Redmi Note 10 is the base version of Redmi’s new Note 10 series, which includes the Redmi Note 10 Pro and Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. Historically, the Redmi Note is not the phone for cutting-edge performance, but rather provides good value and a good screen. We find out whether the latest base version live up to this reputation.
Build and Design
The Redmi Note 10 has a very comfortable size, and fits well in the palm of your hand. I tested the “Frost White” colour variant, which is somewhere between a white and a light grey. It’s a nice colour option. What I love about the back panel is the matte texture; it has a satin feel and doesn’t feel as slippery as a glossy back. The matte texture also keeps it free from annoying fingerprints. The provided plastic cover does a good job of protecting the phone, but the textured feel of the back and the colour are lost.
This phone, despite its price, feels premium. In a blind test of build quality, few would be able to guess the value segment that this phone plays in. We have gotten to a place in phone manufacturing where I think most companies are able to execute a premium feel, even with affordable devices. The Redmi Note 10 also has all the bells and whistles abandoned by other phone makers, such as the lovable headphone port, the super-useful infrared port and stereo sound. The Note 10 also has a MicroSD card slot for upgradable storage, so you can add up to 512 GB more.
On the inside, the phone features a Snapdragon 678 SoC. While this isn’t a top-end mobile processor, it is no slouch either. The Redmi Note 10 consistently performed well while browsing, watching movies and listening to music. There were no dips in performance. Most games also played well with this device. I could play Garena Free Fire with no issues, however heavy games such as Genshin Impact had visible issues and stuttering, but were still playable. The phone does heat up while gaming, but it remains reasonable to hold onto the device.
The one thing the Note 10 is lacking is 5G; the processor used in the phone can only do 4G+ or lower. This would have been problematic for a flagship, but in this segment, it doesn’t matter. We are at least a year or more away from 5G coverage. While some pockets might get 5G early, most people won’t have 5G access before the end of 2022. I would rather have a cost benefit than a feature I can’t use for at least the next entire year.
Display: 6.43-inch Super AMOLED, 2400 x 1080 pixels
Chipset: Snapdragon 678
Graphics: Adreno 612
RAM + Storage: 4 + 64; 6 + 128
Expandable storage: MicroSD up to 512 GB
Primary Camera: 48 MP, f/1.79 aperture
Secondary cameras: 2 MP Macro, 8 MP Ultrawide and 2MP Depth sensor
Selfie Camera: 13 MP
Battery: 5,000 mAh
Software: Android 11 with MIUI 12
Colours: Frost White, Shadow Black, Aqua Green
The display on the Redmi Note 10 is one of its highlights. It’s a 6.43-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display that features a 4,500,000:1 contrast ratio. The screen is bright enough to read the text under direct sunlight, and is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. It’s ideal for media consumption and paired with its stereo speakers, this thing is a winner. The bright screen is a power guzzler, so if you plan to watch hours of video content, have a power bank or the charger handy. This display doesn’t have a high refresh rate like its Pro Max sibling. This is not an issue because this is not a gaming phone and at this price, the trade-off is a good one. Xiaomi has made a lot of good choices here, and this is reflected in the end product.
During the early days of Xiaomi, I loved their UI – there were a lot of customizations, no adverts and it still performed very well. Over the years, the software has stopped taking risks and are going straight for the bank. The operating system is very generic. It still performs all functions well and you won’t find it lacking in any way, but there is no creativity here.
The OS has a good selection of utilities built-in, but comes with a lot of bloatware. The bloatware apps included get annoying fast, and there is no way to remove them. Though the level of intrusion is better than before and Xiaomi is taking feedback well, it is still a lot for my tastes. They still have a way to go, but I think they are getting there.
While gaming on this device, a little gaming console pops out. It lets you record the screen, take screenshots, allows casting and aids with clearing memory. It's useful and nice to see included in this phone as well.
The Redmi Note 10 has a quad-camera setup with a 48 MP main camera, an 8 MP ultrawide, a 2 MP depth sensor and a 2 MP macro. The camera’s output both in video and photos is excellent during the day. Colours are reproduced well, and the wealth of colourising options and modes make for interesting pictures. Where it doesn’t do well is with night photography. Without “Night Mode” activated and with indirect light, the pictures turn out dark and grainy. With the mode turned on, the same pictures are visible, but still too grainy to use. However, with a decent light source – even in the dark – the camera can produce very good contrast in images, with very little grain.
There is no super macro mode here like in the Note 10 Pro Max. Instead, there is a regular macro mode that produces very good results – even in video – as long as the subject is well-lit. Daylight images from the main camera, wide-angle and macro are all of very good quality. However, like its more expensive sibling, this one is not a good slow-motion camera. It produces way too much ghosting, even in daylight.
The 13 MP selfie cam is decent. You have beautification turned on by default; you may want to turn it off if you want good quality images.
The Redmi Note 10 has an impressive battery and it gave me around 6 hours of heavy gaming. In regular use, this should last more than a day. If you turn on all the battery saving features and are judicious with your phone use, I can see the battery life stretching to 48 hours. The phone took 25 minutes to get a 50 per cent charge, while a full charge takes a little over an hour and a half. This is thanks to the included 33 W fast charger.
At 11,999, I think the price for the Redmi Note 10 is very fair. The device does not have cutting-edge specs and a stellar camera like a flagship, but everything it has worked well enough to use daily. Nothing feels underpowered or out of place for a normal phone; everything is balanced while offering a great VFM experience, with a large battery and a nice, big screen. It’s a phone for anyone that doesn’t need a beast under the hood, but appreciates a reliable daily-driver.
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