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Xiaomi Redmi 10 review: cheap and mostly charming

Xiaomi has quietly become a force to be reckoned with across all price points, and Redmi 10 sees the company offer a solid mid-range phone at an impressive budget price.

It’s also a beautiful phone with a glossy finish that feels more premium than most phones under £ 180 / $ 250. It has a fingerprint sensor in the wake button, an almost entirely onscreen front bezel, and it works great with its components in mind.

Unfortunately, its 90Hz screen uses LCD technology, which makes it feel more than squeezed compared to phones that use more modern OLED technology. Still, it’s hard to argue about the price.

Our sample review was provided by Box.co.uk.

Design and build

  • 8.9 mm
  • 181 g
  • Without waterproofing

Despite such a low asking price, it cannot be denied that the Xiaomi Redmi 10 looks and feels great.

Thanks to the matte finish on the back (my review unit comes in Sea Blue, there are also Pebble White and Carbon Gray options), it looks great because it catches light and every part looks like a premium device. However, unlike the Redmi Note 10 5G, its back is glossy, which means it gets a lot of fingerprints and isn’t as easy to hold in the hand as its sibling.

On the front panel, everything is business – and almost the entire screen. There are bezels here and are arguably more visible on the LCD screen (more on that later), but there is no notch in favor of the punch-hole selfie camera.

The phone charges via USB-C at the bottom, and there is a volume rocker on the right side above the sleep / wake button, which also brings up Google Assistant. The button also includes a fingerprint sensor, although the Redmi 10 can also be unlocked with a passcode or pattern if you prefer.

Finally, there is an IR transmitter on the top of the device, which Xiaomi has been using for a long time, although I have yet to find its application in everyday life. I would have preferred waterproof or water resistant, but they are not.

Screen

  • 6.5-inch LCD
  • Full HD +
  • 90Hz with AdaptiveSync

The LCD of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G is 6.5 inches, which means it is quite powerful. This canvas gives users plenty of room to play games in apps, but lacks the brightness of an OLED panel.

While I appreciate the decision to go in the price range, the Full HD + 1080×2400 display runs at 90Hz, while many of its competitors hit 120Hz. In truth, it’s nice to have a frequency above 60Hz – as seen on the Honor 50 Lite – as the new standard, while still delivering smoother performance.

Xiaomi Redmi 10 screen

When static, the phone’s AdaptiveSync operates at 45 Hz, and video at 60 Hz. Scrolling through social media or playing games will increase the refresh rate to 90Hz. It’s a smart way to make sure the screen isn’t drawing too much power when not needed, and helps keep battery life at a decent level.

More noticeable, however, is the lack of contrast in the LCD panel. Photos rarely appear, and I’ve always wanted a little more brightness – even the icons on the home screen seem very dim.

Daylight decreases legibility and viewing angles are poor if you are not looking directly at the screen. This is a shame given the size of the display, because this is a sizable piece of real estate that simply requires movies, TV shows, or even just your best camera shots to throw at it.

Specifications and performance

  • MediaTek Helio G88
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 64 or 128 GB of memory.

The Redmi 10 ships with the MediaTek Helio G88 and apart from the display quality it is the biggest indicator of the compromises made to achieve such a low price.

When running Geekbench 5 and other benchmarks, you can see the average results below. It is similar to the more expensive Poco M4 Pro, and in the battery test is almost as good as the Moto G9 Power.

From a real world perspective, that’s enough to allow PUBG Mobile compliance (medium settings at best) or multitasking between multiple Google apps like documents or spreadsheets when checking emails, but more than what it appears to be the bridge would be too far.

This is in part due to the meager 4GB of RAM, which means you need to close demanding apps before opening any others. A 6GB model is available, but in multiple markets. For storage, you get 64GB or 128GB, but there is a microSD card slot.

Xiaomi Redmi 10

If you’re looking for more power, it’s hard not to notice Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 10 Pro at a similar price, which comes with 6 or 8 GB of RAM and a much more powerful processor.

