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Xiaomi’s Redmi Note line has always been a popular choice for smartphone budget hunters. We test out the newest offering - the Redmi Note 10 5G, and here’s what we think.
What I like
Built like a smartphone, twice its price. The Redmi Note 10 5G may not be covered in glass like a premium flagship smartphone, but the two-tone matte finish gives the plastic back an appealing look. Aurora Green and Nighttime Blue colour options are eye-catching, but Chrome Silver, Graphite Gray colours are muted. Unfortunately, the plastic finish easily gets smudged with fingerprints, so I used the included clear case to show off the elegant Aurora Green colour.
The 6.5” FHD+ AdaptiveSynch Display is well protected by Gorilla Glass 3. The screen is reliably sharp and fluid thanks to a screen resolution of 1080x2400 pixels, giving it a dense 405ppi and support for a 90Hz screen refresh rate. But being an IPS LCD screen, it’s not as bright as Amoled and can be barely visible in direct sunlight. It’s also not as vibrant, with the colours a bit muted for my taste.
Surprisingly powerful. I was initially apprehensive about the MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G and 8GB Memory packed in the Redmi Note 10 5G base models. But with MIUI 12 running on top of Android 11, the phone seemingly runs smoother than expected. Optimizations must have been made on MIUI 12 for it to run without much hiccups on the MediaTek Dimensity 700 chipset.
The Redmi Note 10 5G breezes through daily uses like media consumption and social media interaction. Mobile gaming, though, is another surprise with this phone. Most mobile games will have no problems running. PUBG is certainly not a problem for the Redmi Note 10 5G. No surprise then that Xiaomi is the official smartphone partner of PUBG Mobile eSports 2021 for Southeast Asia and Europe.
The Redmi Note 10 5G also packs a high capacity 5000mah battery, which claims to support up to 16 hours of gaming. On my usage, though, it did last more than a full day’s work. The box also comes with an 18W fast charger which may help speed up charging time.
And of course, the Redmi Note 10 5G supports, well, 5G. And on both sim cards too. As soon as 5G is pervasive enough, you can enjoy 5G speeds on this smartphone.
Bring back the basics.
A 3.5mm audio jack
FM Radio support
MicroSD card support
Dual-sim card support
These are features that most new flagship smartphones would snub, even when users would clamour for them. Well, they’re back in the Redmi Note 10 5G. I appreciated most the return, especially the 3.5mm audio jack and found myself using an old pair of reliable wired headphones.
Easy to unlock. I’ve never been a fan of in-screen fingerprint scanners usually found in many flagship phones. It leaves a smudge on the screen and is not accurate, especially if you’ve installed a glass screen protector. The Redmi Note 10 5G couples the power/lock button with a fingerprint scanner and can be found on the phone’s right side underneath the volume keys. It’s in a convenient spot to quickly unlock the phone using your right thumb. It just works really fast.
Value for money. Nothing much else to say here. The Redmi Note 10 5G is an attractive 5G smartphone with a fluid 90hz screen refresh and a powerful chipset that enables competitive gaming but is priced at an affordable S$329 tag. It’s a smartphone that looks and performs like any other smartphone at twice its price.
Basic Camera. The Redmi Note 10 5G’s rear camera set comes equipped with a 48MP main sensor, a 2MP Macro and a 2MP depth sensor. I tested out the camera on a cloudy day, and the outdoor shots were fine. The pictures were not very vibrant and often would have muted and fuzzy details, but they were not bad.
Night mode was also helpful, but expect noise, details loss, and some inconsistent contrast levels.
Video capture supports only 1080p at 30fps. On a rainy day, the smartphone could still capture good details; zooming in was smoother than expected and was stable even when I was in motion on a boat. It’s not cinema quality for sure, but still completely usable.
The selfie camera is an 8mp shooter that supports capturing 1080p videos at 30fps. Selfie shots are, again, fine. They were sharp enough for general use, with muted colours. However, there's much smoothing, though, for my taste. Portrait shots struggle too, showing uneven isolation of the main subject from the background.
Overall, the camera set in the Redmi Note 10 5G is basic - good enough for daily use, but not for near professional-quality photos.
Average screen and speakers. With the Redmi Note 10 5G just rocking an IPS LCD, it’s not as bright and colourful as many AMOLED screens. It is still better than most smartphones in its price range, though. Unfortunately, there’s also only one mono bottom-firing speaker. It is loud but can be tinny sometimes. Good thing that the Redmi Note 10 5G has support for Bluetooth 5.1 and a 3.5mm headphone jack for your choice of audio gear.
The bottom line
Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 10 5G is definitely a strong player for the mid-range smartphone category, especially if you’re looking for a mid-range smartphone that’s good enough for casual and sometimes competitive gaming. The Mediatek Dimensity 700 turns out to be a welcoming surprise, performing way better than initially expected, and has support for 5G.
However, there are trade-offs like the basic camera, mono speakers and average screen quality. But if those are trade-offs you can live with, for a smartphone that’s priced at only $329, then do give the Redmi Note 10 5G a try. It is available in four colours - Aurora Green, Nighttime Blue, Chrome Silver and Graphite Gray from the Xiaomi official stores in Shopee and Lazada.