After using the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max alongside Samsung’s Galaxy A52 for a couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing all my thoughts about the former in this review. Xiaomi and the entire team on their social media are claiming that this is the “10on10 phone”. And if you look at some of the features like the 120Hz OLED screen and the 108MP camera, well, it does look pretty good for a mid-range phone.
But with Xiaomi, specs don’t always tell you the full story, which makes my job even more interesting. Hence, I took a little bit more time to test the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, and here’s my full review of the phone.
[Note: The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is an Indian variant that goes by the name Redmi Note 10 Pro in Nepal.]
Redmi Note 10 Pro Max Specifications:
- Body: 76.15 x 164.5 x 8.1mm, 192 gm, IP53 dust/splash-proof
- Display: 6.67-inches Super AMOLED panel, 120Hz refresh rate, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, 1200 nits peak brightness, HDR10
- Resolution: Full-HD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels), 20:9 aspect ratio
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G (8nm)
- CPU: Octa-core (2×2.3 GHz Kryo 470 Gold & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 470 Silver)
- GPU: Adreno 618
- Memory: 6/8GB LPDDR4X RAM, 64/128GB UFS 2.2 storage (expandable)
- Software & UI: Android 11 with MIUI 12 on top
- Rear Camera: Quad-camera;
– 108MP f/1.88 primary, HM2 sensor
– 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide, 118º FOV
– 5MP f/2.4 super macro, 2x telephoto
– 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor
- Front Camera: 16MP f/2.45 sensor (punch-hole)
- Audio: Stereo speaker, Hi-Res Audio, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Security: Side-mounted fingerprint scanner, Face unlock
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, E-Compass, 360º Ambient Light
- Connectivity: Dual-SIM (Nano), WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (Dual-band), Bluetooth 5.1, GPS / AGPS / Glonass / Beidou, USB Type-C, 4G LTE
- Battery: 5020mAh with 33W fast charge (33W adapter provided)
- Color options: Vintage Bronze, Glacial Blue, Dark Night
- Price in Nepal: Rs. 33,999 (6/128GB) | Rs. 36,999 (8/128GB)
Redmi Note 10 Pro Max Review:
Design & Build
- Glass front, glass back, plastic frame
- IP53 certification, “Evol.” design
Starting with the design, Xiaomi has finally gone all-sleek with the Redmi Note 10 series. This still isn’t a very light phone like we see from Oppo‘s F-series or Vivo’s V-series. Still, in Xiaomi’s defence, they have used a heavier and more premium material than plastic. The phone has Corning’s Gorilla Glass at the back and they have also included a big 5000mAh battery here.
Overall, I have liked the heft of the device. Unlike Xiaomi phones from the past, using the phone continuously hasn’t been a muscle exercise for my hands. But, one thing Xiaomi could improve is its width. Note 10 Pro Max is a bit wider than say the Galaxy A72 that has the same display size.
Likewise, I didn’t notice any creeks or bends while applying pressure to the phone. Yet, if you have watched Gupta Ji’s video, the phone didn’t survive his bend test. Although it’s far off from a real-life scenario, what we can learn from his videos is Samsung and Realme phones have survived such bend test, whereas this phone hasn’t. So, this could be one area where I hope Xiaomi will eventually improve upon.
Refreshing color options
Talking of improvement, I like what Xiaomi has done with the color choices too. All 3 options: Dark Night, Glacial Blue, and Vintage Bronze are quite refreshing and look gorgeous. I got myself the Glacial Blue variant which is subtle and light to the eyes. It also doesn’t attract fingerprint smudges and I prefer the camera module design this time around.
The frame is still plastic and on the right side, you will see a power button that doubles up as a fingerprint sensor. It’s in a perfect location and is pretty reliable. Moreover, the phone is IP53 rated against dust and splash protection as well. This is a significant upgrade from the P2i coating Xiaomi usually favors in its Redmi Note series.
- 6.67-inches FHD+ Super AMOLED screen
- 120Hz refresh rate, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
- 1200 nits peak brightness (Sunlight mode)
Until now, we’ve been arguing whether a manufacturer should provide a higher refresh rate LCD or standard 60Hz AMOLED display. But Xiaomi has put the debate to rest altogether by offering an OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate on the Redmi Note 10 Pro series.
The company hasn’t mentioned who is the manufacturer of the screen, which makes me believe it’s not Samsung. Regardless, the quality of the screen is top quality. Out of the box, it is well-calibrated. Although, in the standard-setting mode, I noticed slight blueish-whitish hues.
Xiaomi says it has a peak brightness of 1200 nits. But it’s only while watching certain HDR contents which we usually don’t. While browsing the UI, playing games, or watching movies, it’s the SDR content at play. And at that time, the peak brightness is around 450 nits only, which is still great.
