The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 and the OnePlus 8 Pro are two of the best phones we’ve covered in 2020, but they’re not what you’d call direct rivals.
With the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 you get a mid-priced phone with the power and balance of a flagship. The OnePlus 8 Pro, on the other hand, is nothing short of one of the most capable flagship phones on the market – no smart corners cutting, no sneaky compromises.
We scored both devices 9 out of 10 in their respective ratings. So how do they match? Has Xiaomi managed to ‘do a OnePlus’ on OnePlus, offering serious competition for hundreds of pounds or dollars less?
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 vs OnePlus 8 Pro price and availability
The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 went on sale on February 26, 2020. Prices start from £ 459 (about $ 592 / AU $ 808) for the 6GB RAM / 128GB model, and go up to £ 549 (about $ 709 / AU $ 967) for the 8GB. / 256GB model.
You will have to pay quite a bit more for the OnePlus 8 Pro, which came out on April 21, 2020. The 8GB RAM / 12GB model will set you back £ 799 (around $ 1,031 / AU $ 1,406), while the top 12GB / 256GB model will cost you £ 899 / $ 999 (around AU $ 1,700).
We have noticed that the entry-level model of the OnePlus 8 Pro is a bit more difficult to obtain these days. It was not available directly from the OnePlus website at the time of writing.
Keep in mind the official prices and you’ll see a significant difference of around £ 340 to £ 350 between the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 and the OnePlus 8 Pro. Which begs the question: what does that price difference mean in practice?
Neither the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 nor the OnePlus 8 Pro are particularly distinctive phones. Both are subscribed to the Android playbook for 2020, with aluminum frames sandwiched between curved Gorilla Glass 5 surfaces.
Both phones have displays that taper at the edges, which feels modern and high-end in either case. Less chic on the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 side is the central teardrop notch, a design choice that feels like it belongs in 2019, or for a more affordable phone.
OnePlus has opted for a more premium hole punch, which we find more attractive. We’re also fans of the more muted, stylish satin finish on the back of the phone.
Xiaomi’s pearlescent shell is a little more extravagant, as if trying its best to stand out. It’s also a pretty hefty phone at 208g and 9.7mm thick. You will certainly be aware of its presence in your pocket.
You will also likely notice the OnePlus 8 Pro while driving it around, although not that much. At 199g and 8.5mm in thickness, it’s a lot lighter and thinner than the Mi Note 10. Don’t get us wrong, it’s still a big phone, but it hits the spot just right.
Both phones have long, diamond-shaped camera modules that protrude a little too far from their bodies – a clear sign of the addition of serious camera hardware. The OnePlus 8 Pro camera is positioned centrally, while the Mi Note 10 is positioned on the side. However, the latter fails to contain all of its sensors, which looks a bit sloppy.
Final bonus points go to Xiaomi for including a 3.5mm headphone jack.
When it comes to relative display offerings, there really is no competition. Both phones offer large AMOLED panels, but the OnePlus 8 Pro leads the way in several respects.
At 6.78 inches, it’s noticeably larger than the Xiaomi Mi Note 10’s 6.47-inch screen. The OnePlus screen is also noticeably sharper, with a maximum resolution of 1440 x 3168 (or QHD +) versus the 1080 x 2340 (FHD +) screen from Xiaomi.
But the inch-thick icing on the 8 Pro screen pie is the 120Hz refresh rate, which translates to a wonderful sense of speed and fluidity when doing a task on this phone. It can also be paired with that super sharp QHD resolution, which remains a relative rarity.
The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 screen, on the other hand, is stuck at the plain old 60Hz. The difference between these two standards can be felt in the hands; it’s hard to go back once you’ve experienced it. In our opinion, this alone is worth a good chunk of that £ 340 price difference.
Basically, both AMOLED screens are good, but only the OnePlus 8 Pro display is really good and able to compete with some of the best phones out there.
Perhaps the most interesting area of comparison between these two phones is their respective camera offerings.
The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 belies its mid-range prices with a whopping 108 megapixel main sensor – the first of its kind, no less. It is capable of shooting with incredible clarity. Even with 4-in-1 pixel binning techniques applied, it still produces thick 27-megapixel images.
This is just one of five cameras, but the other four sensors aren’t nearly as impressive. There is a 12 megapixel 2x telephoto lens, which is good for portrait shots, but the 5 megapixel ‘periscope’ 5x zoom lens is not sharp enough for our taste. Even more redundant is a 2 megapixel macro lens, which contains all blur and noise. The 20 megapixel ultra-wide angle is fine; nothing anymore.
So it’s all about that main sensor, which produces images that are bright, rich in color and beautifully contrasted in decent lighting. When the light dims it isn’t that hot, with a mediocre night mode and generally noisy results.
