPhone 11 again, a bit “tinny” and more passive. But that’s already grumbling on a very high level, the bottom line is that the stereo speaker is really good.

On top there is also an infrared blaster, so you can use the Mi 10 Ultra as a remote control. You have to use the Mi remote control app and pair devices, but it works great and can be used in almost every Xiaomi smartphone. It’s nice that you don’t have to save that even with the Ultra flagship.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Widevine Level 1

Widevine Level 1 is also on board, which means that despite the Chinese version, video streaming content from Netflix or Amazon Prime Video can be played in Full HD.

Connectivity & Extras: 10/10 points

cg rating 10 150x150Except for all LTE Bands, which is due to the China version, all important connection standards are on board. In addition there are cool features like the good fingerprint sensor and a really good stereo speaker.

Is the MIUI potential being fully utilized?

A Xiaomi smartphone without MIUI is like a piece of cake without coffee – it works too, but only if it runs smoothly. In its twelfth iteration, the MI user interface should not be missing on the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, of course, and is based on Android 10. After an update, the security patch is at the status of August 2020, at delivery it is still July – very up-to-date even! MIUI is in version 12.0.7 Stable. Since it is a Chinese version, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra is unfortunately only available in English or Chinese!Other languages cannot be installed easily, this requires unlocking the bootloader, flashing and a corresponding global ROM.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra MIUI 12

If you have never had a MIUI device in your hands, you might have to get used to the slightly overloaded operating system first. It is basically more than just a user interface or a skin; after all, Xiaomi’s customizations sometimes go deep into the system. In addition, there are many apps and services that are much more intrusive on the China version than in a global version. Of course there are some apps that can only be used in China, but there are also Mi Services and own apps like MiShare or MiCloud. Fortunately, the bloatware can be easily uninstalled.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra MIUI 12 Control Center
What do you think of the new control center?

With MIUI 12, the Xiaomi operating system has got a new look, which is especially effective on the noble Mi 10 Ultra. Especially in dark mode the colorful animations of single menu items are a feast for the eyes and the new control center looks more modern, even if a bit more confusing. As is often the case with Xiaomi’s top models, you will find some setting options that are not available in every Xiaomi smartphone. Thanks to the curved display, for example, you can set a “no touch” zone on the display. Also new are the floating windows, i.e. the possibility to display a notification as an additional, small window above the app that is currently open.

Software: 8/10 points

cg rating 8MIUI is certainly not everyone’s taste, but in the Android world it offers one of the best update policies and with MIUI 12 now also a very modern look. A lot of settings and smart features are fun, but you have to live with a lot of bloatware. Also the very limited always-on mode is a thorn in my side. Since it is only a China version it is only available in English, this would not be the case in a Global version.

Conclusion: How ultra is the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra?

On the occasion of its tenth anniversary, Xiaomi is taking the already very good Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro to the next level and improving it. Does this make it the best Xiaomi smartphone currently available? Yes, if you disregard the fact that it is only available in China. Is it also the best smartphone on the market today? I would say no. But that’s something that can’t be answered so clearly any more. In my opinion, the main camera is still not good enough, especially if you want to win the comparison with Apple and Google. Furthermore, I don’t think that the Mi 10 Ultra meets the “Ultra” claim in all areas. Maybe it’s a bit crazy, but I would have liked an Ultra smartphone to have the best processor and a higher resolution display.

But Xiaomi also proves that they can do much more than is sometimes thought possible. Especially in the field of charging technology, but now also in the field of mobile telephony, they are doing pioneering work and are pioneers. A role they usually play with the Mi Mix series. If you also take the Chinese import price into account, you get an incredible amount of hardware and pure performance for relatively “little” money. The 120W charger alone would cost at least $50 in this country. So the price-performance ratio is really right.

That’s why I would recommend an import from China, for example via TradingShenzhen, for the first time in a long time. If you like that much technology, you will probably get along with the Chinese version. Considering the Mi 10 Pro, a possible Global Version should theoretically cost more than $1000, which will hurt a lot more.

Xiaomi has managed to create a monument for herself. Translated into English, the phone is called “Xiaomi Mi 10 Extreme Commemorative Edition”. And the concept works. It starts with the packaging, continues with the three Colorways in the style of Lei Jun’s favorite Xiaomi smartphones and ends with the three important 120: 120 Hz display, 120X zoom camera and 120W charging. This results in a 360° movement through the Xiaomi smartphone universe. Hats off and congratulations to Xiaomi, to the next ten years!

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Thorben

My special interests are smartphones from China and I am always keen to discover new smartphone accessories like smartwatches and headphones. 

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