Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro review

By JohannHicell | August 10, 2021

A top phone at a low price

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro is one of the best bargains of the last 12 months. It gets so close to the day-to-day experience of a R15 000 phone you’d never guess it costs R5699

There’s one missing feature that may put you off: 5G. This is a 4G phone. It will always be a 4G phone, so make sure you’re happy with lower-speed mobile internet for the duration of your ownership.

Video stabilization is the other issue. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro can capture 4K video, but there is no stabilization above 1080p, rendering it next-to-useless in plenty of scenarios.

Those are the Redmi Note 10 Pro’s bad bits. The rest is gold.

The Redmi Note 10 Pro has a large 120Hz OLED screen. Its Snapdragon 732G brings the goods for gaming, and the phone has some of the best speakers we’ve heard at the price.

You get a solid 108MP camera. And while you shouldn’t put too much faith in that ultra-high megapixel count, it produces nice photos and has access to a good night mode.

There’s also a highly unusual, and unusually good, macro camera. Most budget phone macro cameras are barely worth using. This one is great for nature photography.

The Redmi Note 10 Pro’s battery also lasts a long time, even if you use the 120Hz screen mode for smoother scrolling.

There are mountains of substance here, and even the build quality gets more attention than we’d expect. The Redmi Note 10 Pro has a Gorilla Glass back, not the plastic we now see even in alarmingly expensive Android phones.

This may not seem hugely cheap for a 4G phone. If you really want 5G you may want to stop reading now. But the Redmi Note 10 Pro makes up for it in other areas.

Design

  • Glass back, plastic sides
  • Relatively slim, not too heavy
  • Side-mounted fingerprint scanner

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro has a mix of high-end and low-end design traits. It’s a blend we like a lot.

For example, you get a headphone jack, like cheap phones. But the Redmi Note 10 Pro’s back is lightly curved Gorilla Glass, not the plastic many far more expensive phones use today.

The only obvious sign that the Redmi Note 10 Pro is an affordable phone is that its sides are plastic rather than metal. We’ve used the phone largely with its bundled case, and like that you can’t tell the difference anyway.

Redmi’s big design ‘sell’ here isn’t actually the glass back, though, but how techy the rear camera array looks. The main lens is given its own shiny silver surround, and the two-level contouring is there to make the camera seem even more accomplished than it is.

More substantive basics are on point too. The Redmi Note 10 Pro isn’t too thick at 8.1mm, and its sub-200g weight (193g) is not distractingly high. You’d guess it cost a lot more. Well, unless you’re a phone aficionado who knows quite how aggressively-priced phones from brands like Redmi.

The rear on our Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro review sample has a pleasant satin finish that glows silver when it catches the light. And if that seems too plain you can get it in off-white and orange colors too.

Given the price, we’re big fans of the Redmi Note 10 Pro’s hardware design. However, if you intend to use it case-free the plastic side buttons are a bit of a ‘budget’ giveaway.

The Redmi Note 10 Pro uses a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, not an in-screen one, but it’s fast and reliable. There’s also an IR blaster on the top, used by the Mi Remote app to let the phone act as a universal remote.

You only tend to see these in Chinese phones, but we’ve actually used this feature a few times in the last 12 months.

On to a feature you won’t only need in emergencies: the speakers. The Redmi Note 10 Pro’s are excellent for a cheaper phone. They are loud, offer some bass, and there are two drivers. One sits on the bottom, the other above the screen. And Redmi gives this top one two outlets, on the top and the front. This maxes out the stereo sound field and makes sure you won’t block it when playing a game.