Redmi Note 10 Pro review
The Redmi Note 10 Pro is a large, affordable 4G phone that delivers solid performance and a flagship-like experience for just $280.
- Unbeatable value
- Gorgeous screen
- Best-in-class shooters
- Excellent speakers
- Solid performance
- Top notch battery life
- Middling ultrawide camera
- Limited US LTE support
- Heavy-handed MIUI 12 skin
Earlier this year, Xiaomi released the $750 Mi 11, a bonafide Android flagship that’s packed with both specs and value. It really hit the spot. But what if I told you that Xiaomi makes a handset that offers 80% of the Mi 11’s experience for about one-third of the price? Say hello to the $280 Redmi Note 10 Pro (Pro Max in India), possibly the best bang for the smartphone buck on the market today, and by a long shot.
See, over the years, Xiaomi’s mastered the art of parts-binning — mixing and matching various standardized parts — across similar phones for its multiple brands (Mi, Redmi, Poco, and CC). For example, the Redmi 9T is a Poco M3 with an 8MP ultrawide camera. The Redmi Note 9 Pro (Pro Max in India) was already a value champ in 2020, but this year’s Note 10 Pro cranks things up a notch. So what’s the big deal? Let’s find out.
What is it?
As the name suggests, the Redmi Note 10 Pro is a large phone with a big 6.67-inch screen. Then again, at 164.5 x 76.2 x 8.1mm and 192g, it’s about the same size and weight as the Mi 11. Despite the “Note” moniker, there’s no stylus here. Instead, you get another one of Xiaomi’s stylish two-tiered camera bumps — this one being more rectangular than the Mi 11’s, and resembling the Mi 10T Pro’s.
While you’ll find Gorilla Glass 5 front and back, the Note 10 Pro’s mid-frame is glossy plastic rather than aluminum — with flat top and bottom edges in a matte finish, similar to the Poco M3. It’s a good looking handset, and it feels nice in hand thanks to the glass back being curved along the left and right sides. Three color options are available: Onyx Gray (like my review unit), Glacier Blue, and Gradient Bronze.
In front, the 6.67-inch display is the star of the show. It’s a FHD+ AMOLED panel (2400 x 1080 pixels, 395ppi) with a 20:9 ratio aspect ratio and a 120Hz refresh rate. A punch hole is located top center for the 16 MP f/2.5 1.0-micron selfie shooter — strangely highlighted by a small silver ring. Isn’t the whole point of a punch hole to hide the front camera inside the screen? I’m not a fan of this cosmetic tweak.
On the plus side, bezels are slim. The camera bump is typical of Xiaomi. It consists of a smaller rounded black rectangle within a larger rounded body-colored rectangle, each protruding further from the rear glass. The 108MP f/1.9 0.7-micron PDAF main shooter, 5MP f/2.4 AF macro, 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor, and 8MP f/2.2 1.12-micron 118-degree ultrawide are arranged in a tall and narrow 1-2-1 layout, with a silver accent stencilled around the main lens.
This smaller, taller pod is set on the left side of the larger, shorter bump, which also contains the LED flash and laser AF module — not to mention the words “ultra” and “premium” in a silver font — in case you forgot what kind of cameras you’re dealing with here. So yeah, the Note 10 Pro boasts a 108MP main sensor from Samsung and 5MP AF macro lens, just like the Mi 11. It lacks OIS, though. Still, that’s pretty impressive for $280.
Now, let’s explore what’s around the edges. On the right side, you’ll find the volume rocker and a flush-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor that doubles as the power / lock key. The SIM tray is located on the left side and takes two nano SIMs plus a microSD card. There’s a speaker, primary mic, and USB Type-C port along the bottom edge, and another speaker, secondary mic, headphone jack, and IR transmitter on top.
Yes, the Note 10 Pro features stereo speakers. It’s also IP53 splash resistant. Under the hood, the 5020mAh battery supports 33W fast charging (with a 33W charger in the box), but there’s no wireless charging. Obviously, instead of using a flagship 5G chip, this phone packs a Snapdragon 732G, Qualcomm’s top mid-range 4G SoC. It’s paired here with 6 or 8GB of RAM and 64 or 128GB of UFS 2.2 storage.
The rest of the specs include CAT 15 LTE, WiFi ac, Bluetooth 5.1 LE, A-GPS / GLONASS / Galileo / Beidou positioning, NFC, and an FM radio — plus the usual array of sensors (proximity, ambient light, accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass). So, compared to the Mi 11, you give up the aluminum build, Quad HD+ screen resolution, OIS on the main camera, 55W fast charging, wireless charging, 5G, and the flagship processor.
On the other hand, you gain a bigger battery, microSD support, a headphone jack, and an FM radio. Most importantly though, the Note 10 Pro retains what are arguably the Mi 11’s most important features — the refined design, 120Hz AMOLED display, 108MP main shooter, and quality stereo speakers. The result is a handset that delivers solid performance and a flagship-like experience for just $280.