Xiaomi’s new flagship Mi 10 Ultra features mad 120x zoom, and some actually-useful features

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Odds are you at least know Xiaomi exists — you really should be giving the brand more attention if that’s as far as your interest goes. They’ve been making great Android handsets since the start, at consistently good prices, and that doesn’t seem to be changing at all. The company has announced a new flagship device, the Mi 10 Ultra, obviously hoping you’re keen on a camera-centric phone at less-than-Samsung prices.

Snapdragon Inside

As far as phones goes (and we’re not talking about the camera), the Mi 10 Ultra is packing some serious hardware. There’s a Snapdragon 865, with its Adreno 650 GPU, running things with the help of between 8GB and 16GB of RAM. There are actually four different variants — 8GB RAM/128GB ROM and then 8GB/256GB, 12GB/256GB and 16GB/512GB versions of the handset.

There’s a 6.67in OLED screen, with 120Hz refresh and 240Hz touch sampling rates — if any of these numbers are looking familiar it’s because you recently saw them announced in relation to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (and the S20 Ultra, which this handset takes after). There’s a 4,500mAh battery, 120W wired fast-charging and all the modern bells and whistles like USB-C, WiFi 6 and 5G support. It’s beefy but not really special, in the grander scheme.

Zoom meeting

How the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra hopes to stand out is by being an awful lot like Samsung — specifically Samsung’s S20 Ultra, which launched with a whole lot of emphasis on its 100x hybrid zoom function (that… nobody used except to say “Look what my phone can do”).

There’s a triple-camera setup in the Mi 10 Ultra, with a 48MP primary sensor, a 20MP ultra-wide and a 12MP portrait lens. Which aren’t as bonkers as the Xiaomi Mi 10’s 108MP sensor but the company’s claims this time are something else.  It’s got a 5x optical zoom and 120x hybrid zoom — more than Samsung’s claimed zoom for the S20 Ultra. The cameras are also able to capture 8K video, much like the Note 20 Ultra, as well as 960fps super-slow motion capture. Camera tricks seem to be the name of the game here.

And if you want one? There’s a wait for South Africa, sadly. We never get these things at launch. But when it does launch you can expect it to start from around R17,000 (for the base version of the phone), provided we don’t get screwed too hard by exchange rates and markups.

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