(Pocket-lint) - There's no shortage of Xiaomi Mi phones: the original Mi 10 flagship is flanked by the camera-boosted Mi 10 Pro, or there's a more budget Mi 10 Lite with lower-spec hardware.

Now there's a new model on the scene*: the Xiaomi Mi 10T. This model continues the Chinese company's more-for-less approach, delivering a flagship experience at a cut of the price. But does the T take away a lot of what made the original phone great to fit its asking price? Here's how they compare.

*Ok, so there's three models: the Mi 10T, Mi 10 Lite, and Mi 10T Pro. The last of which we'll touch upon where relevant - but it's really only the camera department where the Pro model stands apart.

Design

  • Mi 10: 162.5 x 74.8 x 9mm / 208g
  • Mi 10T: 165.1 x 76.4 x 9.3mm / 216g
  • Mi 10: Coral Green, Twilight Grey, Peach Gold
  • Mi 10T: Cosmic Black, Lunar Silver
  • Mi 10: Under-screen fingerprint scanner
  • Mi 10T: Side-positioned fingerprint scanner

There's very little visual difference between the phones: both Mi 10 and Mi 10T are built with Gorilla Glass 5 front and rear panels and a supportive aluminium frame. You don't step down in build quality in buying the T model.

The biggest difference is that the Mi 10T moves the fingerprint scanner onto the power button to the side of the phone, it's not a more advanced under-display scanner as found in the original Mi 10.

Display

  • Mi 10: 6.67-inch Super AMOLED, 19.5:9 aspect ratio
  • Mi 10: 90Hz refresh rate, 1080 x 2340 resolution
  • Mi 10T: 6.67-inch IPS LCD, 19.5:9 aspect ratio
  • Mi 10T: 144Hz refresh rate, 1080 x 2340 resolution

Here's where you might think we've listed things a bit backwards - because the Mi 10T has a faster refresh rate screen then the original Mi 10. The T houses a 144Hz refresh, which puts it on par with the current best-to-market gaming phones. The original Mi 10 runs a 90Hz refresh rate.

However, the screen technology isn't the same. The original Mi 10 uses an OLED panel, which ought to mean deeper blacks and richer colours than the 10T's LCD panel.

Otherwise the two run the same 6.67-inch scale, aspect ratio and resolution. So you don't really lose in buying the 10T - it's a question of whether screen type is more important to you than refresh rate.

Cameras

  • Mi 10: Quad rear camera setup
    • 108MP main (Samsung GM1), f/1.7 aperture, optical stabilisation (OIS)
    • 13MP ultra-wide, f/2.4
    • 2MP depth sensor
    • 2MP macro, f/2.4
  • Mi 10T: Triple rear camera setup
    • 64MP main, f/1.9 aperture
    • 13MP ultra-wide, f/2.4
    • 5MP macro, f/2.4
  • Mi 10: 20MP selfie camera, f/2.0
  • Mi 10T: 20MP selfie camera, f/2.2

The Mi 10 is a bit of a show-off with its rear quad camera setup and main 108-megapixel shooter. That said, the Mi 10T Pro - the model we've barely talked about until here - also has that 108MP main camera, just in a triple camera setup instead (it might look like a five-camera setup, but it's not). The standard Mi 10T, meanwhile, has that same triple setup but reduces the main camera to 64MP instead.

Really we think it's six of one, half a dozen of the other. Such ultra-high resolution cameras in phones are a bit of a distraction from what really matters - the images. And as each of these phones uses four photo diodes to create one pixel in and image, that resolution is cut to a quarter anyway (where the main cameras are concerned only).

As for the other lenses on board: if the Mi 10 lost its depth sensor you wouldn't notice, as the macro lens could cater for both close-up and depth if it was needed. So, again, you're not really missing out on anything by opting for the 10T - except there's no optical image stabilisation.

Hardware spec

  • Mi 10: 4,780mAh battery capacity, 30W fast charge
  • Mi 10T: 5,000mAh battery capacity, 33W fast charge
  • Mi 10: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, 8GB / 12GB RAM
  • Mi 10T: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, 6GB / 8GB RAM
  • Mi 10: 128GB / 256GB storage options, no microSD expansion
  • Mi 10T: 128GB storage only, no microSD
  • Both devices: 5G connectivity

The hardware is mighty similar for both Mi 10 and Mi 10T. Because the Mi 10 Lite takes on the lower-spec duties, the Mi 10T doesn't suffer a cut - it's got the same top-spec Snapdragon 865 processor under its shell as you'll find in the original Mi 10. The only difference is the 10T's two spec options have less RAM.

As the Mi 10T is a smidgen larger than the Mi 10 there's also more space to cater for a slightly larger battery capacity, which should be helpful for longevity.

Software

  • Both devices: Android 10 OS, MIUI 12 interface

Xiaomi's MIUI 12, whether you know it or not, is the re-skin that features over the top of Google's Android 10 operating system. There's all the Google Play Services and Store available here, so no restrictions.

Release date & price

  • Mi 10: $N/A / £799 / €799
  • Mi 10T: $N/A / £TBC / €499

And so to the price. The Mi 10T will retail from €499 - making it almost half of the original Mi 10's asking price. What do you lose? Not much: the camera is lower resolution, there's no depth sensor, the screen is LCD, there's less RAM, and the fingerprint scanner moves to the power button on the side. But it's got a faster refresh rate panel and larger battery capacity. Hardly compromises, given just how much cheaper it is.

Xiaomi doesn't sell phones in the USA, so we don't have a price for that territory, while the UK price is still TBC at the time of writing.

Writing by Mike Lowe.