On the first reading of the Redmi Note 10 technical sheet, we first wondered if we were not having trouble. It must be said that for the first price of its entry-level offer – alongside Redmi Note 10 Pro, Note 10S – Xiaomi does not go with the back of the spoon. AMOLED screen, substantial battery, stereo speakers, Android 11… On paper, it’s impressive, especially for an introductory price of 199 euros. However, the accumulation of technical specificities does not necessarily make a good smartphone, what matters is the harmony and consistency between its strengths and weaknesses. Basically the balance on a daily basis. Verdict in our test.
Design: a look full of bonhomie
Despite a large 6.43-inch (16 x 33 cm) screen, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 is visually successful and pleasant in the hand. With a thickness of 8.3 mm for about 180 grams, it even has the luxury of being less imposing than its predecessor, the Note 9 (199 g for 8.9 mm). There is a feeling of smooth roundness, unusual on entry-level smartphones which tend to be a bit unbalanced. On the back, the photo part takes a step to the side, centered last year we find it this time at the top left. Placed at the top of the block, the main sensor dominates three other objectives. Small frivolity, these are installed in triangle.
Of good quality, the plastic coated back, lagoon blue for this test, is on the other hand a bipolar hair: it gets dirty (fingerprints, dust), as easily as it is cleaned. The rim of the mobile, imitation metal plastic, offers solid finishes. It perfectly surrounds the volume buttons and the unlock button, the latter also serving to accommodate the fingerprint reader. On the inside, next to the traditional USB-C connector, what a pleasure to find this old knowledge, the audio jack. Especially since the Redmi Note 10 is adorned with two integrated stereo speakers, rather rare for entry level. In the end, without making any secret design, the Note 10 happens to be an everyday smartphone that is both easy on the eye and in the hand.
Screen, hard to beat
Proposing an AMOLED panel in 20: 9 format with a definition of 1080 x 2400 pixels, the Redmi Note 10 pays for itself a double pleasure. That of snubbing its predecessor, the Note 9, with its “vulgar” LCD screen. All being, to our knowledge, the first smartphone below the 200 euros mark to offer this type of screen in France with an FHD + definition, please. Where most of the competition offers “only” HD. In fact, the use of the slab is a real pleasure. The balance between the screen size (6.43 inches) and its technology provides the most harmonious pixel density (409 ppp). The blacks are as deep as you want and the maximum brightness worthy of a smartphone that would cost twice its price.
Once is not custom, we have a soft spot with the “saturated” mode. Indeed the “auto” mode, which adapts the colors of the screen according to the ambient light tends to fade too much certain colors, in particular blue and green, and this whatever the intensity of the lighting. Do not hesitate to linger in the screen settings according to your tastes. The refresh rate is limited to 60 Hz. A beam in the eye of the handful of assiduous gamers eyeing towards the entry level, a twig for the multitude of episodic players in this price segment.
Performance, not there to play the maintenance
Last year, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9, and its MediaTek Helio G85 SoC had rather disappointed us. We also attributed a formal relegation to him. For this 2021 vintage, Xiaomi has changed foundry since the Note 10 is on board a Qualcomm Snapdragon 678 processor, as well as an Adreno 612 graphics chip, 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal memory. Overall, this team, on paper with the workforce of a promoted, manages to elbows in the middle of the table. The general operation and navigation are rather fluid. The Redmi Note 10 takes more than the road for most daily tasks: lots of internet, lots of social networks, lots of YouTube and Spotify, a pinch of Netflix series here and there, a little 2D game in the train…
Obviously, by virtue of its contained power, the Note 10 is not intended to play in European markets, it is not intended to run the most greedy games of the PlayStore. And that is not what we are asking him.
For everything else, frankly, without playing it too defensive, he does pretty well with the ball. As proof, the relatively honorable results during our benchmarks. Note that we were unable to complete our AnTuTu test, due to a recurring error message. Unfortunately, some defensive largesse happens to him. Especially when leaving the camera too quickly or leaving too many applications open at the same time. Some slight latencies which tend to appear especially when the smartphone does not have much battery. Nothing very serious, especially when you remember your annual budget compared to other top names.
Software and audio? Travel as an upgrade
An OS, Android 11, and a system, MIUI 12, up to date upon launch. Clearly, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 is spreading its legs and asking for some first class refreshments from an Airbus A380. We also better understand the some turbulence that can sometimes have the mobile, the last overlay of Xiaomi not being the lightest. In return, the latter is customizable at will : a dark mode, automatic management of useful brightness, useful floating windows or even a well-organized “Security Center”.
