Xiaomi phones are notable for their incredible value for money compared to today's flagship Android phones, but they also pack top-end features and impeccable design. Mi 10 is the company's upcoming flagship, and it's due in February 2020.
In August Xiaomi demoed Samsung's 64Mp ISOCELL Bright GW1 sensor, which it says will feature in an upcoming Redmi phone and, we figured, also the Mi 10. However, at its Xiaomi Future Image Technology Communication Conference it also teased a 108Mp Samsung sensor, which it claims would come to a future Mi phone.
At the time we thought Mi 10 could be the first to get the new camera lens, but it's actually rumoured to arrive tomorrow in the Mi Mix 4. Launching alongside the Mi 9 Pro at a special event in Beijing, the Mi Mix 'Alpha' could be a sign of things to come for Mi 10.
It seems strange to talk about Mi 10 when Xiaomi is still adding new models to its fledgling Mi 9 family - the Mi 9 SE and Mi 9T Pro are now available in the UK, but Mi 9T remains exclusive to Europe and we're not entirely sure what's going on with the Mi 9 Lite that was announced in Spain in September.
We first saw Mi 9 in its Chinese launch on 20 February, and it made its way to Europe a week later at MWC 2019. Expect a similar launch strategy for Mi 10, with a global launch at MWC 2020, which takes place 24-27 February.
The Mi 9 did not actually go on sale in the UK until the end of April, however, and is now available direct from Xiaomi at £499, but £100 cheaper at Amazon., and as low as £265.50 over at GearBest. It's also available on contract from Vodafone.
One of the great things about Xiaomi is it keeps its pricing pretty constant, so we'd be surprised to see the base model of Mi 10 a penny over £499.
What's new in Mi 10
Some specifications for the upcoming Mi 10 are logical, such as the inclusion of the next-gen Snapdragon 865 octa-core processor. We know that there will be two versions of this chip, one with an integrated 5G modem and one without, though we don't know which Mi 10 will use.
We're fairly certain that by February 2020, as 5G becomes more widespread, we will see at very least a 5G version of Mi 10, if not 5G as standard in the range.
The Snapdragon 865 will build in Adreno 730 graphics, offering a boost to both general performance and gaming, and offers support for both LPDDR5X RAM and UFS 3.0 storage. It will also be seen in the Samsung Galaxy S11 and LG G9, also expected to launch in February 2020.
We can also be pretty certain about the fact Xiaomi will not increase the screen resolution beyond Full-HD+ - it has yet to release a Quad-HD phone. The display itself may be tweaked, of course.
We're not clear who is its source, and we're fairly sure it's not reliable judging by some of the outrageous claims it makes, but GearBest reports that the next Xiaomi flagship will feature a 6.2in AMOLED display, which is a fraction smaller than the current 6.39in screen. An odd and seemingly unlikely choice.
It also claims Xiaomi will go down the route of Samsung with its Infinity-O panels, swapping the current Dot Drop notch for a smaller punch-hole in the phone's display in which to house the selfie camera (more likely). The Mi 10 will also retain its integrated fingerprint sensor, but use a fourth-generation ultrasonic version from Qualcomm (also possible).
Another oddity in GearBest's claims is that Mi 10 will pack a 5,000mAh battery with 40W fast-charging, which is quite the upgrade over the current 3,300mAh cell, and will almost certainly detract from the Xiaomi phone's typically sleek frame. We're filing that one under unlikely, although 40W wired and 30W wireless charging will be possible with Mi 9 Pro so that bit's not out there.
Core specs will reportedly include a choice of 8GB or 12GB of memory, and 256GB or 512GB of storage which, again, is quite a jump from the current max specification of 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage for Mi 9.
We have a hunch Xiaomi will include a 64Mp camera on its next flagship, given that we know it is already building Samsung's ISOCELL Bright GW1 sensor into an upcoming Redmi phone, but GearBest claims it will have a triple-lens ensemble featuring 45Mp + 12Mp + 12Mp lenses - a downgrade on the existing 48Mp + 12Mp + 16Mp - plus a 20Mp + 12Mp selfie camera. Hmmm. There's also talk Mi Mix Alpha will get 108Mp, but is this overkill for Mi 10?
Some of its more believable claims relate to the inclusion of NFC for mobile payments, dual-GPS, Bluetooth 5.1 and Wi-Fi 6. As always we'd also expect to see dual-SIM support, with both slots able to support 4G, but microSD is not currently a feature of Mi 9.
GearBest also suggests Mi 10 will run MIUI 11, the next version of its custom operating system, which will be based on Android 10 Q. This is likely, given that MIUI 11 is in development, with new features including new icons, improved battery and screenshotting controls and, interestingly, a built-in app tray, which will bring it closer to standard Android.
One rumour we hope hasn't been simply plucked from thin air is that there will be a waterproof version of Mi 10 with a ceramic case, though it's unclear whether it will be splashproof or fully waterproof.
A concept video from Science and Knowledge reveals renders of the upcoming Mi 10, but it is purely based on rumours and may not be indicative of the final design or specification. Some screenshots from this video are used to illustrate this article, given that it is too early to see leaked photos of the real deal.
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