Xiaomi is celebrating 10 years of making smartphones by releasing a new and improved version of its Mi 10 smartphone from earlier in the year.
This new smartphone is the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, and it’s even more top-end than the Mi 10 Pro, with an improved screen, tweaked cameras and much quicker charging than its predecessors.
Like all Xiaomi Mi smartphones, this new powerhouse has been announced in China initially, and we thought that might precede a global launch at a later date, but some sources say the phone will never be launched internationally.
Still, the phone is so flashy and advanced that we can’t help but hope it does make its way worldwide at some point in the near future.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Xiaomi’s new super-premium smartphone
- When is it out? Outside of China, possibly never
- How much will it cost? If it does come worldwide, probably a lot
Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra release date and price
If you’re excited for the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, you might be disappointed to hear that apparently it’s not coming out internationally. According to a Xiaomi representative speaking to GSMArena, the handset is exclusive to China.
That’s curious though given Xiaomi’s official global Twitter account announced the phone in English at the same time as its Chinese launch – this implies Xiaomi, at least at the time of the announcement, considered a worldwide release.
We’re still hoping for a worldwide launch though, however unlikely.
In China the Mi 10 Ultra is available in four combinations: 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, 8GB / 256GB, 12GB / 256GB and 16GB / 512GB. Prices range from ¥5,299 to ¥6,999 – that translates to roughly $760-$1,000, £580-£770, and AU$1,060-AU$1,400.
Even if the phone does launch globally, prices likely won’t be exact conversions in various regions.
Design and display
From the front, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra looks like the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro – it’s a big device with a screen that curves at the edges, and which is broken up by a ‘punch-hole’ cutout at the top-left.
It’s when you turn the phone around that the differences become apparent. The Mi 10 Ultra has an huge rear camera array, the specs of which we’ll discuss shortly – this dominates the rear of the phone, absolutely screaming ‘camera phone’.
The phone comes in black, white, and a kind of ‘see-through gray’ colors – the latter is reminiscent of the Mi 8 Pro, and it lets you see the phone’s internals.
The phone has a 6.67-inch AMOLED display with a 1080 x 2400 resolution, HDR10+, 10-bit color and a 120Hz refresh rate – it sounds like the Mi 10’s display, but with a faster refresh rate.
One of the biggest draws of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra looks to be its 120x digital zoom capability – that’s more than the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, which tops out at 100x.
That’s only 5x optical zoom, although the sensor is rather high-res for a zoom camera at 48MP – so while the non-digital zoom may be limited, the high-res sensor could mean that zoomed snaps still look good.
The main camera is only 48MP though, not 108MP as in the other Mi 10 phones. It’s a custom-made sensor, rather than a Samsung one like the 108MP snappers were, with Xiaomi likely wanting to showcase its home-made tech.
The sensor’s physical size of 1/1.32 inches and pixel size of 2.4 microns are pretty big for a smartphone camera too, so this will likely offset the lower resolution, although Xiaomi has apparently developed an algorithm which digitally upscales pictures to 100MP.
There are also 20MP ultra-wide and 12MP 2x zoom portrait cameras, which we’ve seen on a few Xiaomi phones now.
All in all it seems like the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra has a similar camera array to the Mi 10 Pro, but with improved zoom and that lower-res main camera. If you’re a fan of video recording, the Mi 10 Ultra shoots in up to 8K resolution.
Features and specs
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra is set to run MIUI 12, a fork of Android 10. We’ve often complained about MIUI’s bloatware problem in our reviews, but hopefully that’ll be sorted here.
The chipset in the phone is the Snapdragon 865, which isn’t quite the best available to Android phones as of the device’s release, as for some reason Xiaomi hasn’t opted for that chipset’s Plus version.
The phone has dual stereo speakers, for improved audio when watching movies or shows, or when gaming.
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra has a 4,500mAh battery, and if you want fast charging this phone should keep you happy – it’s the first phone released with a whopping 120W fast charge rating, using technology Xiaomi announced earlier in the year, and which the company says should power the battery up from zero to 100% in just 23 minutes.
There’s also 50W wireless charging, which again is faster than we’ve seen in any other device, and this will supposedly fully power up the phone in 40 minutes.