Xiaomi is on a roll with Redmi devices and the newest one is one of their best. The Redmi Note 10 Pro is the latest device in their Note series lineup. And as usual, the Redmi Note 10 Pro provides a superlative bang for the buck. There are a few variants of this device starting at $279 and topping out at $329. My review unit is priced attractively at $299.
Let’s get the unboxing out of the way
As usual, we have the insert with a TPU case, SIM tool, and paperwork. The case this time around has a very nice matte finish which provides great grip. Underneath that is the Onyx Gray 6GB/128GB storage version of the phone. And finally, beneath the phone, we get a 33 W quick charging brick along with a hefty USB-C cable.
Redmi Note 10 Pro offers premium quality hardware that looks excellent
The Redmi Note 10 Pro boasts a premium build quality. It has a glass back with an aluminum frame construction. As usual, the glass back is quite slippery so you may want to use the really nice matte texture case that comes included in the box for daily use.
The right-hand side of the frame has the power button with the fingerprint scanner built-in. Just above it is the volume rocker. There are quite a few items on the top of the frame, microphone, IR blaster, speaker grille, and a headphone jack. As you go around the top, the left-hand side has the dual-SIM, SD card tray slot. Finally, on the bottom, we have the second microphone, USB-C port, and a speaker grille.
On the back, you can’t help but notice the stylish but huge quad-camera array. Of course, this leads to a massive amount of wobble on a flat surface. But if you slap on the factory case the wobble disappears. Other than the module and some branding information the black is relatively clean.
The clean and elegant design language from the back carries over to the front of the device as well. The selfie camera punch hole in the center is probably one of the smallest out there. It has a slight design flourish in terms of a stainless ring around it – kinda like the S20 FE. The bezels are quite slim on the top and the sides. And the bottom bezel thickness does not interfere with the overall premium look of the device.
For a phone with a 6.67″ display and a massive 5020 mAh battery, the overall weight distribution is excellent. The device feels balanced for one-handed use despite a hefty 193g weight. Xiaomi uses Corning Gorilla Glass 5 to protect the display from scuffs and scratches. Oh, and as usual there is an HD film screen protector from the factory to help protect the screen a bit more.
There are three colors to choose from – Onyx Gray, Glacier Blue, and Gradient Bronze. The onboard haptic motor is quite good and to top it off, we even get an IP 53 splashproof rating. Redmi Note 10 Pro is priced right for the quality of the hardware you are getting.
A large 6.67″ 120Hz AMOLED display that is simply gorgeous
Full points to Xiaomi for including a big, bold, and beautiful display. The Redmi Note 10 Pro has a massive 6.67″ Full HD+ 1080×2400 pixel display. The display’s 120Hz refresh rate allows for a smoother experience during gaming and daily usage. In addition to this, it also has an impressive 240Hz touch sampling rate for lower latency and improved sensitivity control.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro display sports a tall 20:9 aspect ratio which seems to be common in most modern smartphones. The slim bezels and small selfie camera punch-hole help it to achieve a high screen-to-body ratio. A large response high refresh display with pretty much all screen means an immersive visual experience for streaming content or playing games.
This is probably one of the brightest Xiaomi screens that I have sampled lately. The screen has 450 nits of brightness but can hit 1200 nits peak brightness in outdoor sunlight. I did use the screen extensively in broad daylight for some of the camera samples and I had absolutely zero issues with the display washing out.
And since this is a device running MIUI as usual there are a lot of options in the Display settings as far as customization is concerned. As usual for my review, I used Dark Mode and chose Color Scheme as ‘Auto’. You can choose the settings to your liking though. Standard options also include Reading Mode to filter out blue light to reduce eye strain, especially after sundown.
Redmi Note 10 Pro runs on Snapdragon 732G so performance is quite good
The latest Note series offering from Xiaomi runs on Snapdragon 732G. This processor has 8 Kryo cores running up to 2.3GHz and is made on the 8nm manufacturing process. There are two ARM Cortex-A76 cores clocked at up to 2.3 GHz and a power efficiency cluster with six small ARM Cortex-A55 cores at up to 1.8 GHz. However, depending on the workload each core or all cores can run at different clock speeds. And for the GPU the Snapdragon 732G uses the Adreno 618.
