Midrange phones have developed a reputation for being boring over the past few years. They often come with similar features and unmemorable names. But Chinese phone-maker Xiaomi’s Redmi Note line continues to chip away at that narrative.
Xiaomi’s new budget-friendly dynamo is the Redmi 10 Pro, unveiled Thursday at an event in Beijing. It has a 6.7-inch AMOLED screen, a Snapdragon 723G chipset, dual stereo speakers, a ton of cameras and a zippy 120Hz display, which is unusual for a phone of this price. But it is a budget-friendly phone, so Xiaomi has made some sensible sacrifices.
The biggest thing missing is 5G, which you’ll want your next phone to have if you’re planning on keeping the Redmi Note 10 Pro for a few years. A telephoto lens is absent too. But it’s a fair omission, in my opinion, considering the Redmi Note 10 Pro starts at $279.
Xiaomi unveiled no less than four new members of the wallet-friendly Redmi Note lineup on Thursday, ranging from the lower-end Redmi Note 10 to the more robust Redmi Note 10 Pro. In between those lie the Redmi Note 10S and the one 5G variant in the new lineup, the Redmi Note 10 5G. With the Redmi Note 10 Pro, Xiaomi is gunning to compete with Samsung’s best-sellingor Apple’s .
Unfortunately, Xiaomi says it has no current plans to bring the Mi 11 stateside. (This is unlikely to change any time soon considering its ongoing legal tussle with the US government). Still you should be able to buy this phone in the United States eventually, through online retailers such as Amazon and eBay.
What Xiaomi changed in the Redmi Note 10 Pro
Unlike Xiaomi’s flagship Mi series, the Redmi Note is known for packing fancy features into an affordable package. Last year’s Redmi Note 9 Pro also had an expansive screen and a huge battery, but here’s what Redmi changed in the Note 10 Pro.
- Upgraded display: The Redmi Note 10 Pro relies on an AMOLED panel with an 120Hz refresh rate, upgraded from an LCD panel with a 60 Hz display.
- Bumped up megapixels of the main shooter. The Redmi Note 10 Pro has a 108-megapixel wide-angle camera, while the Note 9 Pro had a 64-megapixel wide-angle lens.
- Incremental processor upgrade.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro has a dynamo of a display
Apart from the camera, Xiaomi focused on upgrading the display, which featured heavily in the series’ marketing. The 6.7-inch Redmi Note 10 Pro features a crisp AMOLED panel complete with a peak brightness of 1,200 nits, making the screen easy to read even in the sunniest of lighting conditions.
One of the headline features of the Redmi Note 10 Pro is the quick refresh rate of 120Hz. That’s the same speed seen across Samsung’s latest Galaxy S21 lineup, including the $1,200 (£1,149, AU$1,849), as well as Xiaomi’s own flagship smartphone, the Mi 11. Most phones have refresh rates of 60Hz, which means the screen refreshes 60 times in a second. 120Hz displays look a lot smoother when scrolling through apps, photos and webpages.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro has a classic aesthetic, similar to the design seen in a number of its predecessors. The most obvious design difference on the Redmi Note 10 Pro is the camera. Xiaomi redesigned and relocated the camera bump, shoving the rectangular bump to the upper left side of the device from the center of the phone. It houses four cameras, a flashlight and an IR blaster.
There’s also a fingerprint reader located on the right side of the phone, and on the top you’ll actually still see a humble headphone jack. Flip the phone around, and there’s an in-display notch smack on the top-center of the display that houses the selfie camera.
Just like the international version of Mi 11, the Redmi Note 10 Pro comes with a bunch of accessories including a 33-watt wired charger, a USB-C adapter and one plastic case.
Xiaomi also took an opportunity to make what I think is a thinly veiled jab against Huawei, which was famously banned from using Google apps including Gmail and Google following US sanctions levelled by the Trump administration. On the side panel of the box, you’ll see, “with easy access to the Google apps you use most” inscribed.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro’s 4 rear cameras
Xiaomi drew attention to the device’s camera in its media paraphernalia for the Redmi Note 10 lineup. For the 10 Pro at least, Xiaomi has bumped up the resolution of the main shooter, now a 108-megapixel wide-angle lens accompanied by three others: a 8-megapixel ultra-wide, 5-megapixel telemacro, 2-megapixel depth. Xiaomi says its “telemacro” lens lets you to get up to two times closer than the average macro camera at a same distance.
During my hands-on time, the camera managed to capture crisp and vibrants photos especially in environments with ample light. Low-light images were decent too. Keep in mind there is no telephoto camera, which means all zoom is digital as opposed to optical. As such, you can’t count on this phone for capturing detailed images of faraway subjects. In fact, pictures taken beyond 2.5x zoom already begin to show signs of graininess. Take a look at the cameras in action.
Battery and processor
The Redmi Note 10 Pro runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 732G processor, which is a cut above the 730G chipset found in. Although it isn’t the newest or most cutting-edge chipset from Qualcomm’s stable — you’ll have to shell out for a Samsung Galaxy S21 or Xiaomi’s for that — it’s more than sufficient for my needs, letting me sail through everyday tasks without a hitch.
Battery life was solid too, lasting me about a day and half with what I’d describe as mild use. That means I made a few short phone calls, watched, wrote emails, read news, watched some and .
Redmi Note 10 5G vs. Redmi Note 10 Pro
|Redmi Note 10 5G||Redmi Note 10 Pro|
|Display size, resolution||6.5-inch AMOLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels (FHD Plus)||6.7-inch AMOLED, 2,400×1,080 pixels (FHD Plus)|
|Weight ( Grams)||190 g||193 g|
|Mobile software||Android 11||Android 11|
|Camera||48-megapixel (wide angle), 6-megapixel (standard), 2-megapixel (macro) 2-megapixel (depth)||108-megapixel (wide angle), 8-megapixel (ultra-wide), 5-megapixel (telemacro), 2-megapixel (depth)|
|Processor||MediaTek Dimensity 700||Snapdragon 732G|
|RAM+Storage||4GB+64GB, 4GB+128GB, 6GB+128GB*||6GB+64GB, 6GB+128GB, 8GB+128GB*|
|Expandable storage||Up to 512GB||Up to 512GB|
|Battery||5,000 mAh||5,020 mAh|
|Special features||5G, Stereo Speakers, IP53, 90Hz display, 18W fast-charging, IP 53 rating (splash proof)||Speakers, 33W bundled charger, 120 Hz display, IP 53 rating (splash proof)|
|Price off-contract (USD)|
*availability depends on market