Xiaomi’s latest addition, the Redmi Note 10 offers equipment never before seen in the entry-level sector for 200 euros. After a somewhat disappointing predecessor in 2020, is this new smartphone finally delivering top performance?
Test carried out by Alix Denoyers
Long awaited, the most popular line of Xiaomi, that of Redmi Note, is finally available in spring 2021. Among the four smartphones that compose it – as usual, the manufacturer has been prolific – two models are already present in Xiaomi stores, the excellent Redmi Note 10 Pro recently tested by the drafting and Redmi Note 10, his little brother. This smartphone fromentry level very well equipped and sold at a very reasonable price could well become the bestseller of the beginning of the year. We tested it to verify it. Here is our verdict. This test was performed using a copy provided by Aliexpress.
Redmi Note 10 price and availability
Available for now with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB storage at Xiaomi, the Redmi Note 10 is marketed 199 euros. Available in three colors Onyx Gray, Pebble White or Lagoon Green – this is the last version we received – Xiaomi’s mobile is already offered in most of the usual brands (Boulanger, Fnac, Darty, etc.). It can also be found in some sellers in version 4 GB / 64 GB (20 euros cheaper) or in 6 GB / 128 GB (20 euros more expensive.) Finally, it should be noted that it benefits from a promotional offer on Amazon. The model tested here (4GB / 128GB) is thus available as a Premium at 189 instead of 199 euros.
The device comes with a 33W charger and its USB cable, as well as a protective soft case. A hands-free kit is also (a priori) in the game, although we did not receive it with our evaluation copy.
Redmi Note 10 technical sheet
Reading the datasheet, it’s hard to believe that the Redmi Note 10 is an entry-level smartphone. He embarks indeed the latest Qualcomm processor for entry / mid-range mobiles, has a function of fast charge and above all, for the first time at Xiaomi on a device launched at 200 euros, an Amoled screen. Only Samsung has already been able to afford this little madness. In 2016, the Korean manufacturer equipped its entry-level J screens with Super Amoled screens. Today the only device capable of competing with our Redmi Note 10 is the Galaxy A31 with its 6.5-inch Super Amoled screen, a device launched in 2020 at 229 euros. From this point of view, Xiaomi is doing strong … hoping that this Redmi keeps its performance promises!
A nice effort on the design for the price
The Redmi Note 10 falls into the category of large smartphones although it is not as gigantic as its big brother “Pro” and its 6.67-inch screen. Fairly thin and light for an entry-level, our Note 10, which sports a 6.43 inch slab poster a thickness of only 8.3 mm for about 180 grams. Very reasonable.
The design of the Redmi Note 10 takes the main lines of the Pro: a flat screen with rounded corners, a shiny back, slightly rounded, which ensures a pleasant grip, a front camera centered at the top of the screen, as well as a quadruple photo module, in the form of a rectangular block, located in the upper corner left. A design in tune with the times, quite classic, which should appeal to most users.
Of course, the back is content with a plastic coating, certainly well made, but which takes fingerprints – this is a little less visible on the white model – and seems to concentrate all the surrounding dust, especially around the photo module. The solution ? Use a shell. Xiaomi provides one as standard, transparent plastic, thick enough for optimal protection in the event of a fall, which perfectly conforms to the shape of the case (almost too much, it is not easy to put on or take off). This spoils the style of the device a bit, hiding the shiny, metal-like edges of the mobile, but not its pretty Lagoon Green color.
The other advantage of this protection is that, while it slightly thickens the smartphone, it also largely blurs the protrusion created by the camera module. The Redmi Note 10 thus lies flat on a table, when placed on its back. The smartphone is not exemplary when it comes to “edge to edge” design. With a screen that occupies 83% of the front panel (against 85% on the Pro or even 89% for a Galaxy S21 Ultra, even if we do not play in the same court!), the Redmi Note 10 has thin borders, but clearly visible, especially at the bottom of the device.
Nothing prohibitive for a smartphone at 200 euros, especially since with a beautiful Amoled screen between these borders, we are ready to forgive a lot. In short, we have seen thinner, more slender, for a device equipped with a screen of just over 6.4 inches – in the Oppo Reno 4 range for example -, but not at this price level!