Cameras

  • 50MP main camera
  • 8 megapixel ultra-wide
  • 2MP depth and macro
  • 8MP selfie

As for the camera, the Xiaomi Redmi 10 packs a 50MP rear camera and an 8MP front sensor located inside the display.

At the back, it is a little under-thrust and, for my taste, too functional. Images are crisp but fuzzy, which does not help when viewing them on a regular LCD screen. Contrast is minimal in all directions, which, when combined with the screen, makes all images look washed out.

Cameras Xiaomi Redmi 10

In the daytime, the colors are pretty accurate, but if you are looking to buy a phone for photography then this is not the case. The quad array on the back may sound impressive, but dual 2MP sensors, as we’ve seen countless times, are really needed to boost the score.

The shots offer a lot of detail in the foreground, but as you’ll see in the image of the toys on the shelf, the bokeh effect means the background isn’t as sharp. Night mode performance doesn’t get much of a mention either, with the Redmi 10 capturing the moment, but not offering a lot of room to work when looking back.

Xiaomi Redmi 10 camera test

Selfies are crisp, although the beautify option is on by default. Without it, there is a kind of blurring of facial details, which makes it difficult to discern if the front camera is just not cutting the mustard or if additional filters are being applied.

Videos do not have OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) and are limited to 1080p @ 30fps, 720p is also possible.

Battery life and charging

  • 5000 mAh
  • Charging 18W
  • Adapter included

The Redmi 10 has a large 5000mAh battery that will easily last a day and a half. Less active social media scrollers or gamers will likely reach two days before they need to connect them.

I ran our usual Work 3.0 benchmark and the results showed a very impressive 15 hours and 48 minutes of screen on while the phone was doing simulated tasks.

The kit also includes an 18W fast charger as standard and a 22.5W charger. This, by today’s standards, is not fast at all. In our usual 30-minute test from dead center, the Redmi 10 only reached 29% charge.

Software

The Xiaomi Redmi 10 runs MIUI 12.5, Xiaomi’s own Android flavor, on top of Android 11, not the current Android 12. At some point, an update is likely.

In the meantime, MIUI 12 is enjoyable. It’s highly customizable, has a quick and easy setup wizard, and doesn’t differ much from the stock Android version.

Xiaomi Redmi 10

One thing I would like to point out, though, is that there is a fair amount of malware included – upon boot, I was greeted with a suite of utility apps as well as space-hungry games like PUBG Mobile. Be prepared to remove a lot of inappropriate content.

Price and availability

The Xiaomi Redmi 10 is available worldwide for £ 179 for 64GB. There’s also 128GB, which retails for around £ 199 (although the microSD slot means you’re not stuck either).

Our sample was supplied by Box which offers free Mi Band 5 with some models. You can also buy the phone from the Mi store, Amazon, Argos, eBuyer and Direct Laptops

The phone is not widely available in the US, but At Amazon, it starts at $ 249.99.

See our table best budget phones to see what other options are available.

Verdict

The Xiaomi Redmi 10 is a solid phone that won’t blow your mind, but it won’t hit your wallet hard either.

Its camera and display are pretty basic, but it offers a large screen with adaptive refresh rates up to 90Hz, long battery life, and looks great.

It is understood that for the price, there is no 5G, performance is limited, charging is slow and there is no waterproofing. That said, this is one of the best options for under £ 200 right now, unless you need a phone to keep everyone singing and dancing.

Specifications

Xiaomi Redmi 10: Specifications

  • Processor – MediaTek Helio G88
  • RAM – 4 GB

  • Storage – 64GB / 128GB

  • Battery – 5000 mAh

  • Operating System – MIUI 12 (Based on Android 11)

  • Display – 6.5-inch FHD + display (90Hz), 1080P

  • Network – Supports 4G / 3G

  • Rear camera – 50MP, ultra-wide 8MP, 2MP depth, 2MP macro

  • Front cameras – 8MP

  • Dimensions – 162 x 75.5 x 8.9mm

  • Weight – 181 g




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