It’s all about harmony once again. The grievances are obviously always the same, superfluous pre-installed apps and inane anti-virus, but being honest, it bothers us immensely less than on a Wed 11 invoiced 749 euros at its launch. Two-tier justice? For once we can contradict the excipit of La Fontaine’s fable “Animals sick with the Plague”…
Finally, a quick word on the audio part. Stereo sound is very enjoyable and powerful for watching video without headphones. Note that the bottom speaker seems more powerful and has more resonance than the top one. For music, it is even possible to benefit from the hi-res audio certification if you prefer the wired socket. The bass is rather indented which balances the presence of mids and highs. What makes the Redmi Note 10, a good everyday musical partner.
Photos, “at night he lies”.
For the photo part, Xiaomi did not procrastinate too much. The Redmi Note 10 takes, to the pixel, the rear photo module of its predecessor, the Note 9. Namely:
- A 48 megapixel main sensor (1 / 1.2 ”; 0.8 µm photosite); phase detection autofocus; 26mm f / 1.8
- An 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle sensor with a 118 ° field of view and an f / 2.2 aperture; (1/4 ”; 1.12 µm photosite)
- A 2 megapixel macro lens (f / 2.4)
- A little last for the depth of field of 2 megapixels (f / 2.4)
By day and indoors in good light conditions, the shots are pretty good. The level of detail is appreciable and the sharpness at the rendezvous, even on the edges of the frame, while the overexposure is rather controlled. By default, the color treatment is rather neutral. And with the 48-megapixel mode, it’s even more obvious, even if the level of detail improves somewhat. Suddenly, if you want more liveliness and density in the contrasts, we recommend that you use the “IA” mode. On the other hand, the latter sometimes suffers from a few bugs, so use it sparingly, or with patience.
Modest on paper, the ultra-wide-angle sensor is also in use. The loss of detail is evident, even to the untrained eye. Especially since the rarer the light, the more this sensor loses in sharpness on the contours of the photo, but especially in the center.
Anecdotal, not to say useless, the macro mode is not likely to be emulated. For its part, the portrait mode, which benefits from a dedicated sensor, is close to the average. Indeed, the outline of the photographed objects lack sharpness and precision.
Finally, at night, with him, all cats are gray. Digital noise is essential, which sometimes makes it difficult to clearly distinguish the different elements of a scene. The artificial overexposure of the “Night” mode can at the limit be of service, but the colors become paler, the management of the lights hazardous and the sharpness plays even more hide and seek as you can see on the second shot.
Autonomy, true to its reputation
On the entry level, smartphones are often more imposing because they house imposing batteries. However, exploding the number of milliamps does not necessarily guarantee good endurance. It is all a question of harmony, once again, in the management of energy between the screen and the performance of the mobile. With a 5000 mAh battery, the Note 10 is no fuss, between numbers and reality, it is not bluffing. Indeed, it lasts almost two days even when abusing streaming video playback for about 5 hours.. Impressive, especially with this type of screen. Especially since being less greedy and using the energy saver, we held almost three full days. The dream of every smartphone owner, to stay as far as possible from their charger. And when we have to get closer to him, it is not for very long. Thanks to its 33 W charger, we only needed 23 minutes to recharge 50% of the battery. This type of performance on the entry level is rather rare, and therefore pleasant.
A point on the competition
Sold for 200 euros, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 is one of the most affordable smartphones on the market. In this price range, it outperforms all of its direct competitors. Whether the most recent like the Samsung Galaxy A12 (189 euros).
That the older ones, like the Oppo A72, launched last summer in 259 euros and now available for less or even the unequal realme 7i (189 euros).
On the entry level, it is now he who rules. Not that it is perfect, but because it is the most harmonious and the most balanced. Its strengths are worthy of a mid-range smartphone: Amoled FHD + screen, monstrous autonomy and complete connectivity (jack, stereo speakers, dual SIM and microSD). Its passable points are not the most prohibitive: performance suffering from some slowdowns, messy back. And its only big weak point, the night photo, should not in itself constitute an obstacle to its purchase. As the writer Jean Grenier said so well: “It is as noble to strive for balance as for perfection”.