Finally, let’s finish with some distinctive signs: alongside the photo module which includes 4 sensors and a flash, we note the presence of the Redmi brand on the back of the mobile. We might have done without, but luckily it’s still quite discreet, with thin, silver letters.
The photo module is less imposing than on the Pro (dual stage, with its 108 MP sensor, the latter is particularly prominent) and better integrated in terms of colors (black and green).
Connectivity, connectivity: an (almost) exhaustive offer
On the edges of the device, we find on one side the volume keys and a power button that integrates the fingerprint reader, on the other the site capable of receiving two SIMs and a Micro SD memory card.
The Redmi Note 10 is also equipped with a USB-C port, of a Jack plug which will delight those who have not yet given up on their good old wired headphones (especially since Hi Res audio certification is announced) and stereo speakers. A veritable riot of equipment in terms of connectivity that can hardly be found except at Xiaomi.
The choice to have integrated the fingerprint reader the power button is particularly useful in these times of a pandemic. Using facial recognition is not compatible with wearing a mask, even if the function exists on this Redmi (not as secure however as on a high-end smartphone). The $ 200 models rarely have an underscreen fingerprint sensor (if so, it rarely performs well). That of the Note 10, on the edge of the case, is very fast and well placed, whether for left-handed people using their index finger or right-handed people using their thumbs.
The stereo speakers, located at the top and bottom of the screen deliver very decent audio quality. The sound is clear and does not sizzle when you turn up the volume. The bass, on the other hand, is not very pronounced. Do not ask too much of a mobile, which is more than 200 euros.
The good surprise comes from the built-in FM radio – a feature that we thought was almost gone when the mini-jack was replaced by the USB-C port or Bluetooth. With the Redmi you will be entitled to everything. The interface of the FM Radio is particularly stripped down, only the frequency is displayed – you have to name the stations by hand – but it exists!
Compatible Wi-Fi 5 (ac) and Bluetooth 5.0, the Redmi Note 10 can thus boast of offering the user a complete range in terms of connectivity and connectivity. 5G is missing, but we will not hold to a smartphone at 200 euros for this gap. It is more easily “renewable” than a smartphone costing more than 1000 euros.
On the other hand, it is difficult to understand the absence of an NFC chip. On a smartphone like this Redmi Note 10, which does not have to be ashamed of its equipment in front of a high-end smartphone, not being able to consider paying contactless with its device or validating a transport ticket is frankly regrettable.
An Amoled screen that exceeds all expectations
For the first time on an entry-level device, Xiaomi integrates an Amoled slab, which is of high quality, which does not spoil anything. The 6.43-inch screen of this Redmi captivates at first glance with its vibrant colors and deep blacks. Offering a definition of 2400 x 1080 pixels (FHD +), the display has a high resolution of 409 dpi. This is quite rare in this market segment, with a good number of devices costing 200 euros content with HD definition, including on very large screens.
It is possible to automatically adjust the brightness, very satisfactory basic. Using the smartphone outdoors even in good weather will not be a problem. As we know, color accuracy is not always the strong point of Amoled screens, that of the Redmi takes care ofadjust colors according to the external environment. The user can also opt for a so-called saturated or standard mode, or even customize the color temperature. Everyone can find their account. To avoid eye fatigue, without buying an e-reader, you can take advantage of a (programmable) reading mode that reduces the harmful impact of blue light. It also works if you opt for the dark mode of the mobile, rather than the light mode.
The screen refresh rate, however, is limited to classic 60 Hz. The visual comfort provided by the 120 Hz, will remain the responsibility of the Pro sold 100 euros more expensive. Either way, the screen of the Redmi Note 10 is certainly the best one can find on a mobile at this price point.
5000 MAH BATTERY AND 33W CHARGER: THE SHOCK DUO
With her 5000 mAh battery, the Redmi offers a solid battery life of around two days. Reduced to a day and a half if you strafe and film intensively. Let us point out in this regard that Xiaomi offers a new energy saving mode which will allow you to extend this autonomy by a few precious minutes or hours. Handy if you don’t have a charger handy and are just running out of fuel. By pushing this mode fully, you can limit your smartphone activity to calls and texts and enjoy long overtime. You will then block all the apps that work in the background like the one on your connected watch … or to stay current, AntiCovid. Use in moderation depending on the situation.
