If Mi Note 10 is real, Xiaomi's phones could fill the Huawei void

The Redmi Note 8
The Redmi Note 8 (Image credit: Future)

Could we see Xiaomi phones fill the Huawei-shaped hole in the smartphone world? It's very possible, judging by a collection of leaks surrounding a mysterious upcoming Xiaomi handset that seems to be Xiaomi's first true premium device.

The first of these leaks comes from famed leaker @Universeice, suggesting that Xiaomi is set to bring back the Mi Note series of smartphones at the end of October, starting with the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 (not to be confused with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10).

The Mi Note series of smartphones was Xiaomi's most premium offering, but we haven't seen them since 2017's Mi Note 3. Sure, skipping six iterations seems strange, but it would bring the Mi Note series in line numerically with the main Mi series, the most recent of which was the Xiaomi Mi 9 (and with the Mi 10 on the horizon).

So what new features will this rebooted smartphone bring? Well, people digging through Xiaomi's operating system, MIUI, may have an answer, in the form of two more leaks. 

The first, from XDA Developers, suggests an upcoming Xiaomi phone could have a 120Hz refresh rate – that means the screen will refresh 120 times per second, or twice as quickly as most smartphone displays currently. Many smartphone manufacturers are embracing quicker refresh rates in phones, so this is a very likely improvement.

The second leak, also from XDA Developers, describes an impressive new camera for a new Xiaomi device – an improved telephoto lens, with 5x optical zoom and a whopping 50x digital zoom. These are the same zoom specs as the Huawei P30 Pro, which has a best-in-class camera, so the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 could have a hugely competitive snapper.

It's worth bearing in mind that neither of the two leaks are explicitly for the Xiaomi Mi Note 10, but if Xiaomi is planning on making a Huawei-killing premium smartphone, it would make sense to put all its eggs in one basket.

Huawei or the highway

Ever since Google banned Huawei from using Google Play apps in its smartphones, the future has seemed uncertain for the Chinese smartphone company, and only got worse with the launch of the Huawei Mate 30. Huawei's new premium smartphone has no Google apps and won't launch in most regions of the world.

Since the Android ban news broke, several other Chinese smartphone companies, including OnePlus, Oppo, and Xiaomi, have all made plays to fill the hole in the industry Huawei is set to leave if (or when, by the looks of it), it wraps up its phone game for good - at least in the west.

OnePlus has the OnePlus 7T Pro, Oppo has the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom, and Xiaomi could now have the Xiaomi Mi Note 10, according to the collection of leaks. It seems the mid-range smartphone market is getting much more competitive now Huawei is out of the way.

Of course, news of the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 is just a rumor for now, so it's not definitely coming to market. But with the aforementioned hole in the market left by Huawei's departure, it would make sense for the company to play to win.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.