But the company actually compared these numbers with the iPhone 12 Pro during the launch event, which is so Xiaomi. In reality, the iPhone 12 can hit 600 nits, and the 12 Pro is slightly better at 800 nits when watching SDR contents. That being said, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max’s display is still bright and the outdoor visibility even while using on a sunny day is no issue.
Best in class display?
Likewise, Xiaomi says it’s the best display on a premium midrange phone in India. But, I don’t think that’s the case because the Realme X7 Pro and Mi 11X which falls in the same category, has a better screen. Although these two phones vary by a great margin in terms of pricing, ultimately, Xiaomi’s claim isn’t true. So the lesson here is, don’t fall the marketing gimmicks that brands say during the launch event.
I might have sounded a little negative there but don’t get me wrong. Redmi Note 10 Pro Max’s display is still the best in class for its price, no doubt. However, it’s still not close to the flagship and some other premium midrange phones. That’s because the said competitions have better color calibration, brightness, better refresh rate switching, and the touch experience.
Anyway, one area where Xiaomi has improved upon is in the audio department. It now comes with a true stereo speaker setup that has a much respectable quality. It is loud with a decent level of detail. So, for multimedia stuff, it doesn’t disappoint.
- Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G SoC (8nm)
- 6/8GB LPDDR4X RAM, 64/128GB UFS 2.2 storage (expandable)
- Android 11 with Xiaomi’s MIUI 12 on top
With that out of way, let’s talk about the performance. Here too, I think because of the budget constraints, Xiaomi couldn’t give you more but has had to settle for last year’s 4G-capable Snapdragon 732G chipset. Although it’s quite a good performer for the price, I just feel that the inclusion of 5G-ready Snapdragon 750G or the Dimensity 800U would have made 5G widespread since this phone is going to sell in millions.
Talking about sales volume, Mi India also announced that Redmi Note 10 series has crossed sales worth INR 500 crore in just two weeks. Wow! Moving on. With the global chip shortage and the aforementioned price constraint, because 5G chipsets are a bit pricey right now, Xiaomi simply couldn’t include a 5G silicon here.
Regardless, coupled with the 6GB RAM variant that I have with me and the newer & faster UFS 2.2 storage, its performance is what you would expect from a mid-range phone of 2021. Apps load fast, multitasking is swift, things like texting is no problem.
And keeping the 120Hz refresh rate always on throughout the UI and all system apps, things are pretty smooth. By the way, this display reverts to 60Hz if the picture is static or watching movies.
The usual MIUI complaint
However, the MIUI skin still needs a lot of refinement in my opinion. For instance, the RAM management here isn’t that great. If you reopen a slightly heavy app, after 5 mins or so, it will restart. This isn’t an issue on my friend’s 3 years old iPhone X and still, here we are in 2021. Talking about RAM management, this isn’t just the issue with Xiaomi, but it’s prevalent in Realme 8 Pro too.
And unlike the Poco X3, this one doesn’t seem to have that much of a jittery or laggy performance while trying to multitask. It works smoothly, although at times, not often though, the Snapdragon 732G does struggle to keep up with the 120Hz refresh rate.
Likewise, Xiaomi seems to have fixed other bugs like the proximity sensor not working, and the likes. But still, the dark mode in here isn’t that optimized.
In the messenger app, the notification header is supposed to be dark as the Galaxy A52. Similarly, in the Spotify app, the time bar is completely invisible. This isn’t a big issue, but for a company that will be making electric cars in the future, this kind of problem should be taken care of by the product & quality control department in a snap.
As for gaming, this isn’t the best phone for the price as you can get Poco X3 Pro for a similar price that offers much better performance. But coming from last year’s Redmi Note 9 Pro Max, Xiaomi has optimized the performance here.
In PUBG mobile, it can go Balanced graphic and Ultra frame rates, and it runs without any stutters. But for the smoothest of experience with very little heating, Smooth graphics and Ultra frame rates will yield you a better result.
Likewise, Critical Ops which offers 120fps gameplay is indeed playable at 120fps and is quite optimized. I didn’t face any heating issues either, although it does get slightly warm. But nothing worrying like Techbar’s title suggests.
Overall, I would say, the performance of the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is satisfactory and should be enough for most users. But I hope Xiaomi doesn’t mess up with the stability of its performance in the long run, and in fact, I am hopeful they fix these small bugs and provide regular software updates.
At the time of writing this review, our unit of the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is still on February’s security update, which is kinda slow. And over time, it might not even receive monthly updates, settling for a quarterly one. Hopefully, that will improve as well.
- Quad cameras at the back
- (108MP main, 8MP ultrawide, 5MP super macro, 2MP depth)
- 16MP selfie camera inside the punch-hole cutout
Finally, let’s talk about the cameras.