The OnePlus 8 Pro has a very different camera setup, one that doesn’t impress as much on paper. In practice, however, it offers a better all-round experience.
OnePlus has opted for a more balanced quad-camera setup with a 48-megapixel main and 48-megapixel ultra-wide sensors. The former is the real star here, thanks to a massive Sony IMX689 sensor and a wide-open f / 1.78 aperture, resulting in crisp 12-megapixel images that appear to float much more light than your average smartphone camera.
Indeed, OnePlus’ night mode is super effective here, even if it’s not quite in the top tier. It’s certainly better than Xiaomi’s efforts.
The colors aren’t quite as vibrant as some flagship rivals, but that gives OnePlus 8 Pro shots a cleaner, more natural look.
Wide-angle shots are also pretty good, thanks to that high-megapixel sensor and OnePlus’ ever-improving image processing. We would have liked to see a slightly sharper telephoto lens than the supplied 8 megapixel variant, but the images with 3x optical zoom that it captures are not bad at all. Conversely, the OnePlus 8 Pro’s 5 megapixel ‘color filter’ lens is little more than a gimmick.
Making and manipulating recordings with ease is a much faster, smoother experience on the OnePlus 8 Pro, thanks in part to its superior processing power, but also because of its cleaner user interface. Overall, the OnePlus camera takes better photos in a wider range of scenarios than the Xiaomi.
Specifications and performance
So far, the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 has quietly shaved a few corners here and there in an effort to reach its mid-range price, while the OnePlus 8 Pro has gone all out for its premium price tag. But if there’s one area where the limitations of the cheaper phone can’t be hidden, it’s performance.
The Mi Note 10 runs on a Snapdragon 730G CPU, which is both older and significantly slower than the OnePlus 8 Pro’s Snapdragon 865. As such, there’s really no competition in this regard.
The Xiaomi chip is decidedly mid-range, and it’s not even the best in the middle (an honor that belongs to the Snapdragon 765G). As mentioned, this results in slow camera performance; but it also means that the very best game’s graphics settings may not be accessible even with the Snapdragon 730G tuned to defend itself well at medium settings.
The OnePlus 8 Pro, on the other hand, is one of the most capable performers on the market. It flies through tasks like gaming and multitasking, and the Camera app is pretty snappy.
The entry-level OnePlus 8 Pro has the same 8GB of RAM as the flagship Xiaomi Mi Note 10, but the OnePlus uses LPDDR5 RAM, which is 30% faster and 20% more energy efficient than its rival’s older LPDDR4 RAM. With the 12GB top model, OnePlus really stretches its legs.
Returning to gaming, the OnePlus 8 Pro benefits from true stereo speakers, while the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 does with mono sound. The OnePlus also has a potential advantage when it comes to network performance in the form of support for 5G connectivity, which is something the Xiaomi simply cannot match.
We should also emphasize the effect OnePlus’ super clean, superbly optimized OxygenOS UI has on performance, or at least its perception. Along with that 120Hz refresh rate, the phone always feels fast, even if you just scroll through the Settings menu or scroll between home screens.
Xiaomi’s MIUI software, on the other hand, is a bit flimsy and baggy, with too much bloatware and a less attractive style. It’s a lot better than it used to be, and quite pleasant to use on its own. But the OnePlus UI beats it in pretty much every way.
Xiaomi has equipped the Mi Note 10 with a massive 5260 mAh battery, which is much larger than the 4,510 mAh unit for the OnePlus 8 Pro.
With the latter’s faster processor and sharper, smoother screen, you’d think this was an easy win for Xiaomi. But it doesn’t quite work that way.
We found that the Mi Note 10 only lasted about a day between charges – which is really normal and far from bad. But given the extended battery capacity and the toll that the phone’s size and weight takes, we expected something better.
More importantly, in the spirit of this article, it isn’t really better than the OnePlus 8 Pro. Despite all its bells and whistles, you often get through to bed with a single charge of double digits in the tank. If you hit the video hard with OnePlus’ various enhancements activated, the tank will of course drain a little faster, but not disastrous.
In the field of charging, both companies offer equally impressive solutions. OnePlus includes its fast Warp Charge 30T charging standard, which takes you from 0% to 50% in 23 minutes, and Xiaomi has its own 30W standard to provide a similarly fast charge.
A final advantage for the OnePlus is the presence of reversible wireless charging. The Xiaomi is wired only.
The huge price differences between these two phones cannot be ignored. At first glance, and even with a bit of light use, it’s hard to see how the OnePlus 8 Pro could be £ 340 better than the Xiaomi Mi Note 10.
We’re not sure is £ 340 better – but we’re confident it’s better in just about every way, and by a decent margin. At some point, you could argue that when it comes to design it’s a toss, with both handsets featuring similarly domed glass and metal housings. But even then, the OnePlus 8 Pro is the slimmer, lighter and more stylish phone.