As far as benchmark score performance is concerned I couldn’t run Geekbench as it seems to be blocked. This is something other reviewers are also noting. However, we already know that there is actually a very tiny difference between the performance of the 732G processor versus that of Snapdragon 765 5G. The main difference is the lack of the 5G modem so I would expect the Redmi Note 10 Pro to perform as well as the Pixel 5a series from Google.
My review unit has 6GB LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB UFS 2.2 storage so the phone performs quite well in terms of read/write speeds and multitasking. I should point out that there are two other versions of this device, 6GB+64GB and, 8GB+128GB. However, their availability varies in different countries.
Gaming performance on this device is excellent. Thanks to the bright high refresh rate AMOLED display and dual stereo speakers. Also, the processor has enough horsepower to let you play PUBG or COD at normal settings without any issues. The phone also has a negligible amount of heat generation during extended periods of gaming which is a sign of good thermal management.
As usual, Xiaomi has Game Turbo to further enhance the gaming experience on their devices. In summary, I think performance-wise with 6GB RAM and a Snapdragon 7xx series processor, it should be easy to extract good performance from this device at least two years down the line.
MIUI Software is chock full of options with some known quirks
The software on this device is pretty much identical to the one on the Redmi Note 9T that I reviewed about six weeks ago. The only difference is the security patch is now January 2021. So in a nutshell, the software experience is pretty much identical. The same quirks I noted in that review apply to this device.
However, unlike the Redmi Note 9T, this device has ads peppered throughout the UI experience like that on the Poco M3 which definitely diminishes the overall experience. On a slightly more positive note, bloatware is actually pretty much non-existent this time around and all three apps can be uninstalled.
Besides the known quirks of trying to find certain settings, MIUI still has a lot to offer. I do like that a swipe left from the home screen gets me the Google Discover Feed. I also like how Xiaomi gives you a lot of control/options in the Quick Settings Menu with one quick pull down from the top of any screen. In addition, the Tools folder has meaningful apps like FM Radio, Recorder, Screen Recorder, QR code scanner, and Mi Remote.
And if you want more options to tailor the software experience Theme store has a lot of excellent free options along with paid ones. My favorite is the Pixel experience theme which makes this device look like a slightly larger Google phone.
Battery life is great on the Redmi Note 10 Pro
Redmi Note 10 Pro has a 5020 mAh battery which is comparable to other large-screen Android smartphones. It is extremely easy to get 6+ hours of screen on time on this phone. One three-hour Netflix session, followed by a half-hour of gaming resulted in only a 21% drop in battery life. So with light to moderate use, you can easily resort to charging the phone on alternate nights.
As far as recharging goes, Xiaomi includes a 33W fast-charging power brick in the box so topping it up is pretty quick. This device is targeted mostly at developing countries so wireless charging is conspicuously missing but that is common for pretty much all Redmi Note series devices.
Last but not least, if you need to conserve battery life for emergency situations, then MIUI has a lot of battery saver options to help you out. And MIUI also provides options to control battery usage on an app-by-app basis. I think relatively good battery life thanks to an efficient 8nm processor and fast 33W wired charging means one less thing to worry about.
Audio quality is excellent which is turning out to be a norm for Xiaomi
Dual Stereo speakers with cutouts for top and bottom speakers? Even a lot of flagships don’t have this. Thanks to good design and dual speakers audio output is excellent on the Redmi Note 10 Pro. The sound quality is also very good while playing video games or streaming videos. I usually had the output somewhere around 40-50% and that was plenty loud indoors.
I am happy to report that the trusty 3.5 mm headphone jack is still present in 2021. Thank you, Xiaomi. Audio quality output from the headphone jack is even slightly better than what I get from my Pixel 4a. I used Audio Technica and AKG wired earbuds during my review period. For the most part, I did not have to resort to tuning the audio output via the sound equalizer options that MIUI has. On that note, I should mention that the Redmi Note 10 Pro does have Hi-Res Audio certification.
Audio quality via BT is just as good as that from the 3.5mm jack. Call quality was excellent regardless of method – handset, speakerphone, BT earbuds, or wired earbuds. Chalk up the Redmi Note 10 Pro as another device from Xiaomi that provides excellent audio output.