The secret boot of this Redmi Note 10 is its function as fast charge, an asset generally reserved for the high-end segment, sometimes mid-range. Comes with a 33 W charger, the Redmi Note 10 can thus benefit from a full charge (from 0 to 100%) in 1h10. We found it to recover 50% in 23 minutes and up to 75% battery recovery in just over 35 minutes. Great when you only have a few minutes to breathe several hours of operation into your smartphone.
Good performance combined with an up-to-date OS
When Qualcomm unveils its high-end processor for the following year at the end of the year, Xiaomi is often among the first manufacturers to embed it in its smartphones. Nothing much different with less talented processors like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 678, an 8-core at 2.2 GHz, announced at the end of 2020 and which equips the Redmi Note 10 at the start of the year.
This processor, which is just an evolution of the Snapdragon 675 – a good processor by the way – does not offer enough firepower for the most resource-intensive games, despite a Game Turbo mode. Don’t expect to run the most sophisticated titles around with a high level of detail. On the other hand, this Snapdragon brings enough power to run less elitist games smoothly and what it takes of artificial intelligence or photo-video skills not to be too overwhelmed in front of much more high-end mobiles. .
In practice, as we will see below, the Redmi Note 10 is frankly not bad in photos. In a general way, we appreciate its smooth operation and speed of execution. Of course, the model we tested only has 4 GB of RAM. Occasionally, during heavy use, an application freezes, but in most cases we have not experienced any major issues or slowdowns. This Note 10 hides its game well, we sometimes completely forget that it is an entry-level smartphone.
Better yet, the Redmi Note 10 is one of the few smartphones to offer an up-to-date OS: as shown by Android 11 and the manufacturer’s MIUI 12 system at the controls. The MIUI overlay is not among the lightest, but in return it offers a wide range of functions, various and varied modes and possibilities of customization. As we have seen previously, you can completely configure the display to your liking, use the energy saver or even quite original functions such as floating windows for multitasking.
Rather pleasant to use, MIUI annoys on one point: the many preinstalled applications regularly display advertising and unfortunately not all of them can be uninstalled, like Music or Cleaner. You will have to put up with it.
However, the experience of an up-to-date system remains a very good point which should make the difference when buying a smartphone at a low price.
Beautiful photos… By day with the main sensor
For the photo part, Xiaomi has not really tried to innovate in terms of components. The Redmi Note 10 takes more or less the equipment of its predecessor the Note 9: a quadruple photo module, composed ofa 48 MP main sensor, ofan 8 MP sensor (associated with an ultra wide-angle lens) and two secondary 2 MP sensors (one depth sensor for portraits and the other associated with a macro lens). Thanks in particular to Qualcomm’s more powerful processor, the photo function is faster in terms of processing and switching from one lens to another … even if we are still far from the performance of a high-end.
We therefore find here on the main sensor the technology of pixel binning which allows to merge 4 photosites in one for larger pixels that capture light better for night shots.
Either way, in daytime photos, the Redmi Note 10 gives complete satisfaction if we do not try too hard to push the main lens to its limits. It will even be the perfect companion for your walks. The shots are crisp and the colors relatively natural although a little saturated, with a tendency to draw on the red. In low light, you lose glaringly in detail and the lighting creates unpleasant halos.
In very low light, digital noise is present, but we still discern the elements of the scene. A night mode is made available to the user to artificially illuminate it: it is effective from this point of view, but the colors are dull and this is done at the expense of sharpness with very noisy areas.
To zoom, we will be satisfied with the 2X option (optical quality). Beyond that, the image is too degraded. The portrait mode is quite convincing as long as the central subject (human or not) presents simple contours as on the tulip below.
Otherwise you risk disappointment in terms of clipping as below (enlarged detail).
We can only emphasize once again the uselessness of sensors dedicated to macro and portrait. The macro certainly allows you to literally stick your smartphone to the subject, but the results are very disappointing with a certain sharpness in the center, but colors close to fluorescent. Very gadget.
Ultra wide-angle delivers decent shots with limited distortion. However, they suffer from a more marked lack of detail than with the main lens, especially at the edges. In low light, this ultra-wide angle also loses its superb, with a clear loss of sharpness.
Like MIUI 12, the camera part of Xiaomi conceals many functions, more or more effective, which will take some time to be explored. The accelerated mode works, for example, for videos taken as a selfie.