Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro, Xiaomi’s high-end smartphones

With its Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro, Xiaomi is entering a new stage in its global strategy. Like Huawei before it, the manufacturer is now tackling the high-end segment with particularly ambitious mobiles and hopes to convince consumers of the benefits of its new Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro models.

A better finish with Mi 10 Pro

The Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro share a very similar spec sheet, with the only difference being the size of the battery, which is slightly bigger on the Mi 10. The two mobiles also have almost identical bodies. The terminals must be turned over to distinguish them. When the Mi 10 has a glass back that is extremely sensitive to fingerprints, the Mi 10 Pro has a much more attractive aluminum back. The front is strictly similar on both phones. The 6.67-inch Oled slab occupies no less than 90% of the front panel. It provides a pleasant borderless feeling, but it is not yet optimal. The fault lies with a thick chin, but nothing too serious.

The punch-hole has the merit of being quickly forgotten since it is located in the upper left corner of the mobile—no problem either with the fingerprint sensor under the screen, which is somewhat reactive. At the back, skeptics of the rectangular photo island advocated by Apple, Samsung, and Huawei will be happy: Xiaomi has chosen to keep its photo modules in a line.

In hand, the Mi 10’s ergonomics are identical and convincing. Imposing and weighing more than 200 g on the scale, they offer a certain feeling of solidity. The locking and volume knobs, located on the right-hand edge, are well-positioned, albeit a little high. But don’t be under any illusions, you’ll have to put both hands on the beast to handle it properly.

The 6.67-inch Oled slab shared by the two models looks excellent at first glance. Its 90 Hz refresh rate, configured by default, offers smooth and pleasant navigation. It is all the more true since the Snapdragon 865 chip allows very relevant multitasking. The battery is still to be tested, but you’ll have to wait until the full test to find out more.

A 108-megapixel sensor

Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro both boast a 108-megapixel photosensor. If we had already come across such a definition on the Mi Note 10, these new models are much better in use.

Of Xiaomi’s two new high-end models, the Mi 10 Pro is the best equipped. It features an ultra-wide-angle module (20 megapixels, f/2.6), as well as two telephoto lenses, with a 2x (12 megapixels, f/2.4) and a 5x (8 megapixels, f/2) module. The latter is capable of offering a 50x hybrid zoom. Unsurprisingly, this one is unconvincing. Overall, these sub-modules produce flattering shots but too processed and smoothed to be realistic.

The Mi 10 is a little less well equipped. It offers an ultra-wide-angle module (13 megapixels, f/2.4), a macro module (2 megapixels, f/2.4), as well as a depth-of-field module (2 megapixels). On the first contact, these different modules suffer from the same image processing problems as their big brother, namely prominent smoothing for unrealistic shots. At the front, the 20-megapixel sensor shared by both models offers good selfies. However, it is necessary to deactivate all filters to observe natural skin.

Samsung is already working on the technology that will replace the QD-OLED

The South Korean giant is paving the way for the future by developing the QNED – Quantum Nano Emitting Diode – display technology, which will undoubtedly emerge as the successor to the QD-OLED.

Promising technology for Samsung

In fact, according to the report published on the Display Supply Chain website, Samsung is currently working on QNED technology, an acronym for Quantum Nano Emitting Diode. QNED works in much the same way as QD-OLED, with one crucial exception: new blue Micro LEDs replace the blue organic diodes (OLEDs), here called Nanorod LEDs, which generate blue light from gallium nitride (GaN).

This technology has several advantages for both manufacturers and users. GaN Nanorod LEDs would make it possible to achieve better efficiency, improve the brightness of the screen and extend its life, but also to avoid any burn-in phenomenon associated with OLEDs. Furthermore, thin-film encapsulation will not be necessary with the QNED structure, one less manufacturing step, and, therefore, a reduction in production costs.

The other advantage of GaN Nanorod LEDs is that Samsung will be able to use the production tools and techniques already available to it in the development of the QD-OLED. Generating blue light, these LEDs will still require the use of the famous Quantum Dots, quantum dots that act as a filter, and allow color conversion.

QNED, a successor already found to the QD-OLED?

While CES 2020 was in full swing last January, Samsung Display presented its first two QD-OLED TV prototypes in a very confidential atmosphere, as only a handful of industrial partners were invited to the event. In charge of R&D for the giant’s various tiles, the Samsung subsidiary is still actively working on the development of the QD-OLED.

According to Samsung’s roadmap, this hybrid technology, which intends to combine the advantages of OLED and QLED, should logically see its first models launched on the market by 2021. However, the QD-OLED has (currently) several significant drawbacks, starting with its high production cost, its sensitivity to burn-in – slab marking, or “screen burn-in” – or even fairly limited yields in terms of brightness and therefore contrast; this last point being critical since the QD-OLED is expected to have a theoretically infinite contrast ratio and profound blacks.

However, the Korean leader has some more ideas and another project in the pipeline. He could go back on his initial plans to replace the QD-OLED quickly.

A pilot production as early as 2021?

The calendar could be very lenient for the QNED since the development of this display technology is likely to take place without too many interruptions and to fit into the QD-OLED production line. Samsung is indeed counting on a pilot production for the first half of 2021.

If these prototypes win the giant’s favor, it is highly likely that the QD-OLED lines will be quickly converted to QNED, especially as this technology can easily be adapted to smaller screens such as smartphones, monitors and others; which is not the case with the QD-OLED, which is intended to equip only high-end TV sets.

Nevertheless, even if the pilot production is successful, Samsung will have to make the most of its expensive production facilities, including the equipment supplied by the Japanese company Canon Tokki, which enables it to produce the blue OLED transmitters.