Redmi Note 10 Pro Max boasts a quad-camera setup at the back with a 108MP primary that sets it apart from the cheaper Redmi Note 10 Pro. But as you might know, this isn’t the first time we’re getting a 108MP sensor on a mid-range phone. In fact, Xiaomi’s own Mi 10i had a 108MP camera.
Anyway, it’s the Samsung HM2 sensor, and completing the setup is an 8MP ultrawide, a 2MP depth, and a 5MP super macro lens.
The normal daytime images from the Note 10 Pro Max are quite good, especially in terms of details. Likewise, the dynamic range and color reproduction are commendable as well. Because Xiaomi is throwing big numbers in its cameras, a general user’s perspective is that its 108MP camera is objectively better than lower resolution sensors.
And yes, Xiaomi’s tons of marketing campaigns embrace this very same concept. But most of the time, the real-life performance doesn’t favor a company’s claims made in their promotional campaigns.
vs Samsung Galaxy A52
So, I compared it against the Galaxy A52 which has a 64MP primary camera to see just how much of Xiaomi’s claims hold true. What I found is that in almost all instances, photos from A52 look superior.
As you can see, the A52’s images have better sharpness, dynamic range, details, and it even wins in terms of brightness. It manages to bring out more natural-looking colors while the Note 10 Pro Max tends to over-saturate the photos by a lot.
Still, when shooting photos of flowers, I like the ones from Note 10 Pro Max more because of the said bump in contrast.
Jumping to the ultra-wide shots, I noticed a vast shift in color science compared to the primary lens. Coming from the vibrant photos from the main sensor, the wideangle camera shoots rather muted colors.
Besides this, the wideangle shots don’t retain a satisfactory level of detail too. All of this just screams a lack of proper optimization, and I can only hope Xiaomi will push updates in the future to fix this issue.
Compared to the Galaxy A52, subjects in the portrait shots from the Note 10 Pro Max tend to look a tad bit dark.
It’s not that bad but the difference becomes clear as day when pitting the two phones side-by-side. Here, portraits from A52 look slightly more pleasing with good subject skin tone.
Under a low light condition, I like the photos from the Note 10 Pro Max. They pop in terms of colors and are quite pleasant to look at.
The result is the same when turning on the night mode as well. Images turn out with plenty of details with well-balanced exposure. But under extreme lowlight situations, A52 manages to capture better-looking pictures.
In terms of selfie images, I noticed a slight greenish tint from the Note 10 Pro Max.
As a result, subjects don’t look as natural, or as good. It’s the same with portrait selfies as well.
Getting to the videos, there’s no OIS here although Xiaomi has included EIS. Yet, that’s restricted to 1080p/30fps footages only. You can crank the resolution to 4k/30fps or 1080p/60fps mode but like I just said, these settings are void of any form of stabilization. Coming to the front, the selfie videos are limited to 1080p/30fps. Talking about their quality, well… it’s not that good. The audio pickup from the microphone isn’t that great either.
- 5020mAh battery with 33W fast charging
Redmi Note 10 Pro Max enjoys a big 5020mAh battery. But because of the 120Hz refresh rate, I couldn’t get a decent battery endurance. Still, it’s good enough to last you through the day.
The phone supports 33W fast charging and thankfully, the 33W fast charger is provided inside the box. While it obviously doesn’t compete against 65W fast charging from Realme, I feel like 33W is a good middle ground considering charging speed and battery health in the long run.
Let’s wrap up this review of the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. I’ve been using a Redmi Note phone ever since its inception back in 2014. I still remember buying the Redmi Note 3 with the Snapdragon 650 chipset, metal back, and great battery life. Brings back some great memories.
While those were great budget phones of the past, Xiaomi has gradually increased the price in the Note series. Having said that, the company has brought significant improvement throughout the years too. So much so that the Redmi Note series narrows the gap between a mid-range and a flagship phone. And the Note 10 Pro Max is a prime example.
The only caveat that still remains on these phones is MIUI. But I’m quite hopeful that things will change with the forthcoming MIUI 12.5 update. So, to answer the question is it’s a “10on10” phone, no it’s not.
At best, I’d rate it 8 out of 10 although that won’t stop me from recommending the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max to anyone looking for a good phone in this price range.
- Watch our video review of the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max.
Redmi Note 10 Pro Max: Pros & Cons
- An upgraded design, ergonomic build
- Smooth, vibrant 120Hz AMOLED screen
- Good performance with SD 732G
- IP53 dust/splash protection certified
- Decent stereo speaker setup
- Admirable battery endurance
- MIUI 12 still needs some finetuning
- Cameras require further optimization