Redmi Note 10 Pro has a good all-round camera system
The Redmi Note 10 Pro has a quad-camera setup with lenses that actually produce good quality results. The main camera at the top of the module is a 108MP Samsung ISOCELL HM2 wide-angle camera with a 1/1.52” sensor size, 2.1μm 9-in-1 pixel binning (12MP) with a ƒ/1.9 6P lens. Then there is an 8MP ultra-wide camera with a 118° FOV and aperture of ƒ/2.2 at the bottom of the camera module. There is also a 5MP telemacro camera with ƒ/1.9 on the left and adjacent to it is a 2MP depth sensor.
Unlike a lot of quad-camera devices these days, all 4 cameras here work and produce very good pictures in daylight. Night-time performance is also surprisingly extremely competent. I wasn’t expecting that to be honest and that was the biggest surprise during the review. As usual, the Camera app has way too many options so it will take time some time to figure out all the various settings/modes. There is a dedicated Pro and Portrait Mode. In the ‘More’ section you get lots of options including Night mode 2.0 which produces significantly better results than before. The Macro mode is tucked away in the options within the main Photo mode which I thought was a bit strange.
The quality of the photos during the daytime is excellent with high dynamic range, correct exposure, good detail, and punchy colors. What’s surprising is that in low-light conditions, photos using Night Mode are way better than I expected. The night mode capture time is also similar to that from flagship devices – in other words quite fast.
Selfie camera in the front is 16MP with a ƒ/2.45 lens and the results are surprisingly very good. There is plenty of detail, good exposure, and just a tad hint of punchiness in terms of color. Portrait mode also works very well with the selfie camera with 9/10 times excellent edge detection. You can pixel peep the selfie camera results they are that good.
Video from the rear camera is capped at 4K 30FPS and for the front selfie camera, it is capped at 1080p 30FPS. Redmi Note 10 Pro has a lot of photo and video features, including Pro time-lapse, Dual Video, Long exposure, telemacro, and ShootSteady modes. The only thing I don’t like is the ability to switch lenses once you start recording a video. Oh, and the 2X telephoto is just digital zoom into the image from the main camera for both photo and video.
To summarize, the Redmi Note 10 Pro takes good pictures day and night from the rear camera. Ultra-wide camera pictures are great in daylight and selfie camera pictures are also quite good. The AI skyscaping is a fun tool to use without any 3rd party app. The only obvious thing missing is a dedicated telephoto lens but considering that the Google Pixel 5 doesn’t have it means it’s okay with the Redmi Note 10 Pro as well.
Connectivity is excellent even though this is a non-USA device
Here in Southern California, I got 4G LTE out of the box on T-Mobile. Data upload and download speeds were pretty much comparable for the Redmi Note 10 Pro to my Pixel 4a. Just like other Xiaomi global devices, this one also does not support VoLTE or Wi-Fi calling on T-Mobile. Again this I don’t believe this will be an issue overseas as I used my Redmi Note 9T on an international trip recently and it got VoLTE outside the USA.
I like that MIUI uses the Google Phone and Messages apps as default. This means RCS texting is possible out of the box. As far as calls go, they were clear in handset or speakerphone mode.
Downloading apps, music, or videos presented no problems either. Netflix worked without any issues and the phone supports HDR 10-HEVC and Widevine L1 protocols. I did not encounter any BT related issues in terms of general use during my review.
The usual plethora of sharing options are available with the Redmi Note 10 Pro. These include Screen Cast, Nearby Share, and ShareMe. And since Xiaomi sells quite a few TVs internationally, it makes sense to have the IR blaster and the Mi Remote app. But I think you can use it on non-Xiaomi TVs as well.
NFC is on board but again it may depend on the model and country so best to verify what is supported in your local market. My review unit did have NFC and I had no issues with contactless payments via Google Pay during the review period. Xiaomi did an excellent job in terms of checking all the right boxes as far as connectivity options go.
Redmi Note 10 Pro Verdict
Xiaomi has done an excellent job in pretty much every single major category in terms of evaluating a modern smartphone. The Redmi Note 10 Pro has great hardware design, good weight balance, a beautiful high refresh AMOLED screen, an excellent mid-range processor, a healthy dose of RAM, great battery life with fast charging, fluid software, NFC, and great speakers. It also has surprisingly good camera performance from the main and ultrawide cameras in daylight and night time.
The minor quibbles are software related and I hope Xiaomi can fix them via a software update. If it had wireless charging and a better processor it would actually be a flagship device. For the price, the Redmi Note 10 Pro packs a serious punch and it deserves serious consideration when shopping for a device around the $300 mark.