Redmi Note 10 First Impressions: The New Budget Champion?

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We used to associate the Redmi Note series with the sub-Rs. 15,000 market, but of late, all manufacturers have raised prices in order to keep pushing specifications and capabilities even in the face of taxes and currency fluctuations. The new Redmi Note 10 Pro and Redmi Note 10 Pro Max are priced between Rs. 15,999 and Rs. 21,999, but there is still some hope left for the budget-minded buyer – the “classic” Redmi Note 10 is priced starting at Rs. 11,999 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, or Rs. 13,999 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

This model, the lowest-end of the three siblings, does not have a fancy 108-megapixel camera, a 120Hz refresh rate, or frosted glass rear panel, but it still boasts of a lot of capabilities and specifications that will make cost-conscious buyers happy. Could the Redmi Note 10 be the ideal balance of price and features for India? A full review is coming up soon, but here are our first impressions to help you get an idea of what’s in store.

The Redmi Note 10 series introduces a new “Evol” design language. Just like its siblings, the sides are rounded and the top and bottom are flat. The rear panel curves into the frame, which is slightly thicker on the right to accommodate the power and volume buttons. The camera module is a standout design feature with a highlight around the primary camera. Unlike on the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, the camera module is flat and doesn’t protrude much.

You get a 6.43-inch super AMOLED screen with a full-HD+ resolution and standard 60Hz refresh rate. This makes the Redmi Note 10 relatively compact and it’s much easier to handle than its larger sibling, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. The screen appears crisp and bright, but of course it’s too soon to deliver a final verdict on its quality.

The fingerprint sensor is on the right side, embedded into the power button. It’s quite compact and designed to look like a plain button. You can assign a double-tap gesture as a shortcut to various actions such as launching Google Assistant or pulling down the notifications shade. Above the sensor are the volume buttons which are actually within reach.

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The Redmi Note 10 has a 48-megapixel primary rear camera

There’s a 13-megapixel front camera embedded in the top-centre of the screen. The hole is slightly larger than the one on the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max and there’s a silver ring around the camera which can be a bit distracting. The tray on the left has two Nano-SIM slots and a microSD card slot. You might be pleased to see a 3.5mm audio socket on the bottom, and there are stereo speakers as well, which is a nice touch for a phone in this price segment. As with most Xiaomi phones, you also get an infrared emitter on the top to control appliances with.

Xiaomi says the Redmi Note 10 is rated IP53 for water and dust resistance which is also nice to have. This phone has Gorilla Glass 3 on the front and has an adhesive screen protector pre-applied. A flexible case is also included in the box.

In terms of power, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 678 should have enough muscle for full-HD+ gaming as well as everyday tasks. There’s only 4GB of RAM on the entry-level variant but Xiaomi has used LPDDR4X RAM and UFS 2.2 storage which are both modern standards. The 5000mAh battery can be charged quickly using the bundled 33W charger. There is of course Wi-Fi ac and also Bluetooth.

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Premium features on the Redmi Note 10 include stereo speakers and an IP53 rating

In keeping with the price, we have a relatively humble camera array – the 48-megapixel primary camera is the one you’ll use most often, and there’s also an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. We’ll test these in our full review and also check out all the software features that Xiaomi builds into its camera app.

On the software front, you get MIUI 12 which is based on Android 11. This phone has a bunch of preloaded apps and shows a bit of advertising and promotional content. The company however promises a much cleaner experience with MIUI 12.5 which is coming to the Redmi Note 10 series as an update.

Xiaomi recently announced that it had sold its 200 millionth Redmi Note series smartphone globally. The series has been incredibly popular in India, with each generation pushing features such as bigger screens, higher capacity batteries, better cameras, and faster processors. When you have a tight budget, every bit of value makes a difference. Given that the Redmi Note 10 Pro and Pro Max models are considerably more expensive, only the Redmi Note 10 really serves the sub-Rs. 15,000 price bracket. Does this phone have everything you need? Our full review will answer that question soon.

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