We’ll run the gamut on these excellent budget offerings to give you the most informed opinion – talking you through their design, specs, screen and camera to judge exactly which is the best cheap phone for you.
For a more in-depth analysis of these phones, you can take a look at our OnePlus Nord review and our Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite review. Do note, however, that the OnePlus Nord 2 and Xiaomi 11 Lite have launched since, so there are even more up-to-date options.
OnePlus Nord vs Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite: Design & display
To start with, both the OnePlus Nord and the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite are bigger phones, with the Nord’s 6.4-inch screen a little smaller than the 6.6-inches of the Mi 10T Lite. As you’d expect, the result is that the Nord weighs in about 8g lighter than the Mi 10T Lite.
We’re impressed with both of these phones in terms of how they look and feel, as they both opt for front and back Gorilla Glass. That’s reasonably rare in lower-budget phones and it gives them a satisfying more premium feel in the hand. Of course, they're still lower-cost, so you wont get any of the official waterproofing you find in phones that cost more.
Both smartphones are available in three colours, with the OnePlus Nord offering you Marble, Onyx and Ash variants, and the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite providing options in Pearl Gray, Atlantic Blue and Rose Gold Beach.
When we look at their screens, the OnePlus Nord fairs slightly better than the Mi 10T Lite. Both phones run at 1080x2400 pixels and the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite actually has an impressive 120Hz refresh rate compared the Nord's still-good 90Hz. The Nord gets the edge though thanks to its high-quality OLED display, which is just a cut above the LCD offering of the Mi 10T Lite.
OnePlus Nord vs Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite: Camera & battery
The OnePlus Nord and the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite both have fairly impressive cameras for the price you’re paying. There are a few differences, but first let's break down how each of these cheap phones is kitted out.
The OnePlus Nord features a quad-lens 48MP+8MP+2MP+5MP setup on the back with a dual-lens 32MP+8MP front-facing camera. It can snap in ultrawide but doesn’t feature an optical zoom.
The Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite is actually quite similar, barring a few small details, with a quad-lens 48MP+8MP+2MP+2MP rear camera and a single lens 16MP front camera. It also shoots in ultrawide and lacks an optical zoom.
These phone cameras aren’t that far apart, both have night modes that can be a bit hit and miss, but handle bright spaces and balance colour well. Realistically, either smartphone would make a decent everyday camera, good for social media, but if you want more than that then you’ll have to pay more.
If we had to say which was better, then the Nord would come out on top thanks to its better front-facing camera and having a few more features; things like manual focus and exposure settings, as well as the ability to shoot a 360-degree panorama. You can compare the cameras yourself by checking out the sample shots on our OnePlus Nord review and Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite review.
In terms of battery life, the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite’s 4,820mAh battery performs slightly better than the 4,115mAh OnePlus Nord – but not by much. We’d say that both phones will comfortably last into a second day with standard usage. If you were constantly performing intense tasks like streaming video, they would probably tap out at around 10 hours.
OnePlus Nord vs Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite: Specs & Features
Under the hood of the Xiaomi 10T Lite is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G, 6GB of RAM and you can pick storage of either 64GB or 128GB.
The OnePlus Nord has a more impressive 765G Snapdragon processor, while you have the option of two memory and storage combinations: 8GB of RAM with 128GB storage and 12GB of RAM with 256GB of storage.
The Nord’s base model is more impressive and should run faster and smoother than the 10T Lite’s best model. That’s one of the reasons you’ll find the Nord among our best Android phones, but the Nord is the more expensive of the two phones – so it is what we’d expect.
Both phones are 5G capable and support fast charging. The Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite makes space for a 3.5mm headphone jack whereas the Nord does without.
OnePlus Nord vs Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite: Price & verdict
When it comes to the OnePlus Nord vs Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite, it feels easy to say that the Nord is the better phone overall. It has a slightly better camera, more powerful hardware and a nicer display, but it’s on the price that the scorecard narrows.
Versions of the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite can be picked up for significantly less than the cheapest OnePlus Nord, too. So, when you’re analysing the value of these devices, the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite becomes an enticing option.
Ultimately, the decision will be down to you. If you want the best possible phone for the lowest possible price, then the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite should be high in your thoughts. If you want something a bit more high-spec than that, but still don’t want to break the bank, then the OnePlus Nord is an obvious choice.