Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite review: budget 5G phones keep on getting better

The Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite gives you a lot for your money

Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

The Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite adds to an impressive line-up of handsets from Xiaomi as we head into 2021, and while the phone has its weak points, it definitely offers plenty of value for money – you get a respectable set of specs and 5G speeds at a relatively low price point.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Large 6.67-inch, 120Hz display

  • +

    Affordable price point

  • +

    Decent performance level

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    No wireless charging

  • -

    Cameras could be better

  • -

    Bloated MIUI software

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The Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite is the Xiaomi approach to phones pushed to the maximum: every handset the Chinese company makes is built around the idea of relative affordability, but this is one of the cheapest handsets on the market at the moment if you need 5G speeds.

We're getting to the stage where 5G is standard on handsets now, even if the network coverage isn't particularly comprehensive, but you can still save yourself some cash by going without 5G for your next phone purchase – 4G remains pretty rapid, after all.

Despite the low, low price, the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite brings with it some tempting specifications, including a 120Hz screen and a Snapdragon 750G processor. At the same time there are compromises to talk about, as you would expect from a budget phone.

In our Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite review we'll outline everything you need to know about this handset, from the internal specs to the battery life to the camera performance. It should be enough to help you work out if this is the right phone for your next mobile upgrade.

Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite review: price and availability

The Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite is out now and available to buy in the UK, SIM-free and unlocked, for a recommended retail price of £199 and up (check the widgets on this page for the latest online deals). There will be some variation in the price depending on which configuration of the phone you go for.

At the time of writing, Vodafone is the only UK network offering the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite on a contract, but at this sort of price you might be better off buying the phone outright anyway. Retailers selling the phone without a contract include Amazon and Xiaomi itself.

Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite review: design and screen

The Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite is by no means a bad-looking device, but it's perhaps a bit chunkier and plainer than phones you'll get higher up the price spectrum, in the mid-range market. It does go for a glass back rather than a plastic one, which is unusual at this price point, and gives the phone a slightly more premium feel than it might otherwise have (plastic can still feel pretty premium however, depending on how its used).

As for the large 6.67-inch LCD display, running at a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels, it comes across as a notch below the very best screens in the business. Still, it's bright and sharp, even if it doesn't match the vividness and contrast you get with the top OLED panels. It also boasts a 120Hz refresh rate, which means that on-screen animations and page scrolling is super smooth.

There's a punch hole notch for the camera, and the bezels around the display are reasonably thin. We certainly don't have any major complaints about the aesthetics of the phone – which comes in Atlantic Blue, Rose Gold Beach, and Pearl Grey (like our review unit) – and the Mi 10T Lite design holds up very well when you compare it to other smartphones at this price point. As usual for a budget handset, there's no water or dust resistance rating.

The rear camera array is a little on the big and ugly side, and we're not that fond of putting the fingerprint sensor in the power button, as Xiaomi has done here (it just makes it more fiddly to use). You do get a 3.5mm headphone jack down at the bottom of the phone next to the USB-C port, and there are stereo speakers on board.

Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite review: camera and battery

Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Budget phones tend to pack in multiple cameras that don't do an awful lot, and with that in mind we present the Mi 10T Lite's quad-lens rear camera: a 64MP wide + 8MP ultrawide + 2MP macro + 2MP depth affair. You do get HDR processing, though it can be a bit hit and miss, as well as an ultrawide mode; on the other hand, there's no optical zoom.

We found we could get some really good shots with the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite during our travels with it: shots with bright, well-balanced colours, plenty of detail, and sharp edges. You can see in the sample shots that we've embedded below that these photos are fine for social media use, and most of the time you're going to come out with something that's well balanced and crisp.

At night the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite can struggle, but the dedicated night mode does help a bit. It's possible to get usable photos in dim lighting conditions, but quality isn't on a par with the phone's mid-range competitors, and plenty of noise can creep in. Despite occasional struggles at night, and a slight shutter lag at times, we were left impressed by the camera performance given the price of the phone.

The 4,820mAh battery that comes inside the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite went down from 100 percent to 80 percent during our two-hour video streaming test (with the display at maximum brightness, it should be noted) – which means about 10 hours of streaming in total. The Mi 10T Lite won't let you down in terms of battery life, but it's not going to last much beyond a day, so nightly charges are still required unless you're really going easy on it (the 33W fast charging helps here, though there's no wireless charging).

Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite review: other specs and features

Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

The Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite comes running a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor, which is paired with 6GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage. We'd recommend going for the larger storage option if you can (the price difference is around £30), or at least making use of the microSDXC card slot to add some more room.

Performance is fine without being spectacular – about what you would expect from a phone that costs so little. Most tasks are completed without a hint of lag, but more demanding games and apps do start to drag just a touch. The phone scored a satisfactory 659 (single-core), 1999 (multi-core) and 1301 (OpenCL) in our Geekbench 5 tests.

Again, though, it's decent for the price. When you come back to the cost of this phone, just about everything that the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite brings with it looks very good indeed. The Snapdragon 750G is a respectable performer at this price point, and the 6GB of RAM means that you won't easily run into problems while running multiple apps or having dozens of browser tabs open at the same time.

Don't forget that 5G either, so if you are in a region where the next-gen speeds are supported, you can take advantage of the greater bandwidth and transfer rates. Xiaomi's MIUI take on Android continues to be just a bit too garish and unnecessarily complex for our tastes – your mileage may vary – but it's not a huge problem (Android being Android, you can always install an alternative launcher anyway).

Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite review: price and verdict

Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

The Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite is definitely one of the best budget phones on the market at the moment, and if you've got around £200 to spend then you'll struggle to do better than this – the phone has a large screen, some decent specs, and 5G on board. The question is whether your needs would be better served by spending just a bit more cash.

The mid-range section of the market has phones like the iPhone SE, the Pixel 4a, and the OnePlus Nord to pick from, and while they all have their own strengths and weaknesses too, you can find phones better than the Mi 10T Lite for not a whole lot more money. Add in good quality, affordable phones from the likes of Nokia, Motorola and others, and picking the right handset for you isn't all that straightforward.

What weaknesses the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite has aren't dealbreakers: camera performance and battery life are only average, which is actually fine considering how much you're paying (or rather not paying). Plenty of phones have screens and designs that outshine the Mi 10T Lite, but again it holds its own at this particular price point.

If you can put up with Xiaomi's MIUI software and value app performance over camera quality, we'd say the Mi 10T Lite is definitely worth a place somewhere near the top of your shortlist if you're shopping at this price point. You get a lot of smartphone for your money, which is just about all you can ask